Sporting longer travel then the cross-country focused Jet 9, the Niner RIP 9 treats you with more composure when the trail gets unruly. By using Niner’s CVA twenty-niner specific suspension design and extensive hydrofoming, forging, and CNC machining, the RIP 9 keeps weight on the lighter side while offering an extremely efficient and plush ride. If you’ve only got room for one bike, the RIP 9 will fill the void nicely with competent handling for every variety of trail .
The guys at Niner Bikes have evolved their first FS frame, the RIP9, into a worthy successor. When the Rip9 first came out, it was an instant hit at Interbike Outdoor Demo . The Constantly Varying Arc (CVA) rear suspension allows the bike to pedal very well while seated, and the angles of the frame were spot on for a 4.5” FS 29er. Fast forward 3 years and Niner has released the version 2.0 of the frame. Continue reading →
Strengths: Stable and plush ride, Sturdy, Climbing, Descending, EVERYTHING.
Weaknesses: The finish seems to be easily scratched... but I could say this same thing about my last bike so who cares.
This is my fourth mountain bike in 18 years of riding and it is absolutely the best bike I have ever ridden. I demoed many bikes before settling on the Rip9 last spring and it has been a year full of glee since. My previous bike was a 26" dual suspension rig and this new bike is more nimble, yet stable and generally a better ride all the way around. I have purposely ridden the same mountainous trails over and over that I used to ride with my previous bikes and the Rip9 puts all of them to shame. It climbs better, maneuvers better, and descends the gnarliest of trails with ease.
The shop that built my Rip9 set me up with a [38 26] front chainring and a [11-36] rear cassette, maybe to avoid that "chain suck" issue other riders have posted about. At first I was nervous about not having that 3rd ring but after a year I do not miss it at all and would highly recommend this setup. I also recommend good hydraulic disc brakes. You are going to need them to slow yourself down after you look at your GPS and see that you are descending tight and twisty singletrack at a frightening speed without even realizing it!
Similar Products Used: Cannondale, GT, Trek, Specialized, Giant
Bike Setup: Rock Shock Revelation RCT3 with Maxle Lite Axle (I am a Clydesdale and this shock is wonderful for the stress I give it), XT everything except a XTR Shadow PLUS rear derailleur... that anti chain-slap design really works! Stans notubes ZTR Flow wheels with Maxxis Tubeless Tires.
a Cross Country Rider
Date Reviewed: February 26, 2013
Strengths: Looks great. Climbs well with the sram 1 by 11 drivetrain I put on it. 32t chain ring up front. Rear wheel stays planted when I put the hammer down. Bike is incredibly stable on the short but bumpy downhill sections I have on my local trails and it handles drops up to 3 feet or so effortlessly. Corners and is snappy like some smaller wheel bikes. Very stiff all around.
Weaknesses: Noticing some minor creaking coming from the bike. I have not pinpointed where from nor do I care. This bike is amazing!
This bike is awesome. I'm a larger rider at 5' 11 and 200 lbs. So far in the short time I have had this bike it has handled everything I can through at it within my skill level effortlessly. I'm sure as I progress, there will be nothing this bike can not handle. I built mine right around 26 lbs and man did it cost me to build it that light but it has been worth every penny. I am upset when I have to get off the bike and head home to eat dinner and all I can think about is my next ride. I love it.
Strengths: Well balanced, stiff, sturdy, fantastic geometry, seriously fun to ride
Weaknesses: a little heavy, paint scratches easily (common complaint on this blog - don't really care though)
I moved to the 29er world about a 1.5 years ago. I started buy building an EMD 9 for racing here in Korea, fell in love with the geometry; completely stopped riding my 26er trail bike - I just felt better and more in control on the EMD.
Fast forward 1.5 years - hard tails can wear a (old) guy out... I did a lot of research on bikes - the blog here seriously informed my decision as well as some other websites. I decided to build the RIP 9 using JensonUSA (awesome company - $2250 for everything). Although the geometry is more slack - I feel even more in control of my bike on the descent. the CVA suspension is no joke - its not HT efficient; but, pretty darn close.
