a Weekend Warrior
from south mountain, pa usa
Date Reviewed: November 25, 2007
Strengths: Climbs like a goat on crack! Rolls over everything. Plush ride with plenty of travel both front and rear. Very comfortable cockpit. Fairly lightweight all things considered. Contrary to reviews stating 29er's are slow turning, I think this thing not only turns as quick as my 26er, but is far more stable. Carbon Fiber seat stays!!! Excellent torsional rigidity!!! Hard to find bike, but if you find one snatch it up!
Weaknesses: The stock rims come with loose spokes. The wheels needed to be true'd up after the first ride...and I'm not aggressive or large (160lbs). Since I had them true'd they are great.
If you find one and are in the market for a full suspension 29er, this is a great deal. There are others out there, but are A LOT more expensive. Save yourself the $$$. The GF caliber didn't seem to ride as smooth as the 293...no wonder why there've been so many on eBay!!!
Similar Products Used: Gary Fisher Caliber/Supercaliber, Kona Kula 29er, Kona Unit 2-9er, Spider 29, Niner
Bike Setup: Stock
a Cross Country Rider
from Carrollton, TX
Date Reviewed: February 27, 2005
Strengths: Plush ride. Big wheels allow me to ride over stuff. I think the long wheelbase allows the bike to hook up better, It's hard to lose traction on this rig. Bike runs up and down hill very well. I ride the MTB on the road some, and this ride feels faster on the road too.
Weaknesses: A bit heavy at almost 30 lbs. Needs disc brakes, it's easy to over ride the rim brakes. The back noodle rubs on the tire when the rear shock is active. (it's getting discs now) The lock out tab on the shock is plastic and breaks easy, but Marzocchi was cool about sending a replacement metal one in 2 days! No tubeless, no slime, had to go with Stans, which so far has been great.
I really like the 29'er experiance. I'm not a racer, but I ride pretty fast, and this bike lets me really open it up. It's nice to be able to ride out of the line, to get around other riders, and the big wheels make it easy. I ride road too, and I think this bike allows me to ride my "road" style off road.
Similar Products Used: Tried Liquid, Fuel, Cake, but I really believe 29's are better for my style of riding.
Bike Setup: Specialized BG saddle, XT discs, Kenda Klaws, Stans no tubes, supergo stem. Might change the cassette to a 11-27, don't need the bigger gears here on the flatlands.
a Weekend Warrior
Date Reviewed: November 25, 2003
Strengths: Wonderfull frame geometry,simple suspension design,rolls over everything,great fork, the stupid look the guy at the LBS gives you beacause he doesn't know what you're talking about when you say you ride a 29.
Weaknesses: Lack of parts/accesories at any LBS, flat saddle, Bontrager components look cheap,lack of custom gearing(more on that below), a little heavy (30 lbs), large frame holds only 1 short bottle.
This is a great bike. Let me start by saying I'm a beginner to biking after 18 years & man things have changed. I'm 6'1" & 150 lbs so I wanted a supple FS bike. Some bikes dont really ride nice unless you're over 180lbs. After going to half a dozen bike shops & getting really mixed up one guy showed me a 29er hardtail. It rode so nice I knew that I now had a standard to compare all of the other bikes against. After many more rides on different bikes I finally settled on a 293. Some things I have found after riding it the rest of the summer - Very fast in almost all conditions even when ridden by this novice, not a bad climber although I wish it had a shorter chainstay (the hardtail does), the fork is awesome (except for those cheap plastic knobs-(the rebound knob was missing from new),the adjustable rear travel is unnessessary(its gone for 2004-leave it in the long travel position-the seat tube angle decreases by at least 2 degrees and you become less efficient at peddaling-ask any roadie!). Some things I have tried- tried swapping the IRC Mythos 2.1 tires (great tire but it snakebites too easily) for a Specialized Nimbus hybrid tire (700x38mm) for the road-almost no reduction in rolling resistance but the bikes not fun anymore(I have to slow down over sharp bumps/curbs & the ride is rough). I may try the new Continental Vapor 29 x 2.1 in the spring. The gearing needs work. You have to remember that for any given speed the 29" tire is rolling about 10% slower than a 26" tire, therfore the gearing should be about 10% shorter. The 11-34 rear cassette (11,12,14,16,18,21,24,28,34)is useless in the 2 smallest gears so you end up using 14,16 & 18 almost all of the time. In my search for a better gear I tried an Ultegra 12-27 rear cassette(12,13,14,15,17,19,21,24,27). Now I have a close ratio 13 to 19 & I have really only lost the useless 34 gear. I may try a hard to find Shimano LX or XT 11-32 & swap out the 11 gear & add a 13 in between the 12 & 14 for a nice road gear & a 32 climbing gear. (this may or may not be do-able). Overall I love this bke & will soon be putting it on an expensive diet to take off 2 lbs. (crank, carbon bars,etc). I give it 4 chillis for value(too many cheap components, no discs) & 5 overall because I think Gary is a god.
