Niner Bikes Air 9 Carbon 29er Hardtail

4.41/5 (17 Reviews)
MSRP : $4635.00


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Product Description

Niner is dedicated to making their first carbon frame an extraordinary machine that goes way beyond status quo.


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Reviews 1 - 15 (17 Reviews Total) | Next 15

User Reviews

Overall Rating:4
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Gift Shop Boys a Cross Country Rider

Date Reviewed: May 1, 2014

Strengths:    super light; fast; nice Moondust color

Weaknesses:    Feels "plasticy".. but thats upgrading from an aluminum.

Bottom Line:   
Any upgrade where you double your previous bike's price is always positive.. my first carbon, and its a blast so far.. its badass looking.. you're looked at as a badass.. and the bike performs more badass.. after riding this for 2 weeks, I dont even want to get back onto my old X-cal..

I bought the parts myself and had it built up.. hence the cheaper price.. I saved about $500 so I can't complain. Frame was a brand new 2013 leftover.. Haven't weighed the bike yet, but I can't imagine it being more than 25lbs.

with my current setup, I noticed I'm putting less effort climbing.. I'm taking turns sharper.. and it improved myself as a rider already

Expand full review >>

Favorite Trail:   Ft Yargo

Duration Product Used:   3 weeks

Price Paid:    $3300.00

Purchased At:   self build

Similar Products Used:   2008 to Feb 2011: Trek 4300
Feb 2011 to Sept 2011: Trek Marlin
Sept 2011 to April 2014: Trek X-cal


Bike Setup:   XTR shifters
XT (crank, brakes, cassette, chain, rear/front derailluer)
Stans Flows Tubeless
Fizik saddle
Easton Haven Carbon seatpost
Cannondale aluminum handlebars (temporary)
Fox 32 fork w/ 15mm TA
Maxxis Ikons 3C EXO

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:4
Submitted by Matthew Glagola a Cross Country Rider

Date Reviewed: September 18, 2013

Strengths:    Fast as snot, stiff, quiet, comfy, good looking

Weaknesses:    I'm sad when it gets scratched

Bottom Line:   
To all those who say the EBB is a problem, you simply have an install issue. Mine is rock solid and completely quiet. You simply have to set it up correctly. Also the 2nd version of the cups is a much better design than the firs tone. Use teflon pipe past on the cups but don't let it get on the surface of the flange or the side of the frame where they make contact. If you keep that part clean, you'll have creak free, solid performance.

I love this bike.

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Mike Zajec a All Mountain Rider

Date Reviewed: November 18, 2012

Strengths:    Fun, Fast, and makes me Smile every ride.

Weaknesses:    It looks so sleek with the internal routed cables and color scheme, that you should always keep it clean and shiny.

Bottom Line:   
I've been riding mountain bikes for over 25 years, if you count Beach Cruisers. First real mountain bike was rigid Klien and w hen dual suspension bikes started catching on, I rode an an early Heckler with the coil over shock (Absolutely Killer), i later moved on to a Ibis Mojo (Completely Rocks). This July I went for a completly new add to the quiver and dove into this Niner Air Carbon. I'm 6'4" 240. I liked the look and the feel when I threw a leg over one. MadCat Bikes in Sac built it up for me, they did a terrific job. Initially I was a little concerned going from a terrific DS to a hardtail. I talked to fellow riders and got some input and ultimately felt that this was the way to go when it comes to 29ers.

I ride mostly trails in Auburn, Santa Cruz, and Marin. This bike surprised me and exceeded my expectations on all fronts: Climbs and Accelerates like a V2 Rocket!, Tracks Lines and Handles the corners amazingly. When dealing with tight switch backs there was some sacrifice with the bigger hoops initially, mostly a result of me making the transition to a 29er. This bike just goes over obstacles with ease. I have a few training loops in the Auburn area and on my normal high pace 1hr 15min ride, I smoked it by 9 min. And this ride has a great variety of climbing, descending and tech.

This bike is the Mega Bomb! Fun, Fast, and a Joy to ride.

Thanks Niner Team!

Expand full review >>

Favorite Trail:   Top Secret

Purchased At:   MadCat

Bike Setup:   Summary of the set up: Air 9 Carbon XL, FOX F29 100mm, Mix of XT and XTR, Rims Arch Ex, Tires Maxxis Ignitor. 2X10 Shimano.

