Demo Rides: Trek Superfly Al and Niner S.I.R. 9

A couple weeks ago, I got the opportunity to drop by the Paul’s Ride for Life event, which centers around a charity ride that raises money for life-saving organ transplants. While I found out about it too late to join in the ride (which seems like it might be a cool thing to do next year), there was also a Cyclefest event sponsored by a local shop, the Bike Lane. As part of that, there were not only tables and booths for cool local organizations like MORE and FABB (join one or both if you’re in the area!), but demo bikes on hand from Niner, Felt, and Trek. I got to try out the Trek Superfly Al (geared) and the Niner S.I.R. 9 (singlespeed) for a few minutes each.

I tried the Niner first, and man… it was a fun bike! You can probably trust the word of a man who owns one more than mine, but in the few minutes I got to tool around on it I was very impressed. The geometry felt really natural – the bike was responsive without being twitchy – and it didn’t feel too hefty despite the steel frame (853 Reynolds, for those who might be wondering!).

Niner S.I.R. 9

When I got on the Trek, I noticed immediately that it had a different approach than the playful Niner. The Superfly (in all editions) is billed as a race-oriented XC bike, and it shows in how it rides and handles. It was a nice bike, but I didn’t really get that grin on my face that I look for when testing a bike out. To be fair to Trek, part of this may have been because the brakes on my test bike were REALLY dirty and noisy, so I was distracted by that for much of my ride.

Trek Superfly Al

This was my first real experience testing out multiple bikes at a demo event (I was supposed to have a 2nd a couple days ago, but it got rained out), and it was a lot of fun! I’m sure many of you do this when you can, but I’d encourage everyone to attend demos when possible – it’s an easy way to check out one or several bikes fairly quickly, whether you’re looking for a new ride or not!

Trek Demo Day, Part II

Gary Fisher Roscoe III

Round number 2 was on the Gary Fisher Roscoe. I had to wait a little while for this one as some dude drove from Vegas to test ride it. That’d be 4 plus hours of driving each way!

Before we get going on the review, I have to preface my thoughts on the Gary Fisher Roscoe with this statement: My riding style is not the one that is being targeted by the Roscoe. I am definitely more of a XC/Trail type rider while the Roscoe with its five and a half inches of travel is definitely shooting for the All Mountain crowd. I have ridden AM type bikes but I am just too timid to really get the best out of them, the Roscoe included. Also, the Fullerton Loop is not an AM type trail so I’d definitely read my thoughts with this information in mind.

Wide hydroformed top tube makes for a much stiffer frame

On our second run, we hooked up with John from Jax Fullerton. He jumped on the Superfly I was riding while Full Squish Randall got on HiFi 29er and I got some seat time on the Roscoe. John, by the way, is a great mechanic and happens to be a very good road racer as well.

My first thought when I got on the Roscoe is that this baby is stout. The hydroformed tubing is thick. The first tube you notice is the top tube which is much wider than any other top tube I’ve ridden. This definitely lent a bit of stiffness to the whole bike that I’m sure is useful when you’re hucking off 6 foot drops. You really can’t tell the thickness in the pictures on Gary Fisher’s website but the top & down tube are wide. The tapered headtube is also different going from 1 1/8 inch to 1 1/2 inch at the crown of the fork. This design is supposed to increase the strength between the headtube and fork, but nothing on the loop was gnarly enough to test this.

Proprietary Dual Rate Control Valve (DRCV) shock made things plush

Coming off the hardtail Superfly I also immediately noticed how plush the suspension travel was. It was almost like night and day and rightfully so going from the racey Superfly to the AM Roscoe. The proprietary Dual Rate Control Valve (DRCV) was smooth and felt good on all the extra credit stuff I threw at it. I also got some time on the HiFi 29er later on and the 4 inches of travel on the HiFi doesn’t have nearly the plushness of the Roscoe’s DRCV shock. Not even close.

