We tried to ride the Niner ROS 9 Plus at Interbike, but there just weren’t any demo bikes available. Niner is still short on demo rigs for the ROS 9 Plus, but at Outerbike I was able to hop on one of the employee’s personal rigs and take it for a spin. The build kit on the bike I rode was totally not stock, but nevertheless I was able to get a feel for what this bike has in store.
The stock ROS 9 Plus complete will ship with Stans NoTubes ZTR Hugo 29+ wheels, Shimano Deore M615 brakes, a SRAM X1 1×11 drivetrain, and a complete Niner alloy cockpit, all for the price of $3,000. However, this rig features an eccentric bottom bracket so that it can be setup as a singlespeed, as my test rig was. The bike I specifically rode featured a singlespeed drivetrain, Surly Knard 29×3 tires, a carbon bar in the cockpit, and a RockShox Reverb dropper post. So like I said–definitely not stock!
Out on the trail, the ROS 9 Plus’s playful qualities immediately emerged. With a 69-degree headtube angle (or a 68 if setup with a 100mm fork… when one’s available), it’s clear that this rig was designed for having fun and handling well. Of course, who would build a rigid steel 29+ with the purpose of breaking land speed records? As I mentioned when I reviewed the Surly Krampus two years ago, I think the 29+ wheel size is all about fun and not taking yourself too seriously. I don’t personally think this tire/wheel size was first designed to overcome a specific obstacle in the mountain bike world, but rather as an experiment–and an experiment that turned out to be a whole hell of a lot of fun. The ROS 9 Plus is squarely in line with that let’s-go-screw-around-on-bikes-and-have-fun ethos.
While the singlespeed drivetrain isn’t a stock option for the ROS 9 Plus, after whipping around the Moab Brand trails on this custom build I’m thoroughly convinced that if I’m going to own a rigid singlespeed, it’s going to be a 29+. While sure, some people are into going fast on their singlespeeds, if I was to buy/build one, it would be for a change of pace and to focus on having fun on the trails and not taking myself too seriously–coincidentally, exactly what I think the ROS 9 Plus is all about.
Additionally, the larger 29+ tires and lower tire pressures offer much more forgiveness than a normal rigid 29er, and while you might think that the extra size would bog things down, I flew around the test track at Outerbike surprisingly fast. Yeah, I know I said that this bike wasn’t about riding fast and winning races… but that doesn’t mean it’s slow at all!
If for some strange reason mountain biking is losing its luster for you or if you think the sport is just getting too serious and too complicated, simplify your life and add some fun at the same time with Niner’s fabulous new 29+ offering! And for extra simplicity, definitely go with a singlespeed build.
Get a little taste of the fun in this quick clip: