Own Your Own Private Jet.
We would love to have a quiver of bikes for all types of riding and trail conditions. Unfortunately, this typically isn't very realistic, and instead we must focus our scope of bikes to ones that will handle our needs best and create the most riding enjoyment. Some might choose a bike that exploits their strengths but falls short in other areas—for climbers, an absolute rocket for the ups that might lack a little something in the rough and on the descents. The other approach is to pick a bike to help your weaknesses. Again, if you are a naturally gifted climber, a burly bike that lets you hang on downhills might appeal, but it risks being not exactly spritely on the ascents. Enter the Niner Jet 9 1-Star NX1, a complete mountain bike designed to reduce compromises and become your ultimate do-it-all trail weapon. The Jet 9 gives a balanced ride so climbing doesn't feel like quite a chore, but it won't limit you on the descents—all at a price that won't break the bank.
In the beginning, Niner Bikes was pretty adamant in its belief of what diameter wheel it felt was dominant (hence the name), and it pretty much wrote the book on proper 29er geometry. The NX1 build we have here sticks with those roots as a 29er; however, the frame marks Niner's first foray into a different wheel size: 27.5+. You can run this frame with fast-rolling 29in wheels and tires up to 2.6in-wide or choose traction-for-days 27.5in wheels with 3in tires. Pick your poison, but be prepared to argue your decision to the death with your riding pals. The move to Boost 148mm spacing freed up the necessary real estate for the wider tires and helps stiffen the rear end, which in turn leads to a more responsive ride and a better performing suspension.
Niner's Constant Varying Arc (CVA) suspension platform climbs efficiently and still possesses that bottomless feel we all love. It, along with FOX's DPS Float rear shock, manages 4.7in of bump- gobbling travel. The ingenious suspension design pulls the bottom link down as you pedal, avoiding squat, while the top linkage is free to articulate and react to trail imperfections.
The rear travel complements the 130mm FOX Float 34 Rhythm fork quite well and both are easy to setup and have excellent track records for reliability. If you plan to go the plus route, Niner suggest going with a 140mm fork (a simple air spring swap) to keep the bottom bracket height the same relative to the smaller wheels. The durable alloy frame has both internal and external dropper post routing and the BSA threaded 73mm bottom bracket, a Competitive Cyclist favorite, provides creak-free performance and reliability. SRAM NX1 components offer excellent shifting precision at its price point and the Level brakes provide plenty of power and modulation needed on the mountain.
The frame is designed to suit the slack, long, and low geometry popular for modern trail riding. The longer reach affords the use of a shorter stem and translates to quick handling while keeping your weight back making steep trails and switchbacks a breeze. Shorter, 434mm chainstays, keep the rear wheel tucked up underneath the rider, increasing climbing traction and allowing the ability to flick the bike between aspens at speed. The moderate, 67-degree head angle hits the sweet spot of precise steering needed for slow-speed maneuvers and high-speed stability.
- A climb-happy 29er that isn't afraid to party on the downhill
- 4.7in CVA suspension adds 20mm of travel over previous Jet 9
- Dialed geometry scales climbs and crushes descents
- SRAM NX1 adds no-nonsense one-by affordability
- FOX suspension is plush, easy to setup and maintain
- Pulls double duty with compatibility for 27.5+ and 29in wheels