The reputation of the RIP 9 is unassailable – in the six years since its introduction it has helped define the new-school genre of trail ripper both with riders and the cycling press.
So how can it be improved? Keep the attitude, boost performance, shed unwanted weight and build on the legend. The changes to this new beast can’t really be called “evolutionary,” because the word implies a slow process of incremental gains and small strides. That just doesn’t describe the changes to the new RIP 9 – there’s nothing incremental about a kick in the pants.
The Niner that is at home on just about any trail or any terrain – The RIP 9 incorporates global rider feedback as well as Niner’s rigorous progression of alloy design, engineering and testing standards. The RIP 9 has over 30 glowing media reviews for ride quality and handling – the new RIP 9 takes these characteristics and ups the ante with air formed aluminum alloy tubes that redefine performance, a lower weight, ISCG compatibility and additional travel.
AIRFORMED ALLOY FULL SUSPENSION FROM NINER
125MM OF PATENTED CVA SUSPENSION IS EFFICIENT IN EVERY CHAINRING
COMPATIBLE WITH 120-140MM FORKS
TUNED FOR CVA – ROCK SHOX MONARCH RT3 HV
ISCG 05 TABS AND OFFSET LINKAGE DESIGN FOR CHAINGUIDE COMPATIBILITY
FORGED SUSPENSION LINKAGE AND UNIQUE NINER ALLOY HARDWARE
Airformed Alloy Frame – Shaping the frame tubes with compressed air in a heated mold gives us greater control over wall thickness and material uniformity, allowing the use of less metal. Tubes that are manipulated using this process can be up to 25% lighter than a similar hydroformed shape at the same strength.
Niner RIP9 in Action
To progress as a rider you need predictability, balance and nimble handling. We are proud to be the company that first made these attributes a reality in 29ers. Climbing or descending, the geometry of the RIP 9 is tuned to keep you in control and ready to conquer new terrain at every turn. The RIP 9 is intended for 120 to 140mm forks, allowing riders to further fine tune the ride.
Niner RIP9 CVA Suspension
The RIP 9 features Niner’s patented CVA™ suspension (U.S. Patent No. 7,934,739) and delivers 125mm of fully active travel with superb compliance and damping via a tuned for CVA™ RockShox Monarch RT3 HV shock. For those seeking the technical advantages of 29″ wheels combined with pedaling efficiency across all chainring combinations (not just the middle ring), CVA™ is the front-runner. The result? A faster, smoother ride up and down the trail.
Niner RIP9 CVA Suspension
The RIP9 in Black Licorice and Niner Green
The increased surface area of a tapered headtube allows for a larger downtube, increasing strength and rigidity at this critical intersection. Tapered fork steerer tubes measurably reduce fork deflection, which means your Niner tracks straight and true. The full spectrum of riders from XC racers to All Mountain shredders benefit from these features which is why we incorporate the technology in all our frames.
Forged Pieces New RIP 9
From the head tube to the rear axle, we looked at every single detail and asked “can it be done better?” We’ve revised the shapes of the forged yokes and attachments, subjecting them to mechanical and real world testing to ensure they’re as light and strong as possible.
The New Niner RIP9 Linkage
New linkage shapes increase strength and stiffness and shed a few more grams, the lower link has a pronounced asymetrical form to make room for ISCG tabs and increased chainstay clearance. Larger pivot hardware and a switch to 8mm alloy shock mounting bolts shave weight and increase the bling we love so much. Saving weight doesn’t mean skimping – pivots are still outfitted with Enduro Max full complement sealed cartridge bearings for smooth, friction-free suspension.
Niner RIP9 Rear Axle
This newest member of the RIP 9 line up will be available for demo across the country, beginning this Thursday at Sea Otter. It is available for order from Niner dealers now, with first frames shipping internationally May 7th. Pricing on this frame has not increased over the original RIP 9 – MSRP $1849 USD. It is also available as a complete bike – full details here.
