Field Test: 2022 Niner Jet 9 RDO - The Easy Rider

Dec 2, 2021 at 18:34
by Henry Quinney  

PINKBIKE FIELD TEST

Niner Jet 9 RDO



Words by Henry Quinney, photography by Tom Richards


Niner are an American brand who certainly aren’t afraid to nail their colours to the mast. They are one of the few brands to build their identity around one particular dimension, even if they have somewhat reneged on that with the inclusion of bikes with smaller wheels in recent years. That said, every single bike on this Field Test had 29” wheels front and back, so their gut-judgements are something worth listening to.

This 120mm Jet 9 certainly goes a different way with its geometry too. It's interesting to see different flavours of the short travel trail bike, but Niner's approach will definitely suit those looking to do as much as possible with as little travel as possible. There are many subtle changes to enable this.
Jet 9 RDO Details

• Travel: 120mm rear / 130mm front
• Wheel size: 29"
• Head angle: 66 - 66.5°
• Seat tube angle: 76 - 76.5°
• Size tested: large
• Reach: 469mm (low)
• Chainstay length: 432mm (low)
• Sizes: S, M, L, XL
• Weight: 28 lb 5 oz (12.8 kg)
• Price: $8,399.00
ninerbikes.com

Firstly, the spec on the bike is more about sensible parts for riding hard than they are about light weight. That, naturally, will add up but I don't think Niner ever intended this bike to be the lightest of the bunch. Instead, I think they wanted it to be the 120mm bike to open up the most amount of trail riding possibilities. To help with that, there are four piston brakes, wide rims, and a long drop post. The piggyback shock and high-ish rise bar are two other indicators of this bike's all-round intentions.

The parts on this bike only tell half the story though. Where are bikes such as the Canyon Lux Trail, Trek Top Fuel or Santa Cruz Blur TR are all about keeping your weight on the front wheel, which can aid fore and aft balance through flatter turns, the Jet 9 moves away from this. With its 35mm rise bar, short stem and shortest-on-test chainstays, this bike seems to be more about keeping your weight over the rear axle. This means it comes alive on steeper terrain, even if it feels somewhat muted on flatter trails.


There's so much about the Niner that suggests ease of use was at the forefront of their minds during the design process, and that's not just the ride quality, which we'll get to in a bit. On the frame itself, it's the only bike on test that comes with a built-in sag indicator. It's a small detail, but one that makes it easy to set sag accurately and consistently. It also features tidy brackets near the base of the seat tube to guide the cables. The fact they can flex and move here means they can be anchored down more tightly over the rest of the rear triangle. As the bike goes through its travel and it needs some wiggle room, and this seems like a simple yet effective solution.

That's not to say all the simple frame details were called in Niner's favour though. For instance, I don't personally like the "Pedal, damn it" writing in the paintwork that's under the lacquer. Honestly, it's a bit like seeing a "You don't have to be mad to work here but it helps!" motivational poster on somebody's office wall. I know I'm no thick-rimmed and bespectacled art critic, and it is personal taste, but it just seems to cheapen the look of what is a relatively expensive bike.


The bike features fully integrated cable guiding and a SRAM UDH. It has ample frame protection on the stay as well as a relatively thick layer of padding to protect the low-slung linkage of the CVA system. This system looks a bit different from the rest, but if you break it down to its bare components of a rear triangle connected with an upper link that drives the shock and a lower link that co-rotates in the same direction as the upper it doesn't sound so out there.

Our bike came with a Fox 34 with a GRIP2 damper. This seemed perfect for this bike's intentions and complemented the Fox Float X shock very well. The rear shock had a climb switch but we never felt the need to use it.




Climbing

The climbing performance of the Jet 9 offered something very different from everything else on test and, come to think of it, most of the full suspension bikes I've ridden. It was definitely a tale of two halves though. Because it is just so different, it's almost not a case of good or bad but rather rider preference.

The bike gives a very firm platform underfoot. It's almost hardtail-like and it responds to accelerations very well. Blindfolded, the lack of pedal bob would have you thinking that this would be by far and away the most efficient bike on test. However, our efficiency test did not reflect that and it was the 5th fastest. This is slightly counterintuitive, but it is what it is. I think sometimes, despite how many times we're told that open shocks are just as efficient or that some movement under accelerations isn't the end of the world, it always feels more efficient to have a bike that resembles something closer to the feel of the hardtail. The Niner is that bike. It feels faster than it is, which might suit the more data-skeptical very well.

