Monday, June 19, 2017

The New SIR 9 From Niner

Niner Bike's new SIR 9- The "what the El Mariachi should be like" bike.
Niner Bikes announced a new SIR 9 bike today. The steel hard tail is an evolution of their first model which was introduced in 2005. This new SIR 9 is more in the "modern geometry" vein and also sports the ability to be a 27.5+ bike or a straight up 29"er bike. They also figured that most folks that have a hankerin' for a steel 29"er hard tail probably will also be inclined to do a bit of "bikepacking" (read- bike camping) and Niner added a bunch of braze on points for hard mounted frame bags.

This all makes sense. Steel frames are regarded as being tough and up to the task of the back country cyclist. Hard tails eschew the complications of a full suspension bike. Plus, many regard hard tails as being more efficient, especially for touring/bikepacking/bike camping. The SIR 9 started out as Niner's flagship XC oriented hard tail SS/geared bike. The times have changed and so Niner offered up an update of this iconic model.

Interestingly, I find that Niner's evolution of the SIR 9 stands in stark contrast to what Salsa Cycles did when they ditched off their legacy steel hard tail model, the El Mariachi, in favor of a low end spec, aluminum hard tail dubbed the Timberjack. Many thought that Salsa would update their El Mariachi, steel hard tail 29"er, to be a "plus bike" compatible rig and that they would update the bike to "modern geometry" standards. Much like what Niner has done with the SIR 9.

The reinforced chain stay yoke that Niner developed for the SIR 9 is very complex and an interesting solution.
 Oddly enough, the Salsa Cycles Timberjack is not really even in the same vein as the former El Mariachi. It then seems rather ironic that Niner Bikes has upstaged Salsa in regards to this sort of bike. The SIR 9 would appear then to be exactly what the former champions of the El Mariachi were hoping to see from Salsa. A trail bike with bike packing as a standard focus. A bike with a short rear/long front center and a slack head angle. Steel tubes and modern amenities.

So, when I see this new SIR 9, I see "what the El Mariachi should have morphed in to". A steel hard tail that could be single speed, geared, and has modern geometry and "adventure by bike" capabilities. Not a rebadged, price point, aluminum tubed, poorly spec'ed model.

At least devotees of the steel hard tail 29"er have a champion in Niner Bikes.


phillip Cowan said...

I haven't given a crap about mountain biking in 20 years but the SIR 9 IMBA bikes they raffled off a couple of years ago could have wooed me back. Those things were beautiful!

Unknown said...

Kona's steel bikes use a similar weldment for the chainstay yoke, though the one on my Explosif is definitely tighter on clearance.

Chris Sugai said...

Thanks for the nice comments Guitar Ted!!

Niner Bikes

Guitar Ted said...

@Chris Sugai- You are welcome, and those comments are well deserved. All The Best to you Sir!

Feeney Hollow said...

Nice write up Guitar Ted. What flavor of steel is Niner using?

Guitar Ted said...

@Feeny Hollow- Reynolds 853