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WFO 9 4-Star X01 Complete Mountain Bike - 2014

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Immensely capable.

We’re living in a golden era of mountain biking. Never before have you been able to get a bike with all the technical capabilities of the late 2000's World Cup DH race bikes, at sub-30-pound weights. And one of our favorite examples of this progress is the Niner WFO 9 4-Star Complete Mountain Bike. With a stellar SRAM package, from the X01 one-by-eleven drivetrain, to the EWS-winning RockShox suspension package, this is a bike that will gladly handle anything you throw at it. And while it’s clearly optimized for going down, it’s both light and efficient enough to make climbing a snap, too. When trail bikes are this good, we think you’ll agree — there's never been a better time to be a mountain biker.

The WFO established itself early on as an immensely capable bike when ridden wide freakin' open, and the latest version will crystallize that reputation. For starters, Niner relaxed the head angle to 67 degrees, which puts it on the very-slack end of the spectrum for big-wheeled bikes. And while this change enhances the high speed stability, it was important to keep the WFO responsive across a wide variety of trails. Accordingly, the chainstays were shortened to a more moderate 17.4 inches, and the top tube lengths have also been reduced by 20mm across the size range. This gives it a lighter handling feel, and keeps the wheelbase from getting unwieldy. Rounded out with a slightly lower bottom bracket, the new WFO has all the stability of its predecessor, with greater versatility.

With a generous 150mm of rear wheel travel, the WFO is clearly optimized for descending fast in hairy terrain. But you may be surprised to find how responsive it is when you get on the gas. That's because of Niner's CVA suspension platform. Unlike other designs, CVA is optimized for the increased bottom bracket drop inherent in 29in-wheeled bikes, which helps to maximize efficiency. It tends to ride high in the travel, with a controlled mid-stroke, which keeps the WFO stable through rock gardens and snappy when you get on the pedals. But one of the oft-overlooked characteristics of CVA is that it helps Niner's bikes jump incredibly well. This is one wagon wheeler that’s very happy when it’s airborne.

While the original WFO 9 was decidedly burly, the latest version retains that strength, but cuts the weight to keep it competitive in a race scenario. This was possible though the use of extensive hydroforming, allowing the tube shapes to be optimized for their intended purposes. As you're probably aware, a large portion of the optimization process is ensuring that there’s precisely the right amount of material present, because unnecessary material not only adds weight, but it can cause undue stress on other portions of the frame. It allows you to build the WFO well under 30 pounds with a sensible build kit — no small feat for an aluminum frame that’s so robust.

Niner pulled out all the stops with the 4-Star build kit, keeping it both competitive and a fantastic value. The drivetrain is SRAM's X01 one-by-eleven setup, which offers the gear range of a standard double chainring setup, without the added weight or complexity of a front derailleur. Suspension duties are handled by RockShox, specifically a Pike RCT3 up front, and a Monarch Plus RT3 out back. SRAM refers to this setup as the "magic carpet" for its incredibly blend of smoothness and controlled damping, and given its track record on EWS racers' bikes, it’s safe to say that it won’t hold you back. The brakes are Avid's Elixir 9 Trails, with a powerful four piston caliper controlling your speed. Niner provides the carbon seatpost, as well as the aluminum bar and stem, and you'll be perched on a WTB Volt saddle. The wheels come from Stan's NoTubes, with Flow EX rims laced to 3.30 hubs. This light and tough wheelset is wrapped in Schwalbe Nobby Nic tires. We'd suggest adding your choice of dropper post to bring out the WFO's true nature, although it’s certainly not mandatory for enjoying the ride.

The Niner WFO 9 4-Star complete mountain bike is available in four sizes, from Small to X-Large, and in the colors Atomic Blue, and Niner Red.

Frame Material
Rear Shock
RockShox Monarch Plus RT3
Rear Travel
150 mm
RockShox Pike RCT3 Solo Air
Front Travel
160 mm
Niner Integrated ACB
Front Derailleur
Rear Derailleur
SRAM X01 11-speed Type 2
yes, ISCG 05
32 t SRAM X01 GXP Crankarm
Bottom Bracket
10-42 t SRAM X01 11-speed
160/180 mm Avid G2
Niner Flat Top Alloy
Handlebar Rise
0 mm
Handlebar Width
780 mm
Niner Alloy
WTB Volt Race
Niner Carbon
Stan's NoTubes 3.30 ZTR Flow EX, 142x12mm thru
Schwalbe Nobby Nic
Tire Size
29 in x 2.35 in
not included
Recommended Use
Manufacturer Warranty
2 years on frame