First Look: 2023 Niner RKT 9 RDO – XC Race Ready
Niner do say that the bike has ‘trail-country’ (that’s their cringe-inducing term, not mine) features like room for 2.5” tires, a flip-chip to slacken 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 shock lockouts, and geometry numbers that make its sharp-handling intentions clear.
•Wheel size: 29″
• Rear suspension travel: 100mm
• Fits fork up to 120mm
• 68 or 67.6-degree head tube angle
• 430mm chainstays
• Lifetime warranty
• Price & availability: TBD / September 2022
The shape of the RKT’s carbon frame is much sleeker than its predecessor – there’s no longer a brace running from the seat tube to the top tube, and it has a more modern, low slung look. It is possible to run a dropper post, but interestingly enough that amenity is only found on Niner’s 2-star build kit – all of the other builds use a fixed post. Those higher end builds may not have droppers, but they do have a remote lockout for the fork and shock for riders who want to completely firm up the bike’s 100mm of suspension.
There are bottle cage mounting bolts on the top and bottom of the down tube, and two more bolts on the top tube for additional accessories. That’s also where you’ll find Niner’s ‘pedal, damn it’ slogan printed underneath the clearcoat. I know it’s supposed to be inspirational, but all that saying does is inspire me to figure out how to cover it up…
According to Niner, a size medium frame with shock and seat collar (but no axle or headset) is 5 lb (2.27 kg). The complete bike weight for a medium 5-Star XO1 AXS LTD build is said to be around 23.5 lb (10.7 kg).
Other details include a threaded bottom bracket, Enduro MAX Black Oxide pivot bearings, SRAM’s universal derailleur hanger, and a sag indicator printed on the rocker link pivot.
With a 100mm fork, the RKT’s head angle sits at either 68 or 67.6-degrees depending on the flip chip orientation, which corresponds with a seat tube angle of 75- or 74.6-degrees. It is possible to run a 120mm fork, although that will create an even slacker seat tube angle, which could have riders feeling like they’re sitting pretty far over the rear axle. Don’t forget, Niner does have the Jet 9 RDO in their lineup, a 120mm trail bike that’s longer and slacker than this more purebred race machine.
Reach numbers range from 405mm on the XS up to 497mm on an XL. The chainstay length is the same on all five frame sizes, at a relatively short 430mm.
There will be a total of six different build kits to choose from, starting with the 2-Star SRAM SX Eagle kit and going all the way up to the 5-Star SRAM XO1 AXS LTD kit. Prices haven’t been announced yet, but they’re not expected to be dramatically different from 2022’s prices. That would put the 2-Star build at $4,399 USD, and the 5-Star AXS as $9,999. The frames and build kits are expected to be available this September.