Niner Jet9 Review

Well, as I referenced in my last post, my chain stay had gotten bashed and I was looking for a replacement.

Another chain stay bites the dust!

Another chain stay bites the dust!

I dropped the bike at the shop last Monday before we headed out of town for a trip to Corpus Christi with the expectation that I’d be out about $300 to have it fixed.

Shop calls on Friday with some bad news. Apparently my seat stays are also bent, as well as needing some new bushings. This is going to push the price upwards towards $500.

Now we’re starting to get into the neighborhood of concern on pricing. I’ve already had to replace the chain stay once last fall due to the derailleur hanger not breaking off and shearing off the end of the stay. That cost me about $300 then. Now I’m looking at another $500 into the rear triangle as well? Not to mention I also know a guy who had this exact same bike and also went through 2 chain stays?

Hrmm… do I keep dumping in $300 per stay every 6-8 months or consider changing things up a bit?

Let’s not forget, I’m headed to NC and ORAMM on Friday. AND, there is no way to get the replacement parts here in time to get everything fixed before I leave. Ugh…

So, one option I have is possibly pick up a used Niner Jet9 frame and swap everything over. I am going to meet a guy later today to take a look at a 2011 medium sized frame he is selling.

I was a little worried about going from a large to a medium, but I do know at 5’11” I’m on the edge of being able to ride either a medium or a large.

My buddy Kirby rides a 2010 large Niner Jet9, so I asked if I could borrow it for a spin to get an idea if I thought a medium would work.

I picked up his bike and headed for the Greenbelt. I thought riding on trails I knew would give a good indicator.

The Review

The first thing I noticed was how much more nimble this bike is. The chain stay is a little shorter than the Kona, but the overall wheelbase is about 1 inch shorter. The bike was much more playful and easy to finesse than my Kona.

The next thing I noticed was how the bike just flowed over/through the rocky chunder on the greenbelt. That is likely also a result of the longer travel as Kirby’s bike has a 140mm fork vs. the 100mm fork on the Kona. On both going up and coming down, the bike felt solid through the loose rocky chunder and I was surprised at how much more stable the bike felt.

The other really big difference in bikes was how much easier it was to finesse the bike. It is likely a result of the shorter length of the bike and the shorter reach, but I was able to finesse some of the more tricky climbs better than usual. It was much easier to pick lines, particularly going up, which resulted in my being able to clear several step ups and climbs that I only *sometimes* clear on the Kona.

I was really liking the ride and it felt great. I wasn’t trying to ‘pin it’, and yet I still managed to put up some very respectable times on the segments I rode.

I’ll just say, I really, really enjoyed the bike! It felt very solid, and stable, yet still being more nimble than the Kona.

The only downside to the bike is that it is about 2 pounds heavier than my setup on the Kona, and much of that might could be remedied with a component swap.

Niner Jet9

Kirby’s Jet9

Now, the primary purpose of the ride was to see if I thought a medium would work. Kirby is running an 80mm stem, a setback seatpost, with the seat moved nearly full forward. I didn’t feel stretched, or cramped, and pretty much felt just right. I believe I should be able to get pretty much the same feel on a medium, but possibly with a 100mm stem and a setback post.

I am going to give the Niner frame serious consideration if everything checks out.

So, if I do happen to buy the frame, then it’ll be a race to get the components swapped and get the Jet9 built up with as much of my existing components as possible. I’m not completely sure if the bottom bracket will transfer so I might end up having to get a new BB. I just too ignorant of those details between the two frames to know for sure.

ORAMM

In any case, it looks like I won’t be riding my bike at ORAMM. I’ll either pass on the medium frame and take Kirby’s Jet9, or I’ll pick up the medium frame and try to get all of my parts swapped over. I’m a bit disappointed in either case as I would prefer to avoid this pre-trip drama.

About TC

Long time mountain biker, recent mountain bike racer. Borderline unhealthy obsession with mountain biking, constantly drawn to hit the dirt and share my experiences.

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