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  1. #1
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    Lenz Leviathan 3.0 vs Niner Jet 9, size XL

    OK, so I have been evaluating back and forth, changing my mind constantly, but I've narrowed my choices down to two frames, the Lenz Sport Leviathan 3.0 and Niner Jet 9. My cool LBS can get either of these and it'll be paired with a 2009 Reba TA 100mm and some light wheels.

    Criteria: I ride primarily XC but my local trail is a little on the insane side of trail biking; I need something light and tough that both descends and climbs very well. I am 180-185 lbs, 6'4". I need something better suited to my size for racing than my 26er.

    Thanks much in advance for opinions, pros, cons, and so on, MTBR forums have been very helpful to me thus far. No offense to other brands and models; I've certainly considered many others, these two are what I've decided to choose from though.

  2. #2
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    I rode a Jet9 (Large) at a demo day recently and own a Leviathan 4" (XL). I'm similar height to you but a bit lighter.
    A few quick thoughts (coz it's late here in Scotland and there's a cozy bed waiting):
    The Leviathan has a bit slacker angles than the Jet9. I have an F29 120mm on my 4" Lev and it feels more solid/capable and not as quick reacting as the Jet9.
    The suspension on the Jet9 seemed to be more efficient ie less affected by pedaling. With the ProPedal shock on my Lev though it's not an issue, but I do switch between ProPedal on and off. The Jet9 suspension was not very noticable even when working hard while the Lev is plusher-er.
    Weight wise there's not much in it so your build will be the determining factor.

    My summary would be that the Jet9 is more towards the XC race end of the spectrum with its pedalling platform while the Lev (at least the 4" version) is a more capable enduro/trail bike with its angles, plusher ride and more solid frame.

    Reading that again it's not the most coherent post I've ever written but even the cat is yawning now so it's time to hit the sack.

  3. #3
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    Flip a coin.

    Sorry not to be more help, but they are similar. Lenz is slacker and likely has a higher BB.
    Quote Originally Posted by buddhak
    And I thought I had a bike obsession. You are at once tragic and awesome.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by chomxxo
    OK, so I have been evaluating back and forth, changing my mind constantly, but I've narrowed my choices down to two frames, the Lenz Sport Leviathan 3.0 and Niner Jet 9. My cool LBS can get either of these and it'll be paired with a 2009 Reba TA 100mm and some light wheels.

    Criteria: I ride primarily XC but my local trail is a little on the insane side of trail biking; I need something light and tough that both descends and climbs very well. I am 180-185 lbs, 6'4". I need something better suited to my size for racing than my 26er.

    Thanks much in advance for opinions, pros, cons, and so on, MTBR forums have been very helpful to me thus far. No offense to other brands and models; I've certainly considered many others, these two are what I've decided to choose from though.
    You cannot go wrong with either. I did the same evaluating back and forth between the Lenz, JET and HiFi last fall. I wanted an XC full suspension race sled that turned super fast. For all practical purposes, I was looking at the 3" Leviathan not the 4". As fate would have it and after much reading and processing about which would be best for my needs, I ruled out the Lenz and ended up with the JET 9 running a Reba Race set at 80mm. Ooooo-la-laski this thing turns tight circles and slices and dices through tight singletrack. Rear shock adjusts quickly for the course requirements and gives me enough options to keep me very satisfied - both going up and going down.

    My XL JET 9 is dialed in for your exact height and weight. I don't know where you live, but if it is anywhere near Iowa - stop on by and take mine for a ride.

    You've settled on choosing between 2 great bike frames. Best of luck in your final choice.

    The JET 9 travels well...

    Unloading for the day at Terry Peak...

    It loves to go sight seeing...

    Black Hills singletrack....

    Man's best friend likes to hang with it...

    ZoeyLikesTheJET

    And it reviews well...

    JET 9 review 1

    JET 9 review 2

    attachment-2



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  5. #5
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    I've never ridden a JET, and am violently prejudiced, but I think Bruce gives good guidance: It depends on where you ride.

    If I lived back in Des Moines like Bruce (perish the thought! ) my 3" Lenz with 100mm Reba would be slow (steering, and a longish wheelbase) and overkill. In the west, it's awesome and confidence inspiring.

