I'm torn! RKT or Jet 9 RDO. Long read, sorry and TIA.- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    I'm torn! RKT or Jet 9 RDO. Long read, sorry and TIA.

    Despite all of the (real) hullabaloo about Niner's bankruptcy/restructuring, I'm admittedly a bit of a Niner fanboy after 5 years of ownership and riding satisfaction and thinking that I"ll be getting another, maybe one of the last of the breed(?). As you may have seen in other threads, my first gen 1 Jet 9 RDO is "fine" after five years and "only" around 4k miles , but I'm just a bit nervous about what the future may hold...

    So I'm working on my contingency plan and can't decide between the RKT and Jet9RDO. The two models seem to straddle my old bike in regards to suspension travel and intended purpose. I did put 32 120mm on my RDO and like the stroke but feel it's a bit flexy in tough technical situations when hard on the brakes, and couldn't see myself going to 100mm, so a 34 120 or maybe 130 is on my must have list. Might consider other trail forks if the weight is comparable or "tolerable".

    I have raced XC only a dozen times or so and probably intend to get back into it, but in all honesty a great day of my choosing cleaning technical red trails (reference- Santos Fl is basically my backyard) and trying for PR segments for a couple hours is more fun to me now than a "HR on the rev limiter" hour, despite usually getting a base class podium.

    Add to this, I am a bit of a weight weenie, and I'm trying to keep the rider:ride ratio as low as possible. I'm running around 10-15# over my racing days fighting weight now @ 155# and at 57 yrs old now, a bike over 24# just isn't gonna feel right under me. And 25 years of prior motocross, hare scrambles and enduro has my body appreciating all the suspension and weight I care to deal with. So a hard tail is out of the question, as is a RIP.

    Like with my original RDO, I'm intending on doing a frame up build for a host of reasons, personal satisfaction and knowledge of the assembly at the top of the list. (That and I don't like some of the components in the builds, even up to 5 star). From my surfing it seems that the two frames in question are within a pound of each other, though obviously I'd have to watch my grams closer on the Jet build vs RKT. I'm reasonably frugal, but love carbon and ti! Never used a dropper, but intrigued? Ride light and never trash the lightest of tires and (flexy...) aluminum wheelsets. I've looked at all of the brands but keep coming back to Niner, for better of worse. Truth be told- the built in bash/glide plate of the below-BB suspension links is actually a strong selling point for me! I occasionally try something "ledgy" and wind up bashing over it just a bit carelessly, knowing that my chain and ring is safe from harm LOL.

    So after trudging through all of that, if anyone has opinion regarding the two frames and how they may suit me or not, I'm all ears. Hopefully I can get some saddle time on both, but anyone's insight or experience is appreciated, and thanks!

  2. #2
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    That's a no-brainer to me...57, XC-background on Fla trails, and weight's a consideration...RKT9 all the way.
    The RKT9 I demo'd last year was the best handling bike. bar none, and climbed great. A 429SL I tried was a close second.
    Niner Jet 9 RDO, Scalpel 29, XTC 650b, 04 Stumpjumper FSR Pro, Trek Rigid SS - No suspension, no gears....no problem

  3. #3
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    100% in agreement here. As much as I love my '17 Jet 9 RDO if I would have had any plans to race I would have definitely went with the RKT. I believe the newer RKT has similar geometry to the last generation Jet. That would definitely be a good replacement for your current bike.

  4. #4
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    I'm torn! RKT or Jet 9 RDO. Long read, sorry and TIA.

    Thanks guys. Yes the Pivot 429 SL (or even trail?) was on my radar as well, however it seems they only sell complete bikes/ no frame set only option? Can anyone confirm?

    Also on my short is another DW frame in the Ripley LS as well as TB3 and even SB4.5 though both are decidedly more trail oriented than the RKT and more on par with the Jets job description.

