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Back of the pack fat guy
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Got out on my new Jet 9 frame last night for the first time. I've been interested in this frame for a couple of years - since the re-design came out last year - but was too cheap to buy it full retail. Found mine for 25% off retail + free shipping a couple of weeks ago (thanks Bicyle Outfitters Indy!) I have been riding a Ventana El Rey for most of this summer, but was never very comfortable on it. I opted to swap most of the parts off the El Rey onto the Jet in order to get an intial apples to apples comparison (so to speak.) I know that the Jet is not the "cool" Niner to own these days, what with the RDO, RIP and various other "hip" and "blingy" Niners out there and the trend towards longer travel in the 29'er world, but for my intended purpose and 90% of my riding on relatively smooth, fast, buff trails with lots of climbing, the Jet fits the bill perfectly. And, at $1350 for the frame, new, it's a relative bargain.

Initial impression - this bike is FAST. I've owned quite a few frames/bikes, including several hardtail 29'ers. This is about the fastest overall bike I've ever owned. Some bikes are great climbers, but nervous and brutal descenders in the rough stuff (hardtails), while some bikes are slow and sluggish climbers, but fun on the downhills (the El Rey, for instance, as well as my Yeti 575.) The Jet is the best of both worlds - very comparable to the Motolite I had for a while. The downhill handling is "quick," as I've heard, but the thing handles the tight twisties as well or better than any bike I've ridden (very comparable to a Scott Scale 29, which still ranks as the best handling 29'er I've ridden to date.) I've never owned any FS with a "new suspension design" like the CVA. Everything I've owned of the FS variety has been single pivot, faux bar, or four bar. The CVA outdoes them all. No pedal feedback whatsover and the rear tracks the trail when climbing better than anything I've ever ridden of the FS variety. That said, when the trail goes downhill, you know you're riding an 80mm rear travel bike. There's no super-duper plush feel, but definitely enough travel to ride fast and confidently through the rough stuff.

I'd heard that the frame is stiff laterally, and I put it through its paces at my roughly 195 - 200 lbs. Yes, it's stiff, but nowhere near as stiff as the El Rey. However, it's also nowhere near as heavy as the El Rey - in fact, it's 1.25 lbs lighter (comparing the L Jet to the XL El Rey.) I didn't weigh my final build, but I'm estimating it's in the 27.5 lb range (the El Rey was a shade under 29.) I would be willing to XC race on the Jet (with a slightly lighter component spec), whereas I would not race the El Rey. I can definitely see how the Jet would really excel as an "endurance race" bike - light enough with just enough rear travel to smooth out the rough stuff for a long distance.

Nit picks - first, I don't know whether it's the build or the used components going on a new frame, but the thing is already creaking. I've had the components on other frames without this amount of creaking. I'm hoping it's just the post/seat tube interface, but I don't expect this amount of creaking from a new frame on the first ride. Second, while "JRA" in the middle ring on a fairly flat, fast section of trail, I got some chainsuck that has already scratched and scored the drive side chainstay at the weld towards the BB end of the stay. I'm running a traditional 3x9 set up, with a 44t big ring. The clearance between the big ring and that weld is extremely tight - maybe 3mm or so or less. I'm assuming that the 68mm shell width and fairly large clearance between the stays has something to do with the tight tolerance. The chain managed to find its way between the stay and the big ring and it took some effort to pull it back out. It only did it once, but it makes me nervous as to when it's going to happen again. Is this tight tolerance/chain suck common, or should I perhaps look at re-spacing the driveside crank arm? I'm running an older set of Race Face Atlas cranks and outboard bearing Shimano BB, but have a new Truvativ GXP BB on order and a set of Stylo cranks ready to be installed. Wondering if a different crank/BB will help.

Anyway, I'm pleased with the Jet and hoping to get the issues sorted. I'm not one to keep frames/bikes very long, but I can see the Jet having a long(er) term place in the bike stable.
 

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Back of the pack fat guy
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Discussion Starter · #3 · (Edited)
Totally stoked about it - wish I hadn't waited so long to buy one!!

FWIW, here are the build specs (for now.) No bling, just solid, dependable, functional parts.

