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Advice for newbie hardtail: 2019 Niner Air 9 vs Orbea Alma M50 vs Niner Air 9 RDO

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Advice for newbie hardtail: 2019 Niner Air 9 vs Orbea Alma M50 vs Niner Air 9 RDO

Old 06-07-20, 07:10 AM
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mango
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Advice for newbie hardtail: 2019 Niner Air 9 vs Orbea Alma M50 vs Niner Air 9 RDO

I rode a '00 Specialized Stumpjumper Comp until 2007 when someone stole my drivetrain. Then life happened and the frame/wheels have been sitting sadly in a corner of the garage. Having just purchased bikes (Cannondale Trail Tango 2 and Cube Analog 27.5) for my daughters who have grown enough to get their first adult-sized bikes, I want to get into this again. Initially I expected to rebuild the rim-braking 26er Stumpy, but a lot has changed in mtn biking since 2000! It doesn't seem worth it... so looking for a new 29er. Use will be mostly family jaunts, mix of gravel roads, fire roads, and the occasional trail. With the lack of stock currently at all the LBS, I haven't been able to test many options. Trying a too-small Specialized Fuse, out-of-price-range Santa Cruz Hightower C S, and several Trek X-Calibers made me realize I'm more comfortable with a XC geometry. If I really get into it, then N+1 can be a full suspension trail bike.

I'm looking at:
2019 Niner Air 9 - NX Eagle, RS Judy Gold RL 120mm - $base
2019 Orbea Alma M50 - NX Eagle, RS Recon TK 100mm - base+$350
2020 Orbea Alma M50 - SLX, RS Judy Silver TK 100mm - base+$550
2019 Orbea Alma M30 - NX Eagle, RS Reba RL 100mm - base+$675
2019 Niner Air 9 RDO - NX Eagle, Fox 32 Float Rhythm 100mm - base+$800

The geometries of these bikes are pretty similar with the carbon Alma having a 1 degree slacker head tube angle than the aluminum Air 9. I probably prefer the Shimano drivetrain and shifters, but only due to history and my limited test of Trek X-Calibers with XT vs NX and my daughter's Cube with SRAM SX (pretty clunky), so probably not worth the price premium for the 2020 model above. It comes down to carbon vs aluminum--is it worth the step up in price? As well as the forks. How do Judy vs Recon vs Fox Float Rhythm compare? I know the Reba is a step up, but it seems the M30 isn't worth the price premium over the M50. I expect I'll eventually want to upgrade the fork and maybe wheels of whatever stock bike I purchase, but what frame would be best? Any suggestions on alternatives in the $1400-$2K price range? Thanks!
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Old 06-07-20, 08:14 PM
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qclabrat
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Originally Posted by mango View Post
I rode a '00 Specialized Stumpjumper Comp until 2007 when someone stole my drivetrain. Then life happened and the frame/wheels have been sitting sadly in a corner of the garage. Having just purchased bikes (Cannondale Trail Tango 2 and Cube Analog 27.5) for my daughters who have grown enough to get their first adult-sized bikes, I want to get into this again. Initially I expected to rebuild the rim-braking 26er Stumpy, but a lot has changed in mtn biking since 2000! It doesn't seem worth it... so looking for a new 29er. Use will be mostly family jaunts, mix of gravel roads, fire roads, and the occasional trail. With the lack of stock currently at all the LBS, I haven't been able to test many options. Trying a too-small Specialized Fuse, out-of-price-range Santa Cruz Hightower C S, and several Trek X-Calibers made me realize I'm more comfortable with a XC geometry. If I really get into it, then N+1 can be a full suspension trail bike.

