New Release: Niner Bikes Reveals The New RIP9
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
- 142MM X 12MM REAR SPACING
- 6.85 LBS / 3107 G W/ FRAME, SHOCK, HANGER
- 7 LBS / 3175 G W/ FRAME, SHOCK, MAXLE, HANGER & SEAT COLLAR
- LICORICE BLACK OR NINER GREEN
Niner RIP 9 in Niner Green
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.
For complete specs and geometry, see www.ninerbikes.com/rip9
Quick Review: Trek Superfly 100 29er Full Suspension MTB
While at the SE Bike Expo this past weekend, I got a chance to throw a leg over the new 2012 Trek Superfly 100.
As many of you already know, the Trek Superfly 100 is a carry over from the Gary Fisher days. Trek brought the two brands together to essentially give them a Trek branded 29er lineup. They kept the Gary Fisher name by making it a collection, but you are basically getting the same bike as before with the Trek logo. Trek owned Gary Fisher anyway, so it really made sense from a branding point of view.
For 2012, the big change to the bike was the addition of the 142mm rear end with 12mm rear thru axle. This does a lot to stiffen up the rear end and unify the rear triangle with the front main frame. We are starting to see a lot of manufacturers go to this setup over the past couple of years. While it creates yet another variable (the 142mm rear hub width vs. conventional 135mm), anything that brings more rear end stiffness to full suspension mountain bikes is a welcomed bonus.
The bike still features the Trek Active Braking Pivot a RockShox Maxle thru axle system.
The color scheme also changed for 2012 to a raw carbon look (vs. the white previously) with bright blue accents. Personally, I am liking the darker color scheme Trek is using for their lineup this year. The Fuel EX and Remedy got the same treatment. Other than that, you get the same G2 geometry that you are used to out of the 29ers from Fisher and a host of Bontrager/Shimano components to round out the build. Weights for this Elite model (MSRP $5,249) are coming in around 26 pounds.
One thing to keep in mind with current Trek bikes, their sizing is a little bit different than you might be used to. I typically ride a large in just about all brands. On a 2012 Trek, I ride a 21.5 frame because it is an actual 19.5. When you go to test ride a Trek, try the one size up than you normally ride first.
The Trek Superfly 100 is a purpose built machine in all reality. While there will be a lot of enthusiast riders who buy this bike purely because they want a light 29er, the real purpose of this bike is to go fast on XC race courses and endurance events. During these events, all of your time that is made up to hit the podium is done on climbs…not the descents. So fast race machines have to be able to climb like a bat out of hell. They don’t really care how they descend…just get me to the top and do it quickly.
The Superfly 100 is built to do exactly that…climb. When you get into slight rises or long ascents, the bike seems to just pedal forward with enough suspension to gain traction without robbing you of precious energy. The Active Braking Pivot does a great job of preventing unwanted pedal bob while hammering up the climb and the geometry of the bike keeps the front end planted down while tracking straight. Basically, everything you would want the bike to do while climbing…just works.
That is where the love affair with the Superfly 100 stops…at least for me. Those same stable characteristics that make the Superfly 100 such a great climber are it’s downfall in tight/twisty singletrack and downhill. The suspension on the Superfly (at 25% sag) is really setup just to take enough of the edge off that you don’t get super beat up on XC races. You still feel just about every single part of the trail while you ride. It is not a plush setup even when you start to let air out of the 110mm rear travel frame.
That stability you feel in the climbing is also largely in part because of a long wheelbase on this bike. That same long wheel base makes the bike hard to maneuver between tight trees and switchbacks. It is more of a sweeping turner than a pinpoint direction changer. It takes more body english and throwing your weight forward on the bike to get it to spin around.
While headed downhill, the Active Braking Pivot works as advertised by keeping the suspension active under braking forces, but the bike just isn’t comfortable with the tires leaving the ground or bombing technical descents. However, I would expect this out of a bike that is essentially built to be a mountain goat.
Overall, the bike is great for what it is built to be…a light XC race/endurance bike that will make up time where it matters the most…on the climbs and flats. It pedals incredibly well and makes you feel like you are faster than you are when you are pointed skyward. Throw a little bit of money at this Elite (ok…maybe a lot of money) and you could have a 23 lbs. racing monster that will get you to the podium.
Those same characteristics that make this bike such a great racing thoroughbred make it a hard sell for enthusiast riders in my eyes. If you want to have the latest and greatest light full suspension mountain bike frame, then you are probably looking right at this offering from Trek. However, I think there is more fun to be had on several other bikes in the industry (especially for this price) if you are looking to maximize your fun on the trail and not just be the first one to the top of the climb. It is not going to be confidence inspiring going downhill unless you already have some serious skills.
For my purposes, I would look into this frame if I was going to race endurance events. For fast XC racing, I would probably look closer at the Niner Jet 9 RDO as it’s geometry will turn faster through tight sections of trail.
