2013 Niner RIP 9 RDO carbon fiber 120mm all mountain trail bike

Let’s be honest…if you had to guess, and many of you did, you probably knew this was coming.

Niner’s new RIP 9 RDO takes their 120mm travel all mountain bike and gives it a lighter, stiffer and waaaaaay sexier carbon fiber frame. In fact, we’d say they’ve outdone their Jet 9 RDO/Carbon model by a leg or two with the svelte layout of the link pivots into the frame…it’s really unique.

For good measure, they also gave it five more millimeters of cush, putting the rear end at 125mm travel.

After two years (and change) of development, the official coming out party is tomorrow at Interbike’s indoor opening day, but we’ve had a chance to see the frame in person already and it’s a beaut. Revised cable routing will make many Niner fans happy, and the inclusion of ISCG tabs opens the bike up for even more aggressive riding…

2013 Niner RIP 9 RDO carbon fiber 120mm all mountain trail bike

To get the scoop on the key differences and upgrades, we spoke with Niner’s lead engineer, George Parry:

“We took some of the swoopiness out of the tubes (compared to the Jet 9 RDO) and made it a little more straight forward. And we increased the diameter of the tubes and stays to increase stiffness. Overall, we made it a bit beefier because it’s going to be ridden harder.”

2013 Niner RIP 9 RDO carbon fiber 120mm all mountain trail bike

“We went with angular contact bearings, so the contact surfaces are completely different compared to the regular sealed cartridge bearings on the Jet. We came up with a really unique way to do it, and it lets you take the rear end on and off really easily. The right side linkage has an integrated axle, similar to a how driveside crankarm have their axle attached. The bearings sit on that axle, which then runs through the frame to an adjustable cone that’s tightened down to remove play. Then you put the other side of the link on and tighten down an open-center bolt using a Shimano cassette tool (the red bit above). That set up is in three locations – two on the lower linkage and one for the main rocker arm pivot. Sealed cartridge bearings connect the rocker arm to the seatstays.

“We knew we wanted to do an integrated axle on the linkages but the challenge was to integrate the ACB’s so there was nothing pressed into the frame on the main pivots.”

2013 Niner RIP 9 RDO carbon fiber 120mm all mountain trail bike

The result is improved stiffness thanks to the larger diameter axles and reduced weight. Like the Jet 9 RDO, their goal was to match the alloy bike’s stiffness, and they say it’s equal, but reduce the weight. They shaved about a pound from the frame.

They put a little alloy skid plate on the bottom to keep things safe, too.

2013 Niner RIP 9 RDO carbon fiber 120mm all mountain trail bike

Another new feature is the inclusion of ISCG tabs, something the alloy RIP doesn’t have. To do this, they moved the lower linkage to the left a bit so there was clearance for a bashguard or chainguide.

2013 Niner RIP 9 RDO carbon fiber 120mm all mountain trail bike

Parry: “We also reworked the cable routing because, honestly, the Jet 9 RDO’s system is a bit difficult to route.”

The front derailleur cable still wraps around the bottom bracket and comes up from the bottom. The rear cable, however, pops out of the downtube above the BB and curves up to the seatstay, running externally down the stay to the derailleur…much like the alloy frames. There’s also dropper post cable routing under the top tube.

2013 Niner RIP 9 RDO carbon fiber 120mm all mountain trail bike

The rear axle is 12×142 with full carbon dropouts and post mount brakes. It’ll initially ship with a standard hanger, but they’re making a direct mount rear derailleur hanger for it soon.

The frame is designed around 120mm to 140mm forks, and it carries forward the revised (slacker) head angle of the 2nd generation RIP 9 alloy frames for a more confident descending experience without giving up good ol’ fashioned trail manners.

Wanna take it even slacker? It’ll work with Cane Creek’s Angleset adjustable angle headset, too.

Perhaps you’ve noticed the color, too? It’s new, and it’s called Rally Blue. Frame and Fox CTD Kashima shock will retail for $2,899, and a kit with a matching Rally Blue 130mm Rockshox Revelation RT3 fork will be $3,550. Complete bikes can be built up on their website with “limited edition top-end build kits.” Available in March.

Side note: All of a sudden, the long travel 29er bike is en vogue. The Tallboy LT came out earlier this year, Cannondale just announced their Trigger 29er and we’ve seen others. I spoke with quite a few of the Niner folks at Eurobike about this bike and it’s interesting that their production cycle from concept to shipping was two years, and that’s not entirely uncommon. So, while the RIP 9 RDO was a twinkle in their eye, others brands were independently thinking along the same lines. I mention this only because, at times, it seems like there’s a knee jerk reaction for a brand to get something out to compete against someone else’s new bike. The reality is these things are likely as much coincidence as anything else, with the good brands simply knowing what their customers are going to want sometimes before they do.


  1. This looks so sweet; I’m finally jumping into the 29er craze and I think this is the bike for me… RIP 9 RDO w/a SRAM XX1 build will be awesomesauce!

  2. Looks like a great frame. I had a 2010 Rip9 and really enjoyed it, but weight and some flex in the rear lead me to a carbon FS 29er. It sounds like the stiffness is the same as the alloy, but the weight is down. That’s a lot of money to loose one pound! Now, I’m looking for more travel than 125mm in a carbon frame, something like 140mm would be nice – carbon WFO would be perfect.

  3. throttlemire – a majority of your flex is likely coming from the wheel set. I have yet to ride a 29er that doesn’t exhibit noticeable wheel flex. Most companies have stated that lab testing shows the 142 and rear thru axles do not provide significant stiffness increases.

    Bottom line, I want my suspension to be the variable, not my wheels!

  4. Maybe your new iphone analogy will be true satisFACTORYrider and 26ers are the nokias in your analogy because 29ers are here to stay…

  5. The Santa Cruz Tallboy LT carbon is nicer and has more travel. It also came out at the right time. By the time this comes out it will be competing with all the 650b trails bikes coming out.

    I love my TBLTc but if I were to get a new trail bike now it would be a 650b….

  6. I’m digging my Niners, but am also intrigued by 650b. Most of my races each year are pretty wide-open drag races (Cheq, Iceman, etc), but a lighter wheel/tire combo from 650b might be interesting….

  7. @andrewfuzzy- i still ride 20s as well AND i’m currently using a rotary phone. i only use them to talk so my communication skills are sound so i am able to use phones that are current and outdated.

  8. I dig this bike and the color. Though with the “Race Day Optimized” name I don’t know what kind of race a 5-inch travel 29er would be good for? Maybe a Super-D?

    Measuring travel in millimeters is hilarious, especially considering that shocks never get full travel and every pivot system works differently. Saying that a 130mm bike has more travel than a 125mm bike is kinda crazy…

  9. Love the bike EXCEPT the rear derailleur cable routing. I would have to believe that this will cause a lot of bowing, similar to the issues with dropper posts.

  10. It looks like the same general path as the aluminium rip9 and jet and wfo. None of those had any routing weirdness. I think this looks even better because its full length housing.

  11. To Andrew F…

    ” I don’t know what kind of race a 5-inch travel 29er would be good for?”

    How about a close second place to Jeremiah Bishop at the Pisgah Mountain Bike Stage Race?

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