Niner Bikes AIR 9 29er Hardtail

4.75/5 (44 Reviews)
MSRP : $699.00

  • Store Price
    Buy Now
    Buy Now
    Buy Now
    Buy Now
    Buy Now

Product Description

World Cup tested geometry meets high end alloy reliability. The new AIR 9 in hydroformed alloy benefits from the same decade of refinement and testing as does the entire Air 9 Family, while representing NIner’s most economical racing option. Riders benefit from years of hardtail experience with the unique ride quality of a high end alloy frame.

This version of our alloy hardtail integrates hydroformed tubing throughout. More than a cosmetic feature, hydroforming allows us to shape tubes, control wall thickness and optimize strength and stiffness in key areas. This customization creates perfectly tuned frames with precise ride characteristics – in other words, ideal ride feel. You will find hydroforming in the toptube, downtube, headtube, chainstays and seatstays. Bottom line? A light, stiff frame with better ride feel and improved steering results in better power transfer and an overall efficiency improvement. In other words, the updated Air 9 will win more races.

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

Reviews 1 - 15 (44 Reviews Total) | Next 15

User Reviews

Overall Rating:4
Value Rating:3
Submitted by James Bean

Date Reviewed: May 27, 2015

Strengths:    Strong bike, climbs like a champ, very solid DH. Really fast bike. I have had so much fun with this bike!

Weaknesses:    It's vital - true with all bikes - to get the geometry dialed in. The stock gooseneck is a tad long for some. The 2.1 rims are not ideal for wet/muddy conditions, i.e. limit your tyre options.

Bottom Line:   
Totally sold on 29ers because of this bike.

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Jeff Babbidge a Racer

Date Reviewed: May 8, 2014

Strengths:    Light, responsive, very low center of gravity, Fast, climbs great, downhill is very smooth.

Weaknesses:    None at this point, though the glow in the dark clear coat is a bit funny on night rides

Bottom Line:   
This is my first big wheel build of my self, and it is spectacular. Went from a Specialized 26r Epic to this and I'm really happy. This rolls faster, climbs better, goes up and sown switchbacks so much easier, feels more plush in the rear than the Epic ever did. All my lower back pain has gone away, and my hands are not falling asleep which is an issue I've been dealing with for a long time. I built on a 2011 Air 9 frame (medium), the last year they made the scandium frames. CK head set, 2013 Sid Fork, 2011 X9 group, 2012 Hope EVO Brakes & hubs, stan's: Arch rims, Geax: Goto's.

In short there is very little I would change about how I built this. I did custom build this, and if you have the capital I would recommend this bike. From a racing point of view this has been a huge step up. One of the challenges, although not a bad point is that it rolls a lot faster than I'm use too, so I've been going downhill faster than normal, which is great for raising the bar on my comfort zone.

Expand full review >>

Favorite Trail:   Dog River, 3 Corner Rock, Browns Camp

Duration Product Used:   6 weeks

Price Paid:    $3000.00

Purchased At:   All over

Similar Products Used:   2009 Redline Conquest Team (converted to single speed)

Bike Setup:   Frame: Niner- 2011 Air 9 [brushed Aluminum]
Fork: Rock Shox- Sid 2013; 15mm thru axle & remote lock out
Shifters: Sram- X9 (2x10)
Derailluers: Sram- X9
Wheels: Hope- Pro Evo 2's, DT-Super comp, Stan's- ZTR Arch EX (32)
Brakes: Hope- Evo V2
Bars: Race Face- Turbine 3/4 riser
Cassette- XT (11-36)
Cranks- SLX (24-38) (175)
Headset: Chris King (1 1/8)
Stem: Thompson (90mm)
Tires: Geax- Goto (2.3) [Tubeless]

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by rbikes a Cross Country Rider

Date Reviewed: November 13, 2013

Strengths:    Lightweight, great at climbing, great top speed, less jarring than a 26" bike, reasonably priced, easy to customize

Weaknesses:    None that I've found so far

Bottom Line:   
This is my first 29er mountain bike, which I've had since mid-summer, and I'm very impressed. I would recommend any rider who wants a comfortable hardtail to upgrade to a 29er. The guys over at also did an amazing job helping me customize this bike to fit my needs. I'd recommend them for anyone looking to customize a Niner. Overall, I'm very happy and I'll be buying again!

Expand full review >>

Price Paid:    $2750.00

Purchased At:

Bike Setup:   Niner Air 9 Frame w/ XT groupo

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Pike14 a Racer

Date Reviewed: October 13, 2013

Strengths:    Handling, stiffness, climbing, descending, geometry, overall value.

Weaknesses:    None

Bottom Line:   
Let me begin this by saying that before I purchased this bike, I wanted NOTHING to do with riding big wheels. I had experience riding them in the past while competing in endurance xc races, but since making a switch over to downhill two years ago, I swore by 26 inch wheels for everything.
All this changed when my wife started racing endurance xc. Long story short, I decided to give that format another go, and got a good deal on an Air 9 frame from my local shop. Getting back on the bigger wheels was tricky at first, but for long distance racing, I wouldn't dream of riding anything else. It keeps it's momentum, moves well, and handles just about as good as any 26 inch wheeled bike I've ridden.
When I chose the bike, I didn't necessarily have the Niner brand in mind, but I'm amazingly happy that it was this bike and not another. The stiffness, geometry, and just overall build of the bike is amazing. I have a matte black frame with black writing. I love the look of the bike and the understated graphics. No non sense, just great bike at a great value.
Mine is built up with a full XT gruppo, Fulcrum wheels, Easton Cockpit, and Schwalbe tires.
Overall, this bike is a dream to ride. Fun, fast, and comfy while being amazingly efficient.

Expand full review >>

Favorite Trail:   Anything with roots, rocks, ups, and downs.

Duration Product Used:   3 months

Price Paid:    $600.00

Purchased At:   Local Bike Shop

Similar Products Used:   Gary Fischer 2011 Superfly HT

Bike Setup:   Shimano XT Group
Easton Cockpit
Fulcrum Wheels
Schwalbe Racing Ralph Tires

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Josh

Date Reviewed: May 28, 2013

Strengths:    Lightweight, stiff, great for XC racing

Weaknesses:    None

Bottom Line:   
I run the Air9 with a rigid Niner RDO fork, XT components, ZTR Crest wheels, and Racing Ralph tubeless. Absolutely solid cornering; I have tons of confidence on this bike zipping through corners. The thing climbs like no other and is no slouch on the downhills either. The big wheels and carbon fork really help soak up the bumps and chatter. Once those wheels get rolling, watch out! I don't miss my suspension fork at all. I will not go back to 26 inch wheels! I highly recommend the Air9.

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

Date Reviewed: September 12, 2012

Strengths:    Lightweight, stiff, good looks, nice geometry even for a short rider like me

Weaknesses:    None identified after first 4 months

Bottom Line:   
This is my first 29er. I have a Klein hardtail that I've been riding for about 8 years. I was turned on to the 29er after demo-ing some bikes at the local park this spring. I am a short rider 5'6" but I found the geometry of the smaller 29er frames like Salsa Mamasita and Niner to work out reasonably well, particularly with the standover height and top tube length. I couldn't get my hands on the less expensive stock Salsa so I decided to go with the Niner and took it a step further, having it custom built.

I loved the bike from the time I first rode it. I am able to roll over obstacles that I previously had difficulty on my 26er. I am considerably faster on the rocky, rooty terrain and flat sections than on the 26er. I also had an easier time rolling over obstacles on technical climbs. For sustained climbs, I think my 19lb Klein was better than the 22 lb Niner, but that might have something to do with the 2x10 crank I am using rather than the weight difference. In general, I am about 10% faster with the new bike.

I had a chance to take this bike up to Durango and Moab this summer. It was a blast. The bike is amazingly light, as I needed all the help I could get to deal with the extreme elevation change. The bike held up great. I would definitely recommend this frame to those looking for a reasonably priced, well designed, sturdy, and good looking bike.

Expand full review >>

Price Paid:    $4000.00

Purchased At:   Wrench Science

Bike Setup:   You can see a pic of the bike and setup on the following link:

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Trail Rider a Cross Country Rider

Date Reviewed: May 8, 2012

Strengths:    Frame geomertry is dialed. Climbs like a billy goat and it decends even better. 22.98 weight weenie lbs, as-built.

