2013 Niner Jet 9 RDO carbon 29er full suspension mountain bike

Fresh off its first birthday, the Niner Jet 9 RDO gets updated with a few key changes, and the original trickles down to become the “standard” Jet 9 Carbon.

The 2013 Jet 9 RDO mostly sees changes at the rear with a 12×142 and a new carbon rocker arm at the top. Other small changes include tweaks to the carbon layup and an upgrade to Enduro Magnetite Black Max sealed bearings throughout. If you recall, when the Jet 9 RDO was introduced in June 2011, founder Chris Sugai told us they stuck with a standard QR rear axle because the gains in stiffness with a thru-axle were marginal at best and introduced engineering complexities that didn’t warrant the switch. I’ve been riding my own Jet 9 RDO for about eight months now and would agree that the rear end is more than stiff enough, and considerably stiffer than the 2nd gen alloy Jet. So, why the change?

“The way our rear end is designed with the short distance from the chainstay bridge to the axle, it’s super stiff,” said Sugai. “But where there’s a gain, there’s a gain. Believe me, we had long discussions about what RDO really stands for -Race Day Optimized- and that’s why it’s on there. In the end, we felt we needed to have the latest standards.”

2013 Niner Jet 9 RDO carbon 29er full suspension mountain bike

Sugai: “One could argue that the quick release axle does make rear wheel releases quicker, making it more optimized for race day, but these decisions are made 18 months before the product is released, and we feel that this keeps the bike compatible with the best equipment on the market. There is a benefit to it, and the slight boost in rear end stiffness outweighs any perceived increase in time spent changing wheels.”

2013 Niner Jet 9 RDO carbon 29er full suspension mountain bike

Niner’s engineer, George Parry, said it’s not so much the internal layup that’s changed, but they’ve “added a special outer layer that improves the consolidation of the carbon during the heat molding process. This improves quality control and will improve the constancy of the frame weight.”

“There is no difference in the frame weight. We’ve added a few grams with the 142×12 dropouts, but accounted for that weight with the lighter carbon rockers. We’re only talking about grams here (10-15g). I think the story is the benefit of the 142×12 rear axle, and we have increased the stiffness slightly with the carbon upper links.”

Travel remains at 100mm, designed to work with a 100/120mm fork.

2013 Niner Jet 9 RDO carbon 29er full suspension mountain bike

The bottom bracket remains a 73mm PFBB30, and there are limitations to the max chainring size (40T) but Niner recommends not running current XTR 2×10 systems because their chainline could cause clearance issues with the chainstay. No word yet on if the new SRAM XX1 will work with it.

And if you really want to make your friends green with envy, it now has the Niner Green color option just like the Air 9 RDO.

2013 Niner Jet 9 RDO carbon 29er full suspension mountain bike

The bike uses the Rockshox Maxle rear thru axle standard, just like their new SIR 9 steel hardtails. Other tidbits include titanium frame protectors on the chainstay and BB, plus 3M frame protecting tape under the downtube. Retail on the frame is $2,899 and includes a custom tuned Fox Kashima coated CTD rear shock. Complete bikes will also be available, pricing depends on the build kit selected. Both frame and bikes will be available in mid/late October.


2013 Niner Jet 9 Carbon 29er full suspension mountain bike

With the RDO getting some updates, the original design thankfully stays in the lineup and just becomes the “base” level Jet 9 Carbon. The important thing to note here is what you’re not giving up: Carbon frame from the same mold (same geometry) as the RDO, is essentially the same weight and works phenomenally well. It gets standard bearings and a lower level shock to bring the price point down a bit, and keeps the standard QR rear axle, but that’s about it. It even keeps the titanium frame guards!

2013 Niner Jet 9 Carbon 29er full suspension mountain bike

Oh, and it brings about a monotone paint scheme. Initially it’ll come in Moondust and only as a complete bike with SLX drivetrain, Rockshox Recon Gold 100mm fork, Niner alloy cockpit with WTB Volt saddle, and American Classic wheels wrapped with Schwalbe Racing Ralph tires. At just $3,899 for the complete bike, it’s a pretty good deal. Framesets will come online later, likely early next year.

2013 Niner Jet 9 Carbon 29er full suspension mountain bike

2013 Niner Jet 9 Carbon 29er full suspension mountain bike

The monotone paint scheme doesn’t quite accentuate the Jet 9’s lines as well as the two-tone, but it’s a nice alternative and we’ll likely see more color options as it becomes available as a frameset, too.


