I’ve liked Niners for years. As their name indicates, they only make 29ers. Their people at the MTB festivals are really nice and helpful and the frame designs are good. They ride well. However, they haven’t produced a real trail bike until now, and the WFO 9 is a great ride!
The model I rode had the 150mm Rockshox Pike, alloy metal frame, 1×11 XT setup, and the Reverb infinity dropper. The head tube angle is 67 degrees, nicely between XC and all mountain. It weighed in at 29.5 pounds, not bad for alloy and a large frame.
I tested it on the South Rim and Hidden Canyon trails, Gooseberry Mesa, Hurricane, Utah, one of my favorite places to test a mountain bike. The conditions there vary from sand to slick rock to rock garden drops and climbs and short but steep ascents and descents on slick rock, with occasional easy dirt track for a break between thrills.
So how did it test for my usual intermediate criteria?
Safety, stability, and control: It’s all good! I attacked rocks and it rode over nicely without giving me concern or panic. It is agile for a 29er but not squirrelly. The bike is a stable platform over the gnar and will probably ride over more than you have the courage for.
Comfort for longer rides: I only rode about a dozen miles but those aren’t an easy dozen miles. Only a short distance from the trailhead is the gnar and a rider is actively trying to stay alive for much of the rest of the trail. It passes the comfort test. Nice frame geometry.
Design: It has a pleasing geometric design that holds together from the main frame to the swingarm. I’m not wild about dark colors and Niner doesn’t offer much paint selection unfortunately. The dark frame comes with either blue or red highlights. Not bad but not the visual punch of Yeti, Santa Cruz, Ibis, and others. The branding lettering looks nice.
Conclusion: The Niner WFO 9 is a top performer for intermediate riders. Sadly it only comes with an alloy frame. It would be nice to have carbon available also. They build with Rockshox and I strongly recommend the Fox Factory forks for 2017 or newer for intermediates. See my Fox 34 review for more detail. Niners are premium bikes so expect to pay a few bucks. However, this alloy model starts at $3,700, not bad for a quality bike. Overall I really liked riding it but I prefer light colored frames and carbon. If you want alloy by all means check this one out!