Gary Fisher Level Betty FH2 Bike 1998 or Older

4.23/5 (26 Reviews)


Product Description

Gary Fisher Level Betty FH2


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Reviews 1 - 15 (26 Reviews Total) | Next 15

User Reviews

Overall Rating:4
Value Rating:3
Submitted by Mike Greene a Weekend Warrior from Philadelphia

Date Reviewed: March 25, 2011

Strengths:    Down hill trail/ steering.

Weaknesses:    Hard/slow ride. Heavy on inclining

Bottom Line:   
Worth it, but don't expect to be blasting past anyone!

Expand full review >>

Favorite Trail:   All

Duration Product Used:   More than 3 years

Price Paid:    $1000.00

Purchased At:   bikeline


Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by AdamJ a Cross Country Rider from Yorkshire, UK

Date Reviewed: July 14, 2009

Bottom Line:   
Great bike, as with the last review I have owned since new in 1999. Although the bike is a little dated in its suspension setup, it has been a great bike and is still a great bike to ride, I have fit some pedals, pads and new tyres to the bike and have rode roughly 5-10k on it, good value. Well built, done plenty of jumps and lots of stick!

Expand full review >>

Duration Product Used:   More than 3 years

Price Paid:    $3000.00


Overall Rating:4
Value Rating:4
Submitted by Marc a Cross Country Rider from Henderson, Nevada, U.S.A.

Date Reviewed: February 29, 2008

Strengths:    Solid Frame if used as inteded. Good geometry.

Weaknesses:    Heavy, brakes, forks (horrible), old (now)

Bottom Line:   
I've had this bike for almost 10 years (new in 1999) and put probably put some 10K miles on it on and off road, placed as high as second in some road only races with it(probalby should have used a road bike).

The bike is old now and showing it's age with weight and the suspesion geometry.

I recently upgraded most of the components listed above, for about $800.00. So total cost of owning the bike for 10 years is about $2500. I'll probably ride the bike for another 5 years in some form, though not as much as previously. So bottom line is 15 years for $2500, thats a little of $150 per year.

I just cant justify spending $2500-$3500 on a new bike just to shave 10 pound off.

If you see this bike in good condition (frame) for a good price, probably $500-$700 buy it replace the forks, brakes(try to get a disc for the rear), handlebars, ride the thing as its meant to be and it'll last your for years.

Expand full review >>

Favorite Trail:   Boulder

Duration Product Used:   More than 3 years

Price Paid:    $1700.00

Purchased At:   Cooplands Sports

Similar Products Used:   None

Bike Setup:   Upgrades-
Thompson stem, Cane creek headset, Easton handlebars, Hayes 9 HFX 8" front 6" rear brakes, Marzzochi forks

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Mark a Weekend Warrior from East Coast

Date Reviewed: August 6, 2006

Strengths:    Geometry, weight - OK could be a little lighter, but still not to bad, good all arounder for xc and lite DH.

Weaknesses:    Judy fork is a little soft, had to upgrade almost all components through the years

Bottom Line:   
Overall I really like this bike, still ride it and will continue to ride it. Nowadays it's a bike I like to use just to toss around cause I know it can take it (it's 7 years old and I admit a little beat up). Fun for XC, singletrack, and not to serious DH. I have no problems climbing i.e. no pedal bobbing issues. It's held up great through the years and even though it ain't "worth" much now I still plan on changing that fork when I get around to it. Like it almost as much as my Superlight on the trails.

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Duration Product Used:   More than 3 years

Similar Products Used:   Specialized FSR, GF Tass, Santa Cruz Superlight

Bike Setup:   XT front and rear derailleur, Race Face stem, Ritchey bars, LX shifters, shimano clipless pedals, Panaracer XC Fire Pro tires, Mavic enduro wheels, Race Face cranks.

Overall Rating:4
Value Rating:4
Submitted by Mark M a Weekend Warrior from COSPGS COUSA

Date Reviewed: June 9, 2006

Strengths:    As already mentioned, best headset cap in industry. Fun to ride. Orange frame demands attention. Comfortable riding position. Long wheelbase makes endos less likely.

Weaknesses:    Stock brakes and drivetrain suck. Bent chainring teeth on every ride so it became a routine to straighten them after riding. Also bottle holder locations are not ideal and the top one makes for a lovely place to bash your knee. Forget the bottle holders and use a hydration pack!

