Niner WFO 9 Mountain Bike Frame $2,099.00
Aptly named shred machine.
Sure, mid-size wheels may be generating a lot of hype in mountain biking, but big wheel evangelist Niner doesn't seem to mind. And when looking at the freshly revised WFO 9 Mountain Bike Frame, it's easy to see why. The original WFO was arguably the first truly "shredable" wagon wheeler, and the latest version builds strength upon strength, with a renewed focus on being the fastest bike at your local Enduro race track. In other words, it's lighter, more responsive, and more refined than its predecessor. And even if you’re not racing, the WFO's aggressive handling will have you looking at your favorite trails in a whole new light.
The WFO established itself early on as an immensely capable bike when ridden wide freakin' open, and the latest version will crystallize that reputation. For starters, Niner relaxed the head angle to 67 degrees, which puts it on the very-slack end of the spectrum for big-wheeled bikes. And while this change enhances the high speed stability, it was important to keep the WFO responsive across a wide variety of trails. Accordingly, the chainstays were shortened to a more moderate 17.4 inches, and the top tube lengths have also been reduced by 20mm across the size range. This gives it a lighter handling feel, and keeps the wheelbase from getting unwieldy. Rounded out with a slightly lower bottom bracket, the new WFO has all the stability of its predecessor, with greater versatility.
With a generous 150mm of rear wheel travel, the WFO is clearly optimized for descending fast in hairy terrain. But you may be surprised to find how responsive it is when you get on the gas. That’s thanks to Niner's CVA suspension platform. Unlike other designs, CVA is optimized for the increased bottom bracket drop inherent in 29in-wheeled bikes, which helps to maximize efficiency. It tends to ride high in the travel, with a controlled mid-stroke, which keeps the WFO stable through rock gardens and snappy when you get on the pedals. But one of the oft-overlooked characteristics of CVA is that it helps Niner's bikes jump incredibly well. This is one wagon wheeler that’s very happy when it’s airborne.
While the original WFO 9 was decidedly burly, the latest version retains that strength, but cuts the weight to keep it competitive in a race scenario. This was possible though the use of extensive hydroforming, allowing the tube shapes to be optimized for their intended purposes. As you're probably aware, a large portion of the optimization process is ensuring that there’s precisely the right amount of material present, because unnecessary material not only adds weight, but it can cause undue stress on other portions of the frame. It allows you to build the WFO well under 30 pounds with a sensible build kit — no small feat for an aluminum frame that’s so robust.
Component compatibility reflects the WFO's purpose. Up front, you'll find a tapered head tube, allowing the use of the latest generation of suspension forks. The 30.9mm seat tube accepts a 35mm seat clamp, and it's compatible with nearly every dropper post on the market. The stealth-compatible cable routing only increases your options. Out back, the 12x142mm thru axle maximizes stiffness, especially when you're slapping it into turns. And while the threaded 73mm bottom bracket shell isn’t going to win any awards for forward-thinking, we applaud Niner's use of a standard that’s proven to be free of creaks, squeaks, and headaches, unlike some of the PressFit frames that are becoming so commonplace. In order to achieve the tight chainstays, Niner had to sacrifice front derailleur compatibility. However, with the proliferation of one-by drivetrains, we think the tradeoff is well worth it. And the ISCG05 chainguide mount gives you plenty of options for chain retention and protection. For those of you who intend on running a one-by drivetrain, such as SRAM's XX1, the WFO will clear up to a 38t ring, with a 168mm Q Factor crankset. Additionally, the suspension is controlled by RockShox's supremely capable Monarch Plus RT3.
The Niner WFO 9 Mountain Bike Frame is available in four sizes from Small to X-Large and in the colors Atomic Blue and Niner Red.