Ryan Atkinson shared the current status of the Gary Fisher Supercaliber 29" race day bike on the MTBR forum, including an artists rendering of the frame. It looks to be a great design - but will take some $$ to bring up to race readiness. The current plans include:
- another prototype ready in a couple of weeks
- May/June delivery
- Reba Race
- SRAM X.9
- Bontrager Race GXP crank and Race wheels
- Avid Juicy 7 brakes
- $2859.99 (about half msrp of the Trek Top Fuel)
So let's see...throw on some superlight AC wheels, twisties, Race Face turbine crank w/20/30/40 and round it out with miscellaneous carbon bits and now we're ready to rock.
But wait - isn't that a 29er??? Sure enough it is...but I'm still intrigued. The jury is still way out for me - at least I have escaped the initial emphatuation stage where objectivity goes out the window in place of lust.
Speaking of objectivity, the first few weeks in Feb I'll be doing some 29er/26er testing on a rolling, desert singletrack course, the competitive loops of the McDowell Mtn park area in Fountain Hills, AZ. I'm even going to plan in a day of SS testing - at least as best I can with gearies. This is the kind of terrain I'd expect the 29ers to rock.
An update to the previous test: I got a rear Fast Trak for the Fuel and re-rode the same route. Energy expenditure dropped 3% from the previously reported values. I'm still using the beefy Weirwolf up front. I also re-rode the route on the 29er, this time with higher psi in the tires (38) and enough air in the relish shock to effectively lock it out. Energy expenditure INCREASED. Ouch.
Take away points: first, although higher PSI lowers rr on the road, the same is not true for off-road. Second, my Fuel climbs better on smooth dirt roads than my Dos - I have no doubt of this. The real question of course, is which is better under the condtions in which YOU ride or race? You won't find that answer here...but I'll keep you posted on what works best for me.