Bottom Line:   
I bought this bike brand new almost ten years ago and still ride it today. This is not my only ride so I use my other bikes for racing but the Level Betty is still a fun ride. I liken it to a cruiser version of a mtn bike. Obviously there are bikes better suited to DH and FR these days but it is still fun to take out every now and then. I've had a lot of fun on this bike and put a couple thousand miles on it. It'll remain in my collection of bikes, unless the frame eventually breaks. All in all I think it was a good bike for its time, except for the crappy components but those were easily upgraded.

Expand full review >>

Duration Product Used:   More than 3 years

Price Paid:    $1400.00

Purchased At:   Criterium

Similar Products Used:   Raleigh M8000

Bike Setup:   Upgraded brakes,drivetrain, handlebars using a mix of Shimano XT and SRAM components. Red Titec Hell Bent handlebars complement the frame color.

Overall Rating:4
Value Rating:3
Submitted by Dark Daemon a Downhiller from Eastern Europe, Home O' Vampires

Date Reviewed: December 15, 2001

Strengths:    the coolest headset-cap in the entire industry (O.K., maybe except InYourFace products...), you can use the skewers as spoons if you need too, one of the best saddles around comes stock (the Berserkr) and has a Kevlar covered rear too, way light (14 kilos) but that is actually not that good, one of the stiffest Alu (!) square-taper cranksets available, one of the best risers there is, cool tires (although they suck in very sticky mud), two very cool stickers (somebody mentioned 'em before), the XLC has steel stanchions which means it is stiffer and (yes!) heavier than the already crappy XL, the best wheels I have ever owned until now, sticky grips that twist a lot (good for moto-freaks), Sachs chain

Weaknesses:    fire engine-like color (don't remind me!), brakes don't work properly unless you take your time to set 'em up, poorly sealed cables, scratched '98 rear LX unit looks crappy, same does the crankset, heavy chainrings (they are O.K. otherwise), the worst brake-levers DiaCompe (I suppose upgrading too PC7 EXA's wouldn't have been SUCH an effort, Gary...), no human being benefits from the useless gear displays, SPD's suck (but you already know that...), front derailleur (because it's there...)