In what looks to be almost another breakthrough in shock performance, Cane Creekpre-launches the 17-way adjustable CHURN, the only shock of its kind. In an equally unprecedented move – this shock will not be sold to the current generation of riders. Details are still rolling in, but we do know several key ingredients that make the CHURN so very far ahead of its time. It took Cane Creek’s engineering team 7 years to develop the CHURN – 1 year of product development, 1 year of testing, and another 5 years writing the Owner’s Manual.
The CHURN is the first of a family of products developed by the Double Barrel-Advanced Generation division (DB-AG). DB-AG was created inside the marketing department of Cane Creek to challenge the standard model of engineering.
According to Holly Colson, Global President of Marketing at Cane Creek, “We are not encumbered by formal engineering training so ignoring the actual ‘laws’ of physics allows us to shift the paradigms of product development. Every idea we have is so out of the box, we don’t even have boxes anymore. The key to DB-AG is to focus on coming up with kickass names and acronyms for stuff we want and the engineers come up with something for our great names.”
For the CHURN, Cane Creek developed an entirely new, organic and renewable suspension fluid and shaft coating, code named G.O.L.B. (Good Ol’ Liquid Butterfat).
“We were getting tired of always hearing the comparisons to butter,” said Josh Coaplen, R&D Commander President. “It was always, smooth as butter, or buttery smooth, or some other lingual permutation involving the words smooth and butter. So now, instead of being “like” butter, it is butter.”
Josh was quick to point out that the system is self-lubricating, so that as the suspension is used, G.O.L.B. becomes butter. This keeps everything, ahem, buttery smooth.
On the CHURN, each of the four standard Double Barrel adjusters is itself adjustable, leading to an exponential growth in adjustability. That’s right, adjustable adjustability. For those riders who demand a high level of tuneability, just “turn up” the adjuster’s adjusters. For riders who like to “set it and forget it”, there is a straightforward tuning process for adjusting out the adjustability. The 17th adjustment is a big red button, “that doesn’t really do anything,” says Jim Morrison, Elder Design Engineer at Cane Creek. “Marketing just said it had to have a button.”
According to Cane Creek, 100% of riders cannot reap the benefits of the CHURN. Literally, there is nobody alive that is qualified to ride the CHURN. For testing, Cane Creek built a bike riding robot, BikeBot, to explore the CHURN’S limits. BikeBot was programmed to only speak French so we could not interview it, though we overheard the sound “braaaaaap”.
Applications for CHURN shocks are being accepted for children under 5 that, through extensive physical and DNA testing, are found to have a statistical likelihood of winning at least 20 World Cup races. To date, only two applications have been approved, Bam Hill and Duke Hannah. Applications are downloadable in The Lounge on www.canecreek. com.
About Cane Creek Cycling Components:
Cane Creek has a long, rich history in taking bicycle suspension technologies beyond compre- hension and is among the world’s largest producers of corn mash. Located in the mountains of Western North Carolina, the employee-owned company designs and manufactures class-leading bicycle components, mason jars and performance enhancing supplements. To learn more about Cane Creek contact (800) 123-DBAG or visit www.canecreek.com.
Obviously this is an April Fools press release…and it really made my morning. Hilarious!
We knew this one was coming eventually…but to finally see the release does not take away from how sexy it looks. Niner Bikes just released the new RIP 9 RDO…their carbon version of the very popular RIP 9 29er mountain bike.
For those of you that don’t already know (in case you are living under a rock), Niner Bikes has been known throughout the industry for producing some of the best big wheeled bikes around. Their trademark geometry and CVA suspension brought quicker turning on a stable bike to the 29er market. By specializing in big wheels, Niner Bikes has been able to fine tune it and perfect their version of the 29er mountain bike.
Last year, Niner released the RDO version of their popular Jet 9 race inspired 29er. This year, they follow up with an amazing RIP 9 RDO…so let’s take a look at the specifics.
Niner Bikes RIP 9 RDO 29er
The RIP 9 RDO features the same patented CVA dual link suspension design, but ups the travel from 4.5″ to 4.9″ (125mm). This theme of running slightly more rear wheel travel in the RDO than the aluminum equivalent showed up in the Jet 9 RDO release as well. Other noteable features are the 142mm rear spacing with a 12mm Maxle rear axle and a RIP 9 first with the inclusion of ISCG 05 tabs for chain retention systems.
