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A bike of all trades.
The 2016 Niner RLT 9 3-Star Rival Hydro Complete Bike makes choosing a bike for a week of adventuring just plain easier. Boasting what Niner dubs "fire road geometry," the RLT is a little bit slacker, longer, and has a lower bottom bracket than its cyclocross race-bred sibling, the BSB 9, for increased stability and comfort no matter the terrain. While it's still agile enough to throw down on a 'cross course, it's just as happy to explore epic singletrack, gravel roads, and almost any other place you take it. The 3-star build comes kitted out with SRAM's smooth-shifting Rival drivetrain, powerful hydraulic brakes, and Schwalbe wrapped Niner CX Alloy hoops.
If you’re looking at the RLT and getting déjà vu, don’t worry, it may be because the tube set borrows heavily from the one used on Niner’s aluminum AIR 9 frame. The tapered head tube accommodates a matching tapered fork, which is unsurprisingly similar to Niner’s beloved RDO mountain fork. The dropouts have integrated rack and fender mounts, which only add to your setup options, and the burly replaceable hanger means that even if a catastrophic derailleur-related incident ends your ride, your RLT will live to roll another day.
The hydroformed tubes are designed to neutralize chatter, helping the RLT to maintain a smooth ride. Additionally, it makes the frame much stronger than it would be had round tubes been employed. And to enhance the smooth ride, the RLT has a 27.2mm diameter seat tube. The combination of the smaller diameter and Niner's vibration dampening carbon seatpost means that you won’t be getting beat up as much as you’d expect, especially on washboard roads.
- A gravel bike that loves taking the other road
- Longer, more stable geometry than the 'cross-specific BSB
- Carbon fork built for fire road abuse
- Rack and fender mounts for bikepacking
- Built with SRAM's workhorse Rival group
- Item #NNR004P
- Q & A
Great bike, super snappy
- Familiarity: I've used it several times
Got the bike about a week ago, so consider this an initial review/impression (<100miles). I'm coming off a road bike (trek 5000), so the geometry here is a bit more upright and comfy. Power transfer to the pedals is phenomenal, it's very snappy. Bike feels extremely solid under me, at least relative to my old bike. I haven't really taken it off-road much yet, just a few dirt paths, and it feels pretty good going over some rough stuff.
Having been a Shimano person forever, I was a little curious as to how I'd transition to the SRAM drivetrain, but it was barely even a transition. Within 10mins I was a pro. Rival group is great so far, quick, solid shifts. Brakes are getting broken in, but have a great feel to them. Have to give a shout out to the tech at CC who built the bike up; did a great job, everything feels great and well dialed in.
I did immediately change the saddle out to a Brooks Cambium carved, but that's just a personal pref, not a knock on the Niner saddle per se.
I'll update this review in a couple months once I've got more miles on it.