Strengths: This review is of the 2009 base model Hi Fi.
G2 Geometry! As with my 2007 Caliber, Gary & Keith outdid themselves by refining an already good thing. The handling qualities of this bike are superb! It makes you a better rider. Going from the 80mm travel of the Caliber to the 120mm of the Hi Fi has been a revelation.
Weaknesses: The stock Bontrager grips suck. Much too thin and hard. I replaced them with Serfas gel grips and my hands are happy.
I can see upgrading the rear derailleur eventually. The Deore works well, but is nowhere near the smoothness of the SLX or XT model.
There were some frame breakage issues with earlier model Hi Fi's. I'll find out if the completely redesigned 09 frame takes care of that "problem".
I think that I got a really good deal finding this bike on sale for a grand. If you want a bike that can carve the singletrack, climb decently and then roar downhill in complete control, buy this one.
Similar Products Used: 2007 Caliber
1990 Hoo Koo e Koo
1988 Ross Mt. Hood
Bike Setup: Stock except for the grips.
a Cross Country Rider
from Walnut Creek, CA
Date Reviewed: July 19, 2010
Strengths: I love the G2 Geometry and I got the Pro package so the components were nice. The trails have been beat up so far this year so I've been climbing with the shocks wide open and rarely feel like I'm losing too much with the RP 23. This bike has been tight the whole time I've had it, never has been in the shop after 2 years and have never had any issues despite some tough rides. I've ridden through water, mud and have thrown it down some rocky, tough trails. This bike make me a better, more confident rider and the full suspension eats up anything I through at it. I've gone from picking the smoothest lines on downhill rock patches to just staying loose and letting the bike impress me on the nastiest stuff.
Weaknesses: I've been pretty happy with this bike, but did replace the factory BR tires which just seemed a little too slippy for me.
Bike Setup: The pro package and I put Ergo grips on for longer rides and had to get an after market seat post after an ill advised attempt at a hydraulic post.
a Weekend Warrior
from Knoxville, TN, USA
Date Reviewed: May 2, 2010
Strengths: Nice handling, good climbing for a full suspension. Steering is very good. BR Jones tires are excellent and stick well on roots. Weight is reasonable for Al frame - if weight is important go with the carbon fiber version or get a hardtail.
Weaknesses: The Avid BB5s are horrible. A must replace. Swingarm broke behind the back weld after 2 years of normal MTB riding. When broke the aluminum showed granularization indicating that the metal was probably not properly heat treated to begin with. The wheel mounts on the fork are aluminum, and after the skewer is removed to take off the wheel after about a year the metal appears to wear, making it hard to true the disk brake. Very frustrating. Someone needs to put a hardened metal mount on the forks to provide a stable seat for the skewer. I have had the same problem with all forks so don't blame this on Gary Fisher.
This has been a fun bike. However, after the swingarm break I am a bit concerned about the integrity of the frame. The BB-5s were a big disappointment, as the 2007 Avids had been pretty good.
Weaknesses: None given the price bracket. Could be lighter with twinking.
Amazing amazing bike. I took it out yesterday on the Don River trail system, some tight wet single track with hidden steeps in thick foliage. Also some sand, and dry rutted single track.
This bike blew me away. First, the handling for tight blind corners with mixed gravel, mud and slick was nothing for this bike. Second, the downhill handling is stunning, it just goes where you point it. Third, the lockout on the front and rear works great for climbing or street. Fourth, the brakes are dependable, no matter how steep the slope.
I opened it up on the fire road and hit some nasty 2 foot rutts, it danced through them like butter. Then i ascended some very tight wet mixed roots and rock and it climbed effortlessly.
This is my first duel suspension bike. So I realize that my reactions are partly to the technology. But I test road alot of other duellies in this category and this one had the best fit, components and handling in the category. The G2 system rocks! I couldnt be happier. I am serious, I almost had a mystical experience on this bike!
Similar Products Used: Rocky Mountain Trailhead 2008, Haro Escape
Bike Setup: Out of Box
a Weekend Warrior
from St-Antonin, Quebec
Date Reviewed: May 16, 2009
Strengths: Climbs great, descends great, looks great, pedals nicely. Seems tough enough although I've only been riding it for about a month.
Weaknesses: It is somewhat heavy, but that is to be expected since it is the cheapest hifi model.
I absolutely love this bike. The suspension lets you ride longer without breaking your back. My HiFi climbs better than my lighter hardtail bike because you can sit and lay the power down without taking a beating from every bump and rock in the trail. With the propedal on she accelerates like a hardtail and with the propedal off she gobbles up bumps with no pedal-bob. Descending is super fun because the smooth front and rear suspension doesn't buck you around and you can pick up speed really quickly.
Many people have ragged on the stock tires, but I personally have not had any trouble with them climbing or descending, even through water and mud.
My only qualm with this ride (and perhaps this is unavoidable) is that the chain skips when the cranks get wet or muddy. After a few rotations this problem goes away.
I am really happy with my Hifi. I recommend it to anyone who doesn't want to break the bank yet who expects a high quality, sweet riding machine.
a Cross Country Rider
from Wyckoff, NJ USA
Date Reviewed: December 10, 2008
Strengths: I use to think it was a great bike. I like the ride, compnents were a good deal for the price...