I'm looking at:
2019 Niner Air 9 - NX Eagle, RS Judy Gold RL 120mm - $base
2019 Orbea Alma M50 - NX Eagle, RS Recon TK 100mm - base+$350
2020 Orbea Alma M50 - SLX, RS Judy Silver TK 100mm - base+$550
2019 Orbea Alma M30 - NX Eagle, RS Reba RL 100mm - base+$675
2019 Niner Air 9 RDO - NX Eagle, Fox 32 Float Rhythm 100mm - base+$800

The geometries of these bikes are pretty similar with the carbon Alma having a 1 degree slacker head tube angle than the aluminum Air 9. I probably prefer the Shimano drivetrain and shifters, but only due to history and my limited test of Trek X-Calibers with XT vs NX and my daughter's Cube with SRAM SX (pretty clunky), so probably not worth the price premium for the 2020 model above. It comes down to carbon vs aluminum--is it worth the step up in price? As well as the forks. How do Judy vs Recon vs Fox Float Rhythm compare? I know the Reba is a step up, but it seems the M30 isn't worth the price premium over the M50. I expect I'll eventually want to upgrade the fork and maybe wheels of whatever stock bike I purchase, but what frame would be best? Any suggestions on alternatives in the $1400-$2K price range? Thanks!
If you like xc geo the sir9 rdo is awesome. I've test ridden my buddy's and it's fast, light and not terribly expensive. One degree on the headtube is huge, test ride bikes with different ht angles and you'll see
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Old 06-08-20, 04:35 AM
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Originally Posted by qclabrat View Post
If you like xc geo the sir9 rdo is awesome. I've test ridden my buddy's and it's fast, light and not terribly expensive. One degree on the headtube is huge, test ride bikes with different ht angles and you'll see
I looked up the SIR 9, same geo as the aluminum AIR 9, but the steel SIR 9 is more expensive. Why go with steel vs aluminum or carbon? Don't think there is a SIR 9 RDO--just the carbon AIR 9 RDO. Unfortunately no LBS stocks Niner or Orbea where I am, so I can't test ride... not to mention that the LBS are out of bikes in general other than e-bikes.
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Old 06-08-20, 06:57 AM
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Originally Posted by mango View Post
I looked up the SIR 9, same geo as the aluminum AIR 9, but the steel SIR 9 is more expensive. Why go with steel vs aluminum or carbon? Don't think there is a SIR 9 RDO--just the carbon AIR 9 RDO. Unfortunately no LBS stocks Niner or Orbea where I am, so I can't test ride... not to mention that the LBS are out of bikes in general other than e-bikes.
yeah typo, I meant Air9 RDO, The Sir9 is also a really nice frame. A lot of guys I know have one and told me it's their one bike they would never sell.
If you can afford it I'd get either RDO or Sir9, better fork and other bits, but nothing wrong with the aluminum Air9 either. I personally prefer steel for hardtails, but with a suspension fork, aluminum can feel equally plush.
Orbea's is a brand which you don't see much here since they don't market in the US as aggressively. I have a Orbea Rallon and I'm not sure if I've seen anyone else locally who rides a Orbea either. I tired to sell the Orbea frame last year and really didn't get much interest except low ballers, so it's set up now as a back up bike. Lesson learned there is that the Orbea's seem to depreciate greater than better known brands in the US from my experience.

My advice, get one and don't wait too long. Kids grow up fast and the opportunity will be lost to ride with them while they still want to hang with mom or dad on the trails.
Stay safe and keep us posted on what you decided on.
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Old 06-08-20, 07:10 AM
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Also, it's good to hear your LBS are selling out bikes.
Here's an online place which seems to have both bikes and many on sale as well.
https://www.bikebling.com/Niner-SIR-...-2-star-nx.htm
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Old 06-09-20, 03:44 AM
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Originally Posted by qclabrat View Post
My advice, get one and don't wait too long. Kids grow up fast and the opportunity will be lost to ride with them while they still want to hang with mom or dad on the trails.
Stay safe and keep us posted on what you decided on.
That is excellent advice. They are already almost out of the house and prob won't want to hang with the 'rents a few years before they actually leave.

Thanks for the insight on re-sell value as well. It wasn't something I had considered. In the past, I did not have my own place and had cheaper bikes that were multipurpose and they were all stolen in one way or another!
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