Cyclocross and Gravelbiking (Recreational) This has to be the most physically intense sport ever invented. It's high speed bicycle racing on a short off road course or riding the off pavement rides on gravel like :The Dirty Kanza". We also have a dedicated Racing forum for the Cyclocross Hard Core Racers.

Niner RLT 9 RDO Build

Old 03-14-17, 07:38 PM
  #1  
TimothyH
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Niner RLT 9 RDO Build

The Niner RLT 9 RDO is pretty rare in the field and most of the reviews are little more than parrots of the press release from the initial product launch. Well, I'm doing a build from the frame up and thought I'd post some pictures, highlights of the build, challenges and share some of what I learn as the process plays itself out.

Some of the technology such as press fit bottom brackets, maxles, disk brakes, tubless tires and electronic shifting are new to me so it is sure to be a challenge. The bike is going to be an Ultegra Di2 level build.

To begin with, I thought it a good idea to use this excerpt from the owner's manual as a baseline for all future activity...




-Tim-

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Old 03-14-17, 07:53 PM
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03-10-17

The first thing I did was mount Schwalbe G-One Evo 35mm tires onto an American Classic 29" MTB Race wheelset using tubes. The bike won't be ridden for a while and so it's not time for sealant just yet but I wanted to find out what "difficult to mount" really means. I got what I asked for. My hand still hurts two days later.

The wheels are pretty cool - 32 spoke three cross, 24mm inside width, 1460 grams/pair. I emailed American Classic to ask a question and they gave me a 10% off coupon code. A couple of mountain bikers run these wheels where I trail run. One guy said he pulled some drive side spokes out of the rear rim and his friend said, "Yeah, but he crashes through everything!" I would have preferred hubs which accept Centerlock rotors but as they say, you can't always get what you want.

Wheels measure 24.5mm inside width actual. Tires measure 38.1mm actual at 70PSI with tubes.

Scwalbe rates the G-One Evo at 70PSI max. Lots of soap was applied and even with tubes pumped to 100PSI they consistently failed to seat on the bead in an area adgacent to the valve stem. Eventually I poured soapy water all over the rim bed and they went on. The admonitions to use lots of soap are well heeded. Lesson learned and I may pick up a can of Sleek Beeswax & Mink Oil Furniture Polish as recommended by Gravel Cyclist.



















-Tim-

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Old 03-14-17, 08:28 PM
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03-14-17

There aren't too many detailed images of the frame out there apart from the stock product photos from the manufacturer. Here are a few.

I was lucky enough to eyeball and lay hands on the bike owned by the Niner rep in Athens, Georgia before I committed to the purchase. Hub Bikes in Athens, Georgia arrange it and so they got my business. This was an LBS purchase rather than internet order because of the expense. I didn't want to have to deal with returning a frame or warranty claim issues with someone over the internet.

5 year warranty on the frame. 2 years on the fork.

Check out the cable routing under the bottom bracket.






















-Tim-

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Old 03-14-17, 08:38 PM
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Nice, I wonder how it rides.

Especially that fork. My own gravel plans are evolving...and I'll probably be using one of those forks myself
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Old 03-14-17, 09:01 PM
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FYI, I estimate 8mm or maybe 9mm clearance on either side of the fork with 38mm tires.








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Old 03-15-17, 09:17 AM
  #6  
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Yup. I'm jealous. Looking forward to your build updates!
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Old 03-15-17, 10:11 AM
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Can't wait to see the finished build.

I'm very interested in a review, I'm thinking of replacing my BSB with this frame.
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Old 03-15-17, 03:26 PM
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The paint scheme looks great. Look forward to hearing how it rides. Why didn't you go for the 38mm G-One's with that much clearance? Also, what's Evo version of the G-One?
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Old 03-15-17, 05:40 PM
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Looks great! Building a RLT 9 RDO myself with Stans Avions, waiting for SRAM 1x12 road.
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Old 03-15-17, 08:17 PM
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By the way, if anyone sees me making a mistake or has a suggestion on how to do something better, please speak up. Constructive criticism and education are always warmly welcomed.


Originally Posted by vinuneuro View Post
The paint scheme looks great. Look forward to hearing how it rides. Why didn't you go for the 38mm G-One's with that much clearance? Also, what's Evo version of the G-One?
Evolution. It is the higher version of the tire. Is that what you are asking?