My local bike shop is the only strength in this bike! The guys rock!
Weaknesses: ..... then I broke the rear drop out. He new one was redesigned. THe wheels are junk! I had a new set of wheels made and that's when my local shop found that I cracked the front triangle @ a weld and the rear triangle has a huge crack in right behind the right side crank.
a Cross Country Rider
Date Reviewed: July 5, 2008
Weaknesses: 'glass' frame
IT happened again (see July 5, 07)- the triangle (frame) cracked on my HiFi again. Twice in one year. Trek/Gary replaces it but I have to wait at least a month, sometimes 2. (And it's no fun walking out of the woods with a cracked frame) B4 the hifi, I had a Sugar and it cracked twice too- they replaced it the 2nd time with the hifi, otherwise, I would have switched to someone who makes a beefier frame.
a Weekend Warrior
from Austin, TX
Date Reviewed: March 15, 2008
Strengths: Fisher and their warranty. I cracked the frame and had a new one and bike rebuilt in less than two weeks. While my bike was out of commission I rented the new Trek Fuel ($3500) and as much as I enjoyed it I will keep my HIFI. I really love riding my bike. I feel like I can tackle anything with it.
Weaknesses: I will probably upgrade the rear derail. Otherwise happy with components. Never gave the stock tires a chance. Had them swapped out for something more knobby.
Great bike. My buddy bought one a few weeks after me and he feels the same way. There are alot of other good, "cool" bikes out there that you could really decide over a coin flip but remember the Gary Fisher name.
Weaknesses: Rear shock and frame design, paint chips easily
Well, I promised an update to my original post. I was in love with this bike until a recent incident. The shock bottomed out and caused the frame fold in bringing the rear tire into the seat post. I was not taxing the shock at all either (scary). Check out the forum in regard to this issue. Trek knows this is a problem for XL frames, but has yet to recall the bikes. If you have an XL frame, take the bike in and get the shock linkage replaced immediately. Otherwise you re an accident waiting to happen. This seems to only be a problem with the XL 2007 models. Trek fixed the issue on the 2008 models. Trek is standing by their product too. They are sending me an 2008 frame with an upgraded shock and the bike shop is replacing all the other damaged components. In a few weeks, I should be on a new bike. Value is still there and if you proactively have the linkage fixed, you will have a memorable experience with this bike.
a Weekend Warrior
from Charlotte, NC
Date Reviewed: October 7, 2007
Strengths: 1) Incredible handling. I can now ride through most corners without touching my brakes. This makes a huge difference to my ride. 2) Very comfortable -- feels like it was made for me. Can't beleive the improvement over my hardtail (trek 6500), though that was a great bike, too. I can run fast over all kinds of terrain without feeling the bumps hitting my spine. 3) Love the disk brakes (Avid), I feel much more confident, knowing I can stop when I want to. 4) Love the color -- matte red. Much better than the ususal shiny finish.
Weaknesses: a) Took a while to get it all dialed in. My first 2-3 rides were terrible, as I didn't have it adjusted right. But my LBS (Ultimate Bicycle) was great, and got it all sorted out. I've been flting since then.
A great value -- buy one! Good for All-mountain/trail riders. Not sure if it's right for downhill/free-ride (though there's a fair amount of travel in the shocks/fork)
Similar Products Used: Cannondale Prophet, which belongs to a friend. Test-rode a few others, including GT I-Drive 4.0, etc/
Bike Setup: Upgraded derailleurs to XT/XTR, shifters to XT. Tires to Bontrager AC - X. Otherwise all stock.
a Weekend Warrior
from Kingston, Ont
Date Reviewed: August 20, 2007
Strengths: Light, nimble, climbs without any bobbing, very stable at high speed and just as good in the slow stuff. High quality frame and for the price it comes with a pretty good spec. Nice quality frame
Weaknesses: Avid mechanicals, I can get them adjusted perfect then give them a nasty look and they just go to crap. Flexy rear end, lateral flex that is. Low BB means pedals hitting rocks.
This bike is a pleasure to ride, the response of this bike is more than I would have ever expected, high speed, low speed it just turns on a dime, well not literally but you know what I mean. Balance is just really good. The rather simple linkage actuated single pivot surprisingly offers no bob on the climbs, even out of the saddle cranking hard I notice no bob. The parts spec for a bike in this price range is impressive, I looked at all kinds of bikes in this range and the HiFi was better than the rest, except for the Avid mechs. The brakes suck, plain and simple, although they do the job upgrading to some Juicy's next year is on the list. The flexy rear end was a unpleasant surprise I discovered the other day, I had been noticing what felt like a rear tire going down, you know that sliding feeling, well the tire was fine. I got home, removed the rear wheel and was able to easily bend the chainstays in and out with little effort. Being a very lightweight bike for what it is I figure this is something I have to expect. My old SC Bullit was never like that,but it was also 40lbs of beef. Another small negative feature is the low BB, it means hitting your pedals on rocks, but you get used to it quickly. Overall a great buy for someone into XC to agressive trail riding/AM riding.