What it does well: Niner is famous for its pioneering work in 29-inch wheeled mountain bikes, so it makes sense that their entry into the groad world can accommodate both 29er wheels and 700C standard road wheels. Who cares about that? We do. If you feel like riding buff singletrack, simply pull the wheels off your full suspension mountain bike, throw them on the RLT 9, and you can bust around in the drop bars like John Tomac of old. Got dirt road plans? Switch back to the road wheels. That’s how we tested this super versatile alloy bike, which also quickly converts to a bike-touring steed thanks to pannier rack mounting points. On or off trail, the RLT rides smooth and stable thanks to a lower bottom bracket height and slacker head angles—what Niner calls “fire road geometry.”
What it does poorly: Niner makes a dedicated cross bike, and the RLT 9 is not it. Keep it in the high country on lonely dirt and buffed railroad grades.
So who’s it for? As a standalone the RLT 9 is a road bike for non-roadies. As an addition to your quiver, think of it as that vital bridge between the more narrow worlds of mountain biking and road riding. 4.8 lbs. (frame & fork)