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
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.
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.