Niner Acquired by United Wheels - Chris Sugai Talks About What Lies Ahead

Mar 20, 2018
by Richard Cunningham  
Niner
An investment consortium named United Wheels steps in to help the Niner crew and brand stay intact.


Back in November, 2017, Pinkbike reported that Niner Bikes had filed for protection under chapter 11 bankruptcy rules and was seeking investors to stay in the game. At the time, Niner co-founder and CEO Chris Sugai walked us through the details of the court proceedings and was confident that Niner had indeed found a suitor that appeared to be a perfect fit. The Colorado-based investment group was reportedly assembled from bike friendly people who were sympathetic to Niner's rider-driven mission statement. Chapter 11, however, gives the court the final say, on who gets what and goes where. All bidders had to be considered before the process could be finalized.

What the court wanted was a fair deal that would compensate Niner's creditors, while giving the pioneer 29er bike brand a second chance to flourish. What Chris Sugai wanted was to ensure that nobody was tossed onto the street as a result of the sale, and that Niner's team would have the funds to implement future designs they had been working on before the firm faced the stark reality that they didn't have the money or the momentum to fulfill those dreams and remain competitive. Their Colorado connection was put on hold while the court waited to see if a better deal arose. Sugai and Niner had to hold their breath for months before negotiations ended and the deal was inked. In the end, a number of suitors appeared, and the prevailing bidder was an Asian investment consortium named United Wheels.

Niner S.I.R Nine Chris Sugai
Chris Sugai with a SIR 9 in the yellow and white graphics that designate its profits to IMBA's trail efforts.
I have known Chris Sugai (and Niner co-founder Steve Domahidy) for much of the time since they were making rigid single-speeds and arguing with the industry that 29ers were a viable product. It takes a busload of resolve to introduce a new concept to the mountain bike world from grassroots, and more so to build a successful business in this industry.

Niner managed to do both, and they accomplished that while staying true to the sport. It seems ironic then, that Niner would run into trouble at the very moment when 29ers were blossoming in almost every segment of the sport, so I'm encouraged that they have been granted the wherewithal to take advantage of that opportunity.
Richard Cunningham
bigquotes

In the following interview, Chris Sugai talks about the details of Niner's purchase and what the future may hold for the brand.





How did you end up with more suitors for Niner? Were you in better shape than first expected? Are premium MTB brands in demand?


Chris Sugai: We did have multiple bidders surfacing during the process. At the end of the day the chapter 11 process is a very public procedure – everything has to be brought out into the open – so, I think, going forward, companies became interested for different reasons.

I can’t speak much about them because I am under non-disclosure agreements from all of the parties involved. I am not being secretive, all of the pertinent parts of the case are in public documents. I’m happy to speak about that, but I can’t talk about anybody’s individual wishes, because of the NDA’s I have to abide by.

I had never heard of United Wheels until the Niner sale. Are they a private equity firm or a larger cycling conglomerate like Pon?


Sugai: United Wheels is a large entity. One of their major holdings is Huffy Bicycles, obviously, and they own two other companies. One is called Allite, Inc. and another is VAAST Bicycles We are happy to be part of this group and they are looking at making other strategic acquisitions in the premium bike space to go along with Niner.

In your press release with BRAIN recently, they stated that United Wheels is an Asian conglomerate. Are some of those investors bicycle manufacturing facilities? Some other popular brands are partially owned by Asian manufacturers, which curtails their options to choose facilities to make their bikes. Could this purchase impose similar limitations?


Sugai: We have talked with United Wheels and we are in alignment as far as what we want to do going forward. They want to invest heavily in Niner’s R&D so that we can continue to produce our bikes. United Wheels really liked the fact that we were in Fort Collins, Colorado. It’s a great place to develop mountain bikes and a great place to attract talent to come out and live the mountain bike lifestyle. That meant a lot to them and played a part in their strategy in purchasing us.

Mining for Skills
Niner Ambassador Kirt Voreis transfers his RIP 9 RDO during the "Mining" video shoot.

