It seemed a normal day at Bike Connection Winter 2019. A day like any other, until we met with Niner. The boys at Niner started showing us the new RIP 9 RDO, covering the benefits of 140mm travel of Niner’s CVA suspension on its flagship trail bike. Obviously with 29in wheels, because hey, the company is called Niner and it has spent the last decade singing the praises of big wheels (to a receptive audience of trail riders the world over)
And then they dropped the bombshell. There would also be a 27.5in version.
It was then that we realised that the world was approaching a changing of the times akin to the coming of Zuul in Ghostbusters…
Yes, Niner is making a 27.5in RIP. While it shares the same travel – 140mm rear (with a 150mm fork) the Sevener frame features completely different moulds (so it’s not a crowbar job, it’s been designed from the ground up…)
What are Niner doing?
We quizzed the Niner guys about this crazy talk. It seems that this bike has been in the works for the last few years, being started about three years ago before the second (actually probably third) coming of 29ers – you know, there was the first coming: 2001 or so, 29ers were for quirky folks who liked singlespeeding and hardtail racing, but they didn’t really steer that well. Then there was the second coming, where 29ers became very good race bikes and short travel trail bikes, but all efforts to make longer travel bikes resulted in mile-long barges. And then, the third coming – with Boost-enabled shorter chainstays and enduro-inspired tougher wheels and tyres helping the bike steer like a trail bike and stand up to rocky abuse…
The Third Coming
Before this third coming, it looked like 29ers might remain the preserve of the XC racer, as 27.5in wheel machines ran away with enduro racing and trail centre weekends alike. So it seems that Niner developed the 29 and 27.5 versions concurrently to see what happened. As it was, both wheel sizes flourished (for now) and Niner decided to produce both sizes.
The Niner details
Enough wheel-size philosophising. Let’s get into the details:
- The new RIP9 features 140mm travel at the back and both wheel size bikes take a 150mm fork.
- For the first time on a Niner, there are flip chips in the seatstay pivots, this gives a degree of adjustment at the headtube and a 7mm BB rise or drop.
- The bikes feature a 66° head angle (in high mode, 65° in low). Seat angle in high is 75.8° (or 75.2° in low)
- Reach has been extended over previous models while the seat tube height has been lowered to allow for longer droppers. A shorter head tube allows for a lower stack too.
- All the suspension linkages have been tidied up, eliminating the bracing strut on the rocker, to allow for more tyre room, stiffening of pivots (which all run Enduro MAX bearings). There’s even a neat sag indicator built into the pivot cover.
- There is a waterbottle mount inside the frame.
- 73mm threaded BB and full internal cable sleeving to prevent late-night swearing.
All this adds up to a neat looking bike. Bikes are already shipping (distributed in the UK by Hotlines) so look for one at a shop near you, as the saying goes.