If the handling of the RIP 9 is a testament on how this new bike will ride with the improvements and lighter frame…be ready for an AM monster. It will be available in March 2013 and we will have to get our hands on one to try it out.
Anther all-star cast is making it out for an epic mountain bike video by Anhill Films…Strength in Numbers. I really like the premise of this production. While it seems to be some more of the high flying action of Thomas Vanderham, Matt Hunter and Cam McCaul, the producers and writers are now starting to mix other disciplines of mountain biking into the big productions.
It will be out in May of this year…we’ll let you know when it is officially released so you can pick up your copy.
Strength in Numbers is a rally call to connect all mountain bikers, regardless of location or language or discipline. The film captures a true way of life, from the world’s best pros to those who are just learning to love the sport. Shot over two years in some of mountain biking’s most iconic locations, Anthill’s signature style combines compelling stories with core action to create a shared experience that unites all riders. Come join us!
For those of you that wanted an AM 29er out of Santa Cruz Bicycles…now you have it.
The Santa Cruz Tallboy LT was released on April Fool’s Day and it brings 135mm of rear wheel travel, ISCG tabs and a 142mm rear end at 5.3 pounds to a very popular Tallboy lineup.
The first LT’s are going to be available for shipping around the week of April 13th which means they are basically ready to go at this point. I know a lot of people have been waiting for Santa Cruz to answer the 29er bikes with a little bit more travel than your typical XC setup.
Santa Cruz was a little late to the 29er party with the original Tallboy, but it gained traction quickly in the market to become one of the top sellers in the industry. It will be interesting to see how this bike stacks up with the likes of the Niner RIP 9, Specialized Stumpjumper EVO 29er and the other bikes in the 135 – 140mm rear wheel travel range.
My guess is that they will sell out of these on the first run just because of the Santa Cruz name and the reputation they have built up over the years of producing solid performing bikes back with great customer service. Additionally, there is an aluminum version (the plain LT) available for those looking for a frame on more of a budget or aren’t up for the full carbon layout.
Last week was big in the world of braking for mountain bikes. SRAM released their new “Trail” series of brakes in their and X.0 lineup. While we have always been a big fan of the Avid brakes, this takes their product to the next level we have been looking for.
At Bike198, there are two brakes that seem to really stand out in the market.
Hope Tech M4‘s for their 4 pot design and incredible modulation.
Shimano XT (or XTR) for their brute force (but have issues with lack of modulation/on/off feel)
The Avids have always been a mix of the two which has allowed the to be great for most riders. They are good on power and modulation but not supreme on either. They are brakes you can trust on rides and that is why we have had great success with them on numerous bikes at Bike198. They have been through several branding changes over the years but they have essentially been the same brakes for quite sometime.
Now…enter the new 4 pots from the X0 lineup dubbed “trail”.
From the looks of it, the new 4 pot brakes from SRAM should be the perfect mix of both the XT power and the M4′s modulation. We will have to get on a set and ride them to be sure, but from the looks of the design, what they have done with the taper bore technology in the lever and the amount of pad contact/force you get with a 4 pot design, these should be an incredible brake for bikes in the 5.5″ and up travel category. It is definitely something we have been looking for from SRAM for awhile.
The Trail features a powerful new 4-piston caliper, claimed weight of 340 grams, and features a lever pivot bearing.
Both Shimano and SRAM are out to fix an issue that has plagued the mountain biking community since the beginning…chain slap. Their answer? The new rear derailleur offerings from each side of the shifting camp are now clutched/damped versions with the ability to run a tighter chainline with a flick of a switch or push of a button.
As suspension designs have changed over the years and more travel has come to XC oriented bikes, the issue of chain slap and dropping while riding has become a hot button issue for a lot of riders. While this could be fixed with a roller install like you see on almost all downhill bikes, the trail and XC crowds were not keen on the additional drag this added to chain lines. While I can see their point as increased drag equals great power output required per revolution, I always ended up just adding a bashguard and roller to my bikes for the increased protection and tighter chain line.