This is a short-term review, as I've had the bike about 4 months now. I've been riding mtn bikes for ~20 years now. My last bike, I had for 8 years and I really saw very few faults with it. Four months of riding the RIP 9 has given me new perspective on how a mtn bike should handle. This is my first 29" wheeled bike and it did take some getting used to. Now that I'm used to it, every ride seems better than the previous. Drops offs, up to a few feet are handled extremely well, occasional I wondered if I even left the ground because the landing was so soft. Climbing is efficient as well, with little to no noticeable peddle bob. The slow speed stability is quite good, I can make all the same tight, rocky, technical sections I've been riding though on my 26" bike. I went with 730mm handlebars and for my size, these are perfect (6'4, 200lbs). Makes the whole bike feel so much more aggressive and comfortable that the shorter bars on my old bike. I may be upgrading the rear disk to 180mm (up from 160) as the 160 can feel a little week for high speed down hill sections. I listed unique as a strength because I haven't seen another RIP 9 out on the trails I ride, I've seen very few 29" bikes at all.
Bike Setup: SRAM 2x10 drive train. Fox front and rear, 80mm stem, brakes; R160 mm, F180 mm.
Date Reviewed: December 22, 2012
Strengths: Fun to ride, great handling, well built.
Weaknesses: A bit heavy, slow going uphill.
Fantastic bike, indestructible. love the red finish. It felt very similar to my old Blur LT 26er, except it rolls over everything easier. Not as good at tight handling for narrow single track as the blur and much slower going uphill (more bob, more movement of the bike overall), however going downhill was downright cheating. Also, much better going over nasty rock gardens then Blur. Also really enjoyed the way it handled in swoopy terrain. Just a blast to ride. Don't recommend racing it due to the weight and the bob. Would use it for endurance racing, just to XC.
If could only own one bike this would be it. It's just fun to ride. Niner is also a great company to deal with.
I did just sell it to get the try out the RDO (large size), I'm (5'11") the medium RIP 9 just seemed too small. I will leave a review for the RDO once I have time to kick it around a bit. But I am already worried that I should have stuck with the RIP, it was FUN to ride.
Strengths: Technical versatility, plush ride on all parts of the trail, and stable pedaling platform for long seated climbs
Weaknesses: None that I've found yet
This fall, I was shopping for a new bike and demoed the following: Turner Sultan (twice - 4 days total), Jet9 RDO (2 days), Yeti SB95 (2 days), SC Tallboy Carbon (2 days), and the RIP9. I was looking for options for riding Denver's front range trails with occasional trips to the mtns (not a priority). I was open to both XC and Trail set-ups that had received good reviews on MTBR and were available in my size at local demo dealers. I rode all these on 2 trails near my house, riding the same loops so I could compare apples to apples. I set the sag at the bike shops per the manufacturer's recommendations and set the rebound dials in the middle to start with. On the first ride, I adjusted shock pressures to get full use out of the suspensions and then tweaked rebound settings to deal with the chatter on the chunky sections of the local trails. Day 2 on each bike was more about heading to the harder of the 2 trails and riding rather than dialing in the suspension.
The RIP9 was the last one I found in my size to demo and it was the first one that felt as responsive in handling the tight technical sections as my old 26" bike. I kept telling my wife after riding the other ones that "it was nice, but I'm not sure it's worth spending that much money on". When I finished day 1 on the RIP, I was grinning from ear to ear and couldn't wait for the day 2 ride. Lucky for me, the LBS had a 20% off sale on XT set-ups with the 110-140 Talas fork, so I bought one, had it built and brought it home the next day!
