Gary Fisher

yes, him again....

he's the character that i love to be pretty much ambivalent about.

if you're interested though, here's an interview he gave at the Handmade show in Austin recently;


i didn't even watch it.  the comments made it sound like some kind of freakshow, so i passed.  besides, i can't be bothered to watch an interview, because really, that's a waste of one of your senses.  make it a podcast so i can look at something else while i listen.  or make it text so i can listen to Deftones while i read.

yes i know i can just start it and then go to another website, but that's besides the point really.

the point is; who cares what Gary Fisher thinks about the health of the handmade bicycle industry?  does he handmake bicycles anymore?  is he even looking over the shoulder of the technical school trained kid at Trek, advising him where to click in his CAD/CAM program to place his signature decal?  what the hell does he do anyway?

now that Trek dropped the other shoe, and has swallowed up Fisher mountain bikes, he's seemingly just a figurehead for his not-really-existing-anymore bike company, and slowing morphing into the Don Cherry of cycling.

i guess he does provide some personality for what could be the most boring bicycle company ever. 

i just don't think i like that personality.



i've never been one to be conventional when it comes to bikes.  i strive to do things that haven't been done before.  although - let's be honest here - everything's been done before.  i know that Mavic doesn't make a plate to move rim brakes on an MTB frame up to match a 700c wheel just for me.

i guess that means there's some French guy building these same bikes that i build.

i knew i was on the right track when a mechanic (and artist) that i worked with at Redbike - someone i greatly respected - told me he'd never met a mechanic that could make more out of seemingly nothing then i could.  i credit my experience as a triage mechanic on the battlefields of Dow Chemical where i repaired Norco cruisers, and awful Workman tricycles.

unfortunately, i've not done a good enough job or documenting some of these projects, and i have no photographic evidence, just anecdotes.  like...

- the Fisher i built up as a single speed from parts that customers no longer wanted at Redbike. 
-the carbon miyata road bike that was too small for me. 
-the Kona Humuhumu-Nukunuku-Apu’A i built with 700c wheels (someone stole this out of my backyard while it was in mid-upgrade, it had no seatpost and no front brakes.  people will steal anything.)
-the single speed Moulden MTB with 700c wheels (this for a customer at Redbike after i proved the concept was sound - see the DIY hybrid below.) 
- the Miyata Ridge Runner DIY Pugsly that was lost in the great purge.

thankfully, i do have some pics.

like the too big single speed Norco with moustache bars;

(yes, i do have Curt Harnett's legs.)

(no i don't...)

the DIY hybrid Kawasaki (no pics of this sadly), which became the DIY hybrid Vertex;

(this could be the most bad-ass bike i ever put together)

which later became the DIY hybrid GT;

and is now the DIY hybrid Klein.  again, no pics amazingly.  it's a stealth bike.

there must be more, but my mind draws a blank at the moment.

the 'just make it work' aspect of bike repair at Dow was a big factor in my ability to see these projects in my mind before picking up the wrench.  but, a subconscious influence perhaps, was a factory Frankenbike from back in the day.

the Specialized RockCombo;

when i was still learning what a 'chainstay' was, the guy across the street from me had one of these.  i remember thinking it was really cool.  but today, i'm wondering what the hell i was thinking.  the drop bars hinder it's use as a proper MTB, and it's puny 26" wheels make it fairly hopeless as a 'cross bike.  so, why exactly?

of course, there was one guy who made it work;

well, sort of.  the magazines at the time reported that Johnny T's 7-11 coach allowed him to race mountain bikes as long as he ran a drop bar to maintain his riding position.  it made sense at the time, but honestly - is that not a completely ludicrous idea?  

MTB and road racing have virtually nothing in common as far as the bicycle/rider relationship is concerned, so how does making Tomac less competitive on a drop bar - and really, we know it wasn't making him better, because nobody else did it - help him to be a better road racer?

i bet you that secretly, the 7-11 coach knew that drop bar would hinder Tomac, and hoped that it would do so so much that he'd quit MTB racing.  or, he'd do what actually happened; quit road racing in 1991.  

so anyway, this all leads me to pondering a drop bar on my single speed Blizzard.  until i ran the idea past my brother.  his reply?

"don't see the benefit of looking that ridiculous."

that takes care of that.

besides, i'm sure it breaks one of the rules.


new bikes

i've found a couple of new bikes i really like for 2011.  

first, the Norco Club;

it's a basic, steel road bike with double chain rings up front, and a very basic, serviceable part mix from all the names you'd expect on a $900 bike; Shimano Sora and Tiagra, Tektro, Formula, FSA, and Norco branded hard parts (bar, stem, seatpost).

it looks great; the graphics look like it was made in 1975 - well, if Norco was cool in 1975, and they were not - but i'm not sure who this will appeal to.  a similarly priced aluminum bike would probably weigh 2 pounds less.  so maybe it's for other retro leaning cyclists, like myself, that can't be bothered to find old frames and period correct parts on eBay.

i'd much rather have this Club, then the average cookie-cutter road bike.

it's a lot like a complete Surly Pacer, but with cheaper parts on it.  which makes it a pretty cool bike.

Devinci Dixon XP;

this has all the features the kids want on their trail bikes this year; tapered headtube, 6 inches of travel, and cool split pivot suspension - the rear suspension pivot and the rear axle are one in the same.  it looks like a lot of fun, and probably climbs well for it's weight.

i have to confess though, i like it most for it's looks.  mountain bikes - all bikes - always look good in white.

(and now the good stuff)

Rocky Mountain Vertex t.o. 30th Anniversary Edition;

fantastic red to yellow maple leaf fade, fork painted to match - just simply beautiful.  almost too nice to ride.

Rocky Mountain Blizzard 30th Anniversary Edition;

it's the negative of my 25th Anniversary Edition Blizzard (see below), and like the Vertex has the never improved upon (in my opinion) graphics style used from 1990 to 1998.  clearly Rocky agrees with me, because they wouldn't have used that style for these bikes would they?

not a new bike, but good for comparison purposes;

coming soon; the Rocky's I've Owned post.