The Roscoe does not like for the rider to stand up and hammer out climbs. Every time I tried to stand and climb I immediately felt like the Roscoe telling me to sit back down. The bike is definitely more of a spin, spin, spin type climber which I think is fine and lends itself well to this style of mountain biking.

White bikes with white forks always look good to me. The beefy tires were a bit too aired up for excellent grip

The steering was not as slack as I remember other AM rigs I’ve ridden. The last time I rode an AM rig I distinctly remember that the steering was very slow which is great on the descents as it made things a bit more stable. The flipside to this is that it slowed things down too much for me on the switchbacks and tricky sections that require more finesse and less of a plow through mentality. The G2 steering on the Roscoe, however, seemed to give the best of both worlds as it still had some pep through the tight stuff but retained its stability for the downhill.

As you can probably tell I am a little high on the Roscoe. I think this is mainly because 1. the bike is really good and 2. the 10 mile Fullerton Loop is too short to shake out the bike entirely. More time on the bike is definitely needed to draw definitive conclusions.

Trek Demo Day, Part I

This past weekend, my friend Full Squish Randall & I went out and rode some bikes at the Trek Demo in Fullerton. First off, I got to give props to Matt Gfell of Jax Fullerton. Matt got us started on a couple of matching Gary Fisher Superflys. Full Squish Randall & I were like twin clydes on our Superfly demos!

Matt Gfell, General Manager extraordinaire at Jax Fullerton

This was Full Squish Randall’s first ride on a 29er and the Superfly did not disappoint. I heard many random 29” wheel comments from him including how he had better traction on the climbs than he did on his 26” bikes and of course the whole “momentum” thing. He also made a point to mention how the 29” wheels really do roll over trail stuff better than the 26” bike would.

I sat on “RL”

So we know the 29” wheels rock but how was the Superfly? Well, what I can tell you is that on our ride I really dug the Superfly.

The Superfly is the top of the line 29er hardtail produced by Gary Fisher. It is geared toward racing or just riding REALLY fast. The monocoque carbon frame comes equipped with a very good, but not all top of the line level build kit. Thankfully, the component specs does not take away from the bike. Rather the X0 shifters mated to the X9 front and X0 rear derailleurs made me reconsider just how much of a step down an all X9 drivetrain really is compared to the Superfly’s setup. But these are just little things. What about the frame, geometry and fork?

Superfly, I’m not crazy about the new graphics… I prefer the originals understated-ness

Well, the bike absolutely flies and I’m becoming more convinced of the G2 steering. The last time I was at the Trek Demo was about a year and a half ago when G2 had just come out. I was not fully convinced of the benefits of the G2 steering. I’m not sure as to why, but this year I am more of a convert.

Where the Superfly shines is fast swoopy singletrack. Oh me oh my! I was grinning like a mad man after railing through the beginning singletrack of the Fullerton Loop. This area is by no means technical but it is fast and it can be very fun if you’re on the right steed and the Superfly was the right steed. What makes it so much fun was really one thing: steering. The G2 geometry allowed me to rip through the singletrack section and steer with my hips rather than with my arms which then translated to riding much faster. I felt like I take more speed into the flowy turns, lower the bike and really rail the singletrack. It felt really nice.

Full Squish Randall getting some air… I took the picture too early, but I’m pretty sure Full Squish’s rear wheel comes off the ground shortly thereafter

The pedal power transfer is almost instantaneous as expected with the rebranded DT Swiss hubs. Climbing was much more fun, first because the bike is lighter than just about any other bike I’ve ridden save my SS and secondly because the bike transfers power so well. There is no loss of power in the frame or the hubs. Turn the cranks and the Superfly feels almost like it is squirting out from underneath you! This is definitely a plus for those climbing aficionados.

The last thing I really noticed on the Superfly is that I never felt as though I had to really push back off the saddle when going downhill. The Fullerton Loop has no particularly technical descents. There are some slightly more technical “extra credit” sections such as a couple of short offshoot sections that are steeper than the trail’s normal section. I hit as many of these extra credit sections and came away impressed that I really didn’t have to push back off the saddle as much as I normally would. I’m not sure why this I but I’m pretty sure it has to do with the geometry. It did make me feel more confident to take even more technical terrain with the Superfly knowing that the bike can probably do more than my skills allow.

