Beyond the beaten path.
We like to think of gravel riding as the new frontier — maybe it's with a bit of Wild West nostalgia, offering us the opportunity to channel our inner explorer and dive down the roads less traveled, and what better way to explore it than atop a trusty steed like Niner's RLT 9 RDO Ultegra R8020 Complete Bike. This lightweight gravel machine offers slightly slacked out geometry, elevating comfort for endless days on the bike while you roll up and over dusty roads that lead to austere emptiness that enchants you with its hazards and geological marvels. But not every ride on the RLT needs to lead to endless open lands or forgotten evergreen forests — its lightweight RDO carbon construction isn't shy to show you its power charging up canyons in the early season when roads are slick and the extra tire clearance boosts your confidence.
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 which is why we choose to pair this build with lofty Yksion Elite Allroad tires, for a weightless floating feel as you ride.
This build comes equipped with Mavic's newly perfected Allroad Elite UST wheelset, a marvel that took some time in the R&D process, but the wait was well worth it. These hoops offer a tubeless application that can be trusted from gravel to road, and without the headache that most road tubeless setups provoke. The rims and Yksion Elite Allroad tires were designed together for a fit so precise that it can easily be assembled by hand, and free of air compressors, thanks to incredibly tight tolerances. The rims sit wide at 22-millimeters, and come along with lofty 40mm tires for floating at lower tire pressures, soaking up rough chatter from poorly graded gravel roads. To top it all off, we paired the bike with Shimano's new Ultegra 8020 components to offer performance that withstands serious miles, without the intimidating price tag of Dura Ace.
- A ride for exploring what lies beyond the beaten path
- RDO carbon fiber construction sheds grams, dampens vibrations
- Slacker geometry keeps you comfortable on the longest rides
- Pack on the gear for bikepacking with copious mounts
- Keep power transfer in check with beefy downtube and chainstays
- Mavic's new Allroad Elite UST wheels prevent flats
- Shimano's Ultegra drivetrain offers crisp shifting mile after mile