I want the bike to be as light as possible and initially will be doing mixed riding - pavement and well groomed gravel with a hard base. A gnarlier tires is definitely possible as I graduate to the real stuff.

That's my thought. The truth is that I really don't know. It's the same tire that comes on the $8800 factory build so it must be good, right?


Originally Posted by KonaRider125 View Post
Looks great! Building a RLT 9 RDO myself with Stans Avions, waiting for SRAM 1x12 road.
I'd love to see what you are doing. Why not start a thread, or just post here?


-Tim-

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Old 03-15-17, 08:20 PM
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Originally Posted by TimothyH View Post
Evolution. It is the higher version of the tire.

I want the bike to be as light as possible and initially will be doing mixed riding - pavement and well groomed gravel with a hard base. A gnarlier tires is definitely possible as I graduate to the real stuff.

That's my thought. The truth is that I really don't know. It's the same tire that comes on the $8800 factory build so it must be good, right?
I don't think I've ever seen an 'Evo' version listed on the Schwalbe site or sold online. I can confirm that the G-One's are fantastic for mixed riding, have had them in 35c on my Diverge since August.
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Old 03-15-17, 08:46 PM
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03-15-17

Today the crown race was installed onto the fork crown using a home made installation tool. Comments inline...

The crown race is an interference fit. It's not rocket science and just has to be jammed down onto the steerer without destroying the fork. This is as far as it would go by hand.




I don't mind buying a quality tool but PVC pipe worked so well on my fixed gear bike that I decided to DIY this one as well.

A trip to Home Depot yielded a section of 2" ID PVC pipe and a pipe cap for less than $5. I then spent ten quality minutes with the Dremel beveling the inside edge of the pipe in a rough attempt to approximate the profile of the race.

Voila!






The pipe cap was tapped on the floor a few times and the crown race slid right up against the crown like butter, much easier than the steel fork on my fixed gear bike.




The result.




Everything was dry fit and held together with a spare stem.






Wheels went on. I had to get that visual...




-Tim-

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Old 03-15-17, 08:56 PM
  #13  
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Originally Posted by vinuneuro View Post
I don't think I've ever seen an 'Evo' version listed on the Schwalbe site or sold online. I can confirm that the G-One's are fantastic for mixed riding, have had them in 35c on my Diverge since August.
I think "Evolution" is their top line of products.
https://www.schwalbetires.com/schwal...ion_technology
The G-One page lists Evolution and Performance lines.
https://www.schwalbetires.com/node/5149
The resellers don't make it easy. They rarely use the term Evolution but will list TL-Easy and Microskin instead. I was skeptical until they were in hand. The box said Evolution right across the front.


-Tim-
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Old 03-15-17, 08:58 PM
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Originally Posted by TimothyH View Post
I think "Evolution" is their top line of products.
https://www.schwalbetires.com/schwal...ion_technology
The G-One page lists Evolution and Performance lines.
https://www.schwalbetires.com/node/5149
The resellers don't make it easy. They rarely use the term Evolution but will list TL-Easy and Microskin instead. I was skeptical until they were in hand. The box said Evolution right across the front.


-Tim-
Right you are, that's the one I have. I'm sure you'll also be very pleased with the performance.
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Old 03-16-17, 08:39 PM
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03-16-17

The bottom bracket was installed today and temporarily fitted with an old crank.

This frame is designed around PF30 but there are lots of PF30 replacement solutions available from companies like Praxis, Enduro, Wheels Manufacturing and others. I went with an Enduro TorqTite PF30 to 24mm model with 440C stainless angular contact bearings.

Enduro would love to sell you their proprietary bottom bracket wrenches but there is no need when installing the 24mm Shimano flavor as these accept a standard 16 notch bottom bracket tool. Installation is extremely straight forward as explained in the video below.


The product comes with a warning that frames with tight tolerances may need to have the non drive side cup pressed in. This wasn't the case with this frame and the cups literally slipped into the shell and screwed together until hand tight, then tightened with two bottom bracket tools pictured. Note that the dust seals go on with the concave side out and that Shimano road cranks require the supplied 0.5mm nylon washers outboard of the dust seals, one on each side.

I don't have Ultegra cranks for this bike yet but used a set of 105 cranks from my parts bin to test fit. Preload is important with angular contact bearings and the plastic preload thingamajig on the non-drive side crank arm must be tightened to 3Nm. Shimano NDS arm pinch bolts get torqued to 12-14Nm.

The whole thing was super simple.


