    I guess didnít express my feelings that though my RDO is fairly racey, in the chunk it feels a bit out of its element, esp the 32 fork and AC race wheels. However those two components can easily be improved upon on a RKT build





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    Last edited by Noclutch; 01-09-2018 at 10:27 AM.

  5. #5
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    If you race more than trail ride, get the RKT
    if you trail ride more than race, get the Jet

    I owned a 2017 RKT. very fun fast bike.
    For trail riding. I would want a little more rear travel.
    Too Many .

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by brent701 View Post
    If you race more than trail ride, get the RKT
    if you trail ride more than race, get the Jet
    This ^^

    Your story sounds similar to mine. Mid 50's, ex motocross (still ride occasionally), raced XC Mtn Bikes a little back in the day and have always preferred the XC style bikes over all else. I've owned mostly hardtail carbon 29 the last decade but wanted to try something a little different. Last summer sold the hardtail and bought a Jet 9 RD0 3 star. Absolutely dig the bike. Does it climb as well as a dedicated XC bike? No. But it isn't that far off, still climbs pretty decent. It's not the bike I'd choose to do XC races on but at the same time I find it more fun on longer 4-5 hr rides. I still get out with a few of my buds who still race Cat 1 and 2. Depending on the loop we do I might give away a little to them riding a 28lb bike but I don't care.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by motox155 View Post
    This ^^

    Your story sounds similar to mine. Mid 50's, ex motocross (still ride occasionally), raced XC Mtn Bikes a little back in the day and have always preferred the XC style bikes over all else. I've owned mostly hardtail carbon 29 the last decade but wanted to try something a little different. Last summer sold the hardtail and bought a Jet 9 RD0 3 star. Absolutely dig the bike. Does it climb as well as a dedicated XC bike? No. But it isn't that far off, still climbs pretty decent. It's not the bike I'd choose to do XC races on but at the same time I find it more fun on longer 4-5 hr rides. I still get out with a few of my buds who still race Cat 1 and 2. Depending on the loop we do I might give away a little to them riding a 28lb bike but I don't care.

    I was or really still am in the same boat.

    I have a 20lb XC race HT that flyís. I find myself racing my SS class though. So that bike sits.
    I have a 160mm play bike and a salsa Timberjack with us tires.


    The jet can get down on weight with the right parts. As you said. It wonít compare to full out race machine for XC but it will do it the races and do ok.

    Iíve ridden a jet. Like it. But Iíd rather get a fuel ex plus over the jet. The RKT I had I wish I never sold to my buddy. It was fast and super comfortable for me.
    If I had to do it again I would get the RKT do the 120mm fork and XC race it with a dropper.






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    Too Many .

  8. #8
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    Moto- thanks for the feedback. I'm just wondering what it would take to get a Jet to say 24#? Along this vein might be a TB3 done right.
    Funny how back in the day noticeable bike weight changes were in 10# increments! LOL My last ride, a 09 KTM XCF 315, collecting dust in the barn...boo

    brent- I think I'm limiting myself to non-single pivot bikes, but the Fuel EX 4.6# frame weight is enticing!
    The RKT you describe sounds good and was wher eI was starting on this search. I'm getting closer to either that or a 429sl if I head down the more racey/ less trail oriented path.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Noclutch View Post
    Moto- thanks for the feedback. I'm just wondering what it would take to get a Jet to say 24#? Along this vein might be a TB3 done right.
    Funny how back in the day noticeable bike weight changes were in 10# increments! LOL My last ride, a 09 KTM XCF 315, collecting dust in the barn...boo

    brent- I think I'm limiting myself to non-single pivot bikes, but the Fuel EX 4.6# frame weight is enticing!
    The RKT you describe sounds good and was wher eI was starting on this search. I'm getting closer to either that or a 429sl if I head down the more racey/ less trail oriented path.
    The Fuels (Trek's) suspension is amazing. I did find the RKT suspension a little more responsive. Climbed very well over a fuel.

