Results 1 to 15 of 15
  1. #1
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Posts
    60

    Need help choosing between Top Fuel and HiFi...

    I'm in the lucky position of trying to decide between getting an 09 Top Fuel or an 09 Gary Fisher HiFi. The models I'm looking at are either the Top Fuel 9.8, 9.9 SSL, HiFi Pro Carbon or the HiFi Carbon.

    A bit of background about me (as I rarely post over here in mtbr): Grew up racing mtb and working in a shop. I have owned a Klein (in '89), Stumpjumer, Gary Fisher Sugar, and Specialized Epic Marathon ('03). I just sold the Epic and I'm trying to figure out what my next xc rig will be.

    This bike will be (almost) exclusively used for xc racing (I moved to Seattle a few years ago, and while the road scene is great, you have to drive to most mtb rides ). I've just been racing road and cyclocross the last year, but am feeling the need to do some mtb races again next spring.

    I've narrowed the choices down to the bikes listed above (due to shop connections) and am soliciting opinions on the pros and cons of each bike's handling characteristics. If it helps, the races I'm probably going to hit will range from selections from the IMBA series near Seattle to possibly 1 or 2 24-hour events.

    Feel free to chime in...

  2. #2
    not really an mtbr member
    Reputation: theextremist04's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Posts
    639
    What about the procaliber? it doesn't have quite the bling of the full-carbon bikes, but it's still very respectable and a lot of fun to ride.

    fyi, the hifi is probably going to feel too slow for you. it's definitely not an xc bike.

  3. #3
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Posts
    203
    I built up a Supercal last year and have been quite happy with it as a daily rider.

    If you consider a HiFi XC (Supercal/Procal), you might want to ask your LBS about getting you an 08 Supercal or Procal. They've slashed the prices on them drastically. As you can see from the above link, I was able to create a build kit miles ahead of stock for less that the price of the Procal (last year, that is. You might be able to get on a Procal for less that the original retail of the 08 Supercal now)

    A friend of mine has used a HiFi Carbon as a racer last year and was happy with it, as well. In my opinion, I'd lean towards a HiFi if you know you'll be doing some endurance racing. I would strongly disagree with the HiFi Carbon not being a race bike. My friend destroyed a few Semi-Pro XC fields on board a HiFi Carbon this past season.

    I've only been able to ride a Top Fuel twice on my home trails, and it is an absolute rocket ship. Very, very fast bike. However, I'd have to think twice about using it as a marathon/ 24 hour racer. Given, Eatough and Bishop have fared quite well in that arena with this platform; but it's very much a single-purpose steed.

  4. #4
    not really an mtbr member
    Reputation: theextremist04's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Posts
    639
    Nice build on that supercal! mine's looking about the same, x0 twisties, x9 ders, about to put the same crankset and some different wheels on mine.

    And +1 on the 2008, both of them are exactly the same for 09, just more expensive.

  5. #5
    mtbr member
    Reputation: liam2051's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Posts
    849
    9.9ssl wins hands down

  6. #6
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Posts
    1,393
    Quote Originally Posted by liam2051
    9.9ssl wins hands down
    If you are getting this bike specifically for XC racing, I think I'd have to agree with that. A Hi-Fi Carbon Pro is definitely an XC race worthy machine, but if you are looking for an all out XC race bike then that is the intent and purpose of the Top Fuel 9.9.

  7. #7
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Posts
    446
    I'll throw in a general agreement as well. The HiFi carbon is a FAST bike, one that you probably can't blame for losing that race... it's one that if you wanted a bike to do it all, including racing you'd have a tough time finding one more capable. The new Top Fuel is a no-excuses, no holds barred XC race weapon. It's purpose-built to help put you on the podium.

    Bottom line: HiFi - Very raceable, very fast bike. Top Fuel - Very focused XC race bike.

  8. #8
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Posts
    60

    Need more info if anyone out there has it...

    After talking with some people who have ridden the 9.9ssl and the hifi, I'm agreeing that the Top Fuel is the way to go. Now I've got a few questions about differences between the 9.9 and the 9.8.

    First: Does anyone know if the 9.8 employs the same Net Molding tech (where the bb, headset, and suspension pivot bearings reside directly in the carbon frame) as the 9.9? I ride an '08 Madone 6.5 and I really like this feature. Disassembly, cleaning, and reassembly is easy and nearly tool-free.

    Next: I'm not too acquainted with the DT-Swiss rear shock. I've had excellent experience with pretty much all my Fox suspension components over the years and am wondering if the DT-Swiss stuff is on the same level.

    I know the wheel spec on the 9.9 has changed from carbon rims to the x-lite wheels. Looks like they come with scandium hoops as a small upgrade over the 9.8.

    I like the idea of the 2x9 drive-train as I rarely find myself grinding away in my granny-gears, and this will be a race-oriented bike.

    Basically, I'm trying to get a feel of whether the jump up to the 9.9 will yield much in the way of performance benefits for the extra $$$'s.

    I'm greatly appreciating everyone's input!
    Cheers,
    epicxt

  9. #9
    mtbr member
    Reputation: liam2051's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Posts
    849
    the 9.9ssl is definately the most race orientated bike, it is a bike that will be untimately fast, I can vouch for the DT swiss shocks, ive worked on them personally and have been rather pleased thus far

  10. #10
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Posts
    45
    Not ridden the 9.9, but I think the answers are:

    - Yes it has the net molding tech. It also uses OCLV Red as opposed to the 'inferior' OCLV Black carbon. Slightly lighter.

