Gary Fisher 29er Ride Camp Lecture-Rama LiveBlog

09.11.2009 | 7:42 am

I’ll be liveblogging as Travis Ott describes the bikes we’ll be riding today. I will also try to get pictures of me with as many important and handsome bike celebrities as possible.

But first, breakfast.

The liveblog starts at 9:00am-ish (Mountain Time, naturally, since I’m on a mountain). Come back then and start refreshing the heck out of this page.

‘Til then, I recommend reading the following recent posts, as refresher material:

Liveblog starts soon!

9:04 I am surrounded by very much bike porn.


JHK, Travis Brown, and Gary Fisher are all sitting to my right. It occurs to me, I am the only person here who is not being paid. Also, it occurs to me that I am the only person who does not deserve to be paid.

9:08: Gary has taken the stage and is talking about the history of 29″ wheeled bikes.


I’m pretty sure he’s talking about technical stuff. My mind wanders.

9:13: Gary’s talking about how in 1999 he’d ride the first prototype 29er one day, then a regular 26″ bike the next.


That’s Zapata Espinoza on the slide. I used to idolize that guy. Anyone know where he is now?

9:17: Gary’s (we’re on a first name basis after all) talking about geometry issues they had at first, as well as the difficulty in getting a fork that would work with such a large wheel. Back then, a lot of the prototypes were outsourced. Now, says Gary, “Only Shimano has a larger R&D Dept than we do.”

9:19: Gary’s acknowledging that Gary Fisher wasn’t the first 29er out there. I notice that Gary has skinny legs.

9:24: Dirt Rag is to my left. Bike is to my right. Neither of them has written more than two sentences since I’ve been here. In their defense, there hasn’t been a lot of news so far. This has all been “our story so far…” stuff.



Oh, OK. I know. But still, it’s a funny headline for a slide.

9:31 JHK and Heather take the stage.


Alas, James Huang’s (of CyclingNews) head dominates the photo.

9:32: JHK (personal friend of mine) talks about how his first 29″ bike was a Rig. As the bikes became more refined, he slowly transitioned from sometimes riding 29″ to where he is now: “I honestly believe there is no course on which a 26″ bike is faster.” A bold statement, and one with which I happen to agree.

9:36: Heather talks a bit about how at first she didn’t like the 29″ bikes, Felt like she was “on top of a gigantic machine.”


Then she built up a Medium. At 5′4″ she’s totally comfortable on it and says she “no longer knows where [her] 26″ bike is.”

9:41: I’m pretty sure I’m the only one liveblogging this, which means is where you can go to get the news first.

Also, this makes me think: If you’ve got questions for me to ask during the Q&A part of this thing, post them in the comments.

9:45: And now, at long last, we arrive at the present. 2009 v. 2010.


Travis Brown says this is the most refined 29″ bike line ever. He’s been racing these things. Gary jumps in and reminds us that we’re now 10 years into 29″ bikes. These are no longer just a bleeding edge technology. They’re mature now, says the man in matching shirt and cycling cap with Elvis sunglasses.

9:50: Here’s the lineup:


Rumblefish is for “enhancing rider confidence,” fun trail riding. Superfly is for “getting from point A to B as fast as possible.”

9:54: Biggest change is the decreased wheelbase:


Annnd and “Active Braking Pivot.” It’s too bad I can’t talk to the guys sitting on either side of me, because they’d probably understand what the heck that means.

Suspension tweaked, integrated bottom bracket, E2 top tube. Wubba wubba wubba.

10:00 Oh this is cool: new size! XXL debuts.

10:05: And now we start on the Superfly 100 — the bike I think most people are going to be most interested in. JHK says he went into trying this bike without an open mind. He’s “been a hardcore hardtail advocate my whole career.”


He says that now he believes this bike is as efficient as the Superfly hardtail in the climbs, and descends “bonkers.”

10:05: OCLV carbon, G2 geometry, E2 headtube, and the very very important active braking pivot, which I still do not understand. Frame, shock, hardware come in at 2100 grams.

The HiFi is the aluminum version of the same bike. Also, they claim that it will be 20% less sexy. Wow, that’s harsh. Don’t remove sexiness, guys. The world needs more sexiness, not less.

10:10: They’re drilling down on this chart:


I have no idea what it means.

10:12: And now for the Rumblefish — the 29″ trail bike, and the “girls (and boys) just wanna have fun” bike in the lineup.

Suspension design (DRCV for Dual Rate Control Valve I think) is “two stage air spring with small bump sensitivity of a single air canister with big hit control available through second air canister.” Sounds like they’re trying to tell me something, but I’m not sure what it is. Perhaps, “The suspension works more when you hit bigger stuff?”

