On Test: Niner Bikes ROS 9- by Grannygear
Thinking that Guitar Ted should not have all the long travel hard tail 29″er fun with his Singular Buzzard build, the So Cal contingent, under the direction of Grannygear, has taken delivery of a Forge Grey LG Niner Bikes ROS 9 and will be building it up with a selection of parts we have on hand. This is a bit of an experiment for me as I have been curious about this type of bike since their ilk began to roll around on big wheels. 26″er AM (All Mountain) hard tails are old hat, but the slack head tube angle-long travel fork-short chain stay approach is sort of new to 29″ers and the idea of a 29″er AM hard tail caught on with bikes like the Kona Honzo, Canfield Nimble 9, and others. I was very struck by how fun the Trek Stache 8 was to ride during our review time with it. It was a great combo of parts and function and made me want to ride it more. And while the ROS 9 is a much more focused bike than the Stache is, the ROS 9 being a more aggressively postured AM design, I am curious to see how it does as an all around trail bike/hard tail with an emphasis on fun.
It looks like it will have a Shimano SLX drivetrain and some great wheels and parts. So it will be a geared build, nothing too exotic, no 1×11, but still nice enough to keep things weighing under a metric ton for the whole build. The ROS 9 is spec’d for a 120mm up to a 140mm fork so I need to come to terms with that too. The LG size is a bit of departure for me as I am more of an XL, however after agonizing over geometry specs, riding the LG at Interbike (and the LG RIP 9 we are testing), and discussing it with c_g (who sampled a ROS 9), I am expecting the LG to be the right fit for the typically more upright riding position on this type of bike.
Will I be happy with it? Can an old XC/Trail rider guy learn to love a 6+ pound steel frame, a slack HT angle, long fork, and scrunched-up back end that was designed to Ride Over S…well, Stuff, shall we say? I have no idea but I am about to find out.
Note: Niner Bikes provided the bike for this test/review at a reduced cost to Twenty Nine Inches. We are not being bribed nor paid for this review. We will strive to be honest with our thoughts and opinions throughout.