Frame geometry is very CX race day specific, with a steep headtube angle, size and crank length-specific bottom bracket height for better cornering, and short 425mm chainstays for improved maneuverability (click to enlarge).
Niner continues its slow but steady push into the drop bar bike arena, this week launching an updated version of its BSB 9 RDO cyclocross bike to go along with its RLT 9 gravel road bikes. The new disc-brake-only "Blood Sweat and Beers" bog hopper will come with thru-axles front and rear, have clearance for up to 40c tires, and see the addition of a great looking green-on-green colorway to go along with the traditional black and red.
The new CX bike will come in four build options: Shimano Ultegra Di2 with Niner CX carbon wheels ($6500), mechanical Ultegra and Stan's No Tubes ZTR Grail wheels ($4500), SRAM Rival 22 with Niner CX alloy wheels ($3500), and Shimano 105 with mechanical disc brakes and Niner CX alloy wheels ($3000). Frame, fork, and front and rear axles are $2300.
Conspicuously absent from the line-up is any kind of 1x shifting system, which have gained increasing popularity among the racing crowd in the last few years. Niner PR man Brad Cole said that last year's bikes spec'd with SRAM CX1 simply didn't sell as well as expected. "It boils down to the fact that five build kits was a big offering for a company new to drop bar bikes," Cole added. "We had to pare down to the best selling price points. We like the CX1 group and in the right application feel it works great. But CX1 was priced about the same as Ultegra, and we felt like it should be cheaper."
Niner is also steering away from Shimano's flat-mount braking standard for now because it felt there just wasn't enough of a performance gain to justify to expense of changing carbon frame molds.
No flat mount brakes for now, as the cost of new frame molds outweighed any performance gains (click to enlarge).
"We just don't see the big gain like you do for something like Boost where the gains are easier to see," added Cole, making the comparison to the new wider hub width standard that's gaining traction in the mountain bike market. "Flat mount just isn't an investment we want to make at this time."
Niner is going all in on thru-axles though, opting for a 15x100mm Maxle front and 142x12mm rear, which it claims better harnesses pedaling force and helps the bike track better, especially through rough terrain.
The new BSB 9 RDO also sheds 40-50 grams of frame weight by paring down paint to a minimum, and using ultra thin decals that are protected by a satin clear coat. (That weight loss is likely negated by the addition of the rear thru-axle.) The frame also has two water bottle mounts, a PressFit 30 bottom bracket, and tubes shaped specifically for the demands of racing. The top tube is flatter for more comfortable shouldering, the front triangle is cable guide free, and the external rear brake routing is on the side of the downtube, which should keep it out of harms way. A post mount rear brake helps prevent heel strikes, and the 27.2mm seatpost is used to increase compliance.
Frame geometry is also very CX race day specific, with a steep headtube angle for snappy handling, size and crank length-specific bottom bracket height for better cornering, and short 425mm chainstays for improved overall maneuverability.
Available frame sizes include 47cm, 50cm, 53cm, 56cm, 59cm, and 62cm, and the new bikes should be available by the first week of August. For more information visit www.ninerbikes.com.