All in all, a great fast, light bike. At an MSRP of over $4,000 it is too steep price wise for my wallet and I can do without the graphics but this little hardtail has got me thinking of Fisher’s G2 29er hardtails again… making me want to consider getting one down the line.

Check back in soon for my thoughts on the Roscoe III, the 2nd bike I got to ride at the Trek Demo.

Ride Report: Best Trail I’ve Ever Ridden?

The moon was still out. After the shuttle, we rode a short fireroad climb to the drop in for the singletrack

While most of the crew was doing some pre-riding of the Fontana race course, a few of us decided to head out to the San Gabriel mountains for some wicked good riding. Even though I don’t know the name of the trail I rode I’m still going to put this trail up there as maybe the best trail I’ve ever ridden.

As seen by the bike trailer, the shuttle van was PACKED.

The morning started ridiculously early at 4am. After a long drive, we finally arrived at our destination and proceeded to shuttle to the top of the mountain. The shuttle to the top was a quick half hour affair handled quite ably by our experienced driver. We probably pushed off at around 7am. After a short fireroad climb we dropped into a ton of singletrack that went on and on.

Tim “Scissors” and his Trek at the ruins. Although not the midway point, the ruins did break up the ride into a top “half” and bottom “half”

The singletrack was an absolute blast. The trails we rode were broken into two sections in my mind: a top half and a bottom half. The top half was a bit more sketchy, loose with more rocks than the bottom half. I was beginning to understand why everybody else on the shuttle had full suspension bikes with at least 5+ inches of travel. I was on my Redline 29er hardtail and was getting a little beat up, as expected. It also didn’t help that I ate it twice… the bike is ok as am I, thank you for asking. 🙂

Posing at the ruins. Wayland, Jeremy & Tim Scissors

Although the top half was a bit more hairy it is definitely something I want to get better and faster at. I got a flat at the beginning of the ride and as I was swapping out the tube, I got to see some of the downhill bike guys speed by. They were carrying a LOT more speed than I was down the trail which was very cool to watch and aspire to. Wayland, being the nut that he is, kept saying that he wanted to do this on his rigid SS. Love the guy, but he is definitely certifiable.

Tim, coming to a halt as we regrouped during the sweet singletrack. Lots of tree coverage here which is something I don’t see a lot of on some of the trails I ride in Orange County.

The bottom section which included Millard & El Prieto (among others), were also fun, but in a different way. The bottom half was less technical but much more flowing with lots of switchbacks and even a stream or two to cross. There were some stretches where we were doing some fireroad climbs exposed to the sun, but even these were balanced by the amazing views the climbs gave us… provided you weren’t too tired sucking wind to look at anything beyond your front tire.

Wayland waiting for us. Our original ride leader, Calvin, wasn’t able to make it to the ride due to some fires so Wayland led the way. He did a great job since we never back tracked once. Thanks W.

The trail did claim some victims, namely me: 2 flats, two falls (one OTB and another slow roll through some sharp rocks) and a pivot screw falling out from my front brake lever should have dampened my enthusiasm for this trail but it didn’t. This is definitely one of the best trails I have ever ridden. Now if only I knew it’s name… Paging Calvin.

Saturday May 31: Trek Demo 9am – 3pm

Trek Demo, Fullerton Loop tomorrow, Saturday May 31 from 9am to 3pm.

Even if you’re not interested in buying a bike, demoing bikes is super fun. My friend Tim & I went to the last demo day here in Fullerton and had a blast riding Treks and Gary Fishers. Tim wasn’t looking for a new bike at the time but was so blown away by the ABP of the Trek Fuel EX he ended up purchasing a Trek Fuel EX 9.0 after the demo ride. Great props to our friend Matt Gutowski for all the hard work he does in setting up the demo and dialing in the bikes for the ride.

