Orange came to this bike via their development of their 29er mountainbike because the wheels are about the same size, rather than stumbling towards it via anything roady because the wheels are about the same size, but then they are a mountainbike company and they're pitching it as a do-anything bike rather than your out and out racy cyclo-cross bike.
The RX9 name comes from Road-Cross-29 which hints at it's intended use, that's to say a little bit of everything those three different bikes can do. With thin tyres it can skim along the road quite happily, the frame is designed with slacker angles than your race 'cross bike and is a little bit longer in the draft to make it less of a handful, and with fat tyres on it's more the happy trundling over the sorts of terrain you might take a 29er mountainbike. The boys from Halifax say it's for the sort of ride that mixes in your standard badly maintained roads, lanes with grass down the middle, barrelling down fireroads and off-road suff that's boring on your 6" mountainbike, all in one ride. Just the sort of riding lots and lots of people like to do then.
There's clearance in the alloy frame for a small tyre with a mudguard should you want to use it for road/commute duties or a large tyre on its own for those more variable excursions, and the alloy fork has a whole bunch of room in it, so you could just about squeeze a skinny 29er tyre in there by the looks of things if your preference was for the rockier road. Rack mounts add to the bike's versatility and disc brakes make it stop in all the situations it might find itself in. Kit on this one is a 10 speed Tiagra/105 mix, Shimano hubs laced to Mavic A119 rims, with workhorse BB5 callipers some Easton bits and a SDG saddle, but some of that could change come production. There's also a few tweaks that need to be made to some frame details but the RX9 should be ready for Christmas and be priced about around the magic £1,000 mark.
It's an ace orange colour too.
Jo Burt has spent the majority of his life riding bikes, drawing bikes and writing about bikes. When he's not scribbling pictures for the whole gamut of cycling media he writes words about them for road.cc and when he's not doing either of those he's pedaling. Then in whatever spare minutes there are in between he's agonizing over getting his socks, cycling cap and bar-tape to coordinate just so. And is quietly disappointed that yours don't He rides and races road bikes a bit, cyclo-cross bikes a lot and mountainbikes a fair bit too. Would rather be up a mountain.