If you are looking to curate your own adventure bike, the Niner RLT 9 Frameset is an excellent place to start hanging some parts on to turn your gravel grinding and bikepacking dreams into reality. This RLT 9's aluminum frame and carbon fork chants the Road Less Travelled mantra. If your thoughts of a good time on a drop bar bike includes exploring endless forest service roads and getting away from the norm, rather than working yourself ragged to stay in a specific training zone, you are reading the right product description. Fancy some self-supported bikepacking with nary a SAG vehicle available? Rides like this require a light and durable setup and the RLT 9's aluminum construction has you covered.
The hydroformed aluminum tubing does a tremendous job of bringing high-performance to a price point that makes building up this frameset attainable. Niner's construction process allows it to be drawn thinner with walls that don't compromise stiffness or impact resistance in key areas. Proprietary forged dropouts are designed to reduce weight and integrate the low-profile flat mount with the chainstay. One ride, and the old myth that aluminum rides harshly will soon be dismayed. Niner's experience in building alloy mountain frames shines through on this design, and a surprising amount of responsiveness, quick handling, and bulletproof durability quickly come to surface shortly after clipping in. The decision to spec a 27.2mm seatpost helps reduce vibration on rough roads causing fatigue that builds up over the hours.
This frame blends Niner's mountain geometry with the barrier hopping 'cross-specific BSB frameset. Compared to the BSB, the RLT 9 is built with longer chainstays, a lower bottom bracket, and a slacker head tube angle. What you will notice is a lower center of gravity that still has plenty of pedal clearance while cornering and a slightly stretched wheelbase for stability. Tire clearance is plentiful letting you clear 44mm meat with ease. The bike is composed on washboard descents and a hoot on singletrack. Build up this bike with parts you have squirreled away or start with a fresh build, either way, the frameset is highly adaptable for whatever your needs.
Niner constructs RLT frames in 3 different materials, but they all feature carbon forks. This fork matches the demeanor of the frame and is no lightweight road model. The 15mm thru-axle securely anchors the front hub over the roughest roads and the stiffness prevents any rotor rub. Rack mounts are able to carry their fair share of the load and get the weight of bikepacking gear on the bike and off your back. The fork shares the same DNA and safety testing standards with its legendary MTB version so we are certain of its durability.