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  1. #1
    ACS
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    Anyone dislike GF handling and find serenity in another frame?

    I've owned a GF x-caliber for a couple of years. I no longer like it. My new home trails are much tighter and more difficult to keep momentum than what I was used to. The GF feels high and slow. I've heard that they have a high BB and longer top tube. Will a frame with a half inch less of each make a perceptible change in riding characteristics?

    My question is: Is there anybody that was about to swear off the 29s, switched the frame out for something else and found improved handling?

    I'll be looking at the Voodoo, Surly, and other relatively inexpensive frames

  2. #2
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    My Rig with the Reba fork (80 mm) was hard to get through some tight twisty trails. I found myself have to ride around the outside edges of some turns. I had a WB fork that I swaped to the Rig. It was a tick shorter and had less rake. Seemed to really quicken up the bike. I've also ran it with a Karate Monkey fork for kicks. It too made for a snappy feel that I like. I'm much happier with the handle of the Rig with the WB fork.

    I've had a a 06 Voodoo Dambala. The handle on it was VERY quick, almost twitchy and unpredictable, even with the longer Reba on it. It has a very steep head angle and a tall headtube. The VooDoo's ride quality was very nice(Steel) compared to the Rig. I eventualy sold the VooDoo frame. I still ride the Rig with the Wb.
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  3. #3
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    I have never cared for the long TTs of the Genesis geometry. Sometimes you can just ride a "smaller" frame size if you can get the saddle height needed.

    I love high BBs though. I find high BB bikes to be more flickable and have no stability issues.
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  4. #4
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    I have never ridden that gf frame but I have just put together a voodoo Dambala and it handles great. My local trails too are very tight and twisty and this bike handles it better than my 26 inch bikes. I am 6'1" and this is my first 29er but with this frame I have yet to find a down side. Wish my fs bike had big wheels.

  5. #5
    ACS
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    Quote Originally Posted by tool addict
    I have never ridden that gf frame but I have just put together a voodoo Dambala and it handles great. My local trails too are very tight and twisty and this bike handles it better than my 26 inch bikes. I am 6'1" and this is my first 29er but with this frame I have yet to find a down side. Wish my fs bike had big wheels.

    The voodoo is one of the frames that I'm looking at. What size frame are you on and how's the fit. I'm about an inch taller than you.

  6. #6
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    If the trails are tight througout they're not ideal of course, but for the odd tight section GF's, old and new design, they don't bother me. The stability also helps in ways, and I find it fun to wrestle it through tights. If you get it right, you don't hold up any 26"ers either. In sometimes just lift the front wheel and place it to the side to "cut" a chicane, it's fun, and can be real quick.
    A "quick" bike you ride "lazily" is not always quicker than a long/stable bike ridden agressively.

    Each design has it's ideal use, Fishers are not the ideal choice for all-tight trails, but they are for technical climbing/descending and anything at high speed IMO.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by ACS
    The voodoo is one of the frames that I'm looking at. What size frame are you on and how's the fit. I'm about an inch taller than you.

    I have the 19inch frame, I have an FSA SL 220 offset seatpost and and old stem I'm not sure of the length but it made the fit real nice. I'm also sure a 20 would fit me too. I went 19 because I was worried about handling which turned out to better than I had even hoped.
    I am also using 180 cranks and can get toe clip but it is so little it is not an issue but Joe at Voodoo thought a 20 would not be as close. What really sold me on this bike was the rear slidding dropout. This thing is a work of art. No way you can make it slip. If your ever in SW Washington your welcome to test ride her.

  8. #8
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    Try to invert your stem, thats what helped me alot, I also found it a little hard to get comfortable but after a little time in the saddle and some tweeking if have found I fell in love with the bike. I have also tried different forks, surley KM, REBA,and my newest and the one I like the most the new bontrager switchblade race Xlite (Carbon). It has a different ride then any other fork I've tried

  9. #9
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    Try a 96er

    96er.jpg

    I went from a Waltworks 29er to a "96er" based on a British DMR Reynolds 520 frame. The DMR is designed to take a 125 - 130mm fork with a 26 inch wheel, so fitting a Reba with a 29 inch front wheel does not screw up the geometry. It's got a shorter wheelbase than the Waltworks and a higher bottom bracket. It handles and accelerates far better than the Waltworks did, especially in tight, switchback - type situations. It's also just as stable as a full 29er and I'm not aware of any decrease in ride comfort due to the smaller rear wheel.

