The Rip9 Frame and Package Review

29er Pro Reviews

-Stiff front end
-Climbing efficiency
-Huge rear tire mud clearance
-Cable stays for seatpost control cable
-Attention to detail in the right places; welded rockers, high end bearings, multi-axle option

-Cable routing around the rear triangle could use more attention
-Shock options
-More color options?

Reviewer: Thomas Tran

The guys at Niner Bikes have evolved their first FS frame, the RIP9, into a worthy successor. When the Rip9 first came out, it was an instant hit at Interbike Outdoor Demo . The Constantly Varying Arc (CVA) rear suspension allows the bike to pedal very well while seated, and the angles of the frame were spot on for a 4.5” FS 29er. Fast forward 3 years and Niner has released the version 2.0 of the frame. They addressed many key areas of version 1.0 that drew comments or criticisms. The advent of tapered steerer was adopted to increase front end stiffness and the welded box section rockers increase rear end stiffness. Add to that, the ability to use a multitude of rear axle sizes and types, and Niner was able to stiffen the frame considerably without adding weight. Niner didn’t just use the typical ‘bolt on enhancements’ to stiffen the frame, all this was achieved through extensive use of hydroforming and custom casting for key tube junctions. This wasn’t a cheap redesign, but then again, Niner has always lead R&D in the 29er field.

Nice touches by Niner:
Tapered head tube
Super strong box sections in key areas
Cable stays for bar mounted adjustable seatpost cables
Tucked in brake cable stays
Multiple axle options for rear wheels, including Maxle
The very best bearings on a production frame
Super sloping top tube to accommodate shorter riders on a long travel 29’er
Water bottle mount for shorter rides without a pack, or those super epics with 100oz+

The package

I normally don’t comment on anything but the frame, in a frame review, as all other parts are typically a personal preference. In this case, I strongly feel the bike is more than the sum of its parts. You’re riding a system here, and not just the frame.

I have never been one to buy off the shelf. All my parts are specially picked for their performance/weight/function. The package Niner sent me is off the shelf for them. On the surface, it is a mid-high level build, XT/X0/Thomson/Stans/Elixir. Most MFGs just throw together the most price efficient parts and call it done. In this case, once you stand back and see how the parts work together, the appreciation for the perfect blending of parts comes through. What you get with a Niner parts package is years of knowledge of what works and is needed for a 29’er setup; short stem, tire selection, fork selection, etc…

Read more about the RIP9…

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  • Anonymous says:

    cons: more colors? they have 3 colors to chose from, other manufacturers somtimes only have 2 colors per model like cannondale for instance.

  • Anonymous says:

    I’m drooling! How much is msrp on your build? What does it weigh? Which rear axle type did you go with? Do you feel the wider Flow rims were necessary; would the Arch’s be too light duty?

  • Anonymous says:

    David, I’m reaching there for improvement areas when I’m asking for more colors. While a few mfg will offer a wide spectrum of colors, most are limited to 1-3 colors like you say.

    The MSRP of the frame and bike kits are best answered from the dealers. Speedgoat has a good ‘build a bike’ section and they sell Niner.
    Frame MSRP is $1799.

    While I ride 355s and Arch rims, I do feel the Flows are needed for a bike like this, and worth the ~150g. I have built wheels with all three rims, and just holding the Flows in my hands, you can feel the significant torsional rigidity advantage it has over the others just by flexing/twisting. The extra width of the Flows will allow you to get a wider tire print, and run a few pounds less pressure.
    I think this build was right at 30 lbs.

  • Anonymous says:

    When I build a RIP for a customer I use the Jagwire cable bridge around the rear triangle. Works great. We’ve used the Flows on every build. The rear Maxle is worth it, especially for the bigger guys. Mt personal build is the anti-color .. raw. Bad azz if you ask me!

  • Anonymous says:

    I love my 09 RIP and agree with your review. However, for heavier riders 190+ the shock valving is way off. I tried the large air sleeve which was an improvement but not a fix. My shock is at Push right now.

  • Anonymous says:

    “I’d look down and marvel at how the shock doesn’t move at all.”

    This should be a con. You want an active suspension on climbs to keep the tire planted. Unless you are talking about pedal bob alone, which it doesn’t sound like it. DW Link for instance minimizes pedal bob, but the shock stays fully active on climbs, and you see it working the whole time. Not being a hater, but if a stationary rear is what you are looking for, a hardtail is the better option.

