Okay, first up full disclosure, Iím a Niner Distributor. I love the brand and no doubt I have some degree of bias. That said I make an effort to ride other brands bikes and I try to stay objective. The truth is that there are a lot of good 29erís out there now and Niner will need to continue to innovate to stay at the head of the pack. This post is a somewhat self indulgent tribute to a bike I love, biased as it may be.
Anyway, like many of the Niner faithful Iím super excited about the forthcoming Rip9 RDO. On paper this bike ticks so many boxes for me personally I can only imagine that it will be pretty close to the perfect bike. However, in light of this anticipation, and before we all get caught up in the excitement of the Rip9 RDO release I wanted to make a few comments about the current alloy Rip9.
As a Niner distributor a lot of people assume that I get to ride any Niner I want. Whilst I do have the opportunity to ride pretty much everything they make, my personal bike is not always the latest and greatest. Case in point the Jet9 RDO, I really wanted one but the fact was that every time we got more in we sold them so rather than taking one myself I sent the frames on to my dealers. As a result for the last couple of years Iíve split my riding time between a first generation Wfo9 and a rigid Sir9. The Wfo and the Sir are both stellar bikes but Iíll save that rant for another post. My SIr is set up as a rigid SS and my Wfo has a burly gravity oriented build so I decided that this (southern hemisphere) summer I needed another FS bike a little lighter and more versatile than my Wfo. Obviously what I was really waiting for was the Rip9 RDO but I knew it was a way off so I had 2 choices, the Jet9 RDO or the Alloy Rip9. In the end I decided to go with the Rip9 and build it with a component group that I could swap straight on to the Rip9 RDO when it became available.
I wonít go in to the build in too much detail but highlights include the awesome XX1 group, XTR Trail brakes, Industry Nine wheels, Nobby Nic / Hans Dampf tires and the Fox DOSS dropper post. I have tired a number of forks (WB Loop, Manitou Tower Pro, Revelation) and experimented with a couple of bar and stem combinations. We are incredibly fortunate this year in New Zealand to be blessed with one of the sunniest and driest summers in many years and as a result I have done a lot of riding on this bike. In short, I am blown away by how good the Rip9 is. Fast, confidence inspiring, efficient, playful, solid, dependable, fun! I knew it was good but I honestly hadnít realised it was this good. Personally I found that the short stem / wide bar combo really brought the Rip9 to life. Iím a bit old school so going to a 60mm stem and a 785mm wide low rise bar (as suggested by a customer) came as a bit of a shock, but suddenly I was manually out of corners and whipping it off every undulation on the trail. As my fitness and confidence has built over the summer Iíve pushed the bike harder and harder and yet I donít feel like Iím going to reach the bikes limits any time soon. No doubt it lacks the otherworldly stability and plushness of the Wfo9 but the what you gain is a more playful, snappy quality. Likewise itís not as quick uphill as the Jet9 RDO (I rode with Muzz and thereís no doubt that youíve got to be strong to keep a Jet9 RDO in sight). However, as an all around mountainbike the Rip9 is incredibly hard to beat.
No doubt one the initial rush of demand is met Iím going to find it pretty hard to say no to a Rip9 RDO, but in the interim Iím going to be very happy riding my Rip9, the fact is that with plenty of other options this is the bike I reach for almost every ride. If youíre in the market and you canít afford or justify the Rip9 RDO the alloy Rip9 is a very worthy alternative. Long live the Rip9!
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Thread: In Praise of the Rip9 (long)