Trek has announced a major shift in their relationship with Gary Fisher. Until now, Trek Bicycle dealers weren’t necessarily Gary Fisher dealers, and in some cases competing shops would have either brand despite the two having long been in bed together.
Now, Trek Bicycles has formally dropped the standalone brand and instead created the Gary Fisher Collection, a series of bikes dreamt up by the iconic Gary Fisher, and made real by the design and manufacturing team in Waterloo, WI.
Why the change? Reports suggest the Gary Fisher brand wasn’t profitable as it’s own brand. (UPDATE: preceding ‘report’ found on BikeEurope, but apparently isn’t true. See Trek’s response as footnote to post) Despite borrowing numerous Trek technologies like ABP and OCLV, Fisher’s bikes were unique designs that required their own molds, fabrication and production runs. Sure, but many so do any other brand’s bikes, right? Yes, but Fisher’s bikes were more and more at the higher end of the price spectrum, notably the Superfly 100 and his road bikes, making them lower volume items in a large volume company. Also, given the many shared technologies and small parts designs that have co-existed for at least the past seven years (compare an original Fuel and Sugar rear triangle and you’ll see what I mean), it made less and less sense to devote two separate design teams to produce increasingly similar bicycles. Oh, and Trek didn’t have a 29er, relying on Fisher to satisfy those needs…which left holes.
Get the skinny and check out some of the first bikes in the collection after the break…
Click any photo to enlarge to gloriously huge sizes!
The initial collection consists of 50 bikes, including mountain bike, road, cyclocross, commuter, urban and utility bicycles, which begs the question: If there wasn’t consolidation or reduction of existing Gary Fisher products, how does this change lead the brand toward more profitability?
To answer that, I spoke with Gary Fisher product manager Travis Ott. Here’s what he had to say:
For starters, there are currently about 1800 Trek dealers in the U.S. versus 600 Gary Fisher dealers. Trek dealers have been clamoring for a 29er, so this move brings a wide range of 29er options, many of them new or improved for 2011, onto their floors. Likely, customers will follow.
“Dual sports and 29ers were two categories that two-thirds of Trek dealers didn’t have access to,” Ott said. “And Fisher is a category leader in 29ers.Â Rather than do Trek 29ers, it made more sense to use Fisher’s existing models to fill that void.”
OK, so are the bikes just rebranded with Trek logos?
“No. The entire hardtail 29er line is new or heavily redesigned, both carbon and aluminum,” Ott replied. “There are two new models of WSD models going all the way down to 14.5″, which is smaller than typically thought possible. On the other end, we have an huge 23″ size 29er.”
Besides the new aluminum 29er models, there are new lower priced models of the Superfly and Superfly 100, including a Superfly carbon single-speed frameset, and those frames have received some serious upgrades.
“On the second gen Superfly hardtail, we’ve gone from 80mm to 100mm travel fork, added an E2 tapered headtube, and brought over the FCC (Fisher Control Column) oversized front hub from the road side. This reduced wheel flex, which is an issue for 29ers, and made for a stiffer front end,” said Ott. “We also took a lot of weight out of the rear dropout by taking out the brace on the brake side and make it more svelte. And we went to BB95 bottom brackets, direct mount front derailleur and put the new SRAM 2×10 X0 group.”
Other changes include the Rumblefish, which gets a new 142 rear axle option, and some carbon frames get carbon armor to protect the downtube.
What else is new?
“We have the new Sawyer, which is sort of a throwback design like the old Clunkers,” Ott said. “And we introduced new Dual Sport style bikes that are sort of a do-everything type bike that can pull duty as a mountain bike, commuter or urban bike and come in at lower price points for folks that can only afford one bike but want to ride it in different ways…something dealers have wanted for a while.”
“On the road side, we have a new carbon cyclocross bike, which is the first time our company has had a carbon ‘cross bike. We also have a lot of road things like the Transport Plus, which also has an electric-assist version to help you get home when you load it down.”
Despite the seemingly huge count of bikes in the Gary Fisher Collection, Trek decreased overall model counts for 2011, but they’ve increased their 29er range by adding price sensitive models among their carbon bikes and several new WSD designs, among others.
Dealers able to order bikes as of today, meaning if you want one, you should probably go ahead and contact your local Trek dealer. Availability for the Superfly 100 is early July, and the carbon Cronus CX comes a little late in January, but Ott says it’ll be worth the wait. The others are somewhere in between those dates. Unfortunately, Trek is only holding a press event in France in July (ie. Tour de France write-off), meaning our first chance at riding most of these will be Dirt Demo at Interbike…but we’re working on getting one or two review bikes in the meantime. *fingers crossed*
As for official press release blurbs, here you go:
â€œThis makes sense. I love this strategy,â€ says Gary Fisher. â€œIâ€™ve been working with Trek on the Fisher Brand since 1996, but this puts me right in the middle of the best team of bike people. I can now bring my ideas to Trek, number one bike brand in the world. Better bikes and more people on those bikes. I love it.â€
Trek president, John Burke added: â€œ2010 has been a fantastic year for both Trek and Gary Fisher bikes. But we werenâ€™t taking full advantage of the incredible resource we have in Gary Fisher, the man. We realised we could bring Garyâ€™s ideas to many more people by creating the Gary Fisher Collection.â€
Check out the full collection at Trekbikes.com/fishercollection. Now we just need to get a Trek dealer back here in Greensboro…Watts, I’m looking in your direction.
FOOTNOTE: Regarding the report that Fisher wasn’t profitable, Ott replied: “Not true. The brand is rocking. MY10 Fisher Full Suspension is up 66%. The entire brand is up 7.5%. All other business indicators are great and trending the right way. We didn’t do this because the brand wasn’t profitable. We did this because it improved dealers business, ourÂ business, and made more and better bikes available to more people.”