Trek Demo: Gary Fisher HiFi 29er Pro Ponderings & Musings

Matt tuning up the HiFi 29er Pro

Here are my humble ponderings and musings on the new HiFi 29er.

As a 29er advocate, I’ve been waiting with great anticipation to try out the innovative technology and geometry that Trek & Gary Fisher have begun to apply to the 29ers. Gary Fisher is an innovator when it comes to 29ers and his introduction of the new Genesis 2.0 (G2) is something I’ve been itching to get some saddle time on. Trek, with its steadfast belief in the 69er platform, piqued my interest as I wanted to understand what it was that made a whole company stand behind a blend of two wheel sizes. This past Saturday, I got my wish and I was able to first swing my leg over the new HiFi 29er Pro. Later on I got my chance at the Trek 69er FS but that’s for another post.

I was pretty lucky this time around because not only did I get to ride the two bikes I was interested in, I got to ride it on a trail I’m infinitely familiar with. This, to me, is much better than riding a new trail because this means I don’t have to worry too much about new trail issues (which way do I go, what’s around the next bend, that hill came out of nowhere) I can just ride and keep my thoughts on the bike.

The HiFi 29er Pro. First off, this is the current top of the level HiFi 29er. I say “current” because I’m hoping Gary Fisher decides to produce a carbon version of this baby like the little wheeled HiFi Pro Carbon. I’ve been pretty excited about trying this bike for two reasons: the claimed better slow speed handling and less flexy rear triangle. These were two problems I noticed in the previous version of Gary Fisher’s full suspension 29ers that I hoped they solved with the new HiFi’s.

White forks, oh so pretty! Fox F29 with custom fork offset specific to Gary Fisher

Yes, the steering is MUCH better than the previous generation especially at slow speeds. At fast speeds, the steering handling is not noticeably better, but once you slow things down like negotiating a tight switchbacks or just carving some singletrack, I could tell the steering is better than original Genesis geometry 29ers I’d ridden.

By reducing the trail on the bike, the steering became quicker, but not so quick as to become twitchy. If you ever been on a 29er doing a singletrack switchback you’ll know what I mean when I say that turning the 29er at slow speeds can be difficult at times. I feel like I have to have perfect form in order to make the turn: drop the inside shoulder, lock out my outside arm and really concentrate on turning the bike. With the new G2, I didn’t feel this at all. I felt that as I turned the bike would follow and it was easy to turn. The best way to explain it is I’m not fighting the bike to turn it anymore.

The second issue I hoped that Gary Fisher addressed with their new HiFi 29ers was if the seatstays were still flexy. A few months prior to the release of the HiFi 29ers, I hopped on a 29er full suspension by GF and I immediately felt the flex in the rear stays. It was very disconcerting and I immediately got off to check if anything was loose. Nothing, it was just the bike. The new HiFi 29ers, I can confidently state, do not have the same problem. The comolded carbon seatstays are stiff (and I’m 215 lbs). I never felt any of that dreaded flex that I felt in Gary Fisher’s previous 29er full suspension bikes.

HiFi 29er Pro? Yes, please!

Some other observations related to design of the bike is that the HiFi 29er is not a plush full suspension bike. I find it to be more of a firm full suspension bike. Thankfully, I rather prefer a firm full suspension bike. Also, coming from a rigid and a hardtail 29er, I’m a stickler for pedal bob. Again, because of the design and the suspension, the HiFi had very little if any pedal bob at all. I never felt the inclination to reach down and turn the lockout feature on the Fox F29 fork. Nor did I ever reach down to mess with the Fox shock. In retrospect, I’m pretty surprised by this, but it’s a clear sign of what type of bike the HiFi 29er was intended to be.

All over the net I’ve been hearing great things about the HiFi 29er and for the most part I’ve been pretty skeptical. But now I’ve changed my mind. This bike rocks. Frame stiffness is leaps and bounds better than Gary Fisher’s previous full suspension 29er and the handling set a new standard in the 29er industry for slower speed turning. Combining G2 and full suspension 29er has made for an excellent bike in the HiFi 29er.

Check out the Gary Fisher HiFi Pro here.

Click here for 29er parts at

Trek Demo Review

Trek Demo Day!

Impressions on the bikes we rode have been written.
For our thoughts on the Gary Fisher HiFi Pro, click here.
For our thoughts on the Trek Fuel Ex 9.5, click here.
For our thoughts on the Trek Top Fuel 69er, click here.

Demos are an extremely fun event to do as a mountain biker. Think of it: you get to ride a new bike – professionally maintained, mind you – on a fun trail and you get to do it over and over again.

