| Niner's 150-millimeter-travel WFO 9 is finished in matte black with subdued graphics that underscores its mission statement as a no-compromise entrant into the gravity-sports arena.|
showed Pinkbike its prototype WFO 9 a while back at the Enduro World Series in Winter Park, Colorado. The real deal was unveiled at Eurobike, and it looks to be a winner. The WFO-9 follows the profile of Niner's recent mid-travel 29ers like the Jet and RDO, but there have been significant improvements and changes throughout the new chassis in order to stretch the suspension travel of the welded aluminum frame to 150 millimeters. The WFO 9's top tube has been shortened 20 millimeters to help center the rider between the wheels, and 20 millimeters has been shaved from the head tube to lower the handlebars. With a 160 millimeter stroke RockShox Pike RCT3 fork, the WFO's basic geometry lends itself well for gravity-oriented riders. The head angle is 67 degrees, while the calculated seat angle is around 75 degrees, depending upon the saddle height. Niner proudly states that the new WFO 9 is intended to be a gravity bike for bike park senders, but with effective pedaling action from its CVA dual-link suspension and a claimed weight of 28.7 pounds, Niner adds that is an near- perfect choice for European-style enduro racing. WFO 9s will arrive at dealers around December '13, with the price as-shown pegged at $4999, and the frame and Monarch RC3 reservoir shock set at $2099 USD. Colors are Atomic Blue or Racer Red.
| (From left) WFO 9 suspension is Niner's patented Constantly Varying Arc dual-link design, with beefed up rockers, 15-millimeter shafts at all pivot locations and a smooth leverage rate designed to keep the bike pinned to the earth. Forged dropouts are optimized for a 142/12 millimeter through axle and the left side integrates post-type brake caliper mounts. the WFO 9's super-strong rear derailleur hanger is almost ten millimeters thick to keep the changer tracking the cogs instead of removing spokes after a crash.|
Niner claims that the WFO 9's stand-over height is only 27.5 inches (40cm)
, which is low for a short-travel XC bike. Even if it were only close to that number, that is outstanding stand-over clearance for a 29er of any type. The chassis is intended to fit tires up to 2.5 inches, although the use of the largest DH carcasses will eat up most of the bike's mud clearance in the rear, where much engineering was done to keep the WFO 9's chainstays short, while guiding its massive 29-inch tire away from the rider's bum at full compression. Shod with Schwalbe 2.35-inch Nobby Nic tires, which is one of the largest in its class, there is barely one centimeter of air between the rubber and the frame in all directions. Niner's designers wanted the WFO 9's rear end as short as possible to give the bike an agile feel in the turns. Niner's choice of the travel-adjustable Pike RCT3 fork allows riders to drop the fork 35 millimeters, steepening the steering geometry by over one degree and lowering the handlebar by about one and a half inches. Future enduro racers can use the feature to transform the WFO into a better climber for transfer stages.
| Niner's CVA rear suspension is driven by RockShox's very capable Monarch RC3 reservoir damper and backed up by the fork which may become the must-have for 2014 - the new Pike is the best slider to come from RockShox in a long time.|
The chassis is designed exclusively for a single-chainring drivetrain and thus, there is no provision for a front changer. The seat tube is rectangular where a band clamp would normally sit. Niner provisions the WFO with an ISCG-05 chainguide mount and cable routing for an internal-style dropper seatpost. Why Niner does not furnish dropper posts on its technical trailbike models is a mystery to us. Be sure to calculate the price of a dropper post into the final purchase price of this otherwise perfectly spec'ed machine.
Looking at the frame's curving tubes, there is evidence everywhere on the chassis of Niner's air-form process which uses heat and pressure to shape its aluminum pipes to better handle the various stresses that ravage the chassis in the downhill environment. To maximize the welding area of the shortened head tube, Niner uses internal head set cups. Cane Creek AngleSet headsets will fit the WFO 9 should you decide on a custom steering angle.
| (From Left) The travel adjust dial on the WFO 9's left-side crown toggles the air-sprung fork's stroke from 160 to 125 millimeters. Niner's stout 50-millimeter stem clamps a carbon fiber 780-millimeter zero-rise Niner Flat Top handlebar - low bars are a must for long-travel 29ers. No provision for a front changer here. Niner dedicated the WFO to SRAM's X01 one-by eleven transmission, but we suspect that Shimano will announce its eleven-speed one-by XTR group as early as the Interbike show next month. Internal headset bearings further reduce the handlebar stack of the WFO 9. |
Niner will offer the WFO at two price points and as a frame and shock. The top, Four-Star build shown here is quite affordable considering its direct competition in the AM/enduro segment. The bike is built around SRAM's X01 transmission with the X1 aluminum crank option and a 32-tooth chainring, and as we documented, the bike rides on the best mid-travel suspension items to come out of RockShox in two decades. It rolls on a 29-millimeter-wide Stan's ZR Flow EX tubeless wheelset, which provide excellent torsional stability for large-volume tires. The seatpost is a Niner item, topped by a comfortable Niner-logo WTB Volt Race saddle. Brakes are Avid's X9 Trails, with powerful four-piston calipers squeezing 160 rear and a 180-millimeter front rotors. Beyond the missing dropper seatpost, there is little if anything left to want from the WFO 9's build. All accounted for, Niner's new WFO 9 looks to be a winner. Niner WFO 9 GeometryNiner Bikes