My setup is:
Frame: Niner R.I.P 9
Fork: 2012 Fox 34 Talus 110-140mm travel
Headset: Niner ZS
Rear Shock: Fox RP23
Rims/Wheels: Stans Flow EX Tubeless Rims
Hubs: Stans ZTR
Spokes: DT Swiss Double Butted
Tires: Nobby Nics 2.35
Crankset: 2012 Shimano XT 2x 175mm 24/38t rings
Bottom Bracket: Shimano XT
Front Derailleur 2012 Shimano XT 780 series
Rear Derailleur: 2012 Shimano XT Shadow+ 785 series
Rear Cogs: Shimano XT 11-36 10 speed
Shifters: 2012 Shimano XT 780 series 10 speed
Handlebars: Niner alloy Flat Top
Tape/Grips : Ergon GP1
Stem : Niner Alloy 100mm
Brake Levers: 2012 Shimano XT 780 series
Brakes: 2012 Shimano XT 780 series 180f, 160r
Pedals: Shimano Trail XT
Saddle: WTB Pure V Carbon
Seatpost: Maverick Speedball dropper post
Seat Binder: Niner
Strengths: Strong burly bike. Handles everything extremely well. Very capable climber and descender. Can be built reasonably light weight. Thru axle front and rear. Accommodates high volume tires. Provides an immense amount of traction in any terrain.
Weaknesses: Hot Tamale paint chips easily.
The Niner Rip 9 is by far the most capable bike I have ridden to date. There is not one thing this bike doesn't excel at. I can easily clear climbs that would be extremely difficult on my previous 29ers. On the downhill this bike just inspires complete confidence. Don't worry if you didn't pick the right line, this bike will take care of it. The traction this bike provides with 2.35 Nobby Nics is unreal. Literally feels like I'm glued to the track. The bike is an absolute joy to ride all day and can handle everything from XC to all mountain rides. The ride on the bike is plush, but not too plush. I'm 165lbs and have the shock set at 120 psi. I don't feel any pedal bob even with the shock fully open. I actually have never even used the pro-pedal feature even during races. The bike can be built at a reasonably light weight, mine weighs in at 28lbs. I highly recommend this bike to anyone looking for a good all around trail bike. Oh ya I also highly recommend Hammerhead Bikes. Scott was a pleasure to deal with and made sure my bike arrived safe and sound.
Similar Products Used: Santa Cruz Tallboy aluminum spx xc. Specialized Stumpjumper fsr elite 26". Scott Scale elite 29er.
Bike Setup: 2012 XL Niner Rip 9 Hot Tamale with full XT kit. Niner RDO bars, stem and seatpost. Mavic Crossmax ST wheels. Fox f29 34 Talas 140 fork. Fizik Gobi saddle and Shimano spd m785 pedals.
a All Mountain Rider
Date Reviewed: September 20, 2012
Strengths: Beefy, comfortable, fast, confidence inspiring, responsive.... climbs like a goat, descends with ease... and like their logo says, "Pedal Damn it!"... she'll keep going unless you stop pedaling!
Weaknesses: None found yet...
While I loved my 26" Giant Trance X2 (it got stolen), this new bike eats it for breakfast...It is quite an amazing ride.
Once you get that momentum going, she rolls over everything in front of her... without hesitation. Climbs are no issue... they are so much easier than with my 26er, it is no joke. Very responsive, even on tight switchbacks, due to their shorter wheelbase compared to older 29ers. Suspension is dialed in, and works wonderfully.
I'm stoked with this bike... I believe it is THE ONE AND ONLY I'll need.
Strengths: This bike is truly a do it all bike. I huck it off 2-4 foot drops; I have raced it in some endurance races; if you can only have 1 bike, this is the one you want. The suspension is the most efficient that I have ever used. I only use the pro pedal feature on the shock when I am climbing on pavement (which isn't much). Although the suspension is very efficient when climbing, when the terrain turns downward, it turns into a voracious bump and drop devouring beast!
Weaknesses: To date (2 years) I have found none.
