AIR 9 29 2-Star Complete Mountain Bike
Today's full-suspension frames are pretty good, but nothing quite matches the efficiency and weight savings of a hardtail. If you're looking for a worthy racing partner or your trails are a bit more on the mellow side, Niner's AIR 9 29 2-Star Complete Mountain Bike is worth a look. It provides the excellent rollover of 29-inch wheels and modern geometry so you can spend time riding your bike instead of wrenching on shocks, pivots, and the like. Built up with a dependable kit, this bike is chock full of value and makes for an exceptional first bike or if you're looking to step up your ride or add another one to the stable.
Niner starts this build with a hydroformed aluminum frame for a lightweight ride with excellent trail feel. Using a multi-stage hydroforming process, a straight gauge tube is butted and mechanically formed in preparation for the hydroforming process. Up next is multi-stage hydroforming, which is a series of molds used in sequence to create complex shapes. Multiple steps might take longer but Niner is able to reduce weight and achieve higher strength. Hydroforming utilizes molds and fluid pressure to form metal tubes into the shapes best suited to the locations on the bike. These molds are created to the desired end shape, and tubes are placed in them while high-pressure hydraulic fluid is pumped in causing the tube to expand until it conforms to the desired shape.
Its RockShox Judy Gold RL Solo Air provides plush travel up front and offers plenty of adjustment for dialing it in for your terrain and riding style. The tapered headtube sits at 68-degrees and lets you hang it out on the descents and still have the ability to pick just the right lines on uphill switchbacks. The stubby 17-inch chainstays let you slalom through the tight trees and makes getting the front wheel up and over trail furniture and wheelies a breeze. Built up in this configuration, this Air 9 features SRAM's NX Eagle 1x11 drivetrain giving you the same wide range as SRAM's higher tier offerings. Should you feel the need to run additional gearing, the frame can accommodate a front side swing derailleur if bikepacking is in your future. Adding to the versatility, the PF30 bottom bracket shell can house Niner's BioCentric 30 for singlespeed use. This clean solution eliminates the need for adjustable dropouts, bolt-on hubs, and chain tensioners. Forget having to adjust for brakes every time you swap out cogs. The Boost 148 spacing lets the bike transform wheels and tires from the 29 on this build to a 27.5+ should you choose to do so. Have the maximum roll over and speed for racing with the 29's, or op for the traction, comfort, and flotation with the plus.
The Air 9's geometry is perfect for both hot laps after work or a multi-day bikepacking trip. Its fast rolling tires increase speed without sacrificing grip in the corners and simply rolls over rocks and roots. The frame has plenty of gets up and go and if you haven't been on a hardtail in a while, you'll quickly remember and appreciate the efficiency when climbing. A forged chainstay and bottom bracket junction increases drivetrain stiffness and offers ample tire clearance. Its Maxxis tires are 2.5 and 2.4-inch wide front and rear giving you plenty of volume to run them low for the maximum hookup. Lastly, an oversized Race Face bar and stem keep the responsiveness lit and offer plenty of leverage for positive handling.
- A versatile aluminum hardtail from Niner
- 29-inch tires cover ground quickly and grip
- Progressive geometry yields agile and confident handling
- Boost axle spacing affords 29x2.5 or 27.5x3.0 tires
- SRAM NX Eagle 1x12 drivetrain provides a massive gear range
- Rock Shox Judy fork gives 120mm of trail-taming travel