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It’s time for Niner to launch two completely new bikes. If you’ve been paying attention to current mountain bike trends, you probably know how this is going to go. Yes, the brand known as Niner will soon have two bikes capable of running wheels that are not 29″.

But that’s only part of the story.

More importantly, as Niner puts it, the new RIP 9 and JET 9 are the continuation of their “Big (R)evolution.” That encompasses both the evolution of their bikes and of the brand itself. This change started out with the new RKT 9 and continued with the AIR 9 as both bikes received new tech and modern geometry updates with shorter chainstays, longer reach, and a better ride overall. When it came time to redesign the bread and butter for their trail category, Niner wanted to offer consumers the best bike possible. If that meant going outside of the 29er box, then so be it. Frankly, when Niner came up with their “Niners only” tagline, Plus bikes weren’t even an option. Since then the company has expanded into gravel and cross with 700c wheels, Plus on the 29+ side, and now… 27.5+.

Using all of the engineering and development knowledge gained over the years building bikes around the big wheels, Niner is diving head long into the 27.5+ category with a mid-travel JET 9 and long-travel RIP 9. The results are still classically Niner, but offer a completely new way for the same brand to attack the trail…

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All photos c. Niner/Ian Hylands

While most manufacturers seem to agree that Plus bikes have a place, they don’t seem to agree on how to go about building them. Initially, it seemed that the bikes were built with enough clearance to run the bigger tires but without much thought towards geometry. Then tire sizes seemed to stabilize around 27.5 x 2.8″ tires on 40mm rims and it was decided that the difference in effective diameter between that and a larger 29″ tire was enough to justify adjustments in the geometry. Some manufacturers have chosen to build bikes specific to one wheel size, some have used devices like headset spacers to adjust for the difference, and others like Niner have chosen to use different fork lengths to accomplish the same thing and raise the bottom bracket on the plus bikes and make them a bit more slack.

Niner’s new JET and Rip will be sold in stock form with both 29″ and 27.5+ versions – one of each for every build level. Depending on the rider and their needs for a trail bike, Niner feels that this ability to change wheel size is a feature customers are looking for as they search for every advantage they can get for their ride.

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Both bikes continue with Niner’s CVA (Continuously Varying Arc) suspension design, and while they’ve been optimized for the new tire sizes and travels, the most important change in terms of allowing for the Plus tires seems to be the Boost 148mm spacing. Similar to Pivot’s story, Niner points out that without Boost spacing these bikes, or at least these bikes in Plus configuration, wouldn’t have been possible. Clearly, Pivot took it to the extreme with their 157 x 12 spacing, but Niner has managed to cram a ton of tire clearance plus the ability to run 2x on the JET (RIP is 1x only). Not only have the frames grown in tire clearance (up to 29 x 2.4″ or 27.5 x 3.0″), but they also managed to shorten the chainstays even further to 434mm.

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In addition to more modernized geometry with longer top tubes & reach, lower BBs, shorter chainstays, and lower standover, both bikes grow in travel as well. The previous JET was 100mm at the rear while RIP was 125mm. And now? You’ll find 120mm rear travel paired with 130mm front (29″)/140mm front (27.5+) for the JET and 150mm rear travel matched with 160mm front(29″)/170mm (27.5+). The longer forks included with the Plus builds are Niner’s way of raising the bottom bracket to accommodate in the wheel size difference while slacking out the head angle by 1/2º as well.

Each bike is fully clad in carbon fiber which makes full use of Niner’s RDO Carbon Compaction method – their name for the use of EPS mandrels inside the carbon in the molds. The EPS allows for better compaction of the carbon with more precise wall thickness, fewer voids & wrinkles, and less excess resin, and after molding the EPS is removed from the frame. Additional stiffness for the RIP has been added through a one piece rocker link with a connecting brace between the two sides at the back of the link as well as larger bearings and bigger pivot hardware.

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Adding to the frames’ versatility is the Swiss Army knife of a bottom bracket assembly. Around the 73mm threaded bottom bracket shell you’ll find ISCG 05 mounting tabs, and front derailleur mounts for the JET. There are also two windows to the inner depths of the frame which are covered during use by the downtube carbon protector and a plug under the bottom bracket. The front window is useful in routing internal cabling, while the rear functions as a storage area for a Di2 battery – though take note that in Di2 guise, only 1x applications are supported for both bikes. Boost spacing for chainrings and spiders is recommended for both models with 36t the max chainring size for 1x applications, and the JET capable of running 26/39t SRAM or 28/38 Shimano doubles.

Additional frame protection is offered through titanium chain strike plates and a molded rubber chainstay protector.

Niner Bikes Idaho Yurt Trip

Niner Bikes Idaho Yurt Trip

During our time with Niner in Sun Valley, ID, the bikes that were set up in the Plus configuration were also giving us a sneak peek at the new Stan’s Baron Plus rim. To be sold as the stock rim for their 2 and 3 Star builds, very few details were given on the new rim other than the fact that it’s essentially a wider version of the Flow Mk30. Full details will be revealed as we approach Eurobike.