EXTRA SMALL FRAME SIZE: Both bikes will now come in a XS size, letting them fit much smaller riders. This is something at least one of their employees-of-the-female-persuasion has been pushing for for quite some time. Standover on the XS Jet 9 Carbon/RDO bikes is just 26.5″ (672mm) with a 22″ (559mm) effective top tube length.

BACKWARD COMPATIBILITY: Already have a Jet 9 RDO? Don’t worry, you’ll be able to retrofit both the carbon rocker arm and the 12×142 rear triangle on your frame if you want. And, if you’re on a budget now, you can get the Jet 9 Carbon and upgrade those same bits later, too.

COMPLETE BIKES: Sugai added that they’re really trying to get the word out that they sell complete bikes now. Their website has been completely revamped to include a bike builder that lets you pick your frame, color, wheels, drivetrain and build kit, then print that out and take it to a dealer to order. Ready to waste some time building your dream Niner? Here’s the link: ninerbikes.com


  1. So…..it’s “Just another China bike…..” Wow. Engineering from a few pictures has improved by leaps and bounds! Oh…..no wait: it’s just another person giving a kneee-jerk response without actually engaging their brain.

  2. so they say hey want to be compatible with the best equipment on the market.. But you can’t use the New XTR 2×10 on it. FAIL!!!!

  3. Psi-Squared? What engagement a bike company looses a lot of credibility the second they ignore the complaints of thousands of users and bike shop mechanics about the follies of pressfit systems like BBright, BBEVO, PF30, and of course the original BB30. Stop buying the hype, do you really think you are flexing your Shimano XT crank and BB? Turner sticks with what is tried and trued like their pivots and BSA BB.

    Turner also has a real cost involved in making an aluminum frame in Portland from a legitimate engineering firm much like Thomson (as in they operate in very important spaces outside of little bike parts and frames)

    Niner isn’t passing any savings from making their frames in Taiwan, do you really think they’re still trying to recoup costs of making the molds?

    Niner will end up like Specialized.

  4. While I appreciate the engineering, $3,900 for an SLX / Recon equipped bike is insane! I just bought a new bike and really wanted an Air 9, but I couldn’t bring myself to pay nearly 3 times as much for less.

  5. WAIT?!?!? I just re-read it. Nothing bigger than a 40t on the front? Seriously? I love my 44 XTR. What do you do in this case especially if you DO run an XTR 2 x 10? Sounds odd. And this is from someone with almost 30 years in this business. But again, never really played with a Niner Bike.

  6. I’m not a 29″ fan but $3900 for an American engineered, carbon, multi-link full sus ride seems good to me, even if it has a recon.

  7. Rick Bob, “American Engineered”?? So as long as some American kid did a design in auto cad and finite element analysis software you are okay with it being a overly priced piece of Chinese carbon?$3900 is a straight rip.

  8. Who will be making Turners after Sapim finally shuts down their bike fab, after fulfilling their current contracts?

    Anyone see the price increase? Jet 9 RDO $2900 with shock, from $2599. Jet 9 carbon is $3900 with an entry level spec (Recon fork, AC Terrain wheels, SLX RD/shifters, Deore everything else, WTB saddle, house branded parts).

  9. Wouldn’t call Steve Domahidy and one of GT’s former engineers just American kids. Sounds like something an old fart from GB would say. The GT engineer brought a lot of carbon experience and Steve Domahidy’s CVA isn’t a design some kid from where you come from could think up or beat.

  10. Dan S, you have no idea what Niner engineers did or didn’t do. Likewise, you fail to understand economics. A product is not overpriced if the market pays that price. Niner’s products will only be overpriced if insufficient numbers of people don’t buy them. It’s really that simple. It’s certainly naive to think that something should be less expensive just because of where it was made.

  11. Love the Internet. While I like Turner, they are falling off the back. Who buys a $2400 7.5 pound alloy Sultan frame when they can get carbon for nearly the same price and 2.5 pounds lighter? Love my Tallboy, it was $2500. These new JET9’s look pretty good too and very sexy.

  12. Rick, Turner falling off the back for making a badass durable alloy frame? Big deal that it’s a little heavier than carbon. Just because Carbon is lighter doesn’t mean it’s the right tool for every application. I have a Tallboy AND a Sultan and the Sultan rides better I don’t know if it’s the DW-Link or the pivot points etc. I just know that it’s a better engineered bike.

  13. Although Taiwan is technically in China, the quality of products coming from that island are far superior to that of mainland Chinese made products. And as Psi Squared said, if no one buys them, then they are indeed overpriced. But I’ll take The Dude’s advice now and shut up and ride.

