Niner’s 2023 ‘Race Rocket’ RKT 9 RDO is designed for cross-country courses and burlier trails

Niner has announced its new RKT 9 RDO cross-country mountain bike, with 100mm of suspension travel front and rear.

With the new bike, the brand says it has focused on improving the RKT’s agility, as well as its versatility.

The updated design features the brand’s own CVA twin-link suspension system, as well as updated longer, lower and slacker geometry with a flip chip and improved cable routing.

We’ve been expecting an update to the RKT platform because it was the last Niner bike to remain without an updated frame design.

Tea outgoing RKT 9 RDO was offered in a cross-country ‘RS’ flavor with 100mm of suspension travel at the front and 90mm at the back, as well as a souped-up model with 120mm of suspension travel up front.

Niner appears to be consolidating both models with this update and says the new RKT 9 RDO can also be used off the race course for burlier riding.

Pricing has not been made available yet, but Niner says it will be “similar” to the outgoing model.

The RKT will be available in ‘Blood Red / Silver’ and ‘Nude Carbon / Silver’ colourways. Availability is expected to be from September.

frame technology

Niner says the new RKT 9 RDO is more versatile than ever.
Niner

Other than offering a 27.5in wheel option on the RIP 9 RDO enduro bike, as its name suggests, the brand has long been a stalwart for 29in wheels.

The RKT 9 RDO is made from Niner’s own ‘Race Day Optimized’ (RDO) carbon fiber, which the brand claims offers a balance between lightweight, stiffness, strength and compliance.

Niner claims a 2,267g frame weight in a medium with the rear shock and seat clamp installed, but without the rear axle and headset.

The RKT’s maximum tire clearance has been boosted to 29×2.5in, up from 2.3in.

Easy, right?
Niner

The RKT can accept a bottle cage inside the main triangle, as well as under the down tube with a secondary mounting point.

There are also mounts on the top of the top tube for extra food or tools, or as the brand jokingly suggests in the press kit, “supplemental oxygen”.

The rear post-mount disc brake caliper is now fitted on the non-driveside chainstay rather than the top of the non-driveside seatstay of its predecessor.

The RKT now also incorporates a ribbed protector on the driveside chainstay to silence chain slap, compared to the flat-profiled protector of its predecessor. Molded frame protection is also used under the bottom bracket junction.

On that note, the RKT uses a 73mm BSA threaded bottom bracket for mechanical ease and moves to SRAM’s universal derailleur hanger (UDH) standard.

Not just for the race course

Niner claims the RKT 9 RDO is now more capable both on and off the race track.
Niner

While Niner explains the RKT 9 RDO was designed for cross country racing efficiency, it says it’s more than suitable for tackling harder terrain, too (although it’s not a downcountry bike).

The RKT 9 RDO is compatible with a 120mm suspension fork and the brand says you’re welcome to spec a shorter stem and wider bar.

Niner tells us the RKT can accept a dropper seatpost (all of the builds with the exception of the entry-level 2-star feature rigid seatposts).

There is a flip chip at the lower shock mount that slackens the head tube and seat tube angles by half a degree.

cable routing

The cables run internally.
Niner

As with most of Niner’s bikes, the RKT 9 RDO now features the brand’s full-sleeve internal cable routing. Niner has also resisted fully integrating its cables through the stem and steerer tube, as we are seeing on many new cross country race bike releases.

This sees molded tubes inside the frame, so when you route a cable through its designated port in the down tube, it will simply pop out at the other side, without any ‘fishing’ required.

There is even full-sleeve routing to account for a dropper post. The brand includes blanking plugs for any redundant holes.

Kinematics suspension

The RKT 9 RDO uses Niner’s CVA suspension design.
Niner

Like Niner’s recent full-suspension releases, such as the JET 9 RDO and WFO 9 RDO, the RKT 9 RDO inherits a lot of the same technologies, only in a 100mm-travel package.

The RKT 9 RDO uses Niner’s CVA design, a short dual-link, four-bar rear suspension system that is unique to the brand.

The brand says the CVA suspension is “made to send every ounce of thrust directly to the rear wheel”.

Like its other bikes, there is now a sag indicator window on the rocker link pivot to make setup easier. The brand recommends aiming for 25 per cent.

Niner adds it is using a trunnion shock mount for “smooth articulation and added stiffness”.

3-star builds upwards feature remote suspension lockouts front and rear, and as with the rest of its bikes, Niner uses Enduro Max Black Oxide pivot bearings for improved longevity.

