Garda Bike Festival – Part 2: NINER Air9 Carbon RDO, RDO Fork & Stem- by c_g

In Mid-February NINER announced their all new Air 9 Carbon RDO, and now we had the chance to view the bike at the Fesival … live and in full detail.

The loyal readers of this site know that we have had the chance to ride a rigid Air9 carbon (the geometry is taken at the RDO to 100%) already during Eurobike’10 (the report is to be found here) and therefore this time we are to focus on the changes over the ‚father’ of carbon 29″er hard tails:

Different than the original Air9 Carbon (with its multifunctional CYA bottom bracket), the new RDO (“Race Day Only”) version gets PF30 bottom bracket that is not only smaller and lighter but also works without aluminum inserts. The RDO also does without the aluminum inserts on the tapered head tube … again saving a few grams?.

The position of the rear brake has also been changed and is now moved into the triangle between the seat and chain stays. Another very useful feature is the modified internal cable routing, which receives continuous cable housing, now so much easier to exchange.

What might not immediately be noticed (especially when the bright green color draws all the attention ?) is that the entire frame has been revised and been executed with smaller tube cross-sections. Depending on the tube, this means as much as 10-20% smaller dimensions on the RDO without compromising on rigidity – new developments and better understanding of high quality carbon fibers have made that possible. The result is a significantly lighter race machine with NINER´s proven 29″er geometryjust 1125 g for size M, we were told. No record, but definitely among the best in the league.

The retail price of carbon NINER Air9 RDO framework is going to be moderately higher than the the Air9 Carbon, with the first production batch has been delivered already.

Like all NINER carbon products is also part of the NINERS own 5-year warranty.

The particular bike we inspected also had the recently introduced RDO carbon rigid fork. Functionally, the fork has indeed always been a revelation for rigid fork fans (see our rigid fork comparison test last year here), But now they have added even more steering precision with the new 15mm through axle RDO version. This will be available exclusively with tapered head tube. Beautiful and a little bit ahead of its time I´d say because I see a bright future for the 15 m standard even for rigid forks.

The very short test ride on the bike has shown the same lively and precise character we have come to love in the NINER Air9 Carbon – only lighter and faster yet.

Not on our test bike but mounted on other demo models were the recently presented NINER RDO stems, which will be available in 10 mm increments of 80 to 110 mm. The superlight
alloy stems (115 g at 90 mm) are available in the typical four RDO colors and come in + / – 6 ° angle.

So far from NINER, tomorrow we will continue with the Garda Bike festival coverage.

Until then … RIDE ON

Ps: The ‚photo assistant’ holding the RDO up on the balustrade is NINER´s global sales manager and overall great guy Brett Rosenbauer. Thanks for your help. Brett!