What started last year as a RKT mountain bike with drop bars turned into an alloy test mule that we saw during our headquarters tour. Now, the full suspension gravel bike has a name, and a full carbon fiber future. It’s called the Niner Magic Carpet Ride, and it’s coming in 2019…

prototype niner full suspension gravel bike now in carbon fiber will launch in 2019

Niner wasn’t giving up much in terms of details, and this one’s a plastic 3D printed proof of concept for testing fit and finish. But it’s in full development mode. They won’t say how much travel it has on either end, but they did say they had to rework their CVA suspension design to focus on seated performance rather than the sitting and standing mix of mountain biking…and that they’ve applied for a patent on this new design. We have a video run through with them coming soon, but for now, plenty of photos.

prototype niner full suspension gravel bike now in carbon fiber will launch in 2019

prototype niner full suspension gravel bike now in carbon fiber will launch in 2019

The design offsets the rear shock to make room for an integrated fender and 2x cranksets, but it works just as well with 1x groups and wide range cassettes.

prototype niner full suspension gravel bike now in carbon fiber will launch in 2019

Slick cable routing takes advantage of the limited travel.

prototype niner full suspension gravel bike now in carbon fiber will launch in 2019

Tire clearance is pegged at 700×50 or 650B “road plus”.

prototype niner full suspension gravel bike now in carbon fiber will launch in 2019

prototype niner full suspension gravel bike now in carbon fiber will launch in 2019

One of the benefits of this design is a wide open front triangle, letting it work with frame bags and multiple bottles for bikepacking and touring. Up front, they modified a Rockshox RS-1 to reduce the travel to (we’re guessing) 30-40mm. Based on that, we’re guessing the rear will be similar.

prototype niner full suspension gravel bike now in carbon fiber will launch in 2019

Lockouts for both ends will make it fully rigid on pavement. There’s routing for a stealth dropper post, too, but the low rear end should still let you fit a seat pack on there. Stay tuned for the video run through soon (hint: follow @bikerumor on social media for an update notice!).

NinerBikes.com

39 COMMENTS

  1. I hope the fork raises when unlocked and locks down like a dropper post. I feel like I could have seen John Tomac on this instead of his Yeti C26 with Accu-trax fork. Is that coming back?

    • Maybe it looks so slack because it’s offset from the BB? In the setup in the photo the saddle is in +- the same place as it would be with a 74 degree seat post and 25-ish mm setback (did a quick check overlaying gfx in illustrator to ‘measure’ it). Obviously if you’ve got very long legs and need/want to have a super long seat post, then obviously the seat’s gonna move back a whole lot.

    • It’s a 3D printed prototype, not a production bike. Probably using some existing parts to demonstrate the concept, while compromising on fit.

  2. Tell that to anybody with a leather saddle.

    You can always move the saddle forward or get a zero-offset seatpost, but there are times when even a 30mm offset post won’t be enough for a leather saddle. I’ve had to replace more than one frame with a 73° seat angle in a 60cm size (with a comfortable reach for my back) because my knees can’t take it, and I’m in my twenties! Having very long legs for a guy of my height makes finding a good fit hard.

  3. I think that’s pretty awesome. I’d ride one, but I’ll never be able to afford one, especially with a modified RS1 on the front end. This won’t be cheap!

  4. that seems like a whole lot of complication for 30-40mm of travel. wouldn’t a flext stay system like the old cannondale scalpel be much more effective and simple. Not to mention wayyyy lighter.

    • I think you are essentially right. The YBB is still around and essentially what you mention. The new EPIC ditched the rear FSR pivot for weight and simplicity. I could see that being a less complex solution for short travel use than the short-link 4-bar used above.

    • I almost expect Lauf to be working on an FS bike considering the success of their fork. The patent drawings show a suspended saddle, so maybe that is their only direction for this, but who knows?

      I also think the idea of simple adding the saddle or seat post suspension (like the new Redshift ShockStop, older Thuds, and BodyFloat) may be the better, easier, lighter version when compared to a real FS design like above.

      • I added a Shockstop to my cross bike and I have to say, that is currently the sweet spot for much of the riding I do – added weight but not as much as a suspended fork like the Lauf but giving you some benefits of suspension. When you add all the traditional suspension elements, the limited travel and damping means it’s less capable then a x country rig with a narrower envelope of performance.

        • Thanks for making me look up the CF3 — looks cool and a more elegant solution than RedShift, Thudbuster etc. anyone know why not available in US/Canada?

      • I have and love the ShockStop Stem on my Boone with rear IsoSpeed. It is perfect for the majority of my riding and plenty of cushion without the major weight gain of a true FS setup.

        I also ordered the ShockStop Seatpost in the event I switch to a bike with no Isospeed, because I think it is great for the weight gain.

        These bikes like the Niner are more blender bikes for aggressive gravel to light trail… oh help me not say it… are these… GRAIL bikes???

  5. It’s an interesting setup, for sure. Like will said, though, it’s not going to be cheap (probably not light, either). It also seems to me like a bike that would serve only a small niche–riders who want to take a drop bar bike on gnarly rides, value traction and comfort over weight, and are willing to invest $ in this type of bike (vs. a more all around setup).

  6. A lot of these suspended gravel bikes not using an undamped suspension system have modified XC mountain bike forks, and now a shock on this one. I wonder what the weight penalty is, especially here with a full linkage system. At this point would it maybe make more sense to put narrower tires and drop bars on a short-travel XC frame and get at least 80mm of travel? It wouldn’t look as elegant but at the same time would be more versatile.

  7. I both love it because having done much gravel riding in mild to harder conditions, some suspension would be great. I also wonder why we aren’t all just buying 90s cross country rigs and putting drops bars on them. Because limited travel and increased weight makes designs like this seem like they are creating a narrow use case machine at high expense as well as a fairly substantial weight penalty.

    Honestly, I don’t know where I land on designs like this yet and I do a lot of gravel / mixed terrain riding with a carbon cross bike and know the limitations as well as areas of opportunity. Interesting to see all the experimentation.

  8. What a waste of time. And for what? Just ride your dang bike- it’s a ROAD. A niche within a niche.Total sales in the double digits.

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