Niner’s Air 9 RDO gets a refresh

Remade carbon racer

Niner has relaunched its race-worthy carbon hardtail. The updated Air 9 RDO loses a bit of weight while adding compliance and the latest frame features.

Air 9 RDO Details

  • Full carbon frame
  • Two bottle mounts on all frame sizes
  • 27.2 seatpost
  • 148x12mm thru-axle
  • Claimed sub-1,000g frame weight
  • Available in XS – XL sizes
  • Complete builds from $3,500 - $8,500 (UK and Australian pricing TBA)
  • Available in June

New lines, new features

The top-end air 9 rdo build with a shimano xtr 1x drivetrain and the rockshox rs-1 fork. this kit will set buyers back $8,500 (uk and aussie pricing tba):
The top-end air 9 rdo build with a shimano xtr 1x drivetrain and the rockshox rs-1 fork. this kit will set buyers back $8,500 (uk and aussie pricing tba):

The Air 9 RDO gets slimmer in the back and stouter around the bottom bracket

One of our criticisms of the last generation Air 9 RDO was that the rear end felt a bit harsh compared to the competition. It seems that improved vertical compliance was on Niner’s short list for improvements as well. The new Air 9 RDO has slimmer seatstays than its predecessor. The top tube is also more slender and ovalized. Last but certainly not least on the list of engineered flex additions is a move from a 31.6mm diameter seatpost to a much more compliant 27.2mm model.

While these aforementioned changes may add a bit of vertical compliance, the much larger cross section of the junction between the down tube and bottom bracket shell is all about putting the power down.

The move to a 148x12mm thru-axle rear end allowed Niner to shorten the chainstays by 4mm to 435mm/17.1in. The frame’s tire clearance remains unchanged, with room for up to 29x2.4in treads. Niner was able to make these changes while also increasing chaining clearance for 1x drivetrains.

The previous version only allowed for a max chainring size of 32t for 1x transmissions — plenty range of most weekend warriors, but not ideal for professional cross-country racers. If you’ve got the quads to back it up, the new Air 9 RDO can run a massive 38t ring. If you prefer more than one chainring, it can run 2x drivetrains as well.

Riders wishing for fewer gears can swap the Press Fit 30 bottom bracket for Niner’s BioCentric II bottom bracket — plus a switch to cranks with a 24mm spindle — to turn the Air 9 RDO into a racy singlespeed.

Geometry changes

The air 9 rdos geometry has been slackened slightly and the reach numbers have increased:
The air 9 rdos geometry has been slackened slightly and the reach numbers have increased:

The Air 9 RDO gets a few angle adjustments across the five-bike size range. Like its predecessor, the new frame is optimized around 100mm of travel, but also compatible with 120mm forks. To keep pace with the more aggressive nature of cross-country racing, the bike’s head angle has been reduced from 71 to 70 degrees.

Niner also reduced the head tube length on the frames and increased the frame’s reach numbers.

Pricing and availability

The air 9 rdo comes in cmyk and red/black motifs:
The air 9 rdo comes in cmyk and red/black motifs:

CMYK or red on black are the paint options

Niner will offer the Air 9 RDO in five builds ranging in price from $3,500 to $8,500. The frame will retail for $2,000 / £1,999 / AU$2,950.

  • 5-Star XTR 1x with RockShox RS-1 fork: $8,500
  • 4-Star XO1 with RockShox RS-1 fork: $6,500
  • 4-Star X01 with Fox 32 Float fork: $5,700
  • 3-Star XT 1x with Fox 32 Float: $4,500
  • 3-Star XT 2x with Fox 32 Float: $4,700
  • 2-Star GX1 with RockShox Reba RL fork: $3,500

(UK and Australian pricing was not immediately available for complete bikes.)

The Air 9 RDO will be available in June.

For more information, visit www.ninerbikes.com.

Josh Patterson

Tech Editor, US
Josh has been riding and racing mountain bikes since 1998. Being stubborn, endurance racing was a natural fit. Josh bankrolled his two-wheeled addiction by wrenching at various bike shops across the US for 10 years and even tried his hand at frame building. These days Josh spends most of his time riding the trails around his home in Fort Collins, Colorado.
  • Discipline: Mountain, cyclocross, road
  • Preferred Terrain: Anywhere with rock- and root-infested technical singletrack. He also enjoys unnecessarily long gravel races.
  • Current Bikes: Trek Remedy 29 9.9, Yeti ASRc, Specialized CruX, Spot singlespeed, Trek District 9
  • Dream Bike: Evil The Following, a custom Moots 27.5+ for bikepacking adventures
  • Beer of Choice: PBR
  • Location: Fort Collins, CO, USA

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