However, things have changed in the mountain biking industry. As carbon frames have increased in popularity, so have BB30 and similar bottom bracket setups that do not allow for the external cup/sandwich style roller setups. To get a roller setup like the MRP we have reviewed in the past, you had to have ISCG tabs on your bottom bracket which most bikes do not have. Additionally, most of the 2x cranksets do not allow for a bashguard.
Enter SRAM Type 2 and Shimano Shadow Plus…
Now with these new rear derailleur designs, you can tighten up the chain line while riding to prevent that annoying chain slap and help keep the chain on the rings while riding in technical terrain. Each of these manufacturers have implemented their own technology and the ability to turn the feature on and off at will.
SRAM clutch mechanism is a one way, needle bearing roller clutch that requires no maintenance as it is self lubricating and basically sealed. Shimano uses an adjustable friction clutch where the rider can actually dial in how much he wants the rear derailleur to not allow the chain to pull the cage forward. Either way…SRAM and Shimano are trying to help the rear derailleur from being pulled forward by the chain in technical riding situations where the suspension is as active as the chain moving.
Will this be enough to replace roller systems? We’ll see. Both technologies from SRAM and Shimano are in first gen releases to the public and from what we are hearing around the world…they work great but aren’t quite on par with a true roller setup yet. The good news – those riders that wouldn’t run a roller setup to begin with now have a viable option to get rid of chain slap, have more consistent shifting through suspension travel and prevent the chain from dropping off the rings.
Awhile back, we hit up our Facebook fan page and asked everyone if they would like to see “Live the Ride” wristbands from Bike198. The response was so positive that we decided to move forward with the project and now they are officially for sale in the Bike198 store!
For most of us, riding is not just a hobby. It is a set of values and beliefs that we carry with us everywhere we go. It is our release, our passion and our way of escaping the rat race of the real world. We live the ride…not just go on rides. This wristband seeks to extend that into a wearable form In the color of black like our tires and red for what we bleed true, the Live the Ride wristband shows your passion for all things cycling.
Shimano released their new update to the SLX component group recently. With the new changes, you have to wonder…what is the appeal to XT now other than weight (which isn’t that big of a difference)?
SLX now gets the Shadow Plus technology for the rear derailleur that used to set the XT groupo apart from the more budget oriented group. With performance that is on part with XT (we reviewed the previous version of SLX) at a weight that is close to the same, riders are going to be looking to save some money by purchasing this more budget conscious performer. Unless – of course – they are a rider that just has to have XT.
We are seeing this a lot in the bike industry right now. Where there used to be big gaps in performance between lines that justified price differences, we are now left with the decision for small gains over big dollars. X.9 performs as well as X.0…SLX performs as well as XT…and the replacement costs of the parts are very different if you need to head to the LBS or online retailer to get a part.
This really is a good thing for the average rider. The trickle down effect is actually working and you don’t have to mortgage your house to get a high performing mountain bike part. Are the component manufacturers shooting themselves in the foot with performance as close as it is? We’ll have to wait and see what happens to X.0 and XT sales as the new products get to the trail, but I really don’t think they have a choice.
I can tell you this. For me…and my wallet…I would be building up a bike on SLX if Shimano was my brand of choice. There is not enough draw for the extra money to go up in price given the current specs. SLX is a solid performer and I would argue that many would not be able to tell much of a difference (if at all) in a blind trail test between SLX and XT at this point.
This past weekend was the SE Bike Expo, so I headed up on Saturday to take a look at this first annual event (that also happens to be an hour from where I live).
The SE has needed something like this for a long time. There is a very strong riding community here that never gets to really have hands on experience with what the industry has to offer like the west coast crew gets with Outerbike. So it was great to see this get together and have a successful first year outing with some strong showing from the industry. Several of the big contenders were there with sizable demo fleets including Trek, Specialized, Felt, Niner and others. Components manufactures also showed their support thanks to companies like SRAM, Shimano and Notubes.com bringing in product and techs.