On the trail, that trait did come back to roost somewhat. Its firm platform felt great but it did manifest in a slight lack of grip in some instances. If you were to hit uneven or technical terrain at pace it was fine, but it didn't seem to hug the ground the same way as the Santa Cruz Blur TR or the Rocky Mountain Element. All in all, it just felt far more reluctant to go into its stroke and when you tried to accelerate over rough ground it was slightly more prone to spinning out.

The seated position of the bike is very relaxed. The high front end makes it very comfortable, even if not particularly fast. On the technical climb, where it was also the 5th fastest, it wasn't hard to get the wheel where you wanted, but it didn't give you the same feeling of urgency. The relaxed position did mean that you volunteered your weight onto the front axle, instead of having it pulled there. This was great in tighter sections or for short blips of acceleration, but on long and steep climbs having to actively weight the front did being to feel slightly fatiguing after a while.




Descending

The Jet 9 is definitely a bike built for the descents, even if it does come in a lightweight, short travel package. In truth, it's a great bike if you want to go beyond the remit of a 120mm bike but, in a way, I wonder if that's at the cost of being good at what you want a 120mm bike to be good at.

It's almost, and I hate to say it, but a bit of a quiver killer style bike. There's nothing wrong with that, but the desire for that kind of bike tends to lead people to look at bikes with a bit more travel.

The bike was very easy to ride. It gave no nasty surprises and managed its 120mm of travel extremely well. It may not be as obviously radical as the Rocky Mountain Element, but it is radical in its own way. The Jet 9 excels on steeper trails that aren't that rough or fast, but that comes at the expense of how the bike feels when riding flatter or undulating terrain.


Timed Testing

The downcountry bikes were all tested on a section of trail that included a mix of everything you'd expect to find on an aggressive XC loop. The first section included a rock slab into some braking chatter, before the track opened up into fast turns and some small drops and jumps.

Don't forget that timing is just one of many ways to judge a bike, and fast doesn't always mean it's the best for everyone.


Henry Quinney: "The Niner was the fifth most efficient bike as well as the fifth fastest on the singletrack climb. On the descent, it was the third fastest. If the trail was steeper, maybe it could have gone even better."

The way the bike places your weight far more rearward than some other bikes on test gives with one hand and takes away with another. If you've got the gradient on your local trails it will come alive, and I could imagine happily putting more aggressive tires on this bike.

I would like to have seen the Jet 9 require slightly less breakaway force to get moving and let it offer more grip on small bumps. Once you do get it moving it does feel very smooth throughout its stroke and didn't suffer from any harsh bottom outs or leave us wincing if we landed deep or hit a section too fast.

Thanks to its suspension design and geometry the Jet 9 feels like a bike that is about not giving you nasty shocks and keeping you looking up with your heels down, going fast. If you want to weight the front through flatter turns though it definitely lacks the precision you might want, although this could likely be counteracted by having a lower rise bar.

Who's the ideal candidate for the Jet 9 RDO? It's a good option for someone who wants a bike that's surefooted on the descents, with a firm suspension feel for the climbs. It's closer to a short travel trail bike than what I'd consider a true 'downcountry' bike, but that's going to be exactly what some riders are looking for.



Pros

+ Sensibly specced for aggressive riding
+ Thrives on steeper trails
+ Hardtail like feeling suggests effieciency
Cons

- Not as efficient as you would think
- Lacks precision on flatter trails
- Doesn't offer that much grip on the climbs



The 2021 Fall Field Test is presented by Rapha and Bontrager. Thank you also to Maxxis, Schwalbe, and Garmin for control tires and equipment.



