Gary Fisher Hi-Fi Deluxe 29'er - Review

Feb 20, 2008
by Mike Estes  
When I read any bike review, I always wonder what type of riding the author is really into since I have personally read some far out descriptions. I myself, have grown up as the XC singletrack explorer, then I found myself really into Freeriding and DH'ing when I moved to Hood River Oregon. I love to ride, I ride anything, not afraid of foul weather type. I'm 6'4" and weigh easily 235 lbs at the moment. I've got an extensive background in snow sports and an avid skateboarder. Painting a picture, sometimes isn't pretty. Photos are much better.

One of my favorite places in the world to ride is called Syncline. It's located east of Bingen WA about one mile. A great view of the Columbia River and it hosts a network of world class trails. This is where the 29'er is meant to ride, long climbs rewarded with mind blowing descents. I've climbed it on my XC bike (26'er) a few times and I was looking for a nicer way to roll those trails. I reviewed articles in bike magazines that the 29'er would be better for me, so I did some research which lead me to the Gary Fisher line.

First thing they let you know is that they "Did not invent the 29'er, but simply addressed the standards and raised the performance scale!" I quickly delved into the tech pages and the desire to ride the 29'er to become something of an overwhelming need. Everything made sense to me. Wheels rolled over terrain better, more traction, times at races improved, steering issues were addressed and so many improvements in parts thanks to Bontrager and Fox.

Well, lets get into the riding of the bike, shall we? I got the bike in Mid-November and of course it seemed to trigger the snow gods to unleash some rain and snow. I tooled around a little bit on it trying to break in the new Avid Juicy 5 Brakes on 160mm rotors around town. Once the weather finally broke, I set out for much more serious rides.

I was instantly amazed at how nice this bike cornered on a slow switchback. I yearned for a few more technical sharp switchbacks and hunted them out. Each and everyone I nailed without even thinking of "dabbing" my foot. I felt in control all the time. The brakes were loud on the initial rides from some hard braking but that has disappeared after a good dirty ride in the mud. They proved to me that they can stop this freight train when it really gets moving. I also consider myself pretty 'durable' and can stand to test myself on long rides. This bike proved to me in 3 hard rides, that it's capable of doing many miles.

Let's talk about the Fox 29er Air Fork now. It's something I've been itching to talk about- this Fox FL100 F29 fork with air pressure adjustments, rebound control and lockout mode is literally amazing in this application. Combined with the G2 geometry it provides amazing steering control, precise is more like the word. With a 51mm fork offset this bike shatters and destroys the slow turning myth most 29'ers face. Agile, fast and unafraid to tackle any trail- this is the picture I'm trying to sculpt in your head as you read. The rear end is absorbed by a Fox RP2 that is air sprung and features Pro Pedal and Lockout controls making this bike the Audi of 29'ers.

To describe the rims next is most unorthodox in a bike review. I mean, who would have guessed such a large step in innovation would occur in a rim. But Bontrager has created the Rhythm 29'er rim. Having a wider 28mm rim opens up the tire casing creating a much better bite from the cornering knobs and increased the support of the tire. Now lateral stability has also improved in the wheel, providing you precise steering control.

I love riding this bike. Few bikes I've thought about while on the chair lift this winter. This bike calls to me, it's always talking to me. I think if you purchase a bike and it's on the very tip of your tongue every time your see your riding buddies at work or around town, then it's a bliss. Riding the Gary Fisher Hi-Fi Delux has seriously been that.....a beautiful rare flower that you can own yourself.

You race XC? Get one! Your times will improve-here's proof. Do you race Super D's? Holy Batman will you smoke the field on this bike. Prepare to get a podium, I plan on pulling this baby out for a couple Super D's this year. Ultimately this is the bike for All-Mtn-Enduro missions, leave at sunrise and come home at sunset type of bike. I hope to return the bike with barely any tread on the tires, and just a smidgen of brake pad left. I plan to assault as many trails in the Bend Oregon area as soon as the snow melts.

Views: 4,752    Faves: 2    Comments: 2

Thanks to Travis Ott for allowing me to ride this baby and write about it, Wes at Mountain View Cycles for building it up, Chico & Shane at Dakine for your amazing support, Ty at Pinkbike for bestowing this benefit of writing for you, Carl Warren for all his hard work producing wonderful photos and to Miles at Shovelpick for motivating me to get this done and for shooting/editing the video.



