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Stronger, stiffer JET 9 from Niner

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Niner has completely redesigned its JET 9 with hydroformed tubed and a notably stiffer rear end.

Niner has completely redesigned its JET 9 with hydroformed tubed and a notably stiffer rear end.
(Image credit: James Huang)
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A wraparound gusset adds strength to the front end.

A wraparound gusset adds strength to the front end.
(Image credit: James Huang)
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New for 2010 on the JET 9 is a tapered head tube, which improves steering precision and braking performance but also allows for a much bigger down tube and a claimed 30 percent jump in stiffness.

New for 2010 on the JET 9 is a tapered head tube, which improves steering precision and braking performance but also allows for a much bigger down tube and a claimed 30 percent jump in stiffness.
(Image credit: James Huang)
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New links and forged yokes stiffen up the back end significantly for better wheel tracking relative to the previous JET 9.

New links and forged yokes stiffen up the back end significantly for better wheel tracking relative to the previous JET 9.
(Image credit: James Huang)
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Niner has added rectangular-profile seat stays to improve rigidity.

Niner has added rectangular-profile seat stays to improve rigidity.
(Image credit: James Huang)
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What once consisted of five separate pieces welded together is now a single forged unit at the top of the seat stays.

What once consisted of five separate pieces welded together is now a single forged unit at the top of the seat stays.
(Image credit: James Huang)
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The new JET 9 makes use of hydroformed tubing.

The new JET 9 makes use of hydroformed tubing.
(Image credit: James Huang)
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Niner principal Chris Sugai says the new rear triangle brace has been beefed up and lightened, too.

Niner principal Chris Sugai says the new rear triangle brace has been beefed up and lightened, too.
(Image credit: James Huang)

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.