    96ers look strange (some would say ugly) but this thing turns, climbs and descends better than my 29er ever did.

  10. #10
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    Good job! Thats very interesting...

    Quote Originally Posted by Chromo
    96er.jpg

    I went from a Waltworks 29er to a "96er" based on a British DMR Reynolds 520 frame. The DMR is designed to take a 125 - 130mm fork with a 26 inch wheel, so fitting a Reba with a 29 inch front wheel does not screw up the geometry. It's got a shorter wheelbase than the Waltworks and a higher bottom bracket. It handles and accelerates far better than the Waltworks did, especially in tight, switchback - type situations. It's also just as stable as a full 29er and I'm not aware of any decrease in ride comfort due to the smaller rear wheel.

    96ers look strange (some would say ugly) but this thing turns, climbs and descends better than my 29er ever did.
    it seems you found an excellent combination there. I love originality .
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  11. #11
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    I LOVE the genesis geometry of the Gary Fishers. I guess it's a personal preference thing but I have always had to install long stems on my previous bikes to get the length I'm looking for. So the genesis geometry fits me as well as any frame I've ridden. I like my bikes to be stable and slow turning. I recently bumped the travel on my Reba to 100mm, further slowing the steering. Upon the first ride I noticed a jump in my speed in descending sections.

    Keep looking around the genesis geometry isn't for everyone but it suits me just fine.

  12. #12
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    Actually I found "serenity" on a Fisher frame. I like the short stem long top tube combination and the high bottom bracket - less OTB trips, more confidence on steep behind the seat downhills and more clearance and stability for rock crawling technical stuff. Like other 29er frames I've owned it has excellent grip at the rear wheel on steep climbs. An exiwolf is a close fit but clears the stays. The fact that they seemingly break all the time is a concern. It would be nice if someone from Fisher would chime in on this.

    Prior to the fisher I had a Karate Monkey. As a mountain bike it didn't work too well for me. Toe overlap, too low of a bottom bracket, tire clearance issues when running gears and a heavy dead ride. Otherwise I like Surly frames - we have three of them in the household.

    Between the first paragon (stolen) and it's replacement (a cobia with upgraded parts) I had a Niner. It was a nice light frame but I thought it steered kinda slow with 100mm up front. I could have switched it to 80mm but then the bottom bracket would be lower. Also, it didn't seem to climb steep stuff as well as the fisher. (maybe a function of the fork length)

    Where the 29er really works for me is on ultra tight technical rock crawling trails and wide open stuff where you can motor along. When I want to ride a bike that is sensitive to weight shifts and responds quickly to be being leaned into corners I'll ride my bike with 26" wheels.

  13. #13
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    I've been wondering the same question - why isn't the Rig more fun in the tight singletrack that we have here in Minnesota? I have a Dos Niner with a Pace fork and that bike is Fantastic in the tight stuff. The steering feels very light - I feel like a deer darting through the woods.

    The Rig is a little more cumbersome (sp?). I'm 6'0" and I have a LG. One thing I already did is get a shorter stem (a 90mm) which helped a lot and the next thing I'm doing is getting a fork with more offset (maybe 47 mm).

    The long top tube on the Rig is better, though, for getting out of the saddles and torquing it on the steep little climbs.

  14. #14
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    Serenity in the Inbred. I wasn't dissatisfied with my X-Cal (2002), but when I got my new Inbred I was just blown away by the inprovement in handling. Much livlier, quicker, and more intuitive. I could steer with my body again instead of having to use my hands all the time. The front end is more difficult to control on steep climbs but traction is better.

    I wonder how many people have taken a test ride on a Fisher simply because it was the only complete bike available to ride, disliked the sluggish handling which they than attributted to the wheels and subsequently gave up on 29ers?

  15. #15
    Always Learning
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    Quote Originally Posted by ACS
    I've owned a GF x-caliber for a couple of years. I no longer like it. My new home trails are much tighter and more difficult to keep momentum than what I was used to. The GF feels high and slow. I've heard that they have a high BB and longer top tube. Will a frame with a half inch less of each make a perceptible change in riding characteristics?

