Niner is of course best known for its growing line of 29-inch mountain bikes, but the latest few products from the California/Colorado brand expand the boundaries of what a 700c wheel can be. This spring we rode and enjoyed the aluminum RLT 9, a cyclocross/gravel/adventure road bike and really enjoyed its versatility (watch for the full review in Issue #31). Now we’ve just got our hands on the BSB 9 RDO, a carbon fiber sister to the RLT that puts speed ahead of practicality.
Constructed entirely of carbon fiber, the BSB 9 RDO is built to mountain bike strength standards, so it should not trouble holding up to whatever “road” you can throw at it. The fork is derivative of Niner’s popular carbon mountain bike fork, with a carbon tapered steerer tube and 15mm Maxle. While many disc brake road and cyclocross bikes have moved to a thru-axle in the rear as well, the BSB 9 RDO sports a 135mm quick release dropout, chosen for its lower weight and greater adaptability to existing wheels, according to Niner.
In between you’ll find a PF30 bottom bracket shell and dual bottle cage mounts, but no fender eyelets. When you’re going full speed you can’t worry about getting wet. The frame is compatible with both cable and electronic shifting via internal cable routing, while the external brake lines can of course handle hydraulic and mechanical brakes.
Like most Niners, the name itself is an acronym, in this case it’s Blood, Sweat and Beers, three of the key ingredients to any successful ‘cross race. The RDO stands for Race Day Optimized, Niner-speak for lighter weight and higher performance versions of its products—though to be clear, there is no “standard” BSB 9. It is available in six sizes from 47 to 62.
One lovely touch is the YAWYD (You Are What You Drink) top cap which lets you proudly display your affinity for your favorite brewery.
The BSB 9 is available in black/red pictured here and a black/white/iceberg blue. You can pick up a frame/fork/headset and Maxle for $2,299. A 2-Star build with Shimano 105 is $2,999. A 3-Star build with SRAM Rival 22 Hyrdo is $3,499. The 4-Star Ultegra build is $4,399. Finally the 5-Star Ultegra Di2 hydraulic build with carbon wheels pictured here retails for $6,499.
A note on spec: the tires pictured here are not stock. I swapped out the stock Schwalbe Rocket Ron cyclocross tires for a set of 35c slicks so I could spend some time on the road before ‘cross season starts. Watch for some first ride impressions soon at bicycletimesmag.com and a complete review in an upcoming issue.