First Look: 2019 Niner RIP 9 v3

“Don’t call it a comeback… I been here for years…” It’s only fitting that I’m getting ear-wormed with L.L. Cool J., circa 1990, as I’m carving berms and boosting doubles through Southern California chaparral. The third-generation Niner Rip 9 has got me feeling nostalgic for a few reasons. I’ve ridden these same trails many times on my previous-generation Rip 9—a bike that served me well for two seasons, a bike that I have forsaken for a newer, shinier all-mountain bike even though I couldn’t have been happier with it. I’m going to make some comparisons to that bike, because as much as the v3 is true to its roots… there is not much that hasn’t changed for the newest Rip 9. And I would say that this bike is somewhat of a metaphor for Niner as a company right now (hang in with me for a minute while I explain) …

It’s easy to forget that Niner has been rocking big wheels for 15 years! When pretty much every XC brand declared that 29” wheels were too heavy and too slow to accelerate for the weight-conscious race crowd, Niner doubled down and put it on the down tube. Once the industry recognized that this was not a fad–and once better rim, tire, and suspension product was available—it was inevitable that the lycra set would eventually embrace this faster rolling technology. Then along comes this 27.5”/650B/Tweener size to offer “the best of both worlds” to those of us not attaching a number plate every weekend. There were a whole lot of folks who predicted the demise of the 29” wheel; and nearly everyone said, “well 29ers for XC, but twenty-seven-point-five is going to rule for trail bikes”. “Nearly everyone”—not Chris Sugai. Niner’s Founder was right about 29” XC hardtails in 2004, and Niner was right about 6” travel 29ers when they launched the first Rip 9. It’s no secret that financial circumstances have dictated that they weren’t first to market with a new “modern-geometry” long-legged 29er, but I’ll argue that once again they helped pave the way—and the “shreddy twenty-niner” is nothing new for Niner Bikes.

Best Descender 

CONTINENTAL TRAIL KING V2 TIRE

The Continental Trail King is another longtime top performer. This tire spans the range of trail riding to enduro a bit more than the Minion due to its lighter weight and better rolling characteristics. This tire’s Apex sidewall protection is fantastic, resisting rock scuffs and tears like a champ. Plus, we think the checkered pattern looks pretty rad. There is only one compound to choose from for this tire, but it is a great compound, and should perform well. Our main complaint is that these tires can be a bit of a tight fit to mount to a rim. Besides that, they seal up tubeless quite well. We find that this tire functions well both on the front or rear wheel.

WHAT WE LOVED:

  • Impressive chassis stiffness will give you the confidence to go looking for trouble.
  • Modern geometry for the real world.
  • Efficient suspension platform that will allow you back out the dampers.
  • Versatile 29er trail bike from the people who brought you versatile 29er trail bikes.

WHAT WE DIDN'T:

  • Impressive chassis stiffness will give you the confidence to go looking for trouble.
  • Modern geometry for the real world.
  • Efficient suspension platform that will allow you back out the dampers.
  • Versatile 29er trail bike from the people who brought you versatile 29er trail bikes.

 

Fastest Rolling

NINER: PAST, PRESENT, FUTURE

The Continental Trail King is another longtime top performer. This tire spans the range of trail riding to enduro a bit more than the Minion due to its lighter weight and better rolling characteristics. This tire’s Apex sidewall protection is fantastic, resisting rock scuffs and tears like a champ. Plus, we think the checkered pattern looks pretty rad. There is only one compound to choose from for this tire, but it is a great compound, and should perform well. Our main complaint is that these tires can be a bit of a tight fit to mount to a rim. Besides that, they seal up tubeless quite well. We find that this tire functions well both on the front or rear wheel.

WHAT WE LOVED:

  • Impressive chassis stiffness will give you the confidence to go looking for trouble.
  • Modern geometry for the real world.
  • Efficient suspension platform that will allow you back out the dampers.
  • Versatile 29er trail bike from the people who brought you versatile 29er trail bikes.

WHAT WE DIDN'T:

  • Impressive chassis stiffness will give you the confidence to go looking for trouble.
  • Modern geometry for the real world.
  • Efficient suspension platform that will allow you back out the dampers.
  • Versatile 29er trail bike from the people who brought you versatile 29er trail bikes.

 

Grippiest Tire

Grippiest copy

The Continental Trail King is another longtime top performer. This tire spans the range of trail riding to enduro a bit more than the Minion due to its lighter weight and better rolling characteristics. This tire’s Apex sidewall protection is fantastic, resisting rock scuffs and tears like a champ. Plus, we think the checkered pattern looks pretty rad. There is only one compound to choose from for this tire, but it is a great compound, and should perform well. Our main complaint is that these tires can be a bit of a tight fit to mount to a rim. Besides that, they seal up tubeless quite well. We find that this tire functions well both on the front or rear wheel.

