Niner Jet 9 Update: The Climbing

Ed. – This is part of my ongoing review of the Niner Jet 9. To read the first post in this series, click here.

It’s been a bit over two weeks since my initial post on the Niner Jet 9 and while some torrential downpours have kept me off the trails more than I’d planned, I’ve had a chance to put in a good amount of riding and am ready to give my initial thoughts.

First off, I’d like to share a picture with you of the aftermath of my first wreck on the Jet 9. I was moving at a pretty good clip through some tight singletrack and caught the edge of the handlebar on a tree. After flying through the air, I came to a stop over 20 feet away. I was ok. The bike was ok. But the tree didn’t fare to well.

For my initial rides I’ve setup the Fox Float RP23 rear shock to the recommended PSI for my weight and have begun to play around with the ProPedal and rebound settings. For most of my riding I’ve kept it in position 2 for “Medium ProPedal” and four “clicks” into the rebound, which is where they recommend starting out. This is a highly customizable rear shock, so I’ll be spending a good amount of time messing with the settings to get the perfect setup for me.

Hands down, the best thing about the Jet 9 is how it climbs. Every ride I go on, I’m surprised by what I’m able to ascend. Steep, rutted singletrack that normally puts me on foot, I’m able to spin right up on the Jet 9 without much trouble. Also on the climbing, I’ve found Niner’s CVA suspension to be holding well to their “pedal neutral” goals. I’ve experienced very little pedal bob on the climbing.

Upcoming testing will include fine tuning the suspension to get the right level of comfort. While it’s been feeling good, I’d like to get a little more plushness when seated through the rocky, rooty terrain we have out here. However at this point, Niner’s CVA suspension system has been performing pretty well. I’m interested to see how it does as I tinker with the Fox settings to get it perfect for me and my riding style.

One aspect of the Jet9 I was initially having trouble with was a bit of wheel flop on tight, switchback turns during a climb. I would experience the sensation that I was having trouble pulling the front wheel around, and then when it finally went it would snap all the way and I would have to bail. Since experiencing this, I’ve taken time to get my fit on the bike tweaked and have moved my position in the cockpit forward. Since doing this, it’s helped with the wheel flop, but this will continue to be a place I focus on as it’s an important aspect of performance for my riding.

So far that’s my thoughts on the climbing ability of the Jet 9 at this point. I’ll be adding more updates to my review in the coming weeks as I continue to tweak the suspension settings and put the bike through the paces.

To answer a few questions from the comments of the last post…

The terrain I ride her on the east coast is very rocky and rooty. In particular, the trails I ride regularly have a lot of short ascents and descents. My home trails here in Lynchburg, VA are Peaks View Park and Liberty (formerly Candlers) Mountain. Trails I’m riding outside of Lynchburg include Mill Mountain and Carvin’s Cove in Roanoke, Falling Creek in Bedford and Douthat State Park in Millboro.

I got the bike weighed and with a new Bontrager stem (as opposed to the Thomson, I had to change it out for fit), the bike weighs 28.5 pounds.

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No Responses to “Niner Jet 9 Update: The Climbing”

  1. Eric Davis Says:

    Just completed my first ride on my Jet 9 as well. I agree with Tim the first thing I noticed was how well the bike climbed. I was able to motor right up a couple of rocky technical sections that have given me fits on previous bikes. I am running the Fox fork (100MM) along with the Fox RP23 shock and they make for a perfect match.

  2. jncarpenter Says:

    Tim, what size is it? Would it be possible to get a demo ride? 🙂 (since I am also in Lynchburg)

  3. Tim Grahl Says:

    jncarpenter: It’s a medium and sure, give me a ring at tim@crookedcog.com

  4. MMcG Says:

    Try riding it with the propedal off – that type of suspension design really doesn’t need any platform in my humble opinion.

    This comes from riding several Balfa 2Step FR which utilized a very similar suspension design.

  5. Pho'dup Says:

    Ted, can we get a build spec? 28.5lbs. seems a bit porkey for this bike. I heard the production frames were coming in heavier than the prototype. But I was hoping this bike was going to come in a little lighter.

  6. Pho'dup Says:

    My bad. Specs in original post.

