Prepare to fly.
Niner's engineers have been busy, going back to the drawing board and revamping almost every frameset for 2017. It was worth the effort though, and the 2017 Niner Jet 9 RDO Mountain Bike Frame is back with a massive facelift, 20 additional millimeters of Continuously Varying Arc (CVA) travel, compatibility with both 29er and 27.5+ wheels, and even more versatility than its predecessor. It's slacker up front, steeper out back, longer across the top, and flat out better at all the things that made us love the original Jet 9.
As with most bikes in the current trail generation, the key element underwriting the new Jet 9's versatile geometry is its Boost rear axle. Bumping the spacing up to 148mm lets Niner chop 21mm off of chainstays by slamming the rear wheel up into the seat tube. The seat tube contributes to that versatility, too. Despite the fact that the 2017 Jet 9 comes with a recommended front travel pairing of 130mm for 29in wheels and 140mm with 27.5+, it's got a similar seat tube angle as the 2016 Jet 9 with a 100mm fork. Adding that much travel up front would typically force you out of the bike's center; however, the new Jet 9's geometry keeps you on top of the pedals for stable handling and efficient power transfer.
The bike's updates shine at the front end, too. In 2016, the Jet 9 was limited to a 71 or 70.5-degree head tube, depending on whether you were running a 100 or 110mm fork. For 2017 it drops to 67.5 degrees when paired with a 130mm fork and 29in wheels and down to 67 degrees with a 140mm fork and 27.5+ wheels. This puts the Jet 9 right on the cusp of moderate stability and enduro abandon. When paired with the new iteration's longer reach and shorter stem, that angle means the bike can ride roughshod across all manner of trail furniture without sacrificing responsive steering.
Despite the geometry changes, Niner's Race Day Optimized (RDO) construction process remains relatively unchanged. This is a good thing, as Niner's compaction method presses out any excess resin and compacts the carbon down to a uniform wall thickness. This gives Niner precise control over where material is and where it isn't, letting the engineers actually engineer the frame by reducing weight where it's not needed while ensuring stiffness and durability at key areas of power transfer and abuse.
The CVA suspension model is also virtually unchanged. CVA is designed specifically around 29in wheels to keep the big-rim platform balanced between taut and supple, and is an ideal pairing platform for 27.5+ wheels with their similarly-sized profile. CVA's low compression ratio means there's less need for suspension preload, so the mechanism can float more freely and react more readily to the terrain without being loose or sloppy. CVA's lower linkage placement beneath the bottom bracket isolates pedal input from suspension action to prevent the system from bobbing or back-kicking, resulting in a smooth but efficient bike that's responsive to both your power and the trail's trickery.
The frame's finishing details are everything you'd expect from the obsessive designers at Niner, and our favorite new addition is the inclusion of a BSA threaded bottom bracket. PressFit shells may be lighter and more convenient, but the exact tolerances of a CNC-machined thread are virtually unsurpassable by today's composite technology. The threading means bearing cups install perfectly, reducing wear over time and eliminating the creaks, groans, and pops that so often accompany PressFit models. Vulnerable bits are girded with titanium protection plates. The frame also includes integrated batter storage in case you get the urge for electro shifting and the revised axle spacing and geometry dimensions accommodate 29er tires up to 2.4in and 27.5+ tires up to 3in.
- Niner's classic trail bike gets boosted versatility
- 5 inches of CVA suspension designed for big wheels and ambitions
- Revised geometry climbs faster and descends harder
- RDO carbon construction minimizes weight to gain speed
- Compatible with electronic drivetrain routing and battery storage
- Compatible with 29in and 27.5+ wheels