So, you can’t say yes or no if they own factories and whether you would be magnetized towards using them…


Sugai: Huffy, obviously, has their own factory that is primarily designed to make [value-priced] steel and aluminum frames, so there is no cross-over for a company like Niner, which produces high-end bicycles and frames. Everything we’ve discussed so far is for Niner to make the best bikes possible using factories that will give us the best results. So, no, we won’t be sharing factories. We will remain independent.

eMTBs are the big question on every boutique bike maker’s mind. Most European dealers and distributors have made it clear they’ll only market mountain bike brands that have e-bikes. Is Niner under pressure to develop one?


Sugai: Yeah, e-bikes are one of the things that are being openly discussed, especially for the European market. It makes a lot of sense. It won’t happen anytime soon, but it was one of the things that we had been planning and this investment will allow us to go forward with it.

I understand that you had a number of new projects on the burner before you decided to seek chapter 11 protection. Can you talk about anything Niner may be releasing soon?


Sugai: During this whole [court proceeding] we have not stopped development. We are going to have some new stuff to show at Sea Otter.

It seems like the super elite, $10,000 price point is crumbling and the buying trend is strongly favoring bikes that we once considered second tier, where customers get much more performance for their money. Is that your perception?


Sugai: I think that the customers who are buying $10,000 bikes are definitely the tip of the pyramid and that hasn’t gotten any wider over the past few years. That’s not our primary focus. Most of our bread and butter comes from riders out there who ride bikes in the $2500 to $4500 range. We will still offer bikes at that 10,000-dollar level for riders who want the best of everything, and we’ll have durable price-point bikes that have equipment on them that will last for years at prices that are affordable for most riders.

Who are Niner’s customers?

Niner image
Unlikely, but completely Niner: Reynolds-steel-frame RLT 9 gravel bike.

Sugai: One thing we have always said is that we want to build bikes for the avid rider. It’s how we define ourselves here at Niner. We all ride. We have long meetings about things like where to clock cable guides, or how easy it is to take off a brake caliper. We fuss over that stuff quite a bit and I think that shows up in the details of our frames. When people ride our bikes, I hope they would notice those small details that we believe, make a difference.

Every brand is scrambling to launch a long-travel 29er, so it would seem that Niner is poised to take advantage of the industrywide march towards big-wheeled bikes. And in the middle of all that, enthusiasts on the vanguard of the sport seem to be downsizing towards lighter-weight, shorter-travel bikes. Does Niner have a fresh strategy to capitalize on those trends?


Sugai: I’ve been in the bike industry for 14 years and I’ve definitely seen some pendulum swings. Obviously we are at a point where everyone is trying to make longer and longer travel bikes. It’s been the hot thing for a period of time and I think (and this is my opinion) that a lot of riders are over-biked. Meaning, they are riding a bike that is well beyond their riding capabilities.

While It’s nice to have that additional amount of travel. I believe that having the right bike that matches the type of terrain that you ride most of the time leads to the best riding experience. So, I do think that there is pause to be taken – especially on the editorial side – that there are multiple kinds of terrain that can be ridden throughout the world and that one terrain isn’t the end-all, be-all for bicycle geometry. There should be consideration that there are different geometries that match different terrains, and that some riders might need less travel and maybe geometry that is more like a cross-country bike to achieve the most enjoyment.

Niner image
Ambassador Rebecca Rusch rode the Ho Chi Minh Trail on a Jet 9 RDO XC trail bike during her Blood Road quest.


Niner has an extensive range. With a new investor on board, will Niner be consolidating or expanding its portfolio?


Sugai: Right now, we have gravel adventure bikes that you can mount fenders and packs to, and models up and to the all-mountain range. We still haven’t got into the downhill market, but at the end of the day, Niner wants to be a boutique offering for anyone who wants to ride off-road. Whether that is gravel roads, trail, single-speeding, or enduro riding, we want to make a bike that makes those riders happy. And, it’s important to us that our riders also know that when they buy a bike from us, they are buying a bike from a company that also supports trail advocacy, so the areas that we like to ride are maintained for future generations.

One of the litmus tests I apply to the industry to evaluate whether a product is stagnant or promising is: if I gave its maker a million dollars to improve it, how much better could it become? For, example: if I wrote that check to one of the top four tire makers, I think it’s doubtful that we’d see a measurable improvement. I would assume, however, that a boutique bike brand would jump on the opportunity to innovate or improve its products. In effect, is this what just happened to Niner? What can we expect in the future?