10:16: Travis Brown is back. May I just say that Travis, besides obviously knowing his stuff and being one of the strongest riders around, is very cool, as evidenced by his Twin Six t-shirt?


Note: Including mine, I believe this makes 3 Twin Six t-shirts in evidence today.

10:20: And now, the Superfly SS. YAAAY. Really, the only thing they’re talking about is the pivoting dropout:


Nice thing with that dropout is that there should be considerably less chatter and squeal under hard braking.

10:24: Looks like there won’t be a Q&A session, but I’ll do what I can to grab some people and answer some of the questions you posted. I pulled Travis Brown aside and asked him some things from your questions:

  • XXL Sizing: If you’re 6′3″ or above you might want to take a look at this size. Travis says his test rider was 6′6″.
  • “Shorter wheelbase equals twitchier ride:” Travis Brown says that’s a reductionist view of the geometry. You need to look at the full recipe of the bike: the front-center (bb to front axle), effective chainstay, trail figure, and other subtleties they’ve factored in. You won’t feel like this bike is twitchy.


  1. Comment by Mikeonhisbike | 09.11.2009 | 7:53 am

    Looking forward to it. By the way, you did a great job in the movie Julie and Julia. Or was that Stanley? Now I’m confused.

  2. Comment by josh | 09.11.2009 | 8:16 am

    live blogging and its friday. this day can’t get any better.

  3. Comment by Jeff Sebolt | 09.11.2009 | 9:02 am

    Interested to see what you think of the superfly 100.

  4. Comment by MattC | 09.11.2009 | 9:04 am

    Wow…noogies from Gary Fisher…won’t be long before you are starring in your own mini-series and will have forgotten all the little people. Enjoy the day!

  5. Comment by Mikeonhisbike | 09.11.2009 | 9:20 am

    wow, Gary’s hat matches his shirt. Stylin!

  6. Comment by Aaron | 09.11.2009 | 9:41 am

    Zapata ‘Zap’ Espinoza is a journalist and an editor for Motocross Action Magazine. So, at least he’s still on two wheels.

  7. Comment by Maik | 09.11.2009 | 9:41 am

    Are you going to challenge JHK to a hillclimb? C’mon, Fatty. You ARE in shape right now. Might as well take advantage of the opportunity.

  8. Comment by kenny | 09.11.2009 | 9:50 am

    Ask Gary to rename the superfly single speed to SingleFly.

  9. Comment by Kevin M | 09.11.2009 | 9:52 am

    I think you should collaborate with GF on a special edition ss and call it the singlefly.

  10. Comment by Heather | 09.11.2009 | 9:54 am

    Ask the Dirt Rag guys if they’ve had the stuffed jalapenos at OTB (Over The Bar) on the South Side in Pittsburgh. Fresh jalapenos, filled with spiced cream cheese, WRAPPED IN BACON, then fried. Yep, bike-related restaurant within walking, waddling, cycling distance from my house.

    p.s. When you get a noogie on a shaved head do you end up with “rug burn”?

  11. Comment by 96hookooekoo | 09.11.2009 | 9:56 am

    Watch out for Mr. Fisher, he looks demon possessed in the pic w/Zap.

  12. Comment by eric | 09.11.2009 | 9:56 am

    Does he have any “samples” he’d like to share with Fatty readers? I’d take a Rumblefish in black

  13. Comment by Rob M. | 09.11.2009 | 10:00 am

    Off topic:

    Just learned of a movie to be shown in theaters about the 2009 Leadville 100.

    Preview of movie at htt://

    Note the Fat Cyclist jersey behind Lance (No, it isn’t Fatty) at the start.

  14. Comment by Big Boned | 09.11.2009 | 10:01 am

    Please ask Heather to take a look around for her 26″ bike. My wife would be quite happy with her obsolete ride…

  15. Comment by Rob M. | 09.11.2009 | 10:01 am

    Sorry, that’s supposed to be

  16. Comment by eric | 09.11.2009 | 10:02 am

    How tall does one have to be to need an xxl?

  17. Comment by Maik | 09.11.2009 | 10:03 am

    decreased wheelbase … as in twitchier handling … as in greater propensity for crashing for yours truly

    I thought GF solved that problem, though. Isn’t that the reason G2 has the longer top and downtubes?

  18. Comment by kenny | 09.11.2009 | 10:06 am

    That was me in the movie trailer behind lance.

  19. Comment by Jenny-Jenny | 09.11.2009 | 10:07 am

    this live blogging rocks. Thanks for the coverage. Glad to know you’re not napping.

  20. Comment by InsaneWelderBoy | 09.11.2009 | 10:11 am

    I bet it descends bonkers but I have a hard time believing a rear suspension bike climbs like a hardtail.

