Niner has updated both the RLT 9 and RLT 9 Steel.  Starting with such solid bikes, it would have been easy for Niner to rest on their laurels and leave those bikes as is.  Add a new paint scheme and call it “new.”  But that’s not Niner.  They have updated both the alloy RLT 9 and the RLT 9 Steel to make them even better adventure machines.  The alloy gets a 142×12 rear thru axle and both receive a new fork.  The fork has a 15mm thru axle and has rack attachments.  See below for even more details, and browse here to check out my long-term review of the Niner RLT 9 Steel.
As our daily lives grow increasingly hectic, more and more people are looking for adventure outside the beltway, and the RLT is all about taking a broader approach to road riding and seeking the Road Less Traveled.SteamboatRide_150912__2058 The RLT 9 blurs the distinctions between road and off-road riding, finding its niche instead in the undefined world of the all-rounder. With a low bottom bracket it hugs the ground like a road bike, but with disc brakes, a longer wheelbase and clearance for bigger tires, it confidently goes where others cannot. If what you seek is an all terrain road bike that pairs the wonder of exploration with the responsive ride of a race bike, then the RLT 9 is your match. The light yet robust aluminum alloy tubing provides the ideal platform to turn power into speed. It will never shy away from the race day challenges of a gravel grinder or an occasional cyclocross crusade, and will deliver you across the line with the spirited ride of a winning thoroughbred.SteamboatRide_150912__3659 While other frame materials fall in and out of favor, steel stands the test of time. The classic comfort and traditional mystique of steel begs for the romance of the road, and the new road is the old road, a dusty unmaintained byway that time forgot. The RLT 9 Steel is equipped to savor this experience, easily mounting panniers and racks for camping while taking direction only from your lust for adventure. It seeks the purity that once was cycling and asks only that you stay your own course. The RLT 9 Steel will follow your lead. Whichever you may choose to suit your own sense of adventure, the RLT 9 will steadfastly support you in all your endeavors. Inspired by the notion that not all who wander are lost, and built to you wherever your whim might take you, the RLT sets no boundaries. Instead, it asks you to find your Road Less Traveled. DESIGN NIN_RLT_Frame_Green_150820_3979-Edit (1) Designed with durability and comfort in mind, the RLT’s frame is built with specific tube shapes and features. By hydroforming the tubes, we can create shapes that encourage compliance in one plane while maintaining stiffness in another. A forged proprietary through axle dropout enhances pedaling efficiency and handling while also providing exacting disc alignment to the chainstay, post mounted brake caliper. The seat tube is sized for a 27.2mm seatpost, to further take the edge off rough road feedback, especially when used with our ultra-compliant RDO Seatpost. NINER CARBON FORK NIN_RLT_Frame_Green_150820_3973 (1) The RLT of course makes use of our world-renowned carbon forks. Built to stand up to the abuses of offroad riding, the RLT fork is likewise equipped for through axle use for the ultimate in steering precision, but it’s carbon layup is refined to quiet the high frequency chatter more likely encountered by the rough road and unpaved rider.

16 Comments

  1. Any idea how they differ in weight? I would probably get the steel but was wondering how much lighter the aluminum is?

  2. Any clue on if they’ll sell the new forks? I have a 1st gen(?) RLT Steel and would love the option of a front rack. These guys made a great bike even better.

    • Noah A Hopson

      I just completed a 320 mile unsupported tour with the 1st gen RLT Steel and was able to mount a Soma mini front rack using the lower M5 fender mount holes on the fork dropouts and a mount bent around to the M6 hole in the back of the fork.

      This configuration obviously limits your weight capacity on the front of the bike, but I had about 15lb up there and don’t think you would really want any more anyways just for low speed handling. It also limits your front tire size, but my tour was mostly pavement with little gravel and I used 700×32 Lickskillet tires with no problem and could have gone quite a bit larger (40 maybe?) without risking anything.

      For additional support I added hook and loop straps from the handlebars to the rear stop on the front rack, but I never had any issues with the rack loosening up or moving too much.

  3. The BikeRumor post on this showed the Alu to be 1 pound less.

  4. Just checking something. The article says the alloy gets the 12×142 rear axle. Does that change also happen to the steel version?

  5. I’m really trying to figure which to get. 6’2 and 210 lbs. I still get the feeling the steelie is the better choice, even for 2-5 hour adventures, and all around riding. I have the Niner Jet 9 in aluminum and my experience says you want the compliance with steel. Is it worth the extra $500?

  6. Hi Alex, bought a Niner RLT earlier in the season mostly to commute from home to work and back… Large chunks of the commute traverse rail-to-trails with varying surfaces, so the rugged niner is perfect for that function.

    However, with about a 20 mile commute one way, a bag pack simply isn’t cutting it anymore. I’m looking for a pannier that will fit the RLT and was wondering what brand of pannier you have installed on the green RLT 9 pictured in your review or if you have any recommendations. Any guidance you can provide would be greatly appreciated.

    Cheers

  7. Can I use this bike to cross Israel on the roads? it’s 325 mills , I like to do it as fast as possible the goal is 24 hours,

  8. Does anyone know the rack shown on the Green RLT at the top of the article?

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