Niner’s ROS 9+ One Hell of a Good Time – Kyle Kelley

Niner’s ROS 9+ One Hell of a Good Time
Words and photos by Kyle Kelley

The White Rim Trail in Utah’s Canyonlands NP has been on my radar for awhile. I imagined I would do it on a cross bike, carrying only the necessary food and water, one small camera and riding from the early morning to early evening. The reality ended up being quite a bit different. I rolled out on a Mid-Fat outfitted with custom bike bags, carrying 7 liters of water and enough food to feed a kindergarten class for two days! Shit… I even brought an abnormally large camera (at least for me) in addition to my standard point and shoot just because there was still room in the bags. I was rolling in luxury and the bike that made that possible was the Niner ROS 9+!

ROS9+18

Rather than regurgitating the specs direct from the Niner site, I want to talk about riding this foreign tire size and falling in love with it. I’ve got to be honest here, I did not have an early appreciation for the fat bike in general. It wasn’t until earlier this year that I even deemed them necessary in the cycling world, but a short stay in Wisconsin this winter turned me into a believer! I’ve been riding a Niner AIR 9 for the last three years and loving it so when I heard about their new release I was immediately interested. What really sold me on the ROS 9+ was Niner’s description of its “playful geometry”. This bike just sounded fun!

ROS9+13

I received the ROS 9+ only a few days before I planned to leave for the White Rim, so there wasn’t much time for me to give the bike a proper shakedown. I quickly discovered the Niner grips and saddle were too narrow for me so I decided to trade them out for a set of ESI XCs and a Brooks Cambium.

Niner's ROS 9+ One Hell of a Good Time - Kyle Kelley

Then all the bike needed was pedals and I had a set of Mavic Crossmaxs in a box just waiting for NEW BIKE DAY!

ROS9+2

I’ve had the ROS 9+ for a few months now and have ridden it in all sorts of conditions. This bike has seen ankle deep brown pow on the White Rim Trail, 4 inches of fresh snow, slick rock, tacky Santa Cruz-like single track and the rough and tumble trails of the Angeles National Forest. I’ve been fully loaded with camping gear from the night before and passed enduro bros on the trail.

ROS9+7

Fully loaded, or not, this bike clears trail like a bulldozer, but handles like an All-Mountain 29er. The bike wheelies for days because of the short chain stays. Nose pivoting around switchbacks is bit hard because of the slack head tube but still totally doable.

ROS9+17

The ROS 9+ is even comfortable in flight though I’d watch where you land if you’re rocking the Stan’s HUGO wheels that come with the complete bike. That said, the wheels are really the only problem I’ve encountered with this bike. I seem to constantly be denting them to the point that my tubeless tire will no longer seat properly and I have to step and stomp on them to get the tire back on with a tube inside. Once I get home I give them a face lift with the mallet and they seem to be good to go again, but its not a long term fix. I’ll probably have to replace those in the future. Other than that I have nothing to complain about.

ROS9+1

The ROS 9+ has become my go to mountain bike for just about everything. I even rode it to LA River Camp Coffee one morning just so I could take it down a flight of stairs I had been eyeing but was too afraid to do on all my other bikes. There was a small flat section and about 7 extra steps that I didn’t expect but when I got to the bottom there was a homeless man cheering me on! This bike is an everything assault machine, a jack of all trades and even a master of some. But mostly, this bike is FUN! And I’d highly recommend it.

ROS9+4

The pictures above are of my ROS 9+ set up with custom Porcelain Rocket bags for the White Rim Trail. I’ll tell you more about that next week.

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  • mrbiggs

    Awesome. I have a regular old Ros9 from back in the day, and I have very similar feelings about it that you describe here, Kyle. I’ve got a 130mm fork on the thing, a dropper post, and a 1×10 drivetrain, and I can’t think of any real reason that I couldn’t go bikepacking with it. I realize a rigid fork and maybe post would make it better in some ways, but I can’t imagine my regular 2.4 Ardents not being able to roll down stairs and over dirt and pop wheelies and things. Any idea why Niner felt they need to go to this plus size and those wheels?

    • Kyle Kelley

      My only answer to this is that they are called Niner, and I doubt they could have experimented with the 27.5+ tire size. JK

      In reality you can do anything that I can do with this bike on your regular ROS, but I’m telling you, this bike is so fun! It may just be because it’s rigid and has huge tires, but I bet your ROS would be super fun rigid and with 2.4s on it. Niner tried something new and succeeded, and I salute them for that.

      • mrbiggs

        Thanks Kyle. I’ve dropped a note to Niner asking about rigid forks for the “regular” Ros9. Whether it’s this fork and the bigger front wheel to go with it, or one of them pretty Niner carbon forks. And yeah I’m with you about the bike is so fun. The day they announced the Ros9 two years ago, i ordered one. It’s a blast.

