They say: “Wide F-ing open”
Need to Know
- Long travel 29er available as a frame-only or as complete bike with build kit options
- Aimed at enduro racing and alpine-style trails
- Air-formed aluminium tubing saves 300g over predecessor
- Routing for a Stealth-style dropper post
- Designed to work solely with single ring groupsets like XO1 and XX1
First a confession; we’ve never had a Niner on test in MBR. If the new WFO 9 rides even half as good as it looks, this is an omission that needs rectifying as soon as possible. As the name suggests, Colorado-based Niner specialises in big wheels. There are no bet-hedging multiple wheel size options here; with Niner you’re either in, or you’re out.
Well, as you can probably tell by some of the other bikes selected for this list, we’re most definitely in, and the prospect of a showdown between the Specialized Enduro 29, the BMC Trailfox 29 and the Niner WFO 9 has us genuinely dribbling with anticipation.
Forming the backbone of WFO 9 is an air-formed aluminium frame. It’s a process similar to hydro-forming, but instead of fluid forcing the heated tubing against the walls of the mould, pressurized air is used. Also known as super plastic forming, it can create complex shapes, with high precision, and it saves considerable weight over the old model.
The resulting collection of sleek, curvaceous tubes is welded together with a promising set of numbers; 67° head angle, 1,193mm wheelbase (size large) and 30mm bottom bracket drop below the axles. Niner also worked hard to minimize front end height and maximize crotch clearance. Plenty of room, then, for big cojones and another indication the WFO 9 could be the perfect bike for riders who like to let it all hang out.