180 Comments

  • 148 1
 The OG of pick a wheel size and be a dick about it.
  • 37 1
 He also had the balls to apologize for not being completely right about it.
  • 31 56
flag MattP76 (Dec 7, 2021 at 10:42) (Below Threshold)
 The main thing is at least it's not a hidious Mullet!! All good in my books!
  • 35 2
 @MattP76: I'm half convinced this is a novelty account or some sort of long running performance art.
  • 10 17
flag MattP76 (Dec 7, 2021 at 22:51) (Below Threshold)
 @brianpark: Theres only one novelty that urgently needs wearing off and that's Mullet Bikes!
In terms of art they belong in one of those free crappy modern art museums. The ones you only ever go to once as there's nothing else to do!
  • 2 0
 And when will so many precious snowflakes ever get over it
  • 109 5
 I like to think of myself a person who is more concerned with performance than appearance. Niner bikes always remind me that that's not always the case.
  • 20 0
 Nailed it. Yea, like "function, not fashion, but hold on...".
  • 25 2
 this one isn't too bad
  • 72 8
 *Knolly has entered the chat*
  • 14 2
 I think it's unconventional but okay-looking. It just looks a little busy around the BB junction but I wouldn't say it's ugly, personally.
  • 19 0
 No issues with the appearances here. I like a distinctive bike. Shame to see its weight compared to the Santa Cruz Blur TR, when Santa Cruz makes the Tallboy: a bike with the same travel number and much more similar in purpose and weighs 29lb. I'm a bit surprised the spec wasn't mentioned more. Looking at Niner's website, you realize how there haven't been any corners cut - especially the XT model.
  • 3 4
 @grampa: Yeah... its a tough sell to say the Blur is a DC bike and the Tallboy is not. I think they are both barely dipping into the DC category on the extreme ends. SC doesn't really have a full on DC bike at this time.
  • 17 1
 It looks like it’s halfway through a huck to flat with nobody on it
  • 3 0
 @Baller7756: The Blur TR is a down country bike.
  • 1 1
 @AndrewFleming: I have already acknowledged that its is DC... just on the extreme end... closer to XC.

The TR is basically an up-forked Blur... the frame geo is 100% XC.
  • 3 0
 Even the down country niche is split.. Some companies go with a long travel XC bike, others are using a short travel trail bike.. Some of these bikes today sport numbers that are like a 120mm enduro bike.. Who's right?
  • 1 0
 @henryquinney: I'm with you here. It's nor ugly, but something is off
  • 1 0
 @lumpy873: the ones closer to Mike Levy's original definition (xc race bike with some burlier bits added to make it more fun on the down without slowing it significantly on the up)
  • 2 0
 To be fair, they tend to look nicer in person. The RIP9 for example looks a bit off, too, but in person I actually found it quite nice. Attention to details and a killer paint job
  • 58 1
 If you ain't crashing, you ain't trying @henryquinney
  • 20 0
 Yes sensei!
  • 19 0
 @henryquinney: how many comments do you have to post before the Pinkbike overlords give you that coveted blue MOD behind your user name? Right now your comments are stuck with the rest of us Pinkers.
  • 73 0
 @Davemk: He gets it as soon as he admits that he's wrong about internal cable routing.
  • 5 0
 @mikelevy: Pinkbike should have an ongoing public poll of their editor's worst opinions. I think you would still be in the lead for your professed love of all bikes mid-fat, but @henryquinney is approaching fast in his short tenure at Pinkbike with his internal cable routing take.
  • 6 0
 @mikelevy: I thought he repented in "Everything I Know About Bikes is Wrong" but one could claim he relapsed on the influence of some mind-bending mushroom dishes and wasn't himself.
  • 22 1
 @Davemk: Oh you didn't hear about the big incident when I had it removed. Wow. Best not go into that here Big-mike is listening.

@chrsei: I'm just a sleeper cell trying to win back your trust before I double down with a flaming hot op-ed called "Internally Cabled and Intrisically Smug - Why I'm Right About Everything". It's going to be a smash hit.
  • 53 1
 @henryquinney are we gonna get an article comparing all these bikes to the spur and epic evo like everyone wants?
  • 54 0
 I mean, it's not a bad shout. I've just got to wrestle the Spur out of either of the Mikes' cold dead hands and then we're halfway there. Very happy to do it. I'm not sure I can get my mitts on an Evo though but I'll see what I can do.
  • 6 1
 It makes me sad that nobody ever asks about the YT Izzo. It's always Spur spur spur spur spur Frown
  • 7 0
 @henryquinney: I gave up on trying to buy a spur and ordered an Element.... I hope you guys liked it haha!
  • 1 0
 @dmackyaheard: How the did you order an Element?! RM told me to fly further than Transition did.