I bought the frame for 1200 new and built up the bike myself. Again, this bike can do it all. It is hands down the best long day bike that I have ever ridden. My bike weighs right at 30 pounds, which is a bit for a bike, but I swear it is faster than my 24 pound hard tail, and I smoke others on lighter bikes regularly with the added benefit of being able to blaze the down hills and throw in a regular huck as well. You can often find the bikes being discounted at the end of the year.
Bike Setup: Frame- 2010
Fork- RS Reba - 140mm
Wheel set - Hope hubs with Flow rims
Drive train- SLX 2 ring crank (switched out stock bash guard with a much lighter one by BBG), XT rd, XT shifters, SL fd
Other - Thomson seat post and stem, Niner flat top bar, time attack xs pedals, WTB Silverado saddle
Strengths: This bike goes up and down faster than a wh0re's drawers! Seriously, it climbs like a mountain goat and descends better than any bike I've owned.
zero bob when climbing. I leave pro-pedal off because really, it isn't an issue.
29# with an economy build. Could probably get it closer to 25# with lighter parts.
Weaknesses: Haven't found any yet. I bought the frame and spec-d the parts so everything is exactly how I want it.
This thing rides like a dream. It's my first 29er so I'm sure the bigger wheels have a lot to do with it. I can ride stuff I never cleaned before, both climbing and descending. Coming off a 100mm xc race bike, I used to endo about every other ride. the RIPper has brought back my confidence in drops, rock gardens, etc. that used to buck me off.
Initially, I had some flex in the rear when standing and hammering. I added a 12x142 thru axle and haven't had problems since.
I'm still dialing in the rear shock but so far, I don't really need pro-pedal. climbing bob is really minimal. It's a good thing too because it's a bugger to reach the lever with the shock below the top swing arm. A remote switch would be nice.
I was a bit concerned about the stopping power of the XT brakes with 160 rotors but man, those things are strong!
Bike Setup: I built up my RIP9 with full XT, sun ringle pro wheels, reba RLT 120 fork, easton cockpit for $3400. It came in at 29lbs.
I went with 2x10. The gearing was too big for the steep trails I ride so I replaced the 26 small ring with a 24. I still might go 22 up front to get a real granny gear.
Strengths: Climbs AND descends well! Glows in the dark! Stiff frame-even under my 240lbs. Can be built for cross country or trail...not too heavy for how burly it rides.Dropper cable routing...tapered ZS headtube...ability to use 12mmx142 axle...has tire clearance for most big tires-and mudroom!
Weaknesses: full length cable run would be nice
Good for all types of riding-the more burly the better! Make it feel like cheating on some trails.
Similar Products Used: Have test many FS 29er frames...have been riding 29er since 2001
Bike Setup: SLX brakes/derails.....P35 rims Velocity hubs....Conti Mtn King 2.4's....X-fusion dropper post....big groovy flat pedals...AKA crank 22/34 with Salsa rock guard....Salsa stem and flat bar....orange housing....Ergon grips
a Cross Country Rider
Date Reviewed: March 26, 2012
Strengths: This is my "if I could only have one bike, what would it be bike". I use it more on the XC, Enduro and even XC/Marathon race side of the equation. I probably would not have ever purchased a RIP had it not been for the warranty recall of my JET 9 in the fall of 2009. One of the options given to those of us who owned JET 9's was a discounted price for a new RIP frame. So I decided to purchase the RIP while I waited for my new JET 9 with the idea once the JET showed up I could sell the RIP. Ha! I've been riding the RIP 9 since October 2009 as my go to bike for just about everything. It's plush, fun and for me - a great do all bike. I can race it in a short XC race. I can race it in a 3-6 hour marathon. It likes the mountains as much as it likes the Midwest. Burly, yet mine is built around 27 pounds which is not bad for a size XL 120mm travel bike. It's pretty dang nimble in the tight singletrack - which continues to surprise me. I have the 2009-10 version with not as slack of a headtube angle as the newest version. Plus I run a Fox fork which has a tad shorter A/C than RockShox forks - so mine is really XC friendly in terms of steering through the tight and twisty.
