First Look: Niner Debuts Long-Travel Protos at Winter Park EWS

Jul 29, 2013
by Richard Cunningham  
 
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Niner WFO prototype
  Nate Adams poses with the new Niner enduro proto - Philip Roupp photo


Niner spoke candidly in a recent interview about its plans to enter the enduro and gravity arenas this year, and the first prototypes were seen in the pits of the Colorado venue of the Enduro World Series. Niner's Nate Adams and Brad Cole raced the new design and Nate Adams allowed PB photographer Philip Roupp to snap a few quick shots of the bike. The bike had Jett graphics and sported RockShox suspension, with a 160mm Pike fork and an apparently customized Monarch Plus reservoir shock, spray-painted white.

Niner WFO prototype
  The aluminum chassis is built significantly lighter than Niner's 140-mm travel WFO-9 AM/Freeride frame. - Philip Roupp photo


No details were forthcoming from Niner about the exact travel and geometry of the bikes, but '150' was etched onto the top of the shock and rough calculations of the linkage and shock-stroke indicate that rear wheel travel should be close to 150 millimeters. The drivetrain was SRAM X0, and there appears to be a provision for a front derailleur. As far as frame design and geometry goes, the new frame follows Niner's established RIP and WFO DNA, with a deeply curved top tube, CVA (constantly varying arc) dual-link rear suspension, and a seat tube with a pronounced curve in its mid-section to assist rear-tire clearance at full compression. Measuring from the side shot gives us a head angle in the neighborhood of 67 degrees - plenty slack for a big-wheel bike intended for AM/Enduro.

Niner WFO prototype
  Nate Adams at speed on the new Niner. - Philip Roupp photo


Niner has a strong foothold in the XC/trail community, but has yet to make a sizable dent in the long-travel and gravity side of the mountain bike spectrum. With a significant number of gravity riders on board, Niner is not short on passion or motivation, so its forthcoming Enduro and DH projects will be worth watching. We'll keep you posted.

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117 Comments

  • + 29
 That looks like a sick dh/enduro bike, but that white rear shock doesn't agree with me...
  • + 9
 I have a feeling its just a prototype.
  • + 8
 The orange hubs stand out more to me. Red hubs, RED HUBS.
  • + 9
 You did read where it says the shock was spray painted? Any production model would be sans spray paint...
  • + 1
 they forgot about stealth reverb.
  • - 2
 Stealth reverbs DON'T. Ha e a cable dangling like the one in the picture
  • + 9
 Nobody noticed the "X0 wannabe XX1" setup?
  • + 4
 It actually looks great! I'd be really curious to try one to see how it handles. I guess they didn't get the 650b memo from giant though hahaha!
  • + 7
 Wouldn't that be kind of rediculus for "NINEer" to make a "SEVENPOINTFIVer". (scoffs)
  • - 14
 finally an enduro bike that actually looks good
  • + 3
 I'm so enve-ous of those wheels!
  • + 0
 SRAM is coming out with a X0 1x11 variant of XX1 so that's not a wannabe setup (there were several announcements), it is 1x11 X0 due out sometime later this year if I recall correctly.
  • + 8
 But that's just a standard 10 speed XO type 2 rear der. The XO1 has the parallel action deal like XX1, and is 11 speeds...
  • + 3
 Pretty sure the Monarch Plus RT3's come in a white option, seeming that I own one. Looks like they just peeled the decals off and probably have it set up with a custom shim stack.
  • - 14
 Sweet bike except for the RockShox...
  • + 2
 XX1 rings fit on MY13 X-0 Cranks so a lot of people have been losing their chainguide on 1X10 drivetrains by running the XX1 chainring. That's what's going on there.
  • + 1
 @bngofast you're exactly right. By using an XX1 chainring Nate was able to lose his guide and take a little weight off of the bike without having to worry about his chain coming off...
  • + 0
 So the XX1 chainring is compatible with a 10 speed chain? I know it will fit on there (the XX1 chain would be narrower), but it's tight enough to stabilize the system?
  • - 1
 @IanHylands Oh really? Pardon me for being old school, but I will have to try that trick on my new build. Now is it just that the chain ring in narrower, or does the crankset itself factor into the chain not coming off? Bikes have come a long, long way since 2001
  • + 1
 X01 has an aluminum crank
  • + 1
 bngofast XX1 chain rings don't fit X0 cranks, but the XX1 spider does.
  • + 2
 You'd probably get better results with a XX1 chainring with a type 2 derailleur but honestly, this year I've hesitantly went 2x10 +type 2 and dropped the messy chain guide. Brought my AM bike to hell and back on some chundery/rocky DH runs and never really had a problem. Some of you might want to give it a shot before dropping a lot of money on the expensive stuff.
  • + 2
 Seraph, you're totally right, and now that I've seen the X01 and XX1 they're almost identical. Basically the only real difference between XX1 and X01 is a different spider and chainring size. Cranks are identical, derailleurs basically the same, cassette basically the same. So really the advantage to buying X01 is that you can go with another companies crank if you want. The XO1 rings will bolt right on to any crank with a 94 BCD, which means you'll be able to buy the cassette, derailleur, shifter, chain and chainring, and not have to spring for a new crank if you already have one that you like.

