by Marc Basiliere
September 13, 2013
Don’t say they’ve gotten cross…
Designed for the spaces between pavement and singletrack, Niner’s latest is–as evidenced by the skinny tyres and curvy bars–a departure for the brand. The RLT 9 (or Road Less Traveled… 9) is an aluminum-framed, carbon-fork’d ride designed to take the shape of your dreams. That is, if your dreams combine drop bars with rough roads and smooth trails. Billed as a 29er (sort of), monster-cross machine (yup), occasional cyclocross racer (sure), and gravel grinder (why not), the disc-equipped bike even sports the rack and mudguard mounts to serve as a super-commuter or even a light touring bike.
The RLT 9’s aluminum frame is designed and shaped to meet “Niner’s ride quality standards” and the 27.2 seatpost will aid fat tyres in keeping things comfy. A PF30 bottom bracket shell can take big-spindle’d cranks or be paired with Niner’s new BioCentric 30 eccentric bottom bracket for singlespeed use. Internal shift cable routing is standard and Di2 compatibility (complete with seatpost charging port) readies the frame for an eventual electronic upgrade.
“Fire Road Geometry” gives the RLT 9 longish chainstays, a low bottom bracket, and a slackish head tube- all of which should make for a stable ride on bumpy roads. While it isn’t intended as a ‘cross racer, there is no reason not to run with the Niner on your shoulder from time to time. Build-wise, the company looks to have done a killer job with the two kits. The $2,000 RLT 9 105 comes with a Shimano 105/Tiagra drivetrain and Shimano cable discs in the lovely “Industry Gray” (blue) shown above. The $3,000 RLT 9 Rival pulls out the stops, adding Stan’s Iron Cross wheels, a SRAM Rival drivetrain, and SRAM hydraulic disc brakes in a classy mint/cream. Framesets will be available for $1,049.
Niner bikes are distributed in the UK by Jungle Products.