The M.C.R. 9 is the perfect all day epic geared cross country machine that will give you the comfort of supple Reynolds 853 steel at a weight only slightly higher than most alloy frames. Once again, attention to detail is everything with Niner, and the M.C.R. 9 has it all. For this geared only version, they've re-adjusted the BB drop and chainstay length while designing their chainstay bends to insure proper mud and heel clearance for even the fattest of tires (up to 2.4"). In a similar fashion to the S.I.R. 9, the M.C.R. 9 maintains the changing diameter and wall thickness of the tubesets depending on size, which means that every size frame has a ride characteristic built specifically for the rider on board. Finishing touches are all there, including the Niner stainless steel head badge, faced head tube and BB, chased BB threads, internally butted BB and faced disc brake mount for a no-fuss build.
Strengths: I've had this bike now for about 3 years. It was a demo frame at a local bike shop and I got a killer deal on it at $500. It's been a really great frame for me. At 210 lbs I have had no issues with excessive flexing as some have stated. Rather it has been compliant and it absolutely smooths out the the bumps on the trail. It's fast to accelerate and really rails on the corners. At the local trail I ride 2-3 times per week I am actually faster on this bike than I was on my old, lighter aluminum frame by several minutes. The bikes actually weighs about 2 pounds more fully built up than what I used to have, but it corners so well that it makes my overall time faster. I have mine set-up for racing, but if I were to put a more plush seat on it I could ride it all day with no complaints. I think it is one of the best, if not the best production steel frames available. You can do anything with it. Make it a race machine, set it up for all day events, make it a commuter, ride it rigid or with a squishy up front. In any of the many configurations you really can't go wrong. Provided you don't do anything really crazy and brake it and you rust shield it before you build it up this frame should last a long, long time. It's a "wife bike" the kind you settle down with and keep.
Weaknesses: I gotta' say the paint. Maybe the newer models have improvements, but mine has it's share of chips. You can call Niner however and they will send you some touch up paint. If you apply the paint however make sure to pick up a small bottle of clear coat at the auto store to seal it with. Otherwise it will come off pretty easily.
You can't go wrong with this frame. Some say it's not a race bike because it's a little heavier than carbon or aluminum, but it you can't get to the podium on this I doubt anything would get you there. If you can only have one bike get this and set it up any way you want for whatever your riding needs.
Bike Setup: Reba RL with Brain
Stans Arch Wheels
Racing Ralph Tires
2X10 XTR/SRAM XO Drivetrain
Niner Carbon Bars
Thompson Seat Post
WTB Silverado SLT Seat
Date Reviewed: December 29, 2012
Strengths: Light for steel, perfect geometry, smoothest ride possible for a hard tail, great tire clearance, I love my solid gold color. Climbs and descends with authority. I weigh 200 lbs and can ride over the roughest terrain for hours in comfort.
Weaknesses: None. It's the perfect steel frame.
The only chance a consumer would have to top the performance of this frame is to by titanium at several time the price.
a Cross Country Rider
Date Reviewed: August 8, 2012
Strengths: Geometry, ride and great handling. This is a non-custom frame that you can count on to be spot on for most riders as far as the geometry is concerned but the quality is almost custom and the price is way below what you'd pay for a custom steel frame. Great handling and very light!
Weaknesses: I've been riding this bike hard for three months now and I haven't found any yet. The paint problems that others have spoken of have not happened for me despite more crashes than I'd like to admit to. I've paid close attention especially to the welds and no problems with bubbling paint or any other imperfections.
I loved building this bike. I was chasing a design that would be most suited to the trails I ride locally as I haven't the time to travel elsewhere. I wanted the lightest weight and the best ride quality without full squish. We don't need lots of gears either. So a steel 1X10 seemed the best route to take. The MCR frame is very light for a steel frame and the handling is proven. It has turned out better than expected! Acceleration out of corners is immediate, goes around corners like it's on rails and the ride is sublime. Magic Carpet Ride says it all!
Bike Setup: Sram 1X10, XX rear derailleur, XO crank and brakes. Industry 9 XC hubs and spokes with Stan's No-Tubes rims and Racing Ralph Evos. Niner RDO post, stem and bar with Ergon grips. John Cobb DRT saddle (wonderful, go get one!) Chris King ceramic bottom bracket.
a Cross Country Rider
from Zurich, Switzerland
Date Reviewed: March 2, 2012
Strengths: I bought this frame in autumn, so thought it would be wise to get the matching reynolds fork now, ride it rigid in autumn/winter and get a fox fork for spring and summer. However, I got so used to the current setup that I will probably keep it this way. Very nice riding quality, on a normal XC trail I don´t miss any suspension (use it w/ Nobby Nic 2.35 tubeless). Quite nimble on narrow single tracks, altough it still feels a tiny bit less agile than mit SS Surly 1x1 rigid.
