You'd be forgiven if the parade of initialisms in the model name of Niner's RKT 9 RDO 4 Star X01RS 1 Complete Mountain Bike summons specters of Cold War era, retro tech missile silos. This impression is certified when the bike is put to the test across rocky trails and terrain laden climbs, where its tweaked geometry and featherweight kit inspire all the reckless abandon of an R 11 Scud missile. Despite the retro associations, though, the 4 Star build kit is anything but. SRAM's hard racing, long wearing X01 drivetrain has already proven itself among the office favorites here at Competitive, and the improved stiffness and lower weight of RockShox's futuristic, inverted RS 1 fork has already earned it a place on bikes throughout the pro ranks a sure sign that it's the future of category race kit, too. Though it appears much more conventional than RockShox's inverted fork, the RKT 9's frame has plenty of its own futuristic features. These manifest as geometry tweaks aimed at bridging the divide between a low weight XC race machine and a high confidence, line holding trail sled. Given that Ms. Rusch, the Queen of Pain herself, summarizes the RKT 9 RDO as a dream come true, 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 a more aggressive rider position and a longer geometry with 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 coming through corners and more power transferring stiffness. 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 thick...