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  1. #1
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    Head spinning...need help deciding on a bike

    So....I posted in the Niner forum but I thik branching out is a good idea.

    I have a 2011 Rip 9 and love it but its overkill for some of my closest trails. As such ive been thinking about adding a 29er HT for local riding and after work "work out" rides.

    First I was thinking an Air 9 carbon. Then thinking an Air 9. Then reading more about comfort and the fact that there will be no racing etc perhaps a steel frame is a better choice - both for cost and comfort. So I was thinking about an ROS 9. In the end Im just confused.

    My criteria are as follows.

    I'm 200 pounds
    Use will be XC stuff
    Reasonably comfortable over just a light bike

    This is a second bike so Id like to keep it under 2K.

    Id rather not build it myself because I don't really have the energy to review every component and choose it.

  2. #2
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    Just use your computer, click your mouse and wait for it to arrive

    Airborne Bicycles. Trail

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Menachem View Post
    So....I posted in the Niner forum but I thik branching out is a good idea.

    I have a 2011 Rip 9 and love it but its overkill for some of my closest trails. As such ive been thinking about adding a 29er HT for local riding and after work "work out" rides.

    First I was thinking an Air 9 carbon. Then thinking an Air 9. Then reading more about comfort and the fact that there will be no racing etc perhaps a steel frame is a better choice - both for cost and comfort. So I was thinking about an ROS 9. In the end Im just confused.

    My criteria are as follows.

    I'm 200 pounds
    Use will be XC stuff
    Reasonably comfortable over just a light bike

    This is a second bike so Id like to keep it under 2K.

    Id rather not build it myself because I don't really have the energy to review every component and choose it.
    You mentioned ROS9 and limiting the purchase to $2000. That translates to Honzo (Kona).

    Considerations might be that style of geometry is usually loved, but some don't like. A newly released 2015 Honzo will have wide narrow ring instead of that chain guide. You want the wide/narrow and ditch the chain guide if you pick up a 2014.

    Of course there are others but your considering steel, modern geometry and limiting the budget came to mind. I confess I like mine more than I ever thought I would. It's not only great for cruising to trails close by but I'm riding it more than I ever expected to. I went to a 30t front and do just find without a granny gear.

    Have fun shopping.

  4. #4
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    The answer is always El mar.

    Jesus - the Big Lebowski: Jesus - the Big Lebowski - YouTube

  5. #5
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    The Trek SF 9.6 will be comfortable because of engineered compliance from Trek's road bike group. It weighs 25.

  6. #6
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    That 2015 spec on the Honzo looks genuinely interesting, and a pretty good alternative to the DIY equivalent of that setup. The best part of that for comfort is the 2.4" tire specced on the back, the worst part for me would be which particular tire they specced on the read (Ardent just isn't ramped enough to be comfortable to me; but swapping that over to a 2.35 Ikon and having a spare Ardent is always awesome).

  7. #7
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    If you're not afraid to enter the HTFU school, SIR, carbon fork, single speed. Light, fast, comfy-ish. Less expensive. No silly drivetrain to mess with. Did I say it would be light?

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by tehllama View Post
    That 2015 spec on the Honzo looks genuinely interesting, and a pretty good alternative to the DIY equivalent of that setup. The best part of that for comfort is the 2.4" tire specced on the back, the worst part for me would be which particular tire they specced on the read (Ardent just isn't ramped enough to be comfortable to me; but swapping that over to a 2.35 Ikon and having a spare Ardent is always awesome).
    I liked the Ardents more than I expected, but they are better for dry riding. After tearing one and no Ikons in town I tried 3 different Bontragers and have to say I agree with the positive reviews, and that you cannot compare the current models to stuff they made years ago. The XR3 (aka 29-3) aren't exactly like Ikons but they are fast, versatile, predicable and don't pack like the Ardents. I've run the 2.2 and 2.3 with 2.3 front and rear. The XR4 (aka 29-4) is more knobby and really fast and quiet for how much you can lean into it. I've only run that in front and am keeping it with that in front. I hope I can explain this but they don't have that sound or ridge of a Maxxis when you lean them over but they feel like they've got you covered leaning into it more than the Hans Dampf tires I like and they're even faster.

    Sorry for the excitement or diversion but I got 3 of those tires for the price I've been paying for a pair of other favorites and so far like them as much as any. My only knock is they're not toward the big and bulbous as much as some favorites but I forgot all about that riding the nastiest, rockiest place around me.

    Finally, yes to nice alternative to DIY. I've built up bikes for years but the Honzo was just fine with dropper, my favorite seat, and the wide/narrow that the 2015 model includes. I spent less than the ROS9 and other things I considered would have cost.

    Quote Originally Posted by WA-CO View Post
    If you're not afraid to enter the HTFU school, SIR, carbon fork, single speed. Light, fast, comfy-ish. Less expensive. No silly drivetrain to mess with. Did I say it would be light?
    As much as I like my steel rigid bike, and the carbon fork on another rigid bike, I'm not sure that rigid fork idea meets "comfort" mentioned in the original post.

    I quite liked (still do) a SIR9 in local stock, it doesn't fit the OP's budget statement, and once I tried the modern types (AM, slack, short CS, low) it felt dead, like you were riding on it. It did not have the easy to pump, pop and drop feeling the same company's ROS geometry gives. Note my earlier post did say some might not like that but there's a growing number of riders who are learning to pump, pop, hop, and have that sort of fun on their journey.

    Like the OP, I have another bike and dual suspension and that seems to make the AM type even more fun or at least complementary.

  9. #9
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    Thanks for all the help.

    I guess I should say that it doesn't have to be steel - really open to the best platform that wont explode the bank! I just want to be realistic - no racing and Im not a light guy.