    - I think I heard the DT Swiss shock had not made it into production in time? Was going to be replaced with an RP23 I think

    A seriously nice bike. Looks to me like a VERY capable 100mm trail bike - whack a riser bar on it and it's not necessarily 'just' a race bike

  11. #11
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Posts
    60

    Thanks again for everyone's input!

    I'm still tracking down a few details, but so far it looks like I've got myself talked into going with the 9.9.

    A few clarifications:

    -It looks like the 9.9 has the Net Molding tech throughout (bb, hs, susp. pivot points), but it's not totally clear on Trek's website whether the 9.8 is employs the same tech, but with the lower grade (black) carbon.

    For example, in the Madone series, the 5.x frames are exactly the same as the 6.x frames except for the different grade of carbon. In essence they have identical ride characteristics with a small weight penalty.

    -Phazon: Thanks for the heads-up of the possibility that the DT-Swiss shocks may not make production time. Does anybody else have the scoop on this? It looks like there are some proto models out (a la Lance's mtb).

    -Jason745: Seriously nice build on the Supercal. I've pretty much got myself talked into the Top Fuel as most of my racing will be shorter races. I've raced 2 24-hour events (not solo) on my Specialized Epic and felt that there was plenty of travel/cushion, so if I end up doing a few solo events this next year I'll just have to nut up and take the hits like a man. (says me as solo riders on singlespeed hardtails whiz past...)

  12. #12
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Posts
    203
    Thanks for the comments on the Supercal. It's been good to me, but I need to make a decision about a new ride next year myself. I think I'll be looking between a EX 9.8 vs a TF 9.8. But that's another discussion...

    As for the DT shock: I'm not sure about it not making the production spec. As far as I've been told, the reason it was spec'd to begin with was because it's available with a remote lockout. The model I rode had the DT shock and it seemed to work okay. To a lesser extent, I believe the new Top Fuel is going to be mostly aimed at the European market, where DT suspension products hold more cache. Also, the guys at the Trek Suspension Lab in CA work hand-in-hand with Fox to create custom tunes for each platform they produce. I'm not so sure the DT shock has the availability to be tuned to the extent as the Fox stuff.

    Mostly speculation on my part, though.

    I can tell you with 100% certainty that both the 9.9 and 9.8 utilize the "net molding" process for the BB and head tube. The only thing that will differentiate them is the use of OCLV Red on the 9.9 and OCLV Black on the 9.8.

    This is more comparable to the difference between the 6 and 5 series Madones and not the 4 series. The 4 series Madones are made of TCT (Asian-built "Trek Carbon Technology"), and does not have any "net molded" bearing sockets or the "no-cut" seatmast. Both Top Fuels are American-made OCLV frames with all the latest bells and whistles.

    You could always slap an FSA K-Force Light double crankset on a 9.8. The downside is that they are only available with a ceramic BB (It will be useless with your Top Fuel. You'll have to get the FSA BB kit from Trek), and it's well over $700 retail. For me, that would be the only sticking point between models. I've never held much appreciation for XTR over XT. The cost-to-weight ratio just isn't enough. Plus, there's only a 10g difference between the SID Race and WC. I'd go with a 9.8.
    Last edited by jason745; 12-17-2008 at 03:57 PM.

  13. #13
    not really an mtbr member
    Reputation: theextremist04's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Posts
    639
    oh, something i just remembered. when i test rode the TF 9.9, the guy set up the suspension fairly soft and it was still really harsh compared to my supercal.

  14. #14
    *Contents Under Pressure
    Reputation: hotfeat1227's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Posts
    352
    just a note: the new 9.9ssl will NOT be equipped with the bonty XXX Lite carbon wheel set that it was supposed to come with. the price has been adjusted accordingly (something like $800 cheaper i think). they say they simply could not produce enough for 09 to sell em so the 2010 bikes will come with them, but the 09's will miss out an you will have to settle for the RXL scandium (i think) wheelset instead...but if you work at a trek shop im sure you know...
    There is an art, or rather, a knack to flying. The knack lies in learning how to throw yourself at the ground and miss.

  15. #15
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Posts
    60

    Update...

    First off, thanks to all for adding their well thought-out input. Jason745, I especially like your common-sense approach to the decision and agree with you on pretty much all counts.

    After looking at my cash difference in cost between the 9.8 and the 9.9 I've chosen to go with the 9.9 since the gap was smaller than I expected. It's still big, but just doable for me. (I grew up working for many years in a shop, and my brother owns a shop as well...) If I was paying full price I'm sure I would opt for the 9.8, but I've decided to splurge.
    And I don't want my mtb to feel inferior when it's hanging next to my 6.5 Madone.

    Now for the long wait...delivery is expected sometime (hopefully) in March

    Thanks again! It's been nice to come over here from rbr and get quality feedback/advice on mtb stuff as well!

    Cheers!
    -epicxt

Members who have read this thread: 0

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  

THE SITE

ABOUT MTBR

VISIT US AT

mtbr.com and the ConsumerReview Network are business units of Invenda Corporation

(C) Copyright 1996-2018. All Rights Reserved.