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2008 Gary Fisher Wahoo Review

Gary Fisher, Shimano

Gary Fisher is known as a maker of fine mountain bicycles, and the 2008 Wahoo is no exception. Priced at about $470, depending on the dealer, the Wahoo is a hardtail that performs, on a budget.


Frame: Gold Series 6061 T6 Aluminum, Genesis Geometry

Wheels: Bontrager Camino Rims with Bontrager Jones XR Tires (26 x 2.2/2.25), Shimano RM30 rear hub, alloy front hub

Suspension: Rock Shox Dart 1 front fork, 100mm travel with adjustable preload

Drivetrain: 24 speed, Shimano Acera front derailleur, Shimano Deore rear derailleur, Shimano M341 42/32/22 crank

Brakes: Tektro V brakes


The Wahoo is available in sizes to suit most riders, and is a very capable hardtail bike. Thanks to its aluminum frame and Bontrager Sport components (seat post, handlebars, stem), it is a very light bike for the price, and is a capable hill climber. The Bontrager Jones XR tires are great for trail and road use, because the tread is right in the middle between aggressive and smooth. This, combined with the 24 speed drivetrain, makes the Wahoo a very versatile mountain bike, capable of handling modest commutes to work and miles of hard cross-country trail riding with ease. The Rock Shox Dart 1 suspension fork does a decent job of soaking up the big bumps, and can be adjusted via a knob at the top of the left fork leg for riders of various weights. However, since the fork does not have any damping, fast riding over repetitive bumps can cause the front of the bike to feel like a pogo stick, which is undesirable for both rider comfort and stability. The stock Bontrager seat is also a bit narrow, so bigger riders should consider an upgrade ($40 or so). The bike is available in two colors: Purple Metallic and Warm Earth Metallic.

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Lightweight frame and components, sturdy design. This bike will take the majority of weekend trail riders anywhere they want to go.


The front fork, although good for absorbing big bumps, does not handle repetitive bumps or drops (2+ feet) very well, because it has no oil damping. Unlike many current forks, it does not have a lock-out feature. This means that riders who climb hills in the standing position will end up compressing the fork every time they push down on the pedals, thus wasting energy and making it harder to get to the top. Still, it should be noted that most bikes in this price range do not have suspension forks with lock-outs or damping, so this weakness is really a weakness that applies to the whole sub-$500 class of mountain bikes. Good suspension forks are expensive, and thus rarely found on modest XC bikes like the Wahoo.

The stock Bontrager seat is also too skinny and hard for most people’s tastes.


The Wahoo provides a lot of bike for a little money. It is fast, light-weight, and rugged, and is backed by Gary Fisher’s strong reputation and service. It will be a perfect bike for those looking to ride on park trails and single track as well as roads. It is not, however, a race-worthy bike, as its so-so suspension fork lacks damping and will thus feel uncontrolled over fast bumps.