Similar Products Used: Trek Fuel 90(blah handling,pogo rear suspension),Giant NRS(tinny frame,suspension only really goes 1 way), Fisher Sugar 2(nice),Specialized Epic(handles awesome,if I wanted a hardtail why would I pay for a FS),Marin Mount Vision(awesome suspension & frame design,bike top tube is 2" too short & I feel like i'm gonna endo on every jump)
Bike Setup: Stock except for saddle(put on my wifes cheap Richey), Ultegra 12-27 rear cassette, homemade light(WOW).
a Weekend Warrior
from Mesa AZ
Date Reviewed: September 10, 2003
Strengths: All the normal things you hear about the 29's: faster rolling, faster overall on trails, faster in sand (I can blaze through sandy riverbottom wothout slowing down much at all) Genesis geometry
Weaknesses: The wheels/fork feel flexy, no disc brakes, feels "fragile"
The bike really is awesome. Its fast, it has a great feel to it overall. A drawback I noticed is that it feels somewhat fragile to me (I'm 230lbs) because the front fork/wheel feel flexy. I don't know if its my weight or what.
My bike came straight from Fisher with a Marathon SL instead of the MX Pro. The dealer I got it from said that Fisher had a scratched 293 for a discounted price and when it arrived it had a scratch or two and a Marathon SL (comes stock on the 292)- nice because its Marzocchi's top of the line XC fork and has good action but it does feel like its going to snap if I do anything too aggressive on it. I don't know if anyone had this problem on the 292.
BUT, I agree that the turning is way slow with the bike set up out of the box. I put an 80mm stem on mine and it changed the handling 150%. This bike rocks now. That front wheel is just too big to have a 105mm stem attatched to it. The shorter stem gives it the quicker steering it needs and now it rides awesome.
I disagree with whoever says this bike won't climb well - it climbs great. And the weight, this feels light to me. I think mine weighs in at 27 and is as light as most other full suspension bikes out there any lighter than many of them. My only complaint is the flexy wheels/fork. The funny thing is that this actually helps me climb - the flex helps it stick to the rocks in technical clims. The rear suspension is the best I've ever felt on a bike.
Similar Products Used: Supercaliber 29, Fuel 90, DB V-Link
Bike Setup: All stock xcept an 80mm stem instead of the stock 105mm.
from Ft. Thomas, KY USA
Date Reviewed: September 4, 2003
Strengths: Adjustability, Speed, 29" tires
Weaknesses: Pedals... The Shimanos literally lock your foot in and will not let it go, replaced them with Time pedals. The weight 30 lbs.
Buy this bike... Yeah its heavy, but just trade out some parts and bang you've got a solid bike. Up hills are easy in the right gear, and downhills scream. Those 29ers take anything that I have thrown at them including a telephone pole layed on its side. Thats a big log, my crank got stuck but it was worth the try anyway.
Bike Setup: Stock except Time pedals, FSA Team Carbon Crank, Avid Disc front, Custom rear wheel to lighten the load
a Cross Country Rider
from Reno, NV
Date Reviewed: August 20, 2003
Strengths: Very fast smooth ride, I can go further with less effort.
Weaknesses: Weighs 29 lbs
I used to go biking with my two dogs, but since getting this bike I have had to leave the slower dog home becuase she couldn't keep up. I ride a lot of single track with big climbs around Lake Tahoe and in the desert through rocks, sand and twisty switchbacks. The bike rolls much better and faster with less effort through all conditions, especially sand, than my previous full suspension. At 6'-2" 185 lbs the bike fits me perfectly. I highly recommend the 29" wheels to any riders 6' or taller, smaller riders may want to stick with the smaller wheels to save on weight.
Similar Products Used: Dimondback V-link full suspension for 5 years
Bike Setup: Upgraded seat, peddles
a Cross Country Rider
Date Reviewed: August 19, 2003
Strengths: Handling, fit, some good parts, smooth ride, great traction. Its real purdy too. Big wheels roll over everything and feel unstoppable. Very fast and stable downhill.
Weaknesses: Could be lighter, a bit more travel on the forks, no disk brakes. Need to keep momentum up when climbing hills or it starts feeling heavy.
After my trusty Proflex disintegrated on me I started looking for a new ride. I tried out a lot of bikes including including a large 293 which I liked but felt a bit small. The Enduro was plush but too pricy, I liked the suspension on the NRS a lot and I might have bit if there was one in my size, the Jamis had great parts (sweet fork) but didn't fit or handle as well as the Fisher. Anyways, I saw this bike on ebay, put in a low bid, and got a good deal. Not as many people want an XL frame with 29" wheels I guess. I've only had it a short while but here are my impressions so far.
