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Niner RLT 9 Steel Frameset - 2018

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Item # NNR0066

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  • Grey/Blue, 47cm ($1,125.00)
  • Grey/Blue, 50cm ($1,125.00)
  • Grey/Blue, 53cm ($1,125.00)
  • Grey/Blue, 56cm ($1,125.00)
  • Grey/Blue, 62cm ($1,125.00)
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While there's always been a certain contingency in the cycling world that's recognized the value of materials besides plastic—err, carbon fiber, the advent of extra-curricular disciplines like gravel grinding and bikepacking have given rise to a new generation of steel-is-real fetishists. The RLT 9 Steel Frameset is built for that Road Less Travelled ethos, and the roads Niner had in mind when they made it aren't the annually repaved surfaces of France's big race. Rather, they're the types of backwoods US "roads" that have never been properly paved and have only seen a grader once. Decades ago. As it passed in the distance on a nearby interstate. When the gravel's flying and the surface promises to betray us the first change it gets, the RLT 9's Reynolds 853 is the only material we want between our legs.

The Reynolds 853 tubing at the RLT 9 Steel's heart is one of the latest materials in the venerable manufacturer's catalog. 853's production process means that it can be drawn with thinner, lighter walls that don't compromise stiffness or impact resistance. It's also air-cooled during production, so when Niner later welds the tubes into a frame, the strength of the steel at the joints actually increases. Of course, the real benefit of steel only manifests when you throw a leg over it. Reynolds 853's immediate, springy responsiveness, lively handling, and unrivaled durability prove with each pedal stroke why steel's only real competition in frame building is from marketing handbooks, not the latest wonder materials.

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, a wider wheelbase for stability, and tire clearance that lets you plush-out to the tune of 1.75in (just over 44mm). 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.

Despite Niner's love of steel, the RLT 9 Steel does make one reasonable concession to carbon by including Niner's Carbon off-road fork. The fork is no delicate road race specimen, though — as evidenced by its 15mm thru-axle anchor — and the inclusion of rack mounts mean it also doesn't shy away from carrying its own weight. Niner claims its rigid trail forks are the best in the world; after testing this claim across varied terrain on both the RLT 9 and its stablemate, the BSB, we're not prepared to second guess that claim. The frame is compatible with stealth-routed droppers, Di2 seat post battery mounting, and fenders and racks.

  • A disc brake gravel bike that cures the carbon craze
  • Reynolds 853 steel yields a springy, responsive ride
  • Endurance geometry eases the abuse of long gravel epics
  • Braking that modulates well and can stop a fully laden tour bike
  • Thru axles increase stiffness while mashing or braking
  • 44mm tire clearance adds cushion when needed
  • Compatible with the Biocentric 30 BB for singlespeed conversion
  • Fork and stay rack mounts with 45lb and 55lb weight limits, respectively

Tech Specs

Frame Material:
Reynolds 853 steel
Wheel Size:
Fork Material:
carbon fiber
Head Tube Diameter:
1-1/8 - 1-1/2in
Headset Included:
yes, Cane Creek
Bottom Bracket Type:
Cable Routing:
Front Derailleur Mount:
Brake Type:
flat-mount disc, [max rotor size] 160mm
Seatpost Diameter:
Front Axle:
15mm thru-axle
Rear Axle:
12 x 142mm thru-axle
Recommended Use:
Manufacturer Warranty:
5 years



Actual Weight

Actual weights are measured in-house by the Competitive Cyclist team.

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Geometry Chart



Seat Tube

Seat Tube

Effective Top Tube



Stand Over

Head Tube

Head Tube Angle

Seat Tube Angle

Bottom Bracket Height

Bottom Bracket Drop


47cm   47cm 51cm 53.2cm 36.3cm 74cm 10.5cm 70° 74.5°   7cm 43.5cm 100.8cm
50cm   50cm 52.5cm 55.3cm 36.7cm 76.4cm 12.5cm 70.5° 74°   7cm 43.5cm 101.5cm
53cm   53cm 54.5cm 57.4cm 37.5cm 78.8cm 14.5cm 71° 73.5°   7cm 43.5cm 102.5cm
56cm   56cm 56.5cm 58.9cm 38.5cm 81.5cm 16.5cm 71.5° 73°   6.5cm 43.5cm 103.8cm
59cm   59cm 58.5cm 61cm 39.8cm 84.2cm 18.5cm 72° 73°   6.5cm 43.5cm 105.3cm
62cm   62cm 60.5cm 63.1cm 40.6cm 86.7cm 20.5cm 72.5° 72.5°   6.5cm 43.5cm 106.2cm

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Better than I thought

  • Familiarity: I've used it several times

I haven’t built this up yet but my Initial impressions are that the build quality is superb, really well packed, came with a lot of extras for finishing (hset spacers, shim for fr derailleur clamp, chain guard etc.) and even had a checklist from Competitive Cyclist to make sure in spec - had a similar feeling to getting a custom frame in that a lot of extra effort was made to ensure a great experience

Can’t wait to build it up!

Edit - built up with low rider rack. Great bike, feels stable and comfortable with load and not at all sluggish like the commuter it replaces.

Very happy with frame

Avg. ride time: 2h 51m per week
  • Average ride time is based on Strava activity over the last 3 months. Give your reviews credibility by connecting your account.


    This bike is from Niner's RLT stable and to me stands out as the most fitting bike of that range to bear the acronym of the Road Less Traveled. The steel frame is smooth but stiff. Yeah, it weighs more than it's Aluminum and Carbon counterparts but the weight pales in comparison the ride quality of the Reynolds 853. The bike also has bolts for almost any pannier or rack combination you can think of. This latest iteration of the steel frame has a lower BB drop which makes it even more stable. And really, the only difference geometry-wise between this bike and the RLT RDO is a 5mm longer chain stay, which makes room for wider tires and less "racier" feel. Make sure you Frame Saver this beast before putting it together and it'll last you for decades. I don't really consider myself a roadie by any stretch of the word, but when the trails are crap I reach for this bike to get some extra miles in. I think the best part about this bike is it's versatility. It could be a commuter, light tourer, city bike (setup singlespeed), and even a cyclocross/mixed terrain racer (Crusher etc). Highly recommend!