When Niner releases a new model, competitors and consumers alike take notice. This is because of Niner's persistent research and design that squeezes every ounce of performance from the popular 29er platform. With 125mm of travel, the carbon fiber R.I.P. 9 RDO continues Niner's tradition of...
Strengths: Very good all-round trail and light enduro bike. Active suspension, but good at pedaling. Lightweight and pretty stiff and really pretty in Rally Blue with cool, understated graphics. Great customer service.
Weaknesses: I truly hate internal cable routing. Why, Niner, why? It rattles loudly when the going's bumpy, and the caps in either end come loose, encreasing the rattling. It will take 150 years to crack (I hope), but the cable has also rubbed a tiny track on the fork steerer tube. Also, the bike came stock with play in the rear shock. Had to buy new shims. Which is annoying on an unused bike.
I really, really like this bike. I upgraded from a 2011 alu RIP9, and I feel confident this is a better climber and descender, once the play in the rear shock was gone. There is nothing in terms of ride quality I miss from that bike, all though I do miss it.
I don't believe in the concept of a one quiver bike, but if I were to have only one bike, this would surely be it. It does everything well, with one exception for steep tech sections, where it feels an adjustable headset and a slacker head angle would be a good idea. But for everything else I ride, the geometry of the RDO is bang on.
I also really grief the internal cable routing. Sure, it looks sleek and smooth, but I believe full length cable housing zip-tied to the outside of the frame is a way better concept in all functional terms. I really hope Niner reverse their decision on cable routing and join the likes of Santa Cruz bikes and leave the cables on the outside. It will be affecting my decision when I change the RDO for something else in a year or two. I love this bike to death for everything else, but it loses one star in the overall rating 'cause of the damn cable routing.
Strengths: Light. Great climber. Decent descender. Blue color is awesome. XX1 1x11 is really nice. I come from the XTR 2x10 with the shadow derailleur. That setup is great as well but now I prefer the XX1. I only wish SRAM made a 180mm crank.
Weaknesses: Problems with knock in shock pivot since purchase. My very competent bike wrench has changed bushings, he has swapped the linkage, he has done several adjustments per the Niner Rep and the problem still persists. I think it is time for a replacement frame. I'll repost after that experience. Also, I'm not a big fan of the Fox CTD fork. The fork came with ZERO rebound dampening even at the highest setting. After sending it back to Fox for a rebuild it is better but much less plush than the previous model that I also own. Both are the Talas 140-110.
Overall it is a great feeling bike that shines on the climb. I think I just got a bad frame. I'm 6'4" 220lbs, maybe they didn't design the frame with my build in mind. After the fix attempts I would get 1 or 2 rides with no knock and I could see how great it could be. But once the knock returned, handling diminished and confidence at speed went out the window. I own an aluminum Rip9 as well. In comparison the aluminum Rip9 bike is less of a climber but a better descender for sure. I set the RDO up with my old fork while the CTD was being rebuilt, so even with the same fork the alloy wins the DH for me hands down. Road Downieville last weekend and the aluminum steed sure was nice! I do prefer the Carbon for my local Marin trails (Tamarancho, Annadale) but for shuttle days I prefer the old Rip 9. I just find I can let go of the brakes and trust the line more. Hopefully I get a new frame. If so, I'll repost an update.
Strengths: Climbing, descending, build quality, attention to detail, spot on geometry, Niner customer service, 5 year warranty!
Weaknesses: It's expensive, but these days it seems as though everything is...
This review is in regards to the 2013 Niner Rip 9 RDO. I'll give you some background information on myself before I get started. I started mountain biking 3 years ago on a bike purchased from a big box store for less than most people spend on a set of wheels. I didn't want to spend a ton of money on something unless I was really passionate about it. Well fast forward three years and nearly a dozen bikes later and I have found the perfect fitting ultimate trail riding machine for my second biggest passion, mountain biking!
To say the Niner Rip 9 RDO fits me like a glove is an understatement. The bike feels so natural to me; as though we're one connected speed machine. I'm 6'4" and purchased an extra large size frame. Niner frames typically run on the larger side of each size when comparing them to other brands. Before having ridden a Rip 9 I was unsure whether a large or extra large would fit me better, but after demoing each bike it was a given. The best thing I can say if you're borderline between sizes is to demo. Niner has quite a few demos throughout the country each year with all the latest and greatest bikes.
Typically the trails I ride are fast flowing XC trails with some short steep climbs and roller coaster descents. These trails could easily be ridden on a hard tail 29er with 100mm fork, but as I said earlier, I really love the way the Rip 9 fits me. Once per month I will go to the North Georgia Mountains and usually to the Pisgah area of North Carolina once per year. These trails offer a lot more technical climbs and much steeper descents. I guess what I'm getting at is the Rip 9 RDO feels at home on any trail, whether it's super technical or fast flowing, it can handle it all.