Sadly when people like @henryquinney can't even get an Epic Evo to test with there's really no point in comparing it.
  • 2 0
 @ruggedmaine: local shop had one in bound. Got lucky Smile
  • 2 0
 YES!
  • 42 0
 *prices have risen since you watched the video
  • 41 0
 Prices will rise every time someone watches the video.
  • 24 1
 We have entered the age where $8400 constitutes a “relatively expensive bike”.
  • 18 0
 If a short-travel bike has a hard-tail-like feel, but then proves not especially efficient on a moderately technical climb, isnt it time to check the validity of the reference? Does the actual hard-tail (adjusted for weight) climb the same climb efficiently? Put another way, is the discrepancy in mimicking somehow hardtail feel without capturing hardtail efficiency, or is the discrepancy in truly replicating the ride of a hardtail only to find that hardtails dont climb this climb as well as we expect? Isnt anyone curious about that?
  • 4 0
 Efficiency test is steady state seated climbing. Maybe the "hardtail" like feel is more during out of the saddle sprints or quick accelerations. And yeah I'm curious about it.
  • 11 1
 We've had some hardtails in the Efficiency Test in the past. The gravel road was fairly rough and had lots of braking bumps from silly Squam-ites driving their Tacomas up and down it. I remember being bounced out of the seat a lot, and I think the hardtail had a middle-of-the-road time.
  • 1 0
 but what about the effieciency?
  • 1 0
 @mikelevy: Also... I think you are done testing hardtails for maybe... Ever.
  • 15 0
 The Jet9 has been touted to be a trail bike for quite a while, basically ever since the RKT9 was introduced. Seems like everything spoken about wasn't surprising, and this bike would be better suited to be featured in a trail bike test. It's tough to judge this as a down-country bike, because Niner doesn't build or market it as a down-country bike.
  • 2 0
 I had a RKT9 XT build years ago. Ended up selling it because I also had an XT build Pivot 429 trail and was looking for one bike that could do it all (that Pivot was SO CLOSE). But I always wanted to slap the fork from the Pivot onto the RKT to see how good it really could be on more aggressive riding. I regret selling both of them now. And still haven't found "The One"...SB 5.5 and Chameleon cover my needs for now.
  • 2 0
 Agreed. Niner really needs to update the RKT 9. I imagine when they do, that will be more of a 'downcountry' bike.
  • 1 0
 @SprSonik: Sounds like its time for a Pivot Trail 429 with the Enduro build!
  • 1 0
 @SprSonik: A Ripley will get you set right.
  • 5 2
 That RKT model runs a 71 degree head angle. Eww. Gross.
  • 1 1
 @hllclmbr: on the RKT the race spec is 71, the trail spec gets a 120mm fox 34 and is 70deg hta.
  • 17 0
 " I don't personally like the "Pedal, damn it" "
Too much ebike reviews ?
  • 12 0
 I was able to get a test ride on this bike thanks to my job and I absolutely loved it. That being said, I agree with Henry on it being better suited to steep terrain. I rode it down Wathens trail in Ft Colin's and it really excelled there.
  • 11 0
 Is the audio a bit hallway(ish) or is it just me? I enjoy this group for the tests, I wish you guys would argue your points more and have Levy and Henry debate everything, while Kaz looks on and just rolls his eyes at you two. Good stuff, Thanks.
  • 10 0
 I've been riding mine for a few months now and completely agree with this review. compared to the last gen Jet 9, this thing climbs slower and you are up higher in a more mellow position. And, like they said about short rear end, I kept losing the front wheel when cornering; it took a while to adjust my riding style. It's definitely not an XC bike, but is fun on the rougher steeper terrain. I would never have raced the last gen in an XC race (other than Downieville, or maybe BC Bike race), but it did feel like you could give it a lot more stick on the climbs. This one lost that zip in favor of stability.
  • 10 1
 Aways good to hear some feedback from an owner, especially when it jives with our thoughts Smile
  • 3 0
 @mikelevy: bias confirmation results in marriage.
  • 7 0
 I have one as well, and my views differ from yours and the PB crew :-) I had a 2022 Blur before the Niner, and I am faster on the Niner both uphill and downhill according to my Strava times on local trails that I have ridden many times on each bike. Mine is built up a bit differently; I don't have a big riser bar on mine for example. But I don't find it lacking for grip on climbs. I have also set several PRs on it on flowy trails; I feel like the harder I press on the pedals and the faster the bike goes, the more it comes alive. Just my two cents.

I do dislike the Fox 34 fork though; small bump sensitivity is pretty terrible.
  • 1 0
 @Grosey: bahahaha
  • 10 0
 "I don't know what the anti squat numbers are, and I don't care." Man - even though our preferences are pretty much polar opposite (I ride a 40+ pound, long travel, high pivot bike, and I love my climb switch), I don't know if there's anyone I'd rather listen to talk about bikes than @mikelevy. Except maybe @henryquinney and @mikekazimer.
  • 8 0
 The truth has been spoken. This real world attitude along with clips of Levy skidding and giggling is so much better than the buzzword-fest in Beta reviews accompanied by footage of *not* the testers riding the bikes.

