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4. Two-Niners and Fisher/Trek consolidation

Gary Fisher hanging with the Duke during Interbike 2010. Photo by Jamie Bate
Gary Fisher hanging with the Duke during Interbike 2010. Photo by Jamie Bate

It was one thing when mountain bike pioneer Gary Fisher took his 29er crusade to the masses. It was another when, in 2010, he made the Subaru-Gary Fisher mountain bike team 29er all the time.

When every fully sponsored elite team at the international level was rolling — and winning — on 26-inch wheeled bikes, it was Fisher who settled in way ahead of the curve and outfitted his squad with 29-inch hardtails and full-suspension rigs. That’s right, nary a small wheel in the team truck.

For the doubting Thomases out there, the switch wasn’t a publicity stunt. Subaru-Gary Fisher rider Willow Koerber has earned two bronze medals at mountain bike world championships aboard a 29er as well as placing second overall for the 2010 World Cup.

Speaking of Gary Fisher, don’t go looking for his bikes — either 29ers or 26ers — with his name emblazoned on downtubes. This past year saw the Fisher brand, which has been owned by Trek for about 15 years, morphed into Trek’s “Gary Fisher Collection” of bikes.

Many reasons were given for the consolidation, but the bottom line rules. The move was likely done because Fisher’s market position wasn’t large enough to cover costs associated with engineering, marketing and other expenses. On the other hand, the move expands exposure for “Fisher” bikes, which will now be available in eight times more retail outlets around the world and seen by ten times more internet viewers.

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