Conclusion: The Niner RLT 9 RDO – A Versatile and Capable Carbon Bike
Perched at the end of the tallest road in Slovenia, I let the bike roll to a stop to spy out over Italy’s Dolomites. Surrounding me are spires of jagged limestone jutting out from carpets of hyper-green alpine meadows. Above me, I watch the clouds fold over Mangart’s summit. For climbers, the summit is a beginners mountain. But for cyclists, climbing over 2,000 meters, Mangart road has gotta be one of the Alps great climbs. We spent 3 hours in the saddle get to the top (one of which was probably spent snapping photos of this amazing location). We’d spend 18 minutes on the descent.
The Road Less Traveled in Slovenia
The road to the top tucks around and through the mountain, doubling over itself as it climbs to the summit. At the top, we warm up over cabbage soup then wrestle into our jackets. All that was left to do was turn the bikes around, release the brakes and hold on tight as we took the carbon express back down into town. This past fall Niner helped support a dream cycling trip to Slovenia. The people were kind, the food was fantastic, and the cycling … well, it was pretty fantastic too.
The Niner RLT 9 RDO Overview
While Tyler rode the highly anticipated MCR, which he reviews here, I swung a leg over their RLT 9 RDO. The RLT lineup (Road Less Traveled) has been around for a while; the RDO (their carbon steed) is the youngest in the pack. This year Niner updated the entire RLT family, releasing the suite with their new carbon fork, a bevy of mounting points (a whopping 26!), and wider tire clearance that can swallow up to 700x50mm or even a 650B x 2.0 tire. The former Yugoslavian country of Slovenia served as an amazing backdrop to Review the RDO. Castles, caves, toothpaste blue rivers … for a complete story on riding in Slovenia, roll on over to our Where To Ride story. In the mean time, here’s an overview of how the RDO tackled the gravel and pavement in beautiful Slovenia.
Tech Details & Actual Weight
The demo bike shipped running Shimano 105 2×11, with an 11-32 cassette in back. This is actually their middle of the line 2019 kit mounted to the 2020 frame. If you were to buy a comparable build with their latest groupset, it would be equipped with SRAM Rival 22 and would run you about $3,700. The top RDO build is kitted out with SRAM Force and carbon wheels for $6,600. But flexibility is what the RLT is all about. The RDO’s BioCentric bottom bracket shell can mount a 1x or even be set up as a single speed.
Ride Review: Capable and Versatile
The RDO is a capable carbon bike that bridges casual bike packing to ‘pedal damn it’ centuries. In our opinion, it’s home run for those looking for a capable do-it-all bike.