Gary Fisher 1999 Level Betty SE Full Suspension Bike

4.09/5 (34 Reviews)
MSRP : $2399.99


Product Description

1999 Gary Fisher Level Betty SE, mountain bike, front & rear suspension, Mountain Mix components, Rock Shox Sid XL, 4.0" travel fork


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Reviews 1 - 15 (34 Reviews Total) | Next 15

User Reviews

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:4
Submitted by slackard a All Mountain Rider

Date Reviewed: May 16, 2014

Strengths:    Acid Green MetalFlake paint job is unstoppable. Rode agressive XC trails for 10+ years then converted this frame to a 72v 40AMP E-Bike in 2012. Top speeds on the flat reach 53mph and this frame holds rock solid. Would trust this thing with my life and do regularly. URT suspension gives a superior fitness work out due to pedaling inefficiencies unmatched by modern designs.

Weaknesses:    Stock build was good spec for the day.. nothing original remains on mine, but the frame is solid. biggest weakness is 22mm disc mount (overcome with a 3d printed adapter I've designed http://shpws.me/opR9). Some will argue URT suspension is crap. It is less efficient than many modern designs but its simplicty and longevity outweigh in my eyes..
The head tube only accepts non-tapered 1-1/8", so most modern top tier forks are out of the question, though many options still remain.


Bottom Line:   
If you're racing, this probably isn't your bike for all the reasons URT was abandoned years ago. If you're just riding, like me, this bike can be a lot of fun. The geometry is as good as anything modern and matched with a good fork and modern shock the rideablility in varied conditions. The construction is best described as stout -- full aluminum, with beefy welds in all the right spots, gussets and fancy castings to cut weight while maintaining strength. The head tube isn't the modern tapered style, rather standard 1 1/8", but it is extra beefy having been milled from a billet casting. The rear triangle is one piece, strong and wide enough to accept 26x2.3" knobby tires.

A few years back I designed a 3d printable disc brake adapter for this bike (http://shpws.me/opR9) which brings braking performance into the modern age. With my 3d printed adapter the frame will happily accept modern ISO calipers and 180mm rotors if so desired.

Fitting a new (2013) RS Monarch damper with hydraulic lockout has completely eliminated any URT hill climb performance issues, and has cut nearly 12ounces off the stock `98 Fox Float R.

As a trail bike its light weight, strong and durable. with a good build group this bike is as much a pleasure to ride as any modern $5k option.

As a Ebike retro fit the URT suspension design sings beautifully. there is a little bit of shock dive on acceleration, but otherwise totally plush and juicy at average speeds above and beyond 45mph. When in use, the lockout eliminates shock dive entirely, but i only use the lockout when im at a busy intersection or when my batteries are low on charge and I'm pedaling more to compensate.

If you can find one, grab it.. the paint alone is worth it!

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Favorite Trail:   Any

Duration Product Used:   14 years

Similar Products Used:   Lots.

Bike Setup:   2003 Psilo SL fork, 2013 monarch II shock, XT/rhynolite wheels, sora crankset, xt rear der, lx front der, 9spd xt shifter/brake combo levers, crystalite 72v 40A speed controller, Crystalite 5103 motorhub. Old Man Mountain front and rear racks.

Overall Rating:3
Value Rating:4
Submitted by derrik a Weekend Warrior from syracuse, utah, U.S.

Date Reviewed: June 25, 2008

Strengths:    good first bike, i like its weight, pretty light.

Weaknesses:    kinda tall. the brakes have broken a couple times and are weird the way they go down the frame, makes it look like they will break a lot... i dont really know though they broke at the end so i guess it was just over braking or something.(dont over brake)

Bottom Line:   
good, fun, cool. easy to ride when i want and fun to ride also.

Expand full review >>

Favorite Trail:   to work and back

Duration Product Used:   1 Year

Price Paid:    $500.00

Purchased At:   uncles old bike

Similar Products Used:   friends road bike was a little slower on the takeoff(i think his was a specialized of some kind)

Bike Setup:   custom front disc brakes.

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Joe Swenson a Cross Country Rider from Minneapolis, MN, USA

Date Reviewed: August 17, 2007

Strengths:    Acid Green Metal Flake paint job, turns heads everywhere I go. Super beefy gussets & welds. Genesis geometry. Fox Float R shock

Weaknesses:    Some pedal bob due to URT design (im not complaining). A lockout for the shock would be handy

Bottom Line:   
Got this frame/shock combo for $75 at Penn on a closeout from Trek, cant beat that price since the shock alone was worth 3x that price at the time.. Who knows what Trek was thinking. I built it up with a pretty good group and I ride pretty hard. This bike eats up about anything I can throw at it. I wouldnt do any big drops since the URT likes to buck a lil on rebound , but the frame can definitely take its medicine. Anyone interested in this bike should buy it up, its a looker and people comment on it all the time. Now I just need a pinup girl graphic to go with the name, Level Betty.

