By James Huang
Gary Fisher Bicycles had the right goal in mind with its Race Day short-travel suspension platform but something got lost in translation and the end result didn't quite hit the mark. The company takes another shot with its new HiFi Race chassis and comes far closer to the bull's-eye this time around.
Gary Fisher expanded its HiFi line this year to include a lighter and shorter-travel variant better suited to the needs of its Subaru-Gary Fisher cross-country racing team. As compared to the Race Day design that it replaces, the new HiFi XC platform is 50g lighter with a claimed frame weight of just 2350g (5.2lb) with shock and hardware but also far more capable.
The new frame is built with a hydroformed and double-butted 6066 aluminum front triangle mated to a co-molded aluminum-and-OCLV carbon fiber rear end. According to Gary Fisher (the company, not the man), overall chassis rigidity improves a much-needed 15 percent which includes substantial 37 percent and 29 percent increases in bottom bracket stiffness and rear end rigidity, respectively. Rear wheel travel has also grown to a more useful 90mm through the new cartridge bearing-equipped modified four-bar linkage.
As on the longer travel HiFi Trail, the new HiFi XC design is also fitted with Gary Fisher's new G2 geometry. This configuration uses an increased-offset fork to reduce trail in an aim to improve low-speed handling without adversely impacting the high-speed stability of the original Genesis front end.
Our top-end Procaliber tester came equipped with a panoply of race-ready parts including a Shimano XTR and SRAM X.0 drivetrain, Avid Juicy Ultimate brakes and a smattering of lightweight Bontrager bits. Fox Racing Shox handled the suspension duties at both ends with its F100 RLC fork and RP23 rear shock. Total weight without pedals is an encouraging 10.6kg (23.36lb) for a medium frame.
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