At the heart of Niner’s modus operandi is computer-based finite element analysis combined with heaps of real-world testing. And that testing isn't exclusive to pampered pros. Niner’s computer modeling ninjas don’t drive home in compact cars to mundane lives after a day modeling tube shapes and carbon layups. They shut down the nerd station and throw a leg over prototypes for post-work, seat-of-the-pants beta. From marketing to customer service to their extensive fan base, input from passionate riders is constantly streamed into the Niner development process. It was no different for the Niner A.I.R. 9 Carbon, one of the most sought after, podium-dominating, and versatile 29er chariots money can buy.
Niner’s commitment to development is evident throughout the curvy A.I.R. 9 Carbon, and its foundation is a high modulus carbon fiber structure with optimized weaves, lay ups, and tube shapes. The fluid form is no accident, and is purpose designed to dampen chatter and guide impact forces to stronger parts of the frame. Chain torque goes directly to the rear wheel via the reinforced bottom bracket shell and sturdy chainstays, yet trail vibrations are quelled by the swooping seatstays. From the strength- and precision-enhancing tapered headtube to the internal cable routing and titanium chain-slap protectors, the A.I.R. 9 Carbon checks all the boxes to confidently hold the title of Niner’s top dog.
The A.I.R. 9 Carbon features Niner’s exclusive Bio-Centric EBB technology and CYA Bottom Bracket system. This frees the A.I.R. 9 Carbon from the plethora of new bottom bracket standards, and it means you can easily switch from gears to single speed. Through the use of press-fit inserts, the A.I.R. 9 Carbon can be set up for Shimano or SRAM BB30, Shimano or SRAM BB92, or standard external cups. The options don’t stop there either, the Niner EBB allows you to enjoy pure single speed simplicity without the chain tension headaches. The inserts are sold separately, so you can choose the insert you need, rather than incurring the cost of a handful of inserts that will undoubtedly collect dust on your workbench.
Eccentric bottom brackets often present finicky maintenance headaches like constant creaking, ovalized shells, and stripped bolts. An essential design element of the Bio-Centric system is that the cups lock to the bottom bracket shell’s flange, providing 360 degrees of purchase while eliminating any chance for creak-causing dirt or debris to contaminate the interface. It won’t round out or suffer from the over-tightening issues of traditional EBB designs. If you’re going the SS route, only external cup bottom brackets will work.
Niner recommends an 80 to 100mm suspension fork, or a rigid unit with a 470mm axle to crown length and 45mm offset. (Perhaps not coincidentally, their award-winning carbon fork shares those exact dimensions). The tapered headtube comes equipped with an FSA IS42/28.6|IS52/40 integrated (Campy style) headset. You’ll need a 31.6mm seatpost and a high-mount, bottom-swing, bottom-pull front derailleur with a 34.9mm clamp. The rear triangle offers clearance for tires up to 2.4in. The A.I.R. 9 stays true to its XC nature in the brake department—160mm rotors are the only option, and the caliper attaches via a post mount. Niner recommends a maximum chainring size of 26/39t SRAM or 28/40t Shimano XT, XTR is not compatible, for 2X10 applications to avoid interference issues. Any traditional triple setup will work fine.
Niner dresses the A.I.R. 9 Carbon in three finishes: Black, White, and Tangerine. Size options are Small, Medium, Large, and Extra-Large.
Terms And Conditions
This Usage Agreement (the "Agreement") governs your conduct while using various services on the web site Backcountry.com and its affiliate web sites (collectively, the "Site"). All references to "we," "us," and "our" shall mean Backcountry.com and all references to "you" and "your" shall mean the user of the Site and Site Services. This Agreement applies to various services and activities on the Site as well as to gear review and product ratings (collectively, "Site Services"). Please read this Agreement carefully.
BY ACCESSING, BROWSING, AND USING THE SITE, ANY SITE SERVICES AND OTHER SERVICES THEREIN, YOU AGREE TO BE BOUND BY THIS AGREEMENT AND ITS TERMS. IF YOU DO NOT AGREE TO THIS AGREEMENT OR ANY SUBSEQUENT MODIFICATION THEREOF, DO NOT ACCESS, BROWSE OR OTHERWISE USE THE SITE OR SITE SERVICES, INCLUDING THE SUBMISSION OF ANY REVIEWS OR COMMENTS.
Any comments, reviews (including gear reviews and product ratings), posts, feedback, questions, answers, notes, messages, images, video, audio, materials, documents, data, graphics, ideas, suggestions or other communications (collectively, "User Content") you submit on the Site are not private or proprietary. By submitting User Content on or through the Site, you grant, assign and transfer to Backcountry.com all of your rights, title and interest, including without limitation, all intellectual property rights and moral rights, in and to such User Content. To the extent the preceding assignment and transfer is ineffective, you hereby grant Backcountry.com an irrevocable, royalty-free, worldwide, perpetual right and license to use, copy, modify, adapt, display, publish, archive, store, distribute, reproduce and create derivative works based upon such User Content, in any form, media, software or technology of any kind now existing or developed in the future.
By submitting such User Content on or through the Site, you are confirming that (a) you are the sole author of the User Content and the User Content originated with you and not copied in whole or in part from any other work; (b) you have obtained all necessary permissions associated with the User Content, including without limitation permissions relating to copyrights, trademarks, rights of publicity and/or rights of privacy; (c) the User Content does not contain hate speech or profanity and is not unlawful, threatening, abusive, harassing, tortuous, defamatory, vulgar, libelous, obscene, racially, ethnically or otherwise objectionable, an invasion of another's privacy, or otherwise in violation of this Agreement; (d) that you are not a minor and have the legal right and capacity to enter into and comply with this Agreement; (e) such User Content does not and will not, in any way, violate or breach any of the terms of this Agreement; and (f) Backcountry.com shall not in any circumstances be required to pay or incur any sums to any person or entity as a result of its use or exploitation of the User Content.
With respect to your conduct on the Site or while using the Site Services, you agree not to: (a) attempt to disguise the origin of any User Content transmitted to the Site Services whether through the Site or any third party site; (b) act in any manner that negatively affects other users' ability to use the Site and Site Services; (c) impersonate any person or entity, including without limitation, a manufacturer or owner of any product, or falsely state or otherwise misrepresent your affiliation with a person or entity; (d) interfere with the Site or Site Services, or servers or networks connected to the Site or Site Services, or disobey any requirements, procedures, policies, or regulations of networks connected to the Site or Site Services; (e) upload, post, or otherwise transmit any User Content that with respect to the Site Services: (i) is not relevant to the product, service, person or entity being reviewed; (ii) you do not have a right to transmit under any law or under contractual or fiduciary relationships (by way of example but not limitation, inside information, proprietary and confidential information learned or disclosed as part of employment relationships or under nondisclosure agreements); (iii) contains software viruses or any other computer code, files or programs designed to interrupt, destroy or limit the functionality of any computer software or hardware or telecommunications equipment; or (iv) is unsolicited or unauthorized advertising, promotional materials, "junk mail," "spam," "chain letters," "pyramid schemes," or any other form of solicitation.
User Content does not reflect the views of Backcountry.com, and Backcountry.com does not represent or guarantee the truthfulness, accuracy, completeness, timeliness, integrity, quality or reliability of any User Content, nor does Backcountry.com endorse or support any opinions expressed in any User Content. In no event shall Backcountry.com have or be construed to have any responsibility or liability for or in connection with any User Content, Any gear reviews and/or product ratings submitted on the Site, if displayed, are displayed for entertainment and informational purposes only. Under no circumstances will Backcountry.com be liable in any way for any User Content, including but not limited to, any errors or omissions in any User Content, or for any loss or damage of any kind incurred as a result of the use of any User Content posted, emailed or otherwise transmitted via the Site or Site Services.
If Backcountry.com determines, in our sole and absolute discretion, that you or any User Content you submit violates this Agreement, we reserve the right, at any time, without notice and without limiting any and all other rights Backcountry.com may have under this Agreement, to: (a) refuse to allow you to submit further User Content; (b) remove and delete your User Content; (c) revoke your registration and right to use the User Content Submission Features; and (d) use any technological, legal, operational or other means available to enforce the terms of this Agreement, including, without limitation, blocking specific IP addresses or deactivating your registration, access to the Site and Site Services using your e-mail address, and your user name and password. Without limiting the foregoing, once User Content is submitted to the Site, Backcountry.com may take any or no action with respect to such User Content, including without limitation, deleting, editing, modifying, rejecting, or refusing to post such User Content, but is under no obligation to offer you the opportunity to edit, delete or otherwise modify User Content once it has been submitted. Backcountry.com shall have no duty to attribute authorship of User Content to you and shall not be obligated to enforce any form of attribution by third parties.
If, despite the foregoing assignment and transfer of rights in the User Content, it is determined that you retain moral rights (including the rights of attribution or integrity) in the User Content, you hereby declare that: (a) you do not require that any personally identifying information be used in connection with the User Content or any derivative works of or upgrades or updates thereto; (b) you have no objection to the publication, use, modification, deletion and exploitation of the User Content by Backcountry.com or its licensees, successors or assigns; (c) you forever waive and agree not to claim or assert any entitlement to any and all moral rights of an author in any of the User Content; and (d) you forever release Backcountry.com, and its licensees, successors and assigns from any claims that you could otherwise assert against Backcountry.com by virtue of any such moral rights.
You are prohibited from violating the security of any system or network compromising the Site or the Site Services, including but not limited to the following: (a) unauthorized access to or use of data, systems, or networks, including any attempt to probe, scan or test the vulnerability of the Site or Site Services or to breach security or authentication measures; (b) unauthorized monitoring of data or traffic on the Site or of the Site Services; (c) interference with the Site or Site Services including without limitation, any type of flooding technique or deliberate attempt to overload the system such as denial or service attacks; (d) forging of a message header or any part of a message header; or (e) using manual or electronic means to avoid any use or access limitation placed on this Site or the Site Services. Such violations may result in criminal or civil liability.
Backcountry.com reserves the right to report any activity or persons that Backcountry.com suspects has violated any law or regulation to appropriate law enforcement officials, regulators, or other appropriate third parties (including the disclosure of appropriate subscriber information). Backcountry.com may also cooperate with appropriate law enforcement agencies to assist in the investigation and prosecution of any illegal conduct. Indirect or attempted violations of this Agreement and actual or attempted violations thereof by a third party on behalf of any user shall be considered violations of this Agreement by such user.
BACKCOUNTRY.COM DOES NOT ENDORSE THE USER CONTENT, IS NOT RESPONSIBLE FOR THE USER CONTENT AND SPECIFICALLY DISCLAIMS ANY RESPONSIBILITY OR LIABILITY TO ANY PERSON OR ENTITY (INCLUDING, WITHOUT LIMITATION, PERSONS WHO MAY USE OR RELY ON SUCH USER CONTENT) FOR ANY LOSS, DAMAGE (WHETHER ACTUAL, CONSEQUENTIAL, PUNITIVE OR OTHERWISE), INJURY, CLAIM, LIABILITY OR OTHER CAUSE OF ANY KIND OR CHARACTER BASED UPON OR RESULTING FROM ANY USER CONTENT PROVIDED THROUGH THIS WEB SITE.
Share your thoughts
can you put a 140mm fork on it ?
can you put a 140mm fork on it ?
Niner recommends an 80 to 100mm suspension fork, or a rigid unit with a 470mm axle to crown length and 45mm offset. Sorry to say that a 140mm fork would not be advised for this frame at all. Pretty much the tallest fork that would be recommended on a hardtail 29er is a 120mm fork on such bikes like the Merlin XLM, Santa Cruz Highball, and Pivot Les.
I know that for most part, the Niners come...
I know that for most part, the Niners come with a headset, and for awhile, they came with two headset crown races. One was typical for a tapered steerer fork, and he other allowed the use of a straight 1-1/8" steerer. Can you tell me if this frame comes with both options? I'll be running a straight steerer at first, and need to know if I need to be ordering the other race from the Niner site.
Stiff and responsive
- Familiarity: I've used it several times
Only got a few days in on this bike, but what really stood out was the stiffness and agility. I like to focus on the downs, and didn't have the highest expectations for this bike, but it really delivered a balanced trail experience, and not just a light weight frame for the carbonerds
Great idea but not the best for racing. I converted this bike to geared and it made a ton of BB noise. If you want to run gears get the RDO but if you want two bikes for the price of 1.5 then this is your frame.
Really fun bike!
- Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer
I bought the A.I.R. 9 in August (size Small) and cobbled together as a SS: 32x20T drivetrain (EThirteen guidering/Surly cog), Fox Float CTD fork (100mm travel), Shimano XT brakes, Shimano XT crank set (revived for this purpose), XT hubs laced to WTB rims (TL), SRAM 9 speed chain, Easton EA70 stem, Niner carbon bars/seat post, Selle Italia saddle, ESI chunky grips, XTR pedals and finally GEAX Saguaro tires.
I'd not previously ridden a carbon bike (other than my road bike) so I was really psyched the first time I took it on the trail. Very stiff (climbing), responsive handling (cornering), and overall comfortable in the saddle. At 5'-7"ish, the fit on the size small was spot on (saddle a touch forward from center with a 90mm stem). The carbon bits (bar/seat post) made riding in the saddle a pleasure.