The RIP 9’s combination of 29″ wheels, 140mm front and 125mm rear travel tempted me as a bike that would satisfy the needs of a wide variety of terrain. The bike did not disappoint in the rough and fast wide open trails.
RIP 9 Carbon – Medium
Weight: 28.9lbs with pedals
Frame/Suspension: RIP 9 Carbon / RockShox RT shock/Pike RCT3 Solo Air 140mm
Wheelset: Stan’s Notubes Flow EX
Tires: Schwalbe Nobby Nic Snakeskin TL, 2.35
Brakes: Shimano XT M785 with 180/160MM Rotors
Shifter: SRAM XO1 11sp
Derailleur: SRAM XO1 11sp
Drivetrain: SRAM XG 30T, XG 10-42T cassette
Seatpost: RockShox Reverb 100mm drop
In most situations this bike pedals very well and the flip of the pedal mode on the rear shock was not needed until the trail started going up steeply (and you want that efficiency most). On steep ascents, the bike has enough suspension movement while remaining seated that it needs to have the pedal mode turned on to remain efficient. I don’t believe this is the cause of a poor suspension design though. I believe this is due to a very slack true seat tube angle.
The seat tube angle really effects bike size and even the overall feel since the top of the seat tube bends back so sharply. Niner’s stated seat tube angle of 73.5 degrees seems perfectly normal, BUT that angle does not reflect the top of the seat tube that sharply sets back. For those with long legs this stretches out the reach and gets your weight way back.
Sizing is something to be careful of on this bike and with other Niner models. Since I have longer legs for my height, I felt that I needed to size down on this bike since my reach increased so much with my saddle height, but going to the next size down only magnifies the poor pedaling traits by shifting more weight rearwards since the seatpost has to be even higher.
The front end of this bike is very high. Shorter or short legged folks should be very careful chosing the right size due to this high front end (and seat tube angle). Long legged folks might love this high front end.
Going down is where the bike shines. Rough high speed downhills feel very stable. The bike isn’t the most playful though if you like to dive in and out of quick corners or manual over trail obstacles. The long seat stays at 17.7 inches don’t help.
- Very stable on the downhills especially at speed
- High front end works well for longer legged riders that struggle to get front end high enough
- Pedaling through rough sections of trail
- May not work for some riders due to actual true seat tube angle
- Dropper cable not internally routed. Unless you do something funky like wrap the cable around the opposite side of the seat tube, I fear that the dropper hydraulic cable will eventually fail due to the cable be constantly kinked when the dropper is down.
- Dropper only 100mm – This may be ok for a xc bike, but I constantly wanted to drop more for the steeper terrain.
- Heavy – This starts at the heart with a heavy frame for carbon at just over 7 pounds. Most competitors are over a pound lighter for an equivalent travel frame with carbon front end and alloy rear end.
The Rip rode well as a trail bike with supple yet efficient suspension until the trails go up steep, then the flip of lockout is needed on the rear shock to minimize the bob. A different rear shock like the new Fox Evol might help with this problem.
I would have a hard time recommending this bike unless you can ride the bike and be sure that the seat tube angle will work. IF you have long legs, I would not recommend the RIP if you’re picky about the seated pedaling efficiency.
Rating: 6 out of 10
I highly suggest looking at some other options. My favorite 2016 29er trail bikes are the IBIS Ripley, Yeti SB4.5 and Transition Smuggler.