Interbike ’13: Niner Bikes Refines Models, Intros RLT-9- by Guitar Ted
Niner Bikes came back to Interbike after an absence of a few years and we stopped by to check out the rigs at the Outdoor Demo, (here & here), and also stopped by to chat with Carla Huckee, Niner’s global marketing manager at the indoor portion of the show where she led Granygear and I through all the recent changes to some of the Niner Bikes lineup.
AIR 9 Carbon: Niner Bikes recently refined the AIR 9 Carbon hard tail by making it a dedicated geared bike. They also now use the same tubing profiles and molds as used for the AIR 9 RDO, which means slightly smaller shapes than before and a refined ride feel. Seat and chain stays are shaped to provide the maximum amount of tire and heel clearance with a nod to the XC nature of this model. The brake caliper is tucked down neatly on the chain stays, plus the bottom bracket now is a PF 30 type. (So, technically you could still single speed this bike with an eccentric PF 30 adapter.) Interestingly, Carla Hukee shared that Niner sees the user of this bike as someone that may be upgrading from an older hard tail, so they decided to retain the 135mm quick release standard for the rear axle.
ONE 9 RDO: So as with other Niner models, the ONE 9 now also gets the full “RDO” treatment. The same molds and tubing profiles as the AIR 9 RDO but in a single speed specific layout. Although, it would be possible to utilize a 1X geared set up, which may intrigued those of you out there that like XX-1/X0-1. The ONE 9 RDO utilizes the 142 X 12 rear axle and the newest incarnation of Niners eccentric bottom bracket called the BioCentric II.
WFO 9: As with the RIP 9, the WFO 9 also now features several geometry tweaks which Carla Huckee says makes the WFO 9 a “pure downhill oriented ride” now. Lower, slacker, and with more travel, the Niner WFO 9 now lives up to its hype from the past as a truly capable long travel rig. In fact, Niner is so confident that the WFO 9 is a gravity machine that they made no provisions whatsoever for a front derailleur.
Now sporting 150mm of CVA travel and compatible with forks in the 150-170mm travel range, the WFO-9 is on the bleeding edge of 29″er full suspension bikes as far as travel and capabilities are concerned. In 150mm travel mode up front, the WFO-9 sports a 67° head tube angle and runs a 443mm/17.4″ length chain stay. Pretty impressive!
RLT-9: A drop bar rig with skinny-ish tires from Niner? I’m sure that was the reaction of many who saw this bike in the Niner booth at Interbike. Carla Huckee explains it this way: “When we looked at the company employee’s bike hangar, it was filled with Niners converted to drop bars and skinnier tires. It’s a bike we all wanted to ride.” So they went out and made what could arguably be called a “monster cross” bike which fits bigger than cyclo-cross tires, but not quite full on 29″er tires. Carla also was quick to point out that the RLT 9 is a rig tested to the same standards as their mountain bikes, so it should hold up to some abuse. Look for this to become available by early next year.
More from Interbike coming soon….