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Favorite Trail:   Lebanon Hills XC Trail, Eagan

Duration Product Used:   More than 3 years

Price Paid:    $75.00

Purchased At:   Penn Cycle

Similar Products Used:   Giant AC1 & NRS, Fisher Cake1dlx

Bike Setup:   02 Psylo SL fork w/ CC S2 headset, 04 Fox Float R shock, LX/Mavic 251 wheelset w/ Michelin CompSlite tires, 06 LX Crankset/BB, XT ders, XT combo levers, Sram 7.0 Vbrakes

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Joe a Cross Country Rider from Minneapolis

Date Reviewed: July 2, 2007

Strengths:    INSANE FRAMESET PRICE (Came with 05 Fox Float R shock--$249 msrp)!! Beefy gussets, beefy welds, beefy head tube. Genesis geometry for the win. Sweet Acid Green color. Great mid-level XC ride.

Weaknesses:    Some pedal bob as a result of URT design (could be eliminated with a lockout or SPV/Inertia valved shock). No IS disc tabs, only Hayes 22mm.

Bottom Line:   
Got this as a closeout frameset through Trek in 04. Cant beat the killer price on this frame/shock. Sweet Color. This bike turns heads EVERYWHERE I go. I'm 6'2" 225lbs riding mostly XC on a X-Small frame (yes I use a long seatpost/stem). No problems, great ride, lots of squish, lots of fun. Wouldn't trade it for anything.

Expand full review >>

Favorite Trail:   Lebanon XC Trail, Eagan, MN

Duration Product Used:   2 Years

Price Paid:    $75.00

Purchased At:   Penn Cycle

Similar Products Used:   Giant AC1, Fisher Cake, Trek Fuel, etc.

Bike Setup:   Custom build. 02 psylo sl fork. 06 LX Cranks/bb. Mavic 595/LX wheelset. XT der/shifters/levers/cassette. Sram 7.0 v-brakes. Fox Float R rear shock. bontrager/icon seatpost/stem/bar. 27 lbs.

Overall Rating:3
Value Rating:3
Submitted by Codyody a Racer from Henderson, NV, USA

Date Reviewed: August 18, 2006

Strengths:    Lightweight frame, Smooth while sitting down

Weaknesses:    Frame isnt strong

Bottom Line:   
Its good for XC and its decent for X-Tended DH and freeriding. Ive changed the setup 3 times so far and its in the shop now getting new forks and all that stuff but it would be best to just go get a new frame. good entry level XC or casual freeride. As a jump bike out at Bootleg Canyon and up at Brian Head, it hasn't failed me.... yet

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Favorite Trail:   Bootleg Canyon & Brian Head

Duration Product Used:   More than 3 years

Similar Products Used:   Kona, GT, Specialized similar XC bikes

Bike Setup:   Gary Fisher Level Betty SE frame, j2 forks, sid shock, big box double wall wheels, maxxis tires, all the rest is azonic components and parts

Overall Rating:3
Value Rating:2
Submitted by Jo Mamma a Downhiller from CO

Date Reviewed: December 10, 2001

Weaknesses:    Not really a downhill bike. I broke the frame on the bottom side close to the headset.

Bottom Line:   
I've had a Betty for about a year and had lots of fun with it, but it broke. I sent it back to Fisher and they couldn't replace it, but then they said they found one in the basement. It took them a month before they sent one back, with a new paint job. I asked for the Kawasaki green, but got some really strange green-brown color. It turn out to be a Joshua in deguise, I was pissed. I really like having the Betty, but it just doesn't compare to a real DH bike. I have a new Santa Cruz Super 8, and it just blows it away, that's for sure. I would recommend this bike for a beginner that doesn't really hit up the big trails.

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Duration Product Used:   1 Year

Price Paid:    $900.00

Purchased At:   A crappy store


Overall Rating:2
Value Rating:4
Submitted by Rodrigo Gonzalez a Downhiller from Mexico City

Date Reviewed: June 11, 2001

Strengths:    Weight, XC Geometry, price.

Weaknesses:    Rear suspension sucks for Downhilling (see Matt´s explanation), it only works well when you are seated.

Bottom Line:   
This frame works well for FR and XC, don´t use this frame for DH because if you are doing real DH you can notice that rear suspension simply doesn´t works when you stand up. I have ordered a Stratos Helix Expert for my Fisher because my RS Super Deluxe exploded while doing a 10 feet drop-off, I think this happened thanks to the simple rear linkage and the poor quality of the rear shock. As soon as i receive my new shock, I am going to sell this frame and get a a SC Bullit.