  21. Comment by The Incredible Woody | 09.11.2009 | 10:16 am

    Gary needs some serious help is clothes selection.

  22. Comment by The Incredible Woody | 09.11.2009 | 10:17 am

    I meant ‘in’ not ‘is’.

  23. Comment by Maik | 09.11.2009 | 10:28 am

    FYI: This got posted a second time and the second post is now the one being updated.

    This is fixed; this is the current (and only) post now and is updated. Sorry about the goof-up; Working fast tends to produce screwups like this. – FC

  24. Comment by Ken | 09.11.2009 | 10:37 am

    Please include more pictures of Heather. And her website and phone number. (She had me at 5′4″.)

  25. Comment by Maik | 09.11.2009 | 10:37 am

    Okay, now what are “effective chainstay” and “trail figure”? What’s the difference between “effective” chainstay and normal chainstay?

  26. Comment by Hamish A | 09.11.2009 | 10:39 am

    ABP is pretty straightforward (assuming Travis hasn’t explained it to you already). Instead of having a pivot mounted in front of the rear dropout (as you see on Specialized with the Horst pivot), the rear dropout & wheel axle become the pivot & centre of rotation. It’s supposed to make the ride feel better but I still reckon it’s to get around that pesky Specialized patent ;-)

    Would you ask them if a) there is a rider weight limit attached to their carbon race frames and b) if they have a predicted MSRP on the Superfly SS yet?

  27. Comment by Maik | 09.11.2009 | 10:41 am

    I’m sure the 29-inch wheels will offset the twitchy feeling too since you have a greater contact patch with the ground, etc. etc. (I’ve ridden a shorter-wheelbase 26′er, so that’s where my “twitchy” experience comes from.)

  28. Comment by eric | 09.11.2009 | 10:42 am

    Thanks Fatty

  29. Comment by InsaneWelderBoy | 09.11.2009 | 10:47 am

    Is GF going to concentrate their r&d primarily on suspension bikes? It looks like they’re talking mostly about full suspension and glossing over hardtails.

  30. Comment by Ben C | 09.11.2009 | 10:51 am

    The MSRP for the Superfly SS frameset is posted on the Gary Fisher website as $2,089.99

    I’m a little sad they didn’t also show off the new cross bikes. They advertise they can take up to a 29×1.8 tire so I hoped they would get tossed into the mountain talk.

  31. Comment by MattC | 09.11.2009 | 10:52 am

    “climbs like a hardtail”? Sorry…I don’t want my bike to climb like a hardtail…(Santa Cruz Blur)…it climbs FAR BETTER than a hardtail. Part of the VPP suspension…it digs in with every stroke, especially in the granny ring…if I can somehow push the pedals, it will climb it and very Rarely skids out…even in loose stuff. It just flat out climbs stuff that looks like it can’t be climbed (‘climbs like a scalded monkey’ is the quote for the blur…never seen a scalded monkey tho so I have to take their word for it).

  32. Comment by Jen | 09.11.2009 | 10:54 am

    Seriously? Heather ride a medium?! A medium what? I thought the smalls were probably too big for me at 5′4″. Can someone please explain how a 23.6″ TT fits her (that would be a superfly)?

  33. Comment by Frank | 09.11.2009 | 10:55 am

    Ok, Gary needs somebody who knows how to create some interesting, colorful and informative slides. Maybe some 3D animations too? Well, lucky for him I happen to be willing to switch jobs and move to help him with that. Could you please give him my number, Elden? I’m sure he will be thanking you by supplying you with his complete line of 2010 bikes :)

  34. Comment by Rich | 09.11.2009 | 10:58 am

    Find out if they need a 6′8″ tester for the XXL size. More than willing… in the name of market research of course :)

    Oh, and I think you just convinced me to buy a GF. Go tell them that and see if it makes them want to pay you…

  35. Comment by kimbrolio | 09.11.2009 | 10:59 am

    Zap is actually with Road Bike Action nowadays.

  36. Comment by Maik | 09.11.2009 | 11:02 am

    Enough talk. Go ride, Fatty! Give us the low down on the 2010 test bikes.

  37. Comment by Bryan (not that one) | 09.11.2009 | 11:02 am

    Just bought a 2010 Specialized Rockhopper Expert 29er in a 23″ frame size. I’m very, very happy with it, but I wish Fisher had the XXL size earlier so I could’ve given them a try.

