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Griff

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Reply with quote  #1 
I am thinking about purchasing a Niner RLT Steel frame.   Most of the reviews are positive.  But, you never know about the stuff you see on the bike review sites.  Anyone have good or bad experience with this bike?   



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tdilf

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Reply with quote  #2 
I took a quick test spin on the RLT aluminum and steel. Very nice geo and overall feel on both. In the short distance I could not tell the difference between the two except for one short hill climb where I felt the extra weight of the steel version. I still may end up getting an RLT if I can find a good deal.
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Griff

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Reply with quote  #3 
thanks for the info.  I was thinking similar thoughts about the aluminum frame.  Put the savings from the frame into the wheel set and groupo.     
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RobF

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Reply with quote  #4 

I just pulled my steel RLT apart to put the parts on a Rodeo Labs frame, but I ran it as both a gravel bike (DK, Land Run, etc), road bike, and loaded for bikepacking. for the last two years.  The steel rides great; I finished a 21-hour gravel ride last year tired, but not very sore.  When I test rode an aluminum version on rough gravel I definitely felt the difference.

The paint got pretty beat up, but I expect that would have happened with anything I put through the rides I did.

Do you have any specific questions I can answer?

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Griff

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Reply with quote  #5 
RobF.  Good information.   Most of my gravel rides will be in the 2 to 4 hour range.   Comfort is the most important aspect.  But, I don't want to swing to far after comfort and end up with a slow slog of a bike.   
Did you have any issues with the RLT's bottom bracket?    I've heard some gripes about it.    
Niner's website says it will handle up to 1.75" tire.  What was the largest you ever used?   
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chas

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Reply with quote  #6 
This guy has lots of info on his RLT steel, vs carbon cyclocross vs carbon RLT RDO.

Short answer - he liked the steel, but preferred his cyclocross bike (Nothing specific stood out in his long video of why).  Since then he has been riding the Carbon RLT RDO, and seems to really love that bike.

If the steel fits your needs (ride quality, emphasis of comfort and backpacking over ability to sprint fast), it may be what you want.

check out his channel:
Niner RLT9 Steel Review -  Clint Gibbs




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Griff

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Reply with quote  #7 
That is an informative review.  Thanks for posting that.   Kinda makes a guy want a carbon frame now.    
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chas

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Reply with quote  #8 
I know, right?  First I thought, I would definitely want a cross bike.  But he makes a good argument for the carbon.

I like steel.  It deadens road buzz.   If I regularly put down 500-1000 watts, its going to feel slow.  If I do a steady 200 watts, its going to be fine - although on really long rides the weight does tend to wear me out a little.  Still, if you are going to hand a lot of bags off the bike, the steel is going to be the way to go.

People whine about the "durability" of carbon.  My '94 carbon mountain bike is still a great mountain/gravel bike - and I even threw it down the highway at 80mph once (that was hard to watch).   Yes, the carbon does chip and can wear if something hard rubs against it repeatedly.  
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Leicaman

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Reply with quote  #9 
Hi there
I have an RLT steel. Really like the bike. It’s a bit of a tank, especially with the build I have but it’s really nice to ride. I’ve got some MTB wheels on it at the moment with 38mm schwalbe g-one tyres and they are sluggish compared to my road bike but that’s to be expected. I just ordered some Hunt Mason Wheels today so I’m hoping this will liven up the ride a little (saving around 800g for the wheel/tyre combo).

Here is a video of my built



And here is a video of it going on a diet



On bikepacking trips it is awesome, especially with the WTB byways on. It also performs really well on the Japanese fireroads in the mountains.
Speaking of carbon, I went from a Canyon ultimate SLX (around 6kg) to two steel bikes. A custom Field Cycles road bike and this RLT. I don’t regret going steel for one moment.

