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Niner's 2017 RLT 9 RDO Frameset brings dream build potential to those of us who eschew traditional racing disciplines and instead choose miles and miles of packed dirt and gravel roads as our playground. Featuring Niner's renowned RDO carbon fiber, this RLT breaks from its aluminum and steel roots to bring light, stiff, carbon speed to your next gravel adventure with endurance geometry designed to get you comfortably to the day's destination.
As expected from an RLT (short for Road Less Traveled), this bike is a bit slacker, longer, and lower than its 'cross-specific cousin, Niner's BSB 9, but also sees a few tweaks compared to its aluminum and steel RLT siblings that imbue it with slightly snappier handling without sacrificing comfort. Shorter stays tighten up the rear triangle and work in tandem with a lower bottom bracket for a confidently responsive ride experience. This combination lends the RLT more stability and comfort over rough roads while still maintaining the agility to rocket out of turns and carve loose, sketchy descents. Integrated rack and fender mounts on the frame and fork provide a versatile array of setup options, and the replaceable hanger means that even if you take a less than graceful, drive-side, derailleur compromising dive, your RLT will live to roll another day.
Niner uses its Race Day Optimized Carbon Compaction System to mold this RLT's frame, fine tuning the placement of carbon and eliminating any material that doesn't contribute to the frame's structural soundness and ride quality. To further enhance the smooth ride, the RLT has a 27.2mm diameter seatpost, which adds an element of give to absorb bumps and chatter so you won’t be getting beat up as much as you’d expect, especially on washboard roads. While Niner's builds spec the RLT 9 RDO with 35mm tires, it has clearance to run tires up to 40mm so you can choose a balance between rolling speed and plush comfort to best meet your riding style and requirements.
Finally, we should add a note on brake and rotor compatibility. The frame is built to clear 140mm rotors with flat-mount disc brakes; however, if you want to go with 160mm rotors or larger, you'll need to add a spacer. Niner itself does this with its own builds, adding a spacer up front to clear real estate for a 160mm rotor.
- Niner pairs carbon speed and long mile comfort in its new gravel bike
- Endurance geometry blends comfort and responsiveness
- RDO carbon construction balances stiffness and light weight
- Thru-axles increase stiffness for a snappy ride
- Rack and fender mounts on stays and fork enhance versatility
- Internal cable housing guides make running cable an easy task
- Compatible with mechanical and electronic drivetrains
- Spacers required to mount rotors 160mm or larger with flat-mount disc brake calipers
- Item #NNR005X
- Q & A
So far, the most versatile bike I own
- Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer
I currently have ridden this bike 51x and have 1,450 miles on it.
I decided on the Niner RLT because in true gravel fashion, I wanted something to take into the dirt, but not feel like I was being penalized on the road. I ride this thing 90% road and 10% dirt.
You can feel the penalty a little on the road, but I would say it's slight. I came from a Cannondale SuperSix and I feel the most penalty on the flats. I would say the climbs feel great and the decent feels MUCH more stable on the RLT because of the slacker head angle vs a straight up carbon road bike.
The best thing about this bike is when you pair it with two wheelsets. One for road specific (I have a carbon 45mm depth set) and another for dirt/gravel.
My build is a bit heavier than my SuperSix build (maybe 2 lbs) but IDGAF. The stability and versatility it provides me is way beyond the extra 2 pounds.
Don't buy this bike if you think it's going to help you podium in a typical road race.
Do buy this bike if you're looking for a bike that can go on road and dirt, but you're worried your road game might be compromised if you get a full cross bike. This is your bike.
I have a SRAM RED BB30 crankset...will it work with this bike?
Hey Donna, that crankset should be compatible with this bike, you'll want to pick up the Sram PF30 bottom bracket ( #SRM0317 ) to go along with it. Give a shout at my direct line 801.204.4547 or email firstname.lastname@example.org and I'd be happy to help with that! Cheers, Connor