August 8, 2022

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First look: 2023 Niner RKT 9 RDO – XC Race Ready

First look: 2023 Niner RKT 9 RDO - XC Race Ready
The RKT 9 RDO is a custom cross-country race bike from Niner, a carbon-framed machine built for speed and efficiency above all else. For 2023, it underwent the longest and fastest tackle, although its wheel is still firmly established on the traditional cross-country side of the spectrum.

Niner says the bike has a ‘trail-country’ (that’s the shaky term, not my one) features like space for 2.5-inch tires, a flip-chip to cushion the head angle, and a short seat tube that works well with dropper posts. Those are all nice things, but at the end of the day, the RKT is an XC bike, with 100mm of travel, fork and shocks, and geometry numbers that demonstrate its sharpened handling intentions.

RKT 9 RDO . Details

• Wheel Size: 29 inches
• Carbon structure
• Rear suspension travel: 100mm
• Fits forks up to 120mm
• Head tube angle 68 or 67.6 degrees
• 430mm chain brackets
• Lifetime Warranty
• Price and Availability: TBD / September 2022
ninerbikes.com

Frame details

The shape of the RKT carbon frame is more elegant than its predecessor—there’s no longer a strut extending from the seat tube to the top tube, and it has a more modern, lower profile. It is possible to turn on the dropper function, but it is interesting that the amenities are found only in the Niner two-star construction kit – all other constructions use a fixed saw. These higher builds may not have droppers, but they do have remote locking for the fork and shock for riders who want the bike’s 100mm suspension to fully fit.

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There are bottle cage mounting screws on the top and bottom of the down tube, and other screws in the top tube for additional accessories. This is also where you’ll find the Niner logo “Pedal, damn it” printed underneath the sheer coat. I know it’s meant to inspire, but everything this saying does inspires me to figure out how to cover it up…

According to Niner, the medium-sized frame with shocks and seat collar (but no hub or headset) weighs in at 5 pounds (2.27 kg). The full weight of the bike for a 5-star average build XO1 AXS LTD is said to be around 23.5 lbs (10.7 kg).

Other details include a threaded bottom bracket, Enduro MAX Black Oxide pivot bearings, a SRAM universal derailleur linkage, and a retraction indicator printed on the swing-link hub.

Engineering

With the 100mm fork, the RKT’s head angle is located at either 68 or 67.6 degrees depending on the flip-chip orientation, which corresponds to a seat tube angle of 75 or 74.6 degrees. It is possible to run a 120mm fork, although this will create an even tube angle to the seat, which can make riders feel like they are sitting too far from the rear axle. Don’t forget that Niner has the Jet 9 RDO in its lineup, a 120mm bike longer and faster than the most authentic racing machine.

Reach numbers range from 405mm on the XS up to 497mm on the XL. The chainstay length is the same across all five frame sizes, at 430mm relatively short.

building kits

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There will be a total of six different build groups to choose from, starting with the two-star SRAM SX Eagle groupset and moving up to the five-star SRAM XO1 AXS LTD group. Pricing hasn’t been announced yet, but it’s not expected to differ significantly from 2022 prices. That would put the 2-star version at $4,399, and the 5-star AXS at $9,999. The frameworks and building kits are expected to be available next September.