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
2012 SE Bike Expo Coverage and Pictures
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.
Belgium Bikes Carbon Road Rims
Boyd Carbon Road Rims
Formula Thirtythree Suspension Fork
Industry Nine Wheels – Pink Spokes
Kane Road Bike
Niner Bikes Booth
Niner Jet 9 RDO
NoTubes.com Stans Rims
Origin 8 Carbon 29er
Shimano Pro Components
Shimano Pro MTB Bars
Shimano Pro Road Bars
Scott Foil Team Issue Road Bike
SE Bike Expo 2012
SE Bike Expo 2012
Trek Session 9.9 Downhill Bike
2012 Specialized Stumpjumper EVO Carbon
Trek Demo Bikes
XTR Shadow Plus Rear Derailleur
Long Term Review: Niner M.C.R. 9 – 29er Geared Steel Hard Tail
For the better part of this year, the Bike198 offices have been riding the Niner M.C.R. 9 29er hard tail as part of a long term review. During this time, the Niner M.C.R. 9 has seen everything from casual rides at local trails with friends to all day epics and finally rounding the process off with a 4th place finish in the expert class of a local 6 hour event. The goal was to put this steel 29er hard tail frame through every single aspect of mountain biking we could imagine this bike seeing through it’s life. At the end of the day…how did the Niner M.C.R. 9 do in the mountains of north Georgia?
Specs and Info: Niner M.C.R. 9
The Niner M.C.R. 9 (short for Magic Carpet Ride) is a steel 29er hard trail frame from the crew at Niner Bikes. Niner is known throughout the industry for being 29er specialists and this frame is no different. Built up to be a purpose built, Reynolds 853 geared hard tail, the M.C.R. 9 is one of several hard tail offerings out of the Niner camp. With a MSRP around $849, the M.C.R. 9 comes in at the middle of the budget range for potential 29er hard tail buyers. It is more expensive than the budget options like Vassago but not quite into the 5 figure mark where you see some other boutique options.
Features of the Niner M.C.R. 9 frame:
- A geared, steel hardtail for dirt connoisseurs
- Custom drawn, 29er specific Reynolds 853 tubeset
- angled toptube to maximize standover clearance
- s-bend chainstays (fits 2.4 tires)
- Niner’s proven hardtail 29er geometry
- Optimized for 80 to 100mm suspension forks
- Disc brake only
- Breezer style forged dropouts with replaceable derailleur hanger
This particular M.C.R. 9 build came kitted out with some of the best the mountain bike industry has to offer.
- SRAM XX Component Group
- RockShox Reba XX (100mm)
- Chris King hubs/headset/bottom bracket
- Formula Brakes
- Thomson Post and Stem
This brought the overall bike weight without pedals to 25.72 pounds (as weighed with an Feedback Digital Alpine Scale). If you wanted to drop additional grams, the wheelset, tires, post and stem could gain you well over a pound with a different spec, but for a steel hard tail frame that wasn’t built with weight weenie measurements in mind…the Niner M.C.R. 9 does pretty well.
The Niner M.C.R. 9 is a geared specific frame (unless you go through the trouble of finding that perfect gear ratio). If you are looking for the same specs but with the ability to go single speed, Niner does offer the S.I.R. 9 which includes an eccentric bottom bracket with the same 853 Reynolds steel frame.
On The Trail: Niner M.C.R. 9 29er Hard Tail
As mentioned before, this Niner M.C.R. 9 saw a little bit of everything. From long days in the saddle with multiple FSR’s to race day, a steel 29er hard tail is expected to be able to take a wide variety of riding conditions…so let’s split them up and see how things went.
Casual Local Ride and JRA (Just Riding Around)
There are some days you just want to grab a bike and ride a local trail. If you are surrounded by XC trails like we are in the southeast, bringing your 30+ pound FS rig doesn’t always make sense. The Niner M.C.R. 9 ended up being the perfect grab and go bike for some of the tamer local trails. The 853 Reynolds steel provided a great platform that took the edge off rocks and roots just enough to save your back from long term abuse while still being quick enough to enjoy dropping the hammer.
But where Niner really gets things right…is in the geometry of the M.C.R. 9. The 71 degree head tube angle (fork at 100mm) and 17.5″ chain stay length made the M.C.R. 9 a capable climber that also handled very well in tight, twisty single track. While some 29er hard tails feel really long in the trees, the M.C.R. 9 is able to handle them quickly while feeling stable and balanced. Over longer climbs, the steel frame helped keep traction over more technical areas that might be bounced around more on aluminum or scandium. Niner also built in the ability to run a 2.4 rear tire added to the cushion factor. With high volume, low pressures and the steel frame…you almost feel like you have a little bit of rear wheel travel.