-Tim-

Last edited by TimothyH; 03-16-17 at 09:37 PM.
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Old 03-17-17, 09:37 AM
  #16  
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it is already a sweet looking machine!
keep us posted on the progress.
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Old 03-17-17, 09:40 AM
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Saw one of those new RLT9 RDO, IRL, at a new local shop last night. It'll be a beaut, Tim.

PS-my Niner fork will be here Tuesday...wish they sold the fork separate in the same colors as you posted.
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Old 03-17-17, 12:03 PM
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Beautiful! Make sure you align the tire logos with the air valve stem before you mount the tires permanently.
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Old 03-17-17, 01:57 PM
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Originally Posted by Marcus_Ti View Post
PS-my Niner fork will be here Tuesday...
Sweet. I'm envious of the gravel fork's 180mm rotor capacity.

I've so many things ordered and in transit that I had to make a spreadsheet to keep track of it all.

We really need a product photo thread so that we can check out gear apart from the manufacturer's perfectly posed marketing shots.


-Tim-
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Old 03-17-17, 03:23 PM
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Originally Posted by TimothyH View Post
Sweet. I'm envious of the gravel fork's 180mm rotor capacity.

I've so many things ordered and in transit that I had to make a spreadsheet to keep track of it all.

We really need a product photo thread so that we can check out gear apart from the manufacturer's perfectly posed marketing shots.


-Tim-
I've had my project underway since January. Usually only one or two things in transit at a time.


BTW don't know if you'd be interested for your build, Sierra Trading Post has some Ortlieb back-Roller pannier bags on sale for 50% off ATM ($90+S/H+Tax versus $180)
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Old 03-17-17, 05:39 PM
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Looking forward to seeing more of the build. Nice job so far.
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Old 03-17-17, 07:47 PM
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03-17-18

Mocked up the seatpost and saddle because I can't stand looking at a pile of parts in my closet. I've absolutely no idea about height or fore/aft positioning.

Niner says that the Di2 battery requires a 400mm seatpost. These are surprisingly hard to find and so I went with their own RDO part. This is also a blatant attempt to garner extra style points for matching the frame.

The saddle is a Fabric Scoop "Pro" model with carbon rails and nylon shell @ 194 grams. I opted for the more curvy "Radius" shape designed for more upright riding as opposed to the flatter models which are supposedly designed for a lower, more aero riding position. This one is the team issue with black-on-black logo because it was on sale and really, why the heck not?

The Niner seatpost clamp gets 4Nm torque and Fabric says their carbon rail saddles get 8Nm torque. Carbon assembly paste will be used when the post slips or as the final fit is dialed in, whichever comes first.














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Old 03-18-17, 07:50 PM
  #23  
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03-18-17

Installed the rotors onto the wheels. Comments inline.

American Classic 29" MTB Race wheels are not available with centerlock hubs except by special order and then only to OEM's. The Jamis Renegade Elite factory build comes with these.

Centerlock would have been really nice but as they say, you can't always get what you want and so I'm using Shimano SM-RT86 "Ice Technology" rotors with the 6-bolt ISO mounting system. These are 160mm size where all of the RLT 9 RDO factory builds come with 140mm centerlock rotors.




The first step was to RTFM but the instruction sheet was outdated, referencing a long discontinued design using a "Fixing washer" which was not in the box. A quick Google search found incorrect/outdated instructions being discussed as far back as 2012. So much for RTFM. Shimano needs to get their act together here.




Other than the washer, the parts go together exactly as pictured above. The rotor goes on the hub, then the tightening plates, then the T25 Torx screws. Care has to be taken to install the tightening plates correctly - they have the word "TOP" embossed on them and little tabs which stick out - these face away from the rotor.




Bolts are tightened in a star pattern similar to tightening the lug nuts on a car wheel. Here I took extra care to accurately tighten each bolt to 2-4Nm and to ensure that all the bolts were precisely tightened relative to each other.




The braking surfaces were then cleaned with CRC Brake Cleaner and the wheels were mounted onto the frame. This time I used a little grease on the threads and torqued the maxles to spec. As an aside, I've started a small spreadsheet with all the torque specs for this bike and am going to tape it to the inside lid of my toolbox.










-Tim-

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Old 03-18-17, 10:04 PM
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This is awesome. Subscribed.
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Old 03-19-17, 04:33 PM
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Looking good, enjoy the updates as you progress along.
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