When it comes to climbing, there is nothing this bike can't clear as long as you keep pedaling. The Rip 9 RDO is honestly the best climbing bike I've ever ridden and I've rode quite a few. It's not the fastest climbing bike out there, but when the trail gets steep and technical it seems to be glued to the trail saying "Pedal Damn It"! I also have a Niner Jet 9 RDO and yes it is the fastest climbing bike I've ridden on smoother less technical trails, but on more technical trails the Rip 9 easily takes the lead. The Rip 9 RDO is an extremely plush bike when compared to the Jet 9 RDO. I also had an aluminum 2012 Rip 9 and although they both ride super plush, the Rip RDO certainly gets the advantage over it's older brother. It may be due to the CTD shock, or lighter weight and stiffer frame, but the Rip 9 RDO doesn't sink into it's travel too much like the aluminum 2012 Rip 9 did. I often found myself blowing through all the travel on the old Rip, but that's not the case with the carbon Rip. I'm sure this is probably not the case with the new 2014 Rip 9 aluminum. I leave my CTD shock in the trail mode all of the time and have the trail adjust set to the firmer setting number 3. I have my rebound set a tad on the slower side, usually 8 clicks back. I'm currently playing with sag settings, but 25% feels just right for my style of riding.
So then there is the descent, which on the cadillac like ride on the Rip 9 RDO, inspires complete confidence. I'm certainly a stronger climber than I am descender, but the Rip RDO is helping me overcome my weakness. Just point it downhill and let the Rip take care of everything else or at least that's what I've learned from riding this bike. I've taken so many wrong lines or somehow got off course and the Rip always seems to find a way to make it safely down. According to my Garmin, I've increased my top speed on my local trails by 2.5mph over the Jet 9 RDO.
The Rip 9 RDO also corners better for me than any other bike. This may be due to the feeling of sitting in the bike instead of on the bike, but I feel I can lay it over further and go faster. I don't ever get the feeling that the front end is going to wash out like I would on some other bikes. Tight switchbacks are no problem either, just adjust your body position accordingly and roll with it. It's almost as if this bike is machined to a track, around the corners, but then becomes sprightly on the descents. On paper the bike may look like it is more suited for XC riding with the steeper angles, but once you ride this bike you will throw the paper into the recycling bin! Niner seems to have nailed the geometry on this bike as it tracks like no other bike I've ridden.
The all new Niner Rip 9 RDO seems to be at home on almost any type of terrain. This bike can be set up as a XC speed machine or more of an all mountain "never back down until I've descended all the way down" build. The carbon Rip 9 is a beautifully crafted bike with a lot of attention to detail. The CVA suspension climbs remarkably well compared to other bikes in this segment. The Rip 9 RDO descends like a bike with much slacker angles as it inspires complete confidence. If you're looking for a "do it all" bike than look no further
Date Reviewed: May 19, 2013
Strengths: Incredible "do-it- all" suspension design. Plush on the downhills and perfect for climbing. Stiff, solid frame.
Great handling and geometry. Internal cable routing.
Weaknesses: Nothing performance related. Love the Rally Blue color but wish more thought was put into bike graphics. Would also like to see rear disc brake cable tucked more under the seat stay. I also thought frame would be lighter. My XL weighed 6.35 pounds, but the weight was irrelevant once I rode it.
I built up an XL frame up with full XTR group, Fox 34 Talas 110/140 fork, Stans Flow wheels and Thomson cockpit (no dropper post) and it came it at 28 pounds- Not bad for a long travel trail bike. I feel the 125 mm travel is a perfect match for most technical trails and this bike delivers a great ride for anything you can throw at it. I come from an XC bike background and it climbs really well where I don't even notice the couple extra pounds. I'm a big guy (6'-4" / 215 lbs.) and this frame feels really stiff, but the suspension soaks up everything. A lot of credit goes to the Fox shocks and the CTD adjustments. I use the 110 mm travel fork setting for a majority of my riding and it never feels unbalanced with the 125 rear travel. Once the trail kicks turns nasty, I turn it up to 140 mm travel...a perfect complement to this awesome frame.
The handling is very similar to my SC Tallboy, which I love. The head tube is longer compared to my TB, so it puts me in a comfortable trail riding "sweet spot" for handling.
Overall, I would have to say Niner nailed it with this frame. It has everything you would want in a trail bike.
If you are thinking of getting one, I say go for it- you won't regret it.
Date Reviewed: March 30, 2013
Strengths: Stunningfully beautiful - Prettiest mountain bike I have ever seen.
Niner nailed the geometry - it's rediculous how well this bike corners climbs and decends
Extremely comfortable to ride.
This bike is fun and fast like you can't believe
The blue color is mesmerizing
My freaking cool (and beautiful) Wife bought me this Rig for my birthday! Wow!
I raced motorcycles for decades and have been riding mountain bikes for a long,long time. I know what works off road and what doesn't .This bike works! My expectations were high...and they have been greatly exceeded.Bravi,to all at Niner.Well done,well done,well done!