It is really a shame to do a micro-blog on the Gary Fisher Superfly. It deserves a week-long celebration really, but I gotta keep moving, so here is it.
This 29er carbon mountain bike is sweetness itself.
I previously rode a very light Rocky Mountain scandium team bike (26") and then a Niner EMD, with aluminum frame and 29" wheels. I liked the lightness of the Rocky Mountain but I never fell in love with it. Everything was right, but it just didn't get to my heart. I rode a friends Niner AIR and was immediately ready to make the leap to a 29er. At my size, 6' 4" and 475 lbs, it just felt immediately and completely better suited to me. I didn't have the budget for the AIR, so I got an EMD, which is the same frame in aluminum instead of scandium and with some lesser spec parts. I liked the Niner a lot and it made me appreciate mountain biking in a way that I had not in years, but then came along the Superfly.
The Superfly isn't a fair comparison to the EMD since it has twice the price tag, but it is fair to say that it is a much nicer bike. It has higher zoot components, that shift, brake, shock absorb, etc. all really nicely. The three nicest things about the Superfly, however, are 1) super stiff bottom bracket (at my size, it matters); 2) the carbon frame absorbs "energy" or small stuff in a magical way; and 3) it handles better or faster than the Niner.
At one time I thought a carbon mountain bike frame was way up on the stupid list, why not glass helmets next?, but after a few years of them standing up to the abuse, I decided that the experience along with the warranty made it a safe bet. Some of the things that make carbon road bikes good are multiplied in mountain bikes and this frame feels completely rock solid stiff but without being harsh. Not really possible it sounds, but it is true.
On the handling, Niner has a great reputation and I like their stuff, but some combination of the frame geometry, fork, stem, handlebars or something else all combine to make the Superfly super grippy on the steepest pitches, super steady on fast descents and super divy around corners. Okay, I don't know what super divy means, except that I can get this around corners on single track much faster. Rider One recently said that I was going as well on a mountain bike as he has ever seen. I chalk that up to Leadville 100 training time and the Superfly. Couldn't do it without the combination.
I haven't ridden the whole line of Gary Fisher 29ers, which are now really Trek 29ers, but I suspect a lot of what I like in the handling is present in all of these bikes, so even if a Superfly isn't in the budget, I think these 29ers all deserve a look. My brother got a Paragon last year and I think he agrees.
Superfly = super sweet.