Gotta love Henry not holding back on electronics, half degree flip chips, one piece cockpits and other "super useful innovations".
  • 1 0
 @bananowy: the beta reviews feel like someone programmed an AI to read a bunch of other online reviews and then write a script for three guys who have never actually ridden the bikes.

Actually, if that’s really what’s happening, I’m all for it. Great performance art!
  • 17 9
 Don't get the point of this bike in todays market.

Climbs like a longer travel bike but can't descend like a longer travel bike...

Why not just get the longer travel bike?
  • 5 2
 I would choose this over a longer travel bike, if it feels sprightly on the climbs (i dont race so not bothered about the clock), predictable and comfortable (good when you are tired/lose concentration). Then all a longer travel bike is going to do is make my local descents shorter and easier.
  • 5 3
 @Caza1232:

Maybe, but the article didn't exactly give it praise on the climbs. Easy to lose traction and honestly sounded harsh, all while being slow.

My take on this bike: It climbs poorly for what it is and is middling at best at descending for what it is.

If I'm going to have a bike that lacks on the ups, I might as well as get something that I can at least take to trails that I can enjoy the downs.

Hence my confusion as to why Niner thought this was a good bike to release into the market. I don't see why you would choose this bike when the Trek Top Fuel, Ibis Ripley, Revel Ranger, SC Tallboy/Blur and so on all exist.

There are too many great bikes out there to release something this uninspiring.
  • 5 0
 @FrankS29: Did you watch the video too? The article and then Levy's comments seem to differ. He states out of all the downcountry bikes on test he would choose the Niner for riding trails blind. I think that says a lot out the comfort of the bike. I also would like to know what it would ride like with a flatter bar around 15mm rise.
  • 1 1
 @FrankS29: I would agree, in the Pinkbike bubble (arguably well informed demographic with decent riding experience and choice of any bike available), it isn't going to top many peoples list. But Im sure many people choose their bike on less than "optimal" parameters (absolute performance and value), such as paint colour, aesthetics, brand image, brand loyalty, local stockist support or just that it comes with the right logo on the tires...
Why wouldnt a brand offer a bike thats more than decent and im sure will sell plenty well enough?
  • 2 1
 @Caza1232: agree, throw in “it’s the only bike I can get right now” and you could put out a turd and people will still buy it.
  • 2 0
 @Offrhodes: After being able to watch the video as well, I personally think it says a lot about how the higher rise bar felt to Levy and less about the performance of the bike.

I still feel like the reality of this bike is that it's deceptively slow and middling to poor performing at best.

I would rather get a bike with a better designed suspension, and higher performance and then put my preferred bar/stem combo on it if needed.

