We’ve commented in the past that Gary Fisher is both cursed and blessed by being part of the mighty Trek empire. Blessed because of the access to Trek’s R&D clout and buying power, mildly cursed by being unable to do some things for fear of treading on toes. Looked at rationally, though, it looks like a pretty good deal.
2009 looks set to be an important year for Gary Fisher. The most sweeping change is that the added-fork-rake Genesis 2 geometry is now to be found across the entire range. As before, Fisher majors on 29in-wheeled bikes, but its most interesting new model runs good old 26in hoops.
We told you briefly about the new Roscoe in amongst our Eurobike coverage, but now we have a few more details. It’s a 140mm travel bike, pitched at the long-travel trailbike arena. Those Trek R&D features are in evidence at both ends of the bike, with an ABP pivot at the back end and a tapered 1.125/1.5in E2 headtube at the front.
The frame shares its rear suspension layout with Fisher’s HiFi bikes, but it’s an all-new hydroformed aluminium tubeset. Both suspension components are unique, too. The fork is an exclusive-to-Fisher Fox 140 model, with not only G2’s increased offset but also a damping setup dubbed RP24 that offers four distinct low-speed compression settings.
Then there’s the shock, also a Fox special. At a glance it looks like a standard RP23, but look closer and you’ll notice that it only has a mounting eyelet at one end. The forward end mounts to the frame via a pair of bosses on the sides of the air can. This is the Fox DRCV shock. DRCV stands for Dual Rate Control Valve, a system designed to give a coil shock-like linear spring rate by having a secondary air chamber. A sprung valve between the two chambers is activated at 40% stroke, effectively increasing the air sleeve volume at that point.
The goal of Fox’s large-volume XV air can is essentially the same, but according to Fisher’s designers, the XV’s spring curve has a bit of a “hammock” in the mid-stroke. That’s not a problem if you’ve got a suspension design to work with it (like Trek’s Full Floater that activates the shock from both ends), but Gary Fisher’s fairly simple layout isn’t one of them.
We’ll have to wait for a test ride to see how the Roscoe performs, but it looks promising both on paper and in the metal. And with a claimed weight of 28lb for a full bike, it should be pretty agreeable on big rides.
One of the other bikes from the 2009 Gary Fisher range that caught our eyes was the revised HiFi Carbon. We tested the 2008 version and found it strangely agreeable, despite (or perhaps because of) its undeniable flexiness. For 2009, the HiFi Carbon has sprouted a carbon fibre swingarm. This is claimed to drop 230g off the frame’s already impressively low weight, but more importantly improve the torsional stiffness by 12%. OK, that’s up from a fairly low baseline, but it’s still a good thing.
More at www.fisherbikes.com.