Niner Unveils Air9 RDO in Limited Edition Green, Licorice With Special XTR Build Kit Option – UPDATED!

2012 Niner Air9 RDO full carbon 29er hardtail special limited edition launch with green or black complete build

Our hunch was correct. That little teaser that showed a new Niner Green Air 9 frame was in fact an all-new RDO version of their full carbon hard tail 29er.

We got a special early look at the specs, pics and details: The frame uses the same geometry as the original Air9 Carbon but gets optimized carbon layups to minimize weight and tweaked tube shapes up the performance. Where the Air9 Carbon uses their versatile CYA bottom bracket shell to accommodate single-speed and geared setups, the Air9 RDO gets a smaller, lighter PressFit BB30 setup. The smaller junctions at the BB also meant they could leave off the alloy insert, saving more grams.

Up front, they molded the headset races in carbon, eliminating more metal. Out back, they moved the post-mount brake tabs inside the rear triangle. Not only does this give the bike an even sleeker look, but Niner says it makes the braking platform stiffer and allowed them to reduce tube wall thickness in that area.

The result is a 1,125g frame (Medium, without seat collar or protective downtube tape), which is half a pound lighter than the Air9 Carbon! But wait, there’s more…

The first 50 frames are available in a special edition Niner Green or Licorice Black, as a frameset or custom color matched complete build kit with green SID XX 29er fork and XTR drivetrain with 2×10 carbon Race Face Next cranks. Full build spec:

2012 Niner Air9 RDO full carbon 29er hardtail special limited edition launch with green or black complete build

The frameset (includes FSA headset) will retail for $2,099 and the complete bike with the above build is $6,199. If you want one, get to your Niner dealer ASAP as only 50 will be available in this special launch version.

2012 Niner Air9 RDO full carbon 29er hardtail special limited edition launch with green or black complete build

The full carbon tapered headtube gets a new alloy badge to funnel the full internal cable routing to the derailleurs. Niner Bikes made a similar move when they created their first “Race Day Optimized” bike, the new Jet9 RDO.

2012 Niner Air9 RDO full carbon 29er hardtail special limited edition launch with green or black complete build

The original Air9 Carbon is an incredibly sleek looking bike, but when you get up close, it’s tubeset is absolutely massive. Massive in a good way, but the new version apparently gets slimmed down a bit. Seat tube is still for the large 31.6 standard, though, so they didn’t go crazy…and perhaps they want you to consider the slightly flexible RDO seatpost to go with it.

2012 Niner Air9 RDO full carbon 29er hardtail special limited edition launch with green or black complete build

2012 Niner Air9 RDO full carbon 29er hardtail special limited edition launch with green or black complete build 2012 Niner Air9 RDO full carbon 29er hardtail special limited edition launch with green or black complete build

By moving the brake post mounts inside the rear triangle, Niner was able to slim down their profile considerably, putting the caliper almost directly onto the frame. No doubt this should keep things stiff and, hopefully, squeal free. The complete bike comes stock with American Classic’s very popular Race 29 Tubeless wheelset, which means rotors had to step down to IceTech XT rotors in order to fit the 6-bolt mounting standard (XTR is CenterLock only for now). Rotors are 180mm front, 160mm rear. Sorry weight weenies, looks like you’re stuck with 160 back there.

Like the Jet9 RDO, Niner stuck with a standard 135mm QR rear axle standard. Simple, light and has worked just fine for years. They studied the stiffness improvements when designing the Jet9 RDO and found that the increased costs didn’t justify the minor stiffness gain achieved by a thru-axle because the rear triangle was already so stiff. Presumably with a hardtail it’s even less of an issue.

2012 Niner Air9 RDO full carbon 29er hardtail special limited edition launch with green or black complete build

The Air9 RDO is meant to be run only with gears, aftermarket EBB adapters are not recommended. Because PFBB30 uses plastic cups on the bearings, no alloy reinforcements are necessary in the bottom bracket shell. Weight, saved. Not shown are the standard titanium chainsuck/chaindrop protection plates that come on the frame.

2012 Niner Air9 RDO full carbon 29er hardtail special limited edition launch with green or black complete build

The frameset is available in Licorice Black or Niner Green.

