Rollin’ With the Niner ROS 9
If the modern 6″ all-mountain enduro bike is to mountain biking what Black Sabbath was to music, than surely the steel single speed hardtail is the Muddy Waters of the sport. A raw and primal return to the roots and soul of trail riding. As such, I’ve been wanting to add a steel hardtail to the lineup. The rolling foothills of Park City’s lower elevation trail networks such as Glenwild & Round Valley are the perfect venue for such a machine. After purchasing the ROS 9 frame last fall, I slowly pieced together the parts throughout the winter until I had finally collected all the pieces necessary to complete the puzzle.
Starting with the frame which is a Niner ROS (roll over shit) 9. I knew I wanted a slack 29″ steel frame with clean, geometric lines and the ability to run it as a single speed out-of-the-box. From what I read prior to purchasing, Niner built the ROS 9 with an emphasis on fun. As a steel bike, it’s guaranteed not to be the lightest out there, and with a 67.5 degree head-angle + beefy 130mm fork combo, it’s certainly not as sprightly on the ascents as other bikes in it’s class. However, I’ve always approached bike buying with fun over fast in mind, and the ROS 9 seemed to fit the bill for my criteria perfectly.
I’ve been running the MRP Stage on my trail bike for the past year or so, and couldn’t be more pleased with the results. Naturally, the Stage 29 seemed like the obvious choice given the ROS 9’s lineage as a roller-over and buster-througher of shit. Overkill for a hardtail 29er… probably, but who cares.
For socks and shoes I paired the Easton Haven’s with Maxxis High Roller II’s – again, the same combo I’m running on the trail bike. In terms of an all-mountain trail tire, I’ve yet to find rubber I like better than the High Roller. Eventually I’d like to get a pair of 27.5+ wheels that I can swap out for adventure rides.
The drive-train is made up of XT cranks mounted to a 32t Wolf Tooth Components Drop-Stop Eliptical Ring up front with a Woolftooth 19t cog in back, and Time ATAC MX-4 pedals. I may have bitten off more than I can chew with a 32×19 ratio, so we’ll see how long before I swap out for a 20t or 21t. So far I’m digging the oval ring, however, I’d like to get a traditional circle ring so I can make a more direct comparison.
Two of my favorite touches on the bike are the Chromag Trailmaster leather saddle and the frame’s internal dropper-post routing for the Reverb Stealth dropper. I would long give up a rear shock over a dropper-post, so it’s nice to see brands like Niner taking these details into consideration on their frames. It’s these little touches that separate brands like Niner from the rest of the pack.
Part of the beauty of a single speed is that it allows for a clean and minimal cockpit. This bike comes with two speeds – sit down & stand up. Additionally, after riding with Ergon’s shaped grips for some time now, anything else just doesn’t feel right anymore, so I went with the GE-1’s slipped over Easton Haven bars all held together with a Renthal Duo stem.
Pedal damn it.
Niner ROS 9 Build Component Spec
- Niner ROS 9 Frame
- Easton Haven 29 Wheels
- MRP Stage 29 Fork
- Shimano XT Crank Arms
- Woolftooth Components Elliptical Drop-Stop Ring
- Time ATAC MX-4 Pedals
- KMC Chain
- Wolf Tooth Components Single Speed Cog
- Chromag Trailmaster Saddle
- RockShox Reverb Stealth Dropper
- Easton Haven Bars
- Renthal Stem
- Ergon GE-1 Grips
- Maxxis High Roller II Tires
- Shimano XT Brakes