Niner refreshes its thinking with RKT 9 XC ripper

New cross-country line-topper gets low and compact, with tweaked suspension

Niner has just introduced a new flagship cross-country racer. The RKT 9 brings new frame features and a striking new frame design to Niner’s short-travel line-up.

Niner RKT 9 highlights

  • 90mm rear suspension travel
  • Designed around 100mm suspension forks
  • 148x12mm rear thru-axle
  • 439mm / 17.3in chainstays
  • 1-2x compatible
  • Complete bikes range from $4,500 - $9,500 / £4,199 -£8,799(AUS pricing TBA)
  • Frame with shock retails for $3,000 / £2,899
  • Shipping now

The rkt 9 has 90mm of rear suspension travel: the rkt 9 has 90mm of rear suspension travel
The rkt 9 has 90mm of rear suspension travel: the rkt 9 has 90mm of rear suspension travel

We first caught wind of the RKT 9 in mid-August when Niner-sponsored athlete Rebecca Rusch was teasing the new bike on her Instagram feed. Rusch tackled the Leadville 100 aboard the new bike. Many other Niner-sponsored racers such as Chloe Woodruff as well as the Clif Bar squad have also been putting the new bike through its paces this summer. 

The RKT 9 ushers in a host of new frame details that may signal a change in direction for the Fort Collins, Colorado-based company. The RKT 9 is the first Niner to feature a 148x12mm thru-axle rear end. The RKT 9 uses a more compact version of Niner’s CVA suspension design, allowing Niner to tuck the rear wheel in, reducing the chainstay length to 439mm / 17.3in. Compare that with the rangy 455mm/ 17.9in chainstays of the Jet 9 RDO. In addition to shrinking chainstays, rear suspension travel is reduced from 100 to 90mm on the RKT 9. 

The rkt 9 is the first niner to use 'boost' 148x12mm rear axle spacing. it's likely the rest of the line will follow : the rkt 9 is the first niner to use 'boost' 148x12mm rear axle spacing. it's likely the rest of the line will follow
The rkt 9 is the first niner to use 'boost' 148x12mm rear axle spacing. it's likely the rest of the line will follow : the rkt 9 is the first niner to use 'boost' 148x12mm rear axle spacing. it's likely the rest of the line will follow

The RKT 9 may be the first Niner to sport 148x12 rear axle spacing, but it certainly won't be the last

Another welcome change from the Jet 9 RDO is a reduction in head tube height; it shrinks by 5-15mm across the five bike size range.

Unlike the upward arching top tube on the Jet 9 RDO, the RKT 9 has a kinked top tube and a seat tube brace to improve standover clearance. Niner claims the new frame design offers the lowest standover clearance of any Niner to date.

While it’s designed to compete at World Cup-level events, Niner saw fit to equip the RKT9 with internal routing for a dropper seatpost — a feature currently lacking on some of Niner’s longer-travel full suspension models.

The rkt 9 geometry : the rkt 9 geometry
The rkt 9 geometry : the rkt 9 geometry

According to Niner, the new model does not replace the Jet 9 RDO, but rather, takes it's place as the company's premier cross-country platform. This could leave the door open for the Jet 9 to evolve into a short-travel trail bike. It seems that the Jet 9 is nearly there, given the fact that the Jet 9 has a softer suspension feel and is capable of a running 120mm suspension fork. 

The RKT 9 is available now in six trim level ranging in price from $9,500 / £8,799 for fully pimped-out XTR kit to a more approachable $4,500 / £4,199 SRAM GX1 build. Niner will also offer the RKT 9 as a frame with a FOX Float DPS rear shock for $3,000 / £2,899. (Australian pricing has yet to be announced.)

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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