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  1. #1
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    Niner Air 9 vs Specialized Stumpjumper Evo HT

    Hey guys,

    Have an opportunity to get a 2012 Niner Air 9 for a bit less then a 2013 Stumpy Evo HT. The Air 9 is built up with a SID XX (non-WC) fork, X7 components, shitty Elixir 1 brakes and Sun Ringle Black Flag wheels.

    The Stumpy is stock and comes with the Fox CTD Evolution fork, X0/X7 components and Magura brakes.

    I've ridden the Stumpy and it fit great, haven't ridden the Air 9 but the geometry looks pretty similar. What are your thoughts on which bike I should get?

  2. #2
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    how much less? If the geo is close enough, and the price is close enough, I'd go with the one with better components, which sounds like the Stumpy does...

  3. #3
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    The Elixir 1s aren't that great. I vote Stumpy Evo HT!
    Geologist by trade...bicycle mechanic (former) by the grace of God!

    2012 Specialized Stumpy EVO 29 HT

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by rob1035 View Post
    how much less? If the geo is close enough, and the price is close enough, I'd go with the one with better components, which sounds like the Stumpy does...
    Probably $200 less for the Air 9. Agree, the Air 9 has an awesome fork but the rest of the components aren't as great.

  5. #5
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    I had an aluminum Stumpjumper 2 years ago, had an Air 9 before that and now am riding an Air 9 Carbon. Parts have just been transferred bike to bike with weight coming in just under 22 lbs for the Air 9 aluminum and low 22s for the Specialized. The Specialized was a very good handling bike, but, for me, the Air 9 was better - turned better in all situations and was better going downhill. I don't recall either having a climbing advantage. The Niner also rode a bit softer; the Spec was really stiff in back (I think maybe Specialized made the seatstays a little smaller dia last year, so maybe it's not as harsh?).

    The build quality/durability of the Specialized frame was much better than the Air 9. Niner stands behind their frames, but I doubt that's something you'd ever have to worry about on the EVO. As I implied above, the Niner frame was a bit lighter. I don't know if that's still the case with the new Air 9.

    Finally, the large Stumpjumper fit me very well, but the large Niner fit even better. It's likely the reason the Air 9 worked a little better for me.

    You won't be making a mistake to get the Evo but I'd sure recommend a good ride on an Air 9 as well if you can pull it off.

  6. #6
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    The basic Fox fork is more than good enough; love mine. IMHO for a hardtail, all of the adjustability is overkill. I would take the Fox over the SID any day.
    Geologist by trade...bicycle mechanic (former) by the grace of God!

    2012 Specialized Stumpy EVO 29 HT

  7. #7
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    I'm not going to get into the whole story of how, but I got the first 2013 Stumpjumper EVO 29 hardtail in the US.

    I have a 2009 Gary Fisher Superfly hardtail. The Avid juicy Ultimates were **** (I despise Avid brakes) so I replaced them with Hope Tech X2s, the single bolt seat post wouldn't hold the seat in place if I sat and peddled through rough stuff so I replaced it with a Thompson, I banged up the Scandium rims way to easily and the rear hub liked to skip and pop so I replaced the wheels with a newer version or RXLs, and I broke the frame twice without actually crashing the bike. Trek warrantied it both times times, but the second time the frame was on back order (since they were replacing it with the updated OCLV carbon frame) so they sent an aluminum Superfly frame for me to ride int he mean time. The bike shop built it up and I drove out to get it (the bike shop is about an hour and half from my house by the trailhead of the best somewhat local trail) they sent the wrong size. Which brings me to my point, because I didn't have something to ride they gave me a Niner Air 9 2X10 rental bike to take for the day. I gladly took it as I had been wanting to spend some time on dirt with one. I liked it more then the Superfly, the frame was a lot stiffer, but nothing real special, especially with all the Niner hype and the price.

    I ended up buying a 2013 Specialized HT EVO 29 and I love that bike. Living in the midwest when I'd ride my Superfly I'd never leave the middle ring up front, so the 1X10 Stumpy EVO really caught my attention. I ended up taking delivery of it the day before relocating to the Boulder area. My first ride on it was legit Colorado rocky mountain front range single track and I absolutely love it. I had a X0 shiter installed during first assembly, and when I got it I swaped my Thompson stem and seat post as well as my Ergon GX1 grips and WTB Pure V saddle.

