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Animal494

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Reply with quote  #1 
Got a “Which Bike?” debate for ya:

RLT RDO 3-Star. vs RLT 9 4-Star

Price: $3800 vs $3900 (though I think you can now get them for $3500 online)
Weight: 19lbs vs 21lbs
Frame: Carbon vs Aluminum
Fork: Same
Build: Rival vs Ultegra
Wheels: Stan’s Grail vs Niner Carbon CX

Basically same money… which would you choose and why? Carbon frame with alloy wheels and rival groupo, or aluminum frame with carbon wheels and full ultegra.
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owly

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Reply with quote  #2 
I'd start with frame colour first, irrespective of material.
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Animal494

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Reply with quote  #3 
Quote:
Originally Posted by owly
I'd start with frame colour first, irrespective of material.


Ha!  Well then the black/silver RDO is the hands down winner!

The alloy rims on the carbon bike are wider than the carbon rims on the alloy bike.  For the extra 100 or so grams the alloy rims weigh, I think I'd prefer the width - especially considering the carbon frame more than offsets the extra weight of the lower wheels and groupset.
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sgtrobo

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Reply with quote  #4 
tire clearance is something to keep in mind as well.  The RDO barely clears a 40c tire like the Nano, whereas I've heard folks can fit the 45c Riddlers and even the 1.8" Renegades
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ljsmith

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Reply with quote  #5 
It all depends what you are going to do with it.   Don't make the mistake of thinking the RDO is simply a carbon version of the RLT 9.  RDO means "Race Day Only", so you can get an idea of how the frame was designed.  If you want a stiff race bike that goes fast, but is not as comfortable go with the RDO.  If you are looking for a comfortable , all day bike then go with the RLT 9.   
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NoCoGreg

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Reply with quote  #6 
Quote:
Originally Posted by ljsmith
It all depends what you are going to do with it.  
 
Yup, that about sums it up. [thumb]

Once you have the bike and start piling on the miles you'll figure out if you want some more aero wheels, etc etc...   

For most people, a 40c tire is more than ample but others are doing singletrack with their gravel bikes so a 45c is a big deal.  I've found myself in deep gravel where I'd have loved something wider than the 40's I was using.  I can also see myself replacing my Tarmac road bike with a fast and light CX or endurance rig that likely will be limited to 32's or 35's but this would not be replacing any of my gravel bikes.   So yeah, it all depends what you'll be doing with it.

Cheers,
Greg
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Animal494

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Reply with quote  #7 
Quote:
Originally Posted by ljsmith
If you want a stiff race bike that goes fast, but is not as comfortable go with the RDO.  If you are looking for a comfortable , all day bike then go with the RLT 9.


Huh. Wouldn't have thought the 21+lb aluminum machine would be considered a more comfortable steed than a 19lb carbon bike.
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Soundwave

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Reply with quote  #8 
Aluminum and Steel versions of the RLT have identical geometry, but the carbon RLT is a different beast.  I would look into those differences and decide from there.  The carbon frame is much more aggressive, and like someone said above, doesn't have the same tire clearance.

Plus it's not steel, so the choice is clear.
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NoCoGreg

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Reply with quote  #9 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Animal494
Huh. Wouldn't have thought the 21+lb aluminum machine would be considered a more comfortable steed than a 19lb carbon bike.


People (reviewers in particular) typically equate stiff with responsive with quick and fast. Hence many builders make "race bikes" stiffer and the RDO is targeted for cyclocross racing so it isn't surprising that it is a stiffer ride.  Less rake (offset) and shorter chainstays both contribute for a stiffer ride.  The carbon fiber can also be tuned and designed for increased stiffness.

Wheels and tires also are a major factor in the stiffness of a bike's ride.  Larger volume tires and non-aero rims will have a softer ride.  So when comparing the ride of two frames it is very important to use the same wheels/tires on both.

