New Air 9 RDO from Niner Bikes – A Racing Thoroughbred


New Photos Added (courtesy of ProBikeSupply)

Introduction by Francis Cebedo:

The Niner Air 9 RDO picks up the baton from Air 9 Carbon and delivers a sleeker and lighter bike.  The Air 9 RDO is half a pound lighter and tips the scales at about 2.5 lbs for the frame. The tubes are smaller, suggesting a more comfortable and compliant ride. The frame still has huge tubes compared to the competition and it is one of the best looking frames in the growing field of carbon hardtail 29ers.

At $2099, it is pricey but we have no doubt Niner will have a hard time keeping this exotic bike in stock.


The first 50 AIR 9 RDO Limited Edition XTR bikes will ship in March. Frame-only sales will be available in later shipments.

AIR 9 RDO Limited Edition XTR Kit

Frame: AIR 9 RDO – Licorice black or NINER green
Fork: RockShox Sid XX World Cup 29 – 15mm maxle, tapered, Licorice Black or Niner Green
Wheelset: American Classic Race 29
Tires: Schwalbe Racing Ralph 2.25 Evo TL Ready
Brakes: Shimano XTR Trail M988
Brake Rotors: Shimano XT SM-RT86, 180/160Mm Rotors
Brake Levers: Shimano XTR Trail M985
R/Shifter: Shimano XTR M980
F/Shifter: Shimano XTR M980
R/Derailleur: Shimano XTR M985 GS Shadow Plus
F/Derailleur: Shimano XTR M986
Cassette: Shimano XTR M980 11-36
Chain: Shimano XTR M980
Crank Set: Race Face Next 2x10s 38/26
Bottom Bracket: Race Face w/ Sram PF30 adapter
Saddle: WTB Volt Team, Titanium Rail
Handlebar: Niner RDO Flat Top, Red or Niner Green
Stem: Niner RDO Stem, Red or Niner Green
Seat Post: Niner RDO Seat Post, Red or Niner Green
Grips: Ergon GA1 EVO

“First 50” AIR 9 RDO Limited Edition XTR Bike: $6199.00
AIR 9 RDO Frame: $2099.00

The Air 9 RDO is a thoroughbred – a no-nonsense instrument built for speed and performance. An extension of our form-follows-function philosophy, no curve is out of place on the newest Niner. And while looks are important, true attraction begins as soon as you push on the pedals and the Air 9 RDO goes flat out.

Refined Design

The Air 9 RDO is specifically intended as a geared racing bike. With this in mind we referred to the purposeful lines of the Air 9 Carbon but reduced diameters and trimmed profiles throughout.

  • Compared to the CYA bottom bracket shell of the Air 9 Carbon, the smaller PF30 shell of the Air 9 RDO suggested smaller junctions and negated the need for an alloy insert.
  • The rear brake mount is tucked inside the curving stays to distribute twisting forces evenly, permitting smaller caliper mounts and decreased wall thicknesses.
  • Even the headset races in the headtube are molded carbon – we shaved grams wherever we found them.

The net result? A 1125g Niner frame that is going to knock your socks off.

Tapered Headtube

The benefits of a tapered headtube aren’t just for riders of long travel bikes. XC racers and riders also see significant advantages, which is why we incorporate the technology in all our new frames. By using the newest tapered steerer suspension forks, we create the stiffest front end possible – leading to increased steering precision as you carve a corner and descend toward the finish line.

The integrated headset used in the Air 9 RDO is light and simple. Installation, cleaning and maintenance take seconds rather than minutes, a boon to anyone who queues up at the starting line without a team mechanic.

Internal Shifter Routing

New aluminum headbadge designed for full-length housing simplifies cable changes and protects cables from the elements.

PF30 Bottom Bracket

There are several BB standards to choose from – for our dedicated geared only race bike we like PF30. It’s compatible with any BB30 crankset and the bearing cups are delightfully easy to install. The oversized 30mm spindle is light and resists the torque of even the mightiest Ninerds. Oversized bearings spin longer and smoother between overhauls. The plastic cups of the PF30 BB system don’t require a machined aluminum bottom bracket shell insert, allowing a minimalist carbon construction.

Internal Shifter Routing

New aluminum headbadge designed for full-length housing simplifies cable changes and protects cables from the elements.

Real World Weight Savings

Is it lighter than the Air 9 Carbon? Yes, quite a bit. The Air 9 RDO averages 1125g for a Medium frame (without seat collar or protective downtube tape). That’s over a half-pound less than its brother. If getting there as quickly as possible is your game, you will want to throw a leg over the Air 9 RDO.


The first 50 frames are available as a special edition XTR bike with matching Sid World Cup fork and components. The Air 9 RDO will later be available with standard Niner buildkits or as a frame only.

Specifications & Compatibility:

  • 73mm BB width
  • PF30 BB adaptable to threaded via adapters
  • Not compatible with aftermarket EBB systems
  • 31.6mm seat post size
  • 34.9mm front derailleur size, high mount bottom pull
  • 34.9mm seat clamp size
  • 1.125”-1.5” taper head tube with integrated (Campy style) headset (FSA headset included) Cane Creek standard description: IS42/28.6|IS52/40
  • Small frame has one bottle mount inside the front triangle
  • Medium, Large and XL have two bottle mounts inside the front triangle
  • Internal shifter routing for full-length housing.
  • Replaceable derailleur hanger
  • Titanium chain drop and chain suck protection pieces
  • Protective 3M tape under DT
  • Integrated aluminum head badge for internal, full-housing cable routing
  • 135mm QR rear spacing
  • Can fit up to a 2.4” tire (tire size varies by brand, some tires may not fit)
  • Compatible with standard 3x chainring systems
  • SRAM recommended 2x front chainring configs: 26/39 or lower
  • SHIMANO recommended 2x front chainring configs: 28/40 or lower

About the author: Francis Cebedo

The founder of mtbr and roadbikereview, Francis Cebedo believes that every cyclist has a lot to teach and a lot to learn. "Our websites are communal hubs for sharing cycling experiences, trading adventure stories, and passing along product information and opinions." Francis' favorite bike is the last bike he rode, whether it's a dirt jumper, singlespeed, trail bike, lugged commuter or ultralight carbon road steed. Indeed, Francis loves cycling in all its forms and is happiest when infecting others with that same passion. Francis also believes that IPA will save America.

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