News: Niner Bikes Air 9 and E.M.D 9 Get New Hydroformed Tubing
This should come as no surprise…the new aluminum Air 9 and E.M.D. 9 are now formed out of similar hydroformed tubing as the Jet 9 and RIP 9 full suspension 29ers from Niner bikes. These sexy new hardtails are available now and boost some pretty good numbers as you can see from the information below.
Niner Air 9 29er Hard Tail
Niner riders have long loved the simplicity of an alloy hardtail with great ride quality. For those riders, we are excited to announce updated Air 9 and E.M.D. 9 frames, available immediately.
NEW FRAME MATERIAL:
For the updated Air 9, we have selected a newly available aluminum alloy from the 6000 series family. For those who are scandium loyalists, this may require a change in mindset, but the advantages of our selection are clear. For many years, the lightest alloy racing frames came with round tubes such as scandium. While a historically important material, scandium is not compliant with newly available hydroforming and production methods. When looking to produce advanced designs with a carefully tuned ride-feel, we have to look for better raw material options.
- Our new alloy tubing produces a stronger Air 9 frame than the previous material. In testing, the new Air 9 is stiffer than previous round-tube models.
- This new material allows us to double, triple or even quad butt the tubing where we see fit, giving us a light but compliant frame. Those of you riding the original Air 9 will be pleased with the great ride quality.
- Our new alloy tubing loves to be shaped, giving us significant design freedom. We are now able to tune our alloy frame as carefully as we do our carbon frames, adding strength where needed and improving ride feel via tube-shaping methods. These methods complement our award-winning geometry to create an advanced alloy hardtail for racing applications. www.ninerbikes.com/hydroform
- Our new alloy tubing is anodizing friendly. While not recommended for the previous material, the new Air 9 can be anodized, allowing folks to get a rugged and extra-light finish in a stealthy black, with low profile logos.
- The new Air 9 will win more races. The net effect of a lighter, stronger and stiffer frame with better ride feel is a faster bike.
The benefits of a tapered headtube aren’t just for riders of long travel bikes. XC racers and riders also see significant advantages, which is why we have incorporated the technology into the new Air 9.
- By allowing for the use of the newest generation of tapered steerer suspension forks, we create the stiffest front end possible – leading to increased steering precision as you carve a corner and descend toward the finish line.
- The change in headtube standards also allows us to incorporate an integrated headset – giving you the same stack height as our original Air 9, but with a significant increase in torsional stiffness.
HYDROFORMED TUBING THROUGHOUT:
Riders will notice significant changes to the look of the new Air 9, due to hydroformed tubing throughout the design. However the effect of this upgrade goes much further than appearance. Hydroforming allows us to shape the tubes and optimize strength and stiffness in key areas, giving us the ability to create beautifully tuned frames with the precise ride characteristics we seek for every application. In testing, this frame puts up stiffness numbers much higher than the original, with no weight penalty. We utilize hydroforming in the toptube, downtube, headtube, chainstays and seatstays.
- Because of the larger welding area created by the new tapered headtube, we are able to include a new, massive, hydroformed downtube as well as a significantly larger diameter toptube, contributing to a much stronger frame.
- The shape of a tube is as important now as the material it is made from. Shaping has a huge effect on the way stress is distributed across and around a tube. Controlling the stress distribution enables us to use less material while maintaining, or even increasing, the frame strength.
- Shaped tubing is found in many frames. It is important to be aware that how a tube is shaped can change the quality of the results. The least expensive method for shaping a tube is via mechanical forming. In this process, tube shapes are achieved by manipulating a straight gauge tube using mandrils, dies and, tube bending equipment. This approach has limits, particularly when it comes to tube bends and tube butting (wall thickness).. To contrast, Niner uses a multi-stage hydroforming process – a straight gauge tube is butted and mechanically formed in preparation for the hydroforming process. Once the initial tube geometry is achieved, the tube is fully enclosed in a die, then pressurized with hydraulic fluid. This causes the aluminum to expand, obtaining the shape of the die. This process allows better control of wall thickness and more flexibility in cross sectional shaping over mechanical forming www.ninerbikes.com/hydroform
- Chainstays, seat tube and seatstays also benefit from hydroforming, via controlled wall thicknesses for increased butting profiles . This translates to a rear triangle that is tuned for stiffness, strength and vertical compliance – in other words, ideal ride feel.
PRESS FIT 30 BB:
The new Air 9 now uses the PRESS FIT 30 standard, allowing for further weight reduction. Shimano-style cranksets are compatible, via PF30 adaptors.
REAL WORLD WEIGHT SAVINGS:
Finally, the question everyone asks – is it lighter than the old version? Yes. The frames are about 70g lighter than the original, with even more weight savings when considering the new component options:
- Old Air 9 + external headset + GXP BB = 1773g
- New Air (anodized) + integrated headset + PF30 BB = 1661g
So yes, you will save weight, in addition to increasing power output and efficiency, an all-around win.