  6. #6
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    The rougher and steeper and rockier the terrain, the more I would want the Lenz. The twistier and faster and rollier the terrain the more I would want the JET, Ridden the JET a few times, own a Lev 3.0.

    If you in the middle of all that somewhere, pick the one that appeals to you most. You can't go too wrong with either.
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  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by mtroy
    The rougher and steeper and rockier the terrain, the more I would want the Lenz. The twistier and faster and rollier the terrain the more I would want the JET, Ridden the JET a few times, own a Lev 3.0.

    If you in the middle of all that somewhere, pick the one that appeals to you most. You can't go too wrong with either.
    I have owned both and currently riding a Jet 9....agree w/ mtroy 100% on his assessment

  8. #8
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    Don't know if this will help, but:
    I currently ride/race a HiFi Pro 29 in New England ( rocky,rooty,muddy,short but steep climbs/decents)
    I rode a Jet....it felt about the same as the Hifi (stiff-ish but efficient suspension and quick handling, which can be both pro's and con's where/how I ride)

    I just bought a Lev 4"...hoping it will be a little more forgiving in both handling and suspension plushness...but still be efficient and light.I'm hoping it will be a great all around bike. I have both the G2 Fox 100 fork and a DT Swiss to try out.....should have it built in a week or so.

    Back note: I got into the 29er thing last year when someone loaned me a Rip9 while in Ca. It was a little too trail bike plush for me(but still a great bike)...but got me hooked on the 29 concept. I wanted a Jet...but they weren't available yet. A lenz had a long wait time.I found the Fisher...it was complete/good price and if I didn't like it, I could sell it( and the Jet and Lev were frames only,more expensive and 1-4 month lead time).

    I think you're going to have to pick the one your little voice in your head tells you to get( and which bike you can get in a reasonable amount of time)...but I don't think you can make a bad choice with either.
    Last edited by the mayor; 05-27-2009 at 01:32 PM.

  9. #9
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    So, chomxxo, what did you choose? Why? And are you happy thus far? Pros/Cons?

  10. #10
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    Interesting that you'd ask that question today, dog.gone. I chose the Jet 9, but I have not received it yet. My first choice was the Lenz Leviathan though, since just like the old Cannondale was, they're made in the USA.

    I am working with a new local bike shop in my hometown and trying to do things the right way. They make it easy to do the right thing by offering a 20% discount to our club on both parts and labor!

    My man at the bike shop contacted Lenz and got a reply that they had a Leviathan 4.0 XL in stock. I turn this over in my head but really prefer the 3.0. He emails Lenz back but never gets any response. According to my research LenzSport is a small company, but I can't tolerate poor communication, that just irritates me. I'd tried to contact them before myself with a technical question and never got a response either.

    My wife was made in Taiwan so I have a wordly perspective about that phenomenon, next time over, I'd love to visit a bike factory. Today I contacted Niner with a technical question and received a friendly, personal response the same day. I hear very good things about their passion for bikes and the Jet 9 is a hard bike to find fault with.

    I am eagerly awaiting the frame to arrive and get built. In the meantime my old Cannondale Scalpel is showing its age. Actually the frame is incredibly durable, I plan to keep it as a backup bike after a front and rear suspension rebuild now that it's got a 650b front wheel, but I don't know how many parts I'll have available to swap over vs. buying new, I keep breaking drivetrain parts!

    Quote Originally Posted by dog.gone
    So, chomxxo, what did you choose? Why? And are you happy thus far? Pros/Cons?

