Race tech: Prototype cyclo-cross bike from Gary Fisher

Belt-drive singlespeed spotted in the pits at US nationals

In the pit area at this past weekend's US cyclo-cross national championships was an innocuous-looking white Gary Fisher singlespeed machine that turned out to be anything but a standard rig upon closer inspection.

According to Gary Fisher brand manager Travis Ott, it was a "we did it because we could sort of bike", built by an employee at the company's Waterloo, Wisconsin headquarters.

"They were just playing around with their capabilities back there in the shop and they wanted to see what they could actually do," said Ott. "They wanted to see what would happen with the belt on a 'cross bike."

Special features include faux lugwork with machined-in Gary Fisher mountain logos and geometric fish icons, slider-type dropouts with integrated tensioners and a split driveside stay that allows the use of a Gate belt drive.

The trick rear brake cable routing passes right through the semi-integrated seat mast.  Aside from the brazed-on sleeves at the ends of the tubes, the bike is fully TIG-welded.

Press-fit bottom bracket cups and an extra-wide shell are pulled straight from Gary Fisher's production 'cross machines, though, with the same benefits of lighter overall weight and superb mud clearance thanks to the extra-wide chainstay spacing. Mudguard mounts are included front and rear.

At least for now, Ott says the special bike was a pure one-off and isn't indicative of future consumer products. However, he doesn't rule out the possibility, either: "[There are] no plans for it to go into production or anything like that but we'll see what the response is like."

Sliding dropouts with built-in tensioners make for easy drivetrain setup while the split design allows belt drive compatibility: sliding dropouts with built-in tensioners make for easy drivetrain setup while the split design allows belt drive compatibility

James Huang

Technical Editor, US
James started as a roadie in 1990 with his high school team but switched to dirt in 1994 and has enjoyed both ever since. Anything that comes through his hands is bound to be taken apart, and those hands still sometimes smell like fork oil even though he retired from shop life in 2007. He prefers manual over automatic, fizzy over still, and the right way over the easy way.
  • Discipline: Mountain, road, cyclocross
  • Preferred Terrain: Up in the Colorado high-country where the singletrack is still single, the dirt is still brown, and the aspens are in full bloom. Also, those perfect stretches of pavement where the road snakes across the mountainside like an artist's paintbrush.
  • Beer of Choice: Mexican Coke
  • Location: Boulder, Colorado, USA

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