    My question is: Is there anybody that was about to swear off the 29s, switched the frame out for something else and found improved handling?

    I'll be looking at the Voodoo, Surly, and other relatively inexpensive frames
    What works for one may not work for another. So you could have a thread filled with riders who said "Fisher didn't work for me, but XX brand did" or "XX brand didn't work for me, but Fisher did".

    I ride a Sugar 293, a Karate Monkey and a Dos Niner. I love how each of them ride and understand that each of them are different and unique in their own right. Certainly find serenity on the Sugar during epic rides, rough terrain and select races. I find serenity on the Dos Niner in XC midwest racing. And I find serenity on the rigid Karate Monkey no matter where and when I ride it because it teaches me and shows me how to ride. It's the energizer bunny that simply will not go away...

    Assuming you have experimented to the max with your Fisher in terms of fit on the bike and still just cannot find the groove and tight turning you need - try another frame and move your parts over to the other frame. Monkey has always ripped tight singletrack for me without a hitch. The Dos is like a knife through butter on the tight stuff (once you get used to the flex in the rear end). You have plenty of frames these days to choose from and try. Plenty of those frames are sub $1000 making it easier and less painful to the wallet to try out.

    Can you demo or hit the loaner thread to throw a leg over some other bikes where you live? That would be the ideal situation.

    BB
    Last edited by BruceBrown; 09-03-2006 at 06:52 AM.

  16. #16
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    How much longer are fisher top tubes over other bikes anyways, like a half an inch?

  17. #17
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    Salsa el Mar...

    Sm 22.7 : Med 23.5 : Lg 24.4 : XL 25.0

    Fisher Rig

    Sm 23.2 : Med 24.0 : Lg 24.7 : XL 25.5

    But the Fisher also has a steeper STA (except for the XL) which functionallly lengthens the TT even more.
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  18. #18
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    Try the next size down. I rode a medium 293 with a 110 stem and was impressed with the handling on some really tight trails. I'm 5'11", and the guy that owns the bike is 6'. I rode the same trails on my Large ProCaliber (26") and it didn't seem as good. I guess what I'm saying is that you might be able to undo the Genesis geometry by going with a smaller than normal frame. The wheelbase will be plenty long still, and the 29" wheels tend to eliminate the OTB effect that a longer stem can cause.

  19. #19
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    I’ve got an ’04 XL Sugar 292 and an ’05 XL Rig and both bikes felt great from the first ride. I did end up putting a shorter/higher rise stem later on the Sugar, but that’s the only change I made…

    The Rig has only had one change made; I installed a Thudbuster I had already. I even like the saddle…

    I am really curious about the steep head tube angle on the new Intense. I wonder if I would like it or not…

  20. #20
    ACS
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    Quote Originally Posted by BruceBrown
    What works for one may not work for another. So you could have a thread filled with riders who said "Fisher didn't work for me, but XX brand did" or "XX brand didn't work for me, but Fisher did"....

    BB
    I'm definately not saying that the fisher is a poor handling bike. It handles very well in smooth rolling, not so tight situations...which my old home trails were. My new home trails, which I would have a very hard time bragging about, are tight with short steep up and downs. It feels like trying to rip around the streets of London in an old Cadillac. I've been riding my 26" and having much more fun.

  21. #21
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    Here, here....

    Quote Originally Posted by cwfish
    Serenity in the Inbred. I wasn't dissatisfied with my X-Cal (2002), but when I got my new Inbred I was just blown away by the inprovement in handling. Much livlier, quicker, and more intuitive. I could steer with my body again instead of having to use my hands all the time. The front end is more difficult to control on steep climbs but traction is better.

    I wonder how many people have taken a test ride on a Fisher simply because it was the only complete bike available to ride, disliked the sluggish handling which they than attributted to the wheels and subsequently gave up on 29ers?
    I almost wrote the 29er thing off after a ride or two on a Rig. They handle like poo on tight trails. Bombing open fire road, fine, otherwise... plain ole ca ca. Whether the origins of the Genesis geometry is still on the GF site, I don't know, but it use to be posted. It was conceived by Gary after he went over the bars one too many times and had enough. Viola! Short stem, long top tube. Less endo prone. Kind of like putting training wheels on a bike... it will keep you from falling over, but has a tendency to muck up the handling. GFs are fine for open dirt road cruising or straight single track. Beyond that you'd have to be a far better rider than I to make one work for you.