Sugai: I understand that there is a perception that we have reached a pinnacle in design, but back in 1899, people thought that we should close the patent office because everything that could be invented, had already been invented. The cycling industry is incredibly innovative, and every time we think that we have reached its upper limits, something new comes along.

I think it’s going to be materials technology and suspension design. Even in the last three years, there have been rapid changes – wheel design, tires, one-by, a lot of things have been developed that have had major impacts on the bike. Dropper posts are ubiquitous. I don’t think it would be prudent to say that we’re done – and that five years from now, we are going to look back and say: “Holy Cow! Bikes have come a long way.”

So, you can say with confidence that Niner will be able to leverage this investment to make technological improvements…


Sugai: I think that United Wheels made the investment in Niner with the expectation that we would use most of that money for research and development, to come out with new and better products that will make the riding experience better. Not just to make a more expensive bike, but actually to improve the riding experience.

That’s a different take. Most industry acquisitions to date have been sales driven – leveraged borrowing to expand production volume, a focus on upper management, and expansion into global markets. This seems to be more unique, in that product development is the focus.


Sugai: I can address that. The first thing we did after the ink dried on the deal was I hired another engineer. Literally, 24-hours after the deal, he was on his way to Fort Collins. Of course, we had been talking before that, but he’ll be starting in a few weeks. We are also investing in machinery and test equipment. Again, United wheels wants to make sure that we are entering the competitive field with both of our hands untied.

Are you under a lot of pressure to perform?


Niner
Niner will spend some of its resources expanding its test lab.

Sugai: Especially, in this situation, the buck stops here. Niner will either succeed or fail and it’s my job to make sure than Niner will continue to grow and succeed. I’ve been operating the company for the past 14 years. Yes, we’ve run into some troubles over the last few years, but we were able to manage tremendous growth in the early days and bring forth some innovative products to the marketplace. The team here is fundamentally the same, I don’t think we will have any problems managing that kind of growth now that we have been given the chance to invest in the right areas.

So, you aren’t going to rush out and spend it all on an elite race team?


Sugai: No comment.

Now that Niner is back on track and three months of court proceedings are behind you, how are you going to recover? Will you take a week off and just ride your bike?


Sugai: Well, I am lucky to have a wonderful and supportive wife who stood by me through all this, and everyone at Niner was a solidified group during this time as well. It was really nice to see that happen. Going forward, I think the people here at Niner are really happy about the acquisition. We’ve been given the authority and the trust to make the bikes we’ve been dreaming about. Now, we have to perform.
Niner image
Niner threw a party after the deal was inked with United Wheels. It must have been an anxious three months.

And, yes, I will definitely be taking some time off to ride my bike.



Mentions: @NinerBikes // More about the acquisition of Niner by UWHK Ltd. here.




128 Comments

  • + 108
 RIP
  • + 24
 *golf clap*
  • + 19
 @macross87: You should show more respect Sir.
  • + 11
 i get that reference
  • + 12
 I need some fresh Air
  • - 13
flag ckcost (Mar 20, 2018 at 14:28) (Below Threshold)
 Maybe this is just want they need to RKT them to the top? If not, this JET will will be coming in for a crash landing in Huffyville.
  • + 7
 @ckcost: Maybe their e-bike can be the ReKT?
  • + 3
 @ckcost: please stop.
  • + 16
 My question for Niner is how will your distribution model and pricing change, if at all? Are you considering going the way of Intense or are you trying to maintain your pricing and compete with brands like Yeti and Pivot whose full sussers are hard to get into for under $5k. Will bike shops stock your product when it can be found on sale at places like Backcountry.com?

I actually threw a leg over a RIP 9 RDO a couple months back for a parking lot test and liked it. I thought the orange frame was freaking gorgeous and yes, i know the HTA is soooooo five years ago. I agree with Chris that many of us tend to overbike ourselves and not every bike needs slack AF geo to be rideable.

