Gravel Grinder News: Debuts From Niner Bikes, Zipp, Muc Off, Salsa Cycles

Gravel Grinder News: Debuts From Niner Bikes, Zipp, Muc Off , Salsa Cycles

The Eurobike trade show is happening in Germany now and with the demise of the North American trade show, Interbike, and no replacement for it, show news is packed into the time slot for Eurobike. Press releases are flying everywhere as a result. Here are a few tidbits concerning the gravel/back road rider which may be of interest that have come across our e-mail.

Niner Bikes RLT 9 Five Star build in Camo
The Niner Bikes RLT9 RDO in the 5 Star build Camo scheme. RLT’s have all been redesigned.

Niner Bikes Introduces Redesigned RLT9 Range: First up we have the new RLT9 line up from Niner Bikes. Featuring frames made in carbon fiber, steel, and aluminum, the RLT9’s are set to satisfy any gravel/all road rider with a frame material and build options to outfit it to suit their tastes.

RLT9 Reynolds steel 4 Star build
RLT9 Reynolds steel 4 Star build

Features of the updated range include tire clearances of 700c X 50mm or 650B X 2.0″, 26 fixed mounting points, and cable routing options including dropper post routing. There is also a new carbon fork for the range featuring accessory mounting points, internal routing for the brake line and dynamo wiring, and will have 100mm spaced 12mm through axle wheel fitment spec. Carbon frames feature fully sleeved internal routing, steel frames are externally routed, and alloy frames have internal routing. All frames will feature PF30 bottom bracket spec.

Comments: The new range of RLT9 bikes reflects Niner’s continued commitment to the gravel bike niche and it is impressive. We noted that you should pay specific attention to the geometry sheets for each frame type as things vary from steel, to carbon, and alloy frames. For example, the bottom bracket height on the steel RLT9 is substantially higher than the bottom bracket on the carbon RLT9. This may determine which works best for you, say, if you are interested in using 650B wheels primarily, as that choice lowers bottom bracket height slightly.

The new range of RLT9 bikes should be available sometime this month. Check out Niner Bikes for more details:

Zipp's Service Course 70 SL XPLR handle bar
Zipp’s newest handle bars focus on gravel/all-road riding. The Service Course 70 SL XPLR is shown here. Image courtesy of Zipp.

Zipp Show Off New Gravel/All-Road Handle Bar: Zipp has debuted a couple of new handle bars aimed at the gravel road/all-road rider which feature flare and sweep, features commonly found in drop bars for this style of riding. (Confused by “flare” and “sweep” terminology? Check out our “Drop Bar Terms Defined” post here) The new range of two alloy bars falls under Zipp’s new “XPLR” series and consists of the Service Course 70 XPLR and the slightly lighter Service Course 70SL XPLR.

Geometry of Zipp's new Service Course 70 XPLR bar series
While the Service Course 70 XPLR bars have flare and sweep, it is minimal. Image courtesy of Zipp.

According to Zipp, the riders they polled prefer a “hoods centered” riding position and wanted minimal flare and sweep in comparison to what many gravel road style flared drop bars have. The result is a bar which features a minimalist 5° of flare and a slight sweep angle which is spec’ed at 11°. Interestingly, Zipp also worked in 3° of backsweep to the tops, a feature many flared drop bars do not have.

Zipp offers the Service Course 70 SL XPLR in 40,42,44, and 46 centimeter widths at a MSRP of $110.00USD. The Service Course 70 XPLR is offered in 42,44,and 46cm widths and has an MSRP of $55.00. Both bars should be available sometime this month. For more information on Zipp products, including these handle bars, see their site:

Comments: Zipp claims riders want to use the hoods primarily, and if you are a road rider, you probably do. However; the flared drop idea was designed for riders to use the drops primarily, and in rougher, unstable terrain, that’s where you’ll want your hands to be. Furthermore, with your hands in the drops, your weight creates a better lever against the bar, creating more opportunity for flex, and thus, better vibration damping and comfort. Not to mention the aero and multiple hand positioning benefits. Otherwise, why even have drop bars?

Muc-Off tubeless rim tape
Muc-Off has expanded their tubeless components offerings. Image courtesy of Muc-Off

Muc-Off Introduces Range Of Tubeless Tire Support Items: Muc-Off has a new tubeless rim tape, tubeless plug repair kit, and CO2 inflator cartridges to supplement their sealant for a full range of tubeless support for the gravel/all-road rider. We recently tested Muc-Off’s very pink and very effective sealant here. We liked the sealant a lot, so we expect that the tape will be a similarly great product. (In fact, we have some incoming to test here soon. )

The specs on the Muc-Off Tubeless Rim Tape are as follows:

  • Made from their own proprietary performance material.
  • A pressure-sensitive adhesive to provide just the right amount stretch whilst maintaining durability and strength needed to create a lasting airtight seal.
  • Semi-transparent material makes locating the valve hole easy.
  • Supplied with 4x Seal Patches.
  • Available in a 10m and 50m workshop roll in 6 widths to suit most Road, CX, Gravel, MTB and Plus-sized rims.

The gravel road/all-road cyclist will be best served by one of Muc-Off’s five available tape widths, two of which are 21mm wide and each of those featuring 44mm or 60mm valve lengths to accommodate differing rim depths. Wider tape widths using 44mm long valves also are available.

Tubeless tape is available as a stand-alone item ($11.99USD) or in a kit with valves, seal patches, and two pouches of sealant at $59.99USD. Muc-Off also offers CO2 cartridges in kit or stand-alone cartridge options ( Road kit $17.99, MTB kit $20.99 / Cartridges $3.20 16g and $6.00 25g ). Kits include an inflator head and Neoprene sleeve. Muc-Off also has a punture repair kit ($14.99USD, refills at $5.99USD) and a pouch to carry the repair kits in which runs $20.00USD.

All Muc-Off tubeless products should be available soon. To learn more, go to their site:

Salsa Cycles 202 Fargo Apex 1 Image courtesy of Salsa Cycles

Salsa Cycles Freshens Up Steel Offerings: And finally, Salsa Cycles has announced its 2020 model year steel offerings including the Fargo, Vaya, and Marrakesh models. Paring things down and new colors are the main story here with the Fargo being offered in one model, (Apex 1), so far and the titanium frame option carries over as well for 2020. You can catch all the pertinent details on Salsa Cycles site here:

NOTE: All information and images courtesy of Niner Bikes, Zipp, Salsa Cycles, and Muc-Off.


Author: Guitar Ted

Guitar Ted hails from Iowa. Home of over 70,000 miles of gravel and back roads. An inaugural member of the Gravel Cycling Hall of Fame and Co-creator of Trans Iowa in late 2004- Guitar Ted has been at the forefront of the growth of gravel events and riding since then. Creator of Gravel Grinder News in 2008, he produced the premier calendar of gravel and back road events. GT joined forces with Riding Gravel in late 2014.

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