Long, All Day Rides
Where the Niner M.C.R 9 really performs its best is on long days. If your weekends consist of 30+ mile days in the saddle that are a mix of forest service roads, double track and single track, you will find that a steel hard tail 29er will become one of your go to rides. The M.C.R. 9′s geometry worked out incredibly well on longer, gradual climbs. Leg power went directly to the ground the steel frame did a great job of making gravel roads and double track rocks almost disappear.
On days where the squish of a full suspension bike would have been too much (even lighter ones than this build)…the Niner M.C.R. 9 does a great job of conserving rider energy for the long haul.
XC/Short Endurance Race Events
The last test of the M.C.R. 9 was a local 6 hour event that I ended up doing as a two man team. While the quick turning and stable climbing of the M.C.R. 9 made the bike do pretty well throughout the event, I felt like I really needed either an aluminum (or carbon) hard tail or a lighter full suspension rig. In fast, sprint oriented XC racing, the M.C.R. 9′s weight due to the steel frame really starts to come into play. It also doesn’t feel like it accelerates fast enough to hammer out of turns and attack steep climbs.
The reality is that the M.C.R. 9 was not built with the goal of being a fast XC race bike, but my guess is that many of these frames will end up seeing that duty at some point in time.
Conclusion: Niner M.C.R. 9 29er Hard Tail
The Niner M.C.R. 9 is a great balance of steel comfort and quick hard tail handling. For those that haven’t ridden a steal hard tail before, the quality of the metal really does take just a little bit of edge off that makes longer rides easier. The whole “steel is real” slogan really does have merit.
If you are looking for a bike that will be able to go all day long without abusing your body to the point you feel like you can’t walk the next day…a steel 29er hard tail like the M.C.R. 9 is your perfect balance. Hardcore racers are going to want to build up an aluminum frame that has quicker acceleration and the ability to go stupid light. The M.C.R. 9′s perfect rider is more of a recreational or endurance rider that is willing to give up a some weight for comfort.
Good: Niner M.C.R. 9 29er Hard Tail
- High quality 853 Reynolds Steel that gives a great ride quality
- Dialed 29er geometry that handles incredibly well
- Median price point that matches the quality build and handling
- Great customer service out of Niner Bikes
Bad: Niner M.C.R. 9 29er Hard Tail
- Won’t work as a single speed unless you find that magic gear ratio
- 25+ pounds can be considered heavy by today’s XC bike standards. Racers should opt for the aluminum counterparts as the weight adds up.
If you want a steel hard tail 29er that has the boutique ride without the boutique price and have no interest in SS’ing it…the M.C.R. 9 is at the top of our list currently in this market. Check out NinerBikes.com or your local Niner dealer for more info.
Discuss this review on the forums by clicking here.
Chris King Red Hubs
Niner M.C.R. 9 Logo
Niner Head Tube Badge
Niner M.C.R. 9 29er
Niner M.C.R. 9 29er
Niner M.C.R. 9 29er
Niner M.C.R. 9 29er
Reynolds 853 Steel
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.
Brought Out Of Retirement: Race To Sunset 6 Hour
A couple of weeks back, I wrote an article based upon an experience I had with a local competitive ride outlining why I am not willing to do what it takes to be competitive anymore. Well…I guess a friend of mine took that as a challenge as he convinced me it would be a good idea to do a local 6 hour race with him this past weekend.
I said “sure why not”. He needed a partner for the event and I needed a put up or shut up one last time…
The “Race to the Sunset” 6 hour event at Blankets Creek was at one of our local trails. Seeing as this was the first time the event was actually run, it was cool to be apart of the start of a new race in the area. We were entering under the sport/expert class as a two man team to run the full 6. I loaded up the long term review Niner MCR 9 and got ready for 3 hours of race pace.
The start of the Blankets 6 hours was going to be a Le Mans start. The racers have to run a horseshoe loop to meet up with their bikes at the end and get to racing. We decided Dave was going to take the run and first lap since he is a better runner than I am and I need more of a warmup in high humidity. The formula for success for us was going to be having him take-off for the start and I would end in the dark where I am stronger. It played off of both of our strengths so that was the obvious way to head it up.
