First Look: Niner BSB 9 RDO disc-equipped ‘cross bike

Bike Press Camp Cross

Niner BSB 9 RDO Cyclocross Bike

The new Niner BSB 9 RDO disc-equipped carbon fiber cross bike.

Perhaps we have Niner to blame for the freak summer snowstorm that blanketed the roads and trails around Deer Valley Resort on the first day of PressCamp 2014. While spinning blissful road miles or shredding singletrack is the norm in these parts this time of year, Niner turned its attention to a more foul-weather pastime — cyclocross.

The Colorado-based company introduced a bike geared specifically for riding in the muck and mire — and even snow — the full carbon BSB 9 RDO disc-equipped cyclocross bike. BSB is a nod to three key elements of ’cross, blood, sweat and beers. RDO speaks to the top-end sub-1,000 gram composite frame that’s the centerpiece of the new bike, which is offered in Niner’s traditional red/black paint scheme or a slick iceberg blue outfit.

Niner BSB 9 RDO Cyclocross Bike Niner BSB 9 RDO Cyclocross Bike

Up front the new rig uses a 15mm thru axle. In the back it’s a traditional QR with 135mm spacing.

The 5-star build, as Niner calls it, will be dressed with Stan’s new Grail tubeless tires and an Ultegra Di2 electronic shifting drivetrain and hydraulic disc brakes (MSRP: $6,500). You can also get a Shimano 105 mechanical shifting rig for $3,000 or just frame and fork for $2,300. Available sizes run from 47cm to 62cm. The front end uses a Niner-designed and built fork with maxle thru-axle and 160mm rotors. The rear has 135mm spacing and a traditional quick release. Niner says it opted against thru-axle in the back to help keep weight down and speed up wheel changes. The 530-gram fork’s flat shaping reduces side to side flex, and when paired with the 15mm thru axle, disc brake rub inside the caliper is minimized.

Other highlights include a comfort-enhancing 27.2mm seat post, tapered head tube for increased front end stiffness and improved steering, 68mm PF30 full carbon BB shell, and two water bottle mounts. The frame is also Di2 ready and seat post battery wiring compatible.

The BSB 9 RDO frame is the product of what Niner calls its carbon compaction system where rigid internal molds produce tighter, more consistent compaction of the carbon layers, yielding increased precision in wall thickness and reduced resin pooling in the final product. That product is a sub-1000 grams for a size 56cm frame. Frame shaping is influenced by the Air 9 RDO XC rig where oversized downtube and top tube shapes up torsional stiffness. Vertical compliance, Niner claims, comes from flat sections on each tube.

Niner BSB 9 RDO Cyclocross Bike Niner BSB 9 RDO Cyclocross Bike

Frame shaping borrows heavily from Niner’s well-regarded XC bikes. The new frame’s also available in iceberg blue.

Geometry is racy with a steep headtube angle for fast handling, along with taller bottom bracket height and 425mm chainstays for improved cornering and technical maneuvering. Smaller sized frames are designed to avoid toe overlap, while larger sizes have bottom bracket heights specifically selected to reduce pedal strikes common with longer crank arms.

The BSB 9 RDO utilizes the Press Fit 30 standard in part because the larger shell mates well with the larger carbon downtube for more efficient power transfer. Niner’s new RDO cyclocross fork takes cues from its popular XC fork, which is designed to improve steering.

Cable routing is a mix of internal (shifting) and external (brakes). But there are no cable guides inside the front triangle. Instead rear brake routing is located on the side of the downtube, which keeps things out of the way when shouldering. Finally the frame finish is influenced by race-specific demands where minimal paint and ultra thin decals are held in place by a light protective clear coat layer.

Below is a video Niner staged at a recent short track XC race in its home town of Fort Collins. Also check out the expansive photo galley that shows off this sexy new steed from every imaginable angle.

Photo Thumbnails (click to enlarge)
About the author: Jason Sumner

An avid cyclist, Jason Sumner has been writing about two-wheeled pursuits of all kinds since 1999. He’s covered the Tour de France, the Olympic Games, and dozens of other international cycling events. He also likes to throw himself into the fray, penning first-person accounts of cycling adventures all over the globe. Sumner, who joined the / staff in 2013, has also done extensive gear testing and is the author of the cycling guide book "75 Classic Rides: Colorado." When not writing or riding, the native Coloradoan can be found enjoying time with his wife Lisa and daughter Cora.

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