I think the test and #'s have really just proven that CVA is an old design that hit its performance wall a long time ago. But hey, CVA is free for Niner...
  • 3 1
 I own this bike and wouldn't call it a poor climber. Having been lucky enough to own both the 2022 Blur and this bike at the same time and ridden them both on various local trails, I prefer the Niner for both climbing and descending (I have since sold the Blur). The Niner also pedals noticeably better, an impression shared by everyone I had let test ride the bike. I imagine the high rise bar that the bike is spec'd with gives the impression that it doesn't climb well (I put a Syncros Hixon IC SL on mine). I think Niner know well enough that is what the market is asking for, so that is what they spec'd the bike with , which is a shame for this comparison test.
  • 7 0
 I rode the previous version of the Jet and really liked it.. It sounds like a bar with a little less rise could really change the personality of this bike..
  • 10 1
 So the big question is how do all these compare to the Spur?
  • 3 5
 They don't! Transition nailed it with the Spur it's such a great bike
  • 1 0
 @nigelnobrakes: It is a great bike, however, it is not the right short travel bike for someone actually racing XC or doing marathon comps. If I ever got into that stuff, I'd sell my Spur and buy something like the Blur TR.
  • 1 0
 @HB208: so its king of the short travel trail bikes?
  • 1 0
 @Almostredbike: The Spur? I think it is the king of downcountry bikes 100%. It is such a ripper on the downhill despite the travel and you can ride it at a good pace uphill. I just don't think it is a true "XC" or "XC Marathon" bike, so I wouldn't buy it if I were racing those categories often.
  • 1 0
 @HB208: I realise that but this tests not based on racing XC or marathon riding if it was none of these bikes would cut it
  • 1 0
 @nigelnobrakes: The Blur would
  • 6 0
 Feels like a pretty good heir to the Smuggler since Transition no longer makes em. Short travel, plush fork, ok on the ups, killer on the downs. And a comfy tide to boot? Not sure why everyone is so down on it.
  • 2 0
 I would not give up my Smuggler for this.
  • 3 0
 @mtbschrader: I have designs on getting a second gen Smuggler one of these days. I'd try this though, the geo and specs look pretty dialed.
  • 4 0
 The Tallboy is the best Smuggler ever made.
  • 3 0
 I heard the Smuggler is coming back
  • 1 0
 @BradC56: anything online about this?
  • 8 1
 The Mike, Mike & Henry combo is fun to watch - they work well together... kind of like the three stooges
  • 4 0
 Kaz as straight man for M Levy and Henry bickering is contend gold.
  • 2 0
 @withdignityifnotalacrity: I do enjoy how they created two new bike categories on this field test so far... "comfort country" is a personal fav.
  • 4 0
 My current bike is the new Jet 9 RDO. My previous bike was the new Santa Cruz Blur. I live in Metro Atlanta, and we don't really have too many steep trails around here. I have ridden pretty much all the local trails on both bikes several times, and I am consistently faster on the Niner, including both uphill and downhill sections. It really does pedal exceptionally well, much better than the Blur in my experience. I haven't had any issues with lack of grip on the climbs.
  • 8 2
 Can we just say that macky looked pretty good with a mustache in that launch video??
  • 3 0
 I loved my aluminum RIP 9 with one exception, it was the creakiest MoFo I ever owned. The suspension pivots and bearings required service every 4 months/600miles in my dry dusty SoCal riding.
  • 5 0
 It's a gorgeous color and weirdly attractive. For a Niner this one looks quite alright
  • 4 0
 I’ve wanted “pedal damnit” on my top tube since I saw that sticker for the first time in 2009. Henry you can pedal damnit on outta here with your lack of anger
  • 2 0
 I am not keeping up with the field test much or with downcountry in general, but when I saw the geo stats for this one I wondered how this category of bike matches up to trail bikes of 5 years ago, before they all went longer, lower, & slacker? The Niner's HTA and travel is pretty close to the 2016 Kona I was riding until recently. Just curious.
  • 2 1
 This bike seems pretty specific to a particular kind of rider. Someone on a Medium (cause short chainstays), for trail bike usage but the trails are more smooth, and maybe someone with T-rex arms.

Have a I mentioned I hate short chainstays on L/ XL bikes? 435mm is acceptable on a short travel not very slack bike however. But just...
  • 4 1
 Well this is a little nit picky, but does anyone else think that rocker arm design and execution looks like something built by an amateur in a garage?
  • 7 2
 Meh up, meh down, and a harsh ride. Sounds like a winner.
  • 4 0
 Winning = having @Rapha Clothing for testing bikes in rain and adverse conditions...
  • 1 0
 Henry mentions small bump sensitivity on this vid - is there a way to improve that, without replacing a fork? The Fox 34 on my Polygon Siskiu is pretty harsh on small bumps and I've been curious if I could do something about it. Is it just tweaking fork compression & tire pressure?
  • 1 0
 bushing problems. Fox even has a dedicated tool to fix them. There is a good article on the mtbr on this matter.
  • 1 0
 I don't mind the "Pedal Dammit" its kinda their thing they've been doing since the companies inception. Like the yeti cartoons that was situated in the same place on the Yeti's. Its funny because i remember that short travel Kona, the 111? or something, all the reviews wen crazy, short travel but slack. It just shows that really really reviews are almost pointless unless it reveals a significant weakness or is being marketed as something it is not. In many respects the Jet 9 isn't touted as a race bike, so comes down to riders choice, if you like it, and we are all different, then its the right bike for you. Go test ride one. With respect to the wheels sizes, Niner don't do bikes built around anything smaller than a 29inch frame, you either put 29er wheels and tires on it or 650b+ which is only negligibly smaller than 29, hence the frames are still all 29er
  • 1 0
 Niner's toptube "reminder" is nauseating like hearing "namaste" or "chapeau".
  • 1 0
 I know you guys are all wearing lavalier mics, but for some reason the audio is pretty poor on these Field Test vids. It's like they're not working and instead the ambient room mics are picking up all your sound/voices. Hard to listen to....
  • 14 10
 someones gotta say it... that thang ugly af bro im sorry
  • 2 3
 Yea the angles are all over the place. And the geo is taller steeper shorter
  • 2 2
 It's a 4 way spawn of Evil, YT, Knolly and Giant
  • 2 2
 The Jet 9 RDO is a frame in desperate need of a geometry overhaul. I rode an XL from 2018-2019, and it was just awful as a taller rider. You can tell just by looking at it that the STA is crap, the curved seat tube means it won't support a halfway decent dropper post insert (my XL came with 125mm lol), and the rear suspension felt like a hardtail - but that was hardly a positive as touted here.

