Rolling Wonders

Gary Fisher Paragon

Gary Fisher Paragon     Photo: Mark Weiss

GARY FISHER PARAGON / $1,760, 25.6 lbs
Why It's Cool: No-nonsense, all-out performance from the original 29-inch-bike builder.
The Ride: You can't talk about 29ers without mentioning Gary Fisher—he debuted the first mass-production models five years ago, and he's been exhorting the industry toward bigger wheels ever since. That expertise shows in the Paragon, the working man's 29er, built of flared aluminum tubing and decked with a range of choice parts. The lineup is straight value: a primarily SRAM X-9 drivetrain, Avid Juicy 7 hydraulic disc brakes, a RockShox Reba Race front fork, and Bontrager bits and pieces throughout. Unlike some 29ers, the Paragon's sloping top tube gives plenty of stand-over clearance, while the steering is surprisingly nimble. Compared with most hardtails, the Paragon rides soft and comfortable as the extra circumference eats up small bumps and ruts. Among our hardtail disciples, the performance offered further proof that 29ers aren't going the way of toeclips anytime soon.
Right Bike If: You want to join the big-wheel phenomenon without breaking the bank. