By Eric McKeegan
Niner has been on a steady schedule of redesigning its entire line of bikes. Earlier this year it was the RIP9 and SIR9, and now the JET9 gets modernized with changes to geometry, materials and suspension travel.
Suspension is still handled by Niner’s CVA multi-link suspension, but travel is bumped up to 100mm from the older design’s 80mm. Fork travel recommendations are bumped up too, 100mm or 120mm. Geometry gets relaxed (but not slack) with a 70-degree head angle, a bottom bracket around 13-inches and 17.9-inch chainstays.
The frame uses the same air-forming technique as the RIP9. The process is similar to the now familiar hydro-forming, but instead of hot oil, super heated air is forced into the tubing. Unlike hydro-forming, which is almost an instant change in tube shape, air-forming can take three to five minutes to complete the process. This makes it a more costly production method, but the increase in control over wall thickness makes it worth it to Niner.
The frame has routing for full cable housing, including guides for a dropper post. The main pivot now pierces the seat tube, which is stronger, lighter and cleaner looking than the old welded-on plate. The bottom bracket, lower pivot and shock mount are all part of single forging. The chainstays and seatstays also get forged yokes, and all bearing are upgraded to Enduro Max.
There are three build kits available. For $4,900 you get the top of the line, with XO double drivetrain, American Classic Race wheelset, and SID XX fork. In the middle is the XT double bike, with a SID RL and Arch EX wheel for $4,200. And finally at $3,100, the SLX triple crank build, with American Classic Terrain wheels and a Fox 32 fork. The frame-only option is $1,850.
Niner also has a new 29er trail hardtail, the ROS9. Roots of Steel is the official meaning for the acronym, but there’s another unofficial version that doesn’t use such family friendly language…
Niner did its homework on this bike. Slack head angle (67 degrees with a 140mm fork), a short rear end (418mm minimum), internal and external dropper post routing and clearance for big, meaty tires. This type of bike is now an established category, and the ROS9 ticks all the boxes.
The frame is butted 4130 chromoly steel, with a chainstay yoke to keep the stays short will maintaining space for a mutli-ring cranks and front derailleur. The bottom bracket uses an oversize shell for Niner’s Biocentric II insert for singlespeed use (or to adjust geometry in geared mode). The cable guides are removable for a clean look in singlespeed mode, and a propriety MRP bashguard can be mounted to tabs under the BB shell.
The frame is a reasonable $900. Complete bikes start at $2,500 for a X7 bike with Rock Shox Sektor fork, or $3,800 will get you the new SRAM XO1 1×11 group and a Revelation fork. Those looking to keep it simple have a $2,900 singlespeed option with a Revelation fork and thru-axle single speed wheels with Stan’s Rapid rims.