FIRST LOOK: NINER RIP e9
The latest legacy mountain brand to jump on the e-bike wagon
As the name implies, or at least infers, Niner was a bike brand founded on the concept designing 29” wheel specific bikes. Since their introduction in 2005, Niner has set about to perfect the design and performance of their bikes dedicated to the big wheel size design which has helped them stay at the front of the popularity curve as far as 29ers go.
The Colorado based brand has always prided themselves catering to every category of off-road rider. From hardtail and full suspension trail and gravel bikes and now e-bikes. When the demand for e-bikes came along the same mentality of access for all remained. Niner believes if a bike gets you riding off-road it’s a positive thing.
For their initial MTB offering, Niner rolled out two versions of an all mountain style full suspension e-bike; the RIPe9 with 150mm of travel and the downhill-oriented, $6295 WFO e9 with 180mm of travel and surprisingly, a 29”/27.5” mixed wheel combo.
The aluminum frame has internally routed cables and connects the motor mount with the upper and lower shock mount for maximum rigidity. The grey and black color scheme with multicolored lettering is pretty unique as well. For the tweakers and tuners of the world, you can adjust the frame’s geometry by changing the position of the trunnion mount shock.
One plus to this frame is a water bottle mount which seems to be hit and miss with many of the e-MTBs we have encountered.
The pedal assist system for the RIPe9 is the new 4th generation Bosch Performance CX line with their Purion display. The larger 625wh battery is integrated in the frame with a charge port near the bottom of the frame. Niner rates the parts spec as one of their 3 star builds which means most of the components are in the mid to upper level category.
Our test bike enjoys a SRAM build starting with a 12 speed SRAM SX derailleur with a 50t climbing gear and a 1x 36t chainring. The RIPe9 rides on 29” tubeless ready Stan’s Flow rims with a mixed pair of a 2.5” Maxxis Aggressor tire in the rear, and a Minion DHF in the front. Slowing the 50-pound bike down are a pair of SRAM Guide brakes with 203mm rotors.
For suspension Niner went with 160mm travel RockShox Yari Debonair fork, and the RockShox SuperDeluxe Select+ 150mm air 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 current e-bike boom which is as much the result of the a Covid-19 crisis as well as the ever-growing popularity mass media publicity that e-bikes have been enjoying.
Only helping matters has been the timing of Bosch releasing their new motor and bigger battery. Adding to all that, Niner has made an e-bike 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 their 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. The frame comes with a lifetime warranty.
Weight: 55 pounds
Sizes: S, M (tested), L