Bottom Line:   
You already know how I bought the bike, so there isn't much to complain at that price... I really feel sorry for those who bought the bike for it's real retail price from the shop... Oh, you shouldn't have! It was (is...) my first (and maybe last) full-susser, so I am pretty subjective on supension feelings, for that matter... I think I got lucky because the rear setup suited me pretty good (I mean the rebound). I didn't need too much of a rebound adjuster... Who said URT's don't work properly? You cannot compare it to FSR-type systems, but it works good enough (if you're not a person with too high standards) and it has some amount of travel. It is also plush enough. The bike is way too light for a so-called ummm... "freerider"? That is some kind of a warranty that you WILL break it. The fork is a real pain in the bottom (they MADE me use this word!)! Mine was WAY too soft, and it bottomed out frequently. Well, nobody wanted to give me stiffer springs for free... The oil cartridge started to leak at some point, but even so, it didn't work too well before either (rebound- adjustment = 0). Broke that headset also, proving that steel doesn't always stand for toughness. The simple, cheap, unbranded stem and seatpost didn't cause too many problems. One of the components that I like most on the bike is the handlebar. It is steelen and you cannot break it. It's light enough also and it has shims, so that I use it now with an undestructable BMX stem on my Chameleon. The Sugino crankset proves that Shimano sucks if you consider Alu square-taper cranks (although this concept of conection is the worst in the entire world). Race Face? Why bother? Too much money... All the trials riders I know use these cranks (or White Ind. made by, who d'ya think?, Sugino...). I mentioned the hoops before. They are Bontrager Mavericks laced to STX-RC/ Gary Fisher Ginzu Team hubs. Actually, I pretty much hate narrow rims, connected to Shimano units, crappy XC stuff, that is... But these ones... Man! I rode mine in several DH and Duals competions, including a nasty one in Croatia. I also rode them pretty hard in the city riding streets. You know, nowadays everybody's pranking to ride "hard" n'stuff, but when you're jumping 11 stair sets, gaps, nosemanual 1.5m high ledges and riding trails, I think you can claim that you ride hard enough and your wheels have to be willing to take SOME abuse... My wheels stayed true all the time, and that is pretty impressive! I have to say, it has to be all about spokes! Plain DT Champion two point o's are maybe the least you should have on your bike. And there is something else too: expensive light rims... In case you haven't noticed yet, today, light is pretty much the same with weak. There is a weight limit not to be crossed when you design rims. The Mavericks are on the good side, the strong that is... I bet that the eyeletted, fancy, overhyped Mustangs and Valiants are much more weaker than the heavier Mavericks. That off-center thing is pretty cool too! There is one more thing: the frame... It broke. It could have stayed healthy, but it kinda was my fault (I jumped straight into a manhole, which was hided in the grass; I didn't know it was there-DUH!) The frame broke and bent near the headtube (where the hack else?). I couldn't benefit from the warranty because of the way I broke it and because I bought it second hand (at least I sued the water company, to whom belonged the uncovered manhole)... So, I welded it once, and it broke again (hmmm... after some races...), so I welded it one more time, but better (some aircraft specialists did the job) and painted it kawa-green. Crappy thing that it is 6061 T6 Alu and you have to heat treat it after it gets welded... I think it will last know but I don't want to ride it again because I am kind of a magnet for bad luck and I lost my appetite fot fullies for now... Even though, this bike is pretty nice... I don't want to overhype it like other guys did, though... It is NOT a DH bike, maybe a bike for riders looking for some comfort... For that money I would have bought something else. How Gary could have made this bike work better (and last longer):
-use the reinforced '99 frame in '98
-sealed bearing frame bushing
-lose the stupid, useless water-bottle mounts
-paint it (or anodize it...) black
-rear CoupeDeLuxe
-put firmer springs in the fork (on the M size)
-2 Alu rings
-rear STX-RC (cos' it's the same with LX, but costs less, and if you scratch it you don't notice)
-Shim. 8S shifters WITHOUT gear display
-standard (non-topswing) front derailleur
-better brake-levers (Dia CompePC7 EXA or Avid Speed Dial)
-better brakes (LX M600-best Shim. vee or Avid)
-better (non-breaking) headset
-platform pedals
-LX (UN52) BB
-Bonty stem and seatpost
-Sachs 11-32 cogs
-better sealed cables (maybe from Point)
-LX rear hub (upgrade is worth the money and ummm... black!) and black front hub
-black spokes (black everything, screw it!)

Expand full review >>

Favorite Trail:   my own (i's kinda named after me...)

Duration Product Used:   3 months

Price Paid:    $400.00

Purchased At:   some guy in some village, who had no damn idea

Similar Products Used:   Lobo STS '98, Lobo '99, several tuned FSR's, Stab, Cycle Craft A1, blah-blah

Bike Setup:   medium size, very stock(Judy XLC, DeLuxe, LX/STX-RC, Sugino, Dia Compe brakes & headset, Titec saddle, Bonty rims & handlebar, Tyrannoraptor tires) alternative Michelin Service Course tires

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Jay Peterson a Downhiller from Nashua, New Hampshire, USA

Date Reviewed: August 19, 2001

Strengths:    Was stong, and could go off almost anything. Great bike

Weaknesses:    Not stong at one time (snaped the head tube strait off). I dislike the breaks.

Bottom Line:   
I was in love. True story: Gary Fisher was at the local bike shop after a ride at the local trails, and he went back to the shop for a signing. I walked up the the God Father of biking (my dad next to me). They shook hands, then i shook Gary's hand. I handed him a pic of my beloved Betty (RIP), and my dad say's: "my son couldnt go on the ride today becuase he snaped his level betty". and Gary say's: "Oh". It was kind of a disapointment to hear my idol say oh to one of his broken products, but hey.. i met Gary Fisher! Bottom line: Buy the bike if your a freeride/xc rider, she will not let you down. I dont recomend doing big drops though. I did repeated 4-5 footers and after about 10 the frame just gave out.

Expand full review >>

Duration Product Used:   2 Years

Price Paid:    $910.00

Purchased At:   Naults Cyclery

Similar Products Used:   Now i have a Joshua F3

Bike Setup:   Stock: Judy fork, bontrager riser bars, ect., ect.

Overall Rating:4
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Kultist a Cross Country Rider from Albuquerque, NM

Date Reviewed: July 13, 2001

Strengths:    #1 strength for me was the price... a Level Betty for $500- can't complain about that too much. The frame can take about anything you throw at it. And all the Gary Fisher logos rock- you'll find Betty Boop, "All work and no play is no fun at all", and "Man's best friend" all on the bike.

