First Look: 9:Zero:7 Slider
Presenting the ultimate winter workhorse for 2016
The Godzilla El Niño everyone predicted is already bringing snow to the West, but fortunately I’ve been riding the new 9:Zero:7 Slider for the past couple weeks, which has proven to be the perfect bike for this bad weather.
First, an explainer about the unconventional name: 907 is the area code for all of Alaska, and the Anchorage-based company made some of the first fatties on the market before it became a major industry trend. “Slider” in the model name refers to the sliding dropouts, built around 170-millimeter rear spacing that allows for an internal hub. Designed with a breakaway in the drive-side seatstay, our tester came built with a Rohloff Speedhub XL and Gates Belt Drive—a low-maintenance, keep-out-the-elements setup ideal for riding in winter slop.
The Good: The versatility to run everything from the fattest 26-inch tires all the way up to 29+, as well as lots of mounts and capacity for bikepacking. The awesome new Maxxis Chronicle tires should help keep advancing the 29+ trend. Great, practical spec choices like mechanical disc brakes and grip shift, both of which are easy in the cold.
The Bad: No thru-axle in the rear—boo to Rohloff. And while we love the durability of the Rohloff hub, the weight still needs to come down for it to be truly competitive.
The Verdict: Here’s an affordable, hardworking fat frame that is more multifaceted than most fatties courtesy of the sliding dropouts and clearance for all manner of wheels and tires. Load it up for bikepacking and wilderness adventures, plow it through the snowdrifts, or even just throw on some skinny tires and shred it like a regular old hardtail.
Weight: 30.2 lbs
Wheel Size: Accommodates everything from 26-inch wheels with five-inch tires to 29+
The Slider is all about versatility, and the adjustable rear end and huge tire clearance up front means the bike can accommodate everything from 26-inch wheels with the meatiest five-inch tires you can find all the way up to 29+, which is how we’ve been running the rig lately. Yes, 27.5+ is all the talk right now, but we absolutely love the even bigger wheel size—the added momentum and tire contact patch makes for a fast-moving, confident ride.
Tire selection has been one thing holding back the proliferation of 29+, but the awesome new Maxxis Chronicle, with low-profile, fast-rolling tread on top and meaty side knobs for excellent cornering and handling in the loose, is one of the best additions to the segment. And when the snow really starts to fall, we love that we can swap in even fatter tires for more grip and float.
The Slider is all about versatility, and the adjustable rear end and huge tire clearance up front means the bike can accommodate everything from 26-inch wheels with meaty five-inch tires all the way up to 29+.
This is a very different bike from some of the other 29+ models (like the excellent Trek Stache) hitting the market right now: the reach and chainstays are longer, the headtube angle slightly steeper, and the stand-over height a lot lower. That means the Slider isn’t as playful or snappy as the Stache, but it’s not meant to be. Rather, it’s built for stability and confidence while cruising on snow and mixed terrain, and indeed we’ve found it solid and rooted and totally phlegmatic no matter the terrain. That stand-over height also makes getting on and off easy when you’re bundled up and carrying a load.
We’ve loved seeing the development of high-dollar carbon fat bikes in the past few years—even 9:Zero:7 has one, the polished Whiteout Carbon—but many of these expensive bikes have sacrificed utility in favor of lightweight race-readiness. Not so the Slider, which has fender mounts, braze-ons for three bottle cages, and eyelets for a rear rack. That makes this bike ideal not just for winter riding but also bikepacking and adventuring when you want to load up with packs and racks and head out for a few days. Pity, however, that 9:Zero:7 didn’t also add rack mounts on the fork.
The Slider can be built relatively inexpensively and fairly light, down to about 24 pounds, according to the company. But with the Rohloff hub, it weighs a substantial 30.2 pounds (and that’s not a cheap build at $3,995). Still, you don’t necessarily want or need a feathery bike for bikepacking and snow touring. And given the Slider’s versatility and durability, especially with a belt drive and internal hub, it’s well worth the cost.