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· Recovering couch patato
13,971 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My "new" 2005 XL Fisher Paragon parts-bin-build!

Hey all,

I obtained this mighty nice frame through a trade with a good friend this summer. Main thing to hold up the build has been that I was dead-set on using the 185mm TA cranks I haven't ridden in half a decade or so. The cranks required a 127.5mm or longer BB, the frame required a 73mm wide BB core, tough combo. Eventually a very friendly forum member GAVE me one, an XT even, plus some more. There's still hope for this world with such nice people around...

It completed this bike on a ZERO budget (I'm broke). All parts bin stuff, trades, and a bit of cannibalizing/swapping from my other bikes. Even the cables I had already, partly used.

I was so proud to have mounted the tires correctly, but when outside I found I messed up anyway. The shiny frame makes the bike look great in the pics, better than in person with all the dirty and scratched parts :)

I just took the bike for a shake-down around the block, a bit over a mile perhaps. Just made it home before another bad rain shower.

OK, the build :

-XL Fisher Paragon 2005 frame
-Reba SL+Poploc, came from my Cube proto bike, see forum. Later BW .8 retrofitted with magic valve
-King headset red (from my '00 VooDoo Bokor, not ridden since I went 29" in 2002)
-Formula B4 Pro+ brakes. Spongy rear, can't bleed brakes. Need tru+clean rotors. Have alu Stan's rotors for it.
-Thomson Silver 27.2x410mm (inserted past top tube). May swap to Thudbuster 450mm or Syncros 425mm
-Selle Italia SLR XP seat 165g. Cannibalized from cross racer for now, it got something else.

-Specialites TA 185mm cranks (not ridden since 2000-2001)
-Shimano UN71 73x127.5m (gift from Dave Blum, thanks Dave, I owe you beer!)
-QBP Engagement ring 110mm 5-arm 34t (only just rubs chainstays)
-Specialites TA 110mm 5-arm 42t outer ring (stolen from my cross racer, which got a 36t for now)
-Shimano XT 2005 11-32 cassette, may switch to 11-34 OEM LX, +180g. (traded for Rollenlager)
-Shimano Deore chain (too long for this setup, but it does the job, have used PC59's in parts bin
-Shimano XT rear derailer (older non-rapid rise type), traded with a friend
-brand new XTR front derailer (can't use seat tube water bottle mount now), once bought for other bike.
-Crankbrothers Eggs. These will break, have 2 broken lefts. Need to rebuild those, have had the parts for years.

-Ritchey WCS 90x-17º 26.0 + Problem Solvers shims 26.0>25.4 (100x0 would look nicer , no spacers, have none)
-Salsa Moto Ace 11º bar, cut down to 625mm, foolish me. May swap to ZOOM trekking bar
-Dimension closed-end cork grip, left cut down for gripshift. Closed ends add ~an inch of bar width.
-Gripshift Plasma left shifter (from other VooDoo Bokor, also not ridden since 29" 2002)
-Shimano LX 2005 Rapidfire right shifter (from Cube bike)

Shimano XT 6-bolt hubs (pigs)
DT 2.0 straight gauge spokes, brass nipples, 2x32 (pigs)
Rigida Taurus 2000 Disc rims (ca 520g, quite nice actually)
XT front QR, Bolt-On steel rear QR for now. May try my red steel Salsa Flip-Offs.
Specialized Fast Trak Pro prototype tires, probably same as production.
Michelin Latex 26" tube rear
Geax 26" tube front
Later this bike will get a Planet-X Doggy/Stan's ZTR front wheel and silly light rear.

Total weight : ca 11.4kg / 25.1lb
After projected upgrades, weight will come down to ca 10.3-10.4kg

About the cranks
The 8-tooth difference between outer and inner ring makes it useless to shift unless on the smallest or tallest cog already. The front derailer can't can that small difference, and unless I set it really high on the seat tube (like for a 46t), when on the outer ring the FD will rub the 34t violently. I will find a 33t middle and a 44t outer someday, just stubbornly trying to do it on a zero budget.

