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.
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 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.Check out Niner