Niner Bikes in Auburn, California

Nothing Climbs like a Niner

The "nine" in Niner stands for 29-inch wheels, a.k.a. "niners." Niner Bikes is the aboriginal 29-inch wheel bike company; every bike they sell is a 'niner. Founder Chris Sugai committed himself to that spec when he launched the brand in 2005, before the rest of the cycling world embraced the 29-inch wheel as an alternative to the 26-inch standard.

“Everyone thought we were crazy,” said Sugai in an interview for Wired Magazine in 2012. “Like, good luck buddy.” And yet here they are.

Currently, Niner makes Cyclocross, Gravel Grinding, XC/Marathon, Trail/Enduro, All Mountain/Freeride, and Singlespeed bicycles, all of which feature Niner's patented “Constantly Varying Arc” (CVA) suspension -- the only 29er-specific suspension on the market, according to the Niner web site.

Niner Technology

When looking at cycle geometry, people commonly ask questions such as:

  • What’s the head tube angle on this thing?
  • What’s the seat angle?
  • Where is the rider’s weight centered?

These are all important considerations to be sure, but you have to examine those aspects in the context of whole bicycle – “holistic cycle design,” if you will.

Building a bike is a lot like baking a cake. You need flour, some butter, a couple of eggs – don't forget the sugar! And there really is a right way to bake a cake; believe it. So if the chef adds more of this and less of that, the resulting cake will vary in terms of taste and texture. This might even result in someone's favorite cake, but it can also result in something you wouldn't feed to the dog. With a bicycle, if you only think about one aspect or one part of the bike – the suspension, say, or tube shape – you can build a pretty good bike. But if you do so, it's by accident.

Every part, every length of tube and angle of insertion absolutely must work with the other systems of that bike. There's room to experiment, but if you don't build with the end in mind, all you've got is just another bike, something to ride around the block.

How does this work at Niner? Since the company only builds 29ers, Niner engineers always start with that one element, the 29-inch wheel, which they know better than anyone in the business. On every Niner model, from the lightest XC hardtail to the most robust, full-suspension bike, Niner engineers have designed, measured and built the bike knowing precisely how each angle or length of tube will work with those big wheels. The result is a bike that performs optimally and stands up to the rigors of the trail.

Niner's CVA Suspension

While CVA looks like a lot of other parallel-link designs, CVA's approach isolates pedaling forces to remain active under a variety of conditions. Standard suspension designs are built under the assumption that most of the pedaling will be accomplished in the middle chainring, and are designed to pivot around that location. Niner's CVA design puts the pivot point in front of the drive train, which gives the torque you produce peddling only one outlet: the rotation of the rear wheel, which is of course where you want it.

What's Behind Niner's 29ers?

With a 29-inch wheel, your tires stay on top of the trail, so that you're riding above the terrain instead of in it, making for a more stable ride in rough terrain. A 29-inch wheel has a shallower angle of attack, meaning that the wheel hits obstacle closer to the ground relative to the axle, giving you mechanical advantage over technical terrain. The larger diameter also helps by giving you more rotational inertia, which in turn gives you more of an advantage over rough terrain, downhill stretches, long straightaways, and wide, sweeping turns.

Who Can Ride A Niner?

In terms of fitting yourself to a Niner bike, it's true that you're limited to the 29-inch wheel, but Niner bikes fit riders 5'0" to 6'7". There is a 5-year warranty on all Niner Carbon frames, and racing will not void your warranty. Niner's alloy frames are made with shaped tubing, which is manufactured using a multi-stage hydroforming process. Niner bikes also use both Integrated and Internal tapered headtubes.

Chloe Woodruff and Kaylee Blevins of Team Stan's NoTubes-Niner are just two of the many professional cyclists who ride Niners competitively.

What People Are Saying About Niner Bikes

The prowess of the big wheels in my measured testing and racing leads me to continue to pronounce the death of the 26-inch wheeled
hardtail. At this point, if you’re racing one, I truly believe that you’re at a disadvantage
This is the first bike we’ve ridden that comes anywhere close to truly being an all in one bike…We have yet to ride a 26” bike that can
match the level of uphill and downhill performance…
Mountain Biking Magazine

How will you measure up?

Come on in, and let us fit you for a Niner! Your Niner awaits at 835 Lincoln Way in Auburn CA, 95603. Click or call at 530.885.3986, and let’s talk bikes.