Niner relaunches its high performance BSB 9 RDO 3-Star Rival for 'cross season

The US CX bike gets a revamp

The Colorado-based company known for its off-road proficiency, and a flair for all-things-beer, recently re-launched the BSB 9 RDO ‘cross-specific rig for its second round of updates.

Although the bike isn’t a ground-up engineering overhaul, Niner focused on several tech updates to keep the BSB a relevant and high-performance race rig for the upcoming cyclocross season.

2018 Niner BSB 9 RDO 3-Star Rival spec overview

  • Frame: BSB 9 RDO full carbon (flatmount, 12×142)
  • Fork: Niner full carbon RDO (flatmount, 15×100)
  • Drivetrain: SRAM Rival 1
  • Bottom bracket: PF30
  • Wheels: Stan's Grail
  • Tires: Schwalbe X-One EVO SS 33mm
  • Saddle: Niner (Cr-Mo)
  • Size Options: 47, 50, 53, 56, 59, 62
  • Weight (size 56): 18.56 lbs / 8.42 kg

Speaks to the Niner crowd

Clearance up front is in the 40mm range for sure
Clearance up front is in the 40mm range for sure

Love it or hate it, the choice is yours, but Niner has a design language that it's been refining for years and the BSB 9 RDO falls in line. Some roundness here, a little bulbous there, and a few hard lines to join them together — the BSB just looks like a Niner, and that’s a good thing.

With just one short ride it’s easy to identify the BSB is in line with race-specific ‘cross geos, easily separating it from anything resembling a mixed-terrain bike. The 3-Star Rival model has several standout spec choices such as Stan's Grail wheels and an out-of-the-box tubeless setup.

As part of the upcoming Best CX Bikes roundup, we’ll see how the Niner stacks up against the competition.

The complete package?

The front brake cable routing is unique — no, it doesn't have to go that route, it's just how it came out of the box
The front brake cable routing is unique — no, it doesn't have to go that route, it's just how it came out of the box

The new BSB comes in two different paint schemes. Although the green model is quite looky-looky, the artwork on test is the Black/White, which is actually a tinted clear coat, making it look black from afar but allowing the composite layers to show. To me this is a fun way to understand the complexity of a carbon bike, but it can’t be all about looks, right?

Niner went in several unique directions with the BSB 9 RDO cable routing. For starters, the front brake is routed under the head tube and behind the fork. I’m sure it can be routed differently, but that’s how it came out of the box and also how Niner shows it on its website.

The BSB has an externally routed rear brake cable; great for service, but maybe not so great for shouldering
The BSB has an externally routed rear brake cable; great for service, but maybe not so great for shouldering

Niner also opted for an externally routed rear brake hose that follows the down tube. Whether this is an issue when shouldering the bike remains to be seen.

Stan’s Grail wheels have a great reputation, and paired with Schwalbe X-One 33mm rubber there’s bound to be an excellent setup for training and racing for the rider not going the tubular route.

Like most thru-axle disc bikes, the BSBs CNC'd derailleur hanger is built into and reinforced by the thread system
Like most thru-axle disc bikes, the BSBs CNC'd derailleur hanger is built into and reinforced by the thread system

As for the cockpit, the spec’d Niner seat hasn’t spoken my love language, but the flared Easton AX handlebar up front is one of my favorite bars for mixed terrain riding. It’ll be interesting to compare the shape for CX racing purposes.

The only eye-catching spec choice is the 15mm thru-axle in the front. I don’t necessarily have a beef with 15mm, but it will be the only bike in a nine-bike roundup without 12mm axles. Perhaps there will be a perceptible difference, good or bad — more to come.

The Easton AX series is one of my favorite handlebar shapes, bravo to Niner
The Easton AX series is one of my favorite handlebar shapes, bravo to Niner

Pricing and availability

The 2018 Niner BSB RDO 9 3-Star Rival is currently in stock at Niner retailers (size and color dependent) and is priced $3,800 with international pricing TBC.

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