Niner’s drop bar bikes fall into two categories: Not Road and Cyclocross.
For Not Road, it’s about the “not road” experience, making bikes that cater to riders that just want to get out and ride. Maybe it’s a mountain biker whose trails are too wet to ride but they still wanna get out there. Or it’s the road rider that’s not looking to race, preferring to just ride. Maybe it’s not even off the pavement, but they want something that’s a little more comfortable and stable than a twitchy crit bike. These types of riders are what’s growing the category as a whole, and Niner now has two versions of the RLT 9 for that – the original alloy frame and the recently introduced steel RLT.
For CX, there’s just one, the BSB 9, and it gets a single but important update: Rear thru axles. Well, that and new colors and more complete bike options…
While they’ll readily admit and I’ll second, the BSB 9 was already a stiff, race-oriented bike. The QR rear end was aimed at providing quick wheel changes and a lighter system weight, But, the people want what they think they want, so based on customer feedback coming in through their dealers and distributors, Niner switched from the original’s 135mm QR rear end to a 12×142 thru axle. So, yes, you’re reading that right…the new thru axle frames will add a few grams to the system weight (frame + axle) compared to the original QR bike.
Shown at the very top is the Green Greener, one of two new colorways. The other is the Team Red, also shown here. Both use hits of color on an otherwise matte black carbon frame.
With this new model comes a reduction in build options by one. And, interestingly, that one was the only 1x option offered. The CX group goes away, so all builds are 2×11 groups.
Why no 1x group? It’s part of a larger strategy the company is employing to reduce total SKUs, and they told us the CX1 build simply wasn’t selling as well as they’d forecasted. Across the entire range of bikes, they’re reducing parts groups to fit families of bikes, so the build kits you see offered on these will be the same build kits offered on the RLT models. This helps them get economies of scale in the sense that they can have more inventory of fewer parts, which makes it more likely that when you order a specific model, everything’s available in house and it can ship out quickly. Niner builds each of their bikes to order, so you can get any available frame color with any build kit and even make custom changes to cockpit, wheels, etc., if you want…as long as it’s in stock. So, for now, if you want a 1x group, you’ll need to convert it aftermarket. If demand increases, they’ll look at adding stock 1x option later this year.
The SRAM Rival 22 Hydro($3,500) build shown here on the Green Greener frame is the only SRAM option. The others are Shimano Ultegra Di2 ($6,500) and Ultegra mechanical ($4,500), both with hydraulic disc brakes, and a Shimano 105 option ($3,000) with mechanical discs. All are 2×11 drivetrains.
Other than the new rear axle, graphics scheme and color options, the frame is identical to the original BSB 9 RDO. That means ample tire clearance for up to 40mm tires, their tried and true full carbon fork, and a frame built with their Carbon Compaction process to eliminate voids, wrinkles and weak spots. It’s still RDO level only, and it’s still 100% a race bike.
Frame comes ready for electronic or mechanical groups and is disc brake only.
Frameset (frame, fork, headset, front & rear Maxle for $2,300) and complete bikes will ship with a Rockshox Maxle Lite.
The Rival Hydro 2×11 build comes in at 18.74lb (8.5kg), and the top Ultegra Di2 build comes in at 17.84lb (8.09kg).
For comparison’s sake, the 2015 model with QR in the top Ultegra Di2 build with Stan’s NoTubes Grail wheels came in at 17.86lb.
Bikes should be available within a couple weeks, plenty of time to get it dialed for this year’s cyclocross season.