Emerging from the ashes of bankruptcy, Colorado’s Niner Bikes has just launched its phoenix campaign in the reimagined Niner RIP 9 RDO V3 with 140mm of rear travel. Boasting a slightly lighter, yet at-least-as-capable platform in two wheel size offerings (yes, two), the replacement for Niner’s flagship trail bike offers exactly what the latest urges in the blooming trail bike sector have been pointing towards.
Check out the Mtbr short term review here.
Although many of Niner’s trademark design principles have been retained in the Niner RIP 9 RDO V3, perhaps the most notable evidence of the brand’s rebirth and mission to evolve is the simple fact that they are finally taking the leap that almost all other manufacturers in the industry have long ago embraced. Despite the fact that it goes against their very name, Niner is producing a full-fledged 27.5 version of this bike. And this is not just an interchangeable system we’re talking about here. The new Niner RIP 9 RDO V3 is offered in both 29 and 27.5 varieties, with either flavor featuring a unique frame and suspension design.
As they put it, “After a decade-long commitment to 29er wheels, we have good reasons for expanding our minds (and our rides) to include the 29er’s more playful little brother. Over the years, riders have told us that they love the stable yet supple, consistent and controlled behavior of our CVA suspension. They love the brand. They love the designs. But they want more standover, less rotating weight, and the fast handling, quick draw agility of 27.5ers. So, they want a Niner, but they actually want a Twenty-Seven-Fiver. But one that’s made by Niner. Well, here it is. We built the most badass non-Niner Niner we’ve ever made.”
What You Need to Know
- 140mm of CVA suspension with 150mm fork travel
- Available in dedicated 29er and 27.5er versions
- Longer, lower, and slacker than any Niner ever made
- Flip chip geometry adjustment
- Wider and stiffer Rib Cage main triangle, for precise handling
- Enduro Max “Black Oxide” pivot bearings
- Clearance for 2.6” tires
- Refined suspension curve for sensitive early stroke and supportive mid-stroke
- Frame size XL not available in the 27.5
- End-to-end, full sleeve internal cable guides and factory-installed frame protection
- Claimed frame weight 6.8lbs for a painted size MD with shock and all hardware including seat collar
- All builds get the FOX Float DPX2 Factory, except the 2-star which gets FOX Float DPX2 Performance
- Frame only option is $3200
Now with High and Low Mode
Niner claims that the high mode geometry is perfect for the demands of daily trail riding. This RIP 9 launches uphill and over terrain, thanks to supple yet stable CVA suspension and a steeper 75.8-degree seat tube angle. Then turn it around, point it down, and charge with confidence, thanks to the longer reach and slack, 66-degree head tube angle.
Need more cowbell? Low mode brings out the RIP’s more aggressive, “Mr. Hyde” persona. By slacking out the head angle by a full degree and lowering the bottom bracket by 7mm, the Niner RIP 9 RDO V3 transforms into a virtual second bike that’s perfect for chairlift days, shuttle sessions, and secret sidecountry rides with long, rowdy descents.
Key Geometry Details
- Adjustable high/low geometry via flip chips in the seat stay pivots
- Slacker head tube angle: 66 degrees (high mode)/65 degrees (low mode)
- Steeper seat tube angle: 75.8 degrees (high mode)/75.2 degrees (low mode)
- Longer reach
- Shortened seat tube by 20mm to accommodate longer, 170mm dropper posts
- 20mm lower standover height across all sizes
- Lower stack height and shortened head tube to accommodate a wide fit range and riser bars
- Short, 435mm chainstays (29er)
Rib Cage Struts Increase Stiffness
Stepping up the trademark “leaf spring” like carbon layup in the front triangle of the frame, in which torsional rigidity comes at a premium and vertical deflection is embraced, both suppleness and stiffness are paramount in the design of the Niner RIP 9 RDO V3. This newest iteration of Niner’s RDO (Race Day Optimized) carbon fiber mountain bike lineup features refined toptube and downtube shaping to achieve this effect, with a flatter profile than its predecessors. Likewise, new rib cage struts across the main triangle, a stouter rear triangle, and a wider main rocker link pivot all help to achieve gains.
