INTERBIKE 2009 – Gary Fisher had but a limited selection of bikes to ride on the dirt, the Superfly 100 and the Rumblefish. Ã‚Â Beyond both having 29 inch wheels, they couldn’t have been more different.
Well, we’re assuming they’re pretty different based on the look (and weights) of the bikes…we only rode the Superfly 100 at the Demo Day. Ã‚Â But ooooh baby, it was fun, so here’s my mini review: As 29ers go, and based on the very brief test ride on conditions that are 100% different than our home trails in North Carolina, the Superfly is pretty sweet. Ã‚Â It’s fast, which is also evidenced by professional wins, and it feels very well balanced when hammering on the flat sections…almost like you’re standing and cranking on a road bike except you can hit rocks and jump things.
Hit ‘more’ to see lots of pics, weight and specs for the Gary Fisher Superfly 100 and the rest of of the ride review from Tyler and Daniel (We’ll cover the Rumblefish on a separate post)…
One of the first things you notice about the Superfly is the weight, or lack of it. Ã‚Â This is a size Large, and it comes in at just a hair over 25 pounds covered with dust. Ã‚Â Other than the waterbottle cage, it’s stock just as you’d buy it off the showroom floor. Ã‚Â Assuming you’re ready to part with $5,600, that is.
The headtube is a tapered setup, and steering felt rather precise. Ã‚Â The trails are covered with dust and small scree rocks that like to trick you into thinking you have traction. Ã‚Â Despite the low knob profile of the Bontrager XR1 Team Issue 1.9 tires, the bike rolled where you wanted it to go.Ã‚Â Some of the steering precision can be chalked up to Fisher’s G2 geometry, which uses an exclusive 51mm offset fork to decrease the trail (they claim) to that of a 26″ bike. Ã‚Â Basically, it extends the crown and dropouts of the fork further forward, allowing the top tube to be a little shorter. Ã‚Â The effect is that the steering is sharper and you don’t feel stretched out on the bike. Ã‚Â Whereas normally I straddle the line between a L and XL bike, on the Fisher I was easily an XL (21″) and it felt right. (there’s an animated image showing the G2 fork offset difference here)
The downtube is huge, and it connects to a very sturdy bottom bracket section. Ã‚Â Pedaling hard seemed to translate pretty effortlessly into forward motion. Ã‚Â Given the bike’s lightweight and 100mm of travel, I inquired as to the bike’s durability for day-to-day trail riding. Ã‚Â Trek’s SE Demo rep Tom Jenkin’s said it would hold up fine to heavy duty cross country riding, which to me says it’ll do the trick for epics and some small jumps and drops, but it’s really designed for scootin’ thru singletrack.
The Superfly 100 is spec’d with a Shimano / SRAM mix. Ã‚Â Front derailleur is an XT direct mount, rear is a SRAM X.0 with X.0 shifters, Truvativ Noir carbon cranks and Avid Elixir CR hydraulic disc brakes. Ã‚Â The one issue I noted with the cable layout is the housing that runs directly across the top of the bottom pivot (you can see it in photo above). Ã‚Â Seeing as how cable housing is able to miraculously wear through carbon fiber frames, it seems odd to have it positioned so snugly at a high movement place…either it’s going to wear into the frame or the pivot motion will wear into the housing, or both.
The frame is Trek’s OCLV carbon fiber that’s co-molded in the mainframe and rear swingarm. Ã‚Â Fuselage (frame, rear shock and hardware) weight is 2200g (4.85 lbs). Ã‚Â The Superfly 100 uses carbon, co-molded shock mounts to avoid aluminum inserts where the shock connects to the frame, and the carbon link (unpainted bit in photo above) weighs just 44g. Ã‚Â The bottom bracket uses Trek’s Net-Molded carbon design to do away with BB cups, saving more grams. Ã‚Â Placing the suspension link on the top tube saves weight versus putting it on the seat tube by requiring less reinforcing carbon material.
Fisher managed to keep the wheelbase (44.8″ size L) and chainstay length (17.79″) short for a full suspension 29er. Ã‚Â Besides the offset fork, they used Trek’s ABP Active Brake Pivot in conjunction with pushing the seat tube forward to create a tighter rear triangle that can snug up closer to the cranks. Ã‚Â If you notice, the seat tube meets the downtube in front of the BB axle. Ã‚Â They were able to accomplish this by using the direct mount front derailleur and simply building the carbon mount out behind the tube.
Riding down the slightly banked downhill curves at a pretty good clip felt very stable and the bike remained maneuverable. Ã‚Â Longer wheelbase bikes tend to feel very stable but react slowly; the Superfly felt reactive but never twitchy, which is what a good race bike should feel like, and the handling was predictable.
The Fisher Superfly 100 comes ready to race, including the wheels. Ã‚Â It’s spec’d with Bontrager Race X Lite (RXL) Scandium 29 Disc tubeless-ready wheels. Ã‚Â The spoke bed appeared slightly offset, per the photo above, but Bontrager’s website makes no mention of this as a feature. Ã‚Â Wheelset weight is 1792g, which isn’t terrible, but certainly one area where you could trim some ounces if you wanted to.
The wheels come built with Centerlock hubs, but a 6-bolt adapter is available if you wanted to use something else.
For those looking for a flat out race rig,Ã‚Â it’ll accept SRAM’s XX 2×10 drivetrain, andÃ‚Â you could get the Gary Fisher Superfly 100 down to about 23 lbs if you had the wallet to back it up. Ã‚Â Then maybe, just maybe, you’ll be as fast as JHK.
Other quick specs:
- Fox F100 RLC 29 with 100mm travel, FIT cartridge and tapered E2 steerer tube.
- Fox Float RP23 with ProPedal, Boost Valve and custom race tuning
- Cane Creek Frustrum E2 semi-integrated headset
- Bontrager Race Lite bar and Race X light stem
- Bontrager Race XXX Lite full carbon seatpost with Race Lite saddle
TYLER’S RIDE REVIEW:
In addition to the comments above, I can add this. Ã‚Â The Superfly was a lot of fun, and something I want to spend more time on. Ã‚Â If I were to buy a bike tomorrow, this would be at the top of the short list, and given my weight weenie ways, probably one of the top contenders. Ã‚Â It felt balanced, fast and, with 100mm of travel on 29″ wheels, capable of handling the type of things I typically ride. Ã‚Â Some bikes just feel right as soon as you throw a leg over them, and this (albeit on a very short ride) felt like one of those bikes.
DANIEL’S RIDE REVIEW:
The Superfly 100 was an excellent, excellent ride. After having objectively reviewed big hit,Ã‚Â BMX, and road bikes; it’s nice to compare the apples that fit my riding style: wide open cross country speed. The Superfly 100 is one of only a few big wheel, full suspension bikes that doesn’t suffer a lumbering, lethargic All-Mountain demeanor. It is light weight, agile as a 26er, and ready for fast single track. As Tyler mentioned, it was a short, first impression style, demo. In my opinion there are few, if any, full suspension cross country 29er’sÃ‚Â on par with the Superfly 100. I still need a longer, more thorough demo of the Superfly 100 and a few others before I can tell you which one I’d put in my garage.