Although I had semi-carefully set the seat to my ride height pre-ride, it seemed to low from the first pedal stroke. The 185mm cranks make me pull up my feet 10mm higher than with the 180's I'm used to, and some bikes even have 175mm's, 20mm difference. When extending one leg, I foudnt he seat at perfect height. Still there was the urge to raise the seat. After a couple minutes trying tricks, and a bit of rolling, the feeling fades. Lots of torque. I'll have to train my legs for longer cranks. And the longer cranks will help me cope with a low seat on the crosser, I hope.

Fit & Feel
The fit feels great. I did put the second spacer under the stem. On my SuperCal, identical to the mm but 20mm lower BB, I was fine without spacers, which adds up nicely.
This bike feels very similar obviously, just more scary riding no-handed at low speed. Tall.
For some reason my trackstand was better than I ever did. Turning the bike around clipped in on the spot, nice.
Riding down a (new to me) staircase I felt tossed around more than "normal". I never had a BB this tall before. Wheelies are different.
Otherwise the frame feels perfectly stiff and smooth. I'm gonna enjoy this bike!

My 29" stable is now :
Cube proto (rigid), being converted from one-time-SS to 1x9 for next season, 18lb target.
Fisher Paragon as hardtail for longer rides, marathons, rough XC, and backup XC racer
Surly Karate Monkey green. Will remain rigid, and go back to dedicated SS.
Fisher SuperCal 29 2002. Frame has bad karma for me. Rigid road duty for now.

I'm hoping to score another frame somewhere to build up, my parts bin is full of stuf no-one will buy, but is still usable for me.


· Registered
226 Posts
Klok, very very nice bike for a zero budget !
Now go out and train like mad! The bike doesn't do everything for you (altough you think so ; )
Nice red accents.
Tell me more about your friend BTW ; )

· Recovering couch patato
13,971 Posts
Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Ben, the position is now "racey" for me, but not overly so. 39.17" inseam, a bit of torso, and 6'9" between fingertips. As long as I ride hard, I can hold this position comfortably for 3-4 hours, I have very few rides of that duration under my belt.

I'm not sure this qualifies as a budget build. Most parts do represent significant value, and I got the Cube bike for free, of which I now have these parts after I converted it to a weightweenie machine.
And the trades of course did see me losing parts of some sort of value. But, I kept my wallet shut, and am up a bike. And a fine bike too, when I get it all dialed in.

· Full Tilt Boogie
1,644 Posts
I know, you've explained it before. It's not hard to figure out, it's just crazy to look at that picture. It'd be proportional to me riding a 15.5" Fisher with a 450ish post! Then again, I'm rather short at 6' compaired to you. Let us know how it rides, it just looks fast.

· Recovering couch patato
13,971 Posts
Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I found that when I do my wheelie thing (spotters, don't blink please), that for a split second seat and bars are almost level :)

Yeah, how will it ride...
Thousands of us are used to the 2005+ Fishers, and this is little different of course. Poploc extra is nice. I used the Reba on a much shorter bike, and it was fine. I used to ride and race a SuperCal frame (different tubing, same dimensions, inch lower BB), I like the long wheelbase on high-speed and scary stuff. I've ridden the Salsa bars a lot, and like them, at least best of all flat bars I've tried.
Grips aren't there for nothing. Haven't used the (noisy on pavement!) Fast Traks much, but know them. Wheels I've ridden, and the shiffters too.

Most "new" will probably be the new Fisher tubing, longer cranks and still taller COG. Just a very nice new package.

· Full Tilt Boogie
1,644 Posts
The biggest thing I think you'll notice is the frame. The 27.2 frames are so much "softer" than the older style. I have tons of hours on the older frames, the new ones are just better. The higher BB makes a huge difference. No more pedal strikes!

The bars are really nice. Similar to the Surly Torsion bar, but lighter. I just ordered a custom Seven ti in the 620mm and 15deg sweep. Light and comfy, best of both worlds.

· Squalor
1,571 Posts
Clox - Have you ever put your body dimensions into an online fit calculator? I know they are not super accurate, but it would be interesting to see their suggestions just for kicks. I think Colorado Cyclist or Wrench Science may have one on their site if you are interested.