Weaknesses:    Dia-Compe brakes suck, and the Sugino crankset is easier to dent than a Yugo. I wish the Judy's were a little firmer as well. You can alway replace the springs, but that's another $35.

Bottom Line:   
I really like my Betty. It's solid enough to feel comfortable tearing down hills, but light enough to bust out those monster climbs. I got to admit I was drawn to her almost exclusively by the price, but I've come to love her. My only real complaint is the crappy brakes, crankset, and the soft Judys. It'd be nice to have a lockout on the rear suspension, but it'd be nice to have all XTR components and Spinergy rims and to create worlds into existence, too. I'll take what I can get. Bottom line, if you can get this bike in decent condition for less than $800, I'd jump on it.

Expand full review >>

Favorite Trail:   South Foothills

Duration Product Used:   1 Year

Price Paid:    $500.00

Purchased At:   Used

Similar Products Used:   Cannondale V series, K2 Razorback, various Joshuas, and a GT or two.

Bike Setup:   Basically stock, but I replaced the brakes and crankset with Shimano.

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Nick Tonge a Weekend Warrior from Sydney Australia

Date Reviewed: November 16, 2000

Strengths:    Excellent bike, it handles really well you can throw it around and it responds really nicely. Excellent for jumps and general mucking around can do a bit of trials action or hoon down hill.
Has a life time warranty on the frame 5yrs on shocks


Weaknesses:    The components: Sugio impel cranks are crap Dia compe brakes crap
Shifters you guessed it crap need to change all these things


Bottom Line:   
Good bike, I have heaps of fun on it,pretty high performance and reliable after a few mods to the componentry.

Good for general Malarky

Expand full review >>

Duration Product Used:   2 Years

Price Paid:    $3000.00

Purchased At:   $ 3000 australian

Similar Products Used:   Fh1, trekY5, K2 beast, Trek Y glide

Bike Setup:   Heavily modified: Frame is still the same but I purchased a Hayes full hydralic disk up front ( highly recomended), LX V brake on back with Brake booster. Veulta Chain ring on LX cranks,Azonic Shorty stem with chubby handlebars, XT rear shifter LX front, tires I use Huctchinson Squale and Tioga 2.3 factory downhill on the back this is an excellent combo. Sun rim on back the bontranger asymetric split down the middle (pretty weak). Drilled out the cable routing so you have a solid cable housing good for the mud and low maintenance.and countless other things

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by AiRhEaD a Weekend Warrior from Luton, Bedfordshire, England

Date Reviewed: July 24, 2000

Strengths:    Set up properly and with a decent groupset, it is very veyr pleasing to ride hard and high. 10ft Gap Jumps - no problem, tabletops - no problem. Even a bit of trickery - no problem, I am biased though as I do love it.

Weaknesses:    Expensive to replace all the groupset.

Bottom Line:   
For a freeride bike and at the price I got it, nothing comes close. Pick on up at your local dealer today folks.

:-)

Hard Work And No Play Is No Fun At All

Expand full review >>

Favorite Trail:   The Ridgeway

Duration Product Used:   1 Year

Similar Products Used:   Joshua X0, GTS, FH1, Proflex (Old one).

Bike Setup:   XT throughout, Flatties (Shark Bites for now) and the essential DCD (Dave's Chain Device) Stops the chain wandering of it's own accord.

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:4
Submitted by Lyle a Downhiller from Sun Peaks

Date Reviewed: June 17, 2000

Strengths:    With good, fat tires, this bike can really rail.

Weaknesses:    Blown the fork 3 times and the rear shock once. (my friend tells me I just ride too hard, I don't think so)

Bottom Line:   
It was a great bike for being the first one I've owned. Good for starting out, but not a hardcore bike.

Expand full review >>

Duration Product Used:   2 Years

Similar Products Used:   Specialized Big Hit
Norco XCS2


Bike Setup:   Z1 Bomber/Judy XLC (Depending which is working)
"Just Coil" Deluxe/Stratos Expert Custom (usually Statos)

Overall Rating:3
Submitted by Me again a Downhiller from who the hell cares?