Expand full review >>

Duration Product Used:   6 months

Price Paid:    $300.00

Purchased At:   Bicycle & Fitness Store (Miami)

Similar Products Used:   Turbo Excess 00, K2 Proflex 1000

Bike Setup:   RS Psylo SL, Mavic D521, Shimano LX 00 Drivetrain, Intense Blurr Rear, Hutchinson Jumbo Front, Cane Creek C2, Azonic PDW 1.5".

Overall Rating:3
Value Rating:3
Submitted by Matt a Weekend Warrior from Lincoln

Date Reviewed: April 23, 2001

Bottom Line:   
I don't weight 200 pounds, but I'm no weasel.
This bike cannot be used as a DH machine. It has a Unified rear triangle design which means when you take your weight off of the seat by standing up the Rear suspension stops being active. Who rides DH sat down?
As for 7.5 inches? Must be a looong shock and a steep Head angle!
As an entry level XC bike its not bad.
As a DH machine its as much use as a Durex machine in the Vatican
Judging by your previous reviews it looks like you have only ever ridden Fishers so how can you compare it against anything else?
By putting a larger rear shock on the bike you will alter the geometry completely and make it ride like a happy shopper. I tried it on mine, even with machined shorter shock mounts its still pants.
The problem with this review system is that only people who love the product can be bothered to review it, those who think its OK, or even rubbish generally don't take the time.
Its a shame that Keith and Ching (See below) seem to have ruined the rating anyway. I have given it a 3 so as not to affect the average, but I don't think its worth more than 1.
I'm not having a go at you, but when I read some reviews saying that its a great DH machine I have to say something. I'd be gutted if I bought the bike on the strength of some of these reviews and then tried to use it as a FR/DH machine. I would be well dissapointed with its performance.
Use this bike for XC and paper fetching.
Never OVER estimate a fisher, and at least try something else as well.
Take it easy Kid, its not personal.

Expand full review >>

Duration Product Used:   1 Year

Price Paid:    $2000.00


Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Craig a Downhiller from kelowna

Date Reviewed: April 22, 2001

Strengths:    EVERYTHING

Weaknesses:    bushings are expensive

Bottom Line:   
well, i would just like to say, for all of you saying it is rubbish, GET LOST!!! you probably weigh 200 lbs, and that is why it is breaking... i weigh 126 and the bike is pefect i know of anohter small guy who 7.5 inch travel out of a joshua... these are sweet bikes, tale the time, set them up, !!! they are good bikes, i am just backing up the rating!

Expand full review >>

Duration Product Used:   1 Year

Price Paid:    $400.00

Similar Products Used:   joshua

Bike Setup:   written belown on another review..

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:4
Submitted by Tom from Notts, UK

Date Reviewed: April 14, 2001

Strengths:    Big beefy gussets, love the colour

Weaknesses:    geometry isnt suited to a huge phat shock

Bottom Line:   
Lovely bike. Feels perfect and so smooth over the rough stuff. I've been riding this thing for some time now and as well as a versatile cross country bike, its proven itself as a downhill weapon.

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Duration Product Used:   1 Year

Bike Setup:   RST Hi5's, mostly XT bits, Fox shock

Overall Rating:1
Value Rating:1
Submitted by Matt a Weekend Warrior from Lincoln

Date Reviewed: April 10, 2001

Strengths:    Its better than the Joshua. Thats it.

Weaknesses:    Its not much better than the Joshua.

Bottom Line:   
This bike is rubbish. It cannot be used as a DH machine. It has a URT suspension design for a start. I have Snapped 2 on the UK's little DH courses. You would be better off with a Quality Hard tail. The only good thing is Fisher's 5 year Frame Warranty. Just as well, I needed it.
Sorry to gripe, but the truth must be known. Its pants.
(Well, its not bad as a XC machine, but thats it)
Soz.
I'd like to give it 0 chili's, but I can't.

Expand full review >>

Favorite Trail:   Wharncliff

Duration Product Used:   1 Year

Price Paid:    $2000.00

Purchased At:   Warranty Replacement

Similar Products Used:   San Andreas, Trek Y5, Heckler, Bullit

Bike Setup:   RST Hi5's, Magura's, XT blah......

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Craig Stishenko a Downhiller from Kelowna, BC, Canada

Date Reviewed: April 6, 2001

Strengths:    Well here is my spring posting on this bike! This has gotta be on of the sweetest bikes for the money!! It is light and strong! I Now have a DH/Urban/Freeride bike that weighs 29 pounds!!!