  11. #11
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    not to hi-jack.. but let's say you're around 220ish when loaded up which frame would be the better option? I've always liked the jet9, however there are quite a few people on the niner forum who jump on people who are not interested in making it a dedicated race only bike and are not 170 pounds or less. I'm in the midwest (Iowa) and I feel like anything over 3 inches would be overkill, but usually the 3 inch suspensions designs are meant to be light and race worthy, which is not always the best for a clyde. Any input would be great.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by RookieBeotch
    not to hi-jack.. but let's say you're around 220ish when loaded up which frame would be the better option? I've always liked the jet9, however there are quite a few people on the niner forum who jump on people who are not interested in making it a dedicated race only bike and are not 170 pounds or less. I'm in the midwest (Iowa) and I feel like anything over 3 inches would be overkill, but usually the 3 inch suspensions designs are meant to be light and race worthy, which is not always the best for a clyde. Any input would be great.
    I own an XL JET 2009, 220+ geared up here, I love it! I am in Ohio, and probably ride the same stuff that you do. I have had no problems so far. The rear end is very stiff, at least to me. I think they fixed the problems with the rear triangle breaking with the new hydro-formed brace. The frames are made with specific tubing for each size, so as long as you are not 220 and riding a Small, you should be ok. Now if you were doing a bunch of big drops or jumps, the RIP would be the way to go. I got the go ahead from Niner, not from a bunch of people who have never actually ridden the bike. That being said, if mine breaks, I will probably go with the RIP.

  13. #13
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    As a weight weenie, it is my duty to alert everyone that the Leviathan is over 1lb lighter than the Jet9. Thanks, have a nice day.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Padre
    As a weight weenie, it is my duty to alert everyone that the Leviathan is over 1lb lighter than the Jet9. Thanks, have a nice day.
    Good point.

    And knowing his terrain here in Iowa (Sugarbottom, etc...) the JET might be the more terrain specific of the two - depending on his style of riding. It's twisty, fast with rolling hills and very short steep ups and downs in spots as well as being littered with roots (Sugarbottom - his home trail).

    Both great bikes.

    Quote Originally Posted by RookieBeotch
    not to hi-jack.. but let's say you're around 220ish when loaded up which frame would be the better option? I've always liked the jet9, however there are quite a few people on the niner forum who jump on people who are not interested in making it a dedicated race only bike and are not 170 pounds or less. I'm in the midwest (Iowa) and I feel like anything over 3 inches would be overkill, but usually the 3 inch suspensions designs are meant to be light and race worthy, which is not always the best for a clyde. Any input would be great.
    I think the apprehension revolving around weight and durability of the product raised on some other threads shouldn't deter your decision making. Neither the Lenz, nor the JET "has" to be built into a lighter weight race bike configuration. Neither has to be ridden as an "XC race bike". You can ride XC without racing on it just fine. You can roll some hefty meat tires if you want. I have not seen a weight limit posted for either of these 2 frames and the companies will back their products with their warranty and take care of you whichever you choose. The only lightweight XC FS frame I have seen a weight limit listed was for the discontinued Ventana El Patron bike that had a 190lb. weight limit.

    I agree with you that 3" of travel on a 29"er FS is plenty for every trail in Iowa - even at race speed. The threads about frames breaking could be from any company. There are Clydes that have been riding for years on all sorts of equipment that, due to their style of riding and technique - never break a part or a frame. And there are lighter weight riders doing the same who have broken a part or a frame. It happens.

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    Last edited by BruceBrown; 06-13-2009 at 08:36 PM.

  15. #15
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    No it's not. Where did you get that from? I see quotes of 5.1 lbs for the Lev 3.0 and under 6 lbs (5.8) for the Jet 9. So that's less than 3/4 of a pound.

    Reviews are also going to tell you that the suspension design of a Jet 9 is more effective for climbing, thus the weight gain would be negated. The Jet 9 doesn't even need Propedal turned on. Like I said, my first choice was the Leviathan due to my personal ethic, but the Jet 9 is a newer design and generally regarded as a superior performer.

    I am a recovering weight weenie. I still consider it an important factor, but now that I'm in better shape and have a few more races under my belt, I consider fit and durability to be two more equilateral points of consideration in what I buy.

