Sunday, February 3, 2008

Eatin' tacos with Gary Fisher.

So, there I was, snackin' on tacos, feet as close to a propane heater as I can manage without flamin' my wool socks, and listening to Gary Fisher talk about the first time he flew into Crested Butte in a plane just barely big enough to fit himself, his bike, and the pilot. Now how cool is that?

A couple of months ago we had gotten wind of the Trek/Fisher demo truck coming to a local riding area on Superbowl Sunday. Now I eschew football, so I planned on test riding the new HiFi 29er. Later, a Poker Run was planned by several local shops for the same day and with the heavy rains of late wreaking havoc on the original destination of the demo, the two events were combined: Trek/Fisher demo and Poker Run. Cool.

Then it rained. Saturday was beautiful, Sunday it rained...and got cold...and windy. So, a few hardcore guys and one gal showed up anyway, the Poker Run was shelved, and since we were there anyway, we rode. No pics of that cuz if I got my wife's camera wet, I would have been toast.

At the top of the semi paved and sandy climb, we broke out onto the ridgeline trail that, with all the wet ground, made for a bit of pushing. Oh, did I mention the 50 mph wind? I cannot remember a time when the wind was so strong I could not PUSH my bike without getting blown off the trail. Being a tall guy on a 29er, riding the downhills in the wind was an excercise in staying low and trying very hard to color between the muddy lines. Cold too. Wind chill of OMG degrees at least.

But back at the bunkhouse, we rode up to find the Demo truck all ready to do business and I signed on the dotted line for a LG HiFi Pro.

I did not want to pedal back up the trail in the wet and the cold, so I just did some laps around the encampment.

A few thoughts:

Pedals well. Definately not uber plush in nature. Coming off a hard tail, it still felt pretty good.

Flex? Well, in the big ring, fork locked out and hammering, I could look back and see some tail whip, some of it from the wheel/tire, but mostly in the rear triangle. Still, I was really torquing it, and that is not a typical scenario unless I end up in mtn bike crits this year.

Steering? It felt very nice, but I really noticed how, at slow speeds, it felt very easy to turn the front end, yet it did not feel uber quick or darty. Nice.

Fit? The LG was too small for me and this came as a bit of a surprise since the 24.25 TT is right where the KM is. More back sweep in the bars, a seat somewhat more forward than I ride???? I guess I am a XL on this bike at 6'2".

Buzz killer? 18" chainstays. Criminy, trying to manual this thing is a hernia getter where the 17" CS length on my KM is totally easy. Climbing, schliming. This needs to change IMO. I guess I will have to deal with it cuz with one exception (and I don't want that exception), this is the state of the art.

So back to the tacos.

As I handed the HiFi back, I looked over and saw a familiar face. There was the man himself. I introduced myself and mentioned we had met before at a Fisher dealer demo days waaaay back in the day before Trek. Before long we were all hanging out, trying to find shelter from the wind and eating Carne Asada mini tacos. We talked about bikes, 29ers, old times, new times, weird times. Mostly everyone just asked a question and then had enough sense to shut up and listen to how it was from a very cool legend.

One thing came through very clearly. Gary likes bikes. The stoke is still there. He never seemed to be bored as he explained trail and the G2 development process, bike fit, wheel design, and a dozen other questions from the gallery. I told him I always wanted, and still do, a handmade Mt Tam and his eyes lit up and he launched into a talk on brazing frames together.

Finally the tacos were gone and the day was done. I found it so cool to see a guy still excited about the simple act of riding a bike who really just could have collected a check and stayed home or hid in the van instead of talking to us for hours.

Thanks Gary.

Now, about those 18" chainstays?

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