Weaknesses: One has to be prudent in choosing chainring sizes to allow for enough clearance up front that when the CVA is activated the chain doesn't jump up and get "stuck". Or one needs to purchase one of those new chain retention devices such as the Dangler from Specialized and be done with it.
Great all-around bike! Especially with some all-around tires like 2.35 Nobby Nics or Ardent 2.4's. The bike is sneaky fast - especially downhill and on technical sections. Yet it climbs much like the JET 9. It fits squarely in the segment of do-it-all medium travel 29"ers (120-130mm). Enough cushion front and rear to not get beat up, but not so much cushion that the bike cannot be used for XC riding and racing if one so desires. Perfect for my 50 year old body that prefers not to get too beat up hammering on the singletrack. For we big guys over 6 foot and 180 pounds and up - it might just be the perfect XC full suspension bike when compared to shorter travel and less burly 4" and 3" travel bikes.
Similar Products Used: JET 9, Sugar 293 - both shorter travel bikes, but at least I've got some ownership time on these other 2 full suspension 29"ers to compare with the RIP.
Bike Setup: Fox F29 120mm fork, Shimano XT cranks with a 23T Rotor granny ring, 30/40T middle and outer rings from Russ Anderson, 11-34 cassette, SRAM X-7 twist shifters, Avid Ultimate Brake Levers and BB7's, WTB saddle, Thomson post, 120mm Ritchey Pro stem flipped negative, Syntace bars, Roval Carbon wheels for racing, I9 Enduro wheels for everyday riding. Nobby Nic 2.35's at the moment, but also use Ardent 2.4's, Ardent 2.25/Crossmark 2.1 LUST for racing, Ikons for racing, Raven 2.2's for racing, etc... .
a Cross Country Rider
from Newport News, Va, usa
Date Reviewed: February 16, 2012
Strengths: I bought the Niner RIP9 about a year ago and the first few rides it seemed a bit burly and awkward. After that, the bike and I just dialed in and I have been in heaven ever since. Took the bike to Reddish Knob and Massanutten area near Harrisonburg, Va. and was able to handle most of the rocky sections with an ease I didn't think possible . I have a 2007 specialized epic carbon fiber s-works 26" that I thought couldn't be beat, but I cannot seem to pull it out of the garage. I put a set of 2.4 Maxxis Ardents on it and the bike can really fly. I ride mostly cross country and some freeride trails and I feel very comfortable hitting the ramps, dirt jumps, rock gardens, etc. Great on downhill and flats and really good on uphill. Just a great all round bike and I feel some Jedi connection that makes riding very enjoyable.
Weaknesses: Have had some minor issues with chain suck which never happens with specialized.
Just a bik that you can become one with. Maybe not the lightest climber or descend like DH bike, but it is all mountain all day!
a Weekend Warrior
from Winchester, VA
Date Reviewed: January 24, 2012
Strengths: One of the first true aggressive trail/AM full suspension bikes.
Pedals very well, very little bob from the rear suspension.
Descends very well also. I rail the downhills about the same as the 6" 26er I had before it.
Weaknesses: CVA suspension pedals well, and although it is pretty plush on the descents, not as plush as Giant's Maestro.
Some flex in rear end (note: this bike is now over 4 years old, from what I understand the models in the last several years have beefed up the rear end considerably; also, the little flex hasn't seemed to mean anything other than I can get the rear brake to buzz sometimes).
i'm surprised I haven't written a review for this bike already! Anyway, I have had my RIP9 since late 2007, and I can't count the adventures I've had on it. Race tires with a triple for 100 mile mtb races to big meats with 2-bash for normal trail riding. The riding here in the western VA is rocky, and the bike handles it well.
I first got into the big wheels looking for something different and more XC oriented than my 6" Reign, so I got a KM set up rigid and SS. Loved the big wheels so much I decided to get a 29er FS. Not too many options for an AM 29er at the time, but the RIP9 seemed like a good candidate. Haven't looked back!