Weaknesses:    None, other than my choice of tires.

Bottom Line:   
This review is for the 2012 hydroformed aluminum alloy frame. Before I bought this bike, I demo'd a Specialized Comp 29, a Scott Scale Pro Carbon, a Niner S.I.R and a Santa Cruz Highball Carbon . Of these bikes, the Highball was very very nice, but significantly more expensive. The SIR was a single speed and I was really impressed with how well the bike climbed given the weight of a steel frame. And, the decent with steel was super plush. I felt that the Niner’s geometry was killer, regardless of a little more weight. Then I tried a 2011 Niner Air 9 Scandium build from a local shop and was again overly impressed with the feel of the bike, not to mention some overall weight savings.
Game on. After narrowing down my choices to the Air 9, I decided to go with the 2011 Scandium frame to save a little coin, because it was being discontinued. I went to the shop to start the build process and the new 2012 frame had just arrived. After seeing it person, I switched plans yet again and mainly because it looked so bada$$. I figured I was taking some chance because I hadn't ridden the new frame, but I loved the other Niner’s I test rode.
I have owned the bike now for over 3-months and just can’t get over how much of a game changer this bike really is for me. It’s a billy goat on roids on the climb and a blazing race machine on the decent. As far as aluminum vs. carbon, I can’t really say, but I do know that the frame is supposed to feel very close to the carbon, because of the hydroforming. It works exceptionally for me and has exceeded all my expectations.

Expand full review >>

Purchased At:   Local shop

Similar Products Used:   Specialized Comp 29, Scott Scale Pro Carbon, Santa Cruz Highball Carbon, Niner S.I.R and Niner Air 9 Scandium.

Bike Setup:   Sid 29, Stans ZTR Crest, XO crank, X9 DT & Brakes, Schwalbe Performance Racing Ralph, Niner Carbon Post

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Harry a Cross Country Rider from Huntsville, AL, USA

Date Reviewed: August 22, 2011

Strengths:    I was very impressed on the reaction time the niner had on climbing technical terrain. It was much easier to get over the technical terrain easier than it was for the 26 bikes that I rode with. It rode really well going up steep areas that seemed impossible to climb. The frame is awesome, and the fork was great as well. It seemed as if I spent less energy going thru and up the technical terrain, than I did when I had a 26. The bike didn't buck me around compared to the 26. I weigh around 140. I rode over stuff that I have never ridden over before.

Weaknesses:    The cornering, but I think it was more Me than the bike. I just need to learn how to corner around 180 degree turns on it.

Bottom Line:   
I really like the bike. I will be purchasing one soon. If anyone doubts the niner frame and being on 29 wheels. Try it! It is a great feel. I haven't ridden any other 29ers in over 5 years. The last I rode was a Trek when 29ers first came out, and boy they have changed. Niner makes a great product, and they really care about the cyclist and the product. They have a great customer service, and a phenomenal frame. Very impressed!

Expand full review >>

Favorite Trail:   Anything Technial

Duration Product Used:   Tested or demo'ed only

Purchased At:   Blevins Bicycle Shop

Similar Products Used:   None

Bike Setup:   NIner Air 9 frame, rock shox (reba) fork, XT (10 SP), XT Disc Brakes, Fizik Saddle, Continental Tires, Stans wheels/hubs

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Niner Air9 Junky a Cross Country Rider from South Florida

Date Reviewed: June 1, 2011

Strengths:    I love this bike. Super light frame that has minimal flex while climbing. Its like a goat. I pass FS guys all the time going up hill. Its very nice on the eyes and the geometry is spot on for my XC type of riding. Wheels just plow through the roots in Florida.

Weaknesses:    Frame is a little expensive but so far it has been worth it. Nothing else has happened that would make me think less of this bike.

Bottom Line:   
This is by far the nicest hardtail I have ever riden. Using large volume tires really helps soften out the ride and the compliant frame absorbs some vibration. The X9 shifting system with a 2x10 set up just kicks tail. It's much more simple than three rings up front. The Elixer CR breaks have made me endo so I know they stick. Hope to race this bike in the upcoming season. It straight up a billy goat that can handle the downhills as well. It has really helped me learn to pick great lines. Niner did a great job with this!

