Gary Fisher Roscoe III review£2,800.00

Unashamed grin-inducing trail rig

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Probably the most universally raved-about ride of the summer bike launches, Gary Fisher’s Roscoe III is a maximum fun all-day bike with a licence to go loony. It doesn’t take long to see what all the fuss is about.

The slack G2 geometry inspires confidence, and the new Fox DCRV shock and QR15 fork are outstandingly smooth. Minor downsides include the way the big tyres slow acceleration slightly, and we’d have liked a Maxle on the back.

Nevertheless, the Roscoe is unshakeable, even through big-hit terrain, yet it’s agile enough to be highly enjoyable through the tight stuff. We had a blast on the Fisher, and if maximum fun is your riding priority this newbie has to be on your shortlist.

Ride & handling: sharp, decisive & ready to rip

Not only does the all-white Roscoe look right, it rides just right too. A head angle of 68° isn’t the slackest of trail bike steering set-ups but it sets the Fisher’s stall out as a proper play bike. It was gagging to dive flat out into technical descents and drift the dusty desert corners feet up and rocks flying.

Despite a mid-length stem and mid-width bar, the reduced trail of the G2 steering geometry gives it a light and effortless feel. It’s perfect for tweaking traction and lines mid-corner, another reason the Roscoe feels ready to rip from the off.

Unlike steeper-angled Fisher G2 cross-country bikes we’ve ridden, there’s no over-twitchy ‘shopping trolley wheel’ sensation. It turns into corners much faster than most slack-angled steady handlers, too, so it’ll run rings round them on tight stuff.

The really long wheelbase and relatively long top tube and rear stays provide reassuring overall stability, however loose or steep things get. Despite the length, it’s still super-stiff for excellent feedback clarity and decisive directional control, too.

It’s not just the chassis that’s spot-on for raising hell, either – the DRCV shock is outstanding. In simple terms, it’s a standard air shock with an auxiliary air chamber at the far end that kicks in at 40% travel.

The effect is a progressive, well damped low-pressure start for small bump sensitivity without excess pedal movement. The spring rate ramp-up of the main chamber gives a great cornering ‘platform’, too.

Bigger hits automatically open the valve and create a much bigger, more linear-feeling air chamber with fast rebound extension to stop pack- down. The 140mm of rear wheel travel is enough to swallow serious blocks and drops without any wallow or pocket/spike inconsistencies in the stroke.

The ABP pivot removes any brake influence, so you can slam on late without losing traction. Full RP23 low-speed compression adjustment lets you set the pedal bob/small bump filter as small as you want.

Frame: familiar lines, modern features

The basic frame silhouette and shock with swing-link design is one Fisher has been using on and off since it introduced the Sugar cross-country bike more than a dozen years ago.

The execution here is certainly different, though, with ‘mushroom’ section top tube and massive squared and S-bent down tube that has been hydroformed into a stiff yet light shape.

The broad-set dangling shock link is magnesium to save weight and there’s a tapered 1.5in/1.125in steerer head tube. That and the custom-built Fox fork use the latest version of Fisher’s G2 handling concept.

Roscoe is the first bike to borrow the ‘ABP’ rear pivot from big brother Trek, with its motion centered on the rear axle.  Not using a stiffer Maxle-style oversize axle is missing a trick, though. It also features a unique Fox DRCV (Dual Rate Control Valve) rear shock that’s a vital part of its outstanding performance.

Practicality isn’t forgotten, though. Despite 2.4in balloon tyres, there’s still masses of mud-room. Straight-through cable routing keeps control wires sealed, although you might want some chain slap protection on top of the chainstay.

Equipment: monster tyres and efficient gear

The monster tubeless-ready 2.4in rubber on broad yet light Rhythm Pro wheels add extra control and comfort. They roll well, too, although extra weight does slow initial acceleration.

The Fox fork gets a unique RP24 compression damping set-up as well as custom offset.

Shimano (front mech and chainset) and SRAM (rear mech and shifters) transmission provide a good mix. Avid Juicy brakes work fine, and we’ve no complaints about any of the Bontrager finishing kit.

Considering ours was a Large, the Roscoe is a respectable weight for its capability. There’s certainly potential for significantly lighter upgrading as cash allows, though.

Guy Kesteven

Freelance Writer, UK
Guy started filling his brain with cycle stats and steaming up bike shop windows back in 1980. He worked the other side of those windows from '89 while getting a degree in “describing broken things covered in mud" (archaeology). Dug historical holes in the ground through the early '90s, then became a pro bike tester in '97. Guy has ridden thousands of bikes and even more components the world over since then and can remember them all in vivid, haunting detail. Can't remember where the car keys are, though.
  • Age: 44
  • Height: 180cm / 5' 11"
  • Weight: 68kg / 150lb
  • Waist: 76cm / 30in
  • Chest: 91cm / 36in
  • Discipline: Strict sadomasochist
  • Preferred Terrain: Technical off-piste singletrack and twisted back roads. Up, down, along — so long as it's faster tfhan the last time he did it he's happy.
  • Current Bikes: An ever changing herd of test machines from Tri bikes to fat bikes and everything in between.
  • Dream Bike: His Nicolai Helius AM custom tandem
  • Beer of Choice: Theakston's Old Peculier (not Peculiar)
  • Location: Yorkshire, UK

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