3 October 2006 - 12:50Let’s Get Ripped!
After several long months of waiting, it is finally here. The new Niner RIP 9 (Roll In Peace) is now finally shipping.
Ever since I learned of this bike’s existence my interest has been piqued. The early pictures of prototypes at Sea Otter were enough to confirm that I would have one of these in the quiver. This bike does not disappoint, and the wait was totally worth it.
The original colors of this bike were to be shot peened and anodized Hi-Ho Silver and Gold Rush, with laser etched graphics. This was not to be however, due to the difficult nature of anodizing large surface areas, the gold was dropped at the last minute due to runs in the finish.
Atomic Blue became the replacement color. My original choice was the silver, but I switched to the blue in a last minute snap decision. Niner’s paint is amazing, so I figured it would be a good move. At the show, seeing both finishes together made me kind of wish I stuck with the silver, but that is just the way I am.
Lot’s of folks were questioning the value between an anodized finish versus wet paint, but Steve had promised that Atomic Blue was no ordinary finish. And it isn’t. It’s called Atomic Blue for a reason…
I can’t believe it stayed secret for this long. It glows in the dark.
All that aside, the bike rides better than I could have hoped for.
My thoughts on full suspension design are pretty well defined. I am a linkage junkie, single pivots don’t really stack up in my mind, despite the fact that modern shock technology has been successful in minimizing the glaring performance deficits of a single pivot.
I could write pages on the differences between linkage designs vs single pivots, but the reality is, boring science isn’t as interesting as real world practicality.
The long and short of it, is that modern shock technology utilizes a “Platform Valve”, that restricts movement in the shock from small input, but allows bigger hits to open the shock up and allow it to perform it’s function. It all get very complicated, but it has allowed frame manufacturers to get away with inefficient designs but simply allowing them to put this mechanical band-aid on it. You get a bike that doesn’t bob while pedaling.
The RIP is designed not to need this band-aid. And you get a bike that doesn’t bob while pedaling, standing or seated.
The Niner is a linkage bike, that utilizes a unified rear triangle, attached to the front with a pair of links, all tied together with a shock. It seems like there is a lot going on, but there isn’t. It’s actually quite simple. Niner calls this design Continuously Varying Arc.
In layman’s terms, the design is intended to completely isolate the drive train from the suspension. Pedal input has little or no effect on the suspension. It completely depends on where the back end is in it’s travel as to how efficient it is. And in the grand scheme of things, it is at it’s most efficient at the beginning of the travel, right where you need it.
Out of the saddle, cranking uphill, amazingly has no affect on the suspension. This completely blew me away. And everyone else that I have had throw a leg over it.
There are always trade-offs when making a bike excel at doing one thing well. In this bike, the rear end wants to extend slightly under hard braking. Not too much, but it’s there. You still have may more control than you would on a hard tail though, so in my book, it isn’t that big of a deal. I’d rather have the pedaling efficiency.
There is a lot of hardware keeping this thing together, and all of it is constructed with the best materials. The stainless mounting bolts and hardware are all stepped, thus eliminating the possibility of over tightening the bolts and side loading the bearings.
Every aspect has been well thought out, and very well executed.
There is also plenty of room fot the next genreation of 29er tires that are on the way. We will be seeing much wider and blockier tires within the next few weeks, and the guys at Niner did their homework.
Based on the few short rides I have on this bike, it is easy to see that Niner has yet another winner in their line up.
This bike weighs just 29.25lbs with pedals. I am riding things faster than on my hard tail. Picking even better lines, floating over the things that used to rattle to death on Orange bike.
It will change the way you ride.