Niner ROS 9 – Steel, Long Travel Hardtail Released

29er Enduro

Introduction by Francis Cebedo

What is the purpose of this steel hardtail that is designed for a 120mm or 140mm front fork? Well the purpose is to ‘Ride Over Shit’ and that’s why it’s called the ROS 9. But is there really a market for a 29er hardtail bike that is not optimized for Cross Country or Racing? Can a 29er hardtail be fun?

We think so. This is part of a new segment of bikes we like to call ‘rally hardtails’. The more common term is All Mountain hardtails and other companies like Banshee and Canfield have been forging the way for public to discover this new kind of hardtail that can tackle rough terrain. In general, they have lots of travel in front and none on the rear. Slack head angles and short chain stays are part of the equation. And in recent months, the dropper seatpost has become part of the formula. The 29er wheel is a key component as well since that 0 mm of rear travel needs all the help it can get.

All seems very alien right? Well we tried the Trek Stache 8 ourselves and warmed up to the idea. Here is a bike that doesn’t cost very much yet is comfortable in the tightest singletrack, drops, jumps and flow trails. With a dropper post, some big volume, tubeless tires running low pressure, this bike can rally.

The numbers on this Niner ROS 9 check out just fine. The chainstay length is 16.8 inches and that is indeed short. Most hardtails are at around 17.5 inches and even Niner’s own SIR 9 is at 17.3 inches. This is good as short stays translates to agility, traction and fun. The BB height stays the same as the already low Niners at a 2.2 inch drop. The other key metric is the head angle. Is it slack? Oh yes, it’s slack at 68 degrees with a 120 mm fork and 67 degrees with a 140 mm fork.

And then the other key feature is internal cable routing for a dropper post. Such is a new concept in hardtails but there is no question that they will be the norm in 3-5 years because they extend the range and the playfulness of a bike so much. Another feature to note is a 142×12 Maxle rear axle to keep the rear end as laterally stiff as possible.

And of course let’s not forget that this is steel with 29er wheels. This will give the rear of the bike that extra cush as the front of the bike is likely to get in to all sorts of ruckus.

So we’re excited. $900 gets you the frame and $2500 gets you a bike in their base 1-Star X7 Kit.

Continue reading for details on the frame and full photo gallery.

About the author: Francis Cebedo

The founder of mtbr and roadbikereview, Francis Cebedo believes that every cyclist has a lot to teach and a lot to learn. "Our websites are communal hubs for sharing cycling experiences, trading adventure stories, and passing along product information and opinions." Francis' favorite bike is the last bike he rode, whether it's a dirt jumper, singlespeed, trail bike, lugged commuter or ultralight carbon road steed. Indeed, Francis loves cycling in all its forms and is happiest when infecting others with that same passion. Francis also believes that IPA will save America.

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  • DS says:

    I do like the idea of an all-mountain (not Rally!) HT 29er in steel. But the writer suggesting this bike establishes a new category is disappointing and unfair to the many established (and quite good) current players on the market.

  • NV29 says:

    The Honzo came before the TransAM, also don’t forget 2Souls, and custom builders were doing these many years ago. To me this is more or less a copy of the Honzo, which I paid less than $400 for when it first came out. That said, this looks like a nice bike, albeit over priced and with too short TT.

  • Dan says:

    or the all mountain REEB – SS belt or chain, geared 2X10, True Temper OX Platinum Tubeing, made in USA.

  • edwin harvei says:

    Niner copies my Ragley Blue Pig that I built with my old 26″ components and 130mm Revelation fork for less than $400

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