The aluminum Air 9 hardtail is officially back in Niner’s lineup, and it’s better than ever! The alloy Air 9 was a popular bike in Niner’s line, as the quintessential entry-level bike… an entry-level bike that doesn’t make any compromises. I’ve long argued that the best value for a budget-friendly mountain bike is a 29er hardtail, so Ninerds and wannabe Ninerds all around the world are no doubt rejoicing to see the Air 9 available in aluminum again.
The new Air 9 frame features Boost 148 rear hub spacing, with clearance for up to a 2.4-inch-wide 29er tire or a 27.5×3.0″ plus tire. Other modern touches like internal dropper post routing and tapered head tube are a given.
The PF 30 BB is compatible with Niner’s iconic eccentric bottom bracket, making for a clean-looking singlespeed setup.
Niner claims that they’ve updated the Air 9’s geometry to make it more capable and trail-worthy. Paired with a 120mm suspension fork (recommended), the Air 9 provides a 68° head tube angle and a 74° seat tube angle, with chainstays measuring 427mm. Get all the geometry deets here:
1-Star NX1 Build: $1,700
While the $1,700 starting price tag won’t quite make our budget hardtail buyer’s guide, at $1,700 the 1-Star build offers an incredibly-capable component spec. It comes with a SRAM NX1 11-speed drivetrain, RockShox Judy Gold RL Solo 120mm fork, Niner Alloy wheels, SRAM Level brakes, Maxxis Ardent tires on the 29er model (Rekon+ tires on the 27.5+ model), and a combination Race Face/Niner cockpit.
2-Star GX Eagle Build: $2,600
A 12-speed Eagle drivetrain on a $2,600 mountain bike?! You bet. The 2-Star build comes with SRAM’s 1×12 GX Eagle drivetrain, a Fox 34 Float Rhythm Grip EVO 120mm fork, SRAM Guide R brakes, Niner Alloy wheels, Maxxis Ardent or Rekon+ tires, and a KS Lev Integra SI dropper post.
3-Star GX Eagle Build: $3,300
The 3-star build also features the SRAM GX Eagle drivetrain, but some of the other components are upgraded. It comes specced with a Fox 34 Float Factory FIT 120mm fork, SRAM Guide R brakes, Stan’s NoTubes NEO/ZTR Arch MK3 wheels, Maxxis Ardent or Rekon+ tires, and a KS Lev Integra SI dropper post.
The new Air 9 is set to begin shipping this month.