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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
N.B. This is an X-post with different title from the 29er forum, just figured it belonged here as well.

All right, here it is my jump into the vat of 29er KoolAid. I thought of several different thread titles for this initial post regarding the Niner RIP9....

"XL RIP9 for Sale", this was my initial thought as I finished heading down a very familiar trail 1min 30 secs faster than ever before, cause this damn bike scared me quite a bit in how fast it made me take stuff and what it rolled over. I thought the smartest thing to do (before it really R.I.P me) was to sell it.

"29er and never looking back" Only obvious as it seems the damn thing just felt like I'd had it forever and rides like a dream.

"29ers slow to accelerate and slow to steer??" cause I just couldn't figure what 29er bikes these people saying this had ridden to come to this conclusion - the RIP9 accelerates faster than my previous Trance and feels more stable doing tight turns.

Too many to choose from so I just stuck with the simple one and here's the story so far...............

I received my Niner RIP9 Anatomic Blue frame and build kit on Thursday afternoon, a ride was planned, but after riding a fairly decent ride Tuesday and then a really hard hill ride Wednesday and the little bit of rain around I decided it would be better to rest up at home and build my new toy/machine/play partner.

The frame came very well packed and padded.

The Headtube and BB were all prepped and ready for install. You can see how nice the paint job is in these two pics.

The frame in all it's glory pre-build. I really like the colour

The plan was to transfer the entire drive-train, HB, Stem, shifters and brakes off the Trance to the RIP and then either sell the left over parts or keep them as spares - this didn't work out as planned. Sadly in bleeding and servicing my HOPE Mono Mini's I managed to nick the pistons on both front and rear and by this time the were sticking quite bad and a bit dangerous to use, I tried out the Mono's for a day of commuting, but decided they were not safe how they were - so on went the Juicy 7's, however I did leave the HOPE rotors and they work excellent. I did transfer my XT cassette, RD, Shifters and crankset to the RIP, but used the RF bearings as the XT's are a bit toasted. Also used back my Easton EA50 120mm stem (flipped), HB and ERGON MAG R2 grips.

It started to look like a bike.:D

Of course I had to see if it really glowed in the dark and it did a little with the ambient light it had absorbed during the day, but I wanted to see how bright it really got and pulled out the HID and gaving a little illumination with that - sufice to say it glowed bright as h3ll as the photo shows.

It really does glow in the dark - Big time :D

I didn't know exactly what do to with regards to the steerer and as such only cut off about 40mm initially so as to give myself room if I wanted to change my HB/Stem setup. After 2 rides on the bike I decided it was perfect just as it was, with the 120mm/6 degree stem flipped and low rise bar, so I cut it down leaving 15mm on top of the stem. With this setup I have about a 1.5" drop from saddle to HB's which I really think is perfect - thanks to a very knowledgeable person who told me to go with the XL and it's longer ETT and still keep the 120 stem. I made sure and gave the drive side chainstay a good solid wrap of old inner tube from end to end after seeing pics of others from chainslap.

The drive train, tried and trusted XT. You can see the encapsulating inner tube wrap.

Here it is finished and ready to go RIP up some trails.

So first ride on the RIP (Friday) was all road doing a bit of commuting where I didn't have to leave the bike anywhere locked up and vulnerable and it was quite a nice surprize experiencing the lockout capabilites of the RP23, even though without the Pro Pedal on I can honestly say I didn't feel any bob. Then Saturday rolled around and true to my word " I will not ride anything but a MTB until I finish the LT100 race" I went ahead and did the usual road ride on the RIP9 with the Nano's pumped up a bit and the suspension locked out. I was surprised at how fast the Nano's rolled on the tarmac and I managed to stay up in the front without too much effort, I even managed to hold on on the way back when the speeds were cranked up to about 24 mphfor about 6 miles then I had to ease off and recover some then push some, then recover, then push. The plan for Sunday was a long ride in prep for Leadville and getting "acquainted" with my new steed. So onto the real test ride....................

