Starting the Niner Air 9 Project

The Niner Air 9 frame arrived this morning and it’s now time to start this project. I already have a build in mind: looking at a Shimano groupset, Mavic wheelset, Fox suspension and Niner cockpit. If all things cooperate, this project should be completed in less than a month.

The one thing I haven’t decided on yet is saddle color. White, black, white with black accents or black with white accents?


The Air 9 is our fast, light, geared-only alloy racing hardtail. Featuring the same award winning hard-tail geometry as the rest of the Air 9 family – the Air 9 is the right choice for anyone looking for a performance alloy frame.

Because of the larger welding area created by the new tapered headtube, this updated version of our alloy hardtail integrates hydroformed tubing throughout. More than a cosmetic feature, hydroforming allows us to shape tubes, control wall thickness and optimize strength and stiffness in key areas. This customization creates perfectly tuned frames with precise ride characteristics – in other words, ideal ride feel. You will find hydroforming in the toptube, downtube, headtube, chainstays and seatstays.

Bottom line? A lighter, stiffer frame with better ride feel and improved steering results in better power transfer and an overall efficiency improvement. In other words, the updated Air 9 will win more races.

The Air 9 features a tapered headtube with an integrated headset. The benefits of a tapered headtube aren’t just for riders of long travel bikes. The increased surface area of a tapered headtube allows for a larger downtube, increasing strength and rigidity at this critical intersection. Tapered fork steerer tubes measurably reduce fork deflection, which means your Niner tracks straight and true. The full spectrum of riders from XC racers to All Mountain shredders benefit from these features which is why we incorporate the technology in all our new frames. The Air 9 lets you take full advantage of increased steering precision as you carve a corner and descend toward the finish.

There are several BB standards to choose from – for our dedicated geared only race bike we like PF30. It’s compatible with any BB30 crankset and the bearing cups are delightfully easy to install. The oversized 30mm spindle is light and resists the torque of even the mightiest Ninerds. Oversized bearings spin longer and smoother between overhauls.

As verified over and over again in independent reviews, Niner has hardtail 29er geometry dialed. Climbing or descending, the geometry of the Air 9 is tuned for great handling and rider positioning. The Air 9 is intended for 80 to 100mm forks, allowing you to fine tune your ride.