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Niner Jet 9 RDO - 2012 $0.00
When the goal is to make the lightest, most efficient cross-country machine, the go-to material is undoubtedly carbon fiber. Niner obviously chose this wonder-medium for their flagship full-suspension XC rig, the Jet 9 RDO. But, instead of slapping some fibers and composites into a mold and calling it a day, they put a massive amount of time into developing the layup and tube shapes to take full advantage of their lauded CVA suspension. The end result is not only an eye-pleasing frame with a feathery weight, but it packs the precision and efficiency to make even the most dyed-in-the-wool dirt junky weak in the knees.
The heart of the Jet 9 RDO is its carbon monocoque structure. Firmly planted in front of brain boxes, Niner engineers used the latest computer modeling to explore every conceivable option before moving onto physical prototype testing. Then, using both in-house and independent testing facilities, Niner accumulated hours and hours of fatigue testing before placing the protos under their highly skilled, enthusiastic, and abusive riders. The results are clear—take a look at the bottom bracket area; massive and menacing, it houses the new PF30 pressfit standard, an E-type low direct-mount front derailleur interface, the shock mount, and mounts for the forged aluminum linkage. This packaging focuses forces into a heavily reinforced area for extreme strength and efficiency. Add into the equation details like internal cable routing, molded chain-slap protection, and proportions that'll rival a super model and we can assertively refer to the sultry Jet 9 RDO as art.
Niner's extensive carbon fiber research and development produced a frame perfectly matched to their twenty-niner-specific Constantly Varying Arc (CVA) suspension design. Sporting 100mm of travel, the CVA features linkages located to isolate pedaling forces while remaining fully active under all conditions. Because the lower link sits below the bottom bracket and the CVA's instant center is in a virtual location ahead of the drivetrain, chain tension at the rear axle pulls the two linkages in opposite directions—effectively isolating the drivetrain from the rear triangle. When you press on the pedals, nothing's lost to compressing the suspension and you won’t suffer kickback from chainstay growth when pedaling through rock gardens.
Differing Niner's CVA design further from competitors is super-short chainstays. Short chainstays are vital to FS 29ers, directly affecting their ability to easily negotiate tight switchbacks and to provide eager handling. Because the rear tire's tucked under the rider, the Jet 9 RDO remains planted when carving turns and is highly maneuverable in technical situations. The CVA also doesn't inhibit front derailleur placement or operation, something that plagues FS 29ers and forces excessively long chainstays. Another key feature of the CVA is its low ratio of shock stroke to suspension movement. This decreases the amount of preload needed, which translates to smooth, effective damping and less drag on the shock seals. With CVA, plush is the name of the game, and a full complement of sealed cartridge bearings combined with Fox's top XC air shock—a custom tuned, Kashima coated RP23—your mountain adventures and race-day efforts will be luxury-liner smooth.
The Niner Jet 9 RDO is available in three finishes: Black, Tangerine, and White. It uses a tapered headtube designed for zero stack headsets with 44mm upper and 56mm lower races. Fork travel options span from 100mm to 120mm. For the bottom bracket, a PF30 compatible unit will do the trick, and if you're planning on running more than one front chain ring, you'll need a bottom pull, direct mount derailleur. The rear triangle offers room for a 2.5in tire, a 180mm rotor and is compatible with post mount disc calipers. The Jet 9 RDO comes in four sizes; small, medium, large, and extra large. Niner backs the Jet 9 RDO with a five year warranty.