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by JC

Date Reviewed: July 12, 2012

Strengths:    FAST!!! I mean really, really fast. Fast enough to make a middle aged wannabe racer think he is fast... The geometry is impressive -- it really makes you forget all the supposed negatives of a 29er. Great acceleration, nimble, and a pretty darn steady descender. Did I mention it was fast?

Weaknesses:    CYA bottom bracket -- although a great idea, it creaks like an old pick-up truck. The internal cable routing is a pain, although I do like the look of it when it is done.

Bottom Line:   
I am pretty much going to affirm what everybody has been saying about this frame. It is a fast, mile-munching, hill-climbing beast. My experience with other fast frames have been more incremental... but the possible speed on this frame is instantly noticeable.

The frame is stiff, and you will want to pick your parts carefully to make sure you aren't going to beat up your back/shoulders... (I fitted mine with a Niner RDO seat post, which is supposed to give you lots of flex, and it definitely does soften things up a bit.) That said, it is not too stiff, although I can't imagine running it with a rigid fork around my parts in SoCal (loose over hard, rocks, and rocks).

I run a Fox F29 100mm fork on it, and I have to say the geometry is superb for the xc racing or fast trail-riding. And I simply love the overall feel of this frame.

I am running my A9C geared, and I built it up myself, which means I had to deal with the pain-in-the-* internal cable set-up. But if you are patient, it will get done, and you will have a very clean look... Although I am not looking forward to servicing the cables... Luckily, since in SoCal things are pretty dry, we don't have to deal with it too often. (I have zero shifting issues. I do suggest you "cross" the cables when you have them enter the name badge.)

Beautiful finish, aesthetically a home run. (I have the 'tang' orange. It is really, really orange in person.)

By far the worst part of this magnificent frame -- is the hit-or-miss bottom bracket. CYA does offer you lots of options, but options are really over-rated... I am guessing it is a vocal minority, but still a lot of us have issues with creaky bottom bracket. You just don't want to get too clever with a sensitive area like the BB...

That being said... I love this frame, from the unique, unmistakable look to the rocket-propulsion speed.

Overall Rating:2
Value Rating:3
Submitted by Al

Date Reviewed: May 15, 2012

Strengths:    feels solid under you, absorbs more that my scandium frame.

Weaknesses:    for an expensive and state of the art frame, the EBB sucks. The eccentric BB cups press fit into the bottom braket as you tighten the bolt. Per the instructions to adjust , they recommend unscrew the bolt then put a screw driver into bbc hole and use the cranks as leverage to turn the eccentric bb. If your cups get stuck from the slight press fit, you can't adjust your chain tension.

Lame design for such an expensive frame.


Bottom Line:   
I would have rated this a 5 but the eccentric bb is a crappy design. Before you but this frame, try to get ahold of a frame with this eccentric bb and try to adjust it. You will see that its a PAIN>

Overall Rating:3
Value Rating:3
Submitted by reesrider a Racer

Date Reviewed: May 10, 2012

Strengths:    Climbs like a goat. Point and shoot

Weaknesses:    EBB creaks like crazy. I fix it and it goes away for 1 ride and os back the next ride. If the chain comes loose out on the trail, it is next to impossible to fix it without bottom bracket tool and a big enough allen wrech to put the crank off.

Bottom Line:   
Super fun and super fast bike When the ebb works it works but most of the time it sucks

Expand full review >>

Favorite Trail:   trail 157

Price Paid:    $3300.00

Purchased At:   Revolution

Similar Products Used:   Raleigh xxix, niner one 9

Bike Setup:   Air nine carbon frame, stans crest wheels, easton ec 90 seat post, easton ec70 bar, truativ noir ss crank, avid elixir cr brakes, conti race king tires, king 19 cog

Overall Rating:4
Value Rating:4
Submitted by Goochie a Cross Country Rider

Date Reviewed: April 11, 2012

Strengths:    Super light build can be achieved and very fast climber set up as a 29" MTB hard tail or as a slightly weird looking cross bike.

Weaknesses:    EBB noise comes and goes but not enough to be more than a mild annoyance at the start of a ride and usually fades into the background after 10 minutes. EBB shell adjustment when I am running SS is a bit of a pain and doesn't seem to be able to be adjusted without taking out the whole shell most of the time but sometimes I get lucky and can rotate with just loosening the locking bolt. Not a big fan of the internal cable routing as swap between single and 10 speed rear quite frequently and using the internal routing is too much of a faff for this.

