Niner RIP 9
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One of the most forgiving bikes we rode this year, the big-wheeled RIP 9 gobbled up obstacles that tripped up lesser bikes, making its 4.5 inches of travel feel more like six. Our testers were also unanimous in heaping praise on the Fox F29 RLC fork, which delivered predictable steering even on tricky off-camber sections. Of course, those bigger wheels take longer to get up to speed, so it’s no surprise that the Niner was a bit slow to accelerate. “Full-suspension 29ers are not gonna be super-responsive,” wrote one tester. But once you get the Rip 9 rolling whoo, boy. $1,799 (frame only), $4,000 as tested; 28.3 lbs (large); ninerbikes.com