But, if you decide that you are interested in in a Trek, Gary Fisher or Lemond, check this out… particularly the last line:

Jax Road and Mountain Bicycle Demo Day this Saturday

Join us at the Fullerton Loop from 9am – 3pm

Ride the newest 2008 bikes from Trek and Gary Fisher including the New Trek Remedy, New Trek Fuel EX, Trek 69er’s, Fisher HiFi’s, Fisher 29er’s and also the New Trek Madone road bike. Come and experience what all the buzz is about on these class leading products.

Where: Fullerton Loop
When: Saturday, May 31st from 9am to 3pm
What to Bring: A photo ID, cycling shoes, pedals, helmet and a bottle of water. We’ll have a few pedals in case you forget.

For more information visit or Ride the Best.

Print this page and bring into any JAX location to receive $100 off any bicycle prices $999 and above.

Don’t print our page! I don’t know how much good that will do you. I’ve linked the page for you. Here is the link for $100 off.

Can’t say I never helped a B.O.B. out. 😉 Happy riding.

Quick Survey… 29ers at your LBS?

I recently went out to four nearby Local Bike Shops (LBS) to check out the 29er scene. I was particularly interested in what manufacturers the LBS carried and if the LBS carried 29ers from those manufacturers.

Specialized FSR 29

My realization? 29ers have definitely come a long way in a short period of time. Every shop I went to had at least one 29er on their sales floor. This probably would not have been the case just a year ago. The popularity of 29ers has caught the attention of many big name manufacturers and because of this many of them have added their own 29er for their lineup.

The first shop I visited is a high end bike shop. They carry smaller bike brands like Salsa & Felt. At this shop 29ers were very commonplace and the sales people were very familiar with 29ers. They consistently recommended them for mountain biking to many of their customers. I came away pretty stoked because the 29ers were holding their own at the shop.

The next shop I visited was significantly larger. It had a ton of bikes from different manufacturers and 29ers were still well represented there. The 29ers they had were by Redline and Specialized. Only a short year ago this shop wasn’t even carrying any 29ers. Why? Because they didn’t carry Redline bikes and Specialized was still dragging its feet in coming out with their 29ers. Now Specialized got on board and added a hard tail plus a full suspension 29er to their lineup. The shop, likewise, did the same to their sales floor. Redline had a strong showing here multiple Mono 9’s, Monocogs & Monocog Flights.

The 3rd shop on my list was a Trek/Gary Fisher dealer. I knew this bike shop would be filled with 29ers but I was surprised when I walked in and only a few 29ers were on their sales floor. I inquired about this and was told that their supply couldn’t keep up with the demand for 29ers and the 29ers were flying off the floor as soon as they were built!

Moe & his KHS Solo-One

The last bike shop I visited is a little shop that I’ve been frequenting off and on for the last few months. For mountain bikes they carry Santa Cruz, KHS, Cannondale and Trek. Although half of those manufacturers carry 29ers the LBS had only one 29er on the floor, a lonesome KHS Solo-One (not kidding… a “solo” “one”). I was a little bummed that this shop didn’t have more 29ers especially from KHS who has wholeheartedly supported the 29er movement with rigid, hardtail and recently full suspension 29ers. When I inquired as to why they stocked only one 29er the owner mentioned that he had not ridden a 29er yet. Ahhh… I get it now. In my opinion you really can’t realize the benefits of the 29er unless you’ve had some seat time. His reasoning for carrying the Solo-One is that if any of his customers were interested in trying a 29er the cost would not be prohibitive to get onto one. Valid point.

So, are 29ers coming around? In my neck of the woods I would have to answer with a resounding “yes?. All of the LBS’s I visited carried at least one 29er and many of them had 29ers from different manufacturers. For some of these LBS’s the 29ers were a strong part of their bottom line. Music to my ears!

What about for you? Have you started to see more 29ers out on the trails and in your LBS?