  38. Comment by 100poundsago | 09.11.2009 | 11:07 am

    I now feel completely insignificant on three separate fronts as far as reading this blog:
    1. My legs are puny chicken bone like pale appendages compared to the Spartan “chiseled from stone” legs featured on this site.
    2. My two bike collection is roughly worth less than the wheel set of one of Fattys bikes.
    3. I ride one of those pre-historic relics known as a “26″ and when you say 26 you have to do so with equal parts of disgust and misery….kinda like when you tell someone about the massive bug that flew into your mouth on a ride.

    Thanks for the bike porn Fatty, and live blogging is pretty cool.

  39. Comment by Randoboy | 09.11.2009 | 11:13 am

    Is Gary’s skin really that red? Maybe he’s the unholy love child of Hulk Hogan and HellBoy.

  40. Comment by kenny | 09.11.2009 | 11:32 am

    I think it would be cool it they would make a chromalloy steel faris without the eccentric bb and use that pivot drop out instead.

  41. Comment by rich | 09.11.2009 | 11:43 am

    This live-blogging is awesome!! You’ve made my Friday.

    And I second the question above about weight limits for the carbon bikes?

    Some of us Fatty’s are actually fatty’s – at 200lbs I’d love to be able to rock the carbon SS

    Thanks for the good reporting Fatty

  42. Comment by Brandon S. | 09.11.2009 | 12:33 pm

    I want to hear more information on the RumbleFish long travel 29er if you have any. I am curious. I am going to ride Payson Canyon MTB in the morning. Email or call me if you want to come.

  43. Comment by chtrich | 09.11.2009 | 1:55 pm

    Love the new banner!

  44. Comment by Eric | 09.11.2009 | 4:39 pm

    Mr Fatty here was trying to point out the quest from Heather to me, but I was just terribly enthralled by Power Point and missed his efforts to get my attention.

    So, Heather, No jalapenos for me, I’m vegetarian, bacon is made from badgers, right?

  45. Comment by Sarah | 09.11.2009 | 5:21 pm

    Travis Brown’s hair looks to be the same length all over his body. At least the parts I can see.

  46. Comment by rabidrunner | 09.11.2009 | 8:42 pm

    I second the request for a test ride write up on the Rumblefish and the SF 100

  47. Comment by ChefJT | 09.12.2009 | 5:28 am

    Zap is also writing for the reincarnated Road Bike Action magazine.


    and, yes….more Heather, please!

  48. Comment by Gainesville Bike Shop | 09.12.2009 | 11:28 am

    Great coverage, thanks for liveblogging!

  49. Comment by Zed | 09.12.2009 | 12:04 pm

    You guys are too funny. You know Heather’s married to the guy with the backwards hat in those pictures, right? (AKA, JHK)

  50. Comment by Nina | 09.12.2009 | 1:37 pm

    Wow, I’m 5′3 and I always thought a 29′er would be out of the question for me. Now that I see that Heather says it’s comfortable, I’ll have to check it out. I’m excited, I know how awesome they are on the trail!

  51. Comment by Powerful Pete | 09.12.2009 | 2:15 pm

    Could you please steal that full suspension superfly for me? I really, really need one.


  52. Comment by Geocycle | 09.12.2009 | 6:43 pm

    As Fisher tweeted earlier today : No rider weight limit on OCLV frames. Still the same Limited Lifetime warranty that’s on all Trek/Fisher bikes.

    Superfly 100 rides very very very well. The Rumblefish is an absolute blast too.

    Nice job with the liveblog, Fatty!

  53. Comment by Erin | 09.13.2009 | 3:39 pm

    I wish we could see an entry-level ‘29er at an entry level price. Or I am just hopelessly out of touch with MTB pricing?

  54. Comment by JM | 09.13.2009 | 5:06 pm

    ABP puts the FS pivot directly at the quick release. This prevents the suspension from locking up when braking. So, when you are descending and need to brake, your suspension remains active, continues to soak up bumps. While pressing down on a FS and looking at the rear caliper of an ABP bike and non-ABP bike, you will see the caliper moves more on a non-ABP bike than on an ABP bike.

  55. Comment by TrekChris | 09.13.2009 | 7:07 pm

    To a question posted above: There is no rider weight limit on any Trek or Gary Fisher product.

    ABP is not meant to get around any patents. It is a completely different design that aids in separating the braking force from the suspension force, thus reducing squat. Perhaps one of the best places to see how the ABP improves control is over a section of braking bumps.

  56. Comment by buckythedonkey | 09.14.2009 | 1:36 am

    Mate, is that you in Waltworks colours on the T6 home page this morning?

  57. Comment by Mike Roadie | 09.14.2009 | 5:29 am

    That is! I’d know those glasses anywhere!

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  59. Comment by Rob Ral | 08.4.2010 | 3:19 pm

    No rider weight limit on OCLV frames? OK, what about a 6′3″ 325 lb guy? NOW is there a weight limit?


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