Niner WFO Mountain Bike Review by Jeff Kendall-Weed

The WFO acronym in Niner's WFO mountain bike model stands for Wide Full Open and is their most heavy hitting bike in their lineup, so it only makes sense to put this bike to the test with a rider like Jeff Kendall-Weed who can truly put it through its paces. We worked with Niner to get Jeff aboard a demo bike and set him free to see just how rowdy he could get. Jeff put the bike to test at his home trails in the Bellingham, WA and then took it on a Southwest tour of some desert trails near Jenson USA's headquarters in Southern California. Click into the Jenson USA blog to see how Jeff and the Niner WFO got along.

Follow Jeff Kendall-Weed on Instagram: @JeffKendallWeed

Niner Bikes have been a household name in the sport for over a decade now, and they’ve done things “their way” ever since Chris Sugai founded the company in October 2004.

True to the brand’s name, this WFO RDO 4 Star bike rolls on 29” wheels, and sure enough, uses the “CVA” suspension design- something that’s only found on Niner Bikes. After riding Dave Weagle designed DW Link, Split Pivot, and Delta Link; as well as testing other designs like Switch Infinity, Horst, and VPP, the CVA is definitely a legit set up. I was quite surprised at how poppy it is, and this suits my needs nicely. Traction was great, and it pedaled just fine. The bike does have a lot of travel, but it carries it nicely when applied to gnarlier terrain. One thing I really liked was that I didn't have to seek out the gnarliest of the gnarly in order to enjoy the bike- it was nicely matched for the normal blue and black level trails I find myself on most often. Some other 180mm bikes need 40+ foot jumps and mega steep trails in order to be fun- not the case with the Niner. And that was super fun!

// Jeff Kendall-Weed


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NINER WFO RDO MOUNTAIN BIKE


When it comes to enduro riding, you'll want a mountain bike that is durable, nimble, and can roll over any obstacle in your path. The Niner WFO RDO 4-Star Bike is back and ready to conquer the enduro course. It is reborn with 170mm of stable CVA suspension, a 180mm travel fork, adjustable geometry, increased frame stiffness, and Niner's signature RDO carbon frame. The frame features full sleeve cable guides for easy internal cable routing and integrated frame protection.

FEATURES

  • Niner RDO carbon frame with a geometry flip chip, full sleeve cable guides, and CVA suspension
  • Shimano XT M8100 drivetrain performs exceptionally well in demanding terrain
  • Shimano XT hydraulic disc brakes provide superior stopping power and modulation
  • Tubeless-ready rims and tires for a smoother ride, better traction, and fewer flats
  • KS Lev Si dropper post quickly lifts and lowers your saddle with the press of a lever


PARTS JEFF ADDED TO THE BIKE



PNW COMPONENTES LOAM GRIPS


The new Loam Grip from PNW is packed full of features including an ultra-tacky compound and an ergonomic pattern. The grips help support your palms and help relieve any fatigue caused by trail chatter. The two contrasting patterns and dueling motifs play an important ergonomic role giving the grip both traction and support. Purpose built for Enudro/Trial riding, the Loam Grip is soft enough to absorb vibration, yet firm enough to keep its shape under pressure. If you are looking for the ultimate mountain bike grip that mixes form, function, and style, grab a pair of PNW Loam grips.


PNW RANGE 31.8 HANDLEBAR GEN 3


Now in its third iteration, the PNW continues its legacy without forgetting what made the Range bar so popular. With its continued focus on ergonomics and comfort, the Range handlebar offers a 10-degree back sweep and 5-degree upsweep. This combination puts your arms and shoulders in a far more relaxed position. A more relaxed position coupled with the 30mm bar rise ensures you won’t be stuck in an awkward stiff armed bar clutching position. Use of 2014 Aluminum Alloy has allowed PNW to incorporate key carbonesque chatter absorbing qualities, resulting in a comfortable bar that doesn’t beat you up while also not costing an arm and a leg, a win-win. Widening the third generation bars out to 800mm not only gives riders more bar width options but has also allowed PNW’s crafty engineers to shave off a solid 25g compared to the second generation Range bar. If you’re on the hunt for an affordable alloy bar that puts ergonomics and comfort at the forefront then the Range Gen 3 is for you.

FEATURES

  • 10-degree back sweep, 5-degree upsweep, and 30mm rise puts you in a more relaxed position
  • 2014 Aluminum Alloy construction offers vibration damping and a robust build
  • 800mm bar width is ideal for modern long and slack mountain bikes
  • Cut marks let you trim down the bar width
  • 25g weight saving over previous model


PNW COMPONENTS RANGE V2 STEM


Now in its third iteration, the PNW continues its legacy without forge

The redesigned PNW Range V2 Stem is lightweight, tech ready and sized for the modern rider. It features a large face plate for a more secure clamping surface. For the tech nerd in all of us, it also has a GoPro/headlight mount. It also features a headlight mount that’s ideal for those night-time rides. The 40mm and 50mm stem lengths work best with modern bike geos and providing the right amount of space in the cockpit.

FEATURES

  • Lengths 40mm or 50mm
  • Weights: 40mm - 174g / 50mm - 210g
  • Clamp Diameter 31.8mm handlebars
  • GoPro/headlight mount compatability? Yes
  • Fits 1-1/8" steerer tube
  • Warranty 3 years


PNW COMPONENTS LOAM DROPPER POST


Lightweight, customizable and reliable, the PNW Loam Dropper Post is PNW’s newest and most versatile dropper to date. The Loam features a shorter post length than other PNW models and has 25mm of tool-less travel adjustment. Adjust in 5mm increments so you can find the perfect height for your riding style and fine tune your dropper post. For even more customization, the Loam's adjustable air cartridge allows you to customize your return rate on your post to better fit your riding style. Made out of 7075 aluminum alloy, the Loam is durable and lightweight, weighing in at only 504 grams for the 150mm travel size. This dropper features internal cable routing and is compatible with all PNW levers as well as most other cable-actuated levers from other brands.

