MCR stands for “Magic Carpet Ride,” with the idea to smooth the gravel bike for a better rider experience. The frame uses Niner Bikes’ RDO (Race Day Optimized) carbon fiber molding process. That is hard internal forms in the mold for optimum compaction of the carbon fiber layup.
The rear suspension is via Niner Bikes’ CVA suspension link. Essentially a short dual-link, four-bar design from Niner.
The CVA, in the case of the Magic Carpet Ride, is tuned for small bumps and full travel of 50mm. The links are one-piece forged units and use Enduro Max Black Oxide pivot bearings uniquely designed for suspension pivots. The rear suspension is protected with an integrated fender with a full-fender extension design in the works.
The rear 50mm suspension is paired with a Fox AX 40mm air sprung fork. Both the front and rear can be locked out, the latter with a remote attached to the top of the drop handlebars.
All cable routing has internal guides, so no need to fish the cables and housing through. The frame allows 700c x 50mm or 650b x 2.2″ (56mm) tires.
The bike is still in prototype stage with samples being ridden by Yuri Hauswald and soon, Rebecca Rusch. The target weight will be in the low 20-pound range to at least eclipse the RLT 9 Steel.
Niner’s goal with the Magic Carpet Ride is a better gravel riding experience. The full suspension allows better traction and control for more confidence on various terrain and less fatigue on longer rides.
The full tunable suspension is a step forward from what Niner deems more primitive attempts to suspend only the rider and not the bike with suspension seatposts or suspended handlebars. Zach Vestal of Niner Bikes emphasized that the MCR 9 RDO is neither a drop bar mountain bike nor a road bike.
Paint and price are still being worked on, though the target will be $3,000 for the frame. Rideable review samples may be ready by late summer 2019. We hope to be on one to tell you how this gravel bike evolution differs from the first mountain bike evolution 30 years ago.
More info: ninerbikes.com
All of our coverage of new bikes and products is available in our 2019 Sea Otter Classic archive.