Gary Fisher invited a handful of journalists to Park City Utah to try out their new offerings. Timing was a bit odd with the event happening less than two weeks before Interbike. “They must have a story to tell.” I thought.
And there is a story indeed. It is one of development and racing. The folks at Gary Fisher have been very busy refining their full supsension 29er line. Using technology they learned from the development of the 26er Roscoe bike and from Trek R&D, they sought out to continue the work Gary Fisher himself started back in 1999.
What they came out with are three new products, the Superfly 100, Rumblefish and the Superfly Singlespeed. The star of this trio is definitely the Superfly 100. It features a carbon full suspension frame that was designed to redefine cross country racing.
The Racing Story:
In July, Matt Pachocha of Velonews boldly proclaimed the death of the 26-inch hardtail in XC racing (http://velonews.com/article/95579). It’s certainly a controversial claim and Matt is still impressed at the volume of hate mail he continues to receive. But there to relate their experiences to us were 2009 National Champions, Jeremy Horgan-Kobleski and Heather Irminger. Willow Koerber who placed 3rd in the 2009 Worlds had a 29er story to share as well. All of them started using the Superfly 100 in mid-season and achieved stellar results.
So it is always difficult to to get an honest evaluation of a bike from a sponsored racer. By definition, sponsored racers do not say anything negative about a bike. So in this case, we’ll let the statistics and results do the talking.
Jeremy Horgan-Kobelski (Height: 6’1″)
2009 XC Nationals – 1st place – 6:47 ahead of second place
2009 Marathon XC Nationals – 1st place – 12:26 ahead of second place
Heather Irminger- Height:5’4″
2009 XC Nationals – 1st place
2009 Marathon XC Nationals – 1st place
Willow Koerber – Height 5’1″
2009 XC Nationals – 2nd place
2009 Worlds – 3rd place
Kobelski Interview on CyclingDirt at Marathon National Championship
And one thing interesting about these results is these racers are not youngsters and they are having the best results of their careers. Something is clicking and the Superfly 100 seems to be part of that formula. The other curious note is the height of these racers does not fit the ‘tall rider only’ stereotype of the 29er full suspension rider.
So I only got to ride the Superfly 100 for three solid days in the trails of Park City and Salt Lake City, Utah. These are first impressions only and I hope to ride it a lot more on my local trails in Santa Cruz, CA.
As I mentioned in the video, the highlights of the bike are:
Frame – 2200 grams or 4.85 lbs in size medium with the rear shock and all the hardware.
Short Chainstays – chainstay length is 451 mm or 17.75 inches. This is the hallowed ground of full suspension 29ers as short stays deliver quick handling and better rear traction. The seatstay had to be pushed forward in front of the bottom bracket to achieve this. This also resulted in a short wheelbase of 1114 mm.
Repositioned pivot point – The pivot point was repositioned lower to the rear axle to deliver better rigidity. The suspension was tuned as well to have better small bump sensitivity and ramp up later in the 110 mm of travel.
ABP and E2 technology - These Gary Fisher and Trek technologies were incorporated to give better suspension action during braking. E2 enables a beefier head tube design to deliver greater steering accuracy without adding much weight.
G2 Geometry – And finally, the bike is finished off with the proprietary 51 mm fork offset to deliver quick steering without a steep head angle.
The ride was natural and telepathic. That’s what you want to hear on a fairly short test ride session right? It was very easy to get used to as the position seemed natural and not to high off the ground. Acceleration was awesome and traction seemed like it was always there.
Descending on the bike seemed really easy as it carved through the singletrack of Park City with ease. I never locked out the platform suspension yet the steep pitches that surprised me were never an issue. The only real problem was my lungs not quite ready for the 9000 foot elevation!
It was easy to forget that this was a 29er since it rode very similar to a 26er. But when the going got real rough on rocky fire roads, the trails did seem smoother than they looked. And at the Wasatch Crest trail, as my guide Photo-John coasted in front of me on his 26er, I had to grab a handful of brake to avoid ramming into him as I was coasting too.
Like I said, these are just first impressions and I hope to ride it more. But color me impressed so far.
Gary Fisher Superfly 100 Specifications:
Frame: OCLV Co-molded carbon main frame and rear swingarm, G2 Geometry, E2 headtube, ABP, topswing carbon link
Fork: Fox F100 FIT RLC 29, 100mm travel, custom G2 Geometry 51mm offset crown, E2 steerer, lockout force adjustment, FIT cartridge damper
Brakeset: Avid Elixir CR hydraulic disc, 160mm rotors front and rear
Wheels: Bontrager Race X Lite Scandium 29 Disc, tubeless ready
Tires: Bontrager XR1 Team Issue 29×1.9, 120 TPI, aramid bead
Headset: Cane Creek Frustrum E2 1-1/8″-1-1/2″, semi-integrated, cartridge bearings
Crank Set: Truvativ Noir Redwin Carbon, 44/32/22
Front Derailleur: Shimano XT Direct Mount
Rear Derailleur: SRAM X.O Redwin
Shifters: SRAM X.O Redwin
Cassette: SRAM PG990 11-34 9spd
Handlebar: Bontrager Race Lite Big Sweep, 640mm width, 12d backsweep, 31.8mm
Stem: Bontrager Race X Lite OS, 7d rise, 31.8mm
Saddle: Bontrager Race Lite, superlight hollow cromoly rails
Seatpost: Bontrager Race XXX Lite Carbon OCLV, Carbon Shaft, infinite adjust Carbon Bontrager head
Color: Carbon Smoke / Gloss White
Sizes: SM (15.5″) | MD (17.5″) | LG (19″) | XL (21″) | XXL (23″)