Long Termer: Gary Fisher Roscoe (Premier Content)

December 14, 2009

Some bonus video of Sim’s Gary Fisher Roscoe 2 AKA 'Super Roscoe' from Singletrack Issue 54.

Gary Fisher Roscoe 2.
Gary Fisher Roscoe 2.

Sim’s Gary Fisher Roscoe 2
Price: £2,800 as standard, hideously expensive as built.
From: Trek UK

The Roscoe originally appealed to me because it promised the ability to be thrown down technically hard trails without feeling out of it’s depth and ridden all day without feeling leaden, a compromise a lot of riders are looking for. You could say it’s a trail bike not a race bike, but with the likes of the Kona Mash-Up and Megavalanche style stage races gaining popularity this is exactly the kind of bike that would do well in those events.

There’s a lot going on with the Roscoe, it seems to have received every innovation and acronym available in the Trek family’s ‘Big Book Of Innovations And Acronyms’. From the tapered E2 headtube and custom offset fork at the front to the ABP pivot at the rear the Roscoe is bulging with features all designed to help hit that middle ground of confidence inspiring and lightweight dead on.

The Fox DRCV shock requires a bit more care and attention during set-up than its RP23 cousin, and getting it right first time isn’t guaranteed. After a bit of playing with pressures I settled on a pressure that meant I was running more sag than recommended, this made the bike feel more stable and more willing to use its entire travel with the Pro-Pedal lever switched to minus for descents yet still climb just fine in plus mode. More happy compromise. The ABP pivot on the rear, which Fisher claim helps keep the suspension active during braking, didn’t feel like it was having an effect for better or worse but it did require some attention when the special ABP skewer refused to thread into the insert in the frame which was fixed by pulling out a random piece of plastic.

The frame is made from fat bell shaped tubes that join to a beefy tapered headtube giving a very stiff front end which inspires confidence everywhere but really comes into its own in twisty stuff where you’re left in no doubt where the front end is going. The 15mm axle Fox 32 TALAS forks are a great match for the frame, light and stiff with the ability to run 140mm, 120mm or 100mm but the forks on the Roscoe 2 lack the compression adjustment of the RLC forks found on the more expensive Roscoe 3 which I really missed being a bit of a control freak when it comes to compression damping.

The things that make the Roscoe great are also the things that will put people off. The frame, fork and shock work as a package, you can’t upgrade them easily, and for some people that will be enough to put them off. Not a problem for those who won’t be changing those components till they get a new bike, but for the serial upgraders amongst us it is off putting. But it’s this proprietary package that makes the Roscoe so good, because by designing all these components together the Roscoe avoids compromise. A no compromise bike for the perfect compromise.

Overall: More often than not the Roscoe was pulled out of the cellar in preference to anything else as the five inches of travel and lack of weight combined with the bikes capability in technically bits meant whatever the trail I knew I would be happy. The combination of a Crank Brothers Joplin post and remote and the super adaptable Roscoe seemed a match made in trail riding heaven and I’m surprised Fisher haven’t put any cable guides on the frame for a Joplin leading to a jazz-ziptie look. Maybe next year…

If you’re not a Premier User, you can read the full version of this review in the current issue of Singletrack Magazine…


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