Yesterday's news that the Gary Fisher bicycle brand was to be killed off came as a bit of a bombshell – not least to the Subaru-Gary Fisher Mountain Bike Team.
While they were expecting a conference call with brand owners Trek, husband and wife duo Jeremy Horgan-Kobelski and Heather Irmiger had little inkling of what was about to be announced when they woke up and made coffee.
“It’s been a busy day, for sure, so far,” Horgan-Kobelski told BikeRadar. “It’s pretty impressive that they kept this under wraps as long as they did, without any leaks. I kind of had an idea that some of this was going on, but not to the extent that it ended up at.”
That extent includes the reduction of the Gary Fisher brand to a Trek 'collection' and the rebranding of the Subaru-Fisher squad as the Subaru-Trek Mountain Bike Team. The racers will continue using solely Gary Fisher designed equipment from the new collection.
“My original reaction was, ‘whoa, they’re killing off the brand', but that’s not accurate,” Horgan-Kobelski said. “Now, I’m pretty psyched, actually. I [initially] thought there might have been some redundancy with race teams or whatever … It sounds like the decision they came to is that what was the Subaru-Gary Fisher team is now the Subaru-Trek team and we fit in as the premier race programme in North America for all of the brands.”
According to team manager Jon Rourke, nothing changes with his squad or its focus under the new banner. “Just the colours of the kits and who our bike sponsor is and the name on our bikes,” he said. “We’re still with Subaru, we’re still SRAM athletes, the staff is the same, our goals in terms of racing, everything else is still 100 percent the same as it has been since the beginning of the season.”
The new Superfly Elite in Trek team colours
As far as keeping wraps on the news, Rourke said only about 20 people within the company knew of the plan until Tuesday night. In fact, the team have had three new Subarus wrapped with Gary Fisher vinyl logos in the past two months. Those cars, along with the team’s truck and trailer, now all need to be re-stickered.
The Trek rebranding – with its associations with Lance Armstrong et al – should benefit Subaru, which is handy as their sponsorship of the team is due for renewal at the end of this season. “We’ve had 10 strong years with Subaru and all indications are that they want to continue with us and see more and more potential with this sponsorship,” said Rourke. “It will give them more access to more elements within the Trek lineup.”
The Superfly 100 Elite remains in the team's stable unchanged except for Trek branding
“For the past six years I’ve been riding a Fisher and now it’s going to be Trek,” said Horgan-Kobelski. "It’s going to be a big change for sure, but they actually plan to increase Gary’s involvement and prominence within the brand; they see the value in that, and that’s good.”
The new team kit and an updated Superfly hardtail race bike will be unveiled at the upcoming Subaru Cup ProXTC race at Wisconsin’s Mount Morris, on 26-27 June. The new graphics can be seen on the Superfly Elite and Superfly 100 Elite models which are currently displayed on Trek’s website.