Niner One 9 or Santa Cruz High Ball- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Niner One 9 or Santa Cruz High Ball

    A new SS is in order and ill build it up this winter to be ready for sloppy spring riding.


    I've got a few issues (we'll stick the the bike related ones here) maybe some can help me with.

    Steel frames are too flexy for my style. Routinely I am dropping chains on hard out of the saddle grunts whiles taking turns. I need a stiffer but not too heavy frame. Been on a SS for close to 10 years now and have been up, down, and all around with trying to remedy chain drop issues by looking at chain line, cogs, chains, rings, etc... For me, it comes down to frame flex at the BB, which leads to chain drop. This problem occurs with the 29" steel frames I've ridden but not on aluminum frames.


    Niner has been tweaking the One 9 for a few years I'm hoping they've dialed this sort of problem out. By what I've heard sounds like they've made a compliant frame that still does not twist badly.

    I'm considering an aluminum High Ball but this frame has not been tested nearly as much as the Niner. It does seems to be a bit more burly which might translate into a less twisty frame.

    Ay thoughts on that one?


    The Niner EBB has me scared. The main reason I SS is to keep it simple and I like quiet and creaks drive me crazy. I'm not seeing too many reports on the new EBB II. Sounds like the High Ball might have a better setup in this regard.


    Geometry. Kind of a wash. Both frames have things I like but they are different.

    Thanks in advance.

  2. #2
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    My 2012 One9 isn't brutally stiff. I haven't ridden the Highball.

    I will say that I had expectations of non-stop trouble with the EBB, and I haven't really had any issues. I haven't bothered with Carbogrip. I also change gearing relatively often, so it gets wiped down when I do.

  3. #3
    SS Pusher Man
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    Got my Highball frame on Friday.......waiting for headset to build.

    I am replacing a '11 El Mariachi. I expect it to be much stiffer.

    Weight is huge difference for large frames: Salsa 5.8 lbs, SC 4.3 lbs.

    I had considered the Niner at one point, but really wanted to avoid the EBB.

    If the Highball is anything like the Chameleon, you won have to worry about frame flex.
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  4. #4
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    I can only speak for the AL Highball here, as I've never riden a Niner. My Highball Experence was via the Santa Cruz Demo, where they have one in their fleet set up as a SS. From a ride quality and geometry standpoint the Highball was awesome. The slider system looks nearly fail proof also - which is very important.

    I am quite certain the Highball will be replacing a Trek Superfly SS (Carbon) which is my current ride, as I like the short wheel base and tight handling of the Highball a lot.

    The only other thing out there that I would consider as a replacement for my current ride is the new Pivot LES, but that is currently out of my budget - but an awesome bike worth considering (especially if stiffness is the main concern here).

  5. #5
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    I currently ride a scandium version of the One 9 with the Bio-Cent I BB (one bolt). No issues to date. I clean with alcohol, install per instructions with Oatley's compound.

    I've got both sliders and EBB in the garage. I honestly prefer the EBB now. Easier set up for me. Plus the One 9 frame is lighter by 1.5 pounds over the other frame.

    With the new 2 bolt BioCen EBB, you shouldn't have any problems with the slippage.

  6. #6
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    I have the 2012 One 9. I had difficulties with the slipping EBB when using Oateys. Once I used the Carbogrip it has been absolutely perfect. I previously rode a Vassago Jabberwocky and enjoyed it I just wanted something with a little quicker handling. The One 9 definitely is stiffer, lighter and faster for me. As long as the EBB continues to work with the Carbogrip I'm very happy with this frame. I've not ridden a Highball but did look at it longingly after a few frustrating rides with my One 9 in the early days.

  7. #7
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    I've been very happy with my Hydroformed Niner One 9.
    Coming off a Scadium Air 9 conversion I didn't notice a lot of difference in frame "feel".

    I keep hearing talk of EBB problems but to date I have not had any issues so far. Mind you I'm only 165lbs.

    I hate to advocate drugs, alcohol, violence, or insanity to anyone, but they've always worked for me.
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  8. #8
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    Also take a look at the Specialized Carve SS, with a split shell ebb which is bullet proof and you'll never have a problem with it. I've never dropped a chain on mine, and that's the main reason I got one. That and the way it puts the power down.

    Here's my 2012 Carve SS. I've made a few changes since this pic, but nothing major. I got the frame only and custom built the rest.



    I see hills.

    I want to climb them.

  9. #9
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    Carve

    Quote Originally Posted by Stevob View Post
    Also take a look at the Specialized Carve SS, with a split shell ebb which is bullet proof and you'll never have a problem with it. I've never dropped a chain on mine, and that's the main reason I got one. That and the way it puts the power down.

    Here's my 2012 Carve SS. I've made a few changes since this pic, but nothing major. I got the frame only and custom built the rest.




    I was looking at that frame pretty hard last year. The pinch bolt EBB looks great. From some anecdotal reports I heard there might be concerns about lateral stiffness with this frame - I drop chains from flexy frames. I do have a Spec dealer in town. Also, the geo is spot on for what I'm looking for except the stays look a bit long.

