Spend a few minutes with Gary Fisher, and you quickly realize he's not only passionate about mountain biking, he's a treasure trove of knowledge, both modern and historic. His perspective on advocacy, suspension, componentry choice, trail building and relationships is intriguing, and he has the experience to back it all up.
As one of the early pioneers of trail riding, Fisher has seen and done it all. And as one of the first to make mountain bikes commercially available to the masses, Fisher also has a keen sense of what works, not just for his own tall and lanky body, but for anyone passionate about riding where the pavement ends and dirt begins.
Gary Fisher 2008
While the Trek MTB engineers were focusing attention on reworking their 2008 line to be more small-bump compliant, braking controlled and lighter and stiffer than 2007, the Gary Fisher team was cooking up a full menu to satisfy demand in 2008, based on a few key ingredients: 1) Genesis 2 geometry (better steering through tight, twisty singletrack; more stability at high speeds; more efficient front suspension); 2) custom-tuned Fox front and rear suspension; and 3) co-moulding technology for stronger, lighter and stiffer frame manufacturing applications. The $6,500US Fisher HiFi Carbon Pro (pictured) offers five inches of travel, is made in the USA, and weighs just 23.3 pounds for a 17.5-inch size. Yowza!
Fisher engineers developed co-mouldingadhesion to enhance the structural strengths of carbon fibre, aligning fibre orientations with compressive forces of the rear shock. They found this to be lighter than a bonded aluminum mount, and stronger to boot.
G2 for 29ers and 26ers: sibling rivalry?
Fisher Genesis geometry was first developed for 26-inch wheeled bikes a decade ago. The goal was to improve slow speed handling while maintaining high speed stability. The Fisher HiFi platform introduced G2, a reworking of the cockpit reach and fork offset to make offroad riding more enjoyable for more people. The custom 46mm fork offset makes riding a Fisher 26er less distracting and more intuitive.
Custom G2 fork offset for controlling the inertia of a 29er front wheel: 51mm reduces the trail of a 29er, offering the same nimble feeling of a 26er, bub. Sus provided by Fox Racing Shox.
Adams Gulch and the surrounding range of Sun Valley made for some breathless riding, both from the high altitude (7,000-feet plus) and the scenery. Here's your intrepid US editor savouring saddle time on the Fisher HiFi Pro 29er.
For 2008, armed with real-world data and rider feedback, Fisher engineers screwed on their thinking caps. A strange phenomenon was occuring: more 29ers were showing up at the starting line of races, but not everyone was keen on racing cross country on a full susser. The result? The Fisher Superfly, the lightest frame ever produced by Fisher, 26er or 29er. Because a 29er hardtail is all about momentum, the Fisher team was able to save 300g over its 2007 aluminum predecessors, while dramatically stiffening the ride with carbon. The Fox F80 RLC 29 fork offers 80mm travel, G2 51mm offset, while offering ample clearance for the Bontrager Jones ACX 29x2.2" tire. The Superfly rear triangle also boasts 10mm of rear tyre clearance.
The 2008 Fisher HiFi Pro 29er, dressed in all its Sunday best: Fox F100 RLC 29 front fork with Fox Float RP-23 rear; Shimano XT shifters, crankset, derailleurs and chain; Avid Juicy 7 hydraulic disc brakes with 160mm rotors; Bontrager Rhythm elite 29er wheels; Bontrager Jones ACX 29x2.2" tires; Bontrager Race Lite saddle, seatpost, and handlebars; Bontrager Race X Lite stem, all bolted to a ZR900 internally and externally butted aluminum frame with co-moulded carbon seatstays. Sizes: 16, 17.5 , 19 and 21-inch. For more, visit www.fisherbikes.com