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  1. #1
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    Niner Air 9 Scandium

    Anyone riding this bike? Looking to go back to a HT and have not been able to ride a niner bike before, but I like the set-up. Will def ride before I buy, but wanted some opinions on it. I am 6'3" so would need 21 inch frame or so. What kinda weight range we looking at and how well does it handle?
    I hunt, I fish, and now ...I build bikes

  2. #2
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    I have a med air 9 and a rip 9 as well. My air 9 is set up as a ss and weighs just under 21 lbs. I love the geometry of it. Unless the trail is crazy steep or extremely tech, I am always faster on it. It is amazing how much foward momentum is lost due to suspension.

  3. #3
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    I started off with an entry level Gary Fisher 20er last year and went to a much more expensive FS. After a couple of months I realized that the fron fork and wheelset is what made the biggest difference. The niner frame though seems to be pretty darn light. I don't have a local dealr with niner, unless I drive 2 hrs to check them out, but The bike looks great and I wanted to get some opinions on them
    I hunt, I fish, and now ...I build bikes

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by sparkman10 View Post
    Anyone riding this bike? Looking to go back to a HT and have not been able to ride a niner bike before, but I like the set-up. Will def ride before I buy, but wanted some opinions on it. I am 6'3" so would need 21 inch frame or so. What kinda weight range we looking at and how well does it handle?
    I demoed a very nicely built up geared L (~24.5 lbs) on a couple of 10+ mile MTB rides and considered pulling the trigger on one. They are well designed and built for sure, plus good customer service too. You may want to consider XL...

    The build cost was > 3k for what I wanted to put on it so I decided instead to buy a used HT off eBay and purchase a used DS bike (Turner Sultan) that had close to the component mix I wanted. Haven't regretted that move. I now have both HT and DS rides for less than I would have paid for a new Air 9 Scandium.

  5. #5
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    I am on my third Air 9 frame(both broken frames covered under warranty). I still love this frame even though mine keep breaking. The ride is very sharp and it handles like a dream. I am 180 and ride xc trails only. I know a few other people who have had issues with this frame but they keep riding them. If I had only one bike I would look seriously at a steel frame instead of scandium. My .02.

    Brian
    Ride it like you stole it!

  6. #6
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    Thanks blooper! That is what I was looking for! I want something I can ride kinda hard, but also spend some hours in the saddle.
    I hunt, I fish, and now ...I build bikes

  7. #7
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    I have had a Air9 Scandium since last November. I love the bike. Have done two- 6hr races, 50 mile race and multiple 40-80 mile rides. My larger build comes in at 23lbs 8oz. It is a great frame, although I have managed to crack mine I do plan on getting a crash replacement (bought the frame used- no warranty). Niner has their geometry dialed in.
    Jesse
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  8. #8
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    6'1", 210lbs and have been riding a L AIR9 for about 2 years. Its a great frame. I feel it could be a little bit stiffer in the BB area but otherwise the frame is very nice. I have mine built up at 25lb 12oz. Raw frame, Reba QR 100mm, Bontrager Rhythm Elite setup tubeless with Captain Control 2.2 front and Fasttrak Control 2.0 rear. X9 shifters/derailleurs, XT brakes/cranks.

    It handles very well but you do get a little beat up on the rockier stuff. I like the Scandium material. Having ridden both the AIR9 scandium and a 2009 Kona King Kahuna scandium frame, they both ride very nicely... better than low-end aluminum but still a ways behind good steel.

    Here she is with her sister, the Jet9.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by sparkman10 View Post
    Anyone riding this bike? Looking to go back to a HT and have not been able to ride a niner bike before, but I like the set-up. Will def ride before I buy, but wanted some opinions on it. I am 6'3" so would need 21 inch frame or so. What kinda weight range we looking at and how well does it handle?
    I spent just over one season riding/racing a 2009 XL Air 9 (I'm 6'3" and 165lbs). I just cracked it a few weeks ago and have moved on to something else. Here are my thoughts on the bike:

    Scandium:

    Scandium is light (my frame weighed 1670 grams with the seat collar) and rides pretty nice. I do think it is a little more brittle than regular aluminum. I've know quite a few guys that have cracked Scandium bikes from various manufactures.

    Handling and fit:

    I started with a 80mm Fox. The 72 deg head angle combined with 44mm offset fork was really fast steering. Almost twitchy. I bumped the fork to 100mm which put the head angle at 71 deg. The handling after that was really nice. Quick enough but not twitchy.

    I choose the XL size because, like you, I'm a "tweener." That is, right in between the L and XL sizing recommendations. At first I was really happy I went XL. The bike fit nice and I liked the extra room. I did find, however, that it slowed me down a little in the tight stuff. Since my Air 9 broke I've sized back down and am finding a smaller size to be much quicker in the tight twisties. If I bought another Niner I would go L this time.