I'll refrain from Huffy jokes and look forward to more Niner updates with cautious optimism.
  • + 13
 @RMSlayer50: Many times a bike company gets bought by another bike company, it's a death sentence. Trek killed Klein, Fisher, and Bontrager. Fox killed Marzocchi. K2 killed ProFlex then committed suicide with their bikes.
  • + 22
 Overbiked?!!
I say you, sir, are under balled.
  • + 4
 @Flowcheckers: Santa Cruz has done just fine I'd say.
  • + 0
 @yzedf: Yeah, bought by a holding company. But Niner will succeed if Sukai makes things more efficient. Niner DH bike with adjustable 9" of travel. Maybe build a Niner 9" travel dh bike, please.
  • + 4
 @Flowcheckers: you forgot Le Mond. But that was mostly Lance's influence on Trek.
  • + 2
 Next stop: niner sold in walmart
  • + 55
 "Who are Niner’s customers?" I ask the same question every time I see that lower link
  • + 3
 Dentists
  • + 27
 ...and yet nobody seems to break them. Amazing how picky bikers are about aesthetics. No wonder Niner has meetings about where cable stops will go. What a weird culture.
  • + 9
 @mtemp: Nah, dentists only like it when other people's stuff gets chipped on rocks.
  • + 21
 Well, VPP basically has a mud collection platform on the back and yet Santa Cruz and Intense seem to sell plenty...
  • + 11
 @Sycip69er: are you serious? In my riding group alone, several people have cracked Niner frames. One guy cracked his stays, took his bike to the dealer, got the warranty replacement, and then cracked that on his *first ride*. Even the most XC guy in our group who used to ride Niners no longer does, and says they crack.
  • + 5
 @Sycip69er: I know all this because I thought the Jet 9 looked sick and was then informed by my group to steeeeer hella clear.
  • + 6
 My wife rode her Jet 9 down Goldbar and Portal trails, 100mm be damned. Lower link has never been an issue.
  • + 7
 @WaterBear: to be fair, he was talking about cracking the link, not the rest of the frame
  • + 4
 @Sycip69er:

LOL... how little you know of the brand's history.
  • + 3
 @zsandstrom: They sure do! Take a Tracer for a test ride, you'll see why they sell so many.
  • + 13
 @WaterBear: @deeeight reading comprehension for the win. Let me help.

1. Comment is made about the lower link.
2. A reply is made that no one seems to break them.

Thus who are versed in English would know the reply is stating no one seems to break the lower link.

See this is what texting is doing to society Wink
  • + 4
 @TheOriginalTwoTone: buddy I go to college with is on his third Air 9, although to Niner's credit he says their warranty department got him replacement frames quickly each time
  • + 6
 @Sycip69er: I've broken two Sir 9's 1st in two seasons, 2nd in one season.
  • + 5
 @WaterBear: Been riding a 2017 Jet 9 RDO and Rip 9 RDO on BC trails, bike park etc with no issues. The Rip with an angleset is an improvement for sure.
  • + 6
 @WaterBear: I've been riding a 2017 rip 9 rdo on every trail I've come upon, and have yet to crack any part of the bike. I've smashed the lower link into rocks, taken the bike on shuttle days and kept up to boys on dh bikes with no issue. This bike in no way limits the rider or their capability. It will do whatever you want it to do, and more. Yea the headtube is a little steeper than new 29" enduro rigs, but its nothing and angle set and a short stem can't fix.
  • + 4
 @WaterBear: When I worked in a bike shop, we had this guy obsessed with niners, came in once with a crack got a warranty replacement in two weeks cracked it again, he got another replacement and this time we completely dismantled it to see what the issue was, none of the spacing for the suspension bearing were the right size, and the bearings rattled and shook straight onto the carbon frame, needless to say it cracked again, and then he finally gave up.
  • + 2
 @Sycip69er: Maybe they should start having meetings to address how bad their bikes creak and squeak also. Demoed one and wish i brought ear plugs, what a racket.
  • + 1
 Got to love pinkbike.