Bottom Line:   
First off this is by far and a way the best mountain bike and possibly the best cycle I have ever owned but it is not perfect and has some definite areas for improvement. I have had this bike for 6 months after a rather long wait (9 months) but the wait was definitely worth it. I ride it every morning on 15 mile off road smooth ish trail loop with a couple of 500 meter climbs and it is so fast I am still amazed at how much time I have taken off my old PB.

I have built up the bike to either be ridden as a SS cross (see spec below) which is how I ride it in the week or as a front suspension cross country weekend fun and occasional race machine.

In SS Cross dress this is a very capable cross machine, stiff fast to climb but also able to decent with some pace despite the smaller tyres and the disk brakes allow much later braking than friends on rim brake cross machines.

In proper 29" dress this bike really comes to life, still stiff but with enough feel to know what the bike is doing and darn is it fast up a hill, most of my friends are on full sus 120mm travel bikes and I just leave them for dead on any incline. Even the odd mates on hard tails are left in a could of dust. But it is not just uphill this bike excels, I am also easily able to keep with with the same full sus friends on any decent and unless it is a really rock section, put some space between us most of the time.

There are some issues with the bike though, as other have noted the EBB shell can be noisy and you do need to tweak it to get ride of this but it will usually come back again so definitely not set and forget. It is also not the easiest shell to adjust and quite often needs to be fully removed to adjust. If like me you swap quite frequently between SS and Geared you will find using the internal cable routing a real pain so I put some stick on cable tie guides on the underside of the down tube and inside of rear chain stay so as not to take away from the bikes clean looks. I do really like the external guides for the rear and front brake as it makes changing brake set-up and cables between configurations a 2 min job.

Ordering enough parts to have two different rides was not cheap and probably no cheaper than buying two bikes but it does mean I use the bike every day and so don't feel quite so guilty about the expense.

Expand full review >>

Similar Products Used:   First 29" but previously owned, FSR XC M4 Full Sus, Kona AA Front Sus, Ti Mtrax Rigid, Killi Flyer Comp Rigid

Bike Setup:   29" MTB - Black & White small frame, Cannonade Carbon Lefty, Stans rims, Chris King Hubs, 2.2 Racing Ralph tubeless, Thomson seat post & stem, 3t flat bars, XTR hydraulic brakes, XTR rear mech & 11-36 10 speed cassette, middleburn RS7 36T, Fizzik Tundra 2 Saddle - 21LBS

Single Speed Cross - Black & White small frame, Niner Rigid Carbon Fork, Stans rims, Chris King Hubs, 1.35 Racing Ralph with tubes, Thomson seat post & stem, 3t drop bars, Avid BB7 mechanical brakes & Campagnolo record drop levers ,Chris King SS cog, middleburn RS7 36T, Fizzik Tundra 2 Saddle - 16LBS

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:4
Submitted by glagola1 a Cross Country Rider from Atlanta, GA, US

Date Reviewed: February 8, 2012

Strengths:    Fast, fast, fast.... Puts down the power. Light. Looks great. Stiff. Compliant where it needs to be. Perfect fit for 5'-10". Configures as SS or geared. Internal cable routing means no cable stops.

Weaknesses:    None yet.

Bottom Line:   
Is it possible to make carbon fiber babies? I hope not. The bike rips. I have been riding an Anthem Advanced for the last few years and this bike is so much more responsive and fast. It has actually made me faster.... just by getting on it. I highly recommend it. The EBB has been rock solid.

Expand full review >>

Favorite Trail:   Chicopee

Duration Product Used:   Less than 1 month

Price Paid:    $4900.00

Purchased At:   Wrench Science

Similar Products Used:   I haven't owned a rigid SS 29er before so...

Bike Setup:   Niner rigid fork, Niner bars, Niner RDO post, X0 brakes, Stans Arch on CK hubs, RF Sixc cranks.

Overall Rating:4
Value Rating:4
Submitted by deeppow a Cross Country Rider from Denver, CO, USA

Date Reviewed: February 6, 2012

Strengths:    Great Geometry, nice and stiff at the bottom bracket.