  • Anonymous says:

    when is the niner wfo 9 review coming out? i just got one and im building it now…i would be curious to see how would they would spec that bad boy out…

  • Anonymous says:

    Chad, I’m just talking about mindless FR climbs when the shock doesn’t move. You’re right, I want it to be very much like a HT then.

    The suspension is very active, and offers tons of good traction on rutted, rocky, rooty climbs. During those moments, my eyes are focused on what is ahead of me. 😉

  • Anonymous says:

    Great review Thomas, I was wondering, did you ever feel the need to use pro-pedal in any climbing situations?

  • Anonymous says:

    Justin, PP does help on this and I did flip the lever many times. The sus is efficient enough to run ‘unlocked’ and not worry about it. On long sustained climbs, I’m too much of a geek to NOT flip the lever to get as much efficiency as I can.

  • Anonymous says:

    Actually 4 colors:
    1.Tang / 2. Raw/ 3. Licorice Anodized (black ano)/ 4. Milk Dud Anodized (brown ano)

    Most manufacturers offer one color if they sell the complete bike only, more if they are “boutique” and sell frame only. For instance, Specialized and Fisher – 1 color choice. Turner, Santa Cruz, Intense have 2 or more per model.

  • Anonymous says:

    I have the first generation RIP9. This frame is one of the most versatile frames I could ever imagine. I originally build it up as a cross country racer at 25 lbs. (Stans 355 rims, Scrub rotors, XTR, ti eggbeaters, Schwalbe racing ralph 2.25 tires, Fox 120). Did a couple of 100 mile races on it and I’m sure I had the most comfortable bike out there without sacrificing much pedal efficiency. I currently have it build as a free ride bike. Haven’t weighed it but I guess it’s closer to 30+ lbs. (Stans Arch Rims, 1×9, XTR, Stout 2.4 Tires, Crank Brothers Mallet 2 Pedals, Crank Brothers Joplin Remote Hydraulic Seat Post, Fox 120) Overall I’d say it’s a better cross country bike, the geometry isn’t slack enough to make it a true free-ride bike, but maybe a 140mm fork would fix that…I’ll have to try it. This would definitely be my only bike if I could only have one.

  • Anonymous says:

    Thanks for a great review.
    How stiff do you think the rear area is?
    I wonder how laterally rigid the rear triangle is with that skinny looking link for the chainstay.

  • Rensho says:

    Paul, the chainstay link is actually very beefy. It is welded unit, and stiffened up the rear end nicely.
    In all the riding of the bike, the whole package always felt stiff. Nothing about the ride and handling ever gave the impression of flex. Stiffly built wheels helps too.

  • NZCranker says:

    I have a medium (183cm tall) raw 2010 Rip9 running XT 30 speed, Stans Arch tubeless, Fox FIT, Elixir Mag with Hope 203/183 floaters and Rockshox Reverb. This is the ultimate do it all MTB, it easily climbs slippy terrain without loss of traction where my friends dismount their 26ers, the Rip9 is a fast smooth confident ride on any trail and makes you look much better than you are. The Reverb is necessary to keep the C of G optimised on fast descents as 29ers are tall bikes. Not cheap but a high quality product!

  • Bob says:

    I rented a ’13 RIP 9 in Moab last week, my first 29er experience. Astounded! I’ve ridden the Mag 7 trail a half dozen times, and this time it was completely different. Too much to say about how well this bike deals with sharp turns over ledges, both up and down; descents are buttery, and when coming fast onto a steep 6′-9′ face drops, that abruptly transition back up, this thing rolls it easily. The purchase-patch of the front tire is so sticky that I had to back off how firmly I used the front brake. When I got back home I ordered the same bike but with better fork, shifting, braking and wheel-set. $4600 out the door. I’m stoked. Can hardly wait to head to SW UT for winter riding there, N AZ. Love to ski but this bike is going to keep me in my VW camper and on the dirt much of this winter. I agree with Cranker … this bike is so much better than I am that it makes me feel like a more competent rider.

  • jayson says:

    I saw a RIP9 with silver rocker arm. are this legit or fake?

    I never see a RIP9 with silver rocker arm thats why I’m so curious when I saw one.

    Thanks in advance

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