Previewed: The Gary Fisher Roscoe

Among mountain bike companies, where “innovate or die” is the rule of the jungle statements like, “This is the best mountain bike we’ve ever made,” are a dime a dozen. But when that quote comes from Gary Fisher, one of mountain biking’s originals, it makes your ears perk up.

This is the Gary Fisher bike we’ve been waiting for. The brand has covered the XC race bike category well, and have covered the 29er category to death, but it has lacked a good, all-around trail bike.

Without further ado: meet the 5.5-inch-travel Gary Fisher Roscoe.

The first thing that demands attention is the Roscoe’s unusual rear shock: the Fox RP23 DRCV (Dual Rate Control Valve). The shock is the product of a collaborative effort between Gary Fisher/Trek’s suspension guru Jose Gonzales and Fox Racing Shox. The goal was to combine the beginning stroke of an efficient, small-volume-air-can shock, with the bottomless feel of a big-air-can shock.

Essentially, the shock is a conventional RP23 with an extra air chamber built onto the end. The standard air chamber is used for the first 40 percent of the shock’s travel, but then a spring-loaded valve is activated, opening the second chamber, which effectively makes the unit into a high-volume air shock. Simple, effective and well executed. After two days of trail testing in Durango, Colorado, the DRCV lived up to the hype, transitioning smoothly between its small- and big-air-volume alter egos, pedaling with all the efficiency that RP23 rear shocks are known for with no discernable “hammock” in the middle of its spring curve.