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When we first opened the batch of information and images from Niner on the RLT E9 RDO three words jumped out at us: “Overland Adventure Vehicle.” We love that tagline because it is not something you would normally read from a bike brand and also because it’s 100-percent true.
It’s no secret to our magazine readers that we are unabashedly in love with the Specialized Creo. Up to this point in e-bike development, it really does set the bar for e-bikes and especially in the gravel segment. We are just now beginning to review the Canyon Grail:ON so we may soon have another contender for the top spot but, alas, this review is about the Niner we just fell in love with.
The goal for this bike is not just gravel, although that is where we found ourselves most days. Niner set out to make this bike at home “across a range of environments…Bosch powered, cargo capable, front suspension ready and flat bar friendly, there’s almost no transportation task this chameleon can’t handle.”
Let’s get the details out of the way so we can then wax rhapsodic on how fast this bike is. The RLT E9 RDO features a fourth-generation Bosch Performance Line Speed motor for smooth and predictable power. It is the best e-bike motor we’ve ever tried. The frame and fork are Race Day optimized, tested to the rugged ISO mountain bike standard, with an integrated and removable 500wh Power Tube battery.
The boost hub and drivetrain spacing is interchangeable with mountain bike components, and the frame features integrated front and rear cargo racks plus multiple bottle and cage mounts. It’s ready for anything you can dream up.
Our lunch loop is Sulphur Mountain, a 10-mile gravel climb within a 15-minute ride from our offices. We charged up the RLT E9 RDO and set out for our normal lunch ride, only it wasn’t normal at all. This bike made our normal loop and ride times seem a bit boring. We climbed, descended, cornered and sprinted faster and more efficiently than on any bike we’ve ever ridden. The design, function, execution and integration on this gravel wonder bike are exceptional. It does everything right and it does everything fast. At a top speed of 28 mph, we were able to grab every KOM we attempted (and we’ve ridden a lot of other e-bikes locally) with relative ease. It works and it works really well.
The only thing that will hold you back with this bike is your own lack of imagination. The gravel, bike-packing, touring and commuting options with this bike are really limitless. The fourth-generation Bosch Performance Line motor truly is a huge step forward and will soon be the gold standard in e-bike motors.
We had only a few weeks with this bike and we’ve already put in an order for a longer review model. The RLT E9 RDO is due to be available to the public from October 15 for $5,695. We strongly suggest you consider picking one up.