Niner's latest edition of its 80mm-travel JET 9 platform has added generous helpings of stiffness and strength relative to the previous version while adding only a smidgeon of weight in the process.
One of the biggest changes is the addition of a tapered 1 1/8"-to-1 1/2" head tube to the front end, which not only improves steering precision and braking feel but also allows for a much bigger down tube for a claimed 30 percent jump in frame stiffness. Niner also switched from a traditional headset to an integrated one on this latest JET 9, allowing designers to push the down tube and top tube further apart while retaining the same stack height as before. In addition, the seat stays now adopt a rectangular profile.
Niner has also infused the JET 9's aluminum chassis with healthy doses of hydroforming and forging – the former in the top tube, down tube, chain stays and rear triangle brace and the latter in the seat stay and chain stay yokes, the bottom bracket shell and main pivot assembly, dropouts, seat tube pivot, and all linkage plates.
Double-pass welds in the main triangle add strength to the joints, too, while also making for a smoother appearance.
Adding all that stiffness and robustness has resulted in a slight weight penalty, though – but only 20g according to Niner when accounting for the savings of the integrated headset versus the traditional one. Frame weight with shock is still a somewhat average-sounding 2.7kg (6.0lb) or so but Niner principal Chris Sugai says the CVA suspension design and larger 29" wheels' bump eating capabilities will make up for the extra mass on the trail.
We'll aim to find out ourselves soon enough.