Behind the 9: What’s In a (Niner) Name?

A little blast from the past. One of the first ONE 9s looking a little bit thirsty.

If you’ve ever had the opportunity to name something, be it a pet, a child, your car or a rock, we bet you didn’t take that opportunity lightly. Around Niner, we have and, well, we haven’t. You see, bikes are fun and we believe the names that go with them should be fun and playful too. But, just because they’re playful doesn’t mean they magically appeared out of thin air. Internal office debates over names may or may not have gotten heated from time to time. Hours upon hours may or may not have been spent putting hundreds of ideas on whiteboards. And then, sometimes, the names appeared almost magically and everyone agreed on them.

But we digress. We get a lot of questions about our naming conventions and what all of our “three lettered bikes” mean, so, without beating a dead unicorn any longer, here’s a little look Behind the 9 at our various nomenclatures in the order that they came to life.

Breaking gravel ground, the first RLT has taken many on the Road Less Traveled.

ONE 9 – The first Niner bike. ONE stands for the first and also stands for the fact that if you wanted to run it geared, well, you were out of luck. No acronym here, just ONE for one.

EMD 9 – EAT MY DUST (This one pretty much sums it up. Can’t catch me…)

AIR 9 – Our first lightweight, aluminum race hardtail. Light as AIR, so to speak.

SIR 9 – STEEL IS REAL (Well, because it is. And, Reynolds 853 is the best.)

RIP 9 – ROLL IN PEACE (Our first full suspension bike. Some may have thought it meant “REST IN PEACE” for anyone trying to chase a RIP down the hill.)

MCR 9 – MAGIC CARPET RIDE (Our geared Reynolds 853 steel bike and close sibling of the SIR. If you haven’t ridden steel, you don’t know what you’re missing.)

RIP down hills. Then, do it again and again and again.

JET 9 – Playing off our fast and lightweight ONE 9 and AIR 9 models, we wanted this cross country, full suspension race bike to exude fast. Jets are fast and we believed that anyone who would throw a leg over this full suspension rig should feel like they were flying. (Side note: At some point, someone clever enough to be clever referred to it as JUST ENOUGH TRAVEL, and it stuck, sorta).

WFO 9 – One of the first, if not the first, long travel 29er. This bike was a wee bit ahead of its time. The term was borrowed from the auto racing scene – WIDE FULL OPEN.

ROS 9 – ROLL OVER SHIT (Big, beefy steel hardtail with a big beefy fork. Not for the faint of heart, or weight weenie, for that matter.)

BSB 9 – BLOOD, SWEAT, BEERS (Because that’s what cyclocross is all about. You give blood. You sweat. Then you drink beer.)

RLT 9 – ROAD LESS TRAVELED (When we kicked this bike off, gravel was something you avoided. Now it’s the new black.)

RKT 9 – When you’re trying to beat a JET, you better fly a ROCKET.

RDO – RACE DAY OPTIMIZED. (Not a full bike name, but an acronym we use on our carbon fiber bikes and high performance components. Some think this means Race Day Only, but we really feel you should be riding your RDO bike a lot more than just race day.) 

(By the way – If you can come up with some clever acronyms for the few models that aren’t acronyms, we’re all ears. Or, if you have suggestions for names for future bikes, well, we’re not opposed to those either.)

For current versions of all Niner’s bikes, click here.