Date Reviewed: December 20, 1999

Strengths:    
looks cool, weight isnt that bad, ok coponents for the price, pivot is pretty low maintenence, disc brake mounts..... back one kinda sux though.


Weaknesses:    
not strong enough (cracked my frame), pivot comes loose all the time, URT isn't real suspension, some stock parts really sucked.


Bottom Line:   
Like my other review said it is a cool bike, but later on when you start riding more hardcore it starts to break allot. One thing I really liked is that when I did crack my frame Gary Fisher replaced it VERY quick. The bike is great for what it is meant for..... its a XC full suspension bike..... but don't buy it for a free ride bike cuz it will break.
I am not as happy with the bike as I used to be.
I'll give it 3 flaming piles-o-puke.

Expand full review >>

Favorite Trail:   
Street

Duration Product Used:   
2 Years

Similar Products Used:   
Brodie's
Cannondale's
Schwinn


Bike Setup:   
I had the stock set up for awhile, with a few changes (check Jeff's review) then I changed a hole lot of stuff cuz it kept breaking.

Overall Rating:5
Submitted by Cyclonaut a Cross-Country Rider from Philadelphia, PA

Date Reviewed: June 26, 1999

Strengths:    
This bike offered so much at its pricepoint that I had to give it a try. I had the shop change the shifters to Sachs twist shift, and am sort of dumbfounded by the spec choice of an STX front derailleur. The crankste is Sugino...not the best, but no giving me any hassles yet either. This rig is durable and effecient; I've wrecked it at 25mph+ on several occasions and only lost a few chips of paint. The URT gets a bad rap, but I have no problem charging uphill with the hardtail set. I think the URT responds well to standing over the choppier obstacles on a climb, as evidenced by the looks I get when I whoop someone's ass on a climb they should have owned. In short, this bike ROCKS!


Weaknesses:    
The seatpost is too long; when the seat is lowered to a desirable DH thrashing position the bottom of the post interferes with the aft rear shock mount. The solution was to saw about 2 off the post. The spec components are a bit lame, but will serve until such time as they break or wear out. The bike is average weight for a freeride, and iposes no real problems in the climb. I suppose all you weight concern freaks need to lose some weight off your bodies or shut up and ride harder...its not THAT heavy! This bike came without bar ends. i know, I know...its a faux pas to put bar ends on a riser bar, but i think I get relief for aching upper body muscles with the added hand positions, as well as protection from plants and better climbing power. I like 'em. The pedals were by ICON, and although they work they don't afford me the contact surface that a bike like this needs. Maybe a 646 or Onza H.O. with the big platform would be better.


Bottom Line:   
I went from a full rigid Rockhopper to this monster of modern technology and I've loved every white-knuckled second since! Extreme bang to buck ratio! The decal of Betty Boop makes it quirky, and the seat tube quietly proclaims Man's Best Friend. I guess man's best friend IS a Level Betty...if you catch the meaning...nudge, nudge, wink, wink, say-no-more, say-no-more...

Expand full review >>

Favorite Trail:   
Glen Park, Stroudsburg, PA

Duration Product Used:   
1 Year

Similar Products Used:   
Cannondale Super-V 2000
Marin B-17


Bike Setup:   
Rock Shox Judy XLC
Rock Shox Deluxe

Overall Rating:4
Submitted by Lou Vito a Weekend Warrior from PLAINFIELD,NJ

Date Reviewed: June 4, 1999

Bottom Line:   
DOES ANYBODY OUT THERE HAVE ANY MAGAZINE ARTICLES OR PERIODICAL REVIEWS ON THIS BIKE THAT THEY CAN EMAIL ME???

Expand full review >>

Duration Product Used:   
6 months


Overall Rating:4
Submitted by Louis Vito a Cross-Country Rider from PLainfield,NJ

Date Reviewed: May 2, 1999

Strengths:    
Great Price (used $800)
Great ride


Weaknesses:    
Too Heavy
Pedal Bob
Components spec'd get tired quickly


Bottom Line:   
Great bike for training, non competition riding, GREAT LAVA LAMP LOGO...BRING IT BACK MR GARY FISHER, FOUNDER!!!!

Expand full review >>

Favorite Trail:   
Hartshorne State Park

Duration Product Used:   
6 months

Bike Setup:   
stiffen coil over as much as possible

Reviews 1 - 15 (26 Reviews Total) | Next 15

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