The HiFi has had an interesting life thanks to its unique steering geometry and numerous frame changes. This year’s version is an absolute belter, though, with great trail manners in a high value package that’s light enough to race.
With swoopy tubes, fat wheels, perky riser bars and a quick-witted, gung ho trail attitude you’d be forgiven for thinking this was as hard as a full-blown heavy-duty trail bike. At just over 26lb, though, it’s a versatile, fun and high-value way to hit the trails fast.
Ride & handling: Agile, super enthusiastic and capable trail bike that’s light enough to race
Fisher explain the reasoning and mechanics of their unique G2 frame and fork geometry on their website. Basically, it creates a lighter, faster reacting bar feel without affecting overall stability.
The increased twitchiness and amount you can steer before a G2 bike changes direction can be startling at ﬁrst. However, get used to ignoring the initial bar ﬂap and front end slide sensations and you’ll ﬁnd few bikes will wrap round the back of trees or trail centre switchbacks faster. This is particularly true of the HiFi, although the angles are actually fairly relaxed by cross-country standards.
What really helps propel this bike into the 'we love it' category though is the increased frame stiffness. It’s still not the stiffest bike around but it’s far more controllable and front/rear coherent than the ‘two unicycles tethered by an elastic band’ versions we’ve wriggled round the trails on previously.
The 120mm-travel custom Fox RP24 (essentially an RLC) fork and 2in stroke ‘eXtra Volume’ shock give it a noticeable edge in suspension terms. It’s a supple, controlled and tuneable ride over small to medium-sized stuff, with only big, square edged blocks really slowing it down.
In short, this was a bike where we never felt we had to back off, charging into situations as hard as we'd normally do on 130mm bikes. With weight at just over 26lb this is an outstandingly light 120mm bike for just over two grand.
The weight, easy speed and supple ground connection make this an excellent technical climbing machine too, and any smooth surface pedal bob is easy to tune out with the various ProPedal platform damping levers and dials.
Frame: Seriously light for the travel but G2 geometry takes some getting used to
Even in a world of increasingly swoopy, curvy frames the HiFi is probably the most bent of all. The deep V top tube and S-bent downtube are T-shaped in section too. The seat tube gets a triple keyhole split to the spread post clamping stress, while the lower end bottoms onto a heavily hollowed out single piece main pivot mount and bottom bracket shell.
A neat forged H-link creates a ‘T’ with the rear of the Fox shock while unbraced carbon ﬁbre seatstays give masses of mud room. Chainstay to downtube cable/hose routing is unconventional but works well and you get two bottle mounts on and under the downtube for bevvy and bottle battery duty respectively.
Equipment: Top-spec Fox suspension, powerful Avid brakes and decent Bontrager wheels
Not only does the overall weight stand out for the money, but the Fisher could be lined up for close component scrutiny with many £2,500 bikes.
We’ve already mentioned the top-spec Fox dampers, and control also gets a serious boost from the powerful Avid Elixir brakes.
The corpulent Bontrager tyres can be run soft for excellent traction and micro comfort, and they're super-fast on drier, hardpacked trails injecting instant speed at every chance, even if they tend to surf rather than stick in wetter conditions.
The XTR/XT/SLX transmission is typically smooth and accurate. Bontrager’s alloy gear is all well shaped, lightweight kit and we like the inside edge only ‘lock-on’ grips. The short stem/high riser bar cockpit makes upward mobility very easy.