ARTICLE: HOW TO BUY A DROPPER SEATPOST ›

FEATURES

  • Adjustable air cartridge allows you to customize your return rate
  • Shorter post length fits a wider variety of frame sizes and shapes
  • 25mm of tool-less travel adjust in 5mm increments
  • Made out of 7075 aluminum alloy
  • Compatible with all PNW levers and most cable actuated levers of other brands
  • Weight 504 grams (size 150mm)


PNW COMPONENTS LOAM DROPPER LEVER


Dropper seat posts have changed the way riders ride their mountain bikes. It allows riders to drop their saddles so they're out of the way for safe descending. The PNW Loam Dropper Lever is an incredibly adjustable lever that has a grippy injection molded pad. It features a weatherproof design with an oversized high-quality sealed bearing. It has custom CNC machining throughout the whole design for precision and weight reduction.

  • Thumb lever reach adjust allows you to perfectly dial in your set-up
  • Oversized and super sealed bearing for excellent weather resistance
  • Many clamp options available including standard 22.2mm clamp, SRAM MatchMaker X (bolt and backing plate that mount to SRAM hinge clamp not included with lever), Shimano EV, Shimano I-Spec II and a 31.8 clamp
  • Accepts cable routing from either direction for easy installation
  • Includes: Jagwire derailleur cable


WTB VOLT TITANIUM SADDLE


Perhaps one of the most popular WTB saddle in the bike world, the Volt is built for a variety of riding styles including gravel, cross country, trail, enduro, and bikepacking. The WTB Volt Titanium Saddle is shaped for speed and comfort. It features medium padding thickness and subtle curves as well as an upward curved tail and gentle drop to the nose that provides something to push against while pedaling.

FEATURES

  • Medium padding thickness and subtle curves make this an incredibly popular saddle
  • Upward curved tail and gentle drop to the nose provide something to push against while pedaling
  • Designed for gravel, XC, trail, enduro, and bikepacking


INDUSTRY NINE 1/1 ENDURO-S WHEELS


Industry Nine has become one of the most reliable wheel and hub manufacturers in the mountain biking industry, producing quality, top-of-the-line wheelsets. The Industry Nine 1/1 Enduro-S 29” Carbon Wheelset is lightweight, agile and durable, featuring a carbon fiber rim, steel spokes and I9’s 1/1 hub. The 1/1 hub is entry level for I9 but far from being average, featuring all of the same bearing and axle upgrades as the Hydra. The biggest difference between the Hydra and the 1/1 hubs is the freehub body, with 690 P.O.E at 0.54-degrees for the Hydra while the 1/1 has 90 P.O.E at 4-degrees. The 1/1 Enduro-S Carbon Wheelset was designed for all-mountain to enduro riding and features a 31mm inner diameter and a 36mm outer diameter, compatible with 2.3”-2.8” tires. If you live for the rough and rowdy trails and technical descents, then you are going to need a pair of wheels that can go the distance, like the Industry Nine 1/1 Enduro-S 29” Carbon Wheelset. Choose between a Shimano HG, Shimano Micro Spline or a SRAM XD driver body to complete your wheelset.

FEATURES

  • 6 pawl 1/1 Freehub body features 90 P.O.E. at 4-degree engagement
  • Available in Super Boost 157mm spacing or regular boost
  • Shimano/SRAM 11 + 12spd compatible XD, Micro Spline, HyperGlide
  • Steel spokes
  • Carbon fiber rim


MAXXIS MINION DHR II TIRE


Industry Nine has become one of the most reliable wheel and hub

The Maxxis Minion DHR II is one of the most popular tires in todays market and has become a go-to rear tire for trail to downhill riders alike. The DHR II achieves this by borrowing the shoulder knobs from the Minion DHF and then beefing it up to handle duty as a rear tire. The center tread features heavily ramped and siped tread which offers limited rolling resistance and awesome traction. The center paddle-like knobs greatly aid in braking and accelerating and the large side knobs let you effortlessly rail corners at Mach speed. Pair this beast with a Minion DHF up front for an aggressive all-mountain tire arrangement.

FEATURES

  • 3C MaxxTerra Uses a combination of medium and soft rubber compounds to offer the ultimate balance in grip, low rolling resistance and slow rebound properties.
  • 3C MaxxGrip Like MaxxTerra but uses more soft rubber than other compounds for the ultimate grip.
  • Double Down Dual-ply tire casing. Two 120 TPI casing layers reinforced with a butyl insert on the sidewall
  • EXO or EXO+ EXO is sidewall cut and abrasion resistance and EXO+ is upgraded sidewall cut and abrasion resistance as well as underneath the tread puncture protection.
  • Tubeless ready Allows you to run the tires tubeless.


CHROMAG CHRIS KOVARIK DAGGA FLAT PEDALS


At Eurobike 2018, Chromag introduced their new DH-specific flat pedal, the Dagga. Desinged hand in hand with Australian DH legend Chris Kovarik, the pedal features an enormous 120mm x 115mm platform, a wide stance, and 12-pins per side. As always, this Chromag pedal spins around a robust chromoly axle using high quality sealed bearings and bushings. The Coastal BC based company created the Dagga pedal to withstand the abuse of true DH riding and all day park laps.

FEATURES

  • Low profile 14.3mm at platform center
  • True concave design
  • CNC'd from a solid 6061 alloy billet
  • Platform size: 120mm x 115mm
  • Custom adjustable pin height 
  • 12 pedal pins per side, 24 pins per pedal
  • 480 grams per pair


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