Straight out of the gate, Dave was up towards the front. As they came to the line to get their bikes…he was no where to be found. Did I miss him go by? Did he get hurt? Wait…there he is! What the hell happened? “Someone stepped on my shoe and it came completely off!” What a start…time to start playing catch up.
Dave did a great job on his first lap and made up a lot of ground. It couldn’t have been easy on his heart rate and endurance to pass as many riders as he did that first lap to make up for the shoe incident.
The laps were a 9.35 mile combination of 3 different trails. The first had the steepest climbing, the second was the fastest of the 3 as it was the least technical and the 3 was the most technical. Fast laps were coming in at around 53 – 57 minutes (except for two friends of mine that set one at 47 minutes and 50 minutes lighting up all of the seasoned racers…but that is another story for another day).
Dave’s first lap time: 55:53
My First Lap Out
Dave came in setting a fast pace. We made the handoff and I got to riding. The week and a half leading up to this race, I rode the Niner MCR exclusively. It had been a long time since I had ridden a hard tail full time and this first lap made me feel like a 3 legged dog. I was bouncing all over the place and unable to keep lines going through corners. Everything just felt off.
Given that…I tried to keep my mind on the task at hand and continued the catch up routine that Dave started on the first lap. At the time, it seemed like a terrible idea. All I could keep thinking in my head was “you are blowing yourself up and there are still 2 more laps to complete today”. I ignored the voice in my head and continued to try to pick off as many riders as I could.
With my heart rate through the roof and legs screaming…I finished up the first lap feeling like death (highest temps and humidity of the day). I made my handoff to Dave and he went on his way.
My first lap time: 55:25
As soon as I got back into the pits…I had a plan set out from the beginning that I was hoping would carry me through the race.
- Spin down.
- Recovery drink
- Eat a ton of grapes
- Energy bar/goo
- Wait for Dave
With the heat…it sounded like the best plan as I can not take in a lot of solid food during these events without feeling sick. It actually ended up being the perfect setup for me all the way through to the end.
For this stop, I also needed to figure on what the hell was actually going on with the bike. As it turned out, the saddle was at the wrong angle and there was only 16 pounds of pressure in the front tire. No wonder I was all over the place. That was a rookie mistake for not checking the essentials before I headed out.
After everything was set…I went back to the handoff area and waited for Dave hoping the second lap would feel better than the first.
Photo by colinshome
Dave’s second lap time: 56:20
My Second Lap Out
As I had hoped…my second lap out felt much better than the first. The bike was dialed, the steps I took in between laps was working and I felt like I was just railing the course. A slight drop in the temperature and humidity seemed to help out my lungs as well and I finally found a rhythm that was fast and not completely wasting my energy for the last lap of the day.
I managed to pick off a couple more riders while I was out and I came back to the hand off area somewhat confident that the last lap of the day would go pretty well. Even though I felt faster on the second lap, it did end up being a little bit slower but right on track.
The best way I can describe my second lap was that I found my race pace. It has been awhile since I have jumped into competition and really dialed myself in, but about 5 minutes into that second lap…I was a horse with blinders on. The pedal strokes seemed to have a beat, my breathing was high but under control, the entire trail seemed to get quiet and I was focused on making up time. I was in the zone.
My second lap time: 56:28
During my wait for Dave’s 3rd lap, I did the exact same process as before minus the bike adjustments. Based on the feedback from lap 2, the bike was dialed and ready for lap 3. I hooked up my light and got ready to head out for my final lap with the extra weight. If I was going to pick up a lot of time during the race, the 3rd lap was going to be it as riders get tired and have to navigate the most technical part of the trail in the dark.
Dave’s third lap time: 58:57
My Third and Final Lap Out
The first 2/3′s of my final lap went much like the second. I found my rhythm and got to work. Ironically enough, my legs actually felt half way descent so I just started knocking off the trail in chunks preparing for the next section.
By the time I hit the 3rd trail in the series, I was feeling pretty good and on track for a similar lap time as before. However, I did know that this last section would be a little bit slower in the dark as I would have to pass riders and my legs were going to start to show the miles.
I was right.
I made up a lot of time on that last section of trail as riders got tired and had to navigate the rocks in the dark. This allowed me to make up positions but it also slowed down the lap time. I did what I could and tried to finish out the lap as strong as I could. Once I hit the flat section towards the finish, I dropped the hammer and tried to squeeze every last bit my legs had out hoping I could bring my tank to zero at the finish line leaving everything out on the trail.
