Niner is aggressively marketing its all new RKT 9 RDO 3 Star XT 1x11 Complete Mountain Bike as a revolutionary machine, destined to forcibly overturn the XCtrail applecart and coerce the industry into rethinking what's possible for a 29er with a 71 degree head tube and 90mm of travel. Instead of being an aggressor, though, our time on the RKT 9 makes us see it as a diplomat of sorts, bridging the traditional divides of XCtrail and racingrecreation. By challenging these binary distinctions, the RKT 9 RDO 3 Star build positions itself as dare we say it a quiver killer, able to climb like a hardtail but handle gnarly terrain more like a 5in travel bike and all with a price that puts it within reach of the ambitious, self sponsored category racer. The RKT 9's all inclusive ride begins with a few geometry tweaks aimed at bridging the divide between low weight XC race machines and high confidence, line holding trail sleds. Given that Ms. Rusch, the Queen of Pain herself, summarizes the RKT 9 RDO as the answer to her dreams of a bike that can do just that, we'd say Niner hit the mark. Compared to Niner's previous XC racers, the RKT 9's longer top tube and shorter head tube make for better line holding capabilities across terrain skewing into the five inch trail bike category. These adjustments are paired with Boost 110 and 148mm axles in the front and rear, respectively, for increased wheel stiffness and more rear end clearance, allowing Niner to slam the back wheel up and reduce the chainstays to just 440mm. Stubby stays make for more agility entering corners and stretches of trail furniture and more power transferring stiffness while accelerating out of the other side. The frame is built according to the specifics of Niner's RDO Carbon Compaction System CCS. CCS uses internal molds during the curing process to ensure precise control over wall thickness and material distribution, eliminating excess grams and structural imperfections like resin pooling. ...