If you have a 32"+ inseam, you will extend the seat post to be well over the rear wheel, and good luck keeping your front end down on climbs, lol. The rear suspension has no business being as firm as it is. This might be a good bike in Florida, but you will suffer anywhere with mountains. The only positive thing I could say about the bike is it was attractive and pretty light for an XL full-suspension - mine weighed in just under 28lbs with a decent set of components.
  • 1 0
 If they made the rear suspension any less firm, the slack STA and short stays would become even more of a deal breaker in the larger sizes.
  • 1 0
 Jet 'moves away from fore/aft balance in flatter turns,' so I can't see how it would be good in FL either. All their frames, including MCR, appear to share this special feature. 'It's almost not a case of good or bad'--almost
  • 2 0
 I have a 34" inseam and currently riding the new Jet 9 in size L with a 175mm dropper. I do not share your concerns about the geometry; it is very similar to most other bikes in its category, and for this East Coast rider having to deal with twist and turns frequently and loves pedaling, I am glad they haven't gone any slacker with the HTA or any steeper with the STA.
  • 1 0
 @gth802s: Sorry, I meant to say my cycling inseam is 36" (6'-4") - big functional difference over 32"... I didn't try any other dropper sizes but was miffed at the 125mm the 2018 XL model came with. Couldn't be happier with the 210mm dropper, 77deg STA (not eSTA) on my current bike in the front range of Colorado.
  • 3 0
 That seat tube angle seems to put the saddle far back- are you sure it’s 76.5?
  • 2 0
 Sounds like a good bike for mellower local trails but still capable enough for any big weekend trips to more exciting terrain
  • 1 1
 @mikelevy why were the Revel Ranger or the Rascal not included in this field test. I understand that the Ranger was not included because it was featured in previous field tests but as I recall, you have never done a field test video on the Revel Rascal.
  • 1 0
 At the end of this field test I hope they make some attempt to situate these DC bikes in regards to the Revel Ranger and Transition Spur of the previous field test. Both field tests are a bit weird in that they cover bikes that are more on the XC side of the scale as well as those more on the trail side. I get that it is take what you can get in the bike industry right now though.
  • 3 0
 I feel the the further we go into the field test... The more the Element might be the new "Spur"
  • 3 0
 How I miss damp fall-time riding in land of tree's! Great photo's!
  • 3 0
 MLA and CMOS prefer DAMMIT. Also, it just looks better than DAMN IT.
  • 2 0
 Anyone else notice the big paint chip off the top of the drive side chainstay next to the chain ring?
  • 1 0
 Pretty much standard on the Jet 9 RDO from my experience. Not sure if it's something to do with CVA, but I had pretty much the same chip in my old Jet 9 RDO chain stay on my first ride. Ended up putting helicopter tape on it. Suggested to Niner that they should really extend that metal protector, clearly they are not worried about it.
  • 6 1
 I heard someone crashed a couple times. They are still mountain bikes after all and won't stay pristine forever if you actually use them.
  • 3 0
 "pros: it feels efficient!"
"cons: not efficient as you think tho..."
  • 2 0
 It actually has me questioning the applicability of the efficiency test to real world climbing. Sure, if you are on a steady fire road, it’s spot on. However, if you have to accelerate a lot at different points after turns or obstacles, is a stiffer feeling bike faster?
  • 3 0
 @whambat: Unless your planning to race XC on this obviously not XC bike, who cares? if it feels good to ride, is it not good to ride? strange review in my opinion.
  • 2 0
 @haskear: I feel the bike related or equipment related content is really slipping from PB side. quality of articles has plummeted.
  • 1 0
 @haskear: everyone wants a bike that is efficient, not just XC racers, but this is also the short travel category, so if you didn’t care about efficiency at all, you’d probably be reaching for a bigger bike.
  • 4 2
 Dont really care about these bikes but I watch all these vids cause I love Quinney's voice
  • 4 2
 @mikelevy, 2021 Kona Hei Hei is the best in this category for climbing and descending!! Prove me wrong dude!
  • 2 0
 I really liked that Hei Hei and yeah, it's very comparable to this Niner. I'd have to ride both back to back if I had to choose one. I think two bottles inside the Kona frame?
  • 1 0
 @mikelevy: you tested the 2020 with the Pike. I put a 34 up front and also Fox shock in rear to make the ride a safer descending bike. The tires stick very well through the rocks and roots going up without any tire slippage if you're in tune with the bike. My hei hei is just under 23lbs with pedals. I've put Minions on it and raced local Enduros with it ha!
  • 1 1
 *Knock Knock*

