Niner dropped its second big Sea Otter surprise in two days with a prototype 27.5 mid-range trail bike being put through the paces by company pro Kirt Voreis.
Coming a day after the newly energized Fort Collins, Colorado-based company unveiled a full-suspension gravel grinder, Niner gave Mtbr an exclusive preview of its initial entry into stock 27.5 territory. Previously Niner’s only 27.5 offerings were plus-compatible 29ers.
Full spec or pricing for the new rig aren’t available yet, but the bike will feature 140mm of rear travel with adjustable head angles of 65 and 66 degrees.
“For slalom and playing around, this bike is unbelievable,” said Voreis. “The low standover lets you really get wrapped around the bike on tabletops and things like that.” The rear suspension is super responsive, Voreis added. And a reinforced shock cradle provides stiffness and protection from trail spray.
“I feel like it’s a little bit more supple than the rear end of my RIP, which on fire roads and tiny bumps would get a little chattery,” Voreis added. “This bike got rid of that. It has a really light feel on top but you can still go deep into the travel and get that progressive feeling.”
Voreis said the roomy pivot box will easily accommodate coil shocks. He also praised the internal cable routing for its “super stealth” look and easy manageability.
Asked if the bike has a name yet, Voreis laughed and said, “In-house, yes, but not for public consumption yet.” Like its grinder cousin, it’s slated for release in 2019. A matching 29er version is also in development.
Niner, which gained a cult following for its early adoption of the 29er platform, got a much-needed cash infusion after being purchased last month. The deal enabled fruition of several models well under development before the company encountered financial straits last fall. Niner fans who have pressed the company to produce a 27.5 model will have their prayers answered next year.