Cyclists, particularly those in the dirt disciplines, are fortuante to be riding right now. though the dollar amounts have gotten higher, mid-priced bikes in 2014 are far superior to the best bikes on the market from just a few years ago. For instance I have spent the last year riding and loving my aluminum-framed Niner RIP 9. I think it is a near-perfect 29er trailbike for under $5k. So I was intrigued with the opportunity to test the Niner R.I.P. 9 RDO Featured Mountain Bike, which sports the same frame geometry, suspension design, and drivetrain, but substitutes a carbon frame for aluminum, and Enve M60 Forty wheels for the Stan's Flow EXs.
Not surprisingly, the higher dollar bike as the better of the two rides. the Carbon frame and wheels are lighter, quieter, and stiffer. The featured bike required less body english around corners, and held a line more steadily. The stiffness of the Enve wheels improves ride quality the same way thru-axles and tapered steerers do: more of the forces on the bike are channelled into the the suspension instead of into uncontrolled flex.
So, if this one is out of reach, don't despair. The mid-level equivalent is very, very good. But the RIP9 RDO with ENVE is even better.
If you have questions about this or any of our other bikes, you can reach me directly at 801-736-6396 ext 4076, or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org