    I should also say that I while Id like to stay at 2K or under, that number always grows the longer I hang around on the site

    Is the consensus that the ROS 9 is a good choice but considerably more than the Kona which is quite similar?

    How about an Air 9 in comparison? I guess I am thinking Niner becasue that is what I am used to

  10. #10
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    +1 on the El Mar, 2014 models should be on sale soon, as 2015 models come out
    Tahoe29er

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Menachem View Post
    Thanks for all the help.

    I guess I should say that it doesn't have to be steel - really open to the best platform that wont explode the bank! I just want to be realistic - no racing and Im not a light guy.

    I should also say that I while Id like to stay at 2K or under, that number always grows the longer I hang around on the site

    Is the consensus that the ROS 9 is a good choice but considerably more than the Kona which is quite similar?

    How about an Air 9 in comparison? I guess I am thinking Niner becasue that is what I am used to
    I suggest my standard advice to delay gratification and try stuff.

    Air 9 like the SIR is another nice bike I've tried and associates have both. It is steep in front and I felt it had that ride on vs ride in feel. Might have been the fork but seemed steeper than the SIR bike, and it had that AL thud feel vs the SIR's steel feel. I didn't get to try a ROS but a demo's coming up near me. I did try Trek Stache and Salsa hard tails. The more race or traditional bikes to me all felt more weight on your hands vs feet and butt feel, and ride on it vs in it. None were so easy to pump, pop, or feel great about diving into anything that looked steep and fun.

    Not being a racer, having fun with berms, getting on some old fart safe elevated trail, riding along a log, no numb hands, and feeling great when it's steep have become the important things for me but I'm hardly a crazy free rider. I'm middle aged so don't big gaps, rarely drop more than a few feet, or have long take off and landing zone unless it's an easy drop with good transition.

    I stopped pursuit of the ROS 9 because of the bank you mentioned, and riding with people who gripe about EBBs or having to listen to them creak when my bike's silent. Still, comparing its geometry to bikes I've ridden and those other Niners I think it should have that ride in vs on feel and be a lot of fun. Nimble 9 is another you might like if the ROS or Honzo are of interest.

    Paradox of choice is what you might have. It's a mature and competitive market full of wonderful product choices. With that, maybe forget about brand or model as much as try the traditional builds vs more slack and low builds. Do however leave money in your budget for a dropper post if this is about fun.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by cjsb View Post
    Just use your computer, click your mouse and wait for it to arrive

    Airborne Bicycles. Trail
    Wish I would have gotten one of those instead of my current bike. Time to start saving.

  13. #13
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    If you are looking at an Air 9 non carbon frame....then to keep costs down, why not look at the EMD. Cheaper and may have a more compliant ride than the Air 9.
    I crashed hard enough on my Tallboy to break my leg,
    The carbon is way more durable than most people.

  14. #14
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    Head spinning...need help deciding on a bike

    If bank is a major issue look used. Lots of options out there on this type of bike. Most have barley been ridden.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

  15. #15
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    Re: Head spinning...need help deciding on a bike

    Quote Originally Posted by cjsb View Post
    Just use your computer, click your mouse and wait for it to arrive

    Airborne Bicycles. Trail
    I just picked up a Goblin Evo last week. Probably the best value you can find for a new bike anywhere. Build quality is great, it's just plain fun, and it's way in your budget.

  16. #16
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    Head spinning...need help deciding on a bike

    Never heard of airborne bicycles before this thread....I suppose it's worth digging into...

  17. #17
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    That's a great deal. The question is, are you looking for an xc rig, or something with a bit more travel and slacker geo?

  19. #19
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    Definitely a good deal for $1500, but no way was that bike worth $2800 to start with...

    Alloy, meh. Ain't got no feel like steel.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by rushman3 View Post
    +1 on the El Mar, 2014 models should be on sale soon, as 2015 models come out
    I have to vouch for the El Mar as well. I would wait a bit though for the sales to begin.

  21. #21
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    If you really want a Niner ROS for under 2x

    Niner ROS 9 Price Point Pro Build Single Speed Bike | Bikes | Niner

    Than scour used parts to make it 1x9 or 10.

    If you decide you want more traditional XC geo a lot of options and deals out there right now. ROS looks like a fun bike.
    XC, Road, XXC, Endurance, Mtn, All-Mtn, Cross, Gravel, just go have fun on 2 wheels!

  22. #22
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  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by Back2MTB View Post
    Definitely a good deal for $1500, but no way was that bike worth $2800 to start with...

    Alloy, meh. Ain't got no feel like steel.
    It doesn't seem like GT's ever sell at full price to begin with!

  24. #24
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    The ROS frame weighs about 7 to 8 pounds, and is not really 'XC-ish'. It's a bike meant to be thrashed and flogged and keep on ticking.

    The Air 9 alloy has a nice ride for bigger fellows, but is a bit stiff for the narrow-behinded whippets. The EMD is basically an Air 9 front triangle with a less sophisticated rear triangle.

    The Goblin EVO is pretty much a direct shot across the bow of the Trek Stache. As similar as bikes get as far as design intent goes. Nowhere near as beefy as the ROS 9, but a bit more stout than the standard XC 29er hardtail.

    Not sure I'd love a 72 head tube angle like the GT has IIRC.

    I think I'd steer the OP toward a Canfield Nimble 9 over a ROS for the described size and style of riding he does. After that, I'd take a look at the Kona Honzo, Airborne Goblin EVO or Trek Stache.

  25. #25
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    Head spinning...need help deciding on a bike

    The nimble 9 looks really nice and reviews seem great. The problem is cost will be up there and I'm not really up for doing my own build which seems I would have to.

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