2011 Jet 9, size L
2010 Reba SL set at 100mm, 9mm QR
X-9 rear derailleur and X-9 twist shifters
Avid Elixir 5 stoppers, 185mm front, 160mm rear
King/Arch rear wheel and X-9/Arch front wheel
XT front derailleur
Race Face Atlas x-type cranks 22-32-44
Shimano outboard bearing BB
SRAM 980 cassette 11-34
SRAM 991 chain
Race Face Deus post
WTB Silverado saddle
Panaracer Rampage 2.35 front tire (set up tubeless)
Specialized The Captain Control 2.0 rear tire (tubeless)
Salsa stainless steel skewers
FSA 105mm stem
Salsa Moto Ace flat bar, 11 degree sweep, 660mm width, 25.4 clamp
Time ATAC pedals
Salsa liplock post clamp
Cane Creek headset

I can see swapping on my XT wheelset and Specialized Fast Track tires for race day and perhaps going 2 x 10 SRAM X-0 next year.
 

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For the chain suck issue, I only ever had chain suck problems when things got extremely dirty. The first time was in excessive mud during a spring rain in SW Utah where the race became a sticky muddy bike wrestling match. I must had ridden for a bit with the chain sucked above the chainstay because it left a good wear mark, but it was raining so hard and I was walking a lot, plus the chain was caked with mud, I didn't notice it at the time. 2011 True Grit, St. George,*UT - Photos - Home

The second time was also in raining weather with several water crossings, lots of grit in the drivetrain, but I noticed the problem this time.

I was on a SRAM 2x10 setup.

Creaking is likely from the seatpost. I had to keep my greased well otherwise it would creak. I used a Thomson Masterpiece and used some white web grease.

As far as the handling, I totally agree! I raced my Jet9 a lot this year.

Have fun!
 

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I used a Thomson Masterpiece and used some white web grease.
Due to the wall thickness being so thin those posts's tend to creak rather quickly.

I've been on my jet for over a month now in varying conditions on alot of different trails and have no complaints so far. Also no chain suck issues with the stock 2x10 setup. Might just be lucky I guess?

Have either of you had any issues with shifting on the front due to the housing filling with trail goo in muddy weather? If so I suggest nokon housing. I swapped to that a few weeks ago and have done some of the worst rides yet (mud/water) and have had zero issues since.
 

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I've never owned any FS with a "new suspension design" like the CVA. Everything I've owned of the FS variety has been single pivot, faux bar, or four bar. The CVA outdoes them all. No pedal feedback whatsover and the rear tracks the trail when climbing better than anything I've ever ridden of the FS variety. That said, when the trail goes downhill, you know you're riding an 80mm rear travel bike. There's no super-duper plush feel, but definitely enough travel to ride fast and confidently through the rough stuff.
Good review. For the super duper plush, you'd have to move to the RIP. But the JET with 2.2 or 2.25 tires run tubeless, with 100mm fork up front is a very nice race bike that takes plenty of the edge off those rough spots (compared to a HT or softail). It's a fun bike for sure. I love racing mine in XC events.

Second, while "JRA" in the middle ring on a fairly flat, fast section of trail, I got some chainsuck that has already scratched and scored the drive side chainstay at the weld towards the BB end of the stay. I'm running a traditional 3x9 set up, with a 44t big ring. The clearance between the big ring and that weld is extremely tight - maybe 3mm or so or less. I'm assuming that the 68mm shell width and fairly large clearance between the stays has something to do with the tight tolerance. The chain managed to find its way between the stay and the big ring and it took some effort to pull it back out. It only did it once, but it makes me nervous as to when it's going to happen again. Is this tight tolerance/chain suck common, or should I perhaps look at re-spacing the driveside crank arm? I'm running an older set of Race Face Atlas cranks and outboard bearing Shimano BB, but have a new Truvativ GXP BB on order and a set of Stylo cranks ready to be installed. Wondering if a different crank/BB will help.
When the CVA suspension gets active, the chain can bounce up between the rear chainstay yoke area and the rings as the suspension works. It's not really chain suck, but I simply name it chain stuck.

