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  1. #1
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    Niner One 9 or Ventana El Comandante??

    Hey all....looking to build up my first 29er SS. Looking for suggestions from those who have experience with the aforementioned bikes! I am in the market to buy a frame now and am torn between these two!

    I plan on building a high-end spec bike that will be raced this year.

    Any help would be appreciated!!

  2. #2
    One Gear
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    I spent a long time looking at 29er SS frames like you. I ended up with the El Comandante, but mainly for size and the adjustable rear dropouts. Some of it came down to sizing. Ventana and Salsa make a 20" and I didn't want to go up to a 21" in the Niner. The adjustable rear dropouts let you adjust your chainline without moving the cranks around. This is some slick engineering. I'm fussy about my seat position and I didn't want to doink with my seat everytime that I adjust the chain tension.

    The Niner is a little lighter if it matters.

    Good luck

  3. #3
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    Thanks for the thoughts. I have been burning up the search button trying to narrow it down. I assume you have the most recent Ventana frame? Minus the EBB?

  4. #4
    more skier than biker
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    I raced for 2 years on a 2009 18" El Commandante (that is now up for sale!), and now I currently own and have been on a Niner Air 9 Carbon since late August (was one of the first batch of mediums to hit the States). (I believe that the geometry on the A9C is identical to the One9...I haven't checked though, so I might be wrong).

    In short: I like the Niner better for racing. In my opinion it handles and slices and dices singletrack better than the El Comm, but this might be a function of fit too as I believe that the Niner geometry just fits me better. i.e. the top tube length is a bit longer on the Niner in a comparable length which allows me to run a shorter stem, and the seat stays are shorter and the BB lower on the Niner which makes it 'carvier' in my opinion. I also had a 100mm fork on the El Comm and I'm running the Niner with their carbon fork so that might make a handling difference too.

    The one area where I thought the El Comm had an advantage was going fast and straight over rough choppy terrain. Maybe the longer seatstays had something to do with that, but the thing was a Cadillac over rock gardens.

    Also, one thing I miss about the El Comm is that the Ventana offices are 15 minutes from my house. If I ever had an issue with my frame, they'd let me run right down there and talk with them. Their customer service is great...but that being said, so is Niner's. I also like the fact that Ventana's were basically hand made right here in NorCal. I miss the feeling of being on a frame that was welded together, painted and finished very close to home.

    So my El Comm was the last model year that they made with an EBB. I do not know if the geometry of it changed it all when they got rid of the EBB and went to the latest iteration.

    Hope that helps.
    Kappius Components Ambassador - Ping me a note for a discount code

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by canonshooter
    Thanks for the thoughts. I have been burning up the search button trying to narrow it down. I assume you have the most recent Ventana frame? Minus the EBB?
    Yes, there is no longer an EBB. I wish that I could offer more insight into the ride, but this is both my first 29er and my first SS. I came off of a 5.5" squish to this and the handling is so completely different. As long as you keep it rolling, it does plow over everything. I liked the Ventana for resale purposes also. If if couldn't stand the thing, I could always build up a multi gear bike in another hour or two. It can also be converted to a belt drive which may be in the cards next year. After the frame and wheels, the funds started to dwindle and the belt drive would be another $250+

  6. #6
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    @Tyrone - I know who you are! I was the one talking to you the other day! I wanted to buy your frame so bad! Unfortunately I am a bit too tall according to Sherwood. I have not been able to find much in the resale market for either frame. The Niner was the first one I was looking for before I ran across yours. I have a good friend on Ventana FS and he loves it. The new EL COMM frames can be had for $950 new and the One9's I have seen as low as $720 new. As far as the EBB goes I dont care either way. I believe that if it is setup correctly there wouldnt be any problems. Although the new El Comm frames look sweet. I do have a question about the fork you are running on your niner...is it comparable to 80mm or 100mm? I am planning on running Rigid with carbon fork. I dont love that the Niner frames are made in Taiwan, but I guess in the end it really doesn't matter as long as the customer service is good! I already have an Ellsworth and have had great luck with the bike and the CS has been great when I had questions.

    @.40 - Thanks for your response. I too have a 5" FS. (See above) that I will be keeping. This will also be my first SS and 29er. I am excited to dive in. I am not too worried about resale. I tend to keep all of my bikes anyway. I have too many memories to get rid of them! A few guys I ride with have been trying to get me over to 29er so I am excited.

  7. #7
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    Plus, it comes in black to match the Epiphany that it sits next to
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Niner One 9 or Ventana El Comandante??-img_0133-large-.jpg  


  8. #8
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    I like the custom sizing you get with ventana and the craftmanship is outstanding!

  9. #9
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    Well my Ells is the gray smoke color....which I love! Pics to follow!

  10. #10
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    I have an El Commandante. I also have a Tallboy and used to ride a Karate Monkey. Never owned a Niner brand, but they are great from what all the mtbr reviewers say.

    What I like about the El Commandante: (1.) A more relaxed head tube angle (69.4 degrees). No one else does this. Gives the front wheel more reach on the downhills. (2.) Sherwood Gibson, owner of Ventana. Easy to work with. He dialed me in to a semi-custom frame with the seat tube length I like and the effective top tube that I need. (3). Laterally stiff. It tracks precisely on fast rocky descents. My Karate Monkey used to wallow a bit. Not this frame. The Aluminum is not harsh though, so long as you get your tire pressures dialed in. (4.) The paint job. Work of art. I chose cosmic orange. (5.) Handmade in the USA.

    The frame weighed in at 4.3 lbs. That's 1.2 lbs lighter than my Karate Monkey, but not race light if you are stickler on weight. Call Teresa at Ventana and she will put you in touch with Sherwood.

    I have a 100mm fork on it. It kicks seriouis ass.

  11. #11
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    Carbon Belt

    mdavenpo,

    Are you running a Gates Carbon belt on you El Commandante? If so, has it given you any problems?

  12. #12
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    thanks for the info everyone. I went to the shop yesterday and put my hands on the One9...I was really impressed! Build quality is there and the bio-centric BB looks very functional.

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