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I know that's a pretty open-ended question but I'm looking for a 29er XC race bike and I want to go with a Niner. The bike will be used mainly for XC racing and a few marathon events, all on the east coast. The trails vary from tight and rooty to steep and rocky. This bike will not be a do-everything bike. It will be built solely for speed.

Thanks for any input.
 

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Carbon & Ti rule
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I have only spent about 2 hours on a Air9 carbon, but it was a nice bike & although I have never been that keen on HT bikes it was quite nice & very light.

The Air9 carbon smoothed out the bumps better than I thought it would & handled good to. It climbed well on the smooth tracks I was on & would have been the lightest bike I had ridden.

There will be some XC tracks that the Air9 carbon will be faster than the RDO just because it is lighter & this is the bridge that has always been 1 of the major factors holding the FS bikes back.

The RDO has taken a big bite out of what made the HT faster on some tracks being only around 2 lb more in weight.

The RDO pedals so well I don;t think that there would be much if any power soaked up with the suspension so thats not a problem. The grip level is alot better on the RDO when pushing hard on bumps & you can brake alot deeper on the chatter bumps you often get in the braking area.

Down hill IMO the RDO is much faster & smoother,

So it comes down to what you like. The Air9 carbon is not as smooth when the tracks get ruffer & will loose time to the RDO when the track has a bit of chatter bumps thrown in.

The RDO will keep you fresher longer & will keep you fast.

The Air9 carbon will feel faster than the RDO even at the same speed because you are closer to the limit of the bike & it will start bouncing around a bit, ( some people like this ) The down side to the RDO is it is such a good bike that not to many people will be able to ride it right on it's limit.( This may make it feel slower than it is )

The RDO eats up the trail so well that for some it will take some of the fun out of the ride unless you are the type of rider that likes pushing there limits.

With the RDO I beleave that you will have the right bike for the day more often than you will with the Air9 carbon..

Just my 2c, I hope this helps a bit.
 

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Enough of the dark side..
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I have only spent about 2 hours on a Air9 carbon, but it was a nice bike & although I have never been that keen on HT bikes it was quite nice & very light.

The Air9 carbon smoothed out the bumps better than I thought it would & handled good to. It climbed well on the smooth tracks I was on & would have been the lightest bike I had ridden.

There will be some XC tracks that the Air9 carbon will be faster than the RDO just because it is lighter & this is the bridge that has always been 1 of the major factors holding the FS bikes back.

The RDO has taken a big bite out of what made the HT faster on some tracks being only around 2 lb more in weight.

The RDO pedals so well I don;t think that there would be much if any power soaked up with the suspension so thats not a problem. The grip level is alot better on the RDO when pushing hard on bumps & you can brake alot deeper on the chatter bumps you often get in the braking area.

Down hill IMO the RDO is much faster & smoother,

So it comes down to what you like. The Air9 carbon is not as smooth when the tracks get ruffer & will loose time to the RDO when the track has a bit of chatter bumps thrown in.

The RDO will keep you fresher longer & will keep you fast.

The Air9 carbon will feel faster than the RDO even at the same speed because you are closer to the limit of the bike & it will start bouncing around a bit, ( some people like this ) The down side to the RDO is it is such a good bike that not to many people will be able to ride it right on it's limit.( This may make it feel slower than it is )

The RDO eats up the trail so well that for some it will take some of the fun out of the ride unless you are the type of rider that likes pushing there limits.

With the RDO I beleave that you will have the right bike for the day more often than you will with the Air9 carbon..

Just my 2c, I hope this helps a bit.
Pretty much summed up there nicely by Muzz. Lets assume we are not talking about an Elite level rider firstly. If your on a budget then there is nothing wrong with a 29er hardtail, it still is IMO the best do-it-allrounder, with 100mm of fork travel it would be great. I'm almost 46yrs old and have been racing enduro's 100km+ for many years on some pretty rough trails and have survived OK on a 29er hardtail with only 80mm of travel. But it depends on the course, countless loops on tight single track with a few ruts & rocks or roots thrown in the RDO will be quicker as you can maintain better control on the rough bits, spend less time correcting or braking. If you are doing longer rides in rough type terrian like I do then a dually would make more sense, fatigue over time will take it's toll on your speed during a race. Main thing for me is that I know that after a big training session offroad the dually recovery time will be faster - Quicker recovery is really important in the overall training scheme of things.

I don't have my J9RDO as yet but from what I am gathering so far it is a pretty efficient climber which kind of makes me think that my hardtail will become almost obsolete. To be honest though I really enjoy riding hardtails and fully rigid bikes but I do believe a dually will be quicker providing the weight is similar, within 500 grams of a hardtail. I'll keep my hardtails for really smooth courses with lots of little sharp climbs out of the saddle type stuff but the J9RDO would be the race bike.

So my 2c worth - I think that overall speedier recovery time, more control of the J9RDO should = a faster RIDER but I will always have a 29er hardtail too.
 

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To be honest though I really enjoy riding hardtails and fully rigid bikes but I do believe a dually will be quicker providing the weight is similar, within 500 grams of a hardtail. I'll keep my hardtails for really smooth courses with lots of little sharp climbs out of the saddle type stuff but the J9RDO would be the race bike

So assuming no hardtail backup given the $$$$ RDO....seems the approach for smooth courses with sharp climbs and/or lots of turning & accelerations would be to nearly lock out the rear end of the RDO. So then you've got a near-hardtail at around 1000 grams heavier (frame only delta) than the Air9C with much longer chainstays and wheelbase.

Certainly not ideal, and outside the 500 gram bogey, but the real-life penalty might not be too bad??
 

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"The trails vary from tight and rooty to steep and rocky." => RDO

I have an A9C and a Jet 9 "Classic", many miles on each. For a rooty/rocky course I don't hesitate and take the Jet and don't care about the 3+lb difference of the frames. The back end soaks up the rough stuff while you sit and pedal at your normal cadence. Especially if we are talking about races less than 1.5 hours. Zero worries about a Jet on a tight course.

If you are racing events with smoother trails and short steep hills you can mash up then I'll change my mind to A9C. It's an animal for that stuff.
 

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I ride a rigid A9C and love every second of it but the rocky downhill stuff is where I lose my momentum. As the links above show, a perceived slower bike doesn't necessarily equal a slower bike. If I was looking for faster lap times, the RDO would actually be my first choice.
 

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Enough of the dark side..
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To be honest though I really enjoy riding hardtails and fully rigid bikes but I do believe a dually will be quicker providing the weight is similar, within 500 grams of a hardtail. I'll keep my hardtails for really smooth courses with lots of little sharp climbs out of the saddle type stuff but the J9RDO would be the race bike

So assuming no hardtail backup given the $$$$ RDO....seems the approach for smooth courses with sharp climbs and/or lots of turning & accelerations would be to nearly lock out the rear end of the RDO. So then you've got a near-hardtail at around 1000 grams heavier (frame only delta) than the Air9C with much longer chainstays and wheelbase.

Certainly not ideal, and outside the 500 gram bogey, but the real-life penalty might not be too bad??
Lets say if budget wasn't and issue and I had to choose one bike it would be the RDO, I haven't ridden one yet I know but I've owned duallys before. Weight wise, my J9RDO will be around 9.7kg with lightweight wheels & 15mm thru axle, triple ring etc so weight isn't an issue, anything between 9.5 - 10.5 kg is perfectly good for racing. If budget is tight get the A9C, it will do it all and well.
 
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