  14. I think it l a big joke, Niner is trying so hard to keep up in the ame, they are just making everything out of Carbon Fiber now r putting the letters RDO on it. Are you serious, almost 4000 for an entry level component bike with an entry level fork. I’ll admit I have an Air9Carbon, the original, and I love it, but I will never ever buy another Niner. They have gotten so commercialized, they’ve ruined it for me. This fall, I’ll either be buying an S-Works or Cannondale. Niner needs to come back down to earth and remember where they started. I understand everyone has to grow, but, there’s a difference in growing and over-pricing. I remember back in’09 how good their customer service was, now it’s just an assembly line. Like I said Mr. Sugai, remember where you came from…

  15. I think it’s funny too, how they play that mind-game with everyone, saying”we are only gonna have a few in stock, so if you want on, you better hurry up and Pre Order” kinda funny, but they always end up with plenty of them huh, no matter the model. IAre we gonna start gettin carbon fiber shirts, and hats too…?

  16. And I quote…
    “but I will never ever buy another Niner. They have gotten so commercialized, they’ve ruined it for me. This fall, I’ll either be buying an S-Works or Cannondale”… so let me get this straight, your “never” gonna buy a Niner again because they are “so commercialized” ,that your going to bike a bike from one of the two companies that have perfected Commercialization to an art-form?!.. really?!…

  17. @Waterboy – So Niner should just stop developing new bikes or risk being called a commercialized brand? Did you not just see them release a new Steel Sir9? So not everything coming out is carbon. I will admit I think a lot of Niner buyers wanted to hit the trail and feel different and with more and more popularity to the brand you don’t get that feeling of being original anymore. Don’t blame them for success and building bikes people want to ride. Just suck up your egos and enjoy the bikes for what they are, great 29ers or go chase the 650b trend and be “so original” for a season. @chris 3 times more for what you bought? That new 29er from walmart really doesn’t compare. Really? everyone’s carbon FS 29er is in the same range at “retail” but you are a savy buyer. I am running 2×10 XT on my Jet9 Carbon without any problems of chainline so not sure what changed and don’t know why you would need larger than a 39t ring on a FS 29er. If your trails are that fast you don’t need rear suspension.

  18. @Someguy, yea, that probably does not make a lot of Seneca to you but, can you really compare an S-Works to a Niner?, no, Yea bothe of those companies may be very commercialized but at least they haven’t taken the one thing, being Carbon Fiber, and totally ruined it, my whole example is the damn Jet9 Carbon, all entry level components nd fork, and they can actually get away with charging 4000 dollars for it, Come on now, don’t you even think that’s a lil ridiculous. I just bought a Cannondale Full Carbon this weekend with full XTR, Stan’s Crest, and a very good Lefty, I paid rite at 3000. But it doesn’t say Niner on the own tube so I saved a grand. I mis- worded in my last post, yes Specialiized and Cannondale are both commercialized but not to the point of shoving it down people’s throat.but as long as people keep buying bottom of the line carbon fiber bikes for 4000, who can blame em?@ mocyclist, no thanks I’ll stay with 29ers, 650b, not for me. Yea I did see the new Sir9, I actually purchased one with a carbon fork, and it is a sweet ride. What I’m puking about is their manipulation of the public saying that there is only a fe in stock so hurry up and buy now… That’s bad advertisement to me. When you know damn well they have another run coming in, in another 2 weeks probably. And the bullcrap about them being such a small company, sick of hearing that, because no company develops the items they do and then can cry… Poor,poor me , we are so small… But I’m as bad as anyone lse, I mean come on, order a tshirt off their online tore, you’ll have damn near 40.00 wrapped up in a TSHIRT people. 40 Dollars, that’s where the commercialization factor comes in And yea for the record, not that it matters but, Niners service has been so terrible lately, I guarantee “I will Never Buy another Niner”, theres way too many brands out there that are worth the!4000, they are charging. Sorry to offend, but that’s what’s great about America…

  19. One thing I have realised in business it is impossible to please everyone, by saying I will NEVER buy a Niner is proof if bias approach since NINER may develop and design the most amazing bike on the planet but “Waterboy” will NEVER buy their bikes?
    Happy and proud to be riding a NINER Jet RDO … of course it was expensive (we live in Africa). This bike eats up any trail we have ridden.
    It’s a challenge when business grow’s whether you are Bill Gates or the lads at Niner, as long as they are true to what they do and remain passionate it will work out.
    It’s a good thing we have a choice of what we want to ride, don’t feel the need to knock one brand over another. Just ride and enjoy the sport

  20. Look at all the haters! Turner bikes are overpriced aluminum junk that nobody rides these days. I’m a big fan of both Trek and Niner bikes. If you have not had a chance to ride one you are missing out. Also, Niner bikes are not made in China or Taiwan. (deleted).

What do you think?