I hit the finish and about cramped up…exactly how I needed to leave it.
My third lap time: 1:00:49
The Results and My Thoughts
Coming into this event, I wasn’t expecting us to place all that well. There were some really fast riders showing up to this event that race all year long. Adding to that, I haven’t really raced in forever and Dave just had a baby girl two weeks ago. We just pushed as hard as we possibly could leaving it all out on the trail. Surprisingly, that was good enough for a 4th place finish in sport/expert. I was stoked and not expecting that at all.
At the end of the day, we had a great time and I even had a couple of friends that made the podium in the 3 man team, SS and solo expert class (congrats to Chad/Wyatt, Matt and Mark). The event was also very well organized and seasoned despite it being the inaugural running. The organizers at SORBA Woodstock and Mountain Goat Adventures did an incredible job. Also, a thank you goes out to Reality Bikes for their support of Bike198 and Niner Bikes for the review bike that made this possible.
Will I be out there racing again?
Nope! While I had a great time and I was really happy with the finish, with a baby on the way in October…my weekends will not be filled with training and racing. You’ll find me out in the mountains on a 5.5″ travel bike looking for technical terrain. That is really where I feel at home. I am glad I got the chance to get back out there and leave the competitive scene on a high note. It was a great day and I am glad Dave talked me into getting back out there.
Here are my stats from the ride thanks to Strava (sign up for your free account here…it’s much better than GarminConnect.com). Don’t mind the wicked high heart rate…that is just how I roll.
Discuss on the forum here.
Niner Jet 9 RDO Carbon: Sexiest 29er To Date?
Hot on the heals of the new licorice black color scheme of the carbon Air 9, Niner Bikes releases the much anticipated Jet 9 RDO carbon full suspension 29er. When Niner released the Air 9 carbon, we knew the Jet 9 would eventually get the carbon treatment. It only seemed logical to bring the same technology to the 100mm full suspension platform. With bikes like the Santa Cruz Tallboy selling faster than demand, the market for lightweight, carbon 29er race bikes is one of the fastest growing in the industry.
From the looks of it, Niner Bikes really took their time with the Jet 9 carbon and released a bike that should keep the trademark Niner ride while providing a lighter platform for racers and XC enthusiasts. It is also arguably the best looking 29er full suspension bike released to date…especially in the black licorice color scheme.
Some specs on the new Niner Bikes Jet 9 RDO carbon 29er:
- Carbon full suspension from the only 29er only mountain bike company
- Patented CVA suspension is efficient in every chainring. You won’t find this design on other bikes.
- 100mm of race-ready rear suspension
- Compatible with 100 – 120mm tapered forks
- Custom valved Fox Float RP23 with Kashima coating
- Custom forged suspension linkage and unique Niner suspension hardware
- Next generation internal cable routing
- Precise alloy hardware interfaces for brakes and derailleurs (direct mount front der)
The Niner Jet 9 RDO uses the same, newly patented CVA suspension (U.S. Patent No. 7,934,739) that can be found on the rest of the full suspension lineup from Niner Bikes. The frame also comes with Niner’s C5 warranty giving the carbon a full 5 years of warranty from the factory.
With custom forged linkage and proven design, the carbon frame of the Niner Jet 9 RDO also promises to be a very stiff setup for serious speed on the trail. At a retail of $2,599, the Jet 9 RDO is not going to be in everyone’s budget, but it will certainly be grabbing the eyes of everyone at the trailhead when one pulls through. It will be interesting to see how this bike rides in comparison to the regular aluminum Jet 9 that is still one of the fastest 29ers Bike198 has tested to date.
For more info, check out NinerBikes.com.
Niner Jet 9 Carbon Black Licorice
Niner Jet 9 Carbon Vana White Frame
Tango Jet 9 Carbon CVA Suspension
Niner Jet 9 Carbon Rocker
White Jet 9 Carbon Racked
Vana White Jet 9 Carbon CVA Linkage
Niner Jet 9 Carbon Black Licorice Frame
Orange Jet 9 Carbon CVA Linkage
Niner Jet 9 Carbon Vana White
Niner Jet 9 Carbon Seatstay
Niner Jet 9 Carbon Rear Triangle
Niner Jet 9 Carbon Tango Frame
Orange Jet 9 Carbon Frame Detail
Niner Jet 9 Carbon Tango
Niner Jet 9 Carbon Headtube
Niner Bikes Releases Stealth Black Licorice Air 9 Carbon
The first time I ever laid eyes on the Air 9 Carbon, I notice the sleek lines…almost seamless designs…and the loud color combos that just screamed look at my beauty. Arguably the sexiest carbon hardtail on the market, Niner had a winner on their hands. But…my next proceeding thought was…that would look killer naked.
