Niner showed us their new Lowtop RDO reverse-rise carbon handlebar and the new Trail stem at Sea Otter, both just prior to having production items on hand (though we were still able to weigh a few, including the new RDO setback seatpost, too!).

Now, we’ve got a look at how that Lowtop handlebar positions the rider on the bike. Shown above on the trail under a 5’2″ rider on an extra small Jet9 Carbon, it just about looks like a riser bar flipflopped. The key differences in doing exactly that is in the angles. The Lowtop bar has juts forward first, then sweeps back at a 17º angle.

Drop in for diagrams and other goodies, plus a deal on a bar/stem combo…


Rise (or, drop, rather) is 25mm. Width is 720mm wide but can be cut down to 660mm. In the diagram above, the front of the bike would be to the right, putting the hands closer to the rider. Claimed weight is 258g and it’ll come in Niner Red, Orange, Green, Rally Blue and Moondust Grey. Retail is $199.


Here’s what it looks like on the bike from the side.

Niner Trail Stem

The new Trail stem will be offered in 50mm and 70mm (weights are claimed at 180g and 215g, respectively), both with 0º rise. Colors are Niner Red, Rally Blue and Moondust Gray only.


Until June 24th, 2013, buy one of these bars and stems (pictured) through Niner’s website and get a 20% discount on the combo. Use promo code “controlpromo3”.


  1. It is my considered opinion that we are in a process of de-evolution with the end result to be a neo-penny farthing. We’ve got forks long enough for them, and this bar is a dead ringer for the bars on a high wheeler.

    Anyone got a spoon brake in their R&D skunk works?

  2. I’m thinking that the original idea for this must have been a decal application mistake from the factory.

    “Shit, someone applied all the decals to these rider handlebars upside down…” *ding*

  3. Tiger FtW

    I love my Sir9, but I’m 6’2″ about 240. If you are that small, do you really need a 29?

    It seems like everything on the bike, not just frame and bars, should be sized to the rider, as best you can anyway

  4. I think the de-evolution process is with the commenters on this post. Have any of you every tried to fit a person 5’5″ or under on 29er. The side picture of the complete bike above shows a neutral saddle to handlebar drop, maybe a slight negative to the bars but overall this would be race oriented fit for most. This is a great option for fitting smaller females or young kids on the xsmall models that Niner just came out with. I give them kudos for bringing this stuff to market and giving me another option for getting my kids on hot bikes earlier.

    And @BigBuckHunter really? You do see the picture has a young women in it don’t you?

  5. A ridiculously simple idea that Niner is going to make a decent buck on while all the haters sit at their keyboards finding more snobish comments to throw at BikeRumor articles in order to make themselves feel adequate.

  6. Sounds like a good idea to me. The crease in the palm that holds onto a bar is angled around 15 degrees from the arm. So the best ergonomics would be a bar as wide as your shoulders with a 15 degree sweep. But most people want bars far wider than their shoulders so as to slow down steering. This means the bars should have more than 15 degree back sweep. Really wide bars swept back 15-20 degrees would put your hands a lot closer to your body than most people would want, hence the “alt bar” – a forward offset of the bar near the stem. Of course what drives most bike part design is not ergonomics but fashion and the fashionistas don’t cotton to alt bars. I must admit that this handlebar does look mighty odd. But would it look so funny if you just flipped it so it was a riser? This would turn any upsweep that the bar might have into a downsweep. And if you go for the ergonomics thing, a downsweep is more natural anyway.

  7. I do have a serious question about the lowtop bar, is there any benefit to using it if I’m 6’1″ / tall?

  8. Why does a child ride a bike with 20″ or 24″ wheels? Because they’re small. So really it does make sense that after a point smaller riders should be on 26″ or 650b wheels.

    Running upside down stems isn’t new, XC pros I remember used to do it all the time. But of course these days more and more people are needing to go to quite extreme measures to get a slammed front end not only because of 29ers but because of shorter stems.

  9. Quick! Someone invent a stem that mounts below the head tube! And an airbag inside of the stem in the inevitable chance that you endo onto that horn!

  10. Ummm! A little too odd. You could just get a bike that fits shorter riders better, like a 27.5″/650. There out there and at 5’7″, I am glad they are.

  11. Invented because just using a FSA Metropolis bar (which has the same up/down flip possibility) was tooo simple.

  12. True, but then they’d have to change their name to “seven-and-a-halfer”, which is a tougher marketing ploy than a flipped bar

  13. @CK: a ridiculously simple idea is that Niner is in trouble once the fad is fading and they will have to compete only on price, performance and fit. And that rider would be better off on 650b – good enough for a world champion.

    Recent Enduro race. First place 27.5, next two 26.. best 29 around 10th?

  14. Cannondale used to use drop stems on their headshok bikes. Always thought it look odd. This looks odd too. But if it helps for a better fit, then more power to ’em.

  15. Watch, next year they’ll come out with drop bars for mountain bikes and Farmer John will make a comeback. Wait, that sounds AWESOME!!!

  16. That’s why 650b is taking off. You don’t have to bastardize the entire bike setup and run crazy stuff like this to compensate for 29″ wheels.

  17. I run my stem angled down on my race bike (I’m 5’10”). The only way for me to get my front low enough is to stick to good old 26″ wheels (which conveniently maintains all the ride qualities I like). Is that just too obvious a solution for whoever these bars are meant for?

    Or shall all these Niner riders just go all Cadel Evans and start hacksawing holes into their headtubes?

  18. Obviously to should be too. Obviously Niner want to sell bikes but, come some people just don’t fit on a 29er. I will never ride 29er. At 169 cm I’m just to small.

  19. Following the logic of ‘if you are short, then you shouldn’t ride a 29er’ then lets start harping on tall people still riding 26ers!! “Why is that 6′ tall idiot riding a 26er?”

    Different strokes for different folks, regardless of how tall you are.

  20. 27.5 is just mm’s bigger than a 26″ and I couldn’t tell a difference enough to want to spend $3000 on a new bike. 29″ just rolls so much better (for me) and good on Niner for developing parts so shorter riders can ride 29ers with proper bar/stem/saddle drop. In the end as long as you are comfortable then rock it! But people who want the benefits the bigger hoops offers then let us ride it and don’t say we belong on a 26″ or 27.5″!

  21. I love 29ers, but that’s just silly looking. I think Yeti has it right by only offering it’s new ARC in 27.5 for the two smallest sizes.

  22. @Richard: 29″ are just mm’s bigger than a 27.5. 29″ wheels are weak, flexible and they are for limp wristed weaklings.

  23. an inverted low rise bar… what an awesome discovery!!!! nino schurter used one when trying a 29er. he quited both, the 29er and the inverted low rise bar…

  24. “it just about looks like a riser bar flipflopped. The key differences in doing exactly that is in the angles. The Lowtop bar has juts forward first, then sweeps back at a 17º angle.”

    I don’t get it, how is that actually different than producing a “regular” riser 17º bar that can be flipped?

  25. As someone who searched long and hard to find a comfortable bar for my 29er (I’m 6″ tall by the way) its great to see more handlebar options.
    I settled on a “On 1 Fleegle” ( flat with sweep forward then 15deg sweep back)
    To get the fit I wanted I flipped stem and removed all spacers. For me 5deg sweep is excruciatingly painful, and conventional 10 sweep riser is both too high and also too far back without a very long stem.

What do you think?