Project Niner Air 9 Carbon – Uber Light Race Bike

So race season starts in a couple of weeks here in Utah. The first couple of races are in St George which very desert like with rocks and ledges, so full suspension bike is probably best. However, after those two races the series moves north and into the ski resorts. So because of the long and sometimes very smooth climbs, a lightweight hardtail seems to,have an advantage. So, our project race bike for this season is the Niner Air 9 Carbon RDO. It will be built with functionality and lightness as the top goal, but will not include super exotic parts that are only available from Europe with long waiting lists. The bike parts that will be used are available from US distributors.

We start our build with the strikingly delicious Air 9 RDO in Black Licorice.

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We have always been very impressed with detail and the workmanship of the Niner frames. Niner does the details like no other frame maker. They also seem to have the 29er geometry dailed in better then anyone.

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The new frame arrived the other day and we put it on the scale. Raw frame weight is shown without seat tube collar.

Niner does details like no other fame maker. The bottom bracket shell has these two metal plates to protect the carbon from the chain. The plate in front of the bottom bracket shell will protect the frame if the chain drops off the chainrings to the inside. The plate behind the bottom bracket will protect the frame if you develop chain suck and draw the chain up behind the rings. I havent see this type of detail on any other frame.

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The drive side chain stay has a built in protector for chain slap. This is a super clean way of protecting your frame from a chain is slapping around and causing nicks in the carbon. Niner includes this and other carbon frame makers should all do this.

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To add to the cleanness of this frame, Niner does internal cable routing like no other. The headtube badge has two small openings where your shifter cables go in. The drive side chain stay has a small opening where the rear derailleur cable exits. This is super clean and keeps cable clutter to a minimum.

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Another nice touch is the mounting of the rear brake caliper on the inside of the rear triangle. This provides better brake performance and less flex.

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So that is a tour of the frame we selected for our new hardtail race bike. We believe the Niner Air 9 Carbon is the best 29er carbon hardtail frame on the market today.

Next we will highlight the fork that we have selected for this build.

Do you have a dream bike build? Tell us what main components are on your dreamy hardtail.

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