    Thanks.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Miker J View Post
    I was looking at that frame pretty hard last year. The pinch bolt EBB looks great. From some anecdotal reports I heard there might be concerns about lateral stiffness with this frame - I drop chains from flexy frames. I do have a Spec dealer in town. Also, the geo is spot on for what I'm looking for except the stays look a bit long.

    Thanks.
    I'm only 145# so I can't say that I'm the perfect frame flex investigation candidate, but I came off an El Mariachi which dropped chains all the freakin time. I swapped the entire drivetrain onto this bike and haven't dropped one since. Stays are 3mm longer than the other two you're looking at. 2013's are designed around a 100mm fork. 2012's used 80mm. Shorter head tubes now I think, to compensate.
    I see hills.

    I want to climb them.

  11. #11
    Kam
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    my 2012 one9 is not a crazy stiff frame. niner did their homework....it is light, stiff enough, and very complaint.

    yea, weird to have those traits from a alu bike.....but i like super stiff bikes and the one9 isn't super stiff. my moots rsl is stiffer. that said, i still love this bike!!!!

    but, it is a very responsive bike and i doubt dropped chains will be an issue.

    problem areas...this bike is noisy. i swapped the headset to a cane creek 40. and, the seat clamp to a thomson. the ebb squeaks but doesn't slip. i think i might go with a bc2.

    all this and i love the bike though. i have has many super high end bike and this bike is one of my favs. just wish it was less noisy outta the box....with a niner rdo fork or a 90mm lefty....this bike just plain flies!!!

    if you are scared of the ebb....you can always get a problem solvers e46 ebb (i ran one on my moots and it works great).
    "forget kings...forget hadleys......they all have crap engagement. just run your bike fixed gear." - FoShizzle

  12. #12
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    I have ridden a High Ball and rated it highly. Killer frame. I did however instead opt for the Carve Pro 29 SS. Still waiting to get it built up (a few more parts needed) but from what I have heard from some others with them, stiffness does not seem to be an issue.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by blum585 View Post
    The only other thing out there that I would consider as a replacement for my current ride is the new Pivot LES, but that is currently out of my budget - but an awesome bike worth considering (especially if stiffness is the main concern here).

    Anyone know the pricepoint on this bike/frame?

  14. #14
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    Here's my 2012 Carve SS. I've made a few changes since this pic, but nothing major. I got the frame only and custom built the rest.



    I ride a 2011 Rockhopper with the split BB. I'm 82kg and 6"2 and i haven't even had to retighten the chain since i first built the bike and adjusted the EBB.I've never dropped a chain either. I'm pretty happy with it, but it's my first SS and my first MTB so i don't really know any better The Highball is damn sexy though )

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by rob1035 View Post
    Anyone know the pricepoint on this bike/frame?
    The Price point on the Pivot LES? I've read $1999 for the frame, and $99 extra for the Swinger SS system. That seems to be the going rate for most new Carbon Hardtail Frames today... Most Carbon Hardtail 29ers do not have the SS option though. Specialized has the Stumpjumper Carbon SS frame (SS only) priced at: $2,200. The Trek Superfly SS (discontinued now) was last priced at $2,889 w/ Fox RCL (SS only). Intense has the "Hard Eddy" with a SS option - Haven't really seen much about that build though. Niner A9C is around $1,900, I think a bit extra w/ the ecentric BB.

    The Carve looks like an interesting bike at a very good price point.

    This is sorta a hijack of the topic, but at least relating to SS...

  16. #16
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    Why don't you go with a custom frame? Seven will build you a frame that you can define the geometry and how stiff you want the frame to be. It might cost a little more, but you could have the bike you're looking for.

  17. #17
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    Thanks blum.

    I'm very surprised to hear reports of the specialized being flexy, every one of their frames I've ridden has been pretty stiff (SJ 29er, gold with the same EBB setup is the most recent).

  18. #18
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    Got the first ride on the Highball Al last night. Gotta say it was pretty damn stiff. Didn't sense any flex at the BB.

    Spent the last 2 years on a El Mariachi.

    So far so good.
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  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by solo-x View Post
    Why don't you go with a custom frame? ...
    Second this. Seems like both of these frames have things you don't like, and you're a seasoned rider that knows what you want. Call up Walt and get a custom geo frame with the tensioner of your choice. He can do Black Cat swingers, if you don't like EBB.

  20. #20
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    Personally I would love to build up a carbon High Ball with a beer components ebb slapped in it!

  21. #21
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    Been beating the crap out of this frame in Colorado and it is rock solid! I too don't like the flex of steel or carbon. Got the Santa Cruz and love it!

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by 1SPD View Post
    Personally I would love to build up a carbon High Ball with a beer components ebb slapped in it!
    Doesn't the HBC use a standard threaded BB? Or does it come with a PF30 or BB30 now?

  23. #23
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    Riding a older one 9 with the one bolt ebb and a rotor ring, never dropped a chain. Normal maintenence required but no issues, 1200 miles and riding strong.

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