Niner E.M.D. 9 29er Hard Tail
THE NEW NINER E.M.D. 9
The E.M.D. 9 is also redesigned, integrating custom hydroformed tubing and a tapered headtube, as worthy brother to the Air 9. Upgrades include a new tapered headtube, hydroformed downtube and significantly larger diameter toptube, contributing to a much stronger frame.
These upgrades also allow for the use of tapered steerer suspension forks and internal zero stack headsets, for the stiffest front end possible (with the same stack height as our original E.M.D. 9 model).
The EMD 9 still features a standard bottom bracket, making this a friendly frame option for riders upgrading from a pre-existing bike.
The E.M.D. 9 sees an update to looks as well, with the new aesthetics reflecting the flagship bikes in the Niner lineup, and now including a Black Anodized option for those seeking the lightest, most rugged finish.
Frame finish details remain top-notch on the E.M.D. 9 - stainless steel Niner headbadge, reamed and faced headtube and bottom bracket, chased BB threads and faced disc brake mount tabs.
For more information and a dealer near you…hit up NinerBikes.com.
Riding Rigid: 6 reasons why you should go without suspension
This past weekend, I did something that I have not done in a long time…brought out the rigid 29er single speed to the mountains.
Let me preface this by saying, I love suspension. The more the better. What modern day suspension designs have done for the sport of mountain biking is amazing. We are able to ride terrain with speed and control that just wasn’t possible in the early years. Fast, technical riding has been brought to a larger audience and this means more technical, fast trails for the rest of us as efficient suspension designs bring this riding to the mass market.
However, there is one glaring negative to suspension that no one thinks about…
Modern day dual suspension designs make you incredibly lazy and hide your mistakes amongst the travel. It’s true. How many times have you thought to yourself, “holy crap my bike pulled me out of that one”? Over time, you become completely reliant on the suspension of the bike completely forgetting about your most important suspension component…your body.
Your arms and legs are the most important suspension component in mountain biking that you could ever tune. With the built in crutch of increased travel on more climbable suspension mountain bikes, riders today are forgetting that all of their control, skill and ability to become a better mountain biker is actually controlled in their arms and legs…not the bike.
Back in the day, that is the only suspension we had anyway! Before the widespread adoption of suspension forks (and even a little while afterwards as the first runs didn’t work that well. The elastomers in my RockShox Quadra 21R didn’t even move in temps below about 50 degrees), riding a rigid mountain bike was our only option. If you wanted to ride technical, rocky, rooty terrain, you had to figure out how to get your body to soak up the hits to maintain speed…not just plow and go.
Ah…the golden days of getting beat to crap on a daily basis. So why would we want to sign up for that abuse again?!
Why you need to ride rigid every now and then…
So why do I think you need to get off the squish and onto a suspension-less rig from time to time? Let’s get into some bullet points on how riding a rigid mountain bike can help your riding.
- No room for error – When I get back on the rigid bike after weeks of riding suspension, it is painfully obvious how lazy and sloppy I have gotten on the bike. The full suspension mountain bike covers up a lot of mistakes while you ride. I am a firm believer in increasing skill level and challenging yourself to become a better mountain biker, and when you get on a rigid mountain bike…you quickly realize the mistakes you have been making. There is no suspension to suck it up…you get instant feedback and have to make adjustments on the fly. When you get back on the suspension bike…you are much faster and smoother just from the experience
- It makes old trails new – Are you getting bored of hitting your same local trail day in and day out? Sure you are…even the best local trail systems start to get boring after you already know where every single rock is placed. By jumping on a rigid bike, you are able to change the entire dynamic of the trail to the point it almost feels like something new!
- Variety is a good thing – There is no “best mountain bike”. I will ride anything from 10 inches of suspension travel all the way to a rigid bike because there is more than one way to enjoy the sport. The more variety you bring to your riding, the better rider you will be in the long run and the more people you will meet. Do not limit yourself to one way of riding.
- It is super cheap to get into – A steel 29er single speed rigid mountain bike is CHEAP (in mountain biking terms)! If you are looking to expand your quiver and need to do it on a budget, your second ride should be a steel SS (if you are really tight on budget) or geared mountain bike. You can find brand new examples for at a max of around 600 bucks…and many of those have front suspension if you really want it.
- It is a challenge – When you strip away the gears and suspension, “easy” trails are made harder. By increasing the difficulty of the trail, you increase your abilities.
- You learn how to use your most important suspension component correctly – If you have only ridden dual suspension bikes, you are not using your arms and legs correctly while riding. By going rigid, you will be forced to use the most important element of you body correctly…including weight distribution…and this will make you much faster and more controlled when you go back to riding suspension. Your technical abilities on any bike will increase dramatically.
My rigid SS 29er is my litmus test on how I am doing in my riding. If I get on the bike and feel like I have two left feet and 2 inch arms, I know I have let the suspension on my other bikes do too much of the work, so it was time for a refresher course. After putting in the miles on rocky terrain on the rigid bike, I am able to take the couch out for some of the fastest runs that are controlled that I can remember.
