Niner officially announces their first two e-mountain bikes today. They sent us one in advance, and Assistant Editor Nick Claire has been ripping around on it and offers his first impressions:
Niner primarily made 29” wheeled bikes since there induction in 2005 making them ahead of the popularity curve as far as 29ers went. They pride themselves on fighting for trail access for everyone who loves to ride in the dirt. Everything from gravel bikes to full suspension trail bikes and now ebikes. When the demand for ebikes came along the same mentality of access for all remained. Niner believes if it gets you out riding off road it’s a positive thing. They offer an all-mountain-style full suspension ebike which they call the RIPe9 starting at $5995.
The frame is hand-welded aluminum with a one-piece motor mount that connects with the upper and lower shock mount for max rigidity. The grey and black color scheme with multicolored lettering is pretty unique, as well. Also, it’s not a surprise the RIPe9 frame has internally routed cables. For the tweakers of the world a slight change to the geometry can be made by changing the position of the shock as it has two different mounts, called a flip-chip.
One plus to this frame is a water bottle mount which seems to be hit and miss with most of the e-MTBs we have encountered to this point. The frame comes with a lifetime warranty so you can bet it’s built really well.
The pedal assist system for the RIPe9 is the new 4th generation Bosch Performance Line CX. The larger 625wh battery is integrated in the frame with a charge port near the bottom of the frame. The build is considered a 3-star build which means most of the components are in the mid to upper level category.
In the rear comes a 12 speed SRAM SX derailleur with up to a 50t climbing gear and a 36t chainring up front. The RIPe9 rides on 29” tubeless ready STANS FLOW rims front and rear. A 2.5” Maxxis Aggressor tire in the rear, and a Minion DHF in the front. It’s epuipped with SRAM Guide brakes with 203mm rotors for slowing the near 50 lb machine down. For suspension Niner went with 160mm travel RockShox Yari Debonair fork, and the RockShox SuperDeluxe Select+ 150mm rear shock. Oh, and of course, a LEV SI dropper seat post.
Niner couldn’t have picked a more perfect time to get into e-bikes. Especially when you consider the e-bike boom, a lockdown crisis causing an overall demand in cycling, and the timing of Bosch releasing their hot new motor/bigger battery. Adding to all that, Niner has made an ebike that really fits a sweet spot in the market. The ergonomics feel really nice, and the added wheel size of the 29ers make for a really smooth ride all around. The price is right in the ballpark of what you would expect for a bike with this ride quality and component build.
When we first got the RIPe9 out of the box our first thought was that the down tube looked extra square and big. Although we quickly realized the new 625wh battery takes up a bit more room and Niner obviously did there homework making an extremely balanced machine. One trouble spot is the placement of the charge port which is placed right on the inside of the cranks which could cause damage if the cranks are rotated when charging. Luckily, the Bosch chargers are really sturdy and this shouldn’t be a deal breaker.
BUT WAIT – THERE’S MORE!
Editors Note: There are two models. The one we have, the RIPe9, and the 180mm travel, staggered wheel size WFOe9.