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Reviewer/Tester
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Preliminary Impressions.

Having lived with a One Niner for about 7 months, I was very keen to do a direct comparison with the newer SIR 9 to see if there were any big differences between the two machines.

I built up the SIR 9 to the exact same specs as the One Niner and prepared myself for the battle of the 29'ers.

To make sure I was getting a true impression of the two bikes, I rode them after each other, on the same route. My testing involved both trail and road tests.

First impressions:

The SIR 9 is slightly heavier, and you can feel the extra weight [just over a pound difference] when you lift the bike up. I was used to seeing the fatter top tube of the One Niner .... and the thinner, more elegant top tube of the SIR 9 was one of the first things that I noticed when sitting on and pedalling the bike.

They feel similiar to pedal, there is no difference on the road between them with the 25psi Exi's front and rear.

Going over bumps in the road felt the same on both bikes.

I headed for the trail. First, I rode the One Niner on a stretch of trail that I am very familiar with, which has lots of rocks, roots and some short stretches of sand over hardpack. The trail is medium hard because it is rather tight and winds between trees bushes and vines and has little room for mistakes. Then I rode the SIR 9 on the same trail, same loop of the track.

The testing will go on over a few weeks and I will update this so that anyone who is interested can follow the progress.

At the end of the tests, I will pick a winner.

R.
 

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Reviewer/Tester
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6,164 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Equipment...

Handlebars : JJ H Bars.

Brakes : Avid Juicy Seven with Hayes round rotors and Galfer pads.

Stem : 90mm long WCS Ritchey.

Headset : Chris King.

Seatpost : Moots.

Seatpost clamp : Salsa Liplock.

Seat : WTB Rocket V.

Crankset : FSA Mega Exo.

Chainwheel : 32 tooth Blackspire SS.

Pedals : Azonic A frame platforms.

Chain : Shimano HG 93.

Wheels : American Classic.

Tires : WTB Exi's [25psi front and rear with tubes].

Forks : Reba ['05] with Poploc set at 100mm.

Rear cog : Boone 20 tooth.

Skewers : Hope, front and rear.

R.
 

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Rainman said:
Seatpost : Moots.
R.
So, if you are using a Moots post on the One9, it must be with a shim since they only make that post in 27.7mm. That's good because you'll just feel the difference between the frames, not different seatpost diameters. On the other hand, most people with a One9 will probably have a 31.6mm post and experience a slightly harsher ride. It would be great if you could do a few rides on the One9 with a 31.6mm post too (maybe a carbon post so it's at least close to the feel of ti) to see how much difference that makes.
 

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Where's Toto?
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1,184 Posts
Hey I'm looking forward to hearing more on this one. I'm seriously thinking about ditching my Spot SS 26er and picking up a second dedicated 29er - a SS (already have a geared Dean). The One9 and Sir9 are high on my list. I have been leaning towards the One9 because of the 3.3lb vs 4.5lb weight difference (med frame). Looking forward to hearing your impressions Rainman.
 

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I'm really interested in the results myself. Great to see a side by side with similar bikes. Usually it's a Fisher v. SIR9 type of thing.
There's only a pound difference between the two bikes? That's surprising (not calling you a liar or anything, just suprised)
 

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Where's Toto?
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Just a little over a pound difference in size medium. I posted a thread about this earlier in the week. Niner's website lists the weight for the One9, but I didn't see anything on the Sir9. Chris from Niner provided the Sir9 weights. Here's the thread: http://forums.mtbr.com/showthread.php?t=175630
 

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uh, uh...oh, i forget
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i emailed niner to ask them about the difference...

I was very tempted by the 1lb weight difference, and before i bought i emailed chris and steve to ask their impressions as they have the most experience. I also should add that i was replacing a light(4lb) steel frame, so right in between weight wise. Anyway, they both emailed me back that the scandium frame was designed to be "smoother" feeling than a comparable aluminum frame, but that riding the sir 9 right after riding a one nine is noticably more smooth. steve even thought the sir 9 after the one 9 felt almost like hopping on a soft tail. Both of them advised me to get a sir 9 frame since i was coming from steel. my local trails are rocky and rooty...
 

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Reviewer/Tester
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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
pacman said:
Nice try at a fair comparison, but I feel a big difference in overall ride between platforms and clip-less. H Bars are such an outlier, got pictures of yourself doing a steep standing climb?
Remember....... it's the frames i'm comparing, not the peripherals or the rider.. :)

R.
 

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wait a minute....
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217 Posts
Its just what i needed.

My bike shop is waiting to hear from niner.I will wait for the winner before i order.damn cool to have an unbiased neck to neck review from a non profit organization.:cool:
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
All Done..

