The WFO 9 RDO: It's F*cking Back.
Join Kirt Voreis and Kyle Warner for a shred on the new Niner Bikes WFO 9 RDO. Brought to you by the mad mind and virtual reality of our very own cousin Kirt.
More than a decade after the first W.F.O. 9 defined the category and set a benchmark for what a long-travel 29er could do, we’re bringing it back. The 2021 WFO 9 RDO draws on our years of 29er evolution to establish a new paradigm of unbridled, big-wheel domination. Reborn with 170mm of stable CVA suspension, a 180mm-travel fork, adjustable geometry, increased frame stiffness, and our signature RDO carbon fiber, the new generation of WFO 9 RDO is an enduro-ready brawler with the pedaling prowess to get you to the top in style.
Loyal Ninerds feared that it was extinct forever. But the WFO 9 RDO was only dormant, lying in wait, evolving and mutating to reemerge as the apex predator of long-travel 29ers. That first W.F.O. cut fresh 29er tracks in too many ways to count. Technologies that we take for granted today were pioneered in that legendary frame. What a difference a decade can make. The strongest remaining genetic link between our original and this new WFO 9 RDO is simply an unquenchable appetite for wide, full open, edge of control, speed.
All the descending capability of a 170mm travel 29er is fully expressed in this new WFO 9 RDO. Yet any detectable trace of the dreaded “climbing compromises” chromosome is edited out. We all know that modern enduro bikes have to manage descents into madness on the scale of World Cup DH tracks. Yet they also need to get you efficiently back up to the top when pedaling is your only option. Which, let’s be honest, is usually the case.
On the WFO, a trunnion mount shock adds width (and therefore stiffness) to the frame and linkage. The shock bolts directly to the rocker link with bearings at the interface. This allows for extra-smooth articulation through the entire rocker sweep of 40-degrees during suspension travel. Furthermore, trunnion shocks occupy less space, allowing a compact form factor.
In consideration of the dueling demands riders expect from the WFO 9 RDO, subtle refinements to the kinematics give it superior pedaling behavior despite 170mm of travel on tap. The leverage ratio curve starts at 3.0, hits 2.4 at 67% travel, then hits 2.6 at full travel. It’s also tuned for a slightly falling rate (about 6% in the last 33% of travel). If you’re running an air shock as the bike is spec’d, the overall rate in every phase of travel feels consistent and natural in every phase of travel. Even with a coil you won’t feel as though the bike is bottoming out.
From a distance, the new WFO 9 RDO looks like a fraternal twin to the trail bike in our line, the popular and handsome RIP 9 RDO. However, Niner’s characteristic full-suspension frame cosmetics deceive your eyes. A closer look reveals that the new WFO 9 RDO is clearly the bigger, brawnier sibling that got its square-jawed genes from cousin Vinnie’s side of the family.
Images courtesy Niner Bikes / by Ian Hylands.