Building on a long history of short travel efficiency that’s gradually inched from lightweight XC to full-blown trail bike, the Niner JET 9 RDO has become their most popular bike. Now, they’ve made it even better.
The new-for-2021 JET 9 RDO borrows the adjustable geometry flip chip from the longer travel RIP and WFO models, and the new seatstay bridge, and adds better cable management and updated geo. Here’s all the details…
Niner JET 9 RDO geometry changes
In 2007, the JET 9 debuted as an alloy XC full suspension bike with just 80mm of rear wheel travel. Paired with a 100mm fork, it was a race rocket. A few years later it brought rear travel up to 100mm, added a carbon-framed RDO model, and saw a few folks adding 120mm forks just for fun.
Fast forward to 2016 and they officially turned the bike into a “trail” bike. Rear travel increased to 120mm, and it shipped with 130mm forks. But, we could still get away with running a 120mm fork to create a light trail bike, or keep it stock for bigger terrain.
Now, they’ve gone and made it full “trail”, with geometry that’s completely designed for a 130mm fork and with a flip chip to let you customize it. Welcome to the new JET 9 RDO.
Starting with geometry, the head angle gets a half degree slacker at 66.5º. The seat tube gets a whopping two degrees slacker at 76º. Both measurements are in High mode, and switching to Low mode will drop each by half a degree (66º and 75.5º respectively).
That steeper effective seat angle works because they’ve stretched the reach out about 30-35mm (amount varies by frame size and flip chip position). They’re also running really short stems and 44mm offset forks.
The wheelbase grows ~27mm, but chainstays are 5mm shorter at 430mm. Bottom bracket drop is now 33mm (in High), which is 5mm lower than before. It drops down to 41mm in Low mode).
All of that adds up to snappy-yet-stable handling with the rider in a powerful position for climbing. With up to 170mm dropper post compatibility, it’ll still be easy to get off the back. Bikes come stock with 100mm (S/M) and 150mm (L/XL) droppers.
Unfortunately for smaller riders, the XS size is gone. Standover height decreased by a couple millimeters on the Small (still not as low as the XS was), and stack height is a bit lower now thanks to shorter head tubes across the entire size range. So, maybe it’ll work?
Also gone is any sort of 27.5″ wheel version…we’re back to 29er only here.
New JET 9 RDO tech details
The new JET 9 RDO may look familiar, but there are a lot of little details that have changed. It keeps the one-piece rear triangle and general shaping on the front triangle, but the downtube is now much straighter.
The bottom bracket junction juts out farther now, creating a larger space for piggyback rear shocks like the new Fox Float X that comes standard. Even the lower mounting pocket is a bit bigger, and Niner says this opens up the frame to accept a wider range of aftermarket shocks.
Up top, a new forged rocker link is much more robust, and the bearings are set wider. Combined with the switch to a trunnion mount rear shock, the entire setup (including double-row Enduro MAX Black Oxide bearings) makes for a much stronger, stiffer design.
Niner says the suspension kinematics were updated to offer the usual holy grail of small bump sensitivity and mid-stroke support. But, they take advantage of the new Float X’s larger air volume and a falling rate suspension curve to give it a more bottomless feel at the end of its travel.
The rear triangle adds a cross brace in front of the tire, and its tubes are oversized, too. The pivots use oversized hardware and it all adds up to a stiffer, stronger rear end, too.
The bottom bracket is a standard threaded 73mm unit. Just above it sit bolt-on plastic guides to keep the rear brake and shift lines closer to the frame and away from the crank arms.
Inside the frame are full-length carbon fiber sleeves to guide the hoses and cables, making service extremely easy.
Underneath is a long bash guard on the downtube, plus a bolt-on protective cover for the lower linkage. If there’s one downside to Niner’s CVA suspension design it’s that the lower linkage sits below the chainring and can get banged around now and then. This replaceable protective cover is a nice touch.
The upsides to the CVA suspension, though, are pedaling efficiency and great traction up and down the mountain, whether seated or standing.
Other new features include clearance for 29×2.6″ tires and a SRAM UDH (Universal Derailleur Hanger) for easy replacement at any shop, anywhere, regardless of which drivetrain or group you’re using.
Sag indicator on the driveside rocker makes it really easy to set up your rear shock on your own. You won’t even have to pump it up as much with the new Fox Float X. And it fits a water bottle inside the front triangle…a full-size bottle on some frame sizes, even!
2021 Niner JET 9 RDO bike specs & pricing
The new Niner JET 9 RDO comes in two colors: Emerald Green and Magnetic Gray. There are five builds available, and all bikes come with a lifetime warranty. All of the bikes are spec’d with Schwalbe Nobby Nic EVO Super Trail 2.6″ front and 2.35″ rear tires.
Shown above is the lowest priced option, the $4,100 2-Star SX build. It gets SRAM X1 cranks, Level brakes, KS LEV Si dropper with Race Face Aeffect alloy bar and stem, and Niner’s house-brand alloy wheels.
The $5,350 3-Star GX steps up to a SRAM GX drivetrain with Descendant cranks, SRAM G2 brakes, DT Swiss XM 1900 Spline wheels, and a slightly upgraded saddle. Where the SX model gets Fox Performance level 34 fork and Float X shock, the GX model and higher all get Kashima-coated Factory level suspension with GRIP2 EVOL forks.
The $6,190 4-Star XT build gets a full XT group save for the Race Face Next R carbon cranks. It also gets a Race Face Next R carbon handlebar and alloy Turbine R stem. Wheels upgrade to DT Swiss XM 1700 Spline.
Above that is the $7,700 5-Star XO1 Eagle build with Eagle X1 carbon cranks, SRAM G2 RSC brakes, and DT Swiss XMC 1501 wheels.
The top model is the $9,550 5-Star X01 Eagle AXS with wireless shifter and the rainbow anodized cassette and chain. Brakes bump up to G2 RSC Ultimate, and wheels are DT Swiss XMC 1200.
All models should be shipping by end of May, but get your order in now as there are several component categories that are definitely in tight supply right now.
We’re reviewing this bike and will share our thoughts on how all this works soon, stay tuned.