Niner’s impressive Tamale Red SIR 9 (Matt Pacocha)

The SIR in the redesigned SIR 9 stands for
‘Steel Is Real’. “I like the ride of steel frames,” said Chris Sugai, president
of Niner. “The ride can’t be replicated with carbon or aluminum.”

But just because Niner like steel, that doesn’t mean they don’t want all the contemporary glamor of
today’s bikes – through-axles, tapered head tubes, clean cable routing and
Niner’s CYA (Cover Your Ass) bottom bracket system. 

The new SIR 9 pairs these features with a new Reynolds 853 DZB
tubeset. The top and down
tubes has ‘double zone butting’, a thicker, third
butt for the head tube connections. This offers more strength
and allows the steel frame to pass the EN Horizontal Fatigue test, which no previous
Niner steel frame has done. The test itself was a game-changer for aluminum bikes, and with steel technology progressing it might have the same impact in that sector, making the category safer.

The 44mm head tube, and impressive welding where the top and down tubes meet it

The down tube is also shaped, requiring special tooling from Reynolds. This allows for wider spacing from the top tube, creating a stiffer structure while still allowing fork crown
clearance. Now that Reynolds and Niner have figured out how to bend
the steel, they’ve pitched it to interested NASCAR teams for use in roll
cages; previously it wasn’t an option because 853 couldn’t be manipulated easily.

The two new 853 DZB top and down tubes are mated to Reynolds
631 head and seat tubes. The latter allows Niner to spec a bulge butt
to fit a 27.2mm seat post. The rear end is finished with radically shaped, 4130
chromoly chain and seat stays. 

In addition to the new DZB tubes, the new SIR 9 uses a
44mm ‘can’ style head tube. Depending on headset type, this fits both tapered
and straight 1 1/8in steerers.

The CYA bottom bracket shell is a 55mm press-fit unit that
accepts all major bottom bracket standards, from Biocentric II to press-fit 30, press-fit 92 and even a standard threaded insert. 

back, Niner have forged their own through-axle dropouts, which fit a 12x142mm rear Maxle through-axle. Niner also plan to sell
the piece to frame-builders. “We’ll sell them to custom builders as well,” said
Sugai. “The molds cost thousands of dollars, and many small builders don’t have the ability
to make such a part.”

The 55mm bottom bracket shell accepts a multitude of CYA
bottom bracket adaptors from Niner

In addition to the dropouts, Niner have forged custom bridges for the
stays. Plus, the rear disc caliper mounts to small threaded bullets that require
the chain stays to be mitered before they can be welded on.

The seat and chain stays are very intricate,
bending for heel clearance, compliance and around the rear brake caliper. Because of this, a special mandrel is needed to make them for each of Niner’s four SIR sizes.

The rear through-axle and bullet-style brake mount

With all the upgrades, and the extra strength required to
pass the EN Horizontal test, the SIR 9 gains just 0.1lb over the previous
model. It sits at 4.6lb for a medium frame.

The Tamale Red and Arctic White bikes will come with the option of a color-matched, carbon-ridged Niner fork. The Tamale Red model will also have the option of a
color-matched RockShox SID.

On 30 June 30 Niner will launch a new website,
which will allow US riders to log on and pick colors, sizes and specs for bikes. They can then print out the details and bring them to a local dealer for a 48-hour turnaround sale. 

Custom SIR 9s auctioned for charity

Niner are auctioning six of their latest 853 steel SIR 9 frames, in Tamale Red and Arctic White. The company are corporate members of the IMBA (International Mountain Bike Association) so it’s fitting that all proceeds will go to the trail advocacy organization. 

The auction will run for nine days, and more details can be found on Niner’s Facebook page and eBay. Those priced out of the auction will have to wait 12 weeks for the bikes to be released for sale.

This is the third time Niner have auctioned bikes for IMBA – last year they offered nine Air 9 carbon bikes to the cause. “The North Fork trails [in Whatcom County, Washington] were lost because of paperwork,” said Carla Hukee, Niner’s brand manager. “IMBA does the paperwork so we’re happy to help support them.”

The bikes up for auction have limited edition IMBA color schemes

New developments: titanium cogs and more

Along with the revamped frame, Niner are offering a new RDO seatpost
with an ‘unstiff’ layup. This produces 8.16mm of deflection when loaded with 130lb,
compared to the 6.3mm of Niner’s standard carbon post or 4.72mm of the alloy

We caught a sneak peek of two 6/4 titanium Cogalicious RDO singlespeed cogs. Niner weren’t answering questions on them but it’s a pretty straightforward product. We saw 17- and
23-tooth options, and expect Niner to match the range they do in alloy, including 18-, 19-, 20-, 21- and 22-tooth options.

Niner’s yet-to-be-talked-about Cogalicious RDO titanium
singlespeed cogs

Niner have also promised new products every 60 to 90 days
for the rest of the year, so we’ll keep you posted.

Niner’s Carla Hukee and Chris Sugai

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