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  1. #1
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    Advice for road/cross/gravel newbie - Niner RLT vs. Raleigh(s) vs. Foundry

    To start, I'm primarily a MTBer who has only ridden a road-style, drop bar bike in parking lots, out of curiosity, a handful of times. As family life intrudes more and more on my ability to get out on the trail, I've become more interested in picking up a road/cross/gravel bike to use for logging some extra miles - both road and gravel, for use on a trainer, and perhaps for some cross races come fall.

    I'd like to spend under $2500 and have been looking at the following bikes based on some preliminary research and previous experience (at least with Niner, as one occupies a spot in my garage currently - HT29er).

    - Niner RLT 2 star
    - Foundry Auger
    - Raleigh RXC
    - Raleigh Tamland 2

    The Tamland seems to be the best deal in terms of price and component spec, especially given that it is on sale at REI now for under $1900. Steel seems like it would be nice from the standpoint of ride quality, but I really would prefer a carbon fork for both aesthetics and performance. I've no experience with Foundry but have been impressed with the press I've seen of other bikes (Broadaxe in particular) and the price and intention seem to be in line with what I am looking for.

    I will admit, I am a complete newb when it comes to this style of bike, so any advice would be great!

  2. #2
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    Love my foundry. I'd buy another in a heart beat. The frame is very well designed so riding on rough surfaces it stays planted. The whiskey fork is the best cross fork I've ridden.

  3. #3
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    I was in a very similar situation a couple months ago and went with the RLT. I am also a MTBer at heart and needed a "road" bike to ride when the trails are wet or to sneak in a few extra miles when I had a free hour or two. In short, I really like the Niner and I would not call myself a Niner fan (had a Jet9 that I didn't really like that much).

    Brief pros:
    • Gobs of tire clearance - I am running 40 mm Clement X’PLOR MSOs with tons of room to spare
    • Great ride quality - handles well, comfortable...I like it much more than my old Jake the Snake.
    • Great full carbon fork - I ride mine on smooth and rocky trails often and this fork handles quite well on and off road


    minor nitpicks: -
    • I wish it had a thru axles - I am 200+ lbs on a 56 frame and the current design is fine but I would prefer thru axles.
    • wonky rear derailleur hanger design - it is single bolt design that that flexes a lot until you tighten the skewer. I haven't had any issues but the rear derailleur alignment visibly changes as the skewer is tightened.


    I built mine from the frameset so I can't comment on the standard build components. My MTB roots show in the build (mix of spare MTB parts and components I found on sale). I managed to build this bike for less than your budget but I did have a couple of key parts from old bikes lying in the basement.
    • Wheels - ArchEX rims with DT DB comp spokes laced to a King rear and Hope front hub.
    • 2013 SRAM Red 10s shifters
    • SRAM Force 22 crankset/front derailleur
    • SRAM x9 type 2 rear derailleur
    • Salsa Cowbell bar
    • Thomson MTB stem
    • Spyre brakes
    • Ergon MTB saddle
    • Syntace hiflex post

  4. #4
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    Nutball - thanks for the info. Good stuff to know. The Niner has been tops on my list since it was announced, though I had planned on the 2 star build with some upgrades (Spyre brakes, carbon post +/- new bars) and perhaps a second set of wheels to have one for knobbies and one for slicks. How has the Niner fared on the road? I've got some friends who are roadies (a few hardcore, but most of them recreational) that I'd love to join for some short rides and would love to know if I am going to be able to keep up!

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by trumpus View Post
    ...How has the Niner fared on the road? I've got some friends who are roadies (a few hardcore, but most of them recreational) that I'd love to join for some short rides and would love to know if I am going to be able to keep up!
    I am probably not the best one to answer this since I have never owned a real road bike and I am certainly not a hard core roadie. However, in my limited experience, the ability to keep up on a road ride is primarily dominated the rider first and the tires second. Put some fast tires on and you'll be fine for short rides. Keep in mind that at my 200 lbs, the few pounds of difference between my RLT and a race spec road bike is pretty insignificant on a shorter ride.

    My favorite short local loop for the RLT is a combination of road and trail. From my driveway: 1 mile road, ~4 miles of trail, ~7 miles road, ~5-10 miles of another trail (depending on time), and then reverse direction and head home. I run in to roadies often on this loop and don't have trouble keeping up.

  6. #6
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    I have the Tamland and love it. I have never ridden the others but for me price was paramount. I do with it had a carbon fork like the niner but to be honest, the steel fork on the Tamland does just fine soaking up the chatter. Like someone else said, keeping up with the roadies will be largely dependent on can you keep up with roadies and then second is tire choice. The 40c MSO are pretty beefy, if I was worried about the road I would definitely switch to something a bit narrower and less/no knobbies down the center. They do rock on the dirt though.

  7. #7
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    I have the RLT and have not tried the others, but I like mine a lot. I also built mine up from the frameset and have two wheelsets for it. one with 28c road tires and one with 32c cyclocross tires. I favorite LBS is a Niner dealer and I already have a Jet 9. I am not a fanboy, but do like the bikes Niner puts out. My rides have been everything from an all paved road ride to all gravel on the Northern Rail Trail.

  8. #8
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    What about a Ridley?

    I love mine. If you don't mind buying online, this seems like a terrific deal:
    Ridley X-Fire/Shimano Ultegra Disc Complete Bike | Competitive Cyclist

    Even though I already have my X-Ride, I'm super tempted to pick this one up.
    '13 Salsa Horsethief 2
    '12 Trek 6000
    '11 Ridley X-Ride

  9. #9
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    I sold my last road bike 6 years ago & have been riding dirt exclusively ever since. This spring, I got the itch for a new bike & wanted something that I could take to the street, but wouldn't complain about a little dirt. I shopped the RLT, Straggler, Specialized AWOL & the Tamland.

    I ended up choosing the Tamland 2 (REI, baybee) & it's been a revelation. Smooth doesn't begin to describe the ride. The steel frame, combined with the 700x40 fatties, really minimizes chatter on less-than-stellar pavement. The Ultegra drivetrain is the best shifting group I've used. Ever. The TRP Spyre brakes are quiet, easily adjustable & powerful enough for singletrack use.

    That said, it's not all sweetness and light. For starters, it's geared waaaay too high for my motor. 52T on the big ring? Um, no. For a skinny-tired road machine, that makes sense - but not for mixed terrain. I've since switched out the 52T for a more old-fart friendly 46T. That was a spendy upgrade ($200 for the chainring & special fancypants bolts), but is more appropriate for the type of riding I use it for. Even with the reduced gearing, cruising at 20mph isn't a problem & I don't spin out the 46x11 until well over 30mph. Hey, it *could* happen.

    Finally, the bars. I know it's a personal preference, but no. Just no. Very narrow (38 cm?), lots of drop & no flare. Fine for the road, but not a dirt-friendly setup. I've since replaced with a nice, wide Cowbell & it's just about right.
    Start slow, then taper off.

  10. #10
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    Advice for road/cross/gravel newbie - Niner RLT vs. Raleigh(s) vs. Foundry

    I've got the Tamland 1 and I like it quite a bit. Throw some narrow tires on it you'll be fine on group road rides. If you're really concerned about speed then upgrade the wheels but IMO the Tamland is the best if the bunch.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

  11. #11
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    Advice for road/cross/gravel newbie - Niner RLT vs. Raleigh(s) vs. Foundry

    Thanks for the replies so far. Lots to consider. I'd also add to the list the All City Macho Man Disc. We've got a local dealer and I also happened I find one used in my size with some upgrades.

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