Fit: I measure 6' 2" and weigh in at 215lbs. I finally have a bike that fits me. On my other bikes I have to jack the seat post way up for leg extension and end up having to mess with stems/spacers so the bars are the right height. Even then I ended up riding hunchback style sometimes. Not so with the Fisher. With the saddle at the right height the bars are just below the seat and just the right distance. Its a different, not so painful, world on this thing.
Frame: Looks cool, well built with beefy gussets. Great geometry. Very upgradable, Good warranty. Did I mention it looks cool ... its got sparkly paint.
Parts: The bike is spec'd fairly well, though the seat sucked (don't they all), and I was hoping for disk brakes for the midwest mud. Great fork and shock. There are a few places to save some weight I've read, but for now I'm just happy to have shocks that don't bounce like pogo sticks and a frame that fits.
I was unsure whether I would like the big wheels but after a few outings they're growing on me. True, they aren't as nimble on really tight trails but they seem make up for it everywhere else. Once your up to speed on the big wheels they just go over and through everything fast. The bike really seems to excel on longer rides. Its hard to quantify it - I just like how it feels like your cruising faster without working as hard. It would be interesting to try a 26" inch Sugar back to back on some trails and see if its all in my head.
Overall I highly recommend the 293. I only gave it four for value because a lot of bikes come with disks at this price. If I was racing I think the hot ticket would be the a really light hardtail 29er. Or a light 29x if you could afford to build it.
Strengths: stability, stability, cush and the confidence to ride anything doubtful on a 26in.
Weaknesses: Heavy as lead. Bottle cage mount for small bottle only. Marzok ETA Pro knobs didnt last one ride before disenegrating and falling off in peices.
After riding this around the parking lot at the LBS i almost put it back on the shelf but I read so many praises about this bike I just had to try it out. I was'nt dissapointed. This bike is absolutely the funnest bike I've ever owned. As all the others have said it's very stable, comfortable as well as a superior climber, and handles rock gardens, and baby head fields like a dream. The marzok rebound knob fell off after one ride and the lockout knob stripped, cracked and fell off in peices after two rides. When i called marzok they blamed me for not checking the fork before the ride, what a bunch of crap. Thats why i dont deal w/ marzok. The rep said it was 28.6lbs and my scale read 29.1 and the LBS shop of a friend weighed in at 30lbs. I do alot of climbing w/ many rocks, switch backs, and ledges this bike handles it all except after about 1.5hrs of climbing this bike gets heavier and heavier on the climbs until its really miserable. Ive learned to use the bikes own momentum to slingshot up smaller climbs w/ ease but long smooth steep climbs and its just your legs and the bike. I'm certain i can get this bike down to 26lbs by switching over to all XT, carbon post/bar, lighter wheels and non disc hubs, lighter tires and stans no tubes. If i can get it down to 26lbs i will definately be racing this bike. I'd be interested in any other owners actual weights. All said im sold on 29 and its just a matter of time before the community becomes believers.
Similar Products Used: Trek Fuel, Trek HT OCLV, Giants
Bike Setup: stock
a Cross Country Rider
from Boise, Idaho
Date Reviewed: July 1, 2003
Strengths: The ride, the ride, and the ride I'm sure it's not the stongest climber, and I'm sure there are freeride bikes that cruise better down. But, with both the up and down combined, it's a great ride. Most of the trails here are open and sandy or open and rocky, and the bike has been superior. I'll go riding on two consecutive days on the same trail with this bike and my hardtail, and I love the differences the 293 gives me. I'll take it up in the treeline later this Summer, and report back
Weaknesses: I've have been disappointed with the brakes. I can't decide if Fisher was trying to save weight or money by using the rim brakes. "Money" I'm sure. The value of this bike with be so much better with disc brakes. I now go faster down, and have less breaking power. The frame, fork, and hubs are all disc ready. It doesn't make sense to me.
If you're a little taller, and a lot of your ridding is not super tight and technical, this is just a WOW! ride. If you like those bomber decents (and who doesn't), I would upgrade the brakes.
Favorite Trail: That one I've heard so much about, but haven't ridden yet
Duration Product Used: Less than 1 month
Purchased At: 1700
Similar Products Used: I've ridden a couple Full suspension bikes, but this is the first one I have owned. I also own an Airborne Lucky Strike. A great bike for the clydesdale I am.