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hgibbs

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Reply with quote  #10 
I figure I would chime in this thread. Having owned the aluminum, steel and now the carbon I can give you my opinion. The aluminum is good value, light and fast. However it is nowhere near as comfortable as the steel or carbon. The steel bike is phenomenal and you can't go wrong with it. It is very comfortable with great geometry for long rides. The only time I really noticed it being heavy is when riding on Fast group rides. That's where I preferred my cyclocross bike. I ended up selling the steel bike and only using my cyclocross race bike because this steel was only a little bit more comfortable than my carbon cyclocross bike. All was well until I test Road the carbon rlt in Colorado. That bike is actually a bit more comfortable than the steel bike and is fine on fast group rides. It really has all the riding characteristics that you would want. Bottom line if you can swing it go for the carbon RLT, if not the steel is a great bike and you won't be disappointed. Here's my long-term review on the carbon.

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chas

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Reply with quote  #11 

Thanks Clint, that is a good summary.

I would imagine the steel bike has a little less "snap" when sprinting. My fast steel bikes are like that - that it their only real disadvantage. Keeps me from jumping hard off a pace line, LOL.

I find my Aluminum bikes are a great compromise - responsive and light and well priced. But I need a thudbuster and good supple tires for gravel. That is a great combo - gives me responsiveness and smoothness.

Carbon (when done right) can give a great blend of lightness, responsiveness, and smoothness. Sounds like the RLT RDO has found that sweet spot.

Now we are waiting for the "if I could only have one bike' review. ;-)

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tdilf

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Reply with quote  #12 
I wish Niner would change the paint for the RLT RDO model. The other RLTs are nice looking but the carbon versions are so boring/ugly - no offense.
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GrvlRob

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Reply with quote  #13 
I test rode & considered the RLT steel bike but ended up purchasing a Specialized Sequoia Elite which IMO gets you a better bike for the money with Shimano 105 components and a threaded bottom bracket! Another plus is the Shimano hydro brakes are amazing,
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RobF

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Reply with quote  #14 
I didn't have any problems with the BB, but I started out using their eccentric bottom bracket (http://www.ninerbikes.com/biocentric_2?sc=34&category=594327) because I won't go on long gravel without options for converting to single speed.  I did eventually switch to a pressfit BB without issue, but it was a Praxis or Wheels Manufacturing so the halves of the shell threaded together.


I
've heard very good things about ride quality on the carbon bike, but it would worry me.  I'm hard on gear; two years of riding was enough to wear paint down to the metal in a few spots, and I couldn't avoid the frame taking a couple of decent impacts.  I'm not sure steel is that much tougher than good carbon, but it's sure easier to visually inspect and trust there's not internal damage you can't see after a hit.

I regularly rode Gravelking 700x40c, which measured out nearer to 42 on Belgium+ rims.  Going larger than that wouldn't leave a lot of room for mud.

I'm still happy with my frame and expect to blast it, repaint, and build it up again at some point in the future.
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Griff

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Reply with quote  #15 
I ended getting an RLT Steel.   Just wanted to say thanks to everyone for the feedback and info.   
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RobF

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Reply with quote  #16 

Congratulations!

 

Pics?

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Griff

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Reply with quote  #17 
image1.jpeg 
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garciawork

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Reply with quote  #18 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Griff
image1.jpeg 


Nice! Do I spy a lynskey in the background? R2... something? How does the ride compare?
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badgerhoo

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Reply with quote  #19 
Why does Niner put a pressfit BB on the steel version? Trying to decide btwn a Jamis renegade escapade and the Niner. I'm more interested in durability than weight. Will be used for gravel and camping. 3kish price point. Thanks!
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Leicaman

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Reply with quote  #20 
Quote:
Originally Posted by badgerhoo
Why does Niner put a pressfit BB on the steel version? Trying to decide btwn a Jamis renegade escapade and the Niner. I'm more interested in durability than weight. Will be used for gravel and camping. 3kish price point. Thanks!

I’m not sure why they do it, but I’ve never had any problems with the BB on the niner. I’ve had both a PF30 BB and sram rival cranks and a Praxis works PF30 to GXP conversion BB so I could fit my GXP sram red cranks. I’ve had a number of PF BBs over the years and never once had a problem with any of them. I just got a Litespeed T2 road bike that comes with PF30 BB and again it was a breeze. Any creams I’ve had have always turned out to be something else. Not sure if it’s available where you are but here in Japan there is a product called “Wakos brake protector”. I smear a thin amount on the cups and it works its magic.
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