Weaknesses:    EBB creaks, can be mitgated by bandaid fixes

Bottom Line:   
This is a great frame. It is nice and stiff latterally and has some compliance in the rear. It is a climinb machine and decends as well as many 26" FS bikes. I love the way Niner hardtails handle if only they could get the EBB issues resolved. For this kind of money you should not have to perform afternmarket fixes to quiet the bike. Once I get the creaking EBB silenced I am afraid to change gearing out of fear that the noises will come back. Niner, please go to sliding dropouts!

The frame is pricy but it is comparable to other carbon hardtails. I would give 5 stores except for the EBB issues.

Expand full review >>

Favorite Trail:   Loma area

Duration Product Used:   6 months

Price Paid:    $1800.00

Purchased At:   LBS

Similar Products Used:   Niner One 9, Gary Fisher Superfly 100

Bike Setup:   Air Niner Frame set up as SS

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:3
Submitted by jviray a Weekend Warrior from Chatsworth, CA USA

Date Reviewed: February 5, 2012

Strengths:    Light, Fast, Stiff

Weaknesses:    Price

Bottom Line:   
My 1st 29er...waited for ~ 2 months...just pt and it goes...super fast,light, stiff! I was going for the carbon flash 29er however this bike bring tears in my eyes! If you got the bling, definitely check this bike out! Just need more fine tuning and off I race!

Expand full review >>

Favorite Trail:   Rocky Peak & adjoining trails

Duration Product Used:   Less than 1 month

Price Paid:    $6200.00

Purchased At:   Michaels New Bury Pa

Similar Products Used:   Racer X, Alma, Spark, flash

Bike Setup:   Blk Carbon Frame, XTR components 2 x 10, Chris King, Fox tapered w/cashima, crest, captain, fast track, crank brothers carbon - hbar, stem, seat post, pedal,saddle phenom expert, ESI

Overall Rating:3
Value Rating:4
Submitted by rkand a Cross Country Rider from Guelph, Ontario, Canada

Date Reviewed: January 12, 2012

Strengths:    Looks, looks, looks. Oh, and weight.

Weaknesses:    I've had tons of problems with the EBB. Yes it can be setup in a way to work well. Yes, I followed the instructions the first few attempts which only resulted tons of creaking and slippage. I had to cancel a race warmup slip lead to a "cranky" EBB that didn't want to tighten correctly at the trails. Finally settled on a combination of Carbo-Grip and a 20% overtightening the bolt. Don't attempt without a torque wrench, and get a belt wrench while you're at it.

Bottom Line:   
You'll either get comments about how awesome it looks or how noisy the EBB is. Luckily the latter can be setup properly with practice.
Regarding the other comments about the internal cabling - I've never done it but after watching the videos and looking at the hardware, I'm not surprised. I was a little dissapointed the rear brake cable wasn't internal too.

But, at the end of the day, I do enjoy riding it immensly. The bike is super light, but is solid underneath you. It's performs exactly as I'd expect from a bike in its price range. I'm going to knock the overall value to "good" though because I also expect a frame in this price range to be easy to use and adjust, and the EBB setup is just not there.

Expand full review >>

Duration Product Used:   1 Year


Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Supra a Cross Country Rider from Johannesburg, South Africa

Date Reviewed: August 14, 2011

Strengths:    Stiffness, agility, response, speed, and geomerty

Weaknesses:    Bottom pull mechanism for front der. Dirt clogs up the cable where it goes into the frame. Internal cable routing is not the most user friendly mechanism out there...

Bottom Line:   
This really in an amazing bike, it is ridiculously fast! I have ridden plenty 26" hardtails and fullsuss bikes over the years, but this bike really stands out. Doesn’t climb like a lumpy 29er. Super responsive and incredibly stiff. When sitting on the bike it just feels right, the guys from Niner really nailed the geometry on this frame, everything feels right. This might bike the last bike I owe. If stage racing/XC/long endurance events is your thing, this is your machine of choice. If not, you might just buy it for its looks and just keep it in your shed to look at, by far the best looking frame out there!

Expand full review >>

Duration Product Used:   Less than 1 month

Price Paid:    $1700.00

Similar Products Used:   Cannondale Flash 29er, Specialized Stupmpy S-Works 29er

Bike Setup:   Truvative WC carbon cockpit, Full 2011 XTR groupo, Crest rims, dt spokes, Pro Evo hups, Specialized Captian control front tyre, Specialized Fasttrack rear.