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Niner JET Geometry 2017 29 plus

Aimed squarely at the trail segment, Niner’s new JET 9 should fit right in with 120mm rear travel with either 130mm (29) or 140mm (+) forks.

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Offered in two colors, the bright option actually looks really good in person with a matte yellow finish. The dark option is certainly more muted with red and grey accents.

Niner JET 29 builds

JET plus builds Niner 2017

Builds will be available in 2-to-5 star options with pricing ranging from $4,500 – $9,500. On the 4 and 5 star bikes you’ll see the use of ENVE carbon wheels with color matched decals and Fox suspension, with aluminum wheels and RockShox suspension for 2 and 3 stars. Compared to the RIP 9, the JET 9 gets an XS option added with sizes up to XL.

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Niner RIP 2017 29 plus geometry

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It’s a similar story for the RIP 9 with two frame colors available – bright orange or matte black with neon green accents. It should be noted that all frame hardware will now come in black so there won’t be any contrasting red bits throughout the bike. A true long travel 29er with 150mm of rear travel matched with a 160mm fork, the RIP 9 gets even longer travel up front with a 170mm travel fork for the Plus configuration. Because of that, all of the Plus bikes will ship with RockShox forks since 170mm travel Plus options aren’t yet available from Fox.

Niner RIP 29 builds 2017

Niner RIP plus builds

Pricing will range from $4,700 – $9,800 depending on the model with sizing from S-XL. Both bikes will be shipping to dealers starting in August.

Look for our first ride impressions soon!

NinerBikes.com

21 COMMENTS

    • OHH POOO! 27.5+ is pretty much the same outer diameter as 29er and originally 29er got its name by measuring the outside diameter of the tire. Thats why its not 700c mountain.

  1. This is great news they are making 29/27.5 plus frames now. Super smart and glad to see Niner is open minded to the current market. Now that people are embracing one bike to have two wheel options it only makes sense for Niner to run 27 Plus on their 29er bikes.

  2. No need for a bash guard, as the frame will take the hit.

    Any lower frame guard option for that huge kink exposed under the chainring?

    • Yes, you’d think they’d eliminate the dangly bit below b.b., a la Santa Cruz.

      On another note, must we mindlessly repeat the untruth that shorter chainstays require another rear axle spacing? Canfield Brothers Riot put that to rest a couple years ago, and without unusual dishing of rear wheel.

  3. I wonder if their PR/marketing person quite when they made the decision to go to 27.5+… In all seriousness, I have to imagine the CVA suspension design is going to take a beating as they lower BBs.

    • Not quite true – a 2.8inch 27.5 tire like these bikes spec is closer to 28″ and does lower the BB height by 8mm or so. Partly because the bigger tire at lower pressure sags more. But it should not be enough to cause problems unless the bike has a super low BB to begin with (like santa cruz, which is why they employ a flip chip to run 27.5+)

  4. I’m kind of surprised that people seem to view 27.5+ on a Niner as weird.

    Even the website twentynineinches reviews 27.5+ bikes … FREQUENTLY

    29 refers to the diameter of the tire, not the rim.
    So get over it- they’re just trying to make good bikes that people will buy. Not allowing for a plus option would be stupid, from a business standpoint. If you owned Niner, would you really NOT give people what they want and risk your company going out of business?

    These are great looking bikes. I’ve always found niners to be very well balanced and refined bikes. I’ve had issues with some of their geometry choices, which they have across the board fixed with these new bikes.

    Now if they would just do a better job working with dealers and not letting their bikes sell for discounted prices online…

    (side note: I wonder what happened to their house brand carbon wheels?)

  5. Nice. Just like that Niner is back with not just one but TWO amazing looking bikes and both plus compatible!!!

    Looking forward to when Lucas makes it back to SoCal with these in his demo fleet!

  6. 27 plus compatible is a 100% niner bike since it’s the same diameter (quote: Vincent). You guys are silly saying you would never ride a niner w/ 27 plus because of a name.

  7. Glad to see that Niner has jumped on the 27.5+ bandwagon. I have a 27.5+ bike and it’s the most fun I’ve had on two wheels ! 🙂 Notice I stress the word “FUN” as I’m not a Strava
    racer-boy and care more about fun than speed.

  8. People are justifiably calling out Niner for the way they went all in on the Niner name, marketing, etc. Chris Sugai has a history of ripping on “tweeners” and the companies who built them. In a very public way. Dude has some crow to eat today.

    Also, despite what Vincent says above, 27+ and 29 are not the same diameter, there is a measurable/notable difference in bottom bracket heights.

  9. Any forks that can adjust 10mm travel trailside? Basically being able to swap wheels, make an easy adjustment to the fork travel and switch from 29 to 27.5+.

  10. I’ve been riding my Hightower with a 29″ x 2.3 rear and 650b x 2.8″ front (with the longer fork) and I must say it is the MOST AWESOME riding bike I have ever owned. Best of all the current trends…

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