The last few years at the Sea Otter Classic, Niner Bikes has showed off its gravel suspension tendencies. Last year, Niner displayed its RLT with a Fox Adventure Fork, and this year the company made a bigger splash with its full suspension Magic Carpet Ride MCR 9 RDO gravel bike.
The Magic Carpet Ride on display at Sea Otter was a prototype the company said it will be releasing in early 2019. The prototype frame was 3D printed in urethane (and included a do-not-touch sign), but the production bike will have a carbon frame.
The front suspension is a RockShox RS-1 fork modified for short travel. Niner representatives were mum about many of the details, but as the photo shows, the available travel appears to be about half that a typical 80 or 100mm travel RS-1 fork.
The new addition to gravel is the short travel rear suspension. The rear end also includes a Moto GP-inspired rear fender.
Tire clearance on the prototype is massive. The company said it has room for up to 700c x 50mm or 650b Road Plus tires. The Sea Otter prototype had a Shimano Ultegra Di2 drivetrain.
Although Niner bills the Magic Carpet Ride as a gravel bike, drop bar mountain bikes have likely provided inspiration for the dualie gravel build. Barry Wicks recently showed off his unique Kona build on Instagram.
And of course, John Tomac and others pioneered the approach decades ago. We also saw a renaissance in custom drop bar builds at Paul Camp last year.
The Magic Carpet Ride will undoubtedly get more attention as the company moves toward the 2019 release date. We are curious to see if it ends up marking a natural progression for the company that has embraced gravel suspension or cycling “vaporware” reminiscent of Cannondale’s Pong bike.
See what’s new this year with our coverage of the 2018 Sea Otter trade show.