RLT 9 RDO Gravel Frameset
For those of us who covet the adventure, traveling beyond the beaten path is critical. That doesn't mean we need to saddle up on beefy full-suspension rigs and rally into berms, blasting through the nature surrounding us â€”instead it can be done with a little more calculation, precision, and finesse on bikes that prefer to float over gravel and down dusty dirt roads just to see what lies on the other side, much like the Niner RLT 9 RDO Frameset. This frame brings dream bike potential to riders who crave bikepacking and gravel riding adventures, and love the idea of lightweight carbon fiber soaking up some of the vibrations from jarring gravel roads, all the while shedding weight on your setup. It's geometry lends itself to all-day comfort for endurance expeditions and quick overnighters alike, and it doesn't hurt that Niner's designers pack on mounts for extra cages and panniers, too.
As expected from an RLT (short for Road Less Traveled), this bike is a bit slacker, longer, and lower than its 'cross-specific cousin, Niner's BSB 9, but also sees a few tweaks compared to its aluminum and steel RLT siblings that imbue it with slightly snappier handling without sacrificing comfort. Shorter stays tighten up the rear triangle and work in tandem with a lower bottom bracket for a confidently responsive ride experience. This combination lends the RLT more stability and comfort over rough roads while still maintaining the agility to rocket out of turns and carve loose, sketchy descents. Integrated rack and fender mounts on the frame and fork provide a versatile array of setup options, and the replaceable hanger means that even if you take a less than graceful, drive-side, derailleur compromising dive, your RLT will live to roll another day.
Niner uses its Race Day Optimized Carbon Compaction System to mold this RLT's frame, fine tuning the placement of carbon and eliminating any material that doesn't contribute to the frame's structural soundness and ride quality. To further enhance the smooth ride, the RLT has a 27.2mm diameter seatpost, which adds an element of give to absorb bumps and chatter so you won't be getting beat up as much as you'd expect, especially on washboard roads. While Niner's builds spec the RLT 9 RDO with 35mm tires, it has clearance to run tires up to 40mm so you can choose a balance between rolling speed and plush comfort to best meet your riding style and requirements.
Finally, we should add a note on brake and rotor compatibility. The frame is built to clear 140mm rotors with flat-mount disc brakes; however, if you want to go with 160mm rotors or larger, you'll need to add a spacer. Niner itself does this with its own builds, adding a spacer up front to clear real estate for a 160mm rotor.
- Niner's any-road frameset, ready to explore
- RDO carbon construction trims weight and stiffens frame
- Endurance-minded geometry for an all-day companion
- Clearance for 40mm tires to ride the chunky terrain