Niner RKT 9 RDO geometry

The geometry has been brought up to date.
Niner

The RKT 9 RDO is available in five sizes from XS to XL.

It features a 68-degree head tube angle in its high-mode and 75-degree seat tube angle. The reach is 440mm in a size medium.

This is pretty much in line with other cross-country bikes, although the reach is on the shorter side.

Switching the flip chip to its low mode slackens the head tube angle to 67.6 degrees and the seat tube angle to 74.6 degrees. The reach reduces to 436mm.

Compared to Canyon’s Lux World Cup, which doesn’t feature a flip chip, that bike has a steeper 68.5-degree head tube angle, identical 75-degree seat tube angle and longer 450mm reach in a size medium.

Specialized’s Epic is more progressive with a 67.5-degree head tube angle, 75.5-degree seat tube angle and 445mm reach in a size medium.

Although the RKT 9 RDO’s geometry doesn’t seem radical on paper, the CVA suspension system should also play a significant part in its ride feel.

Niner RKT 9 RDO specs

Niner RKT 9 RDO 2-Star SRAM SX Eagle

Niner RKT 9 RDO 2-Star SRAM SX Eagle.
Niner

  • Forks: Fox 34 Float Rhythm GRIP EVOL, 44mm offset
  • Shock: Fox Float X Performance EVOL 2-position with adjust
  • Drivetrain: SRAM SX Eagle with X1 Eagle crankset
  • Brakes: SRAM Level
  • wheelsets: Niner Alloy 30mm
  • Price: TBC

Niner RKT 9 RDO 3-Star SRAM GX Eagle

Niner RKT 9 RDO 3-Star SRAM GX Eagle.
Niner

  • Forks: Fox 34 Stepcast Float Factory EVOL, FIT4, Kashima Coat, 44mm offset
  • Shock: Fox Float DPS Factory EVOL, 3 position with adjust, Kashima Coat
  • Drivetrain: SRAM GX Eagle with SRAM Descendant 7K crankset
  • Brakes: SRAM G2 R
  • wheelsets: DT Swiss XM 1900 Spline 25mm
  • Price: TBC

Niner RKT 9 RDO 3-Star SRAM GX Eagle AXS LTD

Niner RKT 9 RDO 3-Star SRAM GX Eagle AXS LTD.
Niner

  • Forks: Fox 34 Stepcast Float Factory EVOL, FIT4, Kashima Coat, 44mm offset
  • Shock: Fox Float DPS Factory EVOL, 3 position with adjust, Kashima Coat
  • Drivetrain: SRAM GX Eagle AXS with SRAM Descendant 7K crankset
  • Brakes: SRAM G2 R
  • wheelsets: DT Swiss XM 1900 Spline 25mm
  • Price: TBC

Niner RKT 9 RDO 4-Star Shimano XT

Niner RKT 9 RDO 4-Star Shimano XT.
Niner

  • Forks: Fox 34 Stepcast Float Factory EVOL, FIT4, Kashima Coat, 44mm offset
  • Shock: Fox Float DPS Factory EVOL, 3 position with adjust, Kashima Coat
  • Drivetrain: Shimano XT M8100 with RaceFace Next R carbon crankset
  • Brakes: Shimano XT M8120
  • wheelsets: DT Swiss XR 1700 Spline 25mm
  • Price: TBC

Niner RKT 9 RDO 5-Star SRAM XO1 Eagle

Niner RKT 9 RDO 5-Star SRAM XO1 Eagle.
Niner

  • Forks: Fox 34 Stepcast Float Factory EVOL, FIT4, Kashima Coat, 44mm offset
  • Shock: Fox Float DPS Factory EVOL, 3 position with adjust, Kashima Coat
  • Drivetrain: SRAM XO1 Eagle with X1 Eagle carbon crankset
  • Brakes: SRAM G2 RSC
  • wheelsets: DT Swiss XRC 1501 30mm
  • Price: TBC

Niner RKT 9 RDO 5-Star SRAM XO1 Eagle AXS LTD

Niner RKT 9 RDO 5-Star SRAM XO1 Eagle AXS LTD.
Niner

  • Forks: Fox 34 Stepcast Float Factory EVOL, FIT4, Kashima Coat, 44mm offset
  • Shock: Fox Float DPS Factory EVOL, 3 position with adjust, Kashima Coat
  • Drivetrain: SRAM XO1 Eagle AXS with X1 Eagle carbon crankset and XX1 chain
  • Brakes: SRAM G2 Ultimate
  • wheelsets: DT Swiss XRC 1200 Spline
  • Price: TBC

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.