Plenty has been written about the chain stuck issue for both the JET and the RIP here and here... . My large ring on both the JET and the RIP is 40T. Even with the driveside dialed correctly for chain clearance issues (in my case, I used wider BB spindles), new rings, new chains, new cassettes, perfect chainline) and using my zip tie insurance policy - I still can get the occasional chain bounce that gets the chain up in that yoke/ring area and stuck. I usually just bounce on the suspension to get the chain to drop back out of the "stuck" position. And that's with the excellent clearance I have dialed in (wide enough for a chain). It happens especially under hard pedal efforts in the middle of the race when riding over a series of very rough spots. The chain gets to bouncing and shazam. It's "stuck".

If you've only got 3mm clearance between the big ring and yoke, you will experience what happened to you again on your first ride many, many more times. Your options are pretty well spelled out in the threads I linked. Smaller big ring, driveside sitting more to the right, going to a 2 x 9 or 2 x 10 - either with a new crankset or simply converting the one you currently own by using different rings. But as you see in the threads I linked, even with the newest 2 x 10 drivetrains with the smaller rings - it can still happen.

BB
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Plenty has been written about the chain stuck issue for both the JET and the RIP here and here... . My large ring on both the JET and the RIP is 40T. Even with the driveside dialed correctly for chain clearance issues (in my case, I used wider BB spindles), new rings, new chains, new cassettes, perfect chainline) and using my zip tie insurance policy - I still can get the occasional chain bounce that gets the chain up in that yoke/ring area and stuck. I usually just bounce on the suspension to get the chain to drop back out of the "stuck" position. And that's with the excellent clearance I have dialed in (wide enough for a chain). It happens especially under hard pedal efforts in the middle of the race when riding over a series of very rough spots. The chain gets to bouncing and shazam. It's "stuck".

If you've only got 3mm clearance between the big ring and yoke, you will experience what happened to you again on your first ride many, many more times. Your options are pretty well spelled out in the threads I linked. Smaller big ring, driveside sitting more to the right, going to a 2 x 9 or 2 x 10 - either with a new crankset or simply converting the one you currently own by using different rings. But as you see in the threads I linked, even with the newest 2 x 10 drivetrains with the smaller rings - it can still happen.

BB
BB - Thanks for the insight and links. Man.:bluefrown: I thought I'd done all my homework on this frame, but I hadn't heard about this issue. (Go look at the reviews of the Jet 9 under the review section - no mention of the "chainstuck" issue whatsoever.) I have a buddy with a RIP he loves, and he hasn't mentioned this as an issue (but he may have the redesign with the "notch" in the driveside chainstay.)

Here are some shots of my current set up. As you can see, the clearance between the big ring and the yoke is ubertight with a 44t outer ring and two spacers on the drive side. I don't have the cash right now to blow on a 2 x 10 drivetrain. I suppose I'll have to try to find a 40t outer (not finding one easily this AM via the intergoogles), or move to a 2x9 with a 36t inner and an outer narrow bash guard, add a third spacer on the drive side, and/or try the zip tie "fix." Except for the zip ties (which don't sound like they last too long or work entirely well), any of this is going to cost me more cash.

Out of those, a 40t outer ring would be my preference until I scrape together the cash for a 2x10 drivetrain. I have a 36/22 2x9 setup on my Yeti, which seems to work OK, but we do have long, fast downhills around here that really lend themselves to having a big ring and I find myself occasionally missing that big ring. That may be less of an issue with a 29'er wheel and perhaps a 38t middle. That said, I really prefer to do my climbing in my middle ring and a 36 or 38 isn't going to lend itself to using the middle ring for a large percentage of the climbing I do around here. Dunno.

I have to say that I'm more than a little bummed that I can't run the drivetrain set up I have, that I've never had an issue with, without the risk of recurring "chainstuck" and resulting scoring of the yoke. Maybe the Jet won't have a long(er) term place in my garage.
 

