Monday, June 02, 2008

Niner Jet9 Review

After much waiting and suspense, Niner Bikes has released what is arguably the most highly anticipated bike of 2008 - the Niner Jet9.

Niner bikes are dedicated to making, you guessed it, only 29 inch based mountain bikes. They claim 29ers are a revolution and based on what I have seen, read, and experienced myself, I would tend to agree with this. Compared to a 26er, the bigger wheels of a 29er reduce endos, provide unparalelled traction and roll over obstacles much easier; in short, they give you a distinct advantage over 26 inch wheeled bikes. Yes, the wheels do have a weight penalty but the overall advantages far outweigh the weight gains. Here in Victoria, 29ers are seen more and more. Talk to anyone who rides them and you'll get a full smiled and forceful response that may resemble a conversation with a righteous religious zealot; they love their bikes!

The Jet9 was based on its bigger brother the RIP9 which blew open the doors as the best 29er in 2007 and who some claim as the one of the best bikes ever made (read the reviews on The RIP9 is more of an all-mountain versatile machine that provides 4.5 inches of rear wheel travel which is huge for a big wheel bike (since the larger wheels take out the pounding of the trail, less suspension is required; because of this, more and more people are reverting to 29er hardtails or even fully rigid machines and are loving it). The Jet9 is more of a race ready machine with 3.1 inches of rear travel designed for a 80 or 100mm front fork. The geometry is a bit more racey and the bike cuts 3/4 of a pound off of the RIP frame.

Check out those sweet chrome plated alumium linkages! You can't go wrong with those curvy, sexy seat stays as well! The CVA suspension design is bar none.
After a long delayed boarder hold-up, the frames arrived in town early last week. Eager, I picked up the frame and Fox F29 100 fork and started to build up my ride.
I put on some new 180mm XTR cranks which have been incredible. The longer crank arms are perfect for my longer legs and I can definitely feel the difference in tork when I'm cranking up a steep climb.
Most of the other parts I pulled off the old hardtail and everything came together nicely. I got some new NOKON compressionless cable and installed this for my gravity dropper seatpost which has made it butterly smooth in operation. For those of you who have never heard of the gravity dropper, this thing is amazing.
It gives you the ability to raise and lower your seat by a handlebar mount by 4"; this makes riding a technical downhill section not only safer and easier, but much more fun!

For wheels, I took apart my old wheelset and built up my King hubs to some sweet new Bontrager Mustang rims with the offset spoke bed. I used some DT revolution spokes up front and some DT Comps on the drive side and DT revs on the non-drive for the rear wheel. Overall, I think the wheelset weighs maybe 40 grams heavier per wheel than my old Mavic 717 setup and the Bontrager rims are even stiffer.

For rubber, I picked up some Panaracer Rampage 2.35s which hook up like snot. While they are heavy, the rolling resistance on dirt is pretty low and the traction is great. I'll probably use these in the Test of Metal but might move to something lighter for BC Bike Race which is now just a month away!

So, was it worth the wait?
This is easily the best bike I have ever had the pleasure to ride. The large wheels combined with just the right amount of suspension and the racey geometry creates a bike that is uttery mind-blowing. The bike simply melts underneath you as you ride it. Maybe it's just that I was riding a hardtail before but I feel like this bike is giving me an unfair advantage.
I'll take it!



garobbins said...

I hate you a good teammate hate filled with jealousy kinda way!!
The bike looks freakin HOT man...I'd better get used to seeing the back end of it I guess!

Anonymous said...

Bike looks slick. What did the totalt weight come in at when you were done?

garobbins said...

Are those rocket launchers on the handle bars?

Anonymous said...

Bar ends on 2 inch riser bars are bad form...eeek! Otherwise looks good.