We’ve been rockin’ a RIP 9 here at the Bikerumor offices since shortly after our review, using it for Super-D and plenty of local and Asheville riding, and while plenty capable, we have noticed that the headtube does seem a bit tall for a bike with long-travel aspirations. It makes for a very quick handling, nimble ride, but we’ve actually been thinking about extending the travel on the front just to make it a bit more slack.
Seems that might just work. At Interbike, Niner announced that they were making some changes, giving the RIP9 a more all-mountain/freeride stance by slackening the head angle. The way they’ve done it, however, gives the bike a lot of room for fine tuning:
FROM NINER: Whether you are building a bike for the tech of the Pacific Northwest, for the rocky chunder of the desert or for alpine singletrack flow, this evolved version of the R.I.P. 9 gives you the flexibility you want. The R.I.P. 9 now comes stock with a one degree slacker headangle and standard internal ZS headset and a head angle of 70.5º (120mm fork) to 69.5º (140mm fork). With an upgrade to an aftermarket Cane Creek Angleset you can either achieve even steeper or slacker angles, giving you a range from 72º (with 120mm fork) to 68º (with 140mm fork)*. This makes the evolved R.I.P. 9 our most versatile frame yet – perfect for dialing in to best fit your local trails.
The R.I.P. 9 is Niner’s go anywhere / do anything machine, especially when kitted out with one of our curated 29er specific build kits. These bikes are available for order from your Niner dealer and come in a great range of colors (Raw, Hot Tamale and Black Anodized).
Price for the frame hasn’t changed…still just $1,799. More news from Niner behind the jump…
They’ve also issued a bit of an explanation on changes across the lineup in terms of headset/headtube standards. Note that this affects not just the RIP9, but their other suspension bikes, too:
Niner full suspension frames (Jet 9, R.I.P. 9, W.F.O. 9) will now have headtubes designed for the tapered ZS (zero stack) headset standard. The ZS standard uses low-profile press in cups and allows multiple customization options that gives Niner riders the flexibility they have requested for our full suspension frames.
Stock geometry can be manipulated by replacing the lower zero-stack cup with an external traditional 1.5″ cup, which raises front-end height, slackens head angle by .5 degree and raises the bottom bracket by 1/4″. The ZS standard also permits use of Cane Creek’s Angleset*, a headset that allows riders to increase or decrease the stock head angle by 1 or 1.5 degrees without seriously impacting other geometry numbers.
The Air 9 Carbon will continue to use an integrated headset because it’s the lightest, sleekest and simplest system available. It’s the best solution when performance is the most important goal. Weight savings of approximately 25g, durability and easy installation make it an enduring Niner favorite.
All tapered headtube Niner hardtail frames will be shipped with a headset configured for a tapered 1-1/8″ x 1-1/2″ fork steerer. A traditional straight 1-1/8″ fork steerer can be used by simply replacing one or two headset parts.
We also have the redesigned 2010 JET 9 in our stable. It’s set up with the stock 80mm travel in the rear and 100mm in the front, which works really well. Honestly, we’re not sure why you’d want to run more travel than that in the front on the XC-oriented JET, but hey, different strokes and such…
They’ve also just released custom Lizard Skins chainstay protectors to fit their Air 9, E.M.D. 9, M.C.R. 9, S.I.R. 9, Jet 9 and R.I.P. 9 models.
Lastly, they now have their pedal damn it patches available in red, blue, orange and green. They’re available in their online store, but you can get one for free by looking through the comments on their Facebook page.