Just because it's an alloy frame, doesn't mean the Niner Jet 9 is an outdated curiosity from racing's past. On the contrary, Niner is still investing in aluminum technology, and the new Jet 9 benefits directly. Niner replaced hydroforming with airforming, a process that involves super heated aluminum blasted into form with compressed air. This nets greater control over tube thicknesses and allows Niner to use almost a pound less material without sacrificing any stiffness or durability, all while preserving the incomparable ride of 29 inch wheels. The Jet 9's rear triangle is also updated for 2015, using new linkage shapes that are somehow lighter and stiffer. It also spears your rear wheel with a robust 12 x 142mm thru axle instead of its predecessor's 10 x 135 setup. The new axle is the new standard, adding yet more stiffness and rigidity for more precise rear wheel tracking over nasty terrain. Another side benefit of less back end flex is a longer life for the complicated series of pivots used in the CVA suspension system, a surprisingly capable design that you'll want to last as long as possible. While the industry wide love of 29ers has sent some manufacturers into RD purgatory in order to find a solution to full suspension29er compatibility issues, Niner has been sitting pretty for some time with its 100 millimeters of CVA travel. The CVA suspension's lower link sits below the bottom bracket, which puts the bike's virtual instant center ahead of the drivetrain and effectively isolates the drivetrain from the rear triangle. When you press on the pedals, nothing's lost to compressing the suspension, and you won't suffer kickback from chainstay growth when taking advantage of the 29er's ability to push on through rock gardens. The CVA design results in surprisingly stubby chainstays, which go some way toward addressing the blocky handling issues usually associated with 29ers. The Jet 9 negotiates tight switchbacks and technical stretches with a finesse...