This Saturday my friend Tim and I hit up the Fullerton Loop for Trek Demo Day mentioned in this previous post. To say it was a lot of fun is an understatement. It was a TON of fun. Tip for you: get to the demo early. If it says it starts at 9, get there at least 20 minutes early and chat up the mechanic. If he’s good, he’s probably almost done getting the bikes ready and if you’re nice, he’ll probably get you going first.

Matt, working hard to setup the Gary Fisher HiFi 29er Pro; Lance, looking on

Matt, the Trek demo dude, is good, real good. Not only was he ready by about 15 minutes til 9am, but he also was extremely knowledgeable and helpful. Tim and I threw out a variety of question to him including questions on weight, specs, prices… a variety of things and he had the correct – as I later found out – answer every time. Matt was also helpful and friendly encouraging us to ride and enjoy our time on the bike. Matt already knew I was interested in the Large Gary Fisher HiFi 29er, so when I got there, on went my pedals and off Tim and I went.

New friends, Randall (Trek Fuel Ex 9.5) & Deb (Gary Fisher HiFi Pro Carbon)

We picked up a couple of new friends who weren’t familiar with the loop, so our pair became a fun group of four. Tim had been eying the Trek Fuel EX 9.5 and got to swing a leg over that for the first loop. He was really curious about the Active Braking Pivot (ABP) and found it to function exactly like it was supposed to (it’s not a marketing gimmick!). Randall also got a leg over a Trek Fuel EX 9.5 while Deb rode a Gary Fisher HiFi Carbon (26″ version). We all had a blast on the first loop and really enjoyed our steeds.

The second time around I jumped on a Trek 69er FS while Tim took the Gary Fisher HiFi Carbon (26″). We both preferred our first rides for different reasons, but that didn’t stop us from having a blast anyway.

Trek/Gary Fisher bikes ready to go!

In the next few days, I’ll post more thorough impressions on the bikes I rode. Check back for them soon.

Trek Demo at Fullerton Loop

Jeremy rockin’ the Gary Fisher 29er X-Caliber on some nice singletrack at Crystal Cove State Park

Some of the crew will be at the Trek Demo that is happening this Saturday from 9am to 3pm at the most popular loop in Orange County, the Fullerton Loop. Here’s the official word from the Trek Demo Site:

Jax Fullerton
Fullerton, CA
Sat. Jan 12th, 2008 @ 9:00 am—3:00 pm

I (Matt from Trek) will be at the Fullerton Loop Parking lot with the new 2008 Road and Mtn. bikes. Stop on by and take a spin on the best.

Location: Fullerton
2520 E. Chapman Avenue
Fullerton, CA 92381
View Map (ADDRESS here is for the shop. Here’s the address for the Loop Parking lot:
1275 N. Berkeley Avenue
Fullerton, CA 92832)

Directions: Please call the shop for directions to the store, they can be reached at 714.441.1100.

I inquired as to which bikes would be there and Matt Gutowski sent me a short list of what he was bringing: Trek EX 9.5’s, Gary Fisher HiFi Carbon Pros, Trek Top Fuel 69er’s & Gary Fisher Paragons. He also has one Large Gary Fisher HiFi 29er. I’ve got first dibs on the HiFi 29er!

Thanks Matt for the email and for all the info!

Here are some pertinent questions from the FAQ page:

QUESTION: What do I need to do to demo a bike?
ANSWER: Check out our calendar of upcoming events and select one to attend. Allow yourself plenty of time to check out our inventory and give us some time to fit you on the selected model you would like to try. You will need to fill out a quick registration/waiver form and provide us with a valid ID (driver’s license) and Credit Card. (Of course your credit card will not be charged, unless of course you disappear or damage the product.)

QUESTION: What if I am under 18, can I still demo a bike?
ANSWER: Yes! But you will need a parent to fill out your registration/waiver form.

QUESTION: Do I need cycling shoes?
ANSWER: We recommend that you use the shoes that you typically ride in or most comfortable in.

QUESTION: Do I need to bring my own helmet?
ANSWER: We do have a limited number of helmets available for use, but is best to bring your own personal riding gear if possible.

QUESTION: Do I need to bring my own pedals to the demo?
ANSWER: While we stock a number of the most common clipless pedals, we don’t have every brand and so it is always a good idea to bring your own just in case.

QUESTION: How long can I test ride the bike?
ANSWER: We generally request test rides of no more than thirty to forty minutes so everyone gets a chance to ride their desired model. This is flexible to some degree based on trail options and rider turnout.

QUESTION: Can I ride more than one bike ?
ANSWER: Sure, as many as you want! We would love you to try all of our inventory and we will do our best to get you on whatever you want to ride. We appreciate your patience, sometimes we get busy.

If you haven’t checked out the Trek Demo Page, click here. These trucks are all over the place and I’m sure one will be coming to you soon.