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While the JET 9 RDO represents the zenith of Niner's dedication to the no-holds-barred, full-suspension XC race bike, the JET 9 Carbon Complete Mountain Bike answers the call of competitive spirits without requiring a sponsorship bankroll. Thankfully, this SLX/Deore/American Classic equipped carbon frame has enough similarities to the RDO that it's still a fighter -- not a bloated airliner.

From exploring new terrain, to lining up at 24 hour events, the 100mm travel JET 9 Carbon has the ingredients to provide its rider with a rewarding experience. It shares the same carbon monocoque front triangle with tapered head tube as the RDO -- including the PF30 PressFit bottom bracket, eight oversized cartridge bearings, and cleanly routed internal cables. Most importantly though, they share the same eager 29er geometry.

That's where the similarities end, and the JET 9 Carbon takes on an existence all of its own. Instead of carbon links, the JET 9 gets stiff forged alloy ones. The rear triangle uses a similar carbon layup, but instead of the new 142 x 12mm thru axle, this JET 9 gets the 135 x 10mm quick-release standard. These measures add negligible weight to the picture, without sacrificing anything to the handling deities.

The heart of any FS bike is it suspension design, but on the other hand, that's just one element to a larger picture. Approvingly, Niner's extensive carbon fiber research and development produced a frame that's perfectly matched to its twenty-niner-specific Constantly Varying Arc (CVA) suspension design. This results in a sensory pleasing combination with highly capable trail manners.

Sporting 100mm of travel in this configuration, the CVA features linkages located to isolate pedaling forces while remaining fully active under all conditions. And because the lower link sits below the bottom bracket, and the CVA's instant center is in a virtual location ahead of the drivetrain, chain tension at the rear axle pulls the two linkages in opposite directions -- effectively isolating the drivetrain from the rear triangle. When you press on the pedals, nothing's lost to compressing the suspension, and you won’t suffer kickback from chainstay growth when pedaling through rock gardens.

Further differentiating Niner's CVA design from competitors' are the super-short chainstays. Chainstay length is vital to FS 29ers -- directly affecting their ability to easily negotiate tight switchbacks, while offering willing handling. Because the rear wheel is tucked under you, the JET 9 remains planted when carving turns. Yet, it's still highly maneuverable in technical situations. CVA also doesn't inhibit front derailleur placement or operation -- something that plagues FS 29ers, and typically forces excessively long chainstays.

Adding to CVA's trail appeal is its low ratio of shock stroke to suspension movement. This decreases the amount of preload needed, which translates to smooth, effective damping and less drag on the shock seals. With CVA, plush is the name of the game, and a Fox CTD rear shock ensures that the game is played right. With three distinct dampening settings: Climb, Trail, and Descend, you'll easily ensure that the JET 9 Carbon is ready for any trail situation.

Up front, a Rock Shox Recon Gold plays nice with the CVA suspension, and its combination of a 15mm thru axle with a tapered steerer ensures that the Recon will hold its line when things get dicey. A Shimano Deore/SLX drivetrain offers 42/32/22 tooth gearing upfront on a Shimano M590 crank. Niner gave the JET 9 a 10-speed, 11-36T HG62 Cassette outback. Guiding a KMC X10 chain over the cogs is an SLX rear and Deore front derailleur that are controlled by SLX shifters.

The JET 9 Carbon rides on a American Classic Terrain wheelset with 2.25in Schwalbe tires. Providing your contact with the JET 9 is a Niner alloy bar, stem, and post with WTB grips and saddle completing the interaction.

The Niner JET 9 Carbon Complete Mountain Bike is available in the color Moondust and in five sizes from X-Small to X-Large.

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