Open your possibilities and start becoming a better mountain biker by bringing mountain biking back to its routes…steel rigid…
Ending The Debate: 29er vs. 26" Mountain Bike
With the widespread adoption of the 29er mountain bike in manufacturing and the mountain bike community, the growing debate of 29er vs. traditional 26″ mountain bikes is getting hot amongst riding groups. If you are in the market to upgrade your current mountain bike or get into the sport, your options are wider than ever which is a good thing for the sport but can be debilitating when looking to purchase a new rig.
There is no “right answer” for every mountain biker, so let’s take a look at the 26″ vs. 29er mountain bike debate and see where it shakes out in my opinion. This topic is probably the most debated in the industry, so you will find that every rider has what they think is the right answer for you (typically what they bought).
The 29er Mountain Bike: What is the big deal?
Before we get into what will work best for you, let’s take a look at this larger wheel size and see how it affects the mountain bike in a general way.
What does a 29er do well?
- Rolls over rocks and roots easier due to the wider circumference.
- More distance covered per pedal revolution.
- Higher air volume in tires smooth out ride.
The larger diameter wheels of the 29er mountain bike can create the sensation of having an 1″ more travel than the bike is spec’ed due to the larger air volume and larger contact patch with the ground. For this reason, it has become the go to size for much of the hard tail and shorter travel mountain bikes in the industry. The racing world has really embraced the larger wheels size for these benefits it brings to the trail.
What are the drawbacks of a 29er?
- Large size equals larger weight.
- Harder to maneuver in tight, twisty single track.
- Longer travel (5.5″ and higher) 29ers feel REALLY big.
- Sizing and geometry issues with smaller riders.
- Larger radius needs stiff wheel build and fork to prevent deflection.
Just as with any big change, it is not all good news. While the true 29er zealots will probably tell you these things are not true, the reality is that you are adding bigger wheels to the mountain bike than traditional 26″, so there are going to be negative side affects that go along with the positive changes.
26″ vs. 29″ Wheels: Which is right for me?
When you are taking a look at the 26″ vs. 29er mountain bike, there are several personal questions you need to ask yourself as you make your decision. As with all things, there is no right answer that fits all people. How you ride your bike and how you want it to react is the most important factor when making this decision…not what your friend bought and says is the best.
So here is how I see it shake out…
How tall are you?
As the distance from your head to the ground increases, the 29er wheel size actually becomes more proportional to your size. Riders in the 6 foot and up crowd that are looking for a XC to light AM mountain bike should test ride a 29er just to see how they like it. You might find that it fits perfectly and you have finally found a bike that feels like it actually fits. Shorter riders in the 5’6″ range and lower will need to take a serious look at geometry and test ride different frames as they might find the bike feels too big or isn’t able to maneuver as well. I have known shorter riders that have loved the bigger wheel size, but that is typically in hard tail applications.
- Taller Riders: Yes
- Shorter Riders: Maybe
How much travel are you looking for?
While the argument that a 29er “adds an inch” of travel is almost true in theory, there is a big difference in 140mm forks and 160mm forks in mountain biking. The thicker stanchions and construction make a huge difference for riders looking to get into the more technical side of riding. If you are in the market for a 140mm or 160mm travel mountain bike, a 120″ travel 29er is not going to give you that same stiffness and confidence from a bike build and component standpoint. Also, as you move up in travel the bike feels bigger and when you add in the larger wheel diameter, that gets multiplied and can hold you back in slow tech and DH situations.
However, if you are looking at lighter 130mm to 140mm travel 26″ mountain bikes and you are taller, the 120mm travel 29er might be a great option. It will roll over technical rocks and roots on most single track easier and you will still be able to keep the overall bike weight under 30 pounds in most cases.
In the short travel and hard tail mountain bike market, the 29er mountain bike has almost completely taken over.
- HT and 100mm travel and under: Yes
- 120mm to 130mm: Yes
- 140mm: Maybe
- 160mm and up: No
What type of trails do you ride?
As mentioned before, 29er mountain bikes do take more to maneuver through tight single track. If all of your riding is filled with tight turns in trees, you will want to try out a 29er on your own local trails before making a decision. On the other side of the spectrum, if your trails are more open and rocky, the 29er wheel size can really excel and bring more speed as you can hit sections faster.
Do a lot of racing and forest service road riding? A 29er is almost a no brainer in those situations. If you don’t believe me…just try to keep up with a 29er rider on a FSR. This adds up with the shorter travel and hard tail mountain bike market.
- Tight and twisty: Maybe
- Open and rocky: Yes
- Racing and FSR: Yes
What do I personally use? 29er or 26″?
When I spec out my personal mountain bikes given trail conditions, this is how everything lays out for me personally given my specs. I would describe my riding style as technical. I like to find the nasty lines possible and make them ridable at speed. For this reason, I typically like to ride mountain bikes with big forks and more travel, but I also like to dip into the XC and race side every now and then as I have a background in those applications. At 6’1″ tall, I fall into the taller side of the sizing spectrum in between large and x-large. To fit my need to find all tech riding, I am on large size mountain bikes to keep the bike easier to move in slow tech.
