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Niner Gravel Bikes Review

By Mark   /  Last updated - January 16, 2023   /  Gravel Bikes, Niner, Reviews

Niner bikes logo

The Niner Bicycle company is a US-based bike manufacturer founded in 2005 and the pioneer of the 29-inch wheel.

Always looking to improve their game, 2008 birthed the new Constantly Varying ARC full-suspension design and 2013 made way for its first RLT (Road Less Traveled) gravel bikes.

These Niner bikes gravel grinders are performance-driven machines perfect for riding at speed over rough terrain. The added flex that the frame provides makes for a smoother ride whilst pushing longer hours through the dust and gravel. 

With its more race-oriented geometry, designed by SolidWorks, Niner bikes are virtually tested and simulated using CATIA (computer-aided 3D interactive application) and stress analysis, making them your ultimate outdoor bike.

Several Niner gravel bicycles feature a new manufacturing process known as a ‘Carbon Compaction System’ which uses rigid internal molds to create a tighter, more consistent compaction of carbon layers, resulting in reduced resin pooling and increased strength for maximum outdoor fun.

All bikes come in a wide range of sizes and colors, perfect as both men’s and women’s gravel bikes. The frames incorporate a range of builds, from the 5-star SRAM Force AXS to the 2-star SRAM Apex, with several Shimano GRX options in between.

Niner Gravel Bikes Meanings & Terminology

  • MCR RDO – Magic Carpet Ride | Carbon Full-suspension
  • RLT RDO | Carbon
  • RLT Steel | Steel
  • RLT | Aluminum
  • RDO = Race Day Optimized
  • RLT = Road Less Traveled

Niner MCR RDO 9 

niner mcr 9 rdo full suspension gravel bike

MSRP: $4,650 – $7,700

The MCR 9 RDO is a full suspension carbon fiber version of other Niner gravel bikes, complete with CVA technology and large clearance that fits up to 700 x 50c or 650 x 2.0” tires.

The natural adaptation to the high-performance suspension allows you more comfort, control, and fun riding on previously impossible surfaces. As a 29er gravel bike with both front and rear suspension, the MCR RDO 9 is quite unique but the fundamentals have remained the same. 

The CVA suspension system provides 50mm of rear travel and is stable, supportive, and consistent, allowing you to have control in every situation. For greater flexibility, this Niner MCR full suspension gravel bike comes with a 1 x and 2 x chainring option as well as 11 x fixed mount points to attach a range of accessories. For those who like steep hills and ruthless descents, the MCR RDO 9 is ideal as it is very well tuned for extreme handling.

  • RDO carbon fiber
  • CVA suspension
  • Suspension lockout – front and rear
  • 11x fixed mount point
  • 1x & 2x chainring options
  • Clearance for 700x50c & 650b x 2.0″

Niner RLT 9 RDO

niner rlt 9 rdo 3 star rival gravel bike

MSRP: $4,200 – 6,000

The latest version of the Niner RLT line is the RLT 9 RDO, a Niner carbon gravel bike that reduces weight whilst keeping the frame strong, allowing for longer excursions through loose gravel. The RDO is more race-orientated than the MRC as the reach is longer and the stack taller, plus it has an internally routed front brake hose for extra sleekness.

Like other Niner gravel bikes, it has extensive accessory mount points and wide clearance up to 700x50c & 650b x 2.0″. Looking at the financial aspect, some riders may feel the price is a bit steep, which is understandable. However, you are paying for top-quality components and minimum weight so if you are willing and able to splash out, the Niner RLT 9 RDO is perfect for the adventure junky looking for speed.

  • Internally routed front brake hose
  • Clearance: 700x50c & 650b x 2.0″
  • 26x mount points

Niner RLT 9 Steel

niner rlt 9 1 star tiagra bike

Rugged & dependable, fire road geometry

MSRP: from $1,650

This steel version of the Niner RLT 9 series is a rugged and dependable gravel bike built for the purist. With its RDO carbon fork and Reynolds 853 steel frame, it brushes off dings and scratches like there’s no tomorrow. Unlike other frame tube junctions weakened by heat, the Reynolds 853 is strengthened after TIG welding allowing for thinner and lighter frame tubes keeping it strong and very durable. The combination of a carbon fork and steel frame allows for a smooth ride regardless of the duration. 

From the bikepacking-enthusiast to the steel-connoisseur hitting trails on the weekend, this Niner RLT 9 steel gravel bike is a workhorse built to handle heavyweight. Like other RLT 9s, it features 26 rack- and cargo mounts, ensuring the heavy loads seem lighter. The internally routed carbon fork also has an internal wiring and fitment system perfect for a hub light, allowing you to cycle safely after dark. In the long run, you also save money on repairs as the steel frame comes with a lifetime warranty.

  • Reynolds 853 steel frame
  • Niner RDO carbon fork
  • Lifetime warranty of frame
  • Biocentric bottom bracket
  • Internally routed front brake hose

Niner RLT 9

MSRP: from $1,600

The aluminum Niner RLT 9 gravel bike is mostly identical to the steel frame RLT 9 design except that it’s, well, aluminum and slightly more affordable. The geometry is a bit more focused towards better durability, with longer chainstays, lower biocentric bottom bracket height (which fits any geared or single-speed drivetrain), and slacker headtube angles. 

As with other models, the aluminum Niner RLT has wider clearance than ever before, so you can choose tires of up to 700 x 50c or 650b x 2”. With more rubber on the road, larger tires give you better stopping and turning power for improved safety and more fun in the dirt.  As carbon intrinsically dampens vibration better than aluminum, the RDO carbon fork allows for a smoother, longer, and more vertically compliant ride.

  • 6061 aluminum
  • RDO carbon fork
  • Internally routed front brake hose
  • Clearance for 650b x 2″, 700x50c
  • 26x threaded mounts

Frequently Asked Questions

Are Niners bikes good?

Niner Bikes is a long-running, popular bike company that produces very good quality bikes for on- and off-road cycling.  In 2011, the Niner bike company was recognized by Forbes and listed as one of America’s Most Promising Companies. Since then, their quality manufacturing and impressive designs have not stopped delivering excellent rides. With so many years of trials and triumphs under their belt, they seem to be dedicated in their approach to continue producing better quality bikes. 

Who makes Niner bikes?  

Following a difficult financial situation in 2018, the Colorado-based bike company was purchased by UWHK Ltd. who also owns Ohio-based Huffy. They are designed in the Solidworks program, manufactured in Asia, and sold in over 40 countries worldwide, with over 300 dealers across the US alone. 

Is Niner a good bike brand?

Despite some financial troubles and the recent change in ownership, Niner has managed to keep the brand alive and well. The new owners promised to continue delivering quality bikes and as we can see now, they are still living up to the Niner tradition. It remains an excellent bicycle brand with consistently high sales and happy customers choosing to ride Niner bikes into the dusty trails of their dreams.

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