The Wahoo is the least expensive mountain bike in the Gary Fisher range to offer the brand's proprietary Genesis geometry.
Say what? The idea behind Genesis is to put the rider's weight in the right place to improve climbing traction, descending stability and steering responses. Shorter chainstays and a long top tube, coupled with a short stem, give the Wahoo a distinctive look, keep all the rider's contact points - bum, hands, feet - in the same place as before, and create a bike with uncharacteristically thoroughbred handling for this price. It's stable when you want it to be and quick to respond when you need it.
The Genesis concept does exactly what it says on the tin, and helps set the Wahoo's ride in a class of one at this price. The frame is packed with thoughtful features, from the bulge-butted top and down tubes to the bridgeless, gusset-reinforced chainstays and radically airy dropouts. It neither looks, nor rides, like a cheap bike.
Backing up this surprisingly 'grown-up' feel is a thoroughly sound selection of components. The highlight feature has to be the RockShox Dart 1 fork, which is far and away the best performer in this test. Lighter riders may find it a bit over-sprung, but it's smooth and progressive and, crucially, doesn't have even a trace of top-out clunk. Yay!
Masses of frame clearance gives room for grippy, fast-rolling and shock-absorbingly wide Bontrager tyres, while the rim brakes offer power on a par with budget discs with the bonus of being lighter, cheaper and easier to maintain. Fitting cheaper brakes even left room in the budget for a more durable Deore rear mech, and all the Bontrager finishing kit is well designed and works well. Disc hubs would've been nice, but the frame is ripe for an eventual disc upgrade and everything else works so well it'd be churlish to grumble.
Of all the bikes here, this is the only one that doesn't cry out for an out-of-the-box upgrade. There's absolutely nothing here that you'd need to change, and it also rides brilliantly. A great frame, peerless handling and good components: all in all, a deserving best buy.
© BikeRadar 2007