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Running SRAM 2x10 39/26T x 11-36T and have had zero issues with the drive train other than needing to clean the shift cable housings every week or so AND replace the weak SRAM Matchmaker (non XX) brake lever/shift lever clamps with independent SRAM clamps.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
It does sound like the best "fix" is to go to 2x10. Again, 2x10 is not an option at the current time due to cash flow. And, after hours of searching and calling a couple of shops, NOBODY makes a 40t outer ring with a 104 bcd that isn't SS or DH/SS specific. So, my only options at this point are (1) go to 2x9 for the time being or (2) deal with the "chainstuck."

A possible 3rd option is to go with a K-Edge ACS: K-Edge ACS - Mountain - K-Edge Chain Catchers. They're actually local to me; I may give them a call and get the info on whether this will "fix" this problem with the Jet.

Unhappy camper.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Upon further reflection, I think, for now, a 22/36/bash guard 2x9 set up will actually work fine. If the options are to jerry rig some sort of fix and cross my fingers with the triple, or go 2x9 until I can afford a 2x10 set up (next year), that's what I'll do.
 

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I'm in the same boat as you. I have a standard 3x9 setup with XT cranks and XTR BB, and I refuse to spend the money to go to a 2x9 or 2x10 setup just because of the chain suck issue. My chain stay looks like crap, but oh well. When it does get stuck, I just bounce the suspension and the chain pops out. A couple of cuss words and I continue down the trail.:mad:
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
I actually found a link to some ramped/pinned 40/30/20 rings via one of BB's posts above, but I think they were Shimano crank specific. If I don't like the 36/22 set up (and I think it should actually work fine for 95% of my riding) I may try swapping on a set of Stylo 3.3 OCTs that I have on my hardtail. I've read that the Stylo OCT has a wider chainline than the Race Face stuff I'm currently using.
 

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I actually found a link to some ramped/pinned 40/30/20 rings via one of BB's posts above, but I think they were Shimano crank specific. If I don't like the 36/22 set up (and I think it should actually work fine for 95% of my riding) I may try swapping on a set of Stylo 3.3 OCTs that I have on my hardtail. I've read that the Stylo OCT has a wider chainline than the Race Face stuff I'm currently using.
Yes, Russ makes the 40T/30T combo for the middle and outer ring on a 104/64mm BCD. That's what I run on the RIP (and I have the notch).

The entire "problem" is due to everyone screaming for wider clearance in the rear to run wider tires (as if a JET really needs a 2.4 in the rear). The old JET that got recalled had zero problems with chain stuck. I guess everyone cried loud enough to get rear tire clearance that now we can run big fat rear tires, but we have to sidestep the chain stuck issue with band-aids, special cranksets and ring sizes, etc... . It doesn't diminish the fine quality and ride of the JET, it just means one has to pay special attention to exactly what crankset and ring size you throw on it.

BB
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Yes, Russ makes the 40T/30T combo for the middle and outer ring on a 104/64mm BCD. That's what I run on the RIP (and I have the notch).

The entire "problem" is due to everyone screaming for wider clearance in the rear to run wider tires (as if a JET really needs a 2.4 in the rear). The old JET that got recalled had zero problems with chain stuck. I guess everyone cried loud enough to get rear tire clearance that now we can run big fat rear tires, but we have to sidestep the chain stuck issue with band-aids, special cranksets and ring sizes, etc... . It doesn't diminish the fine quality and ride of the JET, it just means one has to pay special attention to exactly what crankset and ring size you throw on it.

BB
I must not have looked close enough on Russ' site. In any event, I think I can work 2x9. Gives me better clearance with close enough ratios to what I was running (absent the top end.)

Yes, agreed about excessive tire clearance on the Jet. It's not like most people riding the Jet are going to clamor for space to run 2.5 tires. But, one big reason I bought the Jet was for the relatively short chainstays, and the combo of short and wide stays is clearly the culprit. That and it seems like 2x10 is the future of drivetrains (at least until the next "hot" drivetrain trend comes out, ala the replacement of iPhones and iPads every six months.) It almost makes you wonder if the new Jet was designed with a 2x10 drivetrain in mind. For the most part, with rare exceptions, it sounds like "chainstuck" isn't an issue with that drivetrain. (So, this gives me a "real" reason to change to 2x10 next year.)

In the end, I think the fiddling with the crank spacing is worth the ride quality and build quality of the frame.
 
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