    Frame: 6061 T-6 aluminum
    Rear Shock: Fox RP23
    Fork: RockShox Reba
    Shifting: SRAM X.0
    Cranks: Truvative Stylo RG 2.2
    Brakes: Avid Juicy Carbon
    Wheels: Mavic Crossmax
    Tires: Michelin XC AT
    Seatpost/Stem: Thompson
    Handlebar: Niner Flat Top 9 Bar

  7. Claude Says:

    quote: “I’m surprised by what I’m able to ascend. Steep, rutted singletrack that normally puts me on foot, I’m able to spin right up on the Jet 9 without much trouble.”

    for sure the 17,7″ chainstay length helps. Short chainstays are for roadies.

  8. EuroWheels Says:

    I’m experiencing the same highs and lows on my Jet9 as well. I need more time on the bike, but yes I am changing my setup to place more weight on the front end to slow the wheel flop I’m experiencing. This bike is fast and nimble, and yes it climbs extremely well but it requires your full attention at times. I also believe it to be far more plush than the Sultan I was riding and I still need to let some air out of the rear shock. I’m running a Fox F29 100mm up front. For some reason I also feel more control with a narrow bar, but gripping inside farther. I’m going to try a narrower, 600mm, bar. 26.25lbs on my setup.

  9. jncarpenter Says:

    If you find this bike more plush than your Sultan…something is very amiss with your shock. I too ride a Sultan & spent a short time on Tim’s JET9. The setup was way too front weight biased for me to be able to be aggressive at all…so I didn’t get to really have a chance to see how the bike performed overall. However, there is no way the rear felt more plush than my Turner…not in a million years. This is a very firm feeling racer-esque frame…imho.

  10. mberesn Says:

    to euroWheels why would you go narrower bars if you think the bike wonders? wouldn’t narrower bars make that worse? I run flat Salsa pro moto 710mm with 17 degree sweep and it track great.

  11. EuroWheels Says:

    What can I say. I have a pile of hours on the Sultan (always adding rear shock air to stop from bottoming, never really finding a perfect number) and now almost 13 hours on the Jet9. The Jet hasn’t hit the bottom yet and it’s much softer over small/med bumps. I’m confused too, but it’s true. Doesn’t make sense “on paper” but with that many riding hours, the ride says it all. The rear end is the big surprise, just trying to calm the front end a touch now.

    Follow up to my post, the narrower bar doesn’t offer the control I need on knarly shale ruts and such. Back to the 630mm. 10mm longer stem too to get more weight on that front tire. I may also try and old-fashioned Reba with less fork offset than the F29.

  12. big ring Says:

    holy crap. you’re a kung foo master! “chop it down with the edge of my hand” – jimi hendrix (i believe?)

  13. jncarpenter Says:

    Maybe you should have tried the low volume cannister.

    Again, I definitely didn’t think the JET9 rear felt that plush at all. Different strokes….

  14. Turl-Factor Says:

    Just demo’d Jet 9 at a 22 mile mtb time trial this weekend (singletrack and dirt road climbs and descents; great mix of terrain). Excellent bike. Climbing ability is awesome. Very spry bike, like a 26er in many ways…but better due to big wheels, etc. Flat terrain was great. Front wheel did not seem “floppy” on climbs. However, front end did feel a bit “floaty” on a long super fun serpentine-like downhill that is at a gradient where you only have to lightly brake check from time to time. Perhaps lowering the stem would help put more weight on the wheel? Even if so, not something I want to do as I liked my position. Hmmm. Currently have Ibis Mojo and that bike tracks like it is on rails on that descent; front wheel very sure footed. Super tempted to get the Jet 9. Other 29ers I’ve tried are Fisher HiFi and Pivot Mach 429er. HiFi was pretty good. Mach 429er was awesome, like the Jet 9. I’ll get one of the two I think. I think the Mach 429er felt like it had better traction up front; was more solidly on the ground, but that test was a month ago.

  15. EuroWheels Says:

    I’m super happy with the rear end of the bike but calming the front is the challenge. I’ll be trying the Reba with less offset. Also while trying to get the last 20mm of travel from the F29 (100mm version) I was running too soft I was told. So that is much firmer now. Also going to fit a slightly wider bar again. I have a 20mm riser now with a zero stem, no shims. I’m just getting caught off guard in gnarly slow stuff. Let’s see if I can improve it. The bike is super quick in the tight stuff if you have some flow.

  16. Jet 9 recall Says:

    Okay… so they’re not calling it a recall, but my LBS called and said Niner has had 7 frames returned with cracked shock rockers. Niner said to stop riding the bike immediately. I’ve only had it out once – SUCKO! I’ve been waiting for this rig for 1 1/2 years (since seeing the prototype at Sea Otter in March ’07.

    Check with Niner for more info.

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