Editor’s note: This is one of six bikes we’ve gathered together that fall between $1,900 and $2,600. Read our introduction to see the other five and watch for our long-term reviews of each in Dirt Rag #182, due on newsstands and in mailboxes in February. Subscribe now and you’ll never miss a bike review.
I picked up my test bike at the Niner headquarters in Fort Collins, Colorado, just in time for some late season riding. This Arctic White Jet 9 comes in at just under $2,600 and is the entry-level build kit, but you definitely don’t get a less expensive graphics treatment. The bike looks great and I was glad to hear a little about the bike from their staff before I hit the trails.
The Jet 9 uses Niner’s patented CVA suspension design providing 100mm of travel front and rear, which is plenty for its intended use as a cross-country and endurance dominator. The latest Jet 9 also has Airformed tubing. The tubes are shaped with compressed air in a heated mold. The process provides Niner greater control over wall thickness and allows the use of less material. “Tubes that are manipulated using this process can be up to 25 percent lighter than a similar hydroformed shape at the same strength,” says Niner.
So how does this affordable 29er with a lighter frame handle on some of the Front Range’s best trails? Well, I don’t think you’ll have to live in their backyard to appreciate how well the bike climbs and pedals. There’s no mistake that this bike is intended for more time on the ground and for long, very fast miles. The less expensive components have proven up to the task and the bike easily demonstrates why Niner is a popular choice for XC and endurance enthusiasts.