Zach Vestal, Niner’s new marketing chief personally dropped the new Rip 9 off to us here in Bend, OR several months ago. After some initial rides and testing we went back to our native hunting grounds in Southern California for some proper thrashing and “content creation.” Being able to take the bike from wet PNW dirt down to the rocks of Thousand Oaks, CA was the perfect way to see just how versatile the new bike would be.
Our initial rides aboard the Rip 9 RDO left us smiling every time. The bike is a significant improvement over any Niner we’ve ridden. The most notable differences are the frame stiffness, suspension curve and geometry.
While it has been a few years since we’ve ridden a Niner, we had plenty of experience on them and were happy to see some improvements to the suspension feel. Gone are the days of a squishy, soft feeling rear end. With the stock .4 volume reducer we were able to find a nice balance for our break in rides and early testing, but we do think rear end performance could be improved slightly so we hope to get a long term tester back in the near future!
Sensitivity while seated and pedaling wasn’t quite as soft as the old Niners we remember but it is certainly better than an Intense VPP for example. The rear end stiffness translates to efficient power transfer, however when trying to find traction on loose, rocky trails in SoCal, the bike does nicely.
Where we’d like to find improvement in the tuning is the embedded sandstone chatter and bottom out scenarios. We believe that by going to a large volume reducer and dropping the PSI just a bit we’ll be able to get a bit more softness over the chatter and gain even better bottom out performance.