Niner Bikes downhill 29er mountain bike prototype recendering concept

All but hidden on the bottom of their component display at Interbike, Niner had this little foam core board with a rendering of their downhill 29er pasted to it.

Despite asking nicely (followed by pleading and begging), there really isn’t much to say about it yet. Assuming the 3D design is anywhere close to production, what we can tell is that the lower linkage mount drops down a bit more than normal, and that there’s a healthy bend in the downtube before it meets the BB.

The former would be done to provide more vertical travel for the bottom linkage while still allowing a reasonably short chainstay length. There’s surely an entire wheel path and engineering side to it, too. The current designs are fairly well sculpted around the BB spindle,  In fact, you can see the evolution of the pivot and linkage placement from the 125mm travel RIP9 to the 150mm WFO9. But both of those still start the forward linkage pivot within a horizontal plane of the BB’s circumference. This one appears to drop the entire lower pivot well below the BB shell altogether.

The downtube bend is simply to make room for a bigger, coil-sprung shock with piggy back reservoir. Ultimately, it may well require a similarly aggressive bend in the top tube for proper wheel clearance. And the fork? Well, we’ll just have to wait and see…


  1. No need for all-bent tubes with 27.5 wheels, jay.
    Scott and Lapierre have been using the tweener wheels in this year’s worldcup already, on decent looking bikes. Team KHS (Binggeli/Aiello) are riding 27.5er downhill bikes as well. Devinci got all the publicity for their world champs one-off models, but other brands are already putting their team riders on that wheels for worldcup competitions.

    A 29er DH bike has to face a number of issues. Keeping the wheels from hitting the frame is one challenge, getting the wheels strong enough without them weighing a ton will be another. As we all know, heavy wheels do not only suck when accelerating out of corners, they also impair the function of the shock absorbers as they are unsprung mass.

    Not sure if the world is waiting for 29er DH bikes. I know that I am not.

  2. so the lowest point of the bike is no longer the bashguard which is dictated by the size of the chainring but instead – the very important…linkage system to the suspension. this seems like a company that does not design DH bikes is designing a DH bike.

  3. ccolagio – george parry works for niner. You might remember him from the gt furry carbon. that was his work. it would seem that niner is well sorted for DH frame design.

  4. @pfs – Who you kidding?! Everyone knows the GT fury Carbon was a pig of a DH bike. The Athertons had to run custom offset bushes and angleset headsets just to get the thing rideable.

  5. @pfs
    the gt fury carbon is a horrible bike, so bad the if you look that athertons are on different proto’s from gt right now that are quite a bit different. Besides this is niner, nothing like pulling the fork, crank, and bottom bracket to replace a shifter cable for the type of bike that most commonly breaks rear derailleurs.

  6. It’s about time.
    How Ropelato raced to the 2nd place in the timed-training of the DH-World Championship showed the potential the big wheelers have for DH. Bear in mind, with an enduro 29er geometry and components. Imagine what “true” DH- frames components are capable of!
    A pitty it crashed during the race, but hey…the wheel was still true even after such a high impact. the big wheels are not as weak as they used to be some years ago.

  7. Ropelato did well at the World champs because nobody really tries in Timed Practice. You don’t have qualifying at the WC so most of the big guns didn’t really put the times down until the finals. Graves being the anomaly and some might say out to prove something.

    Half of me thinks that this is Niner’s attempt at trying to show 29’ers still have relevance despite 27.5 and I think they’re possibly flogging a dead horse. More choice of bikes is always a good thing, but for DH I personally think the smaller wheels are a better bet. There seems to be a lot of compromises on the frame image above to get 29’ers to work in this configuration. Apart from the dorado, who else makes a 29er DH fork and where are you going to find wheels similar to Deemax’s that will stand up to the abuse? With the current buzz around 27.5 I can’t see the big brands stepping in with a 29er DH wheelset.

    For the record, I own a niner and I know what its strengths are. I’d pick 27.5 everytime for DH…

  8. @ flange
    with the time Ropelato had in the timed training he would have finished in the top15 for the final. and maybe he did not ride full gas either…

  9. plus one for satisFACTORYrider.

    jays comment was meant to be a joke, people responding?

    niner has pigeon holed themselves with their name. no matter what shakes out in the future with wheel sizes, niner will put their marketing spin on reasons for any mtb 29 classification.

  10. The knock on 29’s is that they are slower to accelerate, but soak up bumps and turn like they’re on rails.

    So, why aren’t they the perfect DH size?

    I’m biased, I ride a SIR9 and would love to have a Jet.

  11. At least they’re onto something by doing away with that pesky bottom bracket and, consequently, place to attach cranks. How many times has a pedal clip ruined a perfectly good run?!

  12. As a taller rider who loves his 29er for aggressive AM riding, I’m curious to see how this plays out.

    But really, even I’m not convinced a 29″ DH bike is what I want, or if it even makes sense. What would be game-changing would be a proper XL-sized DH bike with 650b wheels. No one even produces a full-size XL bike in 26″.

    Let’s get general sizing sorted before we take on the 29″ DH issue. Even if they get it to ride well, what are our choices for rims, tires and forks?

  13. It’s all talk until someone produces a top-notch 29″ DH bike that has the same proportions as top DH bikes and has the same travel. A 29er DH with 19″ chainstays ain’t gonna get it done.

    I would expect it to excel on some courses but not others, just as we’ve found with other wheel sizes.

What do you think?