There’s dust, cold, chaos, and bikes. Bikes everywhere. Almost more bike tracks than footprints in the thick dirt of the Laguna Seca Raceway paddock, where rows of tents and more flags than the eye can count have taken over for the weekend – this is The Sea Otter Classic. It’s my first time not only to Sea Otter but to a bike expo- having gotten seriously into cycling during the quarantine this first wave of events post- pandemic is also my first wave of cycling events- period. I did my first bike race two months prior, and while there was an expo there it nowhere near compares to this ocean of logos. Being a photographer in the cycling world this weekend is a chance to connect with clients I haven’t seen in a while, touch base with connections I have prior only talked to through emails and DM’s, and hug the bejeezus out of the rad gravel ladies I photographed for ‘The Leaders of Gravel’, a series here on The Radavist.
Whoa whoa whoa. What? Last year we saw a plastic shelled prototype of Niner’s full suspension all road, the MCR 9 RDO, and this year at Sea Otter, the brand teased an updated prototype, to the shock and awe of trail shredders and roadies alike.
Niner calls the MCR 9 RDO their Magic Carpet Ride, alluding to the cushy feel that full suspension offers all-day gravel racers. Their theory is the suspension allows riders to run their tires at higher pressures, avoiding snakebite tire tears, rim damage, and less rolling resistance, all with 50mm x 27.5 clearance. Their CVA design – constant varying arc – boasts modified leverage ratios for less travel and total lockout maximizes energy on pavement climbs. The frame is made from Niner’s RDO carbon layup, with one piece forged linkages, has a removable front derailleur mounts and has full sleeve internal routing.
While this bike might not be for everyone, it is cool to see. If you’re feeling this design, let Niner know in the comments and be on the lookout for the MCR 9 RDO late 2019.
If you’re heading to Sea Otter this year, be sure to swing by the Brooks booth (135) at 11AM on Friday for a casual, two-hour, mixed surface ride. A road or a ‘cross bike will be fine and Brooks will have a select number of C13 saddles for you to test out.