Apparently I was not the only one that thought this, so Niner just released the Classic Black Licorice color scheme.
You asked, we listened. Now available – a sleek, stealthy version of the Air 9 Carbon – for those of you that like to fly under the radar. Carbon texture meets our classic black licorice paint in a bike that would make Darth Vader jealous. See your Niner Dealer to order.
We first got a glimpse that this look might be a possibility when a raw version of the frame from the Niner offices started showing up around online forums. With enough begging and pleading from the MTB community to do a version of this frame…the crew at Niner provided.
In my opinion, raw with black logos is the only way to fly on carbon frames. I really wish frame makers would embrace “stealth” look more even if that does mean their logo is not quite as predominate. Ironically enough, I have found these frames to attract as much attention and questions as louder, brighter color schemes, but it appeals to my simplicity style. Can you imagine a carbon Santa Cruz Nomad or V10 in this setup?
What do you think of the new color combo?
Win Gear From Yakima, Spot, Niner Bikes and More With SylvanSport
It’s that time of year again and SylvanSport is giving away a MASSIVE amount of prizes with their FindTheGo contest/giveaway.
For the mountain biker, expect a grand prize like you see to the right that includes a Niner Bike, Yakima rack and more outdoor gear than you can handle.
Here are some insider facts on what you can expect:
- Grand Prize package is valued at over $15,000. There are also second and third place prizes as well as giveaways throughout the duration of the contest.
- There will be a weekly prize giveaway all 8 weeks of the contest.
- 8 sponsors are: Yakima, Emotion kayaks, Grand Trunk, SPOT, Niner Bikes, Kelty, Black Diamond and KEEN Footwear.
- Each week, for 8 weeks, a clue video is released. Each video is a feature spotlight on one of our 8 sponsors
- This year’s charity is Gift of Light for Haiti, we will be lighting up a tent city with solar bulbs to provide light where they were unable to have any because of lack of electricity, cost and limited availability of fuel or even candles.
- Final Reveal will have a big media event and party with Oskar Blues Brewery as the Event Sponsor
- Last year’s winner was Matt Briskie, from Raleigh, NC. An Adventure Racer and Mountain Biker.
- Last year’s secret location was Niagara Falls, USA
To stay on top of the contest and get your chance to win some incredible free gear, check out this press release and the links below.
SylvanSport’s FindTheGO contest begins Monday April 4th with over $15,000 in free hidden gear!
Eight of the world’s best outdoor companies join in sponsoring the 2011 FindTheGO event: Yakima, SPOT, Kelty, Niner Bikes, Emotion Kayaks, Grand Trunk, Black Diamond and KEEN Footwear.
SylvanSport, along with 8 partner companies have hidden a cache of spectacular outdoor gear somewhere in North America. Find it first, and it’s yours! A 2011 SylvanSport GO, the brilliant centerpiece of outdoor gear perfection, along with an array of fantastic prizes from the sponsor partners makes up the Grand Prize.
On Monday, April 4th the first clue will go live on www.findthego.com. This fun and unique 8 week event was tremendously successful last year, and this years’ contest promises to be bigger, better and most importantly… even more fun.
Each week, for 8 weeks, a video clue and geo-coordinates to guide participants to the ultimate hiding place, will premier on the dedicated website: www.findtheGO.com. Participants follow the clues and coordinates from any internet connected device as they zero in on the final location somewhere in the US or Canada. The final clue gives the exact location and from there, it’s anybody’s race!
Joining SylvanSport in sponsoring this unique event are Yakima, SPOT, Kelty, Niner Bikes, Emotion Kayaks, Grand Trunk, Black Diamond, and KEEN Footwear. The GO and the Grand Prize gear package are valued at over $15,000. The event also features great prizes for the 2nd and 3rd place finishers, and online giveaways throughout. See all of the prize details at www.findthego.com.
Last year’s winner was Matt Briskie from Raleigh, NC. “I was very pleased at how winnable this contest was. I played along, figured out the location, drove up to Niagara Falls and won it! It was that easy.”