"Who's there?"

"Specialized here to say your bike name is too similar to one of ours..."

*Niner changes the bike name to J3T.*

You heard it here first, folks.
  • 1 1
 I don't understand why it needs so much seat tube along with that bend. The medium comes with a 150mm dropper. Betting you can't fit much more on it. Downcountry or whatever, that's a deal breaker for me.
  • 1 0
 I have fitted a 175mm Fox Transfer on my size L. Could have actually fitted a 200mm.
  • 1 2
 The following are hefty cons methinks:

Cons

- Not as efficient as you would think
- Lacks precision on flatter trails
- Doesn't offer that much grip on the climbs

And for those who think Knolly are not very purdy, this design is OK?
  • 1 1
 Niner hasn't had a good review from anyone the past few years. They're like the Triumph of ADV bikes competing against KTM and Ducati. You've REALLY gotta want a Niner to spend the money over five vastly better options.
  • 2 0
 its not a bad review, its like they reluctantly say they like it.
  • 3 0
 Stop trying to make "downcountry" happen
  • 1 0
 "Hardtail like feeling suggests effieciency" is not what I am looking for in a full suspension bike.
  • 1 0
 If its heavy and descending focused, wouldn't a bit more travel be good? For about zero weight gain.
  • 6 3
 DAD BIKE
  • 3 1
 DadCountry
  • 3 1
 It doesn't get more dadbike than a Niner
  • 2 0
 @wyorider: I am a dad (both kids in high school), and I own a Jet 9 with about 5,000 miles on it, so... yeah... I guess it is a dad bike by definition. I've got an RLT too, which is what? DadDownGravel? So hard to keep up with the labels.
  • 1 0
 @pixelguru: that bike is a category all of it’s own
  • 2 0
 "It's like the Ralph Wiggum of mountain bikes" hahahaha
  • 1 0
 excited to see this is the Thirdf astest
  • 1 0
 I like your haircut Henry
  • 2 1
 Waiting for the Starling...
  • 1 0
 Steep trails that aren't fast?
  • 8 0
 Some steep trails are slow, aren't they?
  • 1 0
 Where's the photo of the unique sag indicator?
  • 1 0
 The price increases since the filming were eye opening!
  • 3 0
 Scott Sparks were just increased a couple days ago by about 8%
  • 3 0
 Hard to keep up with the prices changing!
  • 5 1
 @mikelevy: After that review they might have to lower the prices back down.
  • 1 0
 @SunsPSD: haha!!
  • 1 0
 @mrkkbb: that’s not a price increase, it only accounts for the inflation till the bike can be delivered.
  • 3 6
 At least after the Bible of Bile reviews, the boys were waxing poetic while drinking a pint. This looks like there was just awkward pauses while someone was waiting to give a rebuttal.
(al la the Bob's scene from Office Space).
  • 21 3
 Next time it's awkward chest-high beers and red flannel in front of a Tacoma!
  • 1 0
 @mikelevy: that was funny—I started hunching my shoulders up and gritting my teeth imagining having that awkward post ride beer.
  • 1 0
 ...I was not aware of any meeting with the Bob's"
  • 1 0
 Just like the Fuel, this is just a trail bike with short travel, not a DC.
  • 1 0
 Can we call this Diet Trail? (Trail Lite in the European market)
  • 1 1
 Good review and Niner puts the price up. Sigh
  • 1 0
 26 r best
  • 1 0
 sick skidplate
  • 2 2
 Will "Peadal Dam it" be on their ebikes also?
  • 1 1
 Downhiller’s XC bike.
  • 1 1
 its a rocket
  • 5 7
 Didn't these guys go out of business a few times.....
  • 2 4
 That’s a really expensive Huffy
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