        • Riemanello

          Singular UK makes a rigid 29+ steel fork.

  • ForrestCambron

    Those chainstays are gorgeous.

  • recs

    What size frame is that – small or medium?

  • Brandon Brewer

    I have also have a ROS9 Plus and this review is spot on! It is an awesome bike. About the Bendium alloy rims. I almost started carrying a hammer with me on rides to bend them back… Luckily I talked to Stan’s and they warrantied the rims. I just got them a few days ago and they definitely seem stronger. I would give them a call and the should be able to hook you up with a set of hoops!

  • Hope you get the new updated rim version, they have been pretty good so far. First run rims were shit.

    PS
    I vote for “ride jah bike” patches.

  • Sretsok

    Anyone know how these are compared to the Krampus?

    • kimbo305

      Looks like pretty similar geo, with the Krampus sitting you back more and being slightly longer and higher up.

    • John – could you get Kyle to weigh in on this? Would love to hear a comparison between the two…

      • Kyle Kelley

        I’ve only ridden a Krampus once, so I can’t really answer this. People have told me that the ROS 9+ is considerably lighter, I’m not sure if this is true because I’ve never really cared about weight. But what I can tell you is that the ROS 9+ is blast to ride and I highly doubt the Krampus has the short chain-stays that the ROS 9+ does. I also prefer the stock build of the ROS 9+ over the Krampus. I don’t run a dropper-post but the option to run a internally routed one seems pretty awesome if you’re into that kind of thing.

        • Dude! Thanks so much, I’ve always been curious about how these compare… Thanks!

        • Sretsok

          Sweet. Thanks dude!

  • Rick

    I’ve had a normal Ros9 for 6 months, fun bike but I’m selling it in favour of fitting a 27+ wheelset to my diamond/unicrown Jones that I’ve had for 3 years – Jones handling is far superior and the smaller diameter/bigger volume wheels should make it even better, psyched!

  • Harry

    Enjoyable read and wonderful pictures as always!

  • reteptterrab

    Nice, I am sure that you are still finding red sand in all your gear!
    Hope to see more Plus Size Models coming up.

  • Myles Patrick

    I’ve found those Nat Geo maps are BY FAR the best resource for the Southern UT/Four Corners/Republic of Doom areas. Looking forward to a write up on the trip.

    • Kyle Kelley

      If you’re into maps, definitely checkout the AAA Indian Country map.

  • DODGERDISCIPLE

    Kyle, Nice write up. Really enjoyed it. I made the switch to the Plus platform and have thouroughly enjoyed it. Although I don’t ride a ROS 9+ ( I ride a Krampus), I love the fact that the ROS 9+ has a internal dropper post option. I may switch over to a ROS 9+ just because of that option (not a fan of the external dropper post routing). Anyway, great stuff and the pictures were awesome as well. Cheers!

  • Dave Ebel

    How did you feel about the lack of front suspension? I’m seriously considering the Ros 9+ or maybe ponying up for the Trek Stache9 which already has suspension up front and a dropper post, but costs more.

    • Kyle Kelley

      I doubt I’d be into having a suspension fork up front on this particular bike. I know nothing about the Stache9 but I can tell you that the Niner is a party animal!

  • Chris Kyle

    I’d like to hear more about the Porcelain Rocket bags. As soon as my Zukas adventure bike is completed, I want to order a set of bags for it.

    • Kyle Kelley

      I’d highly recommend them, that frame bag has changed my life!

  • DODGERDISCIPLE

    Pretty sure the Krampus is actually lighter than the ROS 9+. (I own a Krampus) But IMO, it doesn’t matter, because it’s all about what you like in a ride. You cannot go wrong with either one.

  • DODGERDISCIPLE

    Sretsok, I ridden both but own a Krampus. Love that the ROS 9+ has an internal dropper option. Don’t particularly like the EBB, the Krampus has a standard BB which I personally prefer and the rear dropout “chip” system to ride geared or SS is really great too! I also put a Whisky carbon rigid fork on my Krampus and its a breeze to get the front end over stuff! Still think you’d enjoy both! Hope that helps!!

  • TimFXT

    love the ros9+!! and you are definitely right about the stan hugo rims, they are softies. planning on changing my rims as well. id like to ask you what chainring you are using as i’ve noticed you are running a 1x in front. cheers!

  • Armand

    Hey Kyle, any reason in particular you didn’t utilize the braze-ons below the top tube to go strapless there for the custom PR bag?

  • Joe Strickland

    I am at a cross roads,Niner ROS 9+,Surly ECR, Jamis dragon slayer,I am super torn as to were to spend my hard earned money, Any suggestions ???