Now, it’s getting a bit more adventurous by becoming one of few mass produced modern bikes to use steel. Seamless Reynolds 853 tubes to be exact, air hardened, heat treated and tested to mountain bike standards so it’ll handle any surface you steer it down. Other than very few minor differences in head tube length and standover on a the smallest and largest frame sizes, the geometry is exactly like the alloy RLT 9. The big difference is taking that proven geometry and adding the magical steel ride quality…
The frame gets a proper tapered headtube, PFBB30, low profile inset rear brake mount and a 12×142 Maxle rear thru axle. The fork’s dropouts are still QR, and its all external brake and shift cable routing. Di2 wiring runs internally, though, heading to the seatpost battery. While many steel bikes stick with a threaded BSA bottom bracket, the PFBB30 was used here to work with Niner’s BioCentric II eccentric bottom bracket to allow the bike to run as a singlespeed without a chain tensioner or other adapters.
It keeps the full carbon RLT fork, and the top level build gets Ultegra Di2 Hydro with the excellent Thomson carbon handlebar.
Top- and down tubes are triple butted Reynolds 853DZB (double zone butted), which is a super hard steel that’s difficult to shape so they’re left as straight tubes. The rest of the tubes are standard chromoly steel, which allows them to get more creative with the shaping to “Gravel Tune” the frame. In particular,that’s done with the shaping and size of the seat stays to take advantage of steel’s properties. The seat tube is externally butted, which they say you can feel, and is capped off with a butt-friendly 27.2 seatpost.
Tire clearance is a healthy 1.75″ (44mm).
Where the alloy model uses larger dropout sections to push the bottom of the seatstays upward and make room for the rear brake caliper, the steel frame simply bends the stays a bit and builds the rearward mount into the frame/dropout section.
All frame sizes have two water bottle mounts inside the front triangle and one on the bottom of the downtube. A full complement of rack and fender mounts let you take the bike on multi-day adventures.
Colors are Forge Gray/Safety Orange or Dirty White/Red Ringer.
Five complete bikes will be offered alongside a frameset. Claimed weight is 6.6lbs (2.99kg) for the package of frame, fork, Maxle and hanger.
It’s available now. Everything arrived in their warehouse last week and some distributors have already taken receipt. So, here are a few lifestyle shots to get you ready to ride.