For more information, visit www.findtheGO.com or www.sylvansport.com
Tutorial: Cleaning Your Mountain Bike After A Muddy Ride
Riding your mountain bike in a lot of mud can be a bad thing on many fronts but during this time of year, it is inevitable as you try to get as much time on dirt as you can. Riding in muddy conditions can not only hurt the trail, but it can cause serious damage to your bike and components as particles of sand and dirt get into areas of your bike and act like sandpaper as it wears out your components, pivots and other moving parts of your mountain bike. The following tutorial is the process I go through after every muddy ride on my bike. As you saw in a recent article about forest service road riding, I had the perfect opportunity to dive into this with an extremely dirty Niner M.C.R. 9.
It All Starts With The Wash
As soon as I can after the ride, I wash my bike. The more you move it around or try to ride it with all of that dirt caked on…the more damage you are going to cause over time. I have tried just about every cleaner imaginable to work on my bikes with and by far the best has to be Suzuki Motorcycle Wash. Made for motorcycle washing (obviously), it is safe for use on rubber and plastics and it doesn’t strip decals and stickers. All you have to do is rinse off the mud, spray on the wash and then rinse off your bike. No scrubbing is necessary as your bike looks completely new after you rinse it off. Even your tires are clean of any mud residue and I guarantee you will be asked at the trail head if you bought a new bike. I do not know what they put in this stuff…but it is magic. (The before and after shot above is by using that process…zero scrubbing)
While you are washing your bike, try not to apply high pressure water to pivots, bearings and other moving parts areas of your bike as that can cause damage over time by forcing water into unreachable areas.
The Headset and Steerer Tube
One of the most vulnerable areas to mud on your entire bike is the head tube area. As the front tire kicks mud and water underneath your bike, it shoots it directly into your headset from under the frame. This is the first area I tackle after the wash process.
Even after a very complete wash, there will be sand and dirt particles that find their way into the headset bearings and crown race of the fork. Over time, these particles will prematurely wear down the bearings in your headset. High quality headsets, like the Chris King installed on this bike, do a better job of sealing the bearings away from the elements, but as you can see from this picture…there is still dirt present that can cause damage. The cheaper your headset, the more dirt you will probably see upon diss-assembly.
You need to wipe off the access dirt and grime and re-grease the bearings and crown race surfaces. I use Park Tool Polylube 1000 to re-grease all of my bike surfaces and this same bottle has lasted me about 2 years now. A little bit goes a long way.
The Bottom Bracket and Cranks
The second area I attack during the cleaning process is the bottom bracket and crank area of the bike. Much like the headset, the bottom bracket bearings are drastically affected by dirt and water. The bottom bracket even gets the added abuse of being submerged in water every now and then on creek crossings.
As you can see by the pictures, even this high quality, very well sealed Chris King bottom bracket still has dirt on the bearings. At this point, you need to remove all washers, wipe down all surfaces and re-grease all contact points with your Park Tool Polylube 1000.
The crank surfaces and spindle are going to show the same dirt, so remove all spacers, wipe down and re-grease these areas as well. Once everything is clean and re-greased, reinstall the cranks and make sure you do not hear any crunching while spinning.
Re-Lube: Pulleys and Seals
Luckily, on a mountain bike, most of your derailleurs and seals will need get pretty clean through the wash process. However, to make sure they last and do not cause damage to other components by being too dry, it is necessary to re-lube these components as well.
For this process, I use Tri-Flow. By coating the bearings on the derailleur pulleys and front and rear shock seals, you are decreasing friction, cleaning and insuring smother action all at the same time. Periodically, I apply Tri-Flow just as part of my routine maintenance even when the bike is clean to keep performance at its best.
Full Suspension Pivots
In this case, I was out riding a hard tail so there are not pivots to inspect. When riding a full suspension mountain bike in muddy conditions, you need to fully inspect all pivots once the bike is clean and re-grease with the manufacturers recommended brand/solution. As dirt breaks down bearings and bushings, you could find yourself in a very expensive fix if you do not watch the condition of these parts of your mountain bike. If needed, disassemble, clean and re-grease these components.
Drivetrain – Cassette, Chain and Chain Rings
Mud and dirt play havoc on your drivetrain. In many cases, it will be necessary to replace these components after a ride in really bad conditions. While you are riding in mud, you are forcing dirt into the chain and then running that chain over these components. During the ride, you will start to notice chain suck (chain sticking to the rings and going up into the frame) as chain lube deteriorates during the ride. This same dirt start to wear away at aluminum chain rings and cassettes sometimes to the point they are worthless after a ride.
