More than a decade after our first W.F.O. 9 defined the category and set a benchmark for what a long-travel 29er could do, we’re bringing it back. The 2021 WFO 9 RDO draws on our years of 29er evolution to establish a new paradigm of unbridled, big-wheel domination. Reborn with 170mm of stable CVA suspension, a 180mm-travel fork, adjustable geometry, increased frame stiffness, and our signature RDO carbon fiber, the new generation of WFO 9 RDO is an enduro-ready brawler with the pedaling prowess to get you to the top in style.
Loyal Ninerds feared that it was extinct forever. But the WFO 9 RDO was only dormant, lying in wait, evolving and mutating to reemerge as the apex predator of long-travel 29ers.
That first W.F.O. cut fresh 29er tracks in too many ways to count. Technologies that we take for granted today were pioneered in that legendary frame.
What a difference a decade can make. The strongest remaining genetic link between our original and this new WFO 9 RDO is simply an unquenchable appetite for wide, full open, edge of control, “honey, I can’t feel my face” SPEED.
All the descending capability of a 170mm travel 29er is fully expressed in this new WFO 9 RDO. Yet any detectable trace of the dreaded “climbing compromises” chromosome is edited out.
We all know that modern enduro bikes have to manage descents into madness on the scale of World Cup DH tracks. Yet they also need to get you efficiently back up to the top when pedaling is your only option. Which, let’s be honest, is usually the case.
With this schizophrenic spectrum of duties in mind, we dialed in a “just right” geometry chart for the WFO 9 RDO. It’s low and slack by nature, but not so slouchy as to kick you out of contention on the steepest climbs.
The native low mode geometry is optimized for all-out, top to bottom, brake-rotor-bluing descents. A 64-degree head tube angle combined with the low BB and long top tube scream “stability” even at eye-watering speeds.
Yet the wheelbase isn’t so rangy as to prevent tight, uphill transitions when the need arises. And a 77-degree seat tube angle keeps your weight centered over the bottom bracket for composed climbing.
If your daily dose of dirt includes more pedaling, tighter corners, and sneaky sniper rocks, you might want a higher bottom bracket and steeper head tube angle. Not to worry - the built-in flip-chip seatstay pivots allow riders to raise the BB by a full 9mm and steepen the geometry by 0.7 degrees.
At the heart of our WFO 9 RDO is the Constantly Varying Arc (CVA) suspension system. The first suspension layout made specifically for 29ers, CVA debuted in 2008 and has been the core of Niner’s DNA ever since.
Our CVA fundamentals are rock solid: it’s stable yet supple while climbing and pedaling; going downhill, it’s sensitive and supportive; it’s consistent and controlled in every phase of travel.
On the WFO, a trunnion mount shock adds width (and therefore stiffness) to the frame and linkage. The shock bolts directly to the rocker link with bearings at the interface. This allows for extra-smooth articulation through the entire rocker sweep of 40-degrees during suspension travel. Furthermore, trunnion shocks occupy less space, allowing a compact form factor.
In consideration of the dueling demands riders expect from the WFO 9 RDO, subtle refinements to the kinematics give it superior pedaling behavior despite 170mm of travel on tap. The leverage ratio curve starts at 3.0, hits 2.4 at 67% travel, then hits 2.6 at full travel. It’s also tuned for a slightly falling rate (about 6% in the last 33% of travel). If you’re running an air shock as the bike is spec’d, the overall rate in every phase of travel feels consistent and natural in every phase of travel. Even with a coil you won’t feel as though the bike is bottoming out.
Confidence to drop into the biggest lines, knowing you’ll get consistency and control from top to bottom: that’s CVA suspension.
From a distance, the new WFO 9 RDO looks like a fraternal twin to the trail bike in our line, the popular and handsome RIP 9 RDO. However, Niner’s characteristic full-suspension frame cosmetics deceive your eyes. A closer look reveals that the new WFO 9 RDO is clearly the bigger, brawnier sibling that got its square-jawed genes from cousin Vinnie’s side of the family.
With our signature Rib Cage struts across the front triangle, flattening of the top and down tubes, widening the main rocker link pivot, and beefing up the rear triangle, the entire bike is stiff from front to back. The struts reduce bottom bracket deflection while keeping the upper portion of the front triangle supple and compliant. And the wide, flat surfaces on the top and downtube help to absorb frontal impacts and vibrations while resisting deflection and twisting under torsional load. Finally, crossmembers in the rocker link and swingarm keep the rear of the bike on lockdown.
In order to get the best possible shifting performance, we designed the smoothest, straightest cable routing possible. Cable housing slides easily through full-sleeve guide tubes in gentle arcs from front to back. And an integrated “cable cage” above the bottom bracket area keeps the housing free to move as the suspension cycles, yet far from harm.
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