LAS VEGAS, NV (BRAIN) — Since the emergence of the 650b wheel size as The Next Big Thing, employees at Niner Bikes have been pestered by industry wags with queries and knowing looks.
They’d ask: “What are you going to do? You’re painted into a corner with that company name.”
But the California- and Colorado- based brand nicely finessed the situation, branching out into a new bike category that still features 29er tires, even if in this context they are usually called 700c—the gravel grinder.
We thought they were painted into a corner; we didn't know they could climb the walls.
The Niner RLT 9 has a hydroformed aluminum frame available in six sizes, sold initially as a frame-set with a Niner carbon fork (MSRP $1,049) or built with SRAM Rival ($2,999) or Shimano 105 ($1,999). The frame has a PF30 bottom bracket that can be set up with an eccentric for single-speed use. It also has low- profile disc brake post mounts, internal cable routing, 135-millimeter QR rear spacing and 27.2-millimeter seatpost sizing for better shock absorption than larger diameters.
Niner waited until just before Interbike to release the RLT 9, but the company introduced several new mountain bike models at Eurobike last month, making for a prolific season for the brand.
The new models are:
• A new version of enduro/gravity model the WFO 9. It now has 150 millimeters of travel and is 0.7 pounds lighter than its original version.
• The One 9 RDO, a super-light carbon race version of its popular single-speed.
• The Air 9 Carbon, a redesign of Niner’s first carbon model, with trickle-down features from its top-end hardtail, the Air 9 RDO.