Expand full review >>

Favorite Trail:   Markham, Alafia, Santos

Duration Product Used:   6 months

Price Paid:    $2800.00

Purchased At:   Racers Edge in Boca

Similar Products Used:   Various 26'ers and a few lower priced 29'ers.

Bike Setup:   Reba RLT Ti Fork, full X9 components, Thompson set post, Ritchey handle bars, Cane Creek headset, Thompson steam, Elixer CR break (with absolutely no problems), XT pedals, WTB Pro sadal, Nano up front and Kenda's in the back.

Overall Rating:4
Value Rating:4
Submitted by rickyrod a Cross Country Rider from Atlanta

Date Reviewed: May 13, 2011

Strengths:    Lightweight, fast bike with fast climbs, rigid when descending.

Weaknesses:    None so far.

Bottom Line:   
Very happy with this bike, no complains at all. I gave it a four because of only 3 months of riding but will keep posting.

Expand full review >>

Favorite Trail:   Blankets Creek

Duration Product Used:   3 months

Price Paid:    $4200.00

Purchased At:   Alpha Bikes

Similar Products Used:   Gary Fisher Superfly 100, GT Marathon Carbon, Trek 9.9, Giant NRS Air

Bike Setup:   XTR with Rock Shox Reba XX, Thompson Masterpiece seatpost, Thompson elite stem, FSA SLX Carbon handlebar, Easton EA90XC wheels

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by nsconts a Weekend Warrior from Lawrenceville, GA

Date Reviewed: April 29, 2011

Strengths:    Lightening Fast, Efficient Climber, Light

Weaknesses:    None

Bottom Line:   
This is by far the best bike I have ever ridden. I own a Scalpel Carbon with Lefty Carbon Fork (22 lbs)and I though I would have to trade off a little speed for the larger tires. The first time I rode the Air 9 I was just as fast as I was on my Scalpel, but more comfortable and confident. The bike gains so much momentum uphills that it climbs effortlessly. I thought it would take a few rides to get used the larger tires, but it inspired confidence from the beginning. I had planned on keeping my Scalpel for my short, faster trails, but I'm already sold on this bike for every use.

Expand full review >>

Favorite Trail:   Chicopee Woods

Duration Product Used:   Less than 1 month

Price Paid:    $3200.00

Purchased At:   Custom Built

Bike Setup:   Air 9, Fox F29 RLC, Elixir 5, X-9 shifter, derailers & crank, Oury grips, American Classic wheels & jubs, Maxxis Ignitor tires

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by dmcfence a Cross Country Rider from anacortes wa

Date Reviewed: October 2, 2010

Strengths:    light.............. light..... did i mention LIGHT!

Weaknesses:    paint chips pretty easily and takes up half the bed

Bottom Line:   
the bike rails at speed very well and climbs like a scalded goat on helium. niner delivers on every level with the air 9. for sizing i am 5-10 and a med was just right fyi. if you want to put sram xx on the air 9 you will want the q166 gxp crankset.

jsut get one and you will never look back!

Expand full review >>

Favorite Trail:   backyard

Duration Product Used:   More than 3 years

Price Paid:    $450.00

Purchased At:   online

Similar Products Used:   nothing like a niner!

Bike Setup:   sub 19lb rig. sram xx/niner rigid carbon fork/i9 ultralites...ect yadyada

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by david salley a Cross Country Rider from richmond, VA, USA

Date Reviewed: July 9, 2010

Strengths:    Geometry (turning quickness), climbing, roomy cockpit, light

Weaknesses:    supposedly low BB

Bottom Line:   
This is going to be primarily about fit and steering. I am a hair over 5'6" and went with the medium because the head tube is steeper than the small. I have a 100 stem with narrow 22" bars and a lay back seat post. I am not particularly long armed/torsoed and the fit is fairly good. Stand over is tight but fine. The cockpit feels great to me. I will likely go to a 90 with a wider (flat) bar and potentially someday to a straight post. The climbing is insane and it is nimble through the turns. Switchbacks have not been a problem at all. I am coming off a BMC 4 stroke FS. This bike is great and the medium can be used by those less than 5 8 comfortably if you don't mind less room with the standover height.

