Our nicest build yet? Custom Niner RIP9 RDO.

published by bktr on 12/03/2017 19:44:00

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Having waited 3 months for ENVE and Chris King to get some stock into the UK we can finally show off our latest custom build project on the new Niner RIP 9 RDO frame. 

Literally a no expense spared affair, this Niner features all the top end components without heading into “niche” territory, custom painting by the guys at Fat Creations, custom decals by Slik Graphics in Sweden, around 8 hours of Sam’s time building Nigel as I’ve called him (Shaun you feel free to change that mate!) and around 3 months of shouting at Saddleback week in week out as to “where are my *************** shiny bits for this Niner?”

The brief for this was simple – “make it stand out and top end, do want you want”, which when given to me and Joe means you are going to end up with a subtle stunner for sure, given to Ben and it could have been very very different (think all the colours of the rainbow together!!)

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So it started with the frame, new owner Shaun wanted long travel 29er for his first foray into this biking malarkey and there’s no better bike out there then the new RIP 9 to tick that box.  Having received the first shipment into the UK a few months ago this large in the matte black with green highlights was the more subtle of the 2 colours – bright in your face orange is the other option (see Ben!).  From there it was naturally a set of Fox 36 Factory forks up front to match the Fox Float X2 shock and obviously a Transfer post to match.

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With something of a green and gold theme now going on it seemed only logical to put on an SRAM Eagle groupset and Joe opted for the gold much to mine and Sam’s dismay!  You see the thing with gold Eagle is that it can look really naff or really classy and it’s a super fine line between the two.  Unknown to Shaun is that I made Sam build the bike with black first, took a load of pictures and then made him rebuild it and put the gold on and take some more pictures.  We hate to say it but the new upstart Joe was right to spec the gold in the first instance which is how you see it now!  We had to try it to see, the black just looked wrong.

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Golden Eagle fitted, it was only natural to fit Chris King and ENVE wheels and we tried the gold hubs but boy did that look cheap, so we opted for black on M70:30 rims so they will tackle all the rocks that Shaun can find to ride it through!  Once the wheels were on with those hideous white decals that come as standard it was a pleading phone call to Owen at Slik to custom make me a set in the Niner Pantone green and the Fox Pantone for kashima so they matched perfectly.  A few sketches down and we settled on these so they stand out but don’t shout “look at me” like a full filled in green or gold would have done.

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Having now got all of the bike together with some SRAM Guide Ultimate brakes, Hope F20 black pedals and originally Raceface finishing kit, I stood back and had a look over where Joe had essentially got to with this one and he’d done a fine job for sure.  He’d proven the 2 seasoned professionals at this wrong with his gold Eagle and my wheel decals had certainly set the bike alive.  However, something was missing and at that very moment something pinged up on my Instagram feed from Alchemy bikes that was the thing I'd been looking for!  2 Carefully placed colour matched spokes in a Helios that just made the bike!

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A phone call to Fat Creations and Niner later, we had a set of Niner RDO carbon bars on their way with photographic evidence that they colour matched the frame perfectly, and an ENVE stem coming from Saddleback.  The stunning wheels that Sam had only just built were now getting 4 spokes removed and everything was off to Alistair for custom painting.  We kept this a secret until Shaun collected the bike!!

3 weeks after posting they arrived back to perfectly match the green on the frame and highlight the bike just enough to look stunning rather than Christmas tree like!

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With the bike now ready to go and Shaun aware that it was waiting for him I took a trip to our Ings store to start stock checking (oh the glamour) when something caught my eye on the Specialized Crosstrail hybrid bikes that they have – Niner green bottle cage bolts!!!  Spending a while subtly removing these getting questioned as to “what are doing with our bikes?” by the Ings staff, I’d “borrowed” some shall we say for Nigel.  Having gone back to Ambleside the following day I found that Sam had already beaten me to it with the same bolt so I can safely say the Crosstrail is now back intact with it’s green bolts!!

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The final piece of the jigsaw was when new owner Shaun came to collect the bike and Sam took him for a ride on a glorious day around a local 20 mile loop.  To say he’s over the moon with the bike would be an understatement and it’s given him the hunger to get out and ride that he was looking for.  Sam took the opportunity to fit our new Quarq Shockwiz devices to the bike and spent some time custom tuning the bike en route for Shaun which is worth it’s weight in gold if you’ve just picked up a new super bike with all the bells and whistles to play with!!  A few app downloads and some fork tokens later and the device said “you’re good to go” so off Shaun went!

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So the bike is incredible, Shaun and wife Tamara are incredible for giving us the opportunity to build this dream machine, and Sam and Joe are wonderful for taking it all on whilst I’ve spent my days fannying at bike shows.  So a big thank you goes to Shaun and Tamara and their lovely patient boys, Lee at Invisiframe for sorting the template out, Owen and Amy at Slik for the graphics throughout, Alistair and Nicky at Fat Creations for pushing this job to the front of the queue (Peaty can wait!), to Saddleback for putting up with me and Joe constantly nagging at them, and finally to Jonty at Niner for taking the time to rummage through many many boxes of delivery to play the custom colour matching game for me!

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The full spec is as follows:

  • 2017 Niner RIP 9 RDO Frame
  • Fox 36 Float Factory FIT4 160mm Fork with custom decals
  • Fox Float X2 Factory Shock with custom decals
  • Fox Transfer Post Factory 150mm
  • Chris King Headset
  • Chris King Ceramic Bottom Bracket
  • SRAM Golden Eagle 12 Speed Drivetrain
  • SRAM Guide Ultimate Brakes
  • Chris King Hubs laced to ENVE M70;30 Rims with Sapim CX Ray Spokes custom painted and decals
  • Maxxis Minion and HR2 Tyres (wish they would offer you the option to colour match their logo!)
  • ENVE Custom Painted Stem
  • Niner RDO Carbon Bars
  • SDG Saddle and Grips
  • Invisiframe Throughout
  • Hope F20 Black Pedals