Thursday, June 17, 2010

A Requiem For Gary Fisher Bikes

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.

<===The awesome Sawyer 29"er from......(gulp!) Trek? (!!)

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!


SS:Mtn Biker said...

I was kinda under a rock...working under a broken Ford Contour all day (still broken,BTW). I hadn't heard. This is a sad day indeed

Al said...

More news regarding Trek.
Trek buys Ray's Indoor MTB Park - ensures expansion in Milwaukee

Steve Fuller said...

I'm actually surprised that Fisher as a brand within Trek survived this long. After the Lemond debacle a few years ago, I was waiting for the foot to drop on the Gary Fisher branding.

On another note, that Sawyer 29er is just begging to be turned into a single speed.

Guitar Ted said...

@SS:Mtn Biker: A Contour? My condolences. I've had the pleasue of working on one of those myself back in my auto mechanic days!

@Al: Yes, I was aware of the Milwaukee rays Indoor Bike park. Nice to have Trek doing some advocacy in that regard and I think it shows that Trek is not the uncaring corporate giant that a lot of riders like to paint them to be.

d.p. said...

Well, it was "Fisher Mountain Bikes" 'til the early '90's when Gary owned his own name. Nice to see him get ownership back. I don't think Trek's buying the name from the other conglomerate did anything but help the promote the person and implement his ideas.

john said...

Makes me think that I should save the new Super Fly as a collectors item.

paxtoncoyote said...

That TREK Sawyer looks a lot like Rick Hunter's "Swamper" frames, HMMM! I agree though, it needs to be a singlespeed.

Guitar Ted said...

@paxton coyote: Actually, Gary told me Rick Hunter was an influence on that bike.

@John: You always keep your bikes forever like they are collectors editions anyway. ;>)