Earlier this year, 9:ZERO:7 and Fallbrook Technologies Inc. announced the 2013 Tusken. The Tusken is one of a growing list of fat-bikes to pair Fallbrook’s continuously variable NuVinci N360 transmission with the Gates Carbon Drive CenterTrack™ Belt Drive System. The NuVinci N360 is the latest generation of Fallbrook’s award-winning continuously variable planetary (CVP) transmission for bicycles. The NuVinci N360 offers quiet, seamless shifting with a maintenance-free drive-train that makes dealing with snow, mud and sand a breeze. The NuVinci N360 provides riders with an infinite number of gearing choices between the highest and lowest ratios, a full 360 percent ratio range. The CVP transmission provides seamless, continuous shifting (even under high pedal torque), without power interruptions, missed gears or dropped chains.
The Gates Carbon Drive system featured on the Tusken uses a carbon-reinforced belt instead of a chain, which is exceptionally long lasting, virtually maintenance-free and nearly silent. The system sheds mud and debris while ensuring that the belt stays firmly in place. The Tusken also features cutout Rolling Darryl rims, carbon handlebars, and the new Race Face Turbine crankset. Fatbikes.com offers a complete Tusken fat bike package in three sizes (S-L). The Tusken is available in anodized black or painted grey and has an MSRP of $2,950.
Our test bike is a Size – Medium and features black anodizing on the frame. I assembled the bike along with some borrowed plastic platform pedals from my parts bin. I threw it up on the scale and our test bike weighed in at 35 1/2 pounds. That’s ~ 2 pounds lighter than my Moonlander.
I took three rides on the new Tusken test-bike before handing it over to our Bike Black Ribbon Test Pilots for further testing. Sven, Colin and James are all going to take a crack at the Tusken and we’ll be bringing you a complete review later this month.
My first test ride on the test Tusken was a group beach ride down at Illinois Beach State Park. We had 6 folks riding 9:Zero:7’s and six more riding Surlys on some of the loosest beach conditions that I’ve run into recently. The lowest gear on the NuVinci was just low enough to keep me in the saddle, plugging along, when the sand conditions got super soft. The bike felt solid and ran very quietly. I spent a lot of time in the easiest gear, but the shifting was as advertised – smooth and seamless! The thing that really made an impression on me was how clean and grit free, the Gates Belt Drive remained. If you ride a lot of beach, we think you will LOVE belt drive.
The second ride for the Tusken was 22 miles of semi-soggy and partially frozen gravel. The bike behaved very well and the micro-adjustable resistance really began to grow on me. The wet gravel that normally makes my chain a gritty mess was no problem for the belt drive.
My final introduction to the Tusken was out on Zito’s Beach Kingdom, just North of MKE. Zito & I, met up with fellow BBR Test Pilots Jimbo & Beeker along with Marcus and Greg from Schlick Cycles and headed north on gloriously firm sand conditions. We had lots of leftover snow and ice formations that were all co-mingled with beach sand to play on and some nice rocky sections to put the handling of the tusken into focus. The bike handled it all with ease with the kind of balanced feel, that one would expect from a good trail bike.
That’s our introduction of the 9:Zero:7 Tusken. We’ll be putting it through its paces for the next three weeks, so stay tuned for the full review in about a month!
To learn more about 9:Zero:7, visit www.fatbikes.com
To learn more about the NuVinci N360 drivetrain, visit www.nuvinci.com/cycling
How about some Gates Carbon Belt Drive info? – http://www.carbondrivesystems.com/