23 June 2010 - 9:592010 Niner Jet 9 Review
Well after a few rides on the new new and much improved Niner Jet 9, I think I can safely say that the bike is everything that it’s made out to be. And then some.
I’ve already touched on the new construction of the frame, new hydroformed tubing and tapered steerer tube make up the front triangle, and new box sectioned stays and hydroformed brace make up the rear swingarm. It looks beefy, and it is plenty stiff for a bike that is aimed at the XC set.
The suspension design is the same as the previous model, a proven and very efficient suspension platform. Niner’s proprietary CVA suspension can be found on all three of their full squish bikes. CVA does a very good job of isolation pedaling forces from the suspension, allowing the rear wheel to soak up the bumps without any feedback into the pedals. In doing so, it also eliminates all but the heaviest of pedal strokes from the suspension, allowing each pedal stroke to propel you forward instead of forcing the suspension to bob. I’m a big fan of this design.
What does this mean when the rubber hits the dirt? The new stiffer frame coupled with the CVA suspension gives you a ride that you immediately “get”. Get on the pedals and get rewarded with snappy acceleration. The stiff frame tracks very well, it’s unflinching in off camber and rooty climbs, and stays pointed where you want to go on bombed out braking bump descents.
I found at the Pinnacle Race just how stiff the frame actually is on one of the climbs, my front wheel slipped out on a wet root and sent the whole bike sideways, only to be wrenched back in the opposite direction when the rear wheel slipped the other way on the same root. I hate wet roots, but was actually impressed at how the frame took the force. There was no discernible wind up between the front and rear triangle.
Over the last few rides, I have started messing with the rear suspension set up a bit, and have pretty much found that I like to run the Fox RP23 in the “wide open” setting. The ride is plush and smooth, and I feel that even climbing out of the saddle doesn’t necessarily require the Pro Pedal feature. Having spent most of the year on a single speed, my pedal strokes have gotten quite ugly and square. The efficiency of the suspension is simply that good. On long climbs though I do set the Pro Pedal to 1, especially if I am trying to get somewhere fast.
My bike is built with the full XX kit. It is amazing group, and I know a lot of people will be very excited about it once the less expensive X), X9 and X7 groups are available. The shifting is immediate, and I find the gear ratios to be very user friendly. I’ve said in a previous post that I tend to stick in a gear that is very close to my singlespeeed gearing, and in doing so, I pretty much ride it like I would ride my One 9. I certainly don’t feel as if I’m robbed of power on short punchy uphill grunts when I leave it in my “gear”, and if it is going to be an extended techy climb, I’ll pop the chain down to the small ring up front and spin away.
It’s pretty liberating having only 2 chainrings up front and full access to the 10 cogs in the back.
But back to the bike itself. Who should own one of these? Anyone looking for that XC feel but needs a bike for every occasion. It is certainly capable of a lot more than it’s predecessor. As we’ve seen in the shop, they are building up between 23.5 and 27 lbs fully equipped.
The first batch of the replacement frames have come and gone, and are being ridden and enjoyed by their owners. I have a rather large batch out of the production run that I’m offering a killer deal on. Frame and Reba XX tapered steerer tube fork $2199 (includes an FSA headset). Plus, as an added bonus, I’ll be offering a special discount of any complete Jet 9 we build.
Give me a call at the shop for more details, or drop me an email. You will not be disappointed.