Niner is a unique brand of bike manufacturer that produces a range of different bikes that all have one key characteristic - they all have 29" wheels, i.e. they are all 29ers. It is an American company that is known for its support of grass roots mountain biking, high quality machines and out-of-the-box approach to building bikes.
In the last millennium almost everyone rode bikes with 26" wheels. A few biking revolutionaries broke with this tradition to instal bigger wheels on their bikes, such as Geoff Apps, Wes Williams, and Mark Slate. Some of this experimentation even dates back to the 1980s but it wasn't until the turn of the century that the 29er was properly introduced to the world as a viable option. The term 29er is credited to the Fisher bike company after they introduced the Two Niner bike, but a number of companies had started to offer bikes with 29" wheels at around the same time.
For consumers and cycling enthusiasts this meant 29" wheels were now a mainstream product, albeit one that was categorised as niche. The more standard 26" wheels remained the most popular.
It was in this environment that entrepreneur Chris Sugai decided to launch Niner. He had ridden 29" bikes before and thought they were better than the smaller-wheeled options. His idea was radical - to make and supply bikes exclusively with 29" wheels. In other words, it was 29ers or nothing.
That was back in 2005 and Sugai has said in interviews since that people at the time thought he was crazy. The gamble has paid off, however, and Niner is now a respected, niche mountain bike brand.
It is based in Fort Collins, Colourado in the US, and it has stuck to its founding principle: the only wheel size available in the range is 29". That range is extensive, however, and includes options for casual cyclists up to those involved in competition.
Why 29" wheels though? Those converted to the 29er style believe the bigger wheels are fast on normal riding terrains, and better equipped to handle rougher conditions. This means 29ers roll over obstacles instead of digging in. The extreme example that Niner gives to explain this is to compare a skateboard wheel with a monster truck wheel. The skateboard can be stopped by a small pebble, while rows of cars barely slow down a monster truck.
The 29er is a style of bike that has become increasingly popular, cementing Niner's position as a specialist manufacturer.
• Race Day Optimised - RDO bikes are the top of the range models from Niner designed for competitive racing. The category includes award winners, with all models designed for maximum speed and performance.
• Performance Hardtail XC - hardtails with a racing pedigree
• Performance Full Suspension XC - 29ers with full suspension that are built to race
• Trail - trail bikes for all riding styles and abilities. Durability, ride quality and handling are all key features of the bikes in this category.
• All Mountain - big wheels and an all mountain style. These are bikes built for big terrain, and anything that the mountain can throw at you.
Niner is an active and passionate supporter of the International Mountain Bike Association, an organisation which promotes mountain biking for everyone.