Last summer Gary Fisher announced its newest all-mountain bike—the Roscoe—to great fan fare and fireworks. But beyond the din of all the ooohs and aahhhs, there was another ’09 introduction from Fisher lurking in the shadows—the significantly redesigned HiFi platform.
No, it doesn’t have the custom DRCV (which is code for way-cool modified Fox RP23). And no, it doesn’t have ABP, either. But it also lacks a few pounds compared to the burlier, brawnier Roscoe, and an inch less travel, which puts this lightweight, 120-millimeter bike in cross-country race contention for some rockier courses. The more likely HiFi customer, however, is one looking for a solid all-day, long-distance trail bike.
The HiFi sports a 69.7 head tube angle and a 73 degree seat tube angle for sporty handling on climbs, and 120 millimeters of Fox-fed travel distinguish this from being a pure cross-country bike.
With radically hydroformed top- and downtubes, and a redesigned chainstay setup, Fisher engineers have taken aim at shoring up the stiffness of the new HiFi—one of the few bugaboos with the old design, first released in 2007 and tested HERE. Similar to the remarkably stiff Roscoe chassis, the HiFi platform features bell-shaped tube extrusions that are designed to optimize lateral stiffness.
The flashy red HiFi Pro retails for $3,630, while the two top-end carbon models will set you back $4,400 and $7,150, respectively. But you can get a basic HiFi for $1,870. All the aluminum HiFis come with carbon seat stays, and new for ’09, the HiFi Carbon models come with all-carbon rear ends. Previous models used alloy chainstays. There also are two "Genesister" (women’s specific) HiFi models available.
It would have been nice to see a QR15 on this bike to further shore things up, but as is, the Fox fork with standard 9-millimeter QR dropouts is an improvement over the last HiFi we tested, which came with a noodley Manitou Minute. The new HiFi series also gets the RP24 fork designation, which is basically a custom-tuned standard Fox variable lockout features, but with four more “blowoff” settings to choose from, making it a more useable lockout feature—if you’re into that sort of thing.
When Fisher first released the HiFi in 2007, Fox wasn’t making custom “G2” forks for the company. The bike benefits from Fox’s cooperation, but keep in mind the fork selection does somewhat limit fork interchangeability, as the G2 forks have a custom 46-millimeter offset to improve slow-speed handling while keeping Fisher’s Genesis Geometry’s trademark long top tubes. For the straight(ish) dope on G2, click HERE.
Without pedals, the HiFi Pro tips the scales at 26.1 pounds—not bad for a 120-millimeter XC/trail bike that looks to have been significantly stiffened up over Fisher’s last iteration. Given the HiFi’s shock mount design, it almost appears that a DRCV shock from a Roscoe could squeeze in there. We’ll look into that, and will have a full review of the HiFi Pro in a future issue of Bike.