- Singlespeed and Hard Tails: 29er
- Short Travel Race Bikes (100mm and under): 29er
- Trail bike (140mm and higher): 26 inch
As of right now, I have not found a 29er mountain bike that has been able to handle what I want to throw at a 140mm travel or higher mountain bike. It has not been agile enough and the 32mm stanchion forks mated with higher radius wheels are not built to withstand the abuse. Given the specs of 29ers, I do not see this changing for me as a rider.
On the shorter travel end, there are a lot of advantages of the larger wheel size that have made a couple of 29ers the fastest bikes I have ever ridden for those applications. I doubt if I will ever go back to 26″ wheels for anything under 100mm worth of travel.
What is the right bike for you?
As you take a look at all of these specs, you have to look inward at your body type and riding style to see which wheel size will be the best option for you. There is no right option for everyone and the 29er wheel size is not going to take over the mountain biking industry like a lot of the Kool-Aid drinkers are trying to say. The larger wheel diameter does have some serious advantages in certain situations, but it also does not work for others.
The best option…test ride your top 26″ candidate on your local trail and the top 29er candidate if they are available. If they aren’t, find the closest substitute. At the end of the day, you are the one making the investment in your mountain bike and you will be the one riding it…not everyone else that is trying to inject their opinion in your buying decision.
Does Wheel Size Really Matter?
The constant debate over 26 vs 29 inch wheels is going to be the argument of the decade. Those that have jumped on the 29er bandwagon are converts and believe the wheel size brings more benefits to the trail than negatives. Those are those that still prefer the 26 inch variety to roll them around their favorite trails with no want or need to look at anything else. Personally, I reside in both camps as I prefer the larger wheel diameter for hard tails and short travel suspension mountain bikes but leave the larger travel (5.5″ and up) duties to conventional 26″ machines. Judging by the mountain bikes on the UCI race circuit, the mountain bike racers out there at least agree with the larger wheel size for HT’s and short travel FS’s for race duty as almost the entire field is on 29ers these days.
Regardless, there is one thing that rings true in the larger wheel crowd…they love their 29ers.
Two weeks ago we held a pre-sale on Bike198 showcasing the first t-shirt out of our lineup…”29ers – Size Does Matter”…and now I am happy to say that the shirts are in stock and ready to ship! Thanks to Adam Allen (adam-allen.com) for the design and Scrappy Music (scrappymusic.com) for the incredible print work. These army green, 4.3oz ringspun tees feature the design on the front and a small Bike198 logo on the upper back in premium discharge printing so you do not get that “ink feel” (design feels like a part of the shirt).
We are completely stoked about this new addition to Bike198 and look for more designs in the future. Sizes are in stock now and now shipping!!
Get your 29er Size Does Matter Tee Here.
First Look: Niner M.C.R. 9 with SRAM XX and Chris King Components
The crew at Niner Bikes just sent over a beautiful steel hardtail 29er for review on Bike198. This moondust gray frame is also kitted out with some of the best components in the industry ranging from full SRAM XX to Formula R1 brakes and the complete line of red Chris King Precision Components. 29ers originally got their start in the mountain biking community on steel hardtails as custom manufacturers could quickly react to the growing trend and the large volume, diameter wheels really came alive and showed real promise on the hardtail geared and singlespeed platform.
- A geared, steel hardtail for dirt connoisseurs
- Custom drawn, 29er specific Reynolds 853 tubeset
- Angled toptube to maximize standover clearance
- S-bend chainstays
- Niner’s proven hardtail 29er geometry
- Optimized for 80 to 100mm suspension forks
- Disc brake only
- Breezer style forged dropouts with replaceable derailleur hanger
The M.C.R. 9 is the perfect go-anywhere bike that will keep you in the saddle and more comfortable for the long haul. The superlative quality of Reynolds 853 steel tubing with Niner-specific geometry and the stability of the 29” wheel offer a ride quality unsurpassed in any other production hardtail frame.
The M.C.R. 9 is built from the ground up to give you nothing short of a Magic Carpet Ride. Featuring our proprietary Reynolds 853 tubing and custom s-bend rear seat stays and chain stays, the M.C.R. 9 smooths out even the roughest of trails without the weight penalty of other steel frames.
Our proven Niner geometry uses short chain stays and a steep head tube angle to keep the wheelbase compact, making the bike maneuverable around even the tightest hairpins, while the larger wheels help to increase high-speed stability, creating a fast and nimble ride. A radically sloping top tube makes room for the family jewels and the disc-only frame means you’ll stop on a dime. Tubing is drawn out for each frame, and external, as well as internal, wall thicknesses have been tweaked to produce the best possible ride quality for each frame size. Everything about this frame was thought through, including tire clearance for fat tires and downtube clearance from pesky high fork crowns.