@focofox37 the crank makes no real difference, the biggest part of it is the chainring and the way it engages with the chain. Nate is running a 10 speed setup here with an XX1 chainring, and so far he hasn't dropped a chain.

@maxlombardy, yes, see my comment above.
  • + 1
 Thanks Ian, I have learned quite a few new things in the past month. Will be nice to run a bike sans guide. Now I just have to source / build a taco to protect the set-up,
[Reply]
  • + 25
 Looks to me Fox is taking a bit of a beating on the OEM suspension this year... Seems to be a lot of bikes spec's with RS...way to to kill it RS can't wait to get my new PIKE...as for my Monarch RCT3 on my Devinci Dixon....so far very pleased! BTW was a huge fox fan till all this CTD stuff came out!!!
  • + 9
 That new PIKE is looking sweeeeet!
  • + 6
 i have noticed the same thing with OEM builds this year... I've been really pleased with the RCT3 Monarch on my Dixon but I still decided to pull the trigger and go for the new CC DB Air with the climb switch... hopefully I wont be disappointed.
  • + 2
 I'm sure you won't be disappointed..... Have the CCDB Air on my Trek scratch and just love it!
  • + 13
 Fox deserves a dent... For the last few years I've had to warranty a few forks a year (retailer) for creaking crowns, and terrible stiction in the FIT damper. In that time, ZERO Rockshox warranties. Not just that, but the customer service of SRAM is phenomenal, can't say anything remotely like that from fox. We waited 3 weeks for a fork warranty only to receive a fork cut 2" too short! Performance wise, when they work, they work, but RS top tier forks and shocks have treated me very well.
  • + 4
 I have to agree, I've sent my fox forks back under warranty 3 times this year . But my RS forks on my hardtail are still going strong and I've had them 6 months longer than the foxs. I will never buy another fox product
  • + 6
 I have my RockShox SID SL Dual Air with 28mm stanchions and canti mounts from like 2001 still going strong to this day Smile
  • + 3
 That's awsome man, that sez how good rockshox are
  • + 4
 Kinda hard to have great quality when you run your production teams on 10-12hr/6 day a week shifts. Then push engineering to put forth the next round of latest & greatest.....all the while trying to set up production in Taiwan. Way to go Fox.
  • + 1
 Hey ejmoto, where's that US factory producing RS forks? Oh yea it's in Taichung, Taiwan
  • + 1
 Og two tone, do a little more research and you will see most of fox's stuff is made in taiwan and assembled in the usa.
  • + 1
 AM I the only one being unlucky with Avid/Sram/RS stuff? Everyone seems to praise them but I've had very mixed experience with them. My 2009 boxxer was perfect. My 2010 boxxer has the small bump sensitivity of a brick and no maintenance will save it. My 2007 juicy 3 worked very well, my 2009 juicy 5 were crap, my 2010 elixir CR are total crap, my 2012 elixir 7 are very good. Never had a problem with the SRAM stuff but I got a 9spd x7 sram a few weeks ago and it was all loose after 3 runs. I've had enough of their russian roulette B.S.

I figured I'd go fox when I bought my AM bike since I was dissapointed with the 2010 RS fork, It works very well in general except for the massive break dive. I'm going to change the DH fork and I'm starting to consider anything not RS/fox because I'm truly not impressed with either so far.
  • + 2
 the point is, the new rockshox stuff is amazing. I cannot speak for the old. heard the older stuff sucks though
  • + 1
 y9pema what's your point? I was replying to ejmoto who's comment implies Rockshox isn't made in Taiwan.
Now show me were I said Fox wasn't.
[Reply]
  • + 17
 About time Niner.
  • + 3
 WFO is a solid bike to ride down hills, but Jesus that thing is not fun to pedal back up
[Reply]
  • + 5
 I personally think this will be one of the better performing long travel twenty niners out there, most of the geometries and ride qualities of the newer generation Niner rigs seem to be pretty dialed.
[Reply]
  • + 7
 Nate Adams is so handsome.
  • + 1
 Not to mention perfectly matched bike and kit.
[Reply]
  • + 5
 Representing Colorado with the Jett gear!!! That Niner also looks really nice.
  • + 1
 If anyone at Niner is reading this I would be very interested in a full set of specs for this frame, thanks.
[Reply]
  • + 5
 that thing looks like its gonna rip!!!!
  • + 1
 definitely. although the suspension looks like a combination of Giant's Maestro and Trek's Evo... but regardless, I've been waiting for a 29er to come out with a spec and weight like this, Nice wok Niner!!
[Reply]
  • + 4
 Tall rider no like slack seat tube
  • + 0
 But the right frame size.
  • + 1
 It looks much slacker than it really is due to the curvature on the tube.
[Reply]
  • + 4
 hot!!!! sooo hot!!!!!!!!1
[Reply]
  • + 4
 This looks sick, the head angle is crazy.
[Reply]
  • + 0
 Fugly. Am I the only one who thinks this looks ridiculous? The wheel base is stupid short looking and it looks like the seat tube and top tube are out of whack to get any kind of good head tube angle. Can't wait for the day when these guys make a 27.5 and give some BS excuse why. 29'ers are finally going to die. They will stick around and be xc race specific bikes only. 27.5 will take over the "trail" category. Watch and see. Working in a Colorado shop, people who rent our 29'ers come back scratching their heads. Steep, rocky, tight single track is no place for one. Fire roads, yes, but who wants to ride that. Breck 100, winner on a 29'er won by 8 seconds only because second place crashed (on a 26'er) in some wet roots. Tell me the advantage again?
  • + 3
 I guess in that case the advantage was on wet roots
[Reply]
  • + 2
 call me petty, but I would never buy (another) Niner, simply because I don't like Chris Sugai's attitude, same goes for Tony Ellsworth.
  • + 3
 Totally agree. Sugai's statements about 29 inch wheels were 1.5 inches off the mark. It's one thing to market 29ers as superior (he is trying to sell them), but to claim they would take over all performance mountain bikes, and compare 650b to flex stems was dumb.
[Reply]
  • + 5
 Yes thats a bad ass 29er
[Reply]
  • + 1
 It's nice to see a proper stiff looking rocker link on a dw-link / virtual pivot design bike opposed to two plates bolted together that you see on most
[Reply]
  • + 1
 Ive been pondering why Niner hasnt stepped up to the plate for so long. Still waiting on a WFO remake. Cant wait to see what they got!
[Reply]
  • + 0
 What size wheels do you ride?

