Niner’s latest edition of their 80mm-travel JET 9 suspension platform has added generous helpings of stiffness and strength relative to the previous version while adding only a smidgeon of weight in the process.
One of the biggest changes is the addition of a tapered 1-1/8 to 1-1/2in head tube, which not only improves steering precision and braking feel but also allows for a much bigger down tube for a claimed 30 percent jump in frame stiffness.
Niner have also switched from a traditional headset to an integrated one on this latest JET 9, allowing designers to push the down tube and top tube further apart while retaining the same stack height as before. In addition, the seatstays now have a rectangular profile.
Niner have also infused the JET 9’s aluminium chassis with healthy doses of hydroforming and forging – the former in the top tube, down tube, chainstays and rear triangle brace, and the latter in the seatstay and chainstay yokes, the bottom bracket shell and main pivot assembly, dropouts, seat tube pivot and all linkage plates. Double-pass welds in the main triangle add strength to the joints, too, while also making for a smoother appearance.
Niner principal chris sugai says the new rear triangle brace has been beefed up and lightened, too.: niner principal chris sugai says the new rear triangle brace has been beefed up and lightened, too.James Huang/BikeRadar
Niner principal Chris Sugai says the new rear triangle brace has been beefed up and lightened
Adding all that stiffness and robustness has resulted in a slight weight penalty – but only 20g according to Niner, when accounting for the savings of the integrated headset versus the traditional one. Frame weight with shock is a somewhat average-sounding 2.7kg (6lb) but Niner principal Chris Sugai says the CVA suspension design and larger 29in wheels’ bump eating capabilities will make up for the extra mass on the trail. We’ll aim to find out for ourselves.