Niner: RLT 9 Steel All-Road Bike Mar 30, 2015

RLT 853_150313__7369-Edit

Niner has really nailed this one. With the success of their RLT, they’ve just issued a steel version, marketed towards bike packing, camping and light touring. While it’s not a full blown touring bike, you can strap a few bags to it, as well as a rear rack and take off into the wilderness.

With a geometry dialed in for gravel, cross racing, all-road conditions and even some singletrack shredding, the RLT 9 steel presents itself as a new platform for those who want to get the most out of their bike.

Made from Reynolds 853, with thru-axles, fender / rack mounts and PF BB30, the RLT 9 Steel utilizes modern tech with the feel of steel. Am I excited about these bikes? Yep. We’ll be riding them in the forthcoming weeks…

Available as a complete with multiple build kits, or a frameset in two color combinations. Check out more photos below and see pricing and sizing information at Niner.

RLT 9 853_150128_2852-Edit

RLT 9 853_150129_2870-Edit

RLT 9 853_150129_2882-Edit

RLT bars


RLT 9 853_150130_2901-EditEdit

RLT 9 853_150130_2901-Edit

  • Tim M

    What’s up with the front forks? IMO they throw off what would otherwise be a pretty bike.

    • John Watson

      I agree but I’d use a big saddle bag, frame bag and a bar bag with a hydro pack – kinda like how I did the Outback on the AWOL.

      For dirt / off-road stuff, I don’t like using racks. They rattle and hardware will eventually break.

      • Jonathan McCurdy

        I’d like to see a road fork with the front facing Anything Cage mounts…

    • Roger Dudek

      It’s a matter of taste. Aesthetically, it’s my favorite feature.

    • mp

      From an aesthetic perspective, a stout headtube and “thick” fork like that looks rather unbalanced when paired with thinner steel tubes. Prefer more classic/balanced lines when talking steel.

  • breed007

    Nice. I never understood why they initially only sold an aluminum version. It’s not like they didn’t sell steel frames already.

  • Matt

    Niner killing it. Cant see the chainstays but the clearance on the seatstays is awesome

    • Kyle Campbell

      Niner website says there is clearance for up to 1.75″ tires, so… 44mmish…

  • Jeffrey Kane

    Can’t understand why there’s no head tube stack? I don’t know anybody going bike camping/packing/light touring with a 3″ saddle to HB drop like those pics are set up ….

    • John Watson

      I do.

      • Jeffrey Kane

        I get your point — up to the part about high head tubes looking ugly — maybe for a racing bike, yes — but for an all-rounder I think frame built-in stack just makes more sense. But that’s just me — I don’t consider “racing” to be a component of all-rounder. Apples to oranges either way — we wouldn’t even be having this discussion if you didn’t keep shedding light on all these cool bikes, daily. So thanks for that.

        • John Watson


        • Ian Hylands

          Jeffrey, I’ll second what John said. I shot the photos of this bike and I kept the bike looking how I feel a traditional road bike should look. Many people will ride the bike this way, and many people won’t, but as John said by doing this way Niner has kept it with a wide range of possible fit options.

        • Andrew Deane

          I think you could race this. I race an 853 steel frame and this one is (geometry-wise) really not that different from Niner’s carbon model. I think they were wise to depict this as the one bike that can probably do it all.

    • Eric Hancock

      Looking at the geo, these have quite a bit of stack. I’m not sure you’d need many additional spacers to be comfortable.

  • Trevor H

    This is a great looking bike. It reminds me of my old steel La Cruz, but with a few modern touches I always wished that the Salsa had. Looking forward to more on these. Frameset for $1500, yes please.

  • Michael Schiller

    beautiful bike. Love the look except that headtube. I woulda dropped the BB a touch and added some fork rake but nice job Niner!

  • Chris Dolan

    I don’t understand why they used a thru-axle in the rear and then a QR in the font. Seems like if you’re only doing one or the other, you would want the thru-axle up front.

    And Niner already has a thru-axle carbon ‘cross fork from the BSB. Not sure why they didn’t use that here…

    • Tommaso Gomez

      If you look up close, that fork has rack mount holes drilled very close to the QR skewer. I don’t think you can fit a thru-axle.

    • D0rk

      On their Facebook page they gave the reason that they wanted fender mounts and their thru-axle fork they use on the BSB doesn’t have them, but the QR fork they have does. And they went thru-axle on the rear to stiffen up the narrow tubing. I wish they would have just sucked it up and made a TA fork with fender mounts.