Expand full review >>

Favorite Trail:   buttermilk

Duration Product Used:   Less than 1 month

Price Paid:    $580.00

Purchased At:   ebay

Similar Products Used:   none

Bike Setup:   Med frame, 80 mm rigid karate monkey fork, 100 stem, 22 inch cheapo bar, lay back post, dt swiss 240s with stan's ztr crest. front small block 8 and rear cross mark tubed tires running tubeless.

Overall Rating:4
Value Rating:5
Submitted by 29erider a Cross Country Rider from Marquette

Date Reviewed: May 24, 2010

Strengths:    light, climbs like a goat, great bang for the buck

Weaknesses:    tough on the downhills(but that can be expected from a fully rigid bike). and the low slung bottom bracket allows your pedals to get ravaged by rocks

Bottom Line:   
if you bike alot you will get beat up just training on a rigid bike but this is a great race bike. great deal. for the first time ever i find myself looking forward to the uphills

Expand full review >>

Favorite Trail:   pioneer

Duration Product Used:   3 months

Price Paid:    $1375.00

Similar Products Used:   gary fisher hi fi pro 29er

Bike Setup:   sram xo shifters, raceface cranks, white brothers rigid fork, avid juicy sevens brakes

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:4
Submitted by Drewmanmtu a Cross Country Rider from Grand Haven, MI, US

Date Reviewed: May 12, 2010

Strengths:    Light weight and climbs like a dream. I have never ridden anything faster on smooth trails. Originally had some stability problems in sand but since switching to the Karma's it tracks nice and straight. I did notice some people commenting about the paint quality, but on my first ride I had a large rock nail the down tube. I expected to see a large chip once I got back to the car but there was nothing.

Weaknesses:    On rough down hill sections the bike is a little twitchy. It is probably mostly due to my inexperience with the ridge fork so time will tell.

Bottom Line:   
So far the bike is every thing I expected. I can see myself picking up a different suspension front fork for rough trails sometime in the future.

Expand full review >>

Favorite Trail:   Owasippe

Duration Product Used:   3 months

Price Paid:    $720.00

Purchased At:   Free Wheeler

Similar Products Used:   Giant XTC

Bike Setup:   Race Face Deus, Sram X0, Salsa Delgato Race, Niner Carbon Fork, Kenda Karma, Shimano XT Hydraulic Disk Breaks

Reviews 1 - 15 (44 Reviews Total) | Next 15

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

2012-2013 Air 9 Carbon which Chris king headset does this frame use?

I've searched around a bit(nobody's open yet) and can't seem to find a clear answer to which of the several CK headsets is used for this frame and a tapered fork? Ive be gotten a year out of my included FSA HS but it at the end of it life and I need a replacement. The guy at my shop suggests I sti ... Read More »

Going from NINER Air 9 to Rip 9 do I need a new form?

Needs to be changed to do I need a new fork... Stupid iPhone!!! I found a good price on a Rip9 frame so I figured sure why not. Talking to the seller he said the fork on my Air 9 is probably not good for the Rip9. It has a fox fit on it now that is either 80 or 100 travel (I'm not actually sure ... Read More »

Biocentric II and Air 9 RDO compatibility

Sorry for the newb question. I am new to the single speed world and a little confused on wither the biocentric II is compatible with the Air 9 Rdo frame? Every time I search I get conflicting information, thanks!!Read More »

Niner Air 9 for first MTB have some questions

A few months ago I would have thought I couldn't ride on a mtb trail. Then a guy from Niner showed up the bike shop while I was demoing a cyclecross bike. With him he brought injury liability waiver forums and 20 amazing bicycles. I asked if I could come even though I had never ridden on a trail. ... Read More »

Niner AIR 9 carbon moondust frame crack

First of all I want to say it 's not my intention to put Niner in a bad light as they were quick to respond and already offered me a crash replacement frame. I'm just curious about you guys having any opinions on what happened to my brandnew Niner moondust frame: Last week I built a Niner AIR c ... Read More »

Read More »




MTBR on Facebook