Unless you were under a rock somewhere yesterday you probably heard about the end of the Gary Fisher Bike brand. It is dead.
In a press release issued on Wednesday, Trek Bicycle Corporation announced that "effective immediately" the Gary Fisher Bikes brand no longer exists. Wow! I don't think anyone saw that one coming. (Unless they worked for Trek, of course!)
So what? Many would ask this question and would point out that Trek has owned Gary Fisher Bikes since 1994. It hasn't been the same company since then. Maybe. (and of course!) But Gary Fisher Bikes did have some autonomous creations from Trek, some engineering ideas separate from Trek, and marketing and branding, of course. Of all of Trek's acquisitions during the 90's, Gary Fisher Bikes was the first and longest lasting of them. Think about that for a minute.
Now it is the "Gary Fisher Collection", and will be branded with Trek's head tube badge and logo on the bikes. How long before even that token marketing ruse is over is anyone's guess, but I would submit to you that it is already pretty much a completely assimilated brand. Even Gary Fisher himself is calling the 2011 29"ers, "Trek 29"ers".
Sure, there will be a "Fisher influence" for years to come, but let's face facts: It makes more sense in the long run for Trek to focus its resources on one brand instead of splitting them amongst two. Dealers were said to have been clamoring for Trek to give them Trek 29"ers and Dual Sport models and now they have them without Trek having to split more resources and duplicate product with another brand. Makes sense from a business standpoint for sure.
But even though it makes sense from a business standpoint, you have got to wonder how Trek will carry out things from this point. I liked how Fisher seemed to fly in the face of Trek's conservative, Mid-Western pragmatism. It was a great foil to what Trek had on offer on the other side of the aisle.
I am just afraid that will all disappear now that Fisher Bikes as a stand alone brand is gone, and I lament this possibility. Hopefully I am very wrong about that, and in fact, Gary Fisher himself assured me that it would not happen in a telephone conversation I had with him yesterday. Time will tell, of course, but if the huge marketing and consumer perception issue can be overcome, I would bet that Gary Fisher would find some sort of way to get that message across. Say what you will about the man, but he has made a lot of inroads along the years in cycling, and continues to be an influence. How many other cycling personas can you say that about? Not many.
So, this weekend I will raise a toast to the brand that is gone, and then another to the man that carries on with his passion for cycling of all stripes, Gary Fisher.
It'll be an interesting ride from this point onward, that's for sure!