For ANY of you commenting about broken Niners- any of you break the actual lower link?

wnbloose says "Who are Niner’s customers?" I ask the same question every time I see that lower link.
Sycip69er says "and yet nobody seems to break them"

Holy crap follow the conversation it's not that hard. He's referring to THE LOWER LINK in the original comment.
  • - 1
 Look...first off the Niner's CVA or whatever they call it is a ripped off copy of the Balfa 2-step linkage design. Balfa had gone out of business before Niner was founded, and Procycle had abandoned the patent application Balfa had started before being bought out by then, and then subsequently eliminated as a competition source to Rocky Mountain bicycles. So niner conveniently took an existing design without patent protection, and then claimed to have invented it first and filed for a patent on it. As to breaking the lower link...yes...there are photos of broken links in the niner forum on mtbr.
  • + 16
 @deeeight: Just to set the record straight, as I am the sole inventor of CVA, I can tell you exactly where it came from, and it was NOT the Balfa (and up until your post I didn't even know about their abandoned patent application). I would say that most suspension design is evolution of and inspiration from other designs, or even work arounds from existing patents. I think to reduce it to just one visual similarity and calling it a rip off is a severely oversimplified conclusion. After all, there are patents with concentric pivots at the axle going back to the 1930's, but that doesn't take away from what Weagle did with Split Pivot. DW-Link itself was a work around for an Iron Horse bike that infringed on VPP. CVA's inspiration came from my own experience with the Schwinn Rocket 88 (first gen that had the pivot AROUND the BB) and the Original Storck Organic I had while I was working at SRAM. Both were bikes that were ahead of their time, and both of them suffered from different issues that kept them from being exceptional bikes, but they inspired me and inspired my choices for CVA. The patent for CVA is not JUST the physical iteration of a link under the BB, that has plenty of prior art including the Balfa, Storck and others. It has more to do with the orientation of the two links and how the chain plays on that orientation (instant center, anti-squat, etc). This is what I patented at Niner. Suspension development of any kind is much more complicated than 'conveniently taking an existing design and claiming invention' and for sure CVA development had it's own hiccups.
  • + 4
 @Domahidy: Comment of the week.
  • - 4
flag deeeight (Mar 21, 2018 at 10:55) (Below Threshold)
 yeah sure you invented it independently, i've heard that one before on inventions. Just like specialized/fox came up with inertia valve shocks first, or the folks at smart parts invented electronic paintball guns. Its the USPTO... if you prepay all the fees, and use creative wording, they'll grant patents for practically anything even if its got well known prior art. I knew a fellow who once held patents for what were essentially "the wheel" and "fire", just to prove how badly run the agency was, and how poorly educated their examiners were who were rubber stamping the applications.
  • + 0
 @deeeight: Dude, just take the L lol
  • + 3
 @Deanosuar:

What L ? Have you even read what Niner presents for the CVA explanation on their website and compared it to what Balfa claimed when they were still in existence for their 2-step linkage ? Have you ever even seen how the 2-step linkage works ? Niner claim the chain force pulls the bottom link upwards and the upper link downwards...well hey guess what...that's happened on the 2-step. They claim it has minimal chain growth well guess what, at 9.6mm for 140mm wheel travel on the 2-step FR... that's pretty minimal. They claimed it wasn't affected by the chainring size...well neither was the 2-step. Like I said before... the US patent office will accept virtually any sort of claims or wording and won't properly check into any prior art as long as they get paid the fees in full, in advance. This is a problem with an underfunded government agency that derives the majority of their operating budget from the fees they collect on patent and trademark applications. If an inventor fails to list any obviously conflicting prior art...the patent examiner is unlikely to even search their own patent database to find any.

www.ninerbikes.com/Niner-CVA-Suspension

That's how Specialized got their brain shock valve patent. THEY KNEW of prior art...having already licensed Don Richardson's existing patent for inertia valve shocks with the promise of using them on their bicycles, which they then didn't do and didn't pay any of the royalties promised by instead filing for their own patent and didn't disclose the existing patent in their application and well...the examiner never bothered to search for inertia valve suspension and specialized ended up with a patent they've used to bully other bicycle brands and prevented them from using Don's patented design for bicycle related products (as they did to Stratos who'd licensed it also). This is btw the same Don Richardson who had to sue Suzuki motorcycles after they stole one of his inventions. At one time, patent examiners were required to be educated and have experience in the fields they were examining patent applications for... but those days are long gone and most patent examiners today are high school educated with no formal post-secondary education and little knowledge of the fields they're examining applications for.