  22. #22
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    Shortly before I ordered my Vulture early last year, the Rig was just about to be released and its price looked awfully tempting. So I rode a GF Montare (same geo) back to back against my KM. The Fisher was noticeably slower handling than the KM, no doubt owing to the longer top tube and wheelbase. The big wheels offer me enough endo protection as it is, and need any extra "help" in that department. I ordered the Vulture and it handles even better than the KM. Key dimensions:

    small Fisher HT: 23.2" ETT, 23.6" FTT (due to the 74* STA), 42.8" wheelbase.
    small KM: 22.7" ETT and FTT, 41.1-41.9" wheelbase depending on axle position. Note that the Salsa El Mariachi and Dos Niner (as well as the Soma Juice) offer the same ETT and FTT.
    Vulture: 22.5" ETT and FTT. Haven't measured the wheelbase, but I'd estimate it to be 41.4".

    * FTT = Functional Top Tube length: the effective top tube length that would be required to give an equivalent fit if the STA were 73 degrees.
    Last edited by GlowBoy; 09-05-2006 at 03:44 PM.
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  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by ACS
    I'm definately not saying that the fisher is a poor handling bike. It handles very well in smooth rolling, not so tight situations...which my old home trails were. My new home trails, which I would have a very hard time bragging about, are tight with short steep up and downs. It feels like trying to rip around the streets of London in an old Cadillac. I've been riding my 26" and having much more fun.
    I haven't found any limitation on tight, short steep up and down types of trails on the 29"er platform. I think if a bike fits well and the cockpit is dialed in for best performance, the handling should not suffer. Likewise, I never felt limitations on my 26" Trek 8000 either on tight singletrack. If anything, the added stability that comes with the big hoops has improved my riding in such tight tracks.

    Don't have the specs handy for the Trek I used to ride, but the 3 big wheeled rides are all fairly similar and the cockpit lengths are set up pretty much identical.

    XL Karate Monkey: 22" size; 24.2 TT, 24.9 ETT; 72 HT Angle; 73 ST Angle; 43" wheelbase; 34.1" standover height; 5.69 pounds frame weight + 2.56 pounds of fork

    XL Sugar 293: 21" size; 24.7 TT, 25.5 ETT; 71.5 HT Angle; 73.5 ST Angle; 45.2" wheelbase; 29.2" standover height; 5.62 pounds frame weight + 3.82 pounds of fork

    XL Dos Niner: 22" size; 24.0 TT, 25.0 ETT; 72.0 HT Angle; 73.0 ST Angle; 44.1" wheelbase; 33.2" standover height; 4.2 pounds frame weight + 3.53 pounds of fork

  24. #24
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    Again, owning 2 Fisher hardtails here, one being the older style with way-low BB.
    while they may not be as agile as the average 26" hardtail, I don't think this cuts speeds really. I like how I can throw my might at these bikes to get them to do what I want, and how they calm down anytime I'm not pushing them around corners. The required steering input to me is a trait. I like the precision that larger-efort steering offers. I found an easy (nervous) 26" bike to handle very inprecise, I was always making corrections and never really getting it right. also, I know very few riders (superpro's most of them) that get it right without mid-turn corrections.
    Downhills with such a Fisher hardtail to me feels like a really well built 26" FS in some ways. Piece of mind, fingers really loose on the brakes.

  25. #25
    ACS
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cloxxki
    Again, owning 2 Fisher hardtails here, one being the older style with way-low BB.
    while they may not be as agile as the average 26" hardtail, I don't think this cuts speeds really. I like how I can throw my might at these bikes to get them to do what I want, and how they calm down anytime I'm not pushing them around corners. The required steering input to me is a trait. I like the precision that larger-efort steering offers. I found an easy (nervous) 26" bike to handle very inprecise, I was always making corrections and never really getting it right. also, I know very few riders (superpro's most of them) that get it right without mid-turn corrections.
    Downhills with such a Fisher hardtail to me feels like a really well built 26" FS in some ways. Piece of mind, fingers really loose on the brakes.
    Is there any notable handling difference between the newer GF and the older frame with the lower BB?

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