    I guess I can give more of a review for the EVO 29 vs. Superfly but I did spend a couple hours on an Air 9 in between.

    I kinda thought I would need some time to learn the feel of the Stumpy, every spring I need to relearn the handling of my Superfly, but the Stumpy felt natural. I don't know if it's the wheels or the thru bolt axle but it feels really stiff and solid. The handling made me never want to ride my Superfly again. The Superfly is extremely twitchy by comparison, the Stumpy is so much easier to aim and hold a line. It's a TON more confidence inspiring, this new Colorado terrain is by far the roughest rockiest terrain I've ever ridden and it handled it like a champ without me feeling like I was at the edge of my ability. I'm not acclimated yet (moved from 500 feet to 5500 feet riding at 6500+ feet) and I think loosing 1 or 2 teeht on the front ring would make it perfect (for me riding my new local trails, maybe my opinion will change after a couple months at elevation). Despite the bike having high volume meaty tires and wider rims the Stumpy is a few POUNDS lighter than my 3X9 Superfly (now on an aluminum Superfly frame). After a few hours riding my arms, shoulders, and back felt a lot less physical fatigue then they do after a few hours on Superfly. The new type 2 XO rear der. works better than I could have asked for, I don't get chain slap ever. I work with my hands for a living and I have a bit of early onset arthritis in my hands, more specifically in my knuckles. The single most important difference to me personally, is that with the bikes ability to hold a line so I'm not constantly fighting and death gripping the bars, I can ride this bike and when I'm done I'm not looking for pain killers while my knuckles throb with pain. Had I known I'd be moving to Colorado (it happened very quickly) I might have tried to gone with a 2x10 full suspension version of this bike but all things considered I couldn't be happier. This is hands down the best mountain bike I've ever had.

    My first impression of the aluminum EVO 29 was better than my first impression of the carbon Niner Air 9.

  8. #8
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    My 2011 Stumpy EVO is still one of my favorite bikes after about 1,800 miles of riding. It has been a trouble free bike for the most part, handles great and goes like a bat out of hell.

    The only upgrades so far are a Thomson Elite seat post, WTB Devo saddle and ODI lock on grips. The X7 shifter is on its way out and will soon be replaced by an X0.....You really can't go wrong with this bike, the standard spec is almost perfect. especially with the upgrades made since the 2011 model year.


    2012 Civilian Luditte SS
    2011 Stumpjumper EVO HT
    2008 Trance X2

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by TiGeo View Post
    The basic Fox fork is more than good enough; love mine. IMHO for a hardtail, all of the adjustability is overkill. I would take the Fox over the SID any day.
    Having a Dual Air Reba on my 29er, I totally agree it has too many variables in adjustability. Recon would have been fine performance/quality.

  10. #10
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    My 'EVO' like Stumpy Carbon expert Wrapping my head around shifting again.....

    I was out here in April and rode the demo Air 9 (2010 version, Thomson bits, XX fork, CrossMax wheels) from Colorado Cyclist. Good bike.

    I don't think you can go wrong with either - but I'm pretty happy with the Stumpjumper 1x10.
    Happiness depends more on the inward disposition of mind than on outward circumstances. Benjamin Franklin

  11. #11
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    Stumpjumper Evo all the way.

  12. #12
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    Stumpjumper Evo for sure

  13. #13
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    Stumpjumper Evo - amazing bike!
    The stock spec on this bike is fantastically well thought out - from thicker rubber to the 1x10 set up. It flies uphill and is surprisingly comfortable on the downs. I can't compare it to the Air 9, as I haven't ridden one, but I'm confident in writing that you won't be disappointed with an HT evo.
    Last edited by tudor; 01-03-2013 at 03:20 PM.

  14. #14
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    The Air 9 is stiff as hell...I didn't like it when I tested it. On a long ride I think you would definetly feel the effects. The Air 9 RDO is awesome though. I would go with the Stumpjumper unless you can get the RDO frame.

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