Events like this are a great chance to see products and bikes that may not be carried by your local dealer so you can get a hands on look at new gear and parts. If you have the chance next year, stop by as it satisfies the inner obsession we all seem to carry if you love to get out and ride.
I headed up with a group of my regular riding buddies, so here is the general consensus from the group and myself. Unfortunately, my back was acting up a bit so I didn’t get to ride as many demo’s as I wanted. However, the notable standouts from the crew seemed to be the Niner Jet 9 RDO, Specialized Stumpjumper EVO carbon, Trek Remedy, Yeti ASR5 and the Felt Virtue. Those that seemed to fall short were the Jamis Dakar Sixfty B and the Trek Rumblefish.
The overall showing of component manufacturers were pretty good with some interesting trends and some disturbing ones. The good news is that private, small shop carbon wheel and light manufacturers is on the rise. While I figured these would be purely import companies rebranding what is available from China, this was not the case. There are some great products coming out of Boyd, Belgium, Lumintrek and others that are manufactured here in the US and specifically in the southeast US. They all looked like quality products that we will try to get our hands on really soon.
The disturbing? Origin bikes. I will do a full article on why this week, but the re-branded China idea is going to cause some issues in the bike industry. I really don’t like how China handles manufacturing and presenting it to US based companies (I have personal experience with this one).
Was it worth attending? Absolutely. I really hope this event continues to gain traction and starts to bring in even more riders and industry companies. Be on the lookout for some quick reviews and articles this week on some of our hands on experience from the SE Bike Expo.
ENVE Composites new release of the full carbon DH mountain bike rim should be no surprise to anyone. The writing was on the wall with riders like Steve Peat rocking a set on the World Cup DH circuit. It was then up to ENVE to bring it to the mainstream in a product that was ready for non-sponsored riders to drool over.
ENVE’s latest product, being the first of its kind, is a race?bred design that was developed in conjunction with local pro riders and Santa Cruz Bicycles’ Syndicate race program. The full carbon DH rim provides true performance benefits; most notable are the vast increases in durability over the traditional alloy offerings on the market. Advancements made to the carbon DH rim throughout the 2010 season, resulted in Steve Peat being able to race on the same pair of race wheels for the entire 2011 season. According to ENVE’s Jake Pantone, “this success, along with those of other test riders was the trigger that set into action our plan to release this highly specialized factory race rim for public consumption.”
The ENVE DH rim features a 21mm inner bead on a 31mm deep rim that weighs in at 475 grams per rim. Those are pretty impressive specs out of a rim that is built for the abuse of your typical downhill mountain biker and racer.
The bad news?
It is going to cost you a grand each to get into these. You can also order a set pre-built on Chris King hubs and DT Swiss spokes for a cool $2,750. Obviously, these are going to be targeted to riders who want the best of the best or racers that need that extra edge to get to the podium. They do look pretty sick when bolted up to the bike so you will definitely attract some attention on the lift.
Gripshift lovers can rejoice! The once loved shifting method is now back in 10 speed for X0 and XX groups. Arguably the single component that launched SRAM shifting in the late 80′s, the Gripshift had a cult following in the biking industry due to its cheap price, predictable performance and the ability to manually trim the front derailleur.
This current version was actually fitted to Jaroslav Kulhavy’s Specialized S-Works Epic when he won the 2011 UCI Cross-Country World Championships, so the racing heritage that was started in 1990 when Greg Herbold used it to win the first-ever Downhill World Championship is back.
Gripshift is a love/hate thing with most mountain bikers. When SRAM introduced their 1:1 shifting ratio trigger shifters, the Gripshift started to lose some of the limelight in the SRAM camp. As shifting progressed into 10 speed, many of the Gripshift loyalists were wondering if there was ever going to be a 10 speed variant.
The wait is over and the end product looks promising. With a lower overall profile, riders can now safely run many of the remote posts and forks that used to be problematic with the previous version. From what we hear, the action on these new Gripshifts are also smoother and more effortless.
These new Gripshifts will be available for purchase in April 2012. Will you be jumping back on the Gripshift boat?