Select all that apply
votes size
49 16
9 18
321 20
171 24
2964 26
135 650B - 27.5"
310 29
324 700C
28 Other
[Reply]
  • + 2
 the WFO was the first longer travel 29er, but the geo was still to steep, if you ask me.
  • + 6
 Erm, Mr Lenz and his mighty Peanut Butter Jelly Lunchbox want a word with you. The Lunchie is still the gold standard as far as big 29ers go, big stable bike for riding on big unstable mountain trails.
  • + 3
 True, forgive my omission, but I meant major brand (although many will say niner is still a small company). Few outside of Colorado know of Lenz and his solid lineup.
[Reply]
  • + 2
 They missed the 650b memo.
  • + 1
 Let's start a brand: "7.5er"!
[Reply]
  • + 1
 Anyone have info on the Shimano XTR and SLX frames that were chilling outside Shimano's tent?
  • + 1
 I don't think they are actually Shimano frames. At Sea Otter they had frames with custom paint and decals that matched the drivetrain group they were showing off. But who knows.
  • + 2
 It was a Santa Cruz blur xc with the electronic fox and a transition tr 450 with the zee.
[Reply]
  • + 1
 I want, no need a pike please! I've hindered my riding via fox talas for too long Frown
Bike looks good, for a 29".
[Reply]
  • + 1
 Funny that you guys seem more concerned about the colour scheme of a proto bike rather than the way it rides
[Reply]
  • + 1
 "Jett Graphics"? I see one Jett sticker.
[Reply]
  • + 1
 I like the Tallboy LT better. Smile Sorry Niner.
  • + 6
 2.5 degree HTA difference though, arguably very very different purposes and riders
  • + 1
 "No details were forthcoming from Niner about the exact travel and geometry of the bikes", so no real numbers on HA, and besides, the Tallboy LT is an aggressive all-mountain bike ridden in Enduro Races. Check www.pinkbike.com/photo/9714516
[Reply]
  • + 0
 the future of downhill bikes
[Reply]
  • + 0
 They'll probably change their name to sevener
  • - 1
 There is already a company called seven. Bit similar dont ya think??
  • + 0
 because of the rise of 27.5 (650b)
  • + 1
 Coincidentally, both companies seem to have an exceptionally high number of broken frames...at least from the riders in my part of the world.
  • + 0
 Is Seven run by a total prick too??? f*ck Niner and double f*ck Chris Sugai.
[Reply]
  • + 0
 The one bike I didn't see this weekend
[Reply]
  • + 1
 No slow motion videos?
  • + 1
 I thought they'd hired Ian Hyland to make vids and take photos?
  • + 3
 There will be some solid photos and video once the bike is released, don't worry...
  • + 2
 Good to hear man
[Reply]
  • - 1
 Personally I would go for a Fox front and rear as I think it may just suite the bike a little better
  • + 3
 The Fox 34 is great but the Pike is lighter with a better damper and more travel. Seems like a no-brainer to me for a bike like this.
  • + 1
 Current fox (aside from the DH stuff) is crap end of story... Pull your heads out kids
  • + 1
 If by "current" you mean 2013 CTD then I agree. I haven't ridden the 2014 so I can't speak to that. I have a 2012 FIT damper in my Float 34 and while it's not perfect it's significantly better than first-generation CTD.
[Reply]
  • - 3
 Hate to say it but it does kinda look like a Treck Session...
[Reply]
  • - 1
 long travel lol
[Reply]
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