Schwalbe’s Nobby Nic tires sport a very
tall profile and high volume that smooth
out the ride nicely. The aggressive cornering knobs also bite hard when laid
over, making them a perfect tire for nearly any trail.
HOW DOES IT PERFORM?
Out of the box: Our size-large R.I.P. fit and felt more like an
extra-large bike. Riders who typically fit a large might have to try the
medium to get the ideal fit.
The Fox shock and RockShox fork
make suspension setup a breeze. We set the pressure for 30-percent sag and hit
Pedaling: While the CVA suspension does a reasonable job
keeping the pedal bob in check, it’s helped by Fox’s CTD lever.
Unfortunately, the lever is tough to reach as it is located very low on the bike. With this bike you can either get
used to keeping the bike fully open and deal with a little movement, or get used to reaching way down to hit the switch to go from “Climb” mode to “Trail” or “Descend” mode. Either
way, it’s only a small compromise, and one that we’re willing
to deal with for the low center of gravity and top-notch CVA
Cornering: You had better hold on diving into a corner,
because it’s going to turn fast. The steep head angle means
that even the smallest inputs from the rider result in big
changes in direction. The trick is that a longish wheelbase
helps keep the R.I.P. 9 from feeling twitchy. Compared to the
RDO carbon version of this bike, the front triangle exhibits a
bit of flex when pushed to the limits in a rough and chundery
corner. While smaller riders may never experience this trait,
Clydesdale riders should think about spending the extra $1000
to go carbon.
Descending: When the going gets rough, the R.I.P.’s CVA
suspension reacts with a plush suspension feel that keeps the
rider in control. The geometry does not hide the 29er wheels
and instead chooses to embrace them. The R.I.P. gets its stability from the longish chainstays and is kept snappy by steepening the head angle. The result is a ride that feels reminiscent of
old-school 29er geometry. However, with the big wheels turning, this bike refuses to get hung up on obstacles on the trail.
We found a point-and-shoot mentality works best when riding
the R.I.P., since the stable handling can take high speeds and
chunder at the same time.
Switchbacks: The long chainstays and wheelbase of the
R.I.P. make it a handful on tight switchbacks, whether climbing or descending. Just like with the RDO tested in the August issue, the bike feels a bit like an 18-wheeler trying to make
it through a McDonald’s drive-through. It’ll do it, but you
have to pick your line carefully and take it slow.
TRICKS, UPGRADES OR TIPS?
Our Niner came with a 90-millimeter stem, and we
quickly swapped it for Niner’s trail stem, which brought
it back to 50 millimeters. With the long cockpit, most riders will appreciate the snappier handling a short stem will
Be sure to use a chainstay and seatstay protector since
the large-diameter aluminum tubes transmit some chain-slap noise when the trail gets rough.
The heart and soul of the R.I.P. is the CVA suspension
design, which works remarkably well to smooth out the
trail and remain active under braking. The R.I.P. 9 aluminum will certainly save some coin compared to the carbon
version, but it gives up a significant amount of frame stiffness in exchange. The carbon R.I.P. 9 RDO impressed us
with a snappy and stiff-feeling chassis, so we can’t help but
feel that this aluminum version takes the backseat to its
Buying into the Niner family means you’re getting an
awesome bike with an awesome support system from a
bunch of “Ninerds,” all of whom are passionate riders.
Bottom line: the R.I.P. 9 is a great all-around trailbike with
a few quirks that we’re willing to overlook in the name of