Niner has stealthily moved in on the ’cross market in the past two years, first with their RLT gravel bike we saw back at Interbike and now with their ’cross-specific BSB 9, unveiled at the 2014 Press Camp.
The devil is certainly in the details of Niner’s newly released BSB 9 cyclocross bike, and the new BSB is not just a carbon version of the RLT gravel bike, but features a cyclocross-specific geometry and visual reminders on the frame about how you should use it. On the chainstays and top tube, a rider can discern encouraging phrases such as “Blood, Sweat, and Beers,” alongside “Pedal Damn It.” The appearance, which is a choice between the black and red of Team CLIF Bar or Iceberg Blue is only the tip of the… Well, you get the point.
Their 56cm frame has a claimed weight of sub 1000 grams, which up to 300 grams lighter than some similar frames. Niner achieves this by what they call the “Carbon Compaction System.” Using an internal molding system, Niner reports they can achieve an increased precision in wall thickness, and avoid a dreaded resin pooling, which puts the weight of the frames right where they need it. The company uses rigid foam internal molds that shrink and are easily broken apart and removed after curing, leaving you with a smooth internal tube finish.
The BSB 9s are equipped with Niner’s RDO seatposts, which they refer to as the “unstiff seatpost,” and have been used on their mountain bikes to dampen trail vibrations and can flex as much as 6mm.
The bike will have internal routing option for cables, wires, and hydraulic lines, with different rubber fittings to accommodate the different options. Cranksets are mounted via a Press Fit 30 bottom bracket, and thus singlespeeders can grab an eccentric bottom brackets and race the BSB 9 as a singlespeed.
For those of you with gravel dreams and lusting after the aluminum RLT Niner gravel bike we saw back at Interbike, the BSB 9 RDO might be able to do double duty, since it comes with two water bottle mounts, and has clearance for up to 40c tires down by the chainstays, according to Niner—with more at the fork. (For more on the gravel-friendly RLT 9, take a look at the bike contributor Andrew Vontz built up for the Dirty Kanza Half Pint last month.)
These frames come with the RDO Cyclocross Fork, which is also a new inclusion by Niner. This thru axle, disc only fork will eventually be sold as an individual piece, but is currently only available as a pairing to the RDO frameset. The fork weighs 530g, with the Maxle adding another 60g. Framesets are available at $2299, and come with the frame, fork, seat collar, headset, Maxle, and Niner’s braze-on alloy bolts.
How does the BSB 9 differ from the RLT? Compared to the aluminum RLT model, on a 56cm size, Niner has shortened the chainstays by one centimeter from 43.5cm to the cyclocross standard of 42.5cm, shortened the head tube by one cm, and steepened both the head tube and seat tube angle a tad. Although they share the same top tube length, the BSB 9 is essentially a longer bike, due to its 0.5 degree steeper seat tube angle (assuming you position your saddle relative to the bottom bracket). For the three largest sizes, the bottom bracket drop is actually the same (65mm) as the RLT, but on the three smallest sizes, it’s 2mm higher than the RLT (moving from 70mm to 68mm). Tire clearance is better on the RLT. Niner says the BSB will take a 40c tire, while the RLT fits up to a 1.75″. See the BSB 9 RDO geometry in the slideshow below.
Niner emphasizes that their cyclocross frames pass the EN mountain bike test standards, a rarity for cyclocross bikes, since drop bar bikes only need to pass road EN tests.
There will be three builds, with an Ultegra 6870/R785 hydraulic Di2 Team build, complete with the just-released NoTubes Grail Team wheels, retailing for $6499 (the 5 star build), and there’s an Ultegra hydraulic R685 build for $4399 (the 4 star build). Don’t need hydraulic brakes? The base bike is a Shimano 105 and Avid BB5 build, available for $2999 (the 2 star build).
It will be available in 47, 50, 53, 56, 59, 62cm options. Check back shortly for our first ride impressions.
More info: ninerbikes.com
Niner BSB9 RDO Carbon Cyclocross Bike Photo Gallery:
We also got to check out a SRAM Red 22 build similar to the Clif Bar cyclocross team’s bike, the Niner BSB 9 RDO frameset shown with SRAM Red 22 hydraulic brakes and drivetrain, Kappius Components’ new carbon wheelset and Niner RDO seatpost and stem. Update: The Clif Bar team will be racing Kappius hubs but ENVE rims and cockpit.
Click Next Page to see photos of the Clif Bar build.