Editor’s Note: Read my long-term review of the 2010 Niner RIP 9
The crew at Niner Bikes has been hard at work developing their latest and greatest bike–the Niner WFO 9–for several years now. That bike is changing the game when it comes to 29ers by introducing new technology that truly enables a long-travel 29er frame. But, as it turns out, they weren’t just doing all that work for the WFO alone. At Interbike 2008, the 2009 Niner RIP 9 was unveiled and it definitely benefits from the WFO trickle-down.
Making long-travel 29ers isn’t coming without resistance from some of the old guard. Many say 4-inches is the limit, but Niner continues to push the envelope and I applaud their efforts. I equate it to the whole fat ski phenomenon. We’re seeing super fat skis these days that everyone thought wouldn’t be skiable or versatile enough on the mountain. It wasn’t until manufacturers embraced the wider skis that we realized just how beneficial all that girth is.
It’s the same with 29ers. Everyone has been stuck in 3 or 4-inch XC mode because the engineering became too expensive and/or strong wheels and forks just weren’t available. Niner is definitely changing that by pushing the envelope and pushing suppliers to make burlier forks and stiffer wheelsets capable of handling the increased travel. We will all benefit from their efforts as 29ers become more and more capable. So, what makes the 2009 Niner RIP 9 tick?
About the 2009 Niner RIP 9 29er
For 2009, the Niner RIP 9 gets a complete makeover. With only the seat tube and a minor pivot component in common with the previous model, it’s essentially 100% brand new for 2009. Definitely a bold thing to do because the 08 RIP was lauded by many (including myself) as one of the best overall trailbikes on the market–regardless of wheel size.
But, change is inevitable and looking at the new RIP in person is like looking at a work of art. The bike is very, very sexy! Here are a few specs on the 2009 Niner RIP 9:
- Head Tube: New tapered 1.5 to 1 1/8 for added stiffness
- Rear Travel: 4.5 inches (115mm) via CVA™ Suspension
- Shock: Fox RP23
- Colors: Moondust Grey (tested), Licorice Anodized, Milk Dud Anodized
- Sizes: Small (23.1 TT), Medium, 23.75 TT), Large (24.5 TT), XLarge (25.25 TT)
- Intended Use: All-mountain, Enduro and XC
- MSRP: $1799 Frame & headset – Complete bikes $TBD
2009 Niner RIP 9 Bike Review
I got the lowdown on the new frame directly from co-founder, Chris Sugai–one of the most down-to-earth guys in the industry. He went into great detail on the differences between the 08 and 09 RIP. I was totally amazed and actually surprised that the RIP would be completely re-designed for 09. Little did I know all the hard work these guys have been putting into the WFO would go right into the RIP.
Just one look at the all-new RIP and I was completely in love. This bike flat-out looks awesome and is built as an all-mountain machine.
Hopping onboard the Medium test bike, everything felt right at home for me. All the angles were perfect for an all-mountain rocket. With plenty of standover and a comfortable cockpit, I was ready to tackle the trails.
The CVA Suspension design is very efficient and struts its stuff well on long, technical climbs. It holds a great pedaling platform, but is perfectly supple when needed to be on the rough stuff and steep ascents. Pedaling position was just right and power transfer felt immediate with no “wind-up” effect from the wheels.
On descents, the RIP completely comes into its own. The new frame improvements are definitely noticeable because I felt confident plowing through anything that Bootleg threw my way. Rock gardens, drops, steep switchbacks, fast and flowy singletrack–everything got gobbled up under its path. Big hits are absorbed amazingly-well with only a slight bit of bouncing around on fast, stutter-bumps (something that could be improved with more tweaking, I’m sure).
Good RIP 9
- New frame design is much stiffer and tracks even better
- Tapered head tube offers better steering tracking
- Fox F29 fork can take a beating
- Very capable all-mountain bike
- Inspires “point-it-and-go” confidence
- Climbs with the best of them
Bad RIP 9
- Unfortunately, everything costs more, so this bike is $150 more for 2009
- Small bump absorption as set up
The Bottom Line on the 2009 Niner RIP 9
If I had a little more time onboard, I would have lowered the rear shock pressure just a tad to see if it became a little more supple on small stutter bumps, yet still remain solid while climbing. But, as it was, this bike was still an astounding ride. I rode the 2008 RIP 9 all summer and loved it. This new design raises the bar in stiffness and overall feel. It inspires confidence under all conditions and tracks as straight as can be up and down–still one of the best all-mountain trailbikes on the market.