When Niner decided to overhaul its trail bikes, we took a look at everything including our patented suspension linkage, Constant Varying Arc (CVA). We wanted to make sure that the changes we made on the new JET and RIP improved the performance of the bikes. To do this we enlisted the help of Niner racer Alex Petitdemange who tested samples of the new JET and RIP designs on the trails in Sedona, Arizona where he lives and trains.
Alex provided our product team with valuable feedback to help us dial in the new bikes and CVA enhancements. Alex described evaluating the JET, “I spent about two months straight last fall on the JET so I could get really used to it.” Suspension tuning was key, “With the updated 120mm travel and leverage ratio, this bike feels really fast, yet very plush. The CVA suspension is as efficient as ever and I never felt like I needed to use the ‘pro pedal’. For most everyday riding, this bike does it all. It feels like more travel. This is my go-to bike for everyday riding in Sedona.”
The RIP went through similar paces during testing. Alex raced the new production bike. “I’ve been racing it since May and the bike has been a perfect match for the enduro events I’ve competed in. The CVA is updated and the pedaling performance is super efficient. It allows me to save energy on the climbs, then have a long-travel bike for the technical downhills. The cornering grip and the lateral stiffness are amplified, so it’s even more efficient on the downhills.”
Alex put the RIP to its toughest challenge in early July. “I recently raced the Trans BC Enduro, a six-day race in the heart of British Columbia. The trails were steep, rooty, rocky and wet from four days of rain. These were the most extreme conditions in which I’ve tested the new RIP.”
As one might expect, there was plenty of uphill, “There was a lot of climbing with alternating singletrack and roads. I was playing with the climb position on my shock to get the most efficiency of the redesigned CVA. It allowed me to save energy and get to the top of the hills fresh all week.”
The courses in BC can tax the most capable bikes and riders but this is where the RIP really shined according to Alex, “Going down, the bike felt like it was in its element. The roots and the rock were very slick, but this bike has so much grip that it was never an issue. I felt comfortable pushing it. The way the cockpit is balanced on this bike makes it really stable, and it’s easy to stay centered to attack those technical trails.”