The Real First Ride
I wanted to do my long ride in some heat (not a good plan looking back at it) so I left home @ 10:15am and headed up further into St. Thomas towards our nicer, single track trails and stuck to either kart roads, the edge of canefields or whatever dirt I could to keep it all "off road" with the very limited exception of road where there was no other choice.

So the first trail the RIP just rolled over and climbed everything that my skill would allow me and I ended up only having to get off 3 times - once to go over a big fallen tree, another a big step-up over a huge root and then an uphill section with fallen coconuts strewn all about - I was super stoke once I got through section 1 of the trail and continued onto section2 and had the same experience - the RIP just rolled over the roots, kept it's line and felt super. This is not a trail I have ridden very much and before I will admit to having to dab and walk quite a few more sections.

The next trail I am very familiar with (and the one that made me think I should sell the damn bike ASAP before it got me killed), I took some pics at the trail head and then proceeded down. I found myself in no time at all on sections of the trail that are very rough and need the lines picking quite carefully, but instead I realized where I was (off-line)and that I was just rolling over/through the stuff AND at much higher speeds. By the time I got to the bottom of the trail I had had a couple scares where I thought it was over, but the RIP just seemed to enjoy it and ask for more (when I got home and checked my times going down this trail compared to the week before on the Trance it was over 1min 30 secs faster and it used to take me about 8min 30secs on the Trance, so that's a huge difference on such a short trail). This trail is very wide through a growth of old Mahogany trees, but the erosion makes it not all that wide once you start to build speed down it and have to dodge the huge - 1+ft deep - ruts that the rain has caused, plus the fact that is just a mess of 2"- 4" sized rocks all strewn over the place.

Turner Hall Woods trail at the start.

Next up was a nice flowy, piece of single track on a hard packed sand type surface and here again the bike really amazed me at how it felt and handled. The WTB Nano's really work ed well on this surface providing lots of grip. It was short but very sweet and a lot faster than usual.

Pig Hill trail.

Then it was onto a real test trying to climb up a jeep/double track that was just loose 3/4" to 2" sized gravel. The RIP worked well, but the Nano's let me down here and I detoured over a bit onto some hard packed dirt, which was quite dry, loose and duty but the Nano's seemed to grip a lot better on this. It was around mid day and the heat was just unbearable - my HRM says it was 33C - and about 2/3 ways up I had to seek some shelter and take a food break and get out of the heat. I climbed mainly in granny/1,2,3 to try and not power up the climb, but spin instead and not loose traction and yet still remain fairly fresh. Once I got to the top I pedaled around slowly for a bit of a rest and headed for the fun part of going uphill, the DH :D Once again I was travelling faster than I have in the past and the bike was just rolling over stuff, heck I was even going off-line and through ruts at speed just to test it.

The Nano's definitely didn't do well on this stuff.

Sand Trail was next and as the name implies, it's a trail that cuts through a sand quarry with very deep, dead sand. I was all over the place trying to stay upright, and although the bike rolled well and I kept my balance the Nano's I found really were too narrow to "float" on the sand as it isn't the type of sand you can dig through @ about 2-4" deep, but I managed to get through that section. Next was the nice, but very short twisty single track through the low trees and this was uber fun on the RIP9, it flicked and bopped through the tight ST like it was the most natural thing in the world and here's where I had the most memorable moment of my entire 6+ hour ride - I can over a crest, but forgot there was a rather hard right just as you crested, so I went hard on the brakes and prob a bit harder on the front. Well the rear wheel came off the ground and I continued to counter steer through the corner and then the back just came down and on I flowed. It probably was more than a second, but it felt like forever and the bike didn't feel like it was going to go to far, that this was how it was designed to be ridden. I've got to say it really made my day as I have seen it on a couple vids and thought it was quite "cool" and some day I'd be able to ride with enough control to do it.

Fosters Fun Land leading to Sand trail.

Then it was down the East Coast Road and the bike pedaled really good on the road on into the Bath Trail (another favourite of mine) It's only about 3.5-4 miles long, but really tight, twisty single track/foot path. Well I cleared pretty much the entire trail with the exception of a few spots that are mandatory walks for all but the likes of maybe Ryan Leech and another one area at the start where I just didn't think and went plowing up a deep, narrow uphill rut which didn't allow much pedal clearance. I even stopped to have abite to eat and top up my water bottle at a "stand pipe" and still rode the trail in my normal time without stops.