Niner M.C.R. 9 Component Highlights
- Full SRAM XX 2×10 Drivetrain
- RockShox Reba XX w/hydraulic lockout
- Red Chris King hubs (laced to Stans Arch rims), bottom bracket and headset
- Formula R1 Hydraulic Brakes
- DT Swiss RWS
- Thomson Post and Stem
- Continental 2.4 Mountain Kings
Niner also provided the steel rigid fork that matches this frame, so we will be testing that along side of the RockShox Reba XX fork over the coming months. In the meantime, check out the pictures of this fully decked out rig from Niner Bikes.
Chris King Red Hub
Formula R1 Brakes
Niner M.C.R. 9 Logo
Niner Logo on Formula R1 Calipers
Niner Headbadge and Chris King Red Headset
Niner M.C.R. 9 Steel 29er Hardtail
Niner M.C.R. 9 Steel 29er Hardtail
Pedal Damn It Logo
RockShox Reba XX 29er Fork
SRAM XX 2×10 Crankset
SRAM XX 2×10 Rear Derailleur and Cassette
29er or 26" Mountain Bike? Decisions…
Can you remember a time when 29ers weren’t prevalent at your local trail head? Maybe they still aren’t, but at this point in time…29ers are gracing the covers of magazines and even seeing downhill runs with longer travel options from companies like Niner and Lenz Sport. However, it wasn’t that long ago that 29ers didn’t really exist at all for the regular mountain biker. For awhile, they only graced the custom hardtail market as parts were hard to come by and mainstream mountain biking hadn’t caught up to the trend. Now, for many mountain bikers, the 29 inch wheel size graces their everyday ride as that portion of the industry continues to grow and expand.
I personally own one 29er and see the advantages of the bigger wheel size in a lot of mountain biking situations. My primary bike is a 26″ mountain bike that completely fits my riding style.
The big question…how many of you use the 29er as your primary mountain bike. If you want to chime in why…hit up the contact form at the bottom of this article and hit us up with your reasons why (or why not) the 29er is your primary mountain bike.
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Here Is Your 29er Mr. President – Niner Bikes Goes Presidential
I just received a pretty cool email from the crew over at Niner Bikes. The attached press release (below) and picture (credit: C.A. Smith | casmithphotography.com) you see above is Chris Cugai and Steve Domahidy of Niner Bikes delivering a Niner Jet 9 to former President George W. Bush. President Bush has been known for his 26″ obsession, but this is his first jump into the big wheeled category and he picked a great bike to start on.
This story actually brings up a pretty important issue that needs to be addressed in the mountain biking community. One of the great aspects of riding is that I get to hang out with people from varying races, backgrounds, political views and religious beliefs…but we all hold a common ground when it comes to putting down the power with pedals. On a recent trip to the mountains, I was able to talk to a friend of mine on certain issues…some we agree on and some we don’t…but at the end of the day, we are just two unique individuals that like to hang out on bikes.
Mountain biking is a common ground that has the ability to bring people together. There are very few sports in this world that have such a diverse group of obsessed loyalists that are able to set aside their differences for the love of the bike. This press release from Niner has no political affiliation. At the end of the day, it is just a couple of guys talking about the sport they love…mountain biking.
You can read our review of the Niner Jet 9 by clicking here.
Official Press Release from Niner Bikes
8/19/10 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Niner Bikes Go Presidential
Former President George W. Bush checks out 29ers with Niner Bikes
Niner Bikes co-founders Chris Sugai and Steve Domahidy spent Thursday morning of this week delivering and fitting a Niner Jet 9 full suspension bike for Former President George W. Bush, with assistance from local Niner dealer Kennebunkport Bicycle Company.
“Most of Peloton 1, Mr. Bush?s regular mountain bike crew, is on 29 inch wheels and he wanted to check them out. He asked Brandon Gillard, owner of the Kennebunkport Bicycle Company and Peloton 1 rider, if he could try a Niner. Brandon called us and of course we were stoked for the opportunity” said Sugai “ It is really hard to believe that just a few years ago we were showing our first frame at Sea Otter and now we are riding with a former President of the United States”
Bush, Sugai, Domahidy and the rest of the Peloton 1 crew (as well as a full complement of Secret Service people) went for a ride on the crew?s usual morning loop. “Mr. Bush is really fast” said Domahidy, ”and a very good technical rider, too. He was flying on the Jet 9 and at the end of the ride said he dropped 3 minutes off of his fastest time!”
Post ride, there was ample opportunity to chat, and the group?s conversation covered everything from trails, trail access and trail building to entrepreneurship in the USA. Said Sugai, “I found that he was very interested in the challenges of being a small business in the current economic atmosphere. This has been an amazing opportunity and we really have Niner owners to thank – their support over the years has gotten our little company to this point”.
