With a Reynolds 853 frame, an oversized 12x142mm rear axle, and a future proof blend of gravel readiness and hydraulic disc road brakes, Niner's RLT 9 Steel 4 Star CX1 Hydro Complete Bike borrows technology from across cycling's broad array of disciplines and eras. We applaud Niner's careful cherry picking, as it results in a machine that can handle anything from smooth tarmac to singletrack without the change of terrain registering in how the bike behaves. The Reynolds 853 tubing at the RLT 9 Steel's heart is one of the latest materials in the venerable manufacturer's catalog. 853's production process means that it can be drawn with thinner, lighter walls that don't compromise stiffness or impact resistance. It's also air cooled during production, so when Niner later welds the tubes into a frame, the strength of the steel at the joints actually increases. Of course, the real benefit of steel only manifests when you throw a leg over it. Reynolds 853's immediate, springy responsiveness, lively handling, and unrivaled durability prove with each pedal stroke why steel's only real competition in frame building is from marketing handbooks, not the latest wonder materials. The frame's geometry is a compromise between Niner's mountain frames and the aggressive disposition of the 'cross specific BSB frameset. Compared to the latter, the RLT 9 features a longer chainstay, a lower bottom bracket, and a more relaxed head tube angle. This translates into a lower center of gravity that still affords clearance over obstacles and while cornering, a wider wheelbase for stability, and tire clearance that lets you plush out to the tune of 1. 75in. In our own test rides of the geometry, we found that it eats up washboard and is nimble enough for mellow singletrack, so, if you're keen on making the RLT a durable singletrack speedster with zero suspension, then throw on some knobby tires and get to it. This bike's only limit is you. Despite Niner's love of steel, the RLT 9 Steel d...