I think I figured out why some of your builds look so interesting to me. The rear of you saddle is almost in line (vertically) with the rear hub due to your saddle height. I would really like to get your impressions of a bike with say...500mm chainstays.

I wonder what a very experienced custom builder would do for you? It would be interesting to see what they would build (and then your impressions of that build) based solely on your body dimensions and not on any of your previous bike fits.

Nice build in any event.


· Recovering couch patato
13,971 Posts
Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Yes, I'm beginning to see more and more how chainstays are the most overlooked dimension in getting bikes proportionate to the rider. If a 5'4" lady racer is fine with 440mm, my 6'4" with tall ass hits 525mm+. Imagine that, and the 36"er I've been drawing have 515mm or so chainstays even!
Even if we'd come up with a fair chainstay ratio of 0,5x inseam, for tall riders the chainstays always end up "too" short. But for some reason I don't have difficulty following small riders and racers on climbs. Often I'm the one cleaning that one difficult climb in a race course, perhaps due to being used to taking the most of my cramped bike?
I wonder where the need for proportion and the typical character of trails meet. In lame course marathon I can see having a good use for 2-feet chainstas, but for typical riding the current as-short-as-possible standard does seme to work out fine. That said, I bet that I could still follow most everyone on a 26" bike with me on a 29"er and 470mm chaisntays. Point the front and the rear will follow.

BB, I put a 1mm spacer under the driveside cup, which now causes the ever so slight rubbing of the 34t on the chainstay. When I find a 33t middle ring that should be solved, and I may even remove the spacer then to give the non-drive crank a bit more clernce, although it seems to work now.

· Recovering couch patato
13,971 Posts
Discussion Starter · #12 ·
I first got to let the Paragon loose on the trails yesterday. On the same super-winding almost-flat 7km track where 8 weeks ago the Dutch SS Nationals were ridden.

In a way it was like coming home. To the bike I mean. I've ridden and raced my XL SuperCal for years, and the 90mm stem I've got on the Paragon also comes from that bike.
As said, I now use 20mm in spacers under that spam, so after Fisher's BB raise on 2005 models the fit is identical.

At first the bike seemed a bit sluggish, but after 5km, swappig bikes with a buddy, I realized it must have been the 185mm cranks. You just pick taller gears, but don't shift back for hills even if you feel so lazy. Once you start paying attention, there's loads of torque, with little pedal pressure. Accelerating from low rpm is really easy. More ass-clearance with bunny hops, I could tell.
Swapping to the 175mm crank bike, there was indeed much much knee angle, and my shorter legged buddy also notice immediately. He also commented on the easy climning mere meters after we swapped, he's just more sensitive a rider than I am. It took him some adjusting to stop braking into corners. Perhaps due to the tall BB and slower handling.
Back on my own bike I started pushing, and found that unless thing got really tight, the long Paragon really is just fine. It's fun to have to throw more muscle into getting it where you want to, maybe like riding a big bar or truck. Effortless riding has it traits, but this is way fun as well, and I know the bike is capable of so much more than our flat twisty trails.
Getting the hang of the bike better, I was leaning way over in corners, and letting go of the brakes more. Compared to my slightly short and tad nervous Cube (which I did the NationalSS on, last MTB ride I did) the Paragon does seem to ask for slightly different timing. Steer into corners sooner. But it's even easier to found corners way hard, with zero correction in mid-corner. See the corner, and do it, like you're a superpro riding on the fine line of the humane possible. The Fisher is a very manly bike, and it seemed to think of the course as a sissy trail. And probably rightfully so.
Dropoffs were too easy, even landing on the front wheel.
My buddy again commented on how much he loves the Reba, when it was on my Cube he had gotten to know it before.

I rode with the XR front as the last time, but now a rear Fast Trak, which was invisble, so fine. Brought a second front disc wheel with a Fast Trak, but the rotor on that one was beyond trail truing, so the planned exchange didn't happen. Didn't feel for or even think of swapping front to rear. Next time.

My buddy's 26" bike rolled noticably faster, and I keep resenting that. 2.4" Racing Ralph front, worn 2.35" Fast Fred rear/ It was nervous as the track likes, and I had to correct mid-corner all the time, but the tires were superb. Imagine that in 29"...