Niner?s Jet 9 is their race-ready full suspension mountain bike. Light and fast, the frame features Niner?s proprietary CVATM full suspension system, and 3” of travel. It is available in three color options and retails at local Niner dealers for $1749.
Additional information can be found here: Niner Jet 9
Niner Bikes was founded 2004 in Southern California by Chris Sugai and Steve Domahidy. The company is dedicated to the ideals of passion, commitment and 29ers only.
www.ninerbikes.com | Niner Bikes on Facebook
Specialized S-Works Epic Carbon 29er Mountain Bike Revealed
The Specialized Epic Carbon 29er marks a new entry point for Specialized Mountain Bikes…a race worthy 29er that is going to see podium spots. Up until this point, Specialized only had the Stumpjumper HT available in carbon for those that loved the big wheeled platform. If you wanted full suspension carbon, you had to settle for the 26″ version of the Epic. Now, with the introduction of the 2011 Specialized Epic Carbon 29er, we are going to see a full run at the podium and a serious competitor for the new Trek Superfly (Gary Fisher Line).
Specialized Epic Carbon 29er Specs
- Fox Mini Brain rear shock
- New 142×12 thru-axle frame/rear hub
- Full 2×10 drivetrain with SRAM XX
- S-Works carbon 2×10 cranks
- Tapered head tube
- Custom RockShox Reba fork with Brain technology
- All-new Roval carbon fiber wheels (red spokes?!)
- At 21.27 lbs, it’s the lightest full-suspension 29er on the market
This new 2011 S-Works entry from Specialized Mountain Bikes brings another carbon mountain bike to the industry. With the increasing number of black fiber woven bikes hitting the market, it is looking like manufacturers are trusting the material a lot more than in the past.
This new ride from Specialized Mountain Bikes is also previewing some new items out of the Specialized components camp. Forgoing the private branded fork lineup, the largest bike company in the world opted for an all new RockShox Reba with an integrated Brain cartridge and this is a first for Specialized.
Judging by the picture of the new Specialized S-Works, we will also see a redesigned 2 ring S-Works crankset, post, stem and handlebars for 2011. At 21.27 pounds, the Specialized S-Works Epic Carbon 29er is going to be a rocket on the XC circuit.
2011 is shaping up to be a highly competitive mountain bike market with new lineups from all of the major manufactures in the industry. It will be interesting to see how things shake out. Whatever happens…this high amount of competition amongst mountain bike manufacturers is raising the bar currently and that is great for mountain bikers. Now if we could just get them to lower the price some…
First Look: Santa Cruz Tallboy – Carbon 29er Mountain Bike
Santa Cruz Bicycles finally came to the market with a 29er mountain bike. From the looks of the Tallboy, it appears that Santa Cruz didn’t want to jump into 29ers with a “me too” product just to have something to offer. Instead, they jumped in head first to produce a full carbon, full suspension, 29er frame featuring their VPP (Virtual Pivot Point) suspension design. With the ability to run a 100mm or 120mm front fork, this 100mm (4 inches) travel mountain bike frame promises to be a versatile sled for riders looking to race or just rip up the trail.
Santa Cruz Tallboy Carbon 29er Mountain Bike
The Santa Cruz Tallboy features an all carbon frame that is available in black and orange. There is a lot that goes into this carbon layout to make sure it is trail ready and stands up to the Santa Cruz reputation for durability.
We have some fancy carbon manufacturing going on, but we declined to give it any acronyms – it seems like that field is pretty well covered by others. In many cases, those acronyms are not indicative of anything special, but are simply a way to stuff some marketing down your throats. Anyway, here are three things that we do with our carbon fiber bikes that are unique, and that we can share with you without having to have your memory erased afterward:
- One piece lay-up and curing. – By laying up and curing the front triangle all at the same time, and not assembling together pieces, we’re able to decrease the amount of material used by eliminating overlapping joints that have to be bonded or wrapped with carbon. Less material means fewer grams. This method is extremely expensive to do, since each size has to have a lot of dedicated tooling, nothing is shared between each size.
- Continuing fibers around tube junctions. – The one-piece lay-up of the front triangle allows continuous fibers to be used that wrap between tubes, allowing the structure to distribute loads better, and absorb impact energy. We also are able to truly integrate the shock mounts, pivot mounts, dropouts and disc brake tabs into the structure, using all uni-directional carbon plies. The shock mount isn’t merely riveted or bonded on after curing, but an integrated part of the fiber lay-up. This makes our carbon frames incredibly strong and able to absorb impact better than any other frames we’ve tested.
- Net shape lay-up and fiber compaction. – Our lay-up process allow us to control the outside shape, inside shape, and to compact the fiber layers during the lay-up. This eliminates gaps between layers, and keeps resin from migrating to the inside of the tubes, or allowing delamination during the molding process. You can’t see this without getting inside the frame, but we’re more proud of how the inside of these frames look than the outside. No gaps, no filler or mystery material. No resin pools, or glued together sections. It’s a frame you wouldn’t be embarrassed to bring home to mom. No skeletons in the closet, and no rider weight limits either.