Weaknesses:    the swingarm is a little weak, i think i bent it... i would like to see a phatty swing arm like a marin quake 9.0 (00's)

Bottom Line:   
This is a killer bike for anyone weighing 0-135 pounds. It is a mini Dh bike for a smaller person. I am only 15, and this bike is prefect for me. This bike turns into the nicest small DH/DS/Urban/Freeride bike! It can take huge hits and the genesis suspension with a large rear shock eats it up! I have personnally taken many large drops that would have killed other bikes of the present. With my 5.2 inch drop off in the front and 6.5 inch superdeluxe and new brackets in the rear, i can huck some phat S#it. I found a guy on here that got 7.5 inch travel out of his joshua and i want to know how he did it. These bikes turn into the nice do everything bikes!!! I think once i grow out of this one i am gonna sell just the frame and get a new frame size!!! I am Hooked on Fisher!! it is just sad that they do not make a real good freeride bike anymore!! I think this bike with a much larger swingarm would kick some serious ass because the way it is i can out jump, out drop, and out DH almost anything within the same travel range. i know i could use a larger rear shock but that is to come!!! But for now i will have to say peace out, and never underestimate a FISHER!!!

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Favorite Trail:   Phatty Hucks, Killer Drops

Duration Product Used:   2 Years

Price Paid:    $400.00

Purchased At:   frenzz house

Similar Products Used:   I have tried many Joshua's, many setups, many level betty's many setups.

Bike Setup:   Ok here it is! I have the betty with not too much stock. I am running z.1 drop off's, super deluxe rear shock, FSA orbit headset, titus stem(need azonic), Bontager crow bars, oury grips, LX drive train, FSA cranks, raceface bb, spinergy wheels(perfect for my weight), bontrager post, serfas ARC kevalr seat, Irc elgato 2.25 rear tire, Ninja DH 2.65 front tire, shimano hubs, roox chain cat, and then smallest trails ring i could find...

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Craig a Downhiller from kelowna, b.c. canada

Date Reviewed: January 3, 2001

Strengths:    Man This bike takes what ever you give it with ease!! I am only 15 and this bike is perfect for me, like my freind said below, this is like a baby down hiller, love the frame,
BEEFY A LA COW!!! can we say MOOOOOOOO!!!


Weaknesses:    i wiped the rear bushings lately and they are hard to get... other than that its all good...

Bottom Line:   
Man this is the sweetest bike i swear!!!!! for the money you can't get a better bike!!!! even words can barely explain it!!!!!!!!! look 4 anohter review come spring time!!!!

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Favorite Trail:   Huge stairs and BIGGER drops

Duration Product Used:   1 Year

Price Paid:    $400.00

Purchased At:   frenzz house

Similar Products Used:   bin there done that tried em all

Bike Setup:   betty, with a few modifications, baby downhill strap ons, like upgraded judy xl fork, chain tensioners, bontager crow bars!!! (best $50 spent) serfas seat, irc tires, spinergy spox wheels, F@ck u name it its got it!!! oh don't forget the SUPER DELUXE REAR SHOCK rated at 6 inch!!!

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Jesse a Downhiller from Kelowna,B.C,Canada

Date Reviewed: January 3, 2001

Strengths:    beefed frame
lookes like a babydownhiller on steroids
good travel
only one in town


Weaknesses:    lame forks

Bottom Line:   
This is a wicked bike it looks soooo rad usally i dont like pedeling around big squishes but this one feels really nice, its very quick and agile!! defently takes what you dish out!!! cant say any more cuz i only rode for a little bit cuz its my friends(his review should be right elow this one)

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Favorite Trail:   Big Mother F*cking Drops

Duration Product Used:   Tested or demo'ed only

Similar Products Used:   Joshua F4 with Z.1 dropoffs and xt, stuff like that (all decked out for DS)

Bike Setup:   good

Overall Rating:4
Value Rating:4
Submitted by CJB a Weekend Warrior from Vernon

Date Reviewed: May 10, 2000

Strengths:    Bombproof. Beefed-up where it needs to be.

Weaknesses:    No particular weaknesses, just not as strong as some of the other bikes I have ridden.

Bottom Line:   
This bike is good at a lot of things, but great at little. The one area I find the bike to excell is Urban assualt riding, or anything involving large drops. The URT design is not as effective as other designs on anything but larger impacts, or if you like to ride everything sitting down (mostly impossible). It seems to be very strong and beefy, while not being overly heavy (although it has to be compared against similar bikes).
Overall, a solid bike, but I think there is better.

Expand full review >>

Duration Product Used:   3 months

Similar Products Used:   Rocky Mountain Element

Bike Setup:   Marzocchi Z.1 Dropoffs, Mixed bag of XTR, XT and Icon components.

Reviews 1 - 15 (34 Reviews Total) | Next 15

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