    Stiffness/Compliance:

    The bike was reasonably stiff, but not the stiffest bike out there. My new ride is a Kona Kahuna and I notice it is way stiffer at the BB area. I think the big square hydroformed tubes have a lot to do with that.

    As far as vertical compliance, I never found I got too beat up on the Air 9. But that said, I don't find my new Kahuna to be any harsher (it is plain old 7005 Aluminum). So don't expect any magic from the Scandium frame.

    Chainstays:

    My one big beef with the Air 9 was chainring clearance. It was super tight. In the end a couple of chainsuck instances ended up jambing the chain hard and sending the frame to an early grave.

    I know frame design is a balancing act between chainstay length, tire clearance and chainring clearance. The Air 9 has medium length chainstays (445mm), huge tire clearance (room for 2.4s) and terrible chainring clearance. Personally I'd sacrifice a little tire clearance for a little more chainring wiggle room.

    Bottom Line:

    I'd ride another Niner. Although I'd probably take the slight weight penalty and go with the EMD. I think the 7005 Aluminum bike would be a bit tougher.

    They are nice riding bikes. If mine hadn't broke I'd probably be riding it for another couple of years.

  10. #10
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    I had an Air 9 and broke the frame within months. I am 6' and weigh about 225. I'm also an aggressive rider. Probably had NO business being on that frame. It was replaced with an M.C.R. and I have had no problems with it so far. My opinion is that if you weigh more than 200 lbs. you should check out either an M.C.R.. Or like BobShort said, an E.M.D. Just my thoughts though.
    Who's Highpitch?.....This is Kelly Clarkson.

  11. #11
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    If you're going with a Niner HT, look at the SIR9. Steel and singlespeedable!

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by highpitch View Post
    I had an Air 9 and broke the frame within months. I am 6' and weigh about 225. I'm also an aggressive rider. Probably had NO business being on that frame. It was replaced with an M.C.R. and I have had no problems with it so far. My opinion is that if you weigh more than 200 lbs. you should check out either an M.C.R.. Or like BobShort said, an E.M.D. Just my thoughts though.
    How do you like the MCR compared to the Air9? How does the ride compare?

  13. #13
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    I like the MCR as well but I hear its not very stiff. Comments?
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  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by chris1911 View Post
    How do you like the MCR compared to the Air9? How does the ride compare?
    I had the EMD for a while before the MCR and it's night and day. MCR is much more compliant all around. I am 180 and I don't think it's flexy but if I were over 200 I might feel differently.. It is a really great do it all bike.

    The EMD was nice and really fast (if you plan to race) but after 2-3hrs it could be a bit harsh on roots and rocks. I read somewhere they just lowered the price - It's a great deal IMO.

    I have read many people (who have owned both the EMD and AIR) say there is negligible difference b/t the ride of the aluminum and scandium aluminum.

  15. #15
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    210lbs here and thrashin' on an AIR9... No problems!

    Bike weighs in at about 21.5 lbs...

    Adam Ann Arbor, MI

  16. #16
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    Cracked my air 9 in 9 months. If I had read this thread and seen how many were broken I would not have bought it. It isn't worth the hassle, there are other fish in the sea.

  17. #17
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    I too had an Air9, warrantied it within 3 months, and now have an MCR that I love. It's definitely more compliant, but also flexy (I weigh ~170). I don't mind it b/c I knew that what I was getting into, and it makes the ride more comfortable.

  18. #18
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    Guess I'm one of the few who hasn't broken his Air9; the ride quality has been fine, but I prefer my Blackbuck. I wouldn't purchase another Air9 especially considering the price difference between it and the BB.

  19. #19
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    Am I crazy?

    I'm in the market for a new 29er and I found a 2011 NOS Niner Air 9 at my local shop that fits in my price range ($1500-2000). Am I crazy to buy this bike considering all the reports of broken/cracked frames I'm seeing?

  20. #20
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    I know I wouldn't do it. But that is largely because I do not respond well with warranty crap. Trust me, I wanted one for a while but even the owner of my LBS stated that they went back to straight alu because a lot of the Scandium ones were breaking. Basically, that tells me the company was losing money and it was cheaper to just go back to Alu. But they are still fairly expensive for an Alu frame imo. I think I would just go with the steel version of it for about the same price and know that it will probably out live an alu version. Hell, my steel Vassago Jabber Wocky is 19.5 lbs which is pretty light for a mass produced off the shelf steel framed bike.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by kinziek View Post
    I'm in the market for a new 29er and I found a 2011 NOS Niner Air 9 at my local shop that fits in my price range ($1500-2000). Am I crazy to buy this bike considering all the reports of broken/cracked frames I'm seeing?
    Buy it if you like it and it fits. All you see here is a very small segment of people who have had an issue.

    I would not hesitate to buy a scandium Air9, they ride great.
    Happiness depends more on the inward disposition of mind than on outward circumstances. Benjamin Franklin

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