After you have washed your bike, de-grease your chain and completely re-lube. You will also need to inspect all components of the drivetrain for excessive wear and replace any parts that are beyond repair. If you are planning on a ride that is going to be in conditions that are bad, do not install any new components in this area until after the ride is complete to prevent damaging new gear.
Final Inspections: The Rest of the Bike
After all of that is complete, I remove the seat post and wheels to clean the contact points on the frame of any remaining dirt and re-grease this areas. Just to make sure, freewheel your rear hub and listen to the engagement to make sure no mud or water entered the rear hub body. If you hear anything out of place, disassemble, clean and re-grease.
As you can see by this process, there is a lot of work to be done after you get done with a muddy mountain bike ride to insure you do not continue to damage your bike and components. By taking these necessary steps, you can prevent any further damage and make sure all components are performing at their best for your next ride.
Products Mentioned In This Article
Tri-Flow | Park Tool Polylube 1000 | Suzuki Motorcycle Wash | Chris King Components
FSRSSMA – The "Dual Purpose" Forest Service Road Ride
Winter mountain biking is full of a bunch of ups and downs. During this high precipitation, cold, freezing, snowing time of year, the amount of saddle time we get in can be limit to stationary transits on a trainer. For those of you in mountainous areas that get a lot of snowfall, you get the luxury of a distraction in the form of snow sports. For those of us in the southern parts of the hemisphere, we are left with soggy and frozen as we attempt to get in some saddle time.
Over the past week here in Atlanta, we have been under ice and snow making riding near impossible (nothing quite like 1 inch of ice covering 7 inches of snow), so this past weekend…we got a glimmer of hope and headed south a bit to try to get in some miles on a network of forest service roads that were supposed to be somewhat dry. What we ended up was a mudfest of 42 miles, but it was still better than sitting on the trainer for one more day.
I’ll be honest…I hate riding forest service roads. Unless there is a defined goal at the end of a FSR (like a killer, long downhill), I will always opt for singletrack over riding on gravel roads even if that means it will take longer to get to a specified destination. Typically, if all of my mountain biking friends are hitting up a FSR ride I just jump on the road bike, but since the roads were still filled with salt, sand and ice…this was my only option if I wanted my pedal strokes to actually move a bike forward. So I grabbed the Niner M.C.R. 9 and headed out to put in some long miles after not getting in that much riding.
As you can see by the map, we ended up riding about 42 miles of gravel road just south of Atlanta. We were hoping that the roads would have been pretty much dried out, but unfortunately…freeze/thaw hadn’t officially quit and most of the ride was done in mud ranging from 2 inches of crap to a watery mix. With brief glimpses of dry road and sun, we were still out riding and doing it with 30+ other riders all looking to get some saddle time in.
The Ride That Served Two Purposes
For me, this ride really served a dual purpose. I was able to get out and get some time in on the bike…which is always a good thing…but it was also a time to get outside and attempt to de-stress. I have written here before about how riding a bike, for me, is not just about the ride. For most rides, it is all about mountain biking and the adrenaline rush that comes with it. This is the sport I love and it is where I get my fix.
However, there are certain times in my life when I just need a ride. It isn’t because I want to get my fix or hit a trail that I haven’t ridden before…sometimes it is because I need to get in my own form of mental therapy. Everyone needs an outlet that clears their head and gets you back on the right track (or to keep sanity!) and riding does that for me. Riding is my therapy.
Life is not going to stop just because we are mountain bikers and riding is not my escape to run away from my problems. It is actually quite the opposite as I use riding to tackle my issues that come up in life. For a lot of these, there isn’t much I can do, but with a level head and positive outlook, things tend to go much better on average and each pedal stroke gets me closer to that sanity. When a great friend of mine (or arch-nemesis) came up with the tagline “Live The Ride” for Bike198, I knew that was a perfect fit because of days like this past Sunday. At Bike198, it is more than just a collection of parts or a sport, we are living the ride on a daily basis.
Now…as you can see by the Niner, I have some cleanup to do which is going to lead to a “what to do after a muddy ride” article for sure. For the record FSRSSMA (Forest Service Roads Suck So Much Ass) but time on the bike with friends will always win over time on the trainer.
Ride data was captured with a Garmin Edge 705.
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