Tuesday, October 30, 2007
2007 Fisher Rig / White Brothers Rock Solid 29er Review
The Gary Fisher Rig is not my first singlespeed frame. I have owned a 2004 Cannondale 1FG and a Niner One 9. This is the best of the three. The Niner was almost a pound lighter but it did not inspire the confidence that this frame does, especially when descending. The Rig has the Genesis 1 geometry and not the new Genesis 2 geometry that the 2008 bikes employ with the additional fork offset. I have always had a thing for the Genesis geometry. But not always for the reasons that Fisher states as the goal of the geometry. The longer top tubes allow me to run a smaller frame than I would otherwise desire. I like around a 23.75" to a 24" effective top tube on my mountain bikes. One many brands this would mean around a 19" seattube or large frame size. On a Fisher this is the 17.5" frame size. This means more standover for my short legs and the appropriate top tube length for my longish torso. The frame with the EBB weighed in at 4.35 lbs.
My Rig came as a frameset and thus has little in common with Fisher's complete bikes that come off the self at your LBS. I set it up with a White Brothers Rock Solid 29er rigid fork. This is my second rigid fork. The previous one was on a Dean 29er and was made by James at Black Sheep. The Rock Solid 29er has aluminum dropouts, crown and steerer tube. The legs are carbon. The fork weighed 780 grams uncut on my scale. Not too bad and much lighter than anything with some squish. But of course you need to be somewhat masochistic to ride rigid these days with how well suspension forks work. But in Oregon, where I ride most of the time, I don't seem to miss suspension forks too much. I did miss it while riding one particular trail near Benny Creek in Utah earlier this month. The cattle had turned the trail into something that was almost torture even with a suspension fork. Nevertheless, 95% of the time I prefer rigid these days.
The bike without some fatter tires would be difficult to ride long distance because the trail vibrations and bumps tend to weary me prematurely. However, I have found that with good fat tires I can ride longer than my legs can push. I ride a Panaracer Rampage on the front with 22 to 25 lbs of pressure (I weigh around 200 and have had no problems pinch flatting at all). On the back is a Michelin ATX, but I am not sure that it is the best rear tire out there. But it is not bad.
The Niner One 9 that I had probably climbed slightly better than the Rig, but not enough to worry about. The confidence that the Rig inspires when descending is the best of any of my hardtail 29ers so far. Obviously I am not doing drops of 3 feet but through the twisty woods or bombing down some of the fun stuff at Browns Camp in Tillamook forest is much more fun with the Rig. Not twitchy. If you like twitchy or very quick handling bikes then I would guess that the Niner would be the better choice. The frame is rigid and I don't get any frame twist when mashing up hills. I wish there was slightly more tire clearance, but it is enough for any of the 29er 2.1 tires out there. maybe some 2.2 tires but I haven't tried to fit any back there.
The fork while be more rigid feeling than my Ti Black Sheep fork that was on my Dean 29er is a better riding fork. It steers more accurately, yet seems to take just enough edge off the trail. There is no visible fork flex either, unlike the ti fork. It is set up with discs and the fork does not stutter at all, and the set up was easy.
Gary Fisher Rig: B+ It is kind of porky but for the money it is a great bike. I wish there wasn't such so much seat tube exposed without some sort of a gusset above the top tube.
White Brothers Rock Solid: A- Great fork. Can't fault it at all. I just can't give a perfect score so early in this blog