    Quote Originally Posted by Padre
    As a weight weenie, it is my duty to alert everyone that the Leviathan is over 1lb lighter than the Jet9. Thanks, have a nice day.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by chomxxo
    No it's not. Where did you get that from? I see quotes of 5.1 lbs for the Lev 3.0 and under 6 lbs (5.8) for the Jet 9. So that's less than 3/4 of a pound.
    My XL JET 9 frame weighs exactly 2920g (6.437 pounds). I think prototype JET 9's weighed in at lighter weights, but I guess it all depends on which size you are talking about. The Lenz website lists the Leviathan 29 with 3" rear travel as weighing small = 5.2, medium = 5.3, large = 5.4. No weights listed for the XL and XXL, but I will venture to guess they weigh a bit more than size L. Even if the size XL Leviathan is 5.5, that's about a pound less than the XL JET 9 (.937 lbs if you want to be technical about it).

    Speaking of light weight XC full suspension 29"er frame, my size XL Sugar 293 with the rear disc brake adapter bolted on weighs 2720g which is 5.99 pounds (200g less than my JET 9). I don't remember the Ventana El Patron, but I think it was 5.8 pounds for the size L which means the size XL would be very similar to the Sugar. All of these light weight XC fully bikes are very close in frame weight.

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  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by chomxxo
    Interesting that you'd ask that question today, dog.gone. I chose the Jet 9, but I have not received it yet. My first choice was the Lenz Leviathan though, since just like the old Cannondale was, they're made in the USA.
    Thanks for the feedback, chomxxo; I look forward to hearing more when you get some time in the saddle. Of course, pics are a must!

    Congrats!

  18. #18
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    A little weight is worth it

    Quote Originally Posted by chomxxo
    No it's not. Where did you get that from? I see quotes of 5.1 lbs for the Lev 3.0 and under 6 lbs (5.8) for the Jet 9. So that's less than 3/4 of a pound.

    Reviews are also going to tell you that the suspension design of a Jet 9 is more effective for climbing, thus the weight gain would be negated. The Jet 9 doesn't even need Propedal turned on. Like I said, my first choice was the Leviathan due to my personal ethic, but the Jet 9 is a newer design and generally regarded as a superior performer.

    I am a recovering weight weenie. I still consider it an important factor, but now that I'm in better shape and have a few more races under my belt, I consider fit and durability to be two more equilateral points of consideration in what I buy.
    have not seen any reports of Jet9's snapping in half

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by 29Inches
    have not seen any reports of Jet9's snapping in half
    Weird. I have.

    But that's besides the point. Is my picture up in your bathroom or something? *shudder*

  20. #20
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    Padre is right and I was wrong. The 2009 Jet 9 is heavier than the 2008 Jet 9 by somewhere in the neighborhood of .3 to .5 lbs. The redesigned rear triangle was strengthened due to breakage problems in the '08 models. You can find a thread disclosing the true '09 Jet 9 weight posted by Niner here on the forums.

    I left both 3" travel bikes standing at the altar. After a couple of supplier issues, at the last minute I decided to go with a Salsa Dos Niner. This was in consideration of my increased interest in racing, the need for a very durable daily driver, and performance issues vs. the terrain I normally will see.

    I'll bet I'll miss the extra travel, for sure, but not the nearly two pounds of extra weight, or linkage maintenance. The Dos Niner is a can't miss at its current price, can't wait to try it out. I may revisit the frame issue in a year or two but with the money I saved now, I bought myself a Voodoo Wazoo 64cm cyclocross frame and some tools


    Quote Originally Posted by Padre
    As a weight weenie, it is my duty to alert everyone that the Leviathan is over 1lb lighter than the Jet9. Thanks, have a nice day.

    Quote Originally Posted by Padre
    Weird. I have.

