First Ride Review: Niner RKT 9 RDO XC 29er race bike

Ruthlessly efficient climber that’s nimble going downhill, too

29er Cross Country
Niner is sticking to its guns — 29ers only.

Niner is sticking to its guns — 29ers only (click to enlarge).

Key Features
  • Patented CVA full-suspension design utilizing carbon compaction
  • Frame weight of 4.5 Lbs with the stiffness of Niner JET 9 RDO
  • 90mm rear travel
  • Optimized for 100mm forks
  • Custom forged 6066 alloy suspension linkage
  • Boost 148 x 12 mm rear spacing
  • Medium, large, XL have one bottle mount under down tube and one bottle mount inside triangle, S and XS have one bottle mount inside triangle
  • Can fit up to a 2.4” Tire (tire sizes vary by brand, some tires may not fit)
  • Compatible with standard 3x chain ring systems
  • Sealed cartridge suspension bearings: (8x) 26x17x5
  • Titanium frame guards

Niner RKT 9 RDO

Tech Specs
  • 73mm PF30 BB
  • Shock size: 165 x 38mm (6.5 X 1.5”) – 90mm travel (3.5”)
  • Shock mounting hardware: 21.84 X M8
  • Shock sag: 25% (which will move the o-ring 9.5mm down the shaft)
  • 30.9 Seat post, 370mm recommended
  • Dropper post compatible
  • 34.9 Seat collar
  • Direct mount front derailleur
  • 1.125” X 1.5” Tapered integrated (campy style) head tube, headset included, cane creek description: is 42/28.6 Is 52/40
  • SRAM recommended 2x chain rings: 26/39t or lower
  • SRAM 1x max chain ring clearance: 38t, 156/168mm q factor
  • Shimano XT recommended 2x chain rings: 28/40t or lower
  • XTR m9000 recommended 1x chain ring: 38 or lower

Niner RKT 9 RDO

Niner RKT 9 RDO

Niner RKT 9 RDO

About the author: Jason Sumner

An avid cyclist, Jason Sumner has been writing about two-wheeled pursuits of all kinds since 1999. He’s covered the Olympics, Tour de France, MTB world champs, and dozens of other international cycling events. He also likes to throw himself into the fray, penning first-person accounts of cycling adventures all over the globe. Sumner has also done extensive gear testing and is the author of the cycling guide book "75 Classic Rides: Colorado." When not writing or riding, the native Coloradoan can be found enjoying life with his wife Lisa and kids Cora and Tommy in and around their home in the MTB Mecca of Crested Butte.

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  • professed says:

    Very odd release for a now large bike manufacturer.

    Niner already have the excellent Jet RDO – why not tighten it up a bit if they want a WC XC bike?

    Perhaps the Jet nine is heading to 120mm travel now and a slacker HA which is really what Niner should be doing and looking at. That is the sort of XC bike most of us want these days.

    Then LLS the RIP so that it can capture some of the booming Stumpjumper 150mm 29er sales.

    There is hardly a market for something like this.

    C’mon Niner – we want you to succeed !

  • coke says:

    My local trails are very tight with lots of steep climbs, turns, and switchbacks. This bike would be a great match.

  • duder says:

    Never will understand a 100mm or less rear travel bike. Get a hardtail if thats what you are after.

    • jpre says:

      I rode an 80mm rear travel bike for 10 years. Liked it way better than my hardtail and way fewer rear flats.

    • Harry says:

      You’re implying less than 100mm rear travel travel is no different than no rear travel at all. That’s like saying if you’re going to go less than 180mm, you may as well just go with 100mm. Pretty silly comment.

  • Kuttermax says:

    I’ve got a Jet 9 RDO upgraded this year with a Fox DPS Evol shock and a RS-1 120 mm fork. The DPS Evol makes this an amazing “daily driver” handling a wide range of terrain with a much more progressive feel compared to the stock RP23. I don’t race enough to give up the comfort and confidence that I get from the small amount of additional travel.

    I suspect some of the positive atrributes that the early reviews of the RKT 9 RDO are in no small part related to the new Fox DPS that is on the bike. It likely helps compensate for the drop to 90 mm of travel from the 100 mm the Jet 9 RDO had due to the more progressive nature of the Fox DPS.

    I’m definitely curious to see what the introduction of the RKT 9 RDO means to the rest of Niner’s lineup. A new Jet 9 RDO with shorter rear chainstays would be interesting.

  • MGCan says:

    A head to head comparison against an Specialized Epic or Cannondale Scalpel would be good. Also how about some full build weights, XC folks, love to hear complete build weights.

  • I'mRight says:

    If you can’t “bomb thru rock gardens” than your xc valved FS bike will wallow thru the rocks. Then your “not meant for this shock” will blow up and your maxed out cc won’t be able to save you and you’ll wish you bought the Niner ROS instead.

  • Gator says:

    Can I run a 120mm fork on it?

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