Find your adventure.
It's no secret that the RLT 9 Steel is one of our favorite gravel bikes, and we're excited to see it back for 2017 with some updated colorways and that legendarily smooth and responsive steel ride. The RLT 9 Steel 2-Star Apex 1 Complete Bike is an adventurer at heart, and takes its Road Less Traveled moniker seriously with a build kit that embodies the all-road ethos perhaps more than any other ride. SRAM's economical but no less functional Apex one-by drivetrain gets the nod, eliminating the front derailleur and any mechanical worries it may have brought with it out on the road. The 42-tooth front chainring and 11-42 tooth cassette don’t skimp on gears though, providing a wide range of options worthy of all but the steepest of mountain grades. Its 35mm tires are the ideal starting point to manage everything from pavement to light singletrack, with frame clearance to handle tires up to 44mm in width should the adventure call for burlier fare.
The frame's geometry is a compromise between Niner's mountain frames and the aggressive disposition of the 'cross-specific BSB frameset. Compared to the latter, the RLT 9 features a longer chainstay, a lower bottom bracket, and a more relaxed head tube angle. This translates into a lower center of gravity that still affords clearance over obstacles and while cornering, and a wider wheelbase for stability over rough roads and long miles. In our own test rides of the geometry, we found that it eats up washboard and is nimble enough for mellow singletrack, so, if you're keen on making the RLT a durable singletrack speedster with zero suspension, then throw on some knobby tires and get to it. This bike's only limit is you.
The RLT 9 Steel does make an admirable concession to carbon by including a Carbon RDO fork to further soak up and smooth out road vibrations. The fork is no delicate road race specimen, though— as evidenced by its trail-inspired 15mm thru-axle anchor—and the inclusion of rack mounts means it also doesn't shy away from carrying its own weight when you're loading up packs for a week of deserted fire roads and wilderness exploration.
- Niner's one-by, steel gravel machine
- Endurance geometry is designed for comfort over long, gravelly miles
- Reynolds 853 tubing balances weight, responsiveness, and durability
- One-by drivetrain provides solid chain retention and a wide gear range
- Hydraulic disc brakes deliver powerful modulation and stopping force
- 35mm tires provide a smooth, cushioned ride
- Three bottle cage mounts carry extra hydration
More RLT 9 builds
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RLT 9 size by rider height
Effective Top Tube
Head Tube Angle
Seat Tube Angle
Bottom Bracket Drop