The all-new 2019 Niner RIP 9 RDO is a completely redesigned beast of an all-mountain bike. Other than the CVA suspension platform, there’s little about it that carries over from the prior editions, which have been their go-to big travel bikes for more than a decade. Key changes include a new design with mid-frame struts to make it drastically stiffer, adjustable angles, shorter travel than before, and dedicated frames for both 29er and 27.5″ wheels. That’s right, no more 29er that can also work as a 27.5+ bike…this edition gets its own separate frame and geo for 27.5″ fans. Here’s the details…
What’s different about the 2019 Niner RIP 9 RDO?
For the past year or so, Niner has been not-so-secretly testing this new mid/long travel platform under Kirt Voreis. We spotted (and rode!) one of the prototypes and the increased frame stiffness was immediately apparent. The goal was to bring their long travel platform up to modern standards, which means longer reach and slacker head angles. The bottom bracket height also got lower, and there are flip chips to let you tweak the geo even lower and slacker. Full geo charts and explanations further down in the story.
At the time of testing, it wasn’t sure whether this would be the new RIP 9 or a completely new model. But now it’s here, and it’s the replacement for the RIP. The prior generation was built around a 150mm rear end with a 160mm fork. This new one gets 140mm of rear wheel travel and comes with 150mm forks. More on that in a minute.
Another big change is the move to nearly all internal cable routing. Niner’s prior versions had internal routes for the shift cables, but now even the rear brake hose goes inside the frame…and the rear triangle. And that port, at the top of the chainstay, sits just above a wire port for the Fox Live Valve’s rear sensor. Not shown are the other mounting spots and ports for that system, making the new bike fully compatible with Fox’s electronic suspension management system.
Perhaps the most dramatic difference is the availability of a dedicated frame for each wheel size. Heresy, you say? Well, riders want what riders want, and some people want 27.5″ bikes. Niner says they’re in the business of making killer bikes, so when it came time to make the RIP as awesome as they could, they thought it best to develop frame geo and suspension kinematics specifically for each wheel size.
2019 Niner RIP 9 features and specs
The most visible change to the frame is the new Rib Cage strut next to the rear shock. It’s there, along with a wider rocker, to increase overall frame stiffness. So much so that they could eliminate the seatstay bridge. This makes room for 2.6″ wide tires without giving up mud clearance or extending the chainstay length. Even on the 29er, stays are just 435mm (17.125″).
Inside the pivots are Enduro Max Black Oxide bearings, and hiding on the inside of the rocker arm is their new geometry switch chip. In High mode, you’ve got a 75.8º seat angle and 66º head angle. Switch it to Low mode, and the BB drops 7mm, seat angle goes to 75.2º and head angle to 65º. Throw in a 20mm lower standover and 20mm shorter seat tube (so there’s room for a 170mm dropper post), and you’ve got the longest, lowest Niner they’ve ever made.
The headtube, particularly on the 29er version, is also shorter, giving you a lower stack height and/or allowing for more aggressive riser bars. It designed around and ships with a 44mm offset 29er fork and 37mm offset 27.5″ fork.
Niner says the struts reinforce the lower section of the frame for massive BB stiffness, too, so you can power through (or up) anything without flexing the frame. But the top half uses flatter, wider tube sections to reduce torsional flex without giving up a little bit of compliance and vibration absorption.
Underneath is a broad coverage bash guard with a secondary guard bolted to the lower linkage. You’ll find additional guards on the driveside to protect agains chain slap.
Both the rear brake and rear drive lines run inside the frame. There’s no more front shifting accommodations, this bike is 1x only. So, about that travel…
The CVA suspension for this bike is tuned with a higher leverage ratio – about 3:1 at the beginning of travel. ending around 2.3, and averaging 2.55:1. This gives the bike a mechanical advantage that combines with pre-installed volume spacers such that the bike is plush off the top for small bump sensitivity, firms up a little mid-stroke for some pedaling platform, then actually softens back up slightly toward the end to balance out the air spring’s natural ramp. It’s working all that magic with a shorter 210×55 metric shock.
The reduction in travel is, supposedly, to put the bike in the “sweet spot” of trail bikes. Considering their JET 9 was also reworked to be a proper trail bike, we’re going to call this more of an all-mountain bike. Which presents an interesting question: If the prior RIP 9 was their “enduro” bike thanks to the longer travel, and this one’s now shorter travel, could there be a new, enduro-focused rig coming from them later? In the meantime, we’ll be getting one of these in for long term testing side-by-side with the prior generation to see how the changes sit on the trail.
2019 Niner RIP 9 geometry, pricing and options
The new RIP 9 comes in two colors, with their usual set of builds from 1-Star up to 5-Star. At the base level, you’ll get SRAM NX Eagle, moving up the ranks to X01, and all bikes are shipping with SRAM Level or Guide brakes, Maxxis tires and SDG Tellis dropper posts ranging from 125mm to 170mm travel depending on frame size.
Other notes: Yes, you can run a coil shock on this bike, and claimed frame weight is 6.8lb (3.08kg) for size medium with shock and all hardware. Framesets are available for $3,200, complete bike prices shown below.
RIP 9 RDO 29er geometry and build options
RIP 9 RDO 27.5″ geometry and build options
No, the prices aren’t a typo between the 4-Star and 5-Star builds…it’s the DT Swiss wheels that are the big upgrade between those kits. Bikes start shipping this month (February 2019) through authorized Niner dealers.