The famous Fisher Genesis geometry is still alive and well, and providing a superb ride from the first sit-down. A long top tube allows a shortish stem to be used, while maintaining cockpit length to a reasonably stretched position. This gives the steering a confident but light, flickable touch, while compact chainstays tuck the back wheel under for grippy climbing in the saddle.
A classy pillarbox red finish appealed to all of us, while the chunky external butting on the down and top tubes combined with the large gusset at the top of the down tube to strengthen and stiffen the frame in all the right places. Cable-routing is under the top tube, which is fine but could cause problems when shouldering the bike.
Spending the extra few quid on the RL version of the superb Fox F100 fork supplied a welcome lockout facility on top of the R’s rebound damping control. Speccing this level of fork on a £1,000 bike seems pretty generous, but the ride quality is worth it; plush throughout its 100mm travel, lightweight and great tracking on the trail — everything a great suspension fork should be.
28-spoke Bontrager Select disc wheels are a touch of class at this price point, with eyeletted rims and black butted spokes finishing off a nice look. Despite being reasonably light in weight, they remained straight as an arrow after some pretty hefty bashing around on the test trails over a matter of a month or so. Bonty Jones XR tyres were a little out their depth in the muddy conditions we threw at them, but seemed fine when the going dried out a bit. Not our first choice for winter conditions, but certainly a capable one for all-round use.
The tried and tested Shimano LX drives the beast, with crisp shifting that was maintained throughout the test period. This is combined with the excellent LX chainset and ubiquitous, ‘it’s what everyone looks at first’, XT rear mech, put there for both its durability and its eye-catching qualities.
The Avid Juicy 5s have little adjustment but provided superb power and feel nonetheless; we certainly had no complaints given the trying conditions we threw at them.
The Bontrager finishing kit was lightweight, nicely made and well proportioned. A strange option in this day and age were the flat bars, indicating a bias towards the racer out there, which seemed to require a chunk of headset spacers to bring the cockpit up to height. If it were ours, we would be selecting a suitable riser to reduce the spacers needed. That said, there was a nice sweep on the bars and no complaints in terms of control. The Bonty saddle was one of the most comfy on test, universally suiting all the riders.
With that pillarbox red finish, low but stretched frame and chunky tubing, there was just something loveable about the Fisher straight off the bat. Riders pounced on it and instantly enjoyed the stretched, chest-opening and planted feel to the position. Climbing was a breeze, with body-weight kept low in the bike and those short chainstays driving rider-weight onto the back wheel for the best grip of any of the machines on test. Being one of the lightest bikes didn’t hurt either.
The short head tube and flat, swept-back bars required a raft of spacers to bring the front end up to a reasonable height, but the ride didn’t suffer for it, and this set-up allowed for plenty of tweaking when trying it out.
All the components did their work with little fuss or raised voices. So, overall, no shouting, just good old-fashioned enjoyable riding with everything doing what it should. Shifting was precise and positive, braking was excellent and the contact points were all fine.
There’s no doubt you could race this bike straight out the shop door, and it’d perform superbly too. The position maybe a little racy for all-day hackings, but then your back would likely get used to it in the long run. It’s a compact all-rounder that climbs well without compromising on descending capabilities, and with riders taking on even the most severe drops without too much trouble, we struggled to find too much wrong with it. We’d like to try dropping some spacers, fitting a riser bar and seeing where that took the ride, but there’s nothing much wrong with the way it comes.
MBR RATING: 8/10