NINER BIKES ROS9 Plus – Quick Test Intro: by c_g

Sometimes it’s the simple things in life that get us excited and fill us with anticipation. This test of Niner Bike’s ROS9 Plus is one of those times. I have only had a glimpse of this bike at Eurobike ’14 but had been curious about it ever since it got announced.
The NINER ROS9, a bike that during the previous short test rides at the Euro Bike Demo Days ’13 and at the Garda Festival ’14, was always great fun. So with that in my mind my expectations were quite high for the Plus version of the ROS9.Unfortunately, this test of the Niner Bikes ROS9 Plus is for a limited time because of the very keen interest by other media, so there will be only this intro article and already soon afterwards a conclusion.

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The green Niner Bikes ROS9 Plus in a wintry landscape. looks good, does it not?

The big difference compared to his ‘little’ brother of the equally provocatively named “Ride over Sh * t”, is that the 29+ comes as a rigid bike with big 3-inch tires, but not with plush travel of a 120mm to 140mm suspension fork like its 29″er Sibling.

3-NINER-ROS9-I asked the question to Niner Bikes how that came about and why it were not called a SIR9+ instead. The direct and open response on the part of Niner Bikes product manager James Barret was that “we actually had in mind to develop a trail hardtail in the 29+ format equipped with forks up to 120 mm, but at the time we mistakenly assumed that such a 29+ fork would be available by now”. Mr. Garret has not expanded on those thoughts, but it is possible that, when no proper fork was available, it was decided to maintain the well known name and bring out the ROS9 + (for the time being) as a rigid bike but in the geometry table, list the values with a 100 mm fork too. That bodes well for the future news on this bike, don’t you think?

 

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The special rigid fork on the Niner Bikes ROS9 Plus has a tapered steerer and a 15mm thru-axle, but retains the typical 470 mm length of the other Niner 29er forks.

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The ROS9 Plus is seen here in matte green with gray/bright green lettering, the only color it will be available for now. The frame and fork are both made of 4130 steel. All gear and brake lines run externally and the bike is already prepared for the installation of a stealth dropper seat post with the routing exiting the seat tube on the left hand side , just above the BB.

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Other features of the ROS9+ are the ISCG05 attachment to the bottom bracket, the adjustable Biocentric II BB, the 142/12 through axle, and post mount brake mounts in the rear keep things simple on this versatile hardtail. The forged chain stay yoke on the ROS9 Plus is extremely asymmetric and significantly more complex than a plain tube section and even more than on the ROS9, but this is what allows for as compact a rear section. Niner Bikes made the ROS9 Plus to be 1x specific with standard MTB cranks,  for tire clearance issues. Even without riding the bike it becomes obvious why it is called 1X specific. Despite the best efforts of the engineers,there is very little space between the tire and chain, when in the lowest gear of the cassette. Still, it  keeps the removable front derailleur mount. The reason is that the frame actually can be run 2X in combination with a wide chain line crank such as the  Surly OD cranks.

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The main geometry features are the compact rear with a chain stay length of 437 mm in the most rearward EBB setting, the relaxed steering angle of 69° (with the built-in rigid fork), and the generous standover height for ease of movement on the bike. Unlike in the US market, where the ROS9 Plus is provisionally sold as a complete bike with X1 equipment only, you can buy it in Europe as a frameset (frame, fork, Hugo NoTubes wheels and Surly Knard tires) . The price for this is a whopping € 2499.- for the frameset or 3499.- Euro for the complete bike in the so-called pro-kit, as tested here (US pricing is $2999.00 USD for the complete bike).

The equipment is solid, but without much bling effect:

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A SRAM X1 group with a 30T chainring provides the drive. The wheels come from NoTubes in the form of HUGO 52s with an inner width of 49.9mm, paired with Surly’s Knard 29 × 3″ tires (but in the more burly 27 TPI version). The braking system is  Formula CR1 (US version comes with Shimano Deore M615 brakes), front 180mm/rear 160 mm. The TFHPC aluminum mounting parts are proprietary parts by the EU distributor TOP FUN and appear functional. It took me a closer look to even distinguish them from the  Niner components which it comes with in the US.
With a deliberate nod towards toughness the steel frame, including steel fork and the components of course don’t come super light. Our test sample in size Medium came in at a full 13.4 kg (about 29.6 lbs) … without pedals and already converted tubeless.

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So much for the intro of the Niner Bikes ROS9 Plus. We expect an interesting ride out of this novel steed. Soon we will have more as we get out on the trail and ride.

RIDE ON,
c_g

Note: Niner Bikes sent over their ROS9 Plus  for test/review at no charge to Twenty Nine Inches. We are not being paid nor bribed for this review and we will strive to give our honest thoughts and opinions throughout.