2012 Niner Air9 RDO full carbon 29er hardtail special limited edition launch with green or black complete build

2012 Niner Air9 RDO full carbon 29er hardtail special limited edition launch with green or black complete build

Getting a custom painted SID XX 29er fork to match the bike makes the complete package more compelling. Only 50 are being made, then you’ve got to settle for a “standard” build kit.

UPDATE: The limited edition complete bikes start shipping this week, frames start shipping in March.

Like the rest of the hardtails and the alloy Jet9, the Air9 RDO’s geometry is set up for an 80mm to 100mm fork. We’re pretty sure it’ll work just swell with their RDO carbon rigid fork, too. Full geometry chart:

2012 Niner Bikes Air9 RDO geometry charts

Comments

kcr - 02/13/12 - 10:31pm

Rawesome, but seriously, 180mm/160mm rotors? I just really love the feel of 140mm rotor.

Brandon - 02/13/12 - 10:32pm

Want.

Samuel J. Greear - 02/13/12 - 10:49pm

kcr, hahahahahaha, 140mm rotors on a 29er? You must not go very fast. Or you can corner like a boss.

Yuri - 02/13/12 - 10:52pm

Is 140mm rotor even possible with a post mount rear?

Matching green fork looks S I C K

Joey - 02/13/12 - 11:00pm

Sweeeeeet! They finally built the Niner I want! I’ll take the black frame with XX.

Aaron - 02/13/12 - 11:11pm

Not worth it if I can’t SS without a chain tensioner… Slightly disappointed Niner.

Jimmy D - 02/14/12 - 12:06am

Quick release rear end?!?!!!? What a great looking bike… such a shame about the dropouts.

Topmounter - 02/14/12 - 12:07am

I’ll take one w/ a CF fork please!… right after I either pay off this house or break my Air9.. which ever comes first.

Eric Skram - 02/14/12 - 12:45am

@Aaron,

You wouldn’t need a chain tensioner. Niner’s EBB allows you to run single speed without a tensioner. It’s a much better solution than sliding dropouts.

Looks awesome. If I ever can afford a rigid or a hardtail, that would be it.

will - 02/14/12 - 3:41am

@Eric

this one has bb30, not niner’s EBB.

IOMNigel - 02/14/12 - 6:00am

Would have hoped for a direct mount front mech on this version.

Have the original in tangerine and it is awesome, so this one would be freaking awesome :)

härbert - 02/14/12 - 8:46am

@all SINGELSPEEDER or GearHubRider

No problem without solution! You don´t need a (external) chain tensioner!

FOR FIRST: you will need a “PF30 to BSA adapter”, not only SRAM sells one…
The Press Fit 30 to BSA adapter enables the use of a 68/73mm or 83mm english threaded (1.37 x 24tpi – Standard Mountain Bike) bottom bracket in frames designed for Press Fit 30 bottom bracket shells.
—>
http://joyride-cycles.com/Components/cranks-and-bottom-brackets/bottom-bracket-parts/truvativ-bb-shell-adapter-kit-pf30-to-bsa-threaded-68-73mm

FOR SECOND: you should use the german engineerd “TRICKSTUFF Exzentriker”…
Which enables you to tension your chain while turning the excentric BB-shell
–>
http://www.trickstuff.de/de/products/exzentriker_KL.php

FOR THIRD: your will need a Halflink-Chain, or at least one half ChainLink because of Excentriker just compensates only one/one half chainlink

FOR CONSIDERATION: the “PF30 to BSA adapter” needs to be glued into the BB (of the Air9 RDO or hat ever Frame) to ensure the upcomming torsional stress!
SO if you chose for an “PF30 to BSA adapter” please avoid one out of DELRIN. Which is a special Plastic also called POM or Polyacetal which is not ment to be glued! There could only be some chances to glue this material with a glue-primer and a instant adhesive CA (Cyanacrylat).
So i would opt for an Aluminium “PF30 to BSA adapter”! Like Sram does to or Cannondale or …

i hope that helps

cole - 02/14/12 - 9:00am

Aaron & Eric – Eric’s right, its not the EBB, but there is an easy way to SS this sans tensioner. wheels mfg makes a pf30 SS conversion- we’ve used it at my shop with great results.

Chris - 02/14/12 - 9:04am

Delicious looking. I love that head tube badge setup. The portholes for the shift cables is genius.

fg4 - 02/14/12 - 11:00am

@ everyone discussing single speed conversions: You guys might want to read part of the article that says ‘The Air9 RDO is meant to be run only with gears, aftermarket EBB adapters are not recommended.’