The RIP9 climbs very well, and I was able to build it fairly light without going too crazy (29.6 lbs with Rampages). The CVA suspension provides no pedal feedback/kickback that I can notice, nor does it really bob unless I'm really mashing it standing. I rarely use the propedal setting on the RP23 shock, and when I do, I only use the first. Propedal just really isn't needed since it pedals so well; I only use it on a long fireroad climb. Can't have the propedal on for the descent, though, just doesn't feel right at all.
Bike is fun on the descents, too. Pretty plush, soaks up most of the trail chatter and takes larger hits well. I don't hit any really big drops, but it has handles the 3 footers I've done just fine.
Overall, I'd say this is a great bike if you want a 29er trail/AM bike.
Similar Products Used: I demo'ed several other full-squish 29ers back at Interbike in 2007, like the Lenz behomoth I think it was.
My previous bike was a 2005 Giant Reign.
Bike Setup: Size Large, Manitou Minute 120mm fork, XTR shifters, XT ders, NoTubes Arch/Hope wheels, XT brakes. Tires I've run on it: Rampages, Mountain Kings, Karmas, Aspen, Ardent.
a Weekend Warrior
from Mountain View, CA
Date Reviewed: January 8, 2012
Strengths: BURLY - as a Clydesdale+, this is the first frame that doesn't wobble and flex. Comfortable - the plush suspension just soaks up abuse. Good at many things - climbs well, descends even better, nice balance of stability and maneuverability.
Weaknesses: Long wheelbase makes it not so great in twisty, tight singletrack. Some XC triple cranks create major chain suck issues.
The first version of the Rip9 was noodly, and Niner overcompensated so much with the redesign that I think they made the perfect Clydesdale bike.
As far as the frame, the tubing is big, squared-off and burly. You can swap out the rear dropouts to fit a 12mm Maxle, which is usually only seen on bikes with twice the travel and weight. The tapered head tube makes the steering rock solid. Let me put it this way - I've had bikes literally wiggle left and right as I pedaled because of my size and torque output (imagine an ex Linebacker cranking away). This bike feels absolutely SOLID under all conditions.
As far as the performance, since I'm in the 250+ pound range I had to send the rear shock to PUSH (as I do on all my bikes) and I bought a fork made for a WFO and shimmed it down to fit this frame. It took these mods like a champ, and feels plush, bottomless, and can still turn on a dime when I run into situations I don't want to just plow through (rare with this bike). At speed, you lean with your hips, and just carve away.
The only problems are one that it's not really built to encounter. First, this is a do-it-all bike. It can be a lot of work to manhandle it through super maneuverable twisty stuff; for that, buy a JET / RDO / etc. or stay on a 26er. Second, they used to have horrible chainsuck with XT triple cranks. They've solved that a bit (with a notch in the chainstay that made some room) but really, this bike is meant for a double + bashring. You'll have too much fun throwing it over logs and chunky rock gardens to worry about needing a big ring.
The last thing is to be cognizant of which version of this one you buy. The 2009 re-envisioning (in Raw, Milk Dud and Black Ano) had a steep head tube. The 2010 refresh (in Black and Red) has 1 degree more slack. I found that made a real difference when you're in super steep stuff, like 'chest on the saddle even with when you're using the dropper' situations. The newer, slacker bikes are a bit better there. When I was on my 2009 I could just FLY on most terrain, but it felt a bit dicey. I had to run a shorter stem than I would have on similar bikes.
Similar Products Used: Ibis Mojo, Rip9 2009 (new design, steeper headtube), Rip9 2010 (new design, slack head tube)
Bike Setup: Rip9 2010 (with the new slacker head tube) set up burly all-mountain. King/MTX33 wheels. White Brothers Fluid 150mm fork @ 138mm. Fox RP23 shock with PUSH custom valving. Shimano SLX double cranks with bash guard and Time ATAC pedals. Truvativ risers with 70mm stem. KindShock dropper seatpost.