June 25, 2011
Niner is bound to cause some huge love (and hate) with its new frame. It’s a full carbon, full suspension bike.
Dubbed the Jet 9 RDO – ‘Race Day Optimised’, it has 100mm travel (though you can run 120 too) and is designed to be everything from a full-on race machine, to an all day trail bike or a marathon event machine. The frame is a full carbon monocoque and it comes with Niner’s five year warranty, that includes racing.
Frames come in four sizes: small, medium, large and XL. They all have size-specific tube profiles, with the small frames getting smaller diameter tubes – though the tubes themselves still have the full complement of carbon layers for strength.
Frames use a Press Fit 30 BB and bolt-on front mechs. The suspension is a variant of Niner’s, now patented, CVA suspension system which uses a link that reaches back from just forward of the BB shell. All the bearings are fully sealed and protected by natty anodised covers.
The sculpted shape was pretty much universally liked by riders and we can see a few hard debates being done over this bike and some of the other, equally sculpty frames. The sculpting, though, isn’t just lip service and all the curves seem to offer a benefit where they’re used and Niner has resisted going bonkers with the French curves on the design, just because they could.
Full frame weight should come in around 4.5lb, which is 1.5lb lighter than the alloy Jet 9 frame. That should mean that 22lb bike weights are within reach…
There will be three colours: licorice black, Vanna White and orange tang
Chipps gives us his instant review after riding one of the new bikes for an afternoon at Deer Valley:
Having had the chance to put around four hours of riding into one, I was pretty impressed right off the bat. The bike has a very soft feel – as if someone’s put foam rubber down on the trail. That’s a combination of the ‘numbing’ of the carbon frame and the pretty supple suspension. The low weight made it good to get up to speed, but it didn’t get knocked off line. There were a couple of super tight trail moments, when I was aware mainly of the length of the wheels, but those sections were soon past. Another rider had a few problems with the low tread tyres washing out on the dusty corners, but he was happy to put that down to pressure and knobbles, rather than any particular handling flaw.
Even climbing at 8000ft wasn’t too much of a chore and the bike cruised up the hills without any noticeable bob or feedback. We’re looking forward to getting one on more familiar trails soon.