patents.justia.com/inventor/donald-g-richardson
  • + 3
 Does anyone else make a benign comment on a thread and then a pissing match starts and suddenly you get tons of notifications? Ugh.
  • + 1
 @Klainmeister:

Yes, I still get notifications on threads from years ago that someone suddenly finds and comments on.
  • + 50
 Team runs company into ground then purchased by investors who want to change nothing. Sounds like a solid game plan.
  • + 8
 Sometimes all that is needed is a reset and some fresh capital. Happens all the time in the business world.
  • + 3
 @sino428: with no management, staff, factory or other changes, where does this 'reset' you speak of happen?
  • + 1
 @thedirtyburritto: the reset is that they are no longer strangled by debt and have fresh capital for r&d to develope new products. I gave no idea if Niner will suceed, but deals like this are very common in the business world.
  • + 2
 Investors say they want to change nothing so they can get ownership with as little resistance as possible. I have yet to meet investors who said they had no plans to make changes and meant it.
  • + 40
 Sweet Jesus you people just don't quit with the "old geometry" , not slack enough, no market niche, hope they crash and burn bullshit.

Around here those bikes work and work well. I currently own nothing but Niner's. I've had the fsr suspension, niner cva, yeti switch and nothing is as simple or works as well FOR ME as the niner cva. From a jet9 to the wfo current 2017 rip I now love. This flavor of the month crap has to stop. Or at least I hope it would.

It's different strokes for different folks you bunch of dude-bro-man Internet bad ass's
  • + 2
 I wish I could double prop this comment! ++
  • - 4
flag utley06 (Mar 20, 2018 at 20:29) (Below Threshold)
 I don't own a niner but agree 100%... STFU you bunch of loud mouth dumb shits!!!!
  • + 0
 Chill. 69.5 HTAs are all the rage again...
  • - 5
flag utley06 (Mar 21, 2018 at 7:40) (Below Threshold)
 @TheFunkyMonkey: Ah, you must be head dumb shit! Again, not a Niner owner or fan boy. Their Geometry is right on par with the rest of the industry. But you don't give to shits to research that, just jump on the dumb shit bashing bandwagon because its easy and fun right?
  • - 4
flag TheFunkyMonkey (Mar 21, 2018 at 7:59) (Below Threshold)
 @utley06: I promise you wouldn't talk to my face like that.

I wasn't bashing anything and was being sincere although I did get my math wrong. I was referring to all the rage around the new Blur and it's 69 HTA. XC bikes and their geos are en vogue again. And I've got nothing against Niner having owned them in the past although they haven't been on my radar for some time.

