Yes, 9 Zero 7 is a strange name for a bike brand, but not when you find out that it’s the Alaskan telephone area code and the bike brand is based there and only makes fat bikes because, well, snow. Lots of it! Established in 2004 the Anchorage-based company makes three models – two aluminium and one carbon fibre, the Whiteout, which is the one we tested.
The matte frame in black and bright orange is beautifully finished with fairly neutral geometry (70-degree head and 73-degree seattube angles). Weighing in at just over 11 kg, it’s a light build machine with carbon HED wheels (that’s right carbon wheels at R15000 a pair), Surly Larry 3.8 tyres and Industry Nine hubs with a 1×10 Shimano XTR conversion gearing and Shimano XT brakeset.
Compared to the Specialized Fatboy (aluminium frame) the 9 Zero 7 is very much more of a ‘racing fat bike’. Mannie Heymans, who imports the brand to southern Africa via his Mannie’s Bike Mecca business, completed the 2014 ABSA Cape Epic on it…
On the typical South African trail the Whiteout is surprisingly lively and simply eats up rough, technical climbs. Although on longer, smoother climbs you find yourself searching for a comfortable gear. Possibly more due to the 1×10 gearing, not the bike itself.
Handling is quite responsive, although with the longer stem and top tube some testers experienced a bit of oversteer on tighter corners at speed. Running a slightly lower tyre pressure helps over rougher terrain, although too low and you start to feel the ‘drag’ on longer, open dirt road sections with the increased rolling resistance of the large tyres.
Just as we were going to print, Mannie called to say that the pricing given would be coming down as more component (wheel, tyre, BB and fork) manufacturers entered the fat bike market. The 9 Zero 7 models start in price from R25 000 (aluminium frame).
If you’re going to be racing a fat bike any time and have unlimited budget, then you’ll want to put a Whiteout with its Surly carbon wheels, on your ‘strong-option’ list.
SIZES: S; M (tested); L
TOP TUBE LENGTH: 602mm
SEAT TUBE LENGTH: 432mm
HEAD TUBE ANGLE: 70 degrees
SEAT TUBE ANGLE: 73 degrees
CHAINSTAY LENGTH: 467mm
WHEELBASE: 1140mm (TREAD measured)
PRICE: R62 990
COLOURS: Matte black/bright orange
FRAME: T700 & T800 Carbon
WEIGHT: 11.67Kg with pedals
FORK: Carbon straight blade rigid, 15mm thru-axle
SHIFTERS: Shimano Deore XTR (1×10 spd)
FRONT DERAILLER: N/A
REAR DERAILLER: Shimano XTR
CRANKSET: Bar XC666 175mm, XX1 36t Chainring
BRAKESET: Shimano Deore XT hydraulic disc with 180mm rotors
WHEELS: HED Carbon rims with Industry Nine hubs
TYRES: Surly Larry, 26×3.8 tubeless
OTHERS: KCNC handlebars (Momsen Updown tested), KCNC stem, PRO alloy seatpost, Selle Italia (Fizik Nisene tested), Leonardi General Lee conversion cassette
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*Originally published in TREAD Soul Provider Issue 31, 2014 – All rights reserved