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:4
Submitted by JonathanM a Cross Country Rider from Fairfax, VA

Date Reviewed: July 6, 2011

Strengths:    Stupid light, stiff, beautiful, internal cable routing, bb30 compatible, Single Speed-able, tapered head tube. It's the most advanced and versatile hardtail on the market hands down. I've beaten every personal best times on my local trails with this bike. It's not even fair for my buddies.

Weaknesses:    None so far

Bottom Line:   
I bought this bike for cross country racing and it has delivered that and much more. With beefy wheels/tires I have taken this thing to the rougher trails and still bombed with my friends on their AM bikes and drop them on the climbs. This thing is light, stiff and so far pretty dang durable. I've not been gentle and I'm about 192 riding weight and no cracks so far. I really thought at least a chain-stay would've cracked by now but no, nothing.
Basically Niner has etched their way into the carbon hardtail market with something sexy that is not only light and fast, but durable as well, kudos.

Expand full review >>

Favorite Trail:   Elizabeth Furnace

Duration Product Used:   6 months

Price Paid:    $1899.00

Purchased At:   The Bike Lane (Resto

Similar Products Used:   Superfly, Jet 9, HiFi Pro, EMD 9

Bike Setup:   2x10 X9 w/bb30 crank. Thompson stem and post. Niner carbon bars. Tang Reba XX fork. Flow rims with King hubs. Atac pedals. Bonti rxl saddle.

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by JP a Cross Country Rider from Longmont, CO, USA

Date Reviewed: July 1, 2011

Strengths:    Frame design, weight, responsiveness when hammering out of saddle.

Weaknesses:    None

Bottom Line:   
With a set of Maxxis Aspen tires this bike was as fast as a road bike. I hooked up with many a roadie on this thing to their total dismay. It has it's limits with the rigid fork, and is so stiff that technical rocky riding seemed a bit retro at first...reminded me of way back when even front forks were unknown. I switched the tires to the bigger 2.2 specialized and the bike was a bit slower, but waaay more controlable in the technical stuff....Since then I've done some pretty rough riding on it and it works well. With a fork it just might make my Turner Sultan seem unneccesary. Can't really compare it to anything...It's just the fastest damn thing I've ever ridden...Great bike, and yes it gets stares from everyone!

Expand full review >>

Favorite Trail:   401 Crested Butte

Duration Product Used:   3 months

Price Paid:    $5800.00

Purchased At:   colorado cyclist

Similar Products Used:   None

Bike Setup:   Full 2011 Shimano XTR Trail 2x10, Niner Carbon fork, Easton Haven Carbon wheels, Specialized Captain Control 29 x 2.2 tires, Selle Italia SL XC saddle, Thompson post and stem, Easton carbon bars, XT pedals.

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:4
Submitted by trailof a Cross Country Rider from Ohio

Date Reviewed: June 18, 2011

Strengths:    Love this bike. Stiff and accelerates IMMEDIATELY, but still has a very comfortable ride. I considered the SIR, and test rode the A9C, and I get the comfort, the stiffness, and the light weight. Built with matching fork and average parts and still weighs 18ish singlespeed.

Weaknesses:    I haven't found one yet really. I don't like the change in the finish up close. Looks awesome from a distance, but the UD carbon layup and the clearcoat(?) over it look ok but not as awesome.

Bottom Line:   
Fabulous bike. Got a deal on pricing for doing a custom build, everything has been great. The EBB has worked perfectly for me, took a time or two to learn the easy way to adjust it. This has been a GREAT bike, my all time favorite including the other higher end frames I have ridden owned by friends over the years.

Expand full review >>

Favorite Trail:   Hueston Woods, Harbin Park

Duration Product Used:   6 months

Purchased At:   :Roll Columbus, OH

Similar Products Used:   First carbon mountain bike, so can't compare. Have always ridden steel frames (Kona Explosif and Cinder Cone, Redline Monocog) before and this is just as comfortable if not more.

Bike Setup:   Niner flat top bar, Thomson stem and seatpost, WTB saddle, Stans Crest with ZTR hubs, RaceFace Evolve SS crankset and BB, Avid Elixir R brakes, Ergon grips, Maxxis tires tubeless using Stan's sealant.

Reviews 1 - 15 (17 Reviews Total) | Next 15

Review Options:  Sorted by Latest Review | Sort by Best Rating


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