Component Highlights On This Tallboy Build
- Shifting and Drivetrain: Shimano XT
- Wheels: Mavic TN 719 disc rims laced to DT 350 15mm front hub and DT 350 rear hub w/ DT 14/15
- Brakes: Avid Elixir CR w/ 160mm rotors
- Fork: Fox F29 RLC 120mm w/15mm TA
- Shock: Fox RP23
Only one thing left to do…get this thing out on the trail and see how it performs. Stay tuned for the final review…
Santa Cruz Tallboy Description:
Combining the acclaimed performance and durability of the latest VPP suspension with a sophisticated carbon fiber chassis and a set of big 29” wheels, we present the Tallboy. The curvaceous carbon fiber frame is more than just a pretty face: it offers amazing stiffness and strength while keeping weight feathery light. That, plus 100mm of rear wheel travel paired with fast rolling large diameter wheels spells out one thing: Long Haul Trucker.
For geometry numbers and more information, hit up SantaCruzMTB.com and a special thanks to Reality Bikes for helping out with the review.
Santa Cruz Tallboy – Carbon 29er MTB
Upper Link: Santa Cruz Tallboy
Frame: Santa Cruz Tallboy
Frame: Santa Cruz Tallboy
Santa Cruz Downtube Logo
VPP – Virtual Pivot Point Logo
Seat Stay Tallboy Logo
Can 29ers Handle North Shore Style Riding?
Wade Simmons has apparently been ripping up North Shore on 29ers with the argument that the newest geometry releases are much more conducive to more aggressive styled riding.
For a niche market in mountain biking that has been pretty much segregated to the XC and Light AM side of mountain biking, this is an interesting take on how bigger hoops handle the rougher terrain.
His argument, as illustrated in a recent Bike Mag release, is that “if you know how to maneuver a bike, if you can jack the brake and swing the rear end around, a 29er can be a weapon on these trails.”
With more manufacturers jumping on the 29er platform with increased travel, it really begs the question…are we going to start seeing more 29ers in DH and FR segments of mountain biking?
Here are my thoughts.
The Positive Side Of Big Hoops In Aggressive Terrain
- Roll Over – The larger wheel diameter allows you to roll over rocks and roots easier than the 26 inch counterpart. This has been one of the huge selling points for XC racers as the larger hoops, once you get the momentum up, really smoothen out the trail. When you are dealing with rooty and rocky terrain, the 29 inch wheels just seem to plow through with ease. This is something that more aggressive riders will really come to love.
- Increased Grip – The increased tire volume allows for more grip at lower pressures. In fast moving downhill and freeride mountain biking, grip is a luxury that you seek through suspension setup and rubber. The more the better in most situations.
- Extremely Stable Platform – The 29er mountain bike is a very stable platform. With the increased wheel size, the bike actually becomes a little bit more predictable in the air and on the trail because the bike literally feels more secure.
The Negative Side Of Big Hoops In Aggressive Terrain
- It’s A Big Bike – As we saw with the Niner W.F.O. 9 that was reviewed previously, when you add that kind of travel to a 29 inch platform, you end up with a big bike. For a rider like myself that likes to keep bikes feeling smaller for more maneuverability, this is an adjustment in riding style to accommodate the larger platform.
- Forks Are The Issue – I have had talks with Niner Bikes about the ceiling of the 29 inch wheel suspension platform. They actually have designs that can range up to 10 inches of rear wheel travel with zero issue, but the problem becomes the front fork and geometry. Even now…the options for 29er riders looking for more travel out of the front end are limited to 140mm and that selection is small. The fork manufacturers are going to have to figure out how to shove more travel into a smaller space and still keep the stiffness necessary to ride rougher terrain at speed. Niner has gotten around this with Manitou with a modified version of the Dorado inverted DH fork.
- Bigger Wheels Rely On Stiffer Wheel Builds – When you increase the distance between the axle and rim, you are creating more leverage and wheel flex. In an area where the wheels are depended upon heavily to keep a straight line and be dependable, there can be an issue with this increased stress.
- Modified Riding – The 29 inch wheel platform does not carve as quickly as a 26 inch sled. As Wade Simmons points out in his quote above, you are going to have to dramatically adjust how you attack corners and technical obstacles to overcome the larger mass and size of the wheels. In some situations, that might not be possible.
So What Do I Really Think About Larger Hoops And DH/FR?
I think we are going to see more people gravitate towards 29ers for more aggressive riding styles, especially the taller riders. Do I think it is going to overtake 26″ bikes…absolutely not. I like bikes to feel smaller and more maneuverable in rough, fast, technical riding, and I can not get that feeling out of a 29er. I can make the 29er feel fast, but for this rider it will not be my sled of choice for DH runs. For others…it might be…but for me…the positives do not outweigh what I get out of a longer travel 26 inch mountain bike.
What do you think?
Hit up the comments section below and let us know what you think about 29ers and Shore style riding.