    But that's besides the point. Is my picture up in your bathroom or something? *shudder*
    Last edited by chomxxo; 06-22-2009 at 01:22 PM.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by BruceBrown
    My XL JET 9 frame weighs exactly 2920g (6.437 pounds). I think prototype JET 9's weighed in at lighter weights, but I guess it all depends on which size you are talking about. The Lenz website lists the Leviathan 29 with 3" rear travel as weighing small = 5.2, medium = 5.3, large = 5.4. No weights listed for the XL and XXL, but I will venture to guess they weigh a bit more than size L. Even if the size XL Leviathan is 5.5, that's about a pound less than the XL JET 9 (.937 lbs if you want to be technical about it).
    My XXL Leviathan 4.0 weighs 6.1lbs, so I would think a XL 3.0 frame would be around 5.5 to 5.8lbs.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by RookieBeotch
    not to hi-jack.. but let's say you're around 220ish when loaded up which frame would be the better option? I've always liked the jet9, however there are quite a few people on the niner forum who jump on people who are not interested in making it a dedicated race only bike and are not 170 pounds or less. I'm in the midwest (Iowa) and I feel like anything over 3 inches would be overkill, but usually the 3 inch suspensions designs are meant to be light and race worthy, which is not always the best for a clyde. Any input would be great.
    FWIW... I'm that 225 pound guy, and ride a Niner RIP. It's easy to tune it up with higher air pressure in the shocks and a bit less sag so that the suspension ramps up sooner. I've ridden my Niner a lot, and while I realize CA may be a bit chunkier and steeper than IA, my frame has held up admirably. What I gained in frame weight, I've more than made up for in durability at my weight. Great bike, demo or ride one and play with the sag a bit. I'd be surprised if you had any problems with the frame. Remember XC stands for XCLUDES CLYDES.

    I have also ridden the Jet. It is great on fast, tight, twitchy single track. Super on tight climbing switchbacks. A bit nervous if you really start flying on fast long speedy decents. I don't feel comfortable on it doing much over 25, whereas there are sections of dirt I've cooked at close to 40 on the Edge 305 with my RIP, and it felt sweet and stable.

  23. #23
    change is good
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    Remember XC stands for XCLUDES CLYDES
    I partially disagree. I ride XC. Now mostly in the midwest and I've broken a few frames. The more mass one has, the more likely failure will occur. That being said, there are clydes who manage to ride light stuff and get away with it. Then there's others that have bikes that are constantly out of commission because of weight weanieism. I like Niner. I would love a Jet. However, after multiple promises that frames would hold up to my weight, mashing cadence, and pounding riding style I tend to go with heavier frames. My current rides are a El Cap that is so heavy matter is drawn to it and my newer Pivot. The jury is still out on the Pivot but it is a nice ride so far. BTW - if the efficient and stiff Pivot wasn't available, I suspect I would of acquired a Jet even though I don't race.

  24. #24
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    In my last minute evaluations I just decided that the Jet 9 was too heavy and fragile to be a race and long-distance bike. 6.3 lbs on the frame vs about 2 lbs less on the Dos Niner.. I just can't see myself hucking around a 28lb bike on 40 mile rides. The Leviathan has problems with pedaling efficiency which really makes it a short-travel all-mountain rig more than an XC race bike. I think carbon is going to have to come into the market to help with FS 29er weights.

    The 2009 Jet 9 is probably plenty strong now but the weight gains to add strength put it on par with every other FS 29er out there. So I just decided to go with the simply elegant 1" travel softtail with an inch or two of 29" virtual travel. I'm riding with really squeaky, really annoying linkages on the old Scalpel right now which really underscores my need for a tough, basic bike.

    I have to say that I'm really looking forward to putting on the 185mm Surly Mr. Whirly crankset as well. It's pretty darned heavy but wow, these are going to be a lot of fun to turn, extremely stiff and a very comfortable length for my 36.875" inseam. Go big if you're big!

  25. #25
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    I've narrowed my search down to the Jet, Leviathan 3.0, and the Specialized Expert Carbon. I spend 90% of my time riding and 10% racing, but the racing part is the most important. I live in the Denver area and ride the Rocky Mountains. I mention this because the name is so descriptive - they are ROCKY and MOUNTAINS with lots of steeps and trees and switchbacks. With some screaming fast downhills on the race courses in Winter Park, Breckenridge, etc.

    Anyway - any more opinions on these bikes or updates on pros/cons based on the new 2010 models? According to the Lenz web site: "NEW for 2009 the Leviathan's geometry has been tweaked to work better with the more current longer travel forks, as well as shortening the chainstay by 3/8 inch." I'm not sure if the prior posts were for the new "tweaked" geo and shorter chainstays or not. The specs for these bikes seem pretty close, though the Jet has a 1 degree steeper head angle and 0.3" shorter chainstays (18" vs 17.7").

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