Gary Fisher Rail Super review

All new model

Our rating 
2.5 out of 5 star rating 2.5
GBP £900.00 RRP | USD $1,199.99

Our review

Underwhelming and poorly equipped for its price
Skip to view product specifications

Gary Fisher is revered as one of the founding fathers of mountain biking, and his bikes have always had a reputation for being innovative and rider friendly. So, we were excited to try out his first road machines when they were unveiled at the end of last summer.

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Since we tested the Rail Super, events have overtaken us, with the news that no more bikes will carry the Fisher name on their down tube. Instead, brand owners Trek are releasing a limited ‘collection’ of Fisher-designed bikes, with just one road model, the Triton.

So, if you want one, you’ll have to be quick and get in there before stocks run out – although our testers weren’t convinced by the ride and reckon there are better options out there.

  • Frame: Mudguard-friendly and reasonably light, but harsh and uninspiring to ride (5/10)
  • Handling: Very stable and steady steering is ideal for new riders, but can quickly become frustrating for others (7/10)
  • Equipment: Hard saddle, weak brakes and muddled Tiagra shifting won’t encourage anyone (5/10)
  • Wheels: Relatively heavy wheels blunt the ride, but should stay true and soak up abuse (5/10)

As you’d hope for from Fisher, the Rail demonstrates a slightly different approach to road bikes. Performance is still central, but it comes blended with practicality. Each Rail frame, even the top-end carbon Cronus, has been designed to take full-coverage mudguards over 25mm tyres.

Clever removable mounting points mean your bike looks like a pure speedster through the summer, but can be converted to a winter trainer quickly, neatly, and without removing the brakes. As Fisher himself says: “A day out on the road in less than ideal conditions is better than a day indoors on the trainer.”

The Rail Super has a 6061 aluminium frame with attractive, tapering top and down tubes. But this isn’t an old Trek with some fresh stickers – geometry and handling are fundamental to Fisher and the distinctive frames are their own designs.

The finishing kit is all Bontrager, of course, Trek’s component arm, as are the wheels. Shimano Tiagra is the default at this price, but you do get a 105 rear derailleur to show off. The Tiagra shifters look and feel a lot like 105 anyway.

You can use the large horns for a comfortable, engaging and speedy stretch position that retains a solid grip and, therefore, confident control. We’ve never liked this method of cable routing though – it balloons up in front of the bar, and by comparison to the clever mudguard mounts it’s anything but practical.

Mount a light on the bar and the beam is perfectly bisected by one of the white cables, creating a dazzling glare. We were also surprised and disappointed to find surface rust on various fasteners after just one wet ride, which doesn’t sit well with notions of being a practical year-round bike.

Shifting to a larger sprocket at either end is smooth, quick and effortless. Owing to the same light springs, changes the opposite way can be a little vague. Also, the front shifter is for a triple, so changing down on the compact chainset usually means a second tap on the lever, which sometimes fired the chain straight past the inner ring during our test. The nine-speed cassette is well spaced from 12 to 26 though.

The geometry is well resolved, with extra emphasis on confidence-boosting stability to reassure riders new to road bikes. To 40mph and beyond, chin tucked over the bar, or clipping a manhole cover with your bottle in one hand, the Rail feels like it has an invisible steady hand on the tiller. The flipside is that the steering feels slow and heavy compared to racier bikes.

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We’re unconvinced by the ride quality. It feels like old school aluminium, with some of the clichéd harshness associated with the material, though it does climb purposefully. Trek aluminium frames at this price are smoother. We’re even less keen on the saddle, which wasn’t comfortable enough to encourage new riders to strike out further from home. The brakes are poor too – weak and spongy.

Gary Fisher Rail Super
Gary fisher rail super: gary fisher rail super
www.robertsmithphotography.co.uk

Product Specifications

Product

Name Rail Super (10)
Brand Gary Fisher Bikes

Available Sizes 55cm 55cm 51cm 51cm 53cm 55cm 57cm 59cm 61cm 51cm 61cm 51cm 53cm 61cm 51cm 57cm 49cm 51cm 53cm 55cm 49cm 49cm 55cm 55cm 49cm 49cm 49cm 55cm 49cm 55cm 59cm 49cm 53cm 55cm 57cm 59cm 61cm 53cm 55cm 51cm 51cm 49cm 49cm 53cm 55cm 57cm 59cm 61cm 53cm 55cm 57cm 59cm 53cm 55cm 51cm 55cm 59cm 53cm 55cm 57cm 59cm 51cm 51cm 61cm 51cm 57cm 51cm 57cm 53cm 49cm 49cm 49cm 49cm 51cm 53cm 55cm 49cm 51cm 53cm 55cm 57cm 59cm 61cm 49cm 51cm 53cm 55cm 57cm 59cm 61cm 49cm 49cm 49cm 49cm 55cm 59cm 49cm 53cm 49cm 53cm 59cm 61cm 49cm 55cm 61cm 53cm 55cm 55cm 53cm 55cm 57cm 59cm 61cm 53cm 55cm 57cm 59cm 61cm 53cm 55cm 61cm 53cm 53cm 53cm 53cm 59cm 53cm 59cm 57cm 61cm 55cm 51cm 51cm 51cm 51cm 53cm 55cm 57cm 59cm 51cm 53cm 53cm 55cm 57cm 53cm 53cm 59cm 55cm 55cm 57cm 59cm 61cm
Rear Tyre Bontrager Race Lite 700x23, 60 TPI
Top Tube (cm) 56
Standover Height (cm) 80
Seat Tube (cm) 50
Chainstays (cm) 41.3
Bottom Bracket Height (cm) 27.5
Weight (lb) 20.4
Weight (kg) 9.26
Stem SSR OS, 10d rise
Shifters Tiagra 9spd
Seatpost Carbon
Seat Angle 72
Saddle R1, 146mm width
Rims SSR
Rear Wheel Weight 1810
Rear Derailleur 105
Bottom Bracket 7420-ST
Pedals Alloy Platorm with cage
Headset Type Integrated Alloy
Head Angle 73
Handlebar SSR VR OS
Grips/Tape Gel
Front Wheel Weight 1355
Front Tyre Bontrager Race Lite 700x23, 60 TPI
Front Derailleur Tiagra
Frame Weight 1500
Frame Material 6066 aluminum, integrated headtube
Fork Race, aluminum steerer, carbon legs w/integrated SpeedTrap computer mount
Cranks Vero 50/34 Compact
Cassette SRAM PG950 12-26 9spd
Brakes RC-466A, cartridge pads
Wheelbase (cm) 100