    • Chris Dolan

      Thanks for the perspective, D0rk and Tommaso!

      I would have liked to see them go the extra mile and develop a new fork for this frame: thru-axle with fender and bag mounts. I was a little sore that the BSB didn’t have a rear thru-axle. I thought that was a bit of a cop-out as well, especially for a mountain bike manufacturer.

      Maybe they’ll introduce a redesigned fork for the the 2016 RLT models…

  • Tommaso Gomez

    I’ve spent 1,500 miles on my aluminum RLT and it’s been a great, affordable, all-rounder for CX, gravel fondos, commuting, etc. The geometry isn’t too far off the BSB’s cross geometry, just a bit more slack and a little more BB drop. Some say the ride is a little too stiff, but 40c tires will fix that. I miss having a 3rd bottle cage, but I see they added one on this steel version.

  • c_j_drawbridge

    Are the frames made in the states? Love the Red/White livery, reminds me of an 1980’s Atala.

    • John Watson

      No they are not.

      • c_j_drawbridge

        Thought not.
        What caught my attention is the 4-Star CX1 build, particularly because the recently released Trek Boone 7 was just announced also having CX1 albeit with TRP RevoX canti’s – both priced around $3900 – carbon canti vs. steel disc.
        I never thought I’d consider carbon, but I was looking for a canti, CX1 build and thought I’d have to go custom, and then comes that Boone 7 – it looks great. But still, that “Broken Arrow”……..
        It’s unfortunate I’ll never be able to test ride and compare either one, despite the fact I’ve got local dealers who sell both.

  • c_j_drawbridge

    Is it common to have a PF BB on a steel frame, and can anyone comment on whether they should have gone threaded instead?

    • John Watson

      I have a PF30 on a road bike. They make sense for eccentric BB and SS applications.

  • mrbiggs

    Traveling in far NE Italy with my brother and our teenage sons currently. He and I both are eyeballing every twisty dirt road leading off the highways into the Dolomites and every thin “strada serrata” line we notice on a map, rolling over and into these beautiful hills, planning a return trip next year with our bikes, probably without our sons. I picked up a Salsa Ti La Cruz on eBay recently to replace my Surly Cross Check I’ve been on for a while and I’ve been very much looking forward to getting home next week and assembling that thing. With the spotty wifi we have up here, I get this email from Niner this morning and immediately check The Radavist to see if you have more. And oh lordy you do. I still can’t wait to ride the La Cruz, and it might be perfect for what I need. But I’m a steel-frame fellow, I like to go SS at times, and this would look great sitting next to my Ros9. $1499 is a no-brainer.

  • Slc29er

    This is sweet. Good to see this niche is gaining some attention. I think there are way too many shops selling road bikes to the masses that really could be way better off with something like this. That being said, my local builder can make me a one off custom 853 frame for the same price that includes a through axle fork with fender mounts. I’m shocked to see some of you excited about $1450 for a production frameset.

    • c_j_drawbridge

      The closest I know of is a Gunnar at about $1700 for a custom frame size with carbon fork. Painted fork is another $125, headset not included either I don’t think…….so call it $2000?
      But, I agree this part of the market is gaining traction. I put this steel Niner in there with All-City and Wraith Fabrications. But Niner seems to be saying “how do you like your bike – Al., Steel, or Carbon?”

    • mrbiggs

      If your local builder can do that for $1450, hooray for your local builder. Spread the word and get his name out there. As pointed out, even Gunnar is more expensive. Weaver Cycleworks in Collingwood NJ starts at $1700 without the fork. SS options (Paragon sliders or rockers) add $175. And that’s with a six-month wait. To some, that is still preferable. Local, custom, pick your color, rocker vs PFBB or EBB, etc. But I’m shocked that you’re shocked.

  • efg

    This is sensible choice of frame tubes, and a good looking bike, but 853 hey? Another online review states … “853 tubes only in top and down tubes. The rest of the tubes are standard chromolly steel. Because the 853 is hard to shape”. Framebuilders avoid 853 in seat-tubes because it is too hard to ream post welding. So this choice of tubing makes ABSOLUTE sense from a frame-building and price-point perspective,

    But it’s unfortunate that neither the marketing words nor the Niner website make this clear. And the same “853 Butted Main Tubes” frame sticker is supplied if I make a frame entirely from the 853 tubes in my Reynolds catalogue.