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Thread: Air 9 vs MCR

  1. #1
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    Air 9 vs MCR

    Can anyone give me their impressions of the ride characteristics of these two Niner frames? Also, the weight difference? I know that scandium has a reputation for a harsh ride, but I briefly rode an Air 9 demo yesterday and I did not find the ride harsh considering I've been riding full-suspension for almost a decade now. Thanks in advance!

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    Space Ghost
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    I have ridden an MCR and an EMD, not an AIR. A large frame AIR will be just under 3.5 lbs and a large MCR will be just under 5 lbs. The MCR is supposed to have a better ride, but since I have not ridden an AIR, and the MCR and EMD were set up differently, I can't make a fair comparison. Personally I am having a hard time deciding b/w the EMD and MCR. I like the rigidity of the Al. frame, but I like the idea of a more compliant ride with steel. Of course saving about $220 is a fairly large incentive (for me).
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  3. #3
    AOK
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    My large, painted Air9 frame was 3.58 lbs. The ride is very stiff - accelerates like a rocket and climbs very well. Despite the stiff feeling of the ride, the Air9 doesn't beat me up as badly as some Al hardtails I have owned in the past. Like all of the Niner frames I have owned, the Air9 is a blast to ride, going up or down.

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    Just bumping this thread up. I called the shop where I demo'ed the Air 9 and unfortunately, they don't have any MCRs in their demo fleet.

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    What I can say about the MCR is that it is compliant in the vertical, it is a little compliant in the lateral (I think what is called "Q factor"), with a very responsive rear triangle in the drive direction. You also can feel the bike "pop" when you want to launch off small things like roots - example being that I can't bunny hop very high (9 or 10"?), but with a small bump/root (2") I can clear about 2 ft. or more. It's not a result of any kind of preload before you hit the bump, it just pops like a spring if you hit it that way. If you hold it down, it's not skittish at all and tracks well.

    My friends have seen the (rigid) fork flexing on steep rock descents, but it is all very predictable, and it is quite precise in every other condition. The head tube/front triangle is pretty steady, with the same predictable compliance of the rest of the bike. I like it for all conditions, from PA rocks, GA hills, and Sunday strolls on the bike path. Finished bike is ~26# for a large with no carbon or Ti parts.

    I never rode an Air9, but I've had other stiff aluminum and MMC frames. The MCR is nicer as an all-'rounder.

    -F

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    I LOVE my MCR!!!

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    Thanks, everyone. I went ahead and ordered a medium MCR and the Niner carbon fork. Taking a chance and going fully rigid. I think it will be a fun contrast to my full-sus 26'er. And if I don't like the rigid fork I can easily swap out for a suspension fork. Most of my rides are 2-3 hours, but I want a frame that will be more forgiving for those longer rides. I'll post my new build on this forum as I go. Thanks!

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    Rode an Air9 for a couple of years and then sold the frame and moved most of the stuff over to an MCR. I much prefer the MCR. Everything about it. The weight difference is unnoticeable, in fact so much, I am probably going to even go with a beefier set of rims (ditching my Arches for Flows)

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    Thanks, 41ants. Hmmm, right now I'm trying to decide between super light ZTR Crest rims (favored by my LBS) or Mavic TN 719 rims (considerably heavier, but Mavic has a nice track record). Decisions, decisions....

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    Bumping this.

    Any other opinions on MCR vs Air 9?

    I'm coming from a 5 inch trailbike which I just sold.

    I have decided I want a 29'er hardtail for sure, now i'm looking hard at going with steel.

    Looking at the MCR, Jamis Dragon 29, and have considered the Moto Ti.

    I've seen both the MCR and Air 9 deals at Speedgoat and am thinking of going that route.

    Thanks everyone!
    Last edited by Swerny; 10-03-2010 at 06:32 PM.
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    double post
    Last edited by Swerny; 10-03-2010 at 06:35 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Swerny
    Bumping this.

    Any other opinions on MCR vs Air 9?

    I'm coming from a 5 inch trailbike which I just sold.

    I have decided I want a 29'er hardtail for sure, now i'm looking hard at going with steel.

    Looking at the MCR, Jamis Dragon 29, and have considered the Moto Ti.

    I've seen both the MCR and Air 9 deals at Speedgoat and am thinking of going that route.

    I's basically a trail rider, it's unlikely that I'll race it.

    I'm 6 foot even, 195 pounds, looking at a large frame in all the bikes listed above.

    Thanks everyone!
    I just bought an MCR from Speedgoat about 45 days ago and have been riding it hard on Michigan trails...

    Love it. I got the large, I'm 6'1 and 175lbs. Isn't the Motobecane a lot cheaper? I haven't really priced those....as I really wanted steel. I'm not a racer, just a trail rider who likes to have fun, so I opted for the MCR.

    I definitely feel less fatigued after 10+ mile trail rides, the bike is buttery smooth and really helps cut down on chatter. But you gotta test ride for yourself...

  13. #13
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    Thanks.

    Finding one to test ride is the problem.

    I dropped by the local Niner dealer (per the website) and they didn't have anything in stock.

    There's one other dealer in the GTA i will try to stop by. Not really local though.
    Last edited by Swerny; 09-29-2010 at 06:24 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Swerny
    Any other opinions on MCR vs Air 9?
    Can't comment on the Air, but I've been on an EMD for about a year and a half and I can't wait to swap the frame out for an MCR. I like that the aluminum is responsive and fast but I do some long rides with a lot of rocks and roots and I'm tired of the harsh nature of the frame. I really doubt the Air is much more compliant than the EMD.