This was over and done with after a day's ride on each bike. Honestly, after living with the One Niner for months, the differences between the two frames was readily apparent as soon as I hit the dirt.

Is Steel Real?

I have to say...yes, it is. That is no big surprise to me though, having ridden steel frames for years. The real question was...how does this steel frame compare to a Scandium frame from the same maker?

My Answers:

The One Niner is like a sharp blade. It carves singletrack fantastically and is a race-ready frame that is capable of everyday XC duties, but is more suited to the cut and thrust of the race tracks, imo.

It is light, flicky, fast, and agile. Built up with good quality light components it only requires a decent rider and it can win races. The extra "feedback" which is transmitted through the frame can be a valuable input to the rider, but can also tend to wear the body down over a longer period.

The SIR 9 is like a table knife. More comfortable, softer feeling, easier to handle overall.
You can feel the extra weight in the frame, but it isn't apparent unless you ride the two frames back to back. It also carves singletrack very well, but lacks the absolute preciseness of its lighter sibling. It is easier on the body, but doesn't give the "feedback" that the stiffer lighter frame of the One Niner does.

Both these frames are capable of various duties, but the Sir 9 has a wider scope in that it can be run both as a geared HT or a singlespeed. The One niner can only be run as a singlespeed unless you want to do a Rohloff conversion on it....= $$$$$ !

On the trail testing:

Being completely familiar with the One Niner and the way she goes and handles, I gave the Sir 9 more saddle-time, only swapping bikes to remind myself of the differences between the two frames.

This Sir 9 really is a very comfortable riding frame. It is heavier, and feels it, but the "softness" of the steel contributes to the feeling of comfort. It has a completely different "feel" about it. If you get off the One Niner and onto the Sir 9, it is almost like the trail is just a bit less harsh, just a little less jarring to your body.
Both frames handle well, the One Niner has a sharper response to input, it's not a huge amount, but it is there. The Sir 9 feels easier to ride, it floats along the trail in a very pleasant fashion, and you don't realise just how quick you are going until the corner comes rushing up at you..whereas the One Niner lets you know exactly how fast you are going... all the time.

There is less "flex" in the frame of the One Niner, it is overall stiffer and harsher than the Sir 9. This is good for some riders, and not for others. The Sir 9 flexes more and offers a more forgiving ride, at the cost of less rider 'feedback'.

When riding the One Niner, I can tell exactly what the tires are doing where they contact the dirt, but on the Sir 9 the feedback was less. I felt that the One Niner was more precise, I could pick the exact spot I wanted to put it, and it went there. The Sir 9 was more forgiving, it didn't "bite me" as hard if I made a mistake. Is less feedback to the rider a good thing? I believe that it can be, but not if you are a racer.

Feedback :

This is not a bad thing, and is only applicable between these two framesets. For general overall feedback, the Sir 9 is comparable with most steel frames I would say, it's only when directly compared to the Scandium One Niner that the softer feedback is noticed.

On one of my favourite sections of singletrack, a downhill rooty trail, the Sir 9 absolutely ate up the roots and powered through the tight turn at the bottom like it was glued to the ground. Over this same section, the One niner is harder to ride, it reacts to every bump and root, you can feel it all under the wheels and through the frame. However, it is like riding a thoroughbred and an "ordinary" horse, one is slightly more responsive than the other and gives the rider more "information" about the ground below.

Overall Winner:

I have to say that the overall winner in this comparison... as far as I am concerned, is the Sir 9. I think that this frame is more versatile and has a wider range of use for a larger group of riders than the One Niner.

Both of these frames are very good. The finish, geometry, attention to detail and overall pricing is fantastic. Niner Bikes have done a terrific job with the geometry on the frames, building 29'ers that can be ridden comfortably by both short [me] and tall riders alike.

The real winners of this comparison are the people who buy one of these frames and build up a bike from them. Neither the One Niner or the Sir 9 rider will be disappointed in the frame, but I feel that the Sir 9 is the one more suited to the majority of riders.

If I had to choose a frameset primarily for the racetrack and some XC riding, it would be the One Niner. If I wanted a frameset for mainly XC riding with the odd race thrown in, then the Sir 9 would be my choice.

Whichever one you choose, you cannot lose... :)

Thanks for reading,

R.

[ps: I am not affiliated with Niner Bikes, nor do I get any sort of compensation from this comparison. I did it because I wanted to see and feel the difference between the frames myself.]
 

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I love it. Thanks for the write up.:)

Now, if only my One 9 would arrive before late may I could stop reading about it and experience the sharp knife in person. Seriously, the anticipation is killing me, especially now that the weather is turning nice again. As Tom Petty says, the waiting is the hardest part.
 
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