Niner Camping Trip in Fruita

This is how we Roll! An Interview with Chris Sugai of Niner Bikes

What’s the common thread between F1 Racing, poker, window tinting and mountain biking? Chris Sugai of course! Sugai is the founder and visionary behind Niner Bikes, the beloved independent bike company that’s ushered in the era of the 29” mountain bike. Now a decade in, Chris has found the magic in furthering his vision in Niner – building an incredible team! This is a huge accomplishment for any entrepreneur, and when done well, an exceptional and dedicated team, like the team at Niner, can create much stronger reach. The Niner crew has catapulted visibility of the 29-inch wheel platform in the mountain bike community to global status. The brand has expanded to offer bikes for every kind of off-road riding experience. Listen in to learn about how Chris and the team at Niner are shaping the future of mountain biking, one kick-ass 29-inch bike design at a time! Follow Intrepid Entrepreneur to get more updates (especially about our upcoming giveaways) by joining our community. Don’t forget to rate, review and subscribe if these podcasts are becoming your latest obsession!

Niner was launched in 2005 by Chris Sugai, when he was at a bit of a career crossroads. Sugai had built a mega successful Southern California window-tinting business early on in his career. While growing that business, he also developed a love for F1 Racing, poker and yes, mountain biking. He wanted to do something that plugged into one of his three passions and thankfully, Sugai landed on mountain biking. Sugai was an early adopter of the 29-inch mountain bike craze and he decided to focus his creative vision on becoming a prophet of what he sees as the best design and ride quality of any mountain bike, the 29-er. Did people think he was crazy? Yes! Did he let that stop him? Heck no. …. Chris took his vision for Niner and hand-built a team of advocates that have created a global movement around diehard 29-er loyalists. When you buy a Niner, you become part of the Niner community – check it out at And while you’re there, check out the eye candy – the Niner Bikes themselves. … The company is well known for its beautiful design, attention to detail and amazing finish. The Niner story is even more amazing when you consider the give back that the company has always prioritized to IMBA – because protecting trails and access to those trails is what makes living the Niner way of life possible (and awesome!).


Habit for Success?

Sugai is a big believer in setting goals and he’s a fan of being in an accountability group to ensure that he stays on track. “This is something that all entrepreneurs need,” he said. “It’s very easy to get side-tracked with goals and making progress on the things that truly make a difference in your business.”

Pivot Moment?

Hitting his first Interbike show with the concept of Niner. It was disruptive and a most interesting feedback loop – and he stayed completely true to his vision.

Coolest Expansion Idea:

Sugai’s coolest expansion idea is about discipline. He’s stayed true to his vision of offering only 29-inch bikes and building a niche community for enthusiasts who wholeheartedly believe in the 29’er revolution.


Join the Conversation