  • 1 0
 If i were going to buy a 29er, i would buy a fisher. i was working in a trek dealer ship that carried these and a couple other 29ers and they were such a nice ride. and the single speed 29ers, oh my, that and some tight, winding, singletrack and im in heaven!
  • 1 0
 I rode one for a few days and really liked it but was looking for a little slacker head angle and more travel than the fork could provide (it only gets 3.25" of actual travel). But my biggest complaint was that the rear end is SUPER flexy. Put the bike on a stand and spin up the rear wheel and then lock the brake. Watch how much the dropout and the seat stays flex. Creepy! It also failed the old lateral flex test where you hold the seat and push on the rear wheel side to side. And yes, you can feel it on the trail. No I'm not as big as the reviewer. 6'1" and 200lbs with gear. Another issue is the bushings at the pivot that coincides with the rear shock eye develop play rather quickly. This is due to the rough shot peening of the upper link grinding away at the bushing. If you take one apart after riding it you will see bushing powder accumulating at the pivot!

Overall if they could fix the flex issue then the other issues could be dealt with since they are fairly minor. Its a good bike with a tragically fatal flaw. Just my $1.25.
  • 1 0
 This is awesome feedback. I've alerted the main guys at GF and I hope they are able to post a reply. So stand by- bravo on your feedback, I truly appreciated it.
  • 0 0
 Very good, very complete review. I'm already a proud "dad" of two Fisher rigs, so you're preaching to the converted in my case. I don't have a 29" bike, but I'm sold on their level of quality and service for their premium models.
What I thought was evident in the feature and in the video, is that for a guy of your height, this IS the bike to seek out for trail duties.
It looks like a 26" wheeler when it's under you, and the geometry is comfortable and correct.
  • 0 0
 Thank you for noticing that- I'm a big guy and when riding a 26 I look like the "Fat Clown" on a kids tricycle. The GF HiFi D-Lux was the answer to my prayers for enjoying world class single-track. I want to explore even more due to comfort I have while riding this bike.
  • 0 0
 Hi i've just ridden this bike on a demo day in north yorkshire in the uk. I agree its plain fantastic for bombing along tracks on and eats up mediocre downhill - its not as good on really rough stuff as the marin rift zone i rode the same day. I think the reason is what you've mentioned here - the rear end is just too flexy. When it gets really steep and tight and your braking hard the rear end is too soft to snap around. IMO this isn't such a bad thing as it makes for an easy all day bike (for the rough stuff get a FR bike) but i am worried about the reliability, otherwise i'd buy it! Looking forward to the GF Feedback.
  • 0 0
 Another great do-it-all 29er is the Niner RIP 9. I've had one for a couple of months now and have so far been blown away by how easy it is to pedal up hills, even super technical climbs, and how well it handles on the descents. Although I haven't ridden the Gary Fisher, reading this review reminded me of how I feel about my RIP 9.
  • 0 0
 $$$$$if you are geting a gary fisher you should get an opie. it has only done me good. the mullet was the same. but it has bombers and hays discs. but the opie is a bike built for me. it is the right shape and feel. so i bought it. but the 29er's are a good thiong but they are hevyer and they have shoter fork travel and rear travel.$$$$$
  • 0 1
 Great review Mike, thanks. I like the video as well.
I test-rided the Hifi 29er here in Dallas yesterday and am planning to buy one within the next few days. Do you know anything about the difference in size between the Large and X-Large? I rode the Large and it looked fine but some people were saying I might need an X-large, haven't had the change to ride that one.. Just wondering if you know if there's a big difference in size. I'am 6.1 and 200 lbs. Let me know if you got any advice here, thanks!
  • 0 0
 i own 3- 29ers- 07'cobia,07' paragon ,06 paragon gary fishers.very nice ride.26ers ride ok but the 29er is the way go.both paragons wiegh in at 26 lbs each.cobia 31 lbs.
  • 2 1
 nice reflectors (in the video)
  • 0 0
 It's a law in the US, that all bikes must be sold with reflectors on. In some states you have to leave them on even after you buy it.
  • 1 0
 I must confess, I ride it to the store at night to get more beer! Old people are blind at night and I want my beer to make it back to the couch/tube area of my domicile! I mach on the 29'er to the store, in traffic, so anything to help little Ol Miss Daisy see me is a good thing. Wink Wink!
  • 0 0
 Good job, Mike!! Now we just need to get you back on the freeride bike again!! ;-)
  • 0 0
 Nice job man! I want another 29er, I miss my old redline.
  • 0 0
 nice shoes, how do u manage to ride in them
  • 0 0
 Oh, I skate and like to wear slip ons. Figured since I didn't even have a true XC Helmet that I'd make it painfully obvious I'm a DH'er.

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