You can now get back to lowballing sellers on Pinkbike.
  • - 5
flag utley06 (Mar 21, 2018 at 8:03) (Below Threshold)
 @TheFunkyMonkey: I promise you I would
  • + 1
 Yup my 2014 Rip 9 rdo has been one of the better bikes I have owned. 4 years is a long time for me to own a bike(replacing it this month). Well sorted bike with bad cable routing. smashed my lower link far too many times. Ripped the rock guard clean off of it before I learned to adapt my riding style. I guess I have had a bit of a love hate relationship with it in some ways. Still one hell of good handling bike that shows someone's true passion and ideals.
  • + 31
 The only thing I'm wondering is how on earth does a company that is created, named, and mission is to make 29er bikes botch the mega explosion of 29ers?!?
  • + 31
 Another way to look at it is that with every brand in the world now offering 29er options, early adopters may no longer have the advantage they once did.
  • + 7
 "...and maybe geometry that is more like a cross-country bike to achieve the most enjoyment" - clearly he hadn't get any memo from PB comment section from the last 2 years.
  • + 0
 Well said brianpark
  • + 2
 Wasn't Jamis pushing 27.5 for years before it basically became the new standard? Mainstream is always just mainstream... you can't really monopolize a hamburger.
  • + 5
 @brianpark: I've never understood the marketing angle of "we've been doing it the longest!" Umm great but who does it the best?
  • + 3
 Maybe in part 1) they don't have successful factory racing teams to act as a marketing tool and 2) Niner sell expensive bikes and people want to know that they have a premium product has a proven pedigree on the track...us humans are gullible like that ... imagine they sponsored some big names in DH, XCO or Enduro racing from day one with 29" bikes where would they be now? No budget is too big for marketing... Ask YT
  • + 1
 @friendlyfoe: Trouble is that the answer to that is usally Nicolai, unless your company is already Nicolai you can't be doing it best a well.
  • + 18
 Long time Niner rider and racer here. I have to say after years of hard abuse and racing, I have never had any frame issues and all of my Niners over the years have been trouble free. If you haven't had a chance to try out their RIP9 I'd say it's worth comparing to some more popular long-travel 29er's. Not so sure why there are so many haters on here when I'm sure only a few of you have ever even taken a Niner out on a trail. I'm keeping up with people racing expert 18-29 on my RIP9 (that I spent $4000 new on) when other people are on their $5000+ all carbon Enduros and Yeti's. Chill out people. Ride what you love and don't forget to smile. -end of rant.
  • + 1
 There are a lot of Niner haters on here because they will never forgive Chris Sugai being assertive a few years ago saying 29 was the superior wheel size. Now they're eating crow watching all DH bikes move to 29
  • + 15
 "Niner Acquired by United Wheels - Chris Sugai Talks About White Lies Ahead"
  • + 14
 Hey, don't forget: Volkswagen owns Bugattii . . . .
  • + 35
 Ya but Volkswagen definitely isn’t huffy and Niner definitely isn’t Bugatti
  • + 14
 And Audi, and Lamborghini, and Porsche...
  • + 14
 more like, don't forget that Tata motors owns Jaguar
  • + 10
 "Most European dealers and distributors have made it clear they’ll only market mountain bike brands that have e-bikes."

I must have missed that. That's news, and explains a lot. I'd love to hear more on this subject. @richardcunningham
  • + 2
 @Bluefire I will say when we were in Germany last Fall well over 50% of the mountain bikes we saw out and about were e-bikes. Super surprising.
  • + 6
 @WhatToBuy: and they say that US people are lazy. It doesn't get any lazier than that.
  • + 3
 @JulesVerne: Big Grin My thoughts too!
  • + 1
 @WhatToBuy: I used to always hear how Americans were getting soft and weak.. I guess the problem is world wide now. Ebikes and 29" wheels. Need I say more.
  • + 6
 Not confidence inspiring. Other than they own Huffy, there isn't much detail on the other bike companies that United Wheels. They sound like generic companies used in a TV show to be honest. Also, Europe is forcing eBikes down our throats.
  • + 6
 Wfo is my favorite bike and I did break the lower link not from impacts just years of riding they sent me a free replacement even though it was out of warranty
  • + 4
 The reason there are a lot of Niner haters on here is that they will never forgive its founder Chris Sugai years ago saying 29er was the superior wheel size for mountain biking. It became a fad to hate on Niner for that. Now it's a hard swallow for them to see 29ers everywhere and DH bikes going 29er
  • + 7
 I just don't get the warm fuzzy feeling after reading that. I hear gravel bikes and e-bikes are hot right now....
  • + 8
 Voreis; the ONLY cool thing about niner.
  • + 3
 I work at a shop that brought in Niner, along side Santa Cruz. We haven't sold a single one yet, let alone have anyone come in specifically asking for one, while we're moving roughly 4 Santa Cruz's a week. To me, Niner is in the same club as Ellsworth. Their bikes are outdated, flimsy garbage but they have a dedicated following who keeps them just barely afloat. And as an FYI,I've been riding a Jet 9 demo bike for the past month, and it is one of the shortest, most nervous feeling bikes I've ever ridden. It really let's you know you only have 120mm of travel, too.
  • + 1
 I rode a new jet 9 rdo and sleighed. After riding a fuel, ripley, camber and tallboy I've never thought to myself "it feels bottomless, like it has 150mm of travel". 120 always has felt like 120 to me.
  • + 5
 Huge Niner fan here! Hopefully they can keep me as a customer depending on how they handle the issue with my frame.
  • + 4
 I just want to know if Kirt Voreis will move to another brand or not.
  • + 1
 pretty sure he just got signed on so he will probably be around for a bit
  • - 1
 @adrennan: Someone has to give the right image for the e-Bikes. So called eee-Niners.
  • + 1
 So long as he's free to keep doing his style of riding, I don't care what brand he rides for... so long as it isn't on an e-bike. But I always thought it was cool to get reminders that you don't have to be on the latest PB-approved bike to ride like a boss.
  • + 1
 He's secured a Huffy Factory Racing ride!
  • + 4
 "Now, we have to perform."
  • + 2
 What lies ahead? And what truth behind?
  • + 2
 My winter rat is a niner 29 plus steel ht. Short travel manitou magnum fork. The frame is compact and light. The tires are enormous. Makes me feel like a kid when I ride it.
  • + 1
 Ros 9+? Looking at the magnum myself. Did you go boost spacing? 100 or 120mm?

