Zero Engineering has one of the best pedigrees in the custom motorcycle business. So the launch of a new model is a highly anticipated event. But don’t expect a radical restyle, or acres of plastic. Zero is the home of the Samurai Chopper, and the company has built its reputation on old-school aesthetics and impeccable build quality. Nothing will change there.
That’s why the new Type 9 looks old, and it’s no bad thing. From the heavy-duty springer fork to the compact tail light cluster, it’s a modern remix of post-War American styling cues. But the traditional looks now hide some innovative engineering. There’s an all-new frame, and at the back, instead of a swingarm, there’s a four-link suspension system to keep the wheel planted. It’s a completely new design that took two years to perfect—keeping the aesthetics of a rigid frame but smoothing out the ride and dragging the handling into the twenty-first century.
The Type 9 comes standard with an S&S 96ci Evo engine. Californian buyers can order a CARB-certified motor, and power freaks can specify upgrades up to 124ci—a whopping two liters. (You can have your engine in a natural finish, or black.) There’s an open primary with a 3-inch belt, and a heavy-duty Rivera Primo 5-Speed box delivers the power to the back wheel.
As with all Zero Engineering bikes, each Type 9 will be custom-built for its owner, down to the choice of metal for the pegs (brass, aluminum, or black anodized aluminum). Zero will custom-paint the bike to your own specs too, although I’m hoping they urge restraint upon their customers.
I can’t think of a traditional, low-volume production bike I’d rather have. If you feel the same way, a Type 9 can be yours for around US$30,000.