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    Quote Originally Posted by 29ftw
    Can't comment on the Air, but I've been on an EMD for about a year and a half and I can't wait to swap the frame out for an MCR. I like that the aluminum is responsive and fast but I do some long rides with a lot of rocks and roots and I'm tired of the harsh nature of the frame. I really doubt the Air is much more compliant than the EMD.
    And there is nothing really wrong with Aluminum frames, the vast majority of people are riding them. They are stiff, reasonably light and durable.

    I rode a Gary Fisher aluminium hardtail for 10 years. It was fine, but I'm getting a little older (35) and wanted something a little more comfortable....and the MCR fit the bill perfectly. If you are twenty-somthing with legs like rubberbands you may prefer alu frame that you can pound on....they are great for that.

    some people don't like the MCR, my neighbor rode mine and he hated it, found it too flexy. I think he would change his mind after getting used to it and having a lot of trail rides...but to each his own.

    I can say my first couple rides were weird...it almost felt like there was something wrong with the bike, I thought the crest wheels were way too flexy (i'm only 175lbs) but it was really that big of a difference for me, coming from a 26' alu to a 29 steel frame.

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    Haha, I'm about to turn 35..I feel old too

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    talking about age......i had a 56 year old dude whoop a group of 7 other riders this past weekend (4 of us are in our mid 30s). I could only take him on the downhills....just barely. he was riding a large mcr.....i'm on an air9....everyone else 26 fs.....btw, our 29ers were consistently at the front of the pack. anyway.....i hope i'm whooping ass like that 20 years from now.

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    I'm training so I can be a bad ass in my 50's

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    Quote Originally Posted by Swerny
    Thanks.

    Finding one to test ride is the problem.

    I dropped by the local Niner dealer (per the website) and they didn't have anything in stock.

    There's one other dealer in the GTA i will try to stop by. Not really local though.
    I have an large Air9 with 100mm fork in the GTA. If you want to ride it you can find me at Kelso some time.

    If anyone is considering an Air9 make sure it has the new round chain stays. The new design has more clearance if you want to run 2X cranks. The new design may also be a response to some frame breakage issues with the diamond shaped rear triangle bikes.

    2 cents...

  20. #20
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    A little off topic

    Quote Originally Posted by MicBay73
    talking about age......i had a 56 year old dude whoop a group of 7 other riders this past weekend (4 of us are in our mid 30s). I could only take him on the downhills....just barely. he was riding a large mcr.....i'm on an air9....everyone else 26 fs.....btw, our 29ers were consistently at the front of the pack. anyway.....i hope i'm whooping ass like that 20 years from now.
    I just started road riding to supplement MTBing. I am 44 and guys above 50 are kicking my a$$. I have learned to not prejudge another rider.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by golden boy
    Thanks, 41ants. Hmmm, right now I'm trying to decide between super light ZTR Crest rims (favored by my LBS) or Mavic TN 719 rims (considerably heavier, but Mavic has a nice track record). Decisions, decisions....
    I should have also clarified this statement about weight.... I am 6'1 and fluctuate b/w 225 to 235. Anyhow, I was on an XL Air9 with a shorter stem and not much post showing... So, I decided to go to a size L MCR and I am running a little longer stem (reversed) and I show a little bit more post. Overall, I much prefer the fit and dropping down in frame size also helped with minimizing the weight difference between the two bikes. Either way the weight really isn't an issue with me as I am not trying to pretend to be a racer. You really should try to hook up with someone to try and ride each of them. Best of luck with your decision and you would probably be happy with either one of them

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by darnold
    I have an large Air9 with 100mm fork in the GTA. If you want to ride it you can find me at Kelso some time.

    If anyone is considering an Air9 make sure it has the new round chain stays. The new design has more clearance if you want to run 2X cranks. The new design may also be a response to some frame breakage issues with the diamond shaped rear triangle bikes.

    2 cents...
    Thanks for the offer, but I'm without a MTB right now.



    Going to try to drop by Evolution Cycles tomorrow for a test ride.
    Mike
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    Good comments here. I hadn't given too much thought to getting an MCR.

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    (Bumping this older thread back up)

    Anyone got any additional input to offer on the differences between the AIR and the MCR?

    I am getting back into mountain bike riding after a 20 year hiatus. I am shopping used bikes, and it has come down to deciding between the AIR and the MCR. I am 55, 6'1" and 200 lbs, and will be doing recreational rides on easy to moderate trails in the local mountains. My goals will adjust upwards as I get back into better riding shape.

    Back in the day, I rode a Gary Fisher HKII, and then a Gary Fisher Paragon. I liked the bikes, but they seemed a little heavy. I currently ride a steel Lemond Poprad cyclocross bike for commuting and recreational road riding, and am pretty happy with it.

    I am happy to hear anyone's comments on the AIR and MCR.

    TIA

    --shinbone
    Last edited by shinbone; 05-16-2014 at 12:19 PM.

  25. #25
    Space Ghost
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    Wow! Blast from the past. Since posting in this thread back when, I have owned 2 Al HT and 3 Steel HT. I will tell you that in my experience, unless you NEED the lighter, possibly faster Al frame, go with steel. Far more compliant and now generally not "noodlie". Current ride is a ROS9 SS, and at almost 27 lbs. I still wouldn't trade for a lighter race frame. Get the frame that will give you the most fun for 90% of your riding. For the rest of it, the bike will still be fine.
    "No good deed goes unpunished"

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