Bike Setup: I left it in the factory setup so far except for a Koobi seat, and a shorter handlebar and barends.
a Cross Country Rider
from Dolores, CO
Date Reviewed: April 23, 2003
Strengths: Speed, stability, confidence
Weaknesses: no cartridge headset, Bontrager cranks flex and don't shift as well as others. (Shimano, Raceface, etc)
Everybody needs to ride this bike! I've slowly been hopping on the 29"-er bandwagon and this bike is awesome. The 29" wheel takes some getting used to, but if you calm down and listen to what it tells you to do, it will be faster, smoother, with more traction and confidence than any other bike you've been on. This means; shift early and spin (80+ rpm), lean the bike like a roadie and use those side-knobs (I've been happy on 5-10 lbs less air pressure with no pinch flats), technical trails require more learning time but even at 5'5" I can get those big hoops around any switchback I rode on those tiny wheels. This is a cross-country bike with the speed of an ultra-lightweight racer, the durability of a trailbike, and the versatility of a cyclo-cross bike. It's not a lightwieght, but is the same weight as other Fisher Sugar+'s. It doesn't matter because the weight is more than compensated for by the characteristics of the big wheels and the Sugar suspension. This is not a freeride bike but riders undecided on a cross-country racer or a long-travel trailbike should buy this ride. After 18 years of telling serious riders to spend the extra money on a hand-made frame and custom kit, I'm now telling them this unique pair of bikes from Fisher (292,293) offers them advantages they cannot get anywhere else. The shop where I work sold their 293 on the first serious testride within 18 hours of us revceiving the bike, it's that good.
Purchased At: employee purchase, Kokopelli Bike and Board, Cortez, CO
Similar Products Used: 18 year bike mechanic, so I've seen and ridden just about everything.
Bike Setup: 16" frame, added Chris King headset and Titec handlebar, otherwise stock set-up until '04 XT group is available
a Cross Country Rider
from Chicago, IL - USA
Date Reviewed: April 2, 2003
Strengths: Supple / not soggy suspension feel, Rolling - rolling - rolling on those 29s
Weaknesses: Geometry is a bit funky - long / wide front-end (fixable), high center of gravity
Rode this at GF demo-day in the fall. They couldn't get me off it. I am a big guy 6'2" and 250 lbs so the larger wheels seemed like a natural to me. Once I got over the center of gravity issue I was so much faster on this than my Joshua. The impedance introduced by small trail obstacles is greatly reduced and the rolling resistance is very light. I wish I had a sandy spot to test the float (but it was nice on log bridges). I am moving up this year and it is between the Kokopelli and this.
Similar Products Used: Gary Fisher Joshua, Klein Palomino, Trek Fuel 100, C-dale Jekyl
Bike Setup: Pre-preduction model with l/t Marzochi
from Brownsburg, IN, USA
Date Reviewed: November 11, 2002
Strengths: Very fast on downhill trails, high-speed stability, tracks over tree roots and rocks better than 26-inch wheels.
Weaknesses: Not a great climber, turns a little sluggishly on tight trails.
Of all the bikes available to demo at the Nov. 2002 Southern Indiana Mountain Bike Festival at Valley Branch, I would have to say I was most looking forward to riding the Gary Fisher Sugar 293. I’d ridden Sugars before, but couldn’t wait to see how the 29-inch wheels handled on the trail.
The ride is typical Sugar, firm and stable, but with one fairly major difference. The 293 does not handle tight trails quite as well as the regular 26-inch shod Sugars.
The 29-inch wheels do perform as advertised as far as stability riding over obstacles. You do feel a little more confidence over roots and rocks with the larger wheels, but the trade off is a little bit of a sluggish feeling through tight singletrack. Also this bike felt a bit heavy on climbs and the wheels only add to the heft.
One place the 29-inchers really shine are on smooth doubletrack, especially downhill. I passed a slew of riders on Valley Branch’s famous doubletrack downhill trail where speeds reach over 40 mph. This bike was so unbelievably stable on this hyper-speed section. There really was a noticeable difference with this bike that particular section.
In the final analysis I look at 29-inch tires on mountain bikes as a passing fad. Sort of like the period in tennis racquets where the manufacturers kept making them longer. Yeah, you got a bigger serve out of those racquets, but they lacked control on the groundstrokes and they eventually went back to normal sized. With the 29-inch wheels there are some advantages, but they don’t overweigh the overall drawbacks.
The Marzocchi MX-Pro 29 w/ETA that came on the bike has given up the ghost. What's a good replacement that I can get fairly inexpensively (as I'm saving pennies for a new bike)?
I tossed the Vbrakes for Juicy 7s a few years ago so it only needs mounts for that disk setup.
I've never replaced a ... Read More »
what should a sugar 293 frame be worth?
I have about 400 miles on it, the usual scratches, chainsuck once or twice(figured that one out....loose rings on crank)....but nothing unusual.
pivots solid, carbon rear looks good, etc,etc.
I am thinking of going back to a 29er hardtail....and just ... Read More »