Also of note : ‘Niner stuck with a standard 135mm QR rear axle standard. Simple, light and has worked just fine for years’ Wow. For a company that preaches ‘progression’ this sure sounds like a giant cop out. 142 is better; period. This is like saying ‘we’ve always had a normal QR on the front fork…it kind of works OK….its good enough’ The 142 rear axle does for the rear end what 15/ 20 mm thru axles did for the front….it is sad that it is not incorporated into this design.

Gian - 02/14/12 - 11:09am

“…Niner stuck with a standard 135mm QR rear axle standard.”

From the department of redundancy department. HA!

Seriously, awesome bike. Thanks for the coverage!

Niner Bikes - 02/14/12 - 11:25am

We are excited to see you like the bike! Reading the initial feedback about a product is always important to us – we take your thoughts seriously. To address a few of your comments:

The Air 9 RDO is a light weight cross country frame and as such uses conventions that are popular in XC racing. We at Niner are proponents of the 12mm rear axle but they are heavier than a quick release system and it takes a few seconds more to remove and install a rear wheel. Not a problem for those of us who aren’t in much of a hurry but a critical consideration for racers. Not to mention backwards compatibility, which is still something we consider even on a high-end frame. There are lots of folks out there with carbon race wheels with 135mm QR hubs.

Since a lot of Ninerds use gears, we have traditionally offered an Air 9 model with a standard bb shell. You really do save quite a bit of weight with a carbon bb shell and a simple press-fit BB. Those of us who love to ride SS will still set them up using the standard tricks – A chain tensioner or magic gear will still work perfectly well on the new frame and a half-link chain link can give you some magic gear flexibility as well.

Just a reminder though about aftermarket ebbs for PF30 – they are awesome little devices and work well on our alloy frames, but the clamping force required to keep them from moving will damage the BB shell of the Air 9 RDO. And we certainly hope that NOBODY is hasty enough to consider gluing a bottom bracket inside one of our frames.

Watch for the Newsletter later today with full specs and info!

ralph - 02/14/12 - 12:03pm

Full XTR but Race Face crankset? Should have thrown on an M980 double crankset.

Mark - 02/14/12 - 12:16pm

The Canadian made RF Next crank in 26/38 is 100g lighter than the XTR 26/38, so it seems like a big upgrade to the M980!

Yuri - 02/14/12 - 6:04pm

Yeah those cranks are badass! Solid spec choice.

Gillis - 02/14/12 - 6:11pm

I can get the all black in a 26″ wheel version?

The Dude - 02/14/12 - 10:21pm

@ Ralph

I thought that too, but they’re obviously taking advantage of the PF30 with the Race Face.

Pro Bike Supply - 02/14/12 - 11:20pm

Race Face cranks are definitely a nice tough. Just wish they were actually BB30 so you could run a PF30 with BB30 bearings instead of having to use the adapter.

someslowguy - 02/15/12 - 10:08pm

Chris – I agree the new headbadge is trick looking, the old one posed a problem if you use alloy ferrules and they corrode into place. get the drill out….

as far as cranks – if we’re giving up the shifting performance of xtr chainrings, maybe they could have at least used some fsa bb30 cranks?

all complaints aside, that is a cool looking bike though.

Alan - 02/19/12 - 10:57pm

Hey Niner….Bike looks sweet! What is the weight on the limited edition build?

Jose E - 02/20/12 - 8:02pm

sweet looking bike, but some said that the bike does not handle fine on tight singletrack, are u kidding me?
that one looks pretty fast for some flats gravel roads! I will like to test one and then own it! looking hard for some saving to add this to my set of bikes.

Mark - 02/25/12 - 10:53am

We just received our first bike and the size medium came in at 20 lbs 7 ounces. With a little tweaking we were were able to take another half pound off.

Andre Ramos - 02/10/14 - 5:30am

Sou brasileiro, tou viajando para EUA e estou querendo comprar um MTB Niner air 9 RDO serie LImitada e gostaria de saber a opinião de vocês sobre esta bike e sugestões de outros modelos se for o caso. Uma duvida que tenho e que e que o quadro dela e de carbono e essa jante que vem nela se e boa???

Agradeco a todos pela colaboração

um abraco

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