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The Niner RLT 2-Star Complete Road Bike could be described by any number of niche categories, but we prefer to simply call it a workhorse. It’s not a race bike, although with a powerful motor it wouldn’t stop you from putting up solid results in a road race if you pinned on a number. It’s not really a ‘cross bike, but it’ll do fast laps around a grass track without complaint. In many ways, it’s the road bike that a number of us have been waiting for all along — namely a bike for any road, any time, any way you like.
If you’re looking at the RLT and getting déjà vu, don’t worry, it may be because the tubeset 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. Forged 135x9mm dropouts provide a solid mount for the rear wheel, with a post-style brake mount that accommodates a 140mm rotor, or a 160mm option with an adapter. The dropouts have integrated rack and fender mounts, which only add to your setup options. 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 smaller diameter makes for a more forgiving post, which means that you won’t be getting beat up as much as you’d expect, especially on washboard roads.
The 2-Star build consists primarily of a Shimano build kit, with the 105 groupset supplying the shifters and rear derailleur, while the cassette and front derailleur are Tiagra level. The exception is the SRAM S350 crankset, with a 36/46T spread. Niner supplies the tapered carbon fiber fork, wheelset, handlebar, stem, and aluminum seatpost, which is crowned with a WTB Volt saddle. And Schwalbe supplies the tires, with the Sammy Slick 700x35 keeping you rolling. Naturally, there’s room for bigger tires should your riding warrant it, and it’ll also accommodate smaller, faster-rolling rubber if you prefer.
The Niner RLT 9 2-Star Complete Road Bike is available in six sizes, from 47cm to 62cm, and in the colors Industry Grey and Mint.