· Registered
239 Posts
Hi and Low

Cloxxki-I would be interested to hear your opinions on the 2 bikes since you own both the old,low BB version,and the new,high BB version.I think otherwise they are pretty much the same,so it would be a pretty fair comparison.

Curious,that Fisher went from the lowest to the highest,skipping the middle.As you well know,I have the old low version and really like it.

I used a 27.2 seatpost in the old one with a shim,and it seemed to take the edge off.The original post was a heavy 31.6 and truly was rigid.


· Recovering couch patato
13,971 Posts
Discussion Starter · #14 ·
I bought a Thudbuster with the old Fisher in mind, but may never really use it on that bike. Shim stolen with my commuter bike, and more 27.2 bikes to the scene.

With the tall BB, your COG really has to cut the corner. In quickly following tight left/rights, it takes commitment to make the weightshift. In wider typical flat 90º corners, there's this slight feeling that you can accelerate in the corners, as the COG takes the inner line. Not sure if that's factual, but it has a distinct feeling under maximum cornering on high-grip soil.
Trail objects and the required line-changes on singletrack seem easier with the tall BB. You serve around and come back on you original line, with less COG shift. Could be the theory speaking, but the bike felt lively at that.
On the flip side, this bike does seem more sensitive to brake bumps and staircases. which makes sense, the seat moves more fore-aft over them. I found myself braking more cautiously into hard 180º banked corners. Then, the brake bumps were worse then the last time I rode there. It's been really wet, bad trailbuilding weather I guess.
My main issue riding on my technical limit on out local trails has always been and will always be trees. I'll hit them with my hips or shoulders. The BB in theory makes the trails tighter, and I did use all the body english I had to give. The multitool in my back pocket took a good hit, I stayed clear. I didn't do enough laps, and it had been some time there, so I wasn't on my personal super-edge like at the NationalSS. That bike was 13mm lower, same tire height, and shorter, all helping avoid trees.
My Supercal was always a frustrating handful on technical steep climbs, because of pedal strikes. Hopefully that will improve greatly now, 5mm longer cranks, but a good 20mm taller BB.

I think Fisher got so many complaints about the low BB, that they decided to just raise it 20mm, to get rid of any complains there. And the 29" wheels do offer so much fore-aft stability, especially with the Genesis geoemtry, that it's not an issue.

My homework for the next ride on such winding trails is to try and mean over even more, and sooner, as I'll have to lean inward up to half and inch more compared to some of my other bikes, with slower handling from the fork and head tube angle.

· Recovering couch patato
13,971 Posts
Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Oh, and I'll use a new post for this, to now let it be snowed under.

It's nice to feel all special with a custom built Fisher, but since I bought my SuperCal + Marzo for a fortune, a lot has changed. This bike I've got here is essentially the same, and in many way probably inferior to what Fisher is currently offering. These same frame qualities, geometry and suspension efficiency, can all be experienced for the sum of $900, buying the Fisher Cobia.
In principle I am not riding a super expensive bike! The Reba comes stock on the X-Caliber and up, the Tora on the Cobia shares the same internals and is probably even stiffer, just not so light.

This frame is really nicely made, a Yeti owner I know that I stumbled into even noted that. Everyone is stunned by the paint. Fisher's on the right way, offering affordable bikes around this very frame, in such nice colors. Giving us the Reba (don't thank Rockshox for it), and offering a no-brainer choice for everyone into trying 29" less than half-assed.

Amazing bike, and amazing that it's available from $900 and up. I spent $1200 on a used SuperCal frame, Marz fork and XT/WTB wheelset plus WTB wire tires back in 2002. That money now buys a complete, new, X-Caliber with Reba and superior frame, disc wheels, and superb disc brakes. And to think how impressed I already was with what the 2002 bike could do compared to 26".
The only thing to me improved on 26" bikes since those days has been availability of high-volume, lightweight tires. I can't emphasize enough how much my buddy's bike makes up in tire choice. It's a 2000 VooDoo Bokor, simple RST Delta fork, nice drivetrain, and it just rocks on those tires.
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