It's no secret that 29eronline is really into Niner Bikes. We have never tested a Niner we did not like and many of us have bought Niners as our
personal rides after testing them head to head against other bikes. Ever since the JET9 received a complete redesign incorporating what Niner
learned from the first version and from making the very stout and durable RIP9, Ihave been wanting to test one. So, when we received an opportunity to test athe latest NinerJET9 complete (sold with all components included) we took it.
Niner JET9 Redesign Tech. Sheet

Normally we test frames with our 29eronline test kits. We will continue to do this, but the JET9 will be ridden as a complete package because it is sold that way (unlike many other bikes we test). This is a a value based build and many of our readers are interested in complete package deals. Since 29eronline received the JET9, I have ridden it as it came out of the box,with a kit that is to pretty close to our 29eronline kit, and in various combinations.

The JET9 spec is listed below as you will see it on Niner's website with the X7 build. Retail pricing for this build is $3099.00. Below the picture of the bike is a link.

Niner Bikes X7 Complete Kit PDF

The first thing that really stands out to me is the fact that it is a full Sram x7 kit. It isn't a cheap kit with a nice rear derailuer. The JET9 comes with good parts were it counts. It has a Rock Shox Reba RL front fork (4 inch) with a tapered steer tube and a standard drop out fork. Take some time to check the updated geometry charts on Niner's website. With the 4 inch fork that the X7 complete comes with, the head-angle is 71 degrees.

The stock rims are tubeless ready Stans Arch rims. I think this is a standout at this price.Converting to tubeless is one of the cheapest ways to increase performance by losing weight in the area most affected by it, the wheels. It also allows you to run less pressure and is not prone to pinch flats, although burping can be a problem.

The X-7 hubs have been surprisingly solid for such an affordable hub and wheel stiffness has been a non-issue. The brakes are strong and easy to modulate, especially since the JET9 X-7build is using 6 inch rotors front and rear. Our preference is using a 7 inch rotor up front and a 6 inch in the rear. The Sram X7 cranks have been plenty stiff and the bearings run smooth.

The drivetrain is 2 by 10 with a 39 tooth big ring and 26 tooth small ring. The 39 tooth gearing is a little tall for some short steep climbs but I have ridden our entire test loop in the 39 tooth ring. The 26 tooth feels a little too low for my riding locally but some of the long grinding climbs out west could easily give the 26 tooth ring some action. I can't imaging using the 26tooth front with the 36 tooth rear, as that is a really low gear. Once you resign yourself to the fact that the 26 x 36 is the lowest gear you have, I don't believe you will wish for lower. I was wishing the low was a 30 tooth or at the lowest a 28.  This is, of course, an opinion and,truthfully I don't believe any of our testers will be bothered by this gearing. If I can get some comments I will update these statements.

Like most bikes at this level, the Sram X7 bike does not come with pedals so, if you don't have your own, you will need to save some room in the budget for them.

There are little nits I have, but really, if I bought this bike, I probably would only change the handlebars and grips as a matter of personal preference. Well, that's not completely true. I would dump the tires. I will have the testers ride them and not warn them first in order to see if they come to the same conclusion before I put out the final verdict. I'll put it this way. After my first ride on the Continental Race Kings that came with the bike, I will not ride them again. I switched to Geax AKA tires and am not looking back. I do have it on good authority that they work well out west in the dryer Rocky Mountain area.

My initial thoughts on the frame focus on the fact that this is a classic example of why you can't judge strictly by numbers. I have ridden two bikes recently that have more travel then the JET9 yet I am more comfortable on the Jet 9 than I was on the longer travel bikes. The Jet9 is really dialed as far as suspension performance. Traction is excellent and the suspension really allows you to stay seated on medium and small roots. The bottom bracket height lets you keep the power on with no pedal strikes. On small drops I used the suspension, but did not feel it bottom out. The Jet9 suspension is dialed to work well for XC or trail duty.

So, in further posts and a final review, I will comment on handling, geometry and long term use/strengths and weaknesses. In addition, of course, our testers will provide feedback in video form.

If you have specific questions, please let us know in our comments section.

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{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

FatBob May 24, 2012 at 1:27 pm

Rolando,where are you writing from? What is your terrain like ? The JET9 is built around 80-100 mm travel forks. I do not advise going with a 120mm fork. Just too be clear we are talking about the 80mm travel JET9 not the new carbon JET9 RDO. If you feel the need to go 120 I would recommend the RIP9. While the RIP9 is heavier, a definite negative for climbing, the increase in traction and ability to stay seated over rough terrain is a bonus. Unless you are riding fairly smooth terrain, race or stand and tempo climb my recommendation is the RIP9 with the nicest wheelset you can afford and light fast rolling tires set up tubeless. I have no recommendation for the RDO due to the fact that we didn’t get a review bike. I cant recommend what I have not ridden.

To answer the question of “is 100mm travel enough for technical terrain”. A talented rider is going to be fine on a rigid bike.for most of us 100 mm is a good all around cross country suspension number. In rough terrain I want a combination of looser geometry angles, lower bottom bracket(within reason) and 120 mm travel. Bikes like Norco’s Revolver is one exception to the rule if you upgrade the tires. So rather then think suspension amount think more geometry combined with suspension. As a general rule I settle on 120mm forks with 110-120 mm travel for everyday trail riding including long climbs. RIP9 would be my choice in Niners stable of bikes.

Rolando May 23, 2012 at 7:01 pm

i’m buying a jet 9, i like very much to go uphills, but also i like to downhill in technical areas not fast, just necesary speed, my question is this: i don’t know what fork to buy, if 100 mm or 120mm (rock shox sid, or fox float 120mm?, does 120mm afects in a bad way the head angle, this afects the cornering, this afect the whole develop of the bike?, are 100mm enough travel in rocky areas?

FatBob October 19, 2011 at 5:33 pm

hey Michael, check this link out for our final review.

Michael October 15, 2011 at 6:26 pm

I would like to know your final review on the Niner Jet 9 handling, geometry, strengths and weaknesses.

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