The idea behind the frame struts is to reduce bottom bracket deflection while keeping the upper portion of the front triangle supple and compliant. And the wide, flat surfaces found on Niner’s top and downtube help to absorb frontal impacts and vibrations while resisting deflection (twisting) under torsional load. This, says Niner, delivers a combination of vertical compliance and lateral stiffness. Also thanks to bulking up the rear triangle, Niner removed the seatstay bridge in the rocker link. There’s now extra room for wider wheel and tire combinations.
Development of this concept and the new Niner RIP 9 RDO V3 began several years ago using FOX rear shocks with a charging valve oriented at 90-degrees to the air can. Even their earliest iterations of the frame design included these Rib Cage struts, and they settled on the strut placement and the front triangle design as it stands because they claim that extensive testing validated the benefits. “The ride is meaningfully better with the struts exactly where they are – not any higher or lower on the frame,” they say.
At the same time, current FOX rear shocks, with the charging valve oriented at 45-degrees, are the best spec choice for them in terms of ride quality, tuning, price, and performance. So they decided that the necessity of using the 90-degree shock pump valve adaptor with most (but not all) shock pumps was a small trade-off in exchange for the ride of the new RIP. The upside to the strut placement and rear shock combination outweighs the minor inconvenience of using the adapter, they say.
Thus all RIP bikes and frames include the shock pump adapter physically clipped to the frame. Riders can leave the adapter clipped to the frame or leave it attached to their shock pump (but not attached to the shock valve, because it will strike the frame when the suspension is compressed). And if misplaced, replacement adapters are readily available from local bike shops or from Amazon for about $12.
Frame Features and Construction Details
- Rib Cage struts on front triangle add stiffness
- Compact, shortened rear triangle with oversized tubes for increased stiffness
- Extra wide seat tube rocker link pivot with double-width bearings for torsional rigidity
- Sag indicator on the rocker link pivot
- Factory installed scuff guards and frame protection in key locations
- Fox Live-valve ready
- Water bottle mount inside the main frame
- 73mm threaded bottom bracket with ISCG 05 chain guide mounts
- 1x specific
The kinematics of Niner’s CVA (constantly varying arc) system are highlighted in this newest refinement of the system, with a smoother early stroke and more supportive end stroke. Overall leverage ratio has changed a bit from the previous version, with the Niner RIP 9 RDO V3 boasting an average ratio of 2.55, starting at 3.0 and ending at about 2.3. Fancy numbers to qualify the claim that this new suspension package will make it easier to wake up the shock when needed and overcome static friction. All the while, riders of the new V3 can look forward to a more progressive ramp at the tail end of the stroke. Call it CVA+.
CVA Suspension Details
- Niner’s patented CVA linkage layout and axle path remains the same
- Lower link under the BB allows for shorter chainstays
- Refined leverage ratio curve
- More sensitive in the early stroke and more supportive in the mid stroke
- Progressive ramp up at end stroke
- New 2-piece rocker link
- Shorter 210×55 metric rear shock
- Stock shock tune includes FOX .4 air volume reducer
- 44mm offset fork on the 29er, 37mm offset on the 27.5er
Lastly, it’s worth mentioning that Niner claims it has really stepped up their game in terms of across-the-board production efficiency. With a new bike leading the way in the Niner RIP 9 RDO V3, and more new models likely to follow, Niner have anticipated a growth curve and answered a common production issue in the same way that many of their most successful rivals recently have.
Niner’s warehouse space has recently been revamped to offer valet service to their wide array of spec offerings on all frame models in their catalog. The Niner RIP 9 RDO V3, for example, is offered in four build packages. So in that range of specifications, especially in two separate wheel size varieties, there is literally a warehouse full of different parts combinations behind each bicycle that’s sent out the door. To cut the lead time on each of these builds, Niner is now loading each order onto a cart and partially building the bike in real time as it prepares each order for shipment to its final destination.
Geo Charts, Build Specs, and Pricing
To learn more head to ninerbikes.com.