WHAT WE LOVED:

  • Impressive chassis stiffness will give you the confidence to go looking for trouble.
  • Modern geometry for the real world.
  • Efficient suspension platform that will allow you back out the dampers.
  • Versatile 29er trail bike from the people who brought you versatile 29er trail bikes.

WHAT WE DIDN'T:

  • Impressive chassis stiffness will give you the confidence to go looking for trouble.
  • Modern geometry for the real world.
  • Efficient suspension platform that will allow you back out the dampers.
  • Versatile 29er trail bike from the people who brought you versatile 29er trail bikes.

 

Most Round

Most Round Copy

The Continental Trail King is another longtime top performer. This tire spans the range of trail riding to enduro a bit more than the Minion due to its lighter weight and better rolling characteristics. This tire’s Apex sidewall protection is fantastic, resisting rock scuffs and tears like a champ. Plus, we think the checkered pattern looks pretty rad. There is only one compound to choose from for this tire, but it is a great compound, and should perform well. Our main complaint is that these tires can be a bit of a tight fit to mount to a rim. Besides that, they seal up tubeless quite well. We find that this tire functions well both on the front or rear wheel.

WHAT WE LOVED:

  • Impressive chassis stiffness will give you the confidence to go looking for trouble.
  • Modern geometry for the real world.
  • Efficient suspension platform that will allow you back out the dampers.
  • Versatile 29er trail bike from the people who brought you versatile 29er trail bikes.

WHAT WE DIDN'T:

  • Impressive chassis stiffness will give you the confidence to go looking for trouble.
  • Modern geometry for the real world.
  • Efficient suspension platform that will allow you back out the dampers.
  • Versatile 29er trail bike from the people who brought you versatile 29er trail bikes.

 

Most Knobby

Most Knobby

The Continental Trail King is another longtime top performer. This tire spans the range of trail riding to enduro a bit more than the Minion due to its lighter weight and better rolling characteristics. This tire’s Apex sidewall protection is fantastic, resisting rock scuffs and tears like a champ. Plus, we think the checkered pattern looks pretty rad. There is only one compound to choose from for this tire, but it is a great compound, and should perform well. Our main complaint is that these tires can be a bit of a tight fit to mount to a rim. Besides that, they seal up tubeless quite well. We find that this tire functions well both on the front or rear wheel.

WHAT WE LOVED:

  • Impressive chassis stiffness will give you the confidence to go looking for trouble.
  • Modern geometry for the real world.
  • Efficient suspension platform that will allow you back out the dampers.
  • Versatile 29er trail bike from the people who brought you versatile 29er trail bikes.

WHAT WE DIDN'T:

  • Impressive chassis stiffness will give you the confidence to go looking for trouble.
  • Modern geometry for the real world.
  • Efficient suspension platform that will allow you back out the dampers.
  • Versatile 29er trail bike from the people who brought you versatile 29er trail bikes.

 

RECOMENDED RIDER:

The photos and video in this article prove that the Rip 9 can hold its own when under a rider the likes of Kirt Voreis (and our own Danny Lilley).  But, this bike is impressively efficient and nimble for those of us who dream of riding like Kirt but still need some practice getting there.  We love this genre of bikes that can tackle climbs and tech while being poised anxiously to smash berms and boost jumps.  If that sounds like you, then this is your bike.  This is the “one bike” quiver (heaven forbid, one bike only!!!) that will let you hang with whoever your riding with in most every situation.  As always, bikes designed specifically for a certain riding discipline might win by a bit, but it’s hard to argue with the range and diversity of the Rip 9 for most every ride and rider.

First Look: 2019 Niner RIP 9 v3

EMPLOYEE PROFILE:

  • Name: Seth Kendall
  • Age: 38
  • Rider Height / Weight: 5’9″ / 165lbs
  • Location: Pacific Northwest
  • Riding Style: A bit of everything, but mostly trail to all mountain and DH. Dabbles in BMX, pump track, and gravel riding
  • Favorite Trail: Hard to choose, but currently loving trails with diverse terrain that varies from one segment to the next

RELATED STORIES

 

2018 Best MTB Tires

Mountain biking is a diverse sport that ranges from full-out pedal fests to hard-charging gnarly descents. But, most riders find themselves riding somewhere in the middle; a mix of climbs, tech, descents, and fun jumps. As 2018 comes to a close, we compiled a list of MTB tires that fall in this range of riding and excel at what they do. We surveyed our employees and our customer reviews to determine each winner. Read on to find out which tires won and why?

First Look: 2019 Niner RIP 9 v3

Mountain biking is a diverse sport that ranges from full-out pedal fests to hard-charging gnarly descents. But, most riders find themselves riding somewhere in the middle; a mix of climbs, tech, descents, and fun jumps. As 2018 comes to a close, we compiled a list of MTB tires that fall in this range of riding and excel at what they do. We surveyed our employees and our customer reviews to determine each winner. Read on to find out which tires won and why?