Gary Fisher is not just a bicycle brand, he’s actually considered the “godfather” of mountain bikes. He coined the term ‘mountain bike,’ and developed the notion of off road biking. You should thank him each time you go for a ride in the dirt.
- address: 801 W. Madison St.Waterloo, WI 53551
- telephone: (920) 478-2191
- fax: (920) 478-9674
- website: http://www.fisherbikes.com
- e-mail: [email protected]
Today Gary Fisher is still one of the most popular names in off-road cycling. If you haven’t heard of him and you mountain bike, it’s time you took a history lesson (read below). In any case, you’re bound to have seen a Gary Fisher mountain bike or two out and about.
Fisher himself ran the company from the 1970s into the 90s when it hit a few snags and was finally taken over by Trek. Today the partnership between Trek and Fisher is one that is hard to beat with Trek taking care of day-to-day business and investing in new technology and materials. This allows Fisher to do what he does best: produce innovative designs that keep redefining industry standards.
Gary Fishers tend to have good specs and frames compared to other non-budget brands and a lot of cycle shops stock them as a result. The geometry of Fisher bikes are a bit different to other conventionally designed brands and can take some getting used to. You should definitely go in for a proper fitting and test ride before you make a selection. Once you get the hang of the Genesis and Genesis 2 Geometry, its combined slow speed agility and stability at fast speeds, you probably won’t look back. The jury still seems to be out on it though, as some riders complain the bikes are a little twitchy, while others say they seem to handle line changes better both up and downhill and could bend around a tree without any trouble. Genesis Geometry basically increases the fork offset, so your hand position moves back and it weights the front end of the bike more effectively.
In 2002 Fisher also moved into 29” bikes and seems to have left the 26” market to Trek. The idea of bigger wheels is to give a faster, smoother and more stable ride. Gary is keen to be the leader in the 29” field, but he’s also got into road biking as of late and has been making new creations in that line. Fisher also produce hybrid, cyclo cross, commuter/lifestyle and kid’s bikes.
The history of Gary Fisher is yet another great tale of the 70s when a lot of things happened in cycling and mountain biking was born. Gary Fisher was from California, and competed in road and track races from the age of 12. He was a good rider but suspended from 1968 because his hair was too long until they repealed the rule in 1972.
He began working in a bike shop and got together with a bunch of friends on old klunkers to ride down Mt. Tamalpais, hitching back up and flying down again. These “hazy” events inspired the documentary film “Klunkerz History of Mountain Biking”. Fisher then decided he wanted to cycle up the hill as well and needed a bike tough enough to handle the rocks and roots. He used a German Schwinn Excelsior X with 26″ tires and made a few alterations – wider gears and heavy-duty breaking. They were a success and he began selling them. Business took off, and in 1979 “Mountain Bikes” was formed with Charley Kelly.
By 1980 they were selling more bikes than anyone else. However, the first bikes cost about USD $1,300, and Fisher was keen to make them more affordable. When the company dissolved in 1983 and he founded Gary Fisher Mountain Bikes, he began to push down the cost of his bikes by taking manufacturing to Asia. Today, many of his bikes are still very affordable for entry-level riders.
Fisher has continually tried out innovative designs such as the first suspension system for bikes, the use of tandem drum brakes, thumb shifters, motorcycle brake leavers and cables, quick release seat post, the uni-crown fork, brakes under the chain stay, steeper seat angles, indexed shifting and so on.
Fisher himself is still racing and a cult like figure at bicycle industry events. In 1988 he was inducted into the Mountain Bike Hall of Fame, and was named the “Founding Father of Mountain Bikes” by Smithsonian magazine in 1994.
Hours of work
Monday – Friday
9 am – 5 pm
- Standard Frames: Yes
- Custom Frames: Yes
- Retrofitting old bikes: No
- Year Established: 1983
- Products Made In: Asia, full-suspension rigs are made in Wisconsin
- Availability: Trek
- Types of Bicycles: mountain, road, cyclocross, full suspension, hardtail, city, children’s, luxury
- Construction Methods: G2 frame and fork geometry
- Frame Materials: carbon, monocoque carbon, aluminum