Niner has upped itself again, mating the smooth lines and composite construction of its venerable Air 9 Carbon with 100mm of super smooth CVA rear travel. The result is the brand new Jet 9 Carbon RDO (Race Day Optimized).
That 100mm of rear travel is a 20mm bump from the alloy Jet 9, and is kept in control with a custom-valved Fox Float RP23 with Kashima coating. The suspension linkage is all custom forged, and derailleur cables are routed internally while brake lines are left outside the frame for easier service. That improves the routing dramatically, with smooth shifting further aided by the direct-mount front derailleur for either SRAM or Shimano. Geometry is optimized for 100-120mm forks.
The frame is all carbon, except for a few linkages. The front triangle is monocoque carbon, using a very similar design as the AIR 9, including the same 1.125-1.5-inch tapered head tube. The bottom bracket uses the press fit BB30 standard.
The new Carbon RDO shaves nearly 500 grams from the alloy version, but sees a jump in price as well. The new frame will cost $2,599. Don’t worry though, the alloy version will still be available.
Price: $2,599 frame and Fox Float Kashima RP23 shock
Weight: Test bike (medium) 25 lbs
Availability: Mid- to late-July
• Compatible with 2x systems from SRAM and Shimano
• SRAM recommended 2x front chainring configs: 26/39 or lower
• Shimano recommended 2x front chainring configs: 28/40
• 135mm QR rear spacing
• Zero stack headset (44mm upper, 56mm lower) headset not included
• titanium anti-chain suck protection plates
The first batch will be shipping next week, but it sold out internationally. Availability in the U.S. should be about two weeks later. Chose from nude carbon, Tang, and white.
First Ride Report
A few hours of riding at Deer Valley resort in Utah was enough to give the Jet 9 Carbon RDO a huge double thumbs up, at least for now. The rear end is as supple as every other CVA rig I’ve tested, tracking wonderfully and remaining quite stable when climbing. The medium I rode came in just a hair over 25 lbs. without any crazy build, almost light enough for my own XC race rig standards.
The carbon Jet feels stiffer than the alloy version, particularly at the front end. The one I rode was built up with a 100mm Rock Shox Reba fork, which was my only complaint — not because it’s a bad fork, but because it felt oddly miss-matched with the rear end.
Odd, right? They’re both 100mm. But the rear end is so excellently plush, particularly with the new Kashima coated Fox, that the front ended up feeling a bit low and harsh when I pointed the bike down some steeps. A 120mm fork would feel more balanced for everyday riding, I think. For racing, I’d leave a 100mm on.
All I could think about on one final shuttle run was how much fun the Jet 9 Carbon would be to race at our Colorado-staple Winter Park XC this weekend. That’s a hearty compliment.