    The Jet I rode is like a fuel 29er. The Jet's rear end didn't feel as planted as the Fuel and no where near as planted as the RKT

    I also like my lifetime warranty on the Trek's

    For what you want to do. a 2016 Fuel EX fits perfectly
    Too Many .

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by upstateSC-rider View Post
    That's a no-brainer to me...57, XC-background on Fla trails, and weight's a consideration...RKT9 all the way.
    The RKT9 I demo'd last year was the best handling bike. bar none, and climbed great. A 429SL I tried was a close second.
    I'm planning to build an RKT this winter for endurance mtb stuff (racing and fun). I also looked at the 429SL, but I'm more familiar with Niners so leaning that way (previously owned a Jet9 and Air9). Anything specific you liked about the RKT over the 429? I'll probably go with a 100mm fork for either build.

    I haven't been able to test ride the new RKT or 429, but two things I think I'd prefer about the RKT are the steeper head angle for tight, twisty trails, and a higher BB, so less pedal strikes thru rocky stuff. Otherwise they both seem like great bikes!

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by kfb66 View Post
    I'm planning to build an RKT this winter for endurance mtb stuff (racing and fun). I also looked at the 429SL, but I'm more familiar with Niners so leaning that way (previously owned a Jet9 and Air9). Anything specific you liked about the RKT over the 429? I'll probably go with a 100mm fork for either build.

    I haven't been able to test ride the new RKT or 429, but two things I think I'd prefer about the RKT are the steeper head angle for tight, twisty trails, and a higher BB, so less pedal strikes thru rocky stuff. Otherwise they both seem like great bikes!
    For me the handling was spot-on, coming from a HT 27.5 XC bike I felt right at home on the RKT. And it climbed like a goat too. With that said I couldn't find one I liked at my price point but did find a nice 429sl and loved that too (close 2nd in handling and climbing imho) but realized my racing days were over so I sold that and settled in with my JET9 RDO and can't imagine a better bike for the trails I now ride.
    Good luck on the build and post pics.

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    Niner Jet 9 RDO, Scalpel 29, XTC 650b, 04 Stumpjumper FSR Pro, Trek Rigid SS - No suspension, no gears....no problem

  12. #12
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    I'm torn! RKT or Jet 9 RDO. Long read, sorry and TIA.

    Good stuff guys.
    Upstate- yea that would be a big difference- 100/100 or 120 429 and 120/130 or 140 Jet.




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  13. #13
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    UpstateSC- by any chance have you ridden the 429Trail? I'm thinking its quite comparable to the Jet RDO but wondering how they may differ.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Noclutch View Post
    UpstateSC- by any chance have you ridden the 429Trail? I'm thinking its quite comparable to the Jet RDO but wondering how they may differ.
    I actually did try a 429Trail but can't really compare it to my Jet 9 rdo since it's the older '14 100mm version.
    The good thing is that it's really hard to buy a bad bike these days.
    Niner Jet 9 RDO, Scalpel 29, XTC 650b, 04 Stumpjumper FSR Pro, Trek Rigid SS - No suspension, no gears....no problem

  15. #15
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    I went with the RKT after a test ride on the Jet 9 and have no regrets. Fox 34, Fox Transfer dropper post and Roval Traverse carbon wheels.

  16. #16
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    I'm torn! RKT or Jet 9 RDO. Long read, sorry and TIA.

    and congrats !
    Yea my gut keeps taking me that aways- towards the XCier frame.



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  17. #17
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    Coming from a bike with 130/120mm travel, I was a bit concerned about the 100/90mm travel of my RKT.

    I'm really glad I took the chance as it's just about perfect for me and the type riding I do. I'll be 55 this year and though I don't ride as fast as I used too, I still like to ride pretty hard.

    The trails I ride are fairly tame. Living in central SC, we have some nice trails to ride but they're hardtail friendly so a short travel FS bike is fine.

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