Tent Bay and the start of the Bath Trail. I enjoyed riding this trail so much I forgot to stop and take more pics.

Somewhere along the Bath Trail.

Did a few other trails along the way to the end of the ride at my bro's house, but it was more of the same thing... RIP rolled over it all, felt super etc etc.

Conset Bay trail, loads of shade and much appreciated right about then.

Passed by Culpeper Island. (You can see that the 29er looks "just right" for my size, wheels don't look like BMX) :)

Conclusion on the RIP9 then is that it's a fantastic XC/ AggressiveXC/AM bike at a decent weight, built using not blingy parts. It handles very predictably and is very confidence inspiring. Acceleration I find is on par if not above that I experienced with the 26" wheeled Trance and it turns in a tight circle really well and feels very stable while doing it. Can't wait to get some more aggressive tyres and really see what it can do, prob some Ignitors and/or Rampages. I had decided o the RIP9 based heavily on the MTBR 29er shootout reviews of it and also from reviews of owners, to me it sounded just like the Trance, but maybe more refined or maybe the RP23 just tweaked out the suspension, but I thought it would be good to gain the 29" wheels, and the 1" longer ETT - I was dead right and the first time I got on it it felt like I was at home.

Also wanted to note that the frame came nicely prepped, with the HT and BB both chased and faced and ready to build the bike. I will still reserve judgment on the long term durability of the bike and of particular interest the bearings in the suspension pivots.

* Disclaimer: I am in no way, form or fashion affiliated with Niner Bikes, am not an employee or paid rider. I am just a ho hum regular type guy who's impressed with his new bike.

Premium Member
10,683 Posts
LyNx, an awesome post... Was great to read from the beginning... These for me are the threads that will get me onto a 29er, some great pics as well.

Enjoy that beast, and am sure it will not force you to RIP...............

24,083 Posts
Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks everyone for the compliments.

Nate, I'm 6'2.25" tall with a 35.25" inseam. Didn't get any action shots since I was alone, but here's a static shot on it in the living room.

Speedub.Nate said:
Well written write-up, beautiful photos.

How tall are you?

9,122 Posts
LyNx said:
...I'm 6'2.25" tall with a 35.25" inseam.
Ahh! Interesting! You've got 2" on me, but an extra 2 1/4" in the inseam, which means our torso lengths are similar (not accounting for arm span). Yet somehow you're managing the 3/4" longer top tube and a 30mm+ longer stem!?

I'd have thought you'd be too stretched out, but that photo looks almost a bit upright.

Long arms, eh?

Good choice on the XL. I hate buying online -- a lot of second guessing -- but I'm careful and it's worked well on a few bikes now.

Have fun with it!

60 Posts
Great post

LyNx --

Nice post! As a recent RIP9 owner/rider (XL too!) I really enjoyed your post and photos. Out of curiosity, what PSI are you running your rear shock at? I weigh about 195 (probably more like 205 with gear and camelback) and have mine at about 150-155lbs, which seems a bit firm but I'm still experimenting.


24,083 Posts
Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Yeah Nate, initial recommendation from Niner was go for the L, but a friend who's actually ridden with me said get the XL, then Niner said the same after I sent them a photo. I think I have the "orangutan arms" thing going on. One thing I would recommend to Niner though is to better outfit the build kit's size wise e.g. they send out 110mm stems for the XL's and I'd think a 120mm would be better suited to someone riding an XL. Also the cranks being 180mm would be sweet - even though I used my old XT's I would have tried the build kit ones if they had been 180.

Larry, according to my shock pump I was running around 120 PSI that day, but have since decided to drop the pressure a bit more to around 100 PSI and actually use that fancy, smancy RP23 to it's full potential. In other words w/ PP off it's super plush and then depending on the trail or road I'm on Ill run the PP set @ 1, 2 or 3 for the desired effect. if it's strictly trails I'll set the PP to 1 and ride it on most of the time and then have super plush available with the PP off.
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