Weaknesses: People say the paints chips easily. They are right. After only a few hundred miles, I had to repaint a part of the fork where to brake cable (though isolated with some sort of protection from Avid). Not so cool.
Very satisfied. I´ll go for a week of transalp in summer, we´ll see wether I´ll miss front suspension. But please Niner guys, learn how to coat your frames! Surly frames cost not even half of what you ask and I never had this problem before!
Bike Setup: Full rigid. Nobbys 2.35 Tubeless on Flow rims. Rohloff shifting. Thomson stuff. Surly torsion bar (love this bar).
a All Mountain Rider
from Albuquerque NM
Date Reviewed: February 23, 2012
Strengths: Bike made me feel like a billy goat.
Weaknesses: Well it broke and the company wouldn't warranty it for me. The dropout on the drive side cracked right through one day riding just simply riding home from school. The bike is like 2.5 years old, just out of the fairly paltry 2 year warranty period. I bought the steal for its durability and strength; I thought I was going to have this bike for life, commute on it, and ride the trails, then tour it across the continent. I guess not though. Thanks a lot niner bikes.
Well I thought Niner bikes was a cool company, I'm fairly hurt that they are not going to warranty their faulty product. Guess I will be looking other places for my new frame : (
a Cross Country Rider
from Milford MI USA
Date Reviewed: September 10, 2011
Strengths: Love the ride and looks of the Reynolds 853 steel frame.
Weaknesses: Everyone gripes about the paint chipping/scratching easily, but really, when you ride and wreck in the dirt, what do you expect?
Demoed a Vassago Bandersnatch and a Niner SIR 9 (same geo as MCR 9). The Niner seemed way more nimble on the twisty local singletrack I favor. Opted for the MCR 9 frame instead 'cause I need my gears! Plus the glowing Kermit Green paint really makes my bike stand out. This bike goes where I point it. Whether it's the 29" wheels, the fat Panaracer's or the Reynolds 853 frame, all I know is this bike rides awesome. There's a tricky little off-camber, dog-leg, low speed, rock garden on my fav trail. Three out of four times on my old 26" aluminum I would fail to clean this section. On the MCR 9 I haven't dabbed yet!
Strengths: comfortable ride, stability and traction of a 29er, great looks
Amazing versatile bike. Period.
I can now ride 100+ miles a day in flat terrain or all day mountain adventures with great comfort! Never thought that could be possible on a hardtail.
Glad I haven`t bought a FS 26er :)
Strengths: Niner geo is the cat's meow. Lightweight steel ride really is the magic ride - very comfy
Weaknesses: Niner paint is fragile! I had a crack in the paint behind the top-tube gusset after just a few months (which is not a welded seam from what I understand).
Coming from the EMD I knew this bike would be fast and handle well. I was expecting the comfort and ride to be a significant improvement from the EMD and it definitely is! There are too many roots and rocks where I ride for aluminum (even with big tubeless tires). The 853 steel is a really nice ride - it really takes the edge off. I thought about getting a production ti frame like the Ridgeline and I'm glad I didn't - I don't believe the lower weight justifies the additional cost over high-end steel.
If you're looking for a nice compliant ride you can rail all day, this is the frame. I gave overall a 4 for the fragile paint - Niner should have resolved this issue by now..specifically this issue with the paint around the gusset. I knew the paint would likely have issues based on my EMD but still bought the frame. Overall it's an awesome do anything bike..
Similar Products Used: Niner EMD9, Redline Flight, Zion 29r, many 26" bikes
Bike Setup: XT 1x10, Reba, Hayes, Thomson, Fizik, I9/Stans, Maxxis
a Weekend Warrior
from matthews, NC
Date Reviewed: March 18, 2011
Weaknesses: availability of frame color choice due to lack of inventory. it's a good problem to have though.
previously demo'ed a jamis dragon 29er. i really couldn't tell a difference between the feel of the jamis and my current bianchi sok (aluminum) 29er. was a bit hesistant but the bike shop kept insisting i go w/the niner mcr. choices were the mcr or emd. decided on the mcr. first ride was last night at the rootiest place i've ever ridden and it was fantastic. there was a huge difference - not minimal. it felt so smooth and definitely softened the sharp bumps the aluminum gave back through the handlebar and stem. same exact parts on my bianchi. also same tire pressure i always run...so i know it's the frame and not anything else.
i'll have this bike for a loooong time, that's for sure. was leaning toward full suspension but this is all i'll ever need for my style of riding.
a bit pricey, but i really think niner has got this worked out great. i didn't believe all the hype before but i'm am sold and am drinking the kool-aid now.
Similar Products Used: bianchi sok 29er, fuji 29er, cannondale f700 w/headshock.
