While terrorizing the trials aboard the new RIP 9 you should most definitely rock a bell since other mountain bikers won't see you coming. For one, the handsome camo paint will have you blending in to your natural environment if you're at a moderate speed, and two, you'll be charging new lines so fast you'll be all but a blur on the singletrack. We're pretty sure that if you're reading this, either the bike's beautiful aesthetic caught your attention, or your looking to up your double-black diamond trail or park mastery and want a bike that doesn't hold back on the fast techy bits but isn't a pig to pedal on all-day epics. Pairing plush, long-travel suspension with big wheels is an instant recipe for fun and speed and with a solid and value-packed SRAM GX Eagle build and Rockshox Yari fork, with the RIP 9 RDO 29 2-Star Complete Mountain Bike you'll still have plenty left in the bank for summer road trips and enduro racing.
For this newest version, Niner makes the move to internal tubing for the cables and housings. Simply insert the housing at the front of the bike and without any fishing or cussing, it exits exactly where it's supposed to. This makes building the bike a treat and prevents any excuses from performing regular maintenance. Otherwise, the RIP 9 RDO retains the same all-mountain/enduro-oriented geometry, stiff RDO carbon fiber layup, CVA suspension platform with 150 millimeters of travel, the ability to accept 29-inch wheels as we have here, and 27.5+ wheels, and Boost rear axle spacing for unwavering tracking over chunky, rock-strewn trail sections. Boost spacing also affords the ability to clear wider 3.0-inch tires in 27.5+ format and with 29ers you'll clear 2.5-inch tires, which are quickly becoming the standard for grip and speed over the roughest terrain.
Having a peek at its geometry numbers, you'll find the RIP 9 RDO hits a pretty sweet spot with its 66.5-degree head tube angle that lends stability and confidence at high speed on steep descents, yet still remains nimble enough on climbs and tight trails. The same longer reach numbers return which pairs quite well with the wider bar shorter stem combos that are the rage and offer better handling at high speeds. Another measurement that hits an ideal number is the 17.3-inch chainstays which balance traction and climbing with nimbleness and responsiveness. We're consistently amazed at how well this bike climbs and it's due, in some part at least, to the steeper 75-degree seat tube angle that places you in an optimal position with your weight further over the bars so you can lay down the power on the climbs.
As this is a Niner after all, and two things remain pleasantly unchanged: it's Race Day Optimized (RDO) construction method and the Constantly Varying Arc (CVA) suspension design. RDO involves an optimized compression process that eliminates resin pooling and imperfections and allows the design engineers precise control over wall-thicknesses. By reducing the imperfections, it makes for a more structurally sound frame with targeted control over the lay-up and wall thickness so Niner can reinforce structures where it's needed, and reduce material where it can save weight without sacrificing stiffness. The result allows for low weight and durability that's backed by a 5-year warranty that, unlike most brands, isn't voided by racing.
Niner wasn't satisfied with the suspension platforms on the market, especially for 29-inch wheels, when it sought out which designs to implement on its full-squish bikes, so it created its own. CVA suspension allows the 150mm to be fully active while going fast and braking, perfect for fast descending on loose trails with square-edge hits, yet remains surprisingly responsive when you punch the gas. Since it's optimized for bigger wheels it tends to ride higher in travel with a controlled mid-stroke that doesn't wallow under pedaling inputs and remains stable through rock gardens. It also isn't afraid to catch air on the trail or in the park, it's one wagon wheeler that isn't afraid to fly.
The frame's finishing details are everything you'd expect from the obsessive designers at Niner, and one of our favorite elements is the inclusion of a BSA threaded bottom bracket. PressFit shells might be lighter and easier to build a frame, but the exact tolerances of CNC-machined threads are still untouchable by today's composite technology. The threading means bearing cups install perfectly, bearings are better aligned, and it helps to silence the creaks and groans that so often plague PressFit models. Vulnerable frame bits are girded with titanium protection plates, and the frame also includes integrated battery storage in case you get the urge for electronic shifting down the trail.
- RIP 9 RDO updated with undercover camo and solid build
- Internal tube guides offer easy cable management
- 6in of CVA travel melts rocky terrain and big hits
- RDO carbon layup provides weight savings and optimal stiffness
- Accepts 29in wheels, in this build, and 27.5+ for versatility
- Accommodates electronic drivetrain routing and battery storage
- Boost spacing clears 29 x 2.5in and 27.5 x 3.0in tires
- BSA threaded bottom bracket for creak-free reliability
- RockShox Yari fork and SRAM GX Eagle group work flawlessly and save some loot