First of all, I have to say...what a difference a year makes. Last year I met Chris Sugai, co-founder of Niner, and his enthusiasm for the 29er platform was infectious. I rode his single speed bikes and promptly discovered why I believed him about 29ers.
Last year Niner had a handful of bikes in the booth and only two different models. Now they have five models and have completed the full suspension bike they promised last year. Their booth was set up near the test trail entrance and it was hopping. Niners were flying off the rack and the R.I.P 9 was hard to come by. Finally got my hands on one in the afternoon.
This is one plush ride with 4.5 inches of rear suspension. Despite that, it climbs well, though the suspension is certainly active on climbs. Niner chose to design it's own suspension instead of licensing an existing technology to focus on making the suspension active while isolating pedal bob. They call it the Constantly Varying Arc (CVA).
The bike is solid, well balanced, and tracks really well. My only quibble is with the stock handle bars...too wide for my taste. If you are looking for a bike to handle an all day epic this could be your ride.
Roll in peace!