Bike Setup: 2x9 sram x.9 9 speed. rock shox reba sl dual air fork. stans arch rims, continental race kings, thomson stem and seatpost. easton carbon handlebars, ergon grips, crank brothers pedals, shimano slx crank w/race face bashguard, avid bb7 brakes, specialized romin saddle.
a Cross Country Rider
from Long Island, NY
Date Reviewed: January 8, 2011
Strengths: Steel ride, geometry, do anything – all day ride. Thin 853 tubing is pretty.
Weaknesses: None so far. I can’t make excuses – it’s not the bike.
Great so far. Still playing with parts and tires. Went 1X9 with a 34T Surly and Race Face Bashguard. Bike feels lively. Got this to be a budget minded all-day ride. My third 29er and happy it is at least as good as the VaSSago. More aggressive geometry and I like it more each ride. No issues with paint so far. Can’t wait for the next ride. Get one.
Favorite Trail: Anything local .Too many options. 100% XC with plenty of roots and sand.
Duration Product Used: 3 months
Purchased At: Speedgoat.Com
Similar Products Used: Redline d660, Vassago Jabberwocky, Stumpjumper.
Bike Setup: Gold color, Reba RLT 29er fork 80mm, a Cane Creek S-3 headset, a TruVativ Stylo Team Mountain bar, a TruVativ Stylo Team stem, SRAM X.9 trigger shifter, OURY Locking grips, Avid Elixir 5 disc brakes, a SRAM PC-971 chain, a SRAM X7 crankset, a SRAM PG980 cassette, a SRAM X.9 rear derailleur, a TruVativ Stylo Team seatpost, a WTB Silverado Pro saddle, Stan’s Raven 2.2 tires, and Stan's ZTR Arch white wheelset.
25.33lbs in size large.
a Cross Country Rider
from Durango, Co. USA
Date Reviewed: October 5, 2010
Strengths: Great ratio of flex / stiffness. Very comfortable hard tail to cover LOTS of distance on.
Weaknesses: Paint is sub - par. I would recommend picking up some 3M ClearBra upon purchase, and applying to the bottom of the down tube, and BB.
After years of rockin' a Cove Hustler (which I still have, and ride quite often) I figured I'd get a bike on the opposite side of the spectrum. I cannot believe how this bike can rail a downhill. Except for downhills that have drops, or other gnar factors, this bike can hang with the big boys. Uphills on the MCR are a dream. Climbs like a monkey. And on flat, rolly terrain the thing is gone. Freakin' gone.
Similar Products Used: 'Hadn't ridden a hard tail in years. So nothing really similar.
Bike Setup: Full Shimano SLX brakes, and drivetrain. (Except XT rear derailiur.) Chris King Hubs, Stan's Flow rims, RockShox Reba Team fork, Thomson post and stem, Truvative bars, Fizik saddle, Cane Creek headset, ODI lock on grips.
a Weekend Warrior
from Ellicott City, MD
Date Reviewed: August 11, 2010
Strengths: geometry, steel
Weaknesses: could use better paint
Speedgoat's personalized fit service was well worth it. At 6'2" with a 35" true inseam, I'm perfectly dialed in to a L MCR (whereas I was previously riding an XL xcal as rec'd by LBS). Steel is so much smoother and more solid than aluminum. MCR paint could be improved - mine has chips and scratches at the usual spots. Very happy with this bike, though $750 is a bit steep.
a Weekend Warrior
from Hendersonville, North Carolina
Date Reviewed: July 5, 2010
Strengths: Light, Fast, Beautiful steel ride. Easily keeps up with dual suspension frames and doesn't lack but a wink of ability on the downhill sections, including 3 foot drops.
Weaknesses: Pain job scratches easily
Where I ride: Mountains of Western North Carolina
How Often: 2-3 times / week
Style: Usually ride 1-4 hours, average 2, elevation gain around 1000 feet a ride with the ensuing downhill sections to boot.
Bottom Line:Have ridden 26 inch wheels for my entire life. Tried a friends Salsa El Mariachi steel 29er and never looked back to the little wheels. Lighter and less maintenance than a dual susser, yet still allows me to downhill as much as I'd like to, with the added benefit of being a good XC bike if that is more in my future. Chose this frame due to the shorter chain stays than the Salsa, also didn't plan on converting to single speed, thus didn't need their adjusting rear hanger apparatus that came out this year.
Excellent frame and fork combo with the Manitou.
Similar Products Used: Trek 6700, Salsa El Mariachi, Trek Fuel, Gary Fischer HiFi
Bike Setup: Sunringle Charger wheels, Manitou Minute fork, Conti Mountain King Tires, Hayes Trail Disc Brakes
a Cross Country Rider
Date Reviewed: June 9, 2010
Strengths: Pencil thin Reynolds 853 tubes and frame weight.
Weaknesses: Well ok, paintwork scratches easily.
This bike is the bomb. I can keep up with guys on their 5" duallies (anywhere). What did surprise me was how soft this bike lands off 3' drops - easily as soft as my Trance X. Oh, it's the first hardtail that has'nt given me a sore lower back at the end of a ride :)