Money where it matters: Niner has plenty of price options, all of
which put the bling in the right places. This four-star build has a full
SRAM X01 build kit with Fox Kashima-coated suspension.
A new approach: The RKT 9 RDO uses a new geometry
that includes Boost spacing and a steeper head angle.
Even though this bike comes stock with 100 millimeters
of travel, the RKT will take a 120-millimeter fork for those
looking for a light trailbike.
Climbing: When it comes to cross-country race bikes, climbing ability is paramount, so we spent plenty of time exercising
our lungs on the steepest and longest of climbs. There are a few
bikes out there in this category that climb well independent of their
suspension, but the RKT relied heavily on the shock setting to
determine just how fast the climb would be. It’s refreshing to ride
a suspension platform that performs exactly the way the designers
say it will.
In the Open mode, the rear linkage was active, but when fully
locked out the rear triangle stiffened up and had hardtail characteristics. We did notice just how stiff the frame and rear triangle
were when we stood up out of the pedals and cranked hard.
Descending: While races are generally won on the climbs,
descending is arguably just as important, as it keeps you in a
competitive position. With the suspension completely open, the
CVA was smooth and soaked up the trail while the fork worked its
magic. On rolling singletrack, we found ourselves using the Trail
setting on the shock, just to give the bike a little extra efficiency.
The Descend mode works well for wide-open fast sections; however, given that modern XC courses are loaded with steep, punchy
climbs, riders may need to tap into a little extra something in the
TRICKS, TIPS, UPGRADES?
This is a four-star build from Niner, so there are models a few
steps above it, but at this level riders are getting a top-of-the-
Ride it how you want: Just because this is a
cross-country race bike doesn’t mean you can’t
have fun. Send it, whip it—just ride hard and
have fun in the name of the game with the RKT.