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A forever kind of love.
You've been taking hardtails onto downhill-only singletrack since you first started biking, and somehow, not having the funds for a 6-inch enduro monster right off the bat translated into a love affair with XC that you'd never walk away from now. Though your passion for XC hasn't faded, your relationship with it has grown with time, and rather than a hardtail with just a little squish up front, you expect a little more from your bike these days. Devour bumps, clean race courses, and dive into big lines with more plushness than your younger, hardtail-riding self could've dreamed of with Niner's RKT 9 RDO 5-Star Mountain Bike. Kitted out with the drivetrain of the self-sponsored cyclist's dreams and continuing to reap the rewards of a smart redesign in 2016, the RKT 9 RDO is ready to take your relationship with XC to towering heights.
When redesigning the RKT for 2016, Niner started with the task of trying to bridge the gap between low-weight XC race machines and high-confidence, line-holding trail sleds. It hit its mark last year with such precision that for 2017, the brand's made no changes to the impressive frame. That means you'll still get to take advantage of the long-and-low swagger of the front end when heading into chunky spots, with over four-and-a-half inches of squish and the line-holding confidence that 29er tires are bred with backing you up. The use of Boost axle spacing in the front and rear also gave Niner the opportunity to slam the back wheel up and reduce the chainstays to a stubby 439mm. That, paired with the RKT 9 RDO's low standover height, translates to agile, aggressive cornering and acceleration from the race course to shuttle laps.
Niner shapes this do-it-all carbon fiber frame carefully using its RDO Carbon Compaction System (CCS) for a precise, flawless result. Using CCS, Niner builds a frame with as little excess material as possible, hitting stiffness marks without compromise while eliminating structural imperfections and inconsistencies with wall thickness. It also uses its CVA suspension to play to the strengths of a low-travel, high-speed bike. Even while riding with the shock fully open, CVA encourages speed on rocky, root-latticed climbs to the point that the RKT fires out of berms on the uphills with almost the same alacrity as it does on the downhills. When you're standing above a gnarly stretch of trail, not quite at the point of no return, the RKT will always indulge your enduro ambitions, leaving the restraint — if any exists — to you.
- Take your XC dreams to new heights on this capable bike
- 29er-specific suspension plays to the frame's strengths
- Long cockpit provides enduro-grade stability on descents
- Tight rear triangle is nimble around switchbacks
- Expert carbon construction is clean, light, and stiff
- Precise, limitless shifts with Eagle X01 12-speed drivetrain
- Boost axles increase tire clearance and wheel stiffness
- Item #NNR0062
- Q & A
An Overlooked Efficient XC Rig
- Familiarity: I've used it once or twice and have initial impressions
Niner is sometimes overshadowed by flashier brands but I found the RKT 9 to be a solid XC bike.
I'm not a suspension expert, I just ride the bikes but I had no complaints here. After only a test ride I did want a remote lockout for the climbs, but Niner claimed hat after getting the suspension properly setup their riders rarely used the lockout and spent most of their time in the medium compression damping position. When locked out I did find the bike climbed quite efficiently as it should and my position on it was comfortable.
Speaking of position this is more of an XC race bike than the short travel trail bikes becoming popular now so it does have a bit more aggressive position and is designed around a longer stem. The head tube is kind of steep which makes climbing quite good but I did have to slow down quite a bit when the terrain got steep and sketchy.
Specs were good on the bike but I missed a dropper post! If you want a go-fast bike you should consider the RKT 9.