Updated Niner AIR9 RDO, Carbon and Alloy Hardtails Get Lighter & Racier
Having introduced their new carbon compaction molding process with the BSB cyclocross bike and quickly putting the technology to use on the latest JET9 full suspension racer, Niner turned their attention to their quickest race bikes, the AIR9 series.
All three models -RDO, Carbon and Alloy- get revamped to work with modern standards, including Shimano’s new Sideswing front derailleurs and XTR Di2, as well as 12×142 rear thru axles. The carbon frames move away from the integrated cable ports in the head badge, too, which will make cable routing much simpler since the fork won’t need to be removed to replace housing.
At the top of the podium is the AIR9 RDO, which sees the biggest improvements from the new molding. It drops 100 grams from the frame while adding the thru axle. The additional compaction also reduces or eliminates any resin pooling and lets them further tune the ride characteristics of the frame. It even gets size specific layups, with smaller frames getting lighter layups.
The carbon frames are Di2 compatible thanks to swappable frame plugs. They’re designed for full length housing if you run mechanical, and the rear brake hose runs externally. Note the custom matching matte black carbon crown on the Rockshox forks.
The AIR9’s tube shapes make for a very stiff bike. Some compliance is built into the seatstays, but this is a race bike with an emphasis on performance over comfort. A new cable exit port on the downtube allows for the new XTR Side Swing from derailleur (better view of it on the Carbon model further down), and there’s a Di2 port just below the water bottle bolt on the seat tube.
The AIR9 series gets thru axles on all versions. All in all, it should put the frame weight right around 1,025g for a medium.
All models will be offered as a frameset and complete bikes. Prices at bottom of post.
Next down the line is the AIR9 Carbon, which uses the same molds as the RDO, but uses a less complex layup and lower grade carbon. It still drops about 50g off the prior version, coming in at a claimed 1,300g for medium.
All of the technical features carry over from the RDO, including Di2 and Sideswing ports.
They use a Pressfit BB30 bottom bracket.
Low profile rear brake mounts sit inside the rear triangle on the carbon frames.
AIR9 Carbon frames come in $500 less than the RDO.
The new AIR9 alloy frames continue with hydroformed tubes, not the air-formed tubes that the new RIP9 alloy uses. These frames come in at a claimed 1,590g for medium.
It also gets the new, lighter head badge.
A stealth dropper post port and external cable mounts on the downtube provide more options. The AIR9 frames are designed to run up to a 120mm fork, so you could get a little rowdy if you aren’t quite ready for the ROS9.
Rear brake mounts stay on the outside of the rear triangle on the alloy models.
It also gets the upgrade to rear thru axle.
For full build specs and details on each model, head on over to NinerBikes.com.