Niner BSB 9 RDO:
My Gravel Racing Bike
The sun is warming, the rain is clearing, and the roads are drying up which means gravel season is upon us! Whether you are headed to the Dirty Kanza this weekend or coming to visit me for Rebecca’s Private Idaho in September, it’s time to dust off your gravel bike and get it dialed in for the season. 2016 was my second year riding the Niner BSB 9 RDO and after a year and a few thousand miles together I’ve dialed it in. I’ll get a little nerdy here and give you all the details on how I’m running my rig these days.
The Niner BSB 9 RDO has been a blast to ride and I find myself reaching for it often on training days. I use this bike on road, gravel and some single track and it handles great no matter what I throw at it. I love having the freedom of a bike that can go anywhere. This year’s model of the BSB is similar to the bike I rode at Dirty Kanza last year with the exception of a thru axle added to the rear to give it even better handling and a sweet new electric green paint job. The bike is incredibly responsive, light as a feather, and has great power transfer, allowing me to get the most out of each peddle stroke. The frame is a product of RDO Carbon Compaction, a technology utilizing rigid internal molds for tighter, more consistent compacted carbon layers. This frame is race ready and can handle just about whatever I throw at it.
I run a SRAM Force 1x drive train with a 44 tooth front chain ring, 10/42 cassette, Quarq power meter, and Force hydraulic disc breaks. The 1x drive train really saved me last year at the Dirty Kanza, the mud was relentless and the course was a derailleur graveyard. The simplicity of the the 1x system allowed me to spend less time and energy cleaning my bike on course and kept me rolling for 200 miles, which many people couldn’t say last year.
I roll on Zipp 303 Firecrest wheels with disc breaks. Zipp 303’s have a heritage that was forged on the rough roads of the Spring Classics. They are an innovation resulting in the perfect balance of stiffness, durability, simplicity and versatility. The extra-wide rim gives it even more durability so it can handle the punishing gravel roads, but also provides improved aerodynamics. From road to gravel, these are my go-to wheels. I equip my Zipp 303’s with Maxxis’s 38mm Rambler tire for gravel races. Both Private Idaho and the Dirty Kanza courses have some teeth, so I run a clincher set up on my wheels to ensure I am self-sufficient and quick to change if I get a flat.
Now time for a BIG topic in gravel racing- TIRES. The Maxxis Rambler are the tires I’ve used exclusively on my Niner BSB 9 RDO for Dirty Kanza, RPI, Gravel Worlds and my gravel training. They’re fast, reliable and really good in all conditions. Maxxis’ first gravel-specific tire, the Rambler is designed with the volume you need for comfort and the tread you need for speed and control. Tightly packed center knobs are ramped for rolling efficiency on hardpack roads, and spaced-out side knobs provide predictable cornering in varied terrain. These tires were so perfect for the epic Kanza conditions of 2015, they even put the image of me pushing through the hills last year in the promo for the Rambler.