Cheers!
  • + 1
 @Jaylynx: boost, found mine at CRC.
  • + 4
 Hero to Zero. Very unfortunate....
  • + 2
 Wow European companies only dealing with bike manufacturers that produce e-bikes... there is no shady/dirty forces pushing this battery powered bike thing at all.
  • + 3
 My Niner CX bike is Rad! Good luck guys and gals of Niner!
  • + 2
 They should of made a long slack bike years ago. That's what happens when you don't give the riders what they want. C-ya
  • + 2
 United Wheels owns Huffy Bicycles the article says... Maybe we will see a Niner in Walmart!
  • + 22
 What is the position of each party on gun control? Citizens deserve to know who they are supporting with their dollars.
  • + 6
 @WAKIdesigns: @WAKIdesigns: why are people downvoting this? It was funny!
  • + 6
 @hamncheez: they have no sense of tumour when it comes to blowing the brains out
  • + 7
 @WAKIdesigns: The US government has smoothly shifted the focus to pharmaceutics and drugs dealers. It is ok again to ride with Camelbak, wear Giro helmets and fix your bike with Blackburn tools again. What they want you to question now is, does the resin supplier for Niner composite frames also get their chemicals from a supplier that also happens to supply to companies that potentially could produce medicine that could potentially be abused?

Now get your ass on twitter and go all hashtaggy on this one.
  • + 2
 Best of luck Niner! I think your redesigned Jet 9 RDO is super rad.
  • + 2
 Asian + More strategic alliance : American Classic here's your chance.
  • + 2
 Whatever... just keep Voreis happy, please.
  • + 2
 WFO for life! (or until I get enough funds for a wreckoning).
  • + 1
 Great news when a company can keep some local jobs. Good Luck to eveybody at Niner!
  • + 1
 Hey Niner! Need an engineer? Looks Like you'll be hiring soon! Where do I send a resume?
  • + 1
 Their steel 29er is a bit expensive but cool though..
  • + 1
 *Please bring back the Pro Lightning.
  • + 1
 This is not gonna end well unless you hire an asshole!
  • + 1
 Niner air 9 was cool but that faded long ago............................
  • + 0
 What is Niner know for? Like, what is their calling card? They have no brand. Start there.
  • + 1
 Clueless you are
  • + 2
 @blackthorne: obviously easier than stating it. thanks.
  • + 1
 @mm732: wasn’t their whole brand built around the idea of 29-inch wheels, so is that not their calling card? Also their appeal to XC, trail, and cyclocross riders seems to indicate a focus on the shorter travel end of the spectrum. I don’t see bigger companies like Specialized or Trek with particularly stronger mission statements, as they cater to every possible segment, and yet they aren’t going out of business.
  • - 1
 Not that I am much of a Niner fan. However, this will put them on the same level as Mongoise & Diamond Back most likely. GT maybe....
  • + 1
 Niners POS
  • - 3
 Niner sucks ass
  • + 1
 Looking at their bike lineup is no wonder they went bankrupt.
  • - 3
 Huffy is a perfect match.. similar geo! Hahaha 150/160 29er at $10k with a 67deg HTA lol
  • + 12
 Your laughing at 67 degree hta when everyone seems to love the yeti sb5.5 with a 66.5 degree hta I doubt most people could tell the difference of half a degree
  • + 1
 If 67 deg HTA is not slack enough, you can easily use an angleset. I did in my RIP, now it is 65.5 deg and full on enduro!

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