Cheers,
Greg
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Animal494

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Reply with quote  #10 
I think there may be some confusion..., my OP was comparing two different RLT models: the aluminum frame version (with Ultegra) and the carbon frame version (with Rival). The carbon version has of the RLT is called the RLT 9 RDO. That is not to be confused with the Niner cyclocross race bike: BSB 9 RDO.

As a gravel race bike, I have no doubt the rlt 9 RDO is tuned different than the other RLT models, but I wouldn't think it would be anything like the bsb 9 RDO.
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shoota

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Reply with quote  #11 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Animal494
I think there may be some confusion..., my OP was comparing two different RLT models: the aluminum frame version (with Ultegra) and the carbon frame version (with Rival). The carbon version has of the RLT is called the RLT 9 RDO. That is not to be confused with the Niner cyclocross race bike: BSB 9 RDO. As a gravel race bike, I have no doubt the rlt 9 RDO is tuned different than the other RLT models, but I wouldn't think it would be anything like the bsb 9 RDO.


Man that's a tough call. Which one are you leaning towards?
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NoCoGreg

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Reply with quote  #12 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Animal494
I think there may be some confusion..., my OP was comparing two different RLT models: the aluminum frame version (with Ultegra) and the carbon frame version (with Rival). The carbon version has of the RLT is called the RLT 9 RDO. That is not to be confused with the Niner cyclocross race bike: BSB 9 RDO. As a gravel race bike, I have no doubt the rlt 9 RDO is tuned different than the other RLT models, but I wouldn't think it would be anything like the bsb 9 RDO.

Actually the geometries of the three bikes are quite similar.  

Comparing the RLT steel and carbon, in my size (59cm) the RLT steel and carbon geometries are identical except the steel has an extra 5mm longer chainstays.  The steel seat tube is longer for a more traditional look so there's a bit less stand over clearance but this wouldn't affect handling.  If anything, having more seat post exposed on the RLT-RDO will allow it to flex more and provide additional comfort.  IMHO one will feel a difference in the handling and ride of the two bikes as the shorter wheelbase and lighter weight of the RLT-RDO should feel quicker.

Edit: One key difference I forgot to mention is the steel is spec'd for a maximum tire width of 45mm while the RDO is 40mm. 

Yeah, I know you are not considering the BSB but...  The BSB has 5mm shorter chainstays, 5mm less BB drop, and 0.5 degree steeper headtube than the RLT RDO.  So yes the BSB is going to be a quicker steering bike than the RLT but comparing the BSB to other CX race bikes the geometry is pretty much mainstream and what one would expect.


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Smale Rider

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Reply with quote  #13 


Steel vs Alu

Steel was preferred material. Aluminum was considered to be a rougher ride. It would stand to reason that carbon would be a more comfortable ride than either generally speaking.

Carbon version is 40mm vs 45mm for steel and alu.
Carbon version has more seatpost exposed for better flex and possible comfort.
Carbon version has a sloping toptube good for people that are effected by standover height on "traditional frame geometry" Sloping toptube can be an issue however with certain frame bags.
BB is lower on the carbon version, leading to a more stable ride.
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Nubster

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Reply with quote  #14 
Easy for me....

3 Star

Why?

Cheaper
Carbon
Lighter
SRAM

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Animal494

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Reply with quote  #15 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nubster
Easy for me....

3 Star

Why?

Cheaper
Carbon
Lighter
SRAM



That's a good assessment.  I hear all the comments about max tire width - for me I guess I that's not a concern given my particular use (I'll run 32-36 tires).

While it's only Rival, the SRAM would be easy to slowly upgrade as well.

One other factor no one has mentioned is the wheels.  The carbon comes with Al wheels while the Al frame comes with carbon wheels.  From what I can tell about the carbon wheels on the 4-star build, they are the same weight as the Al wheels and they are far narrower than one would expect these days, no?  So for me, that'd be another vote for the carbon frame 3-star!
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