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Nimble like a cat.
If a full-suspension whip conquering terrain is akin to a moose barreling through the forest, then a hardtail is a sleek, precise puma deftly picking lines through rugged, rocky terrain and speeding over the flats. Channel your inner cheetah and hit the trails on the 2017 Niner Air 9 RDO 3-Star XT 1x Complete Mountain Bike. This build is ready to rip, kitted out with Shimano's XT one-by drivetrain and hydraulic brakes, Boost axles, 100mm of Fox Float travel up front, Niner's carbon fiber post, and a set of smooth rolling, impeccably reliable Stan's NoTubes Arch EX hoops wrapped in versatile Maxxis Ikon tires.
The most notable changes to the frame include a lower handlebar height, giving the Air 9 a nudge towards the venerable RKT 9 RDO's aggressive positioning. Paired with a longer cockpit and slacker head tube, this makes for a frame that handles deftly on knife-edge lines and jumps the second you need it to. Compared to the previous Air 9, The chainstays scrunched in by 4mm to 435mm for lightning fast acceleration and nimble handling without crossing over into twitchy, squirrely territory. The new Air 9 RDO also sizes down its seatpost diameter to 27.2mm to take advantage of that little bit of extra flex — and its corresponding comfort — found in a narrower post.
Out back, this year's model now boasts 12 x 148mm Boost axle spacing, keeping it in line with current trends for wider axles and stiffer wheelsets. Niner also tucks the brake caliper mounts on the chainstay, neatly within the rear triangle. This makes sense from a frame building standpoint, as the seatstay is generally the burlier of the two rear stays and the placement protects the caliper somewhat in the event of a crash. We also think that particular placement just looks better than an ungainly bump hovering above a seatstay.
As with Niner's other RDO offerings, the Air 9 RDO is constructed using Niner's Carbon Compaction System (CCS), which gives Niner complete control over tube wall thickness across the frame. This makes for tube walls that are virtually perfect, reduces the amount of materials required, and eliminates excess resin build-up. The result is a claimed 10% weight reduction, which is a nearly unheard of leap between model years.
- Item #NNR004T
- Q & A
- Familiarity: I've used it once or twice and have initial impressions
Niner was the first to the part in putting the new Boost spacing to use on XC race bikes with the RKT, and now they've done it with the brand new Air 9 RDO! Shorter chainstays and wider rear spacing means a more responsive bike under load, especially out of the saddle. A more slack front end provides better handling and a slightly more relaxed feel than the 2016 model.
If you like the previous Air 9 RDO, you are going to love the new setup. More responsive, easier to handle at high speed, and lighter; what more could you ask for!?
If you have any questions, please feel free to reach out to me directly.
Customer Account Manager