Niner unveiled their new RLT9 gravel bike lineup just before Eurobike, but we wanted more details. How’d they get that massive tire clearance? What were the differences between the frames? And where the heck is that MCR9 full suspension gravel bike they’ve been teasing forever? Here’s all the details, with a video overview and plenty of detail shots!
Now for the photos…
2020 Niner RLT9 RDO Carbon
The top model is the carbon fiber RLT9 RDO, with the stiffest lightest frame and complete bikes starting at $3,000 USD…but running up to about $9,000 for the model shown here with SRAM Force AXS wireless 2×11.
It gets fully sleeved internal routing to make it easy to service or build the bike, with port plugs for drivetrain holes if you’re going wireless. Or 1x. There’s also a port for a dropper post. All of the models have 26 different mounting points, letting you attach just about anything and everything you could want.
All of the bikes have clearance for up to 700×50 and 650Bx2.0 tires. With carbon, that’s a little easier, it’s on the metal bike where they had to get creative…
2020 Niner RLT Alloy
If the carbon is your super race bike, the alloy RLT is the everyday race bike. It’s their most affordable model, coming in at just $2,200 for a complete bike. The hydroformed tubing makes it look more expensive, and internal routing keeps it clean. And there’s room for a stealth dropper seatpost here, too.
Cables and hoses pop out at the BB on the alloy bike and run under the chainstays from there. All of the bikes use PFBB30 bottom brackets, which makes room for their eccentric bottom bracket if you want to set it up singlespeed. There are no frame breaks, though, so it’s not compatible with normal belt drives (Check out Veer’s split belt system if you want to add a belt drive to this or most any other bike).
To get the tire clearance they wanted, they developed a new forged chainstay yoke.
2020 Niner RLT9 Steel
The steel bike gets air-hardened Reynolds 853 tubing, which brings the starting price up to $2,700 for a complete bike. This one keeps all of the cables and hoses external, making it the option for anyone seeking out-there adventures where simplicity and ease of repair are more important than saving a few grams.
The rear end is every bit as shapely (if not more so) than the other models.
When is the Niner MCR9 going to ship?
November 2019, according to their reps. It’s on their website now, with a good bit of info about the design process to get from a test mule several years ago to this. The biggest update since we last saw it is about the suspension’s performance…
It uses the same basic CVA wheel path as their mountain bikes, but with a tune specific to gravel. The low volume, short stroke shock will deliver 50mm of travel. They say it has a very flat suspension curve, which will help it move through all of it’s travel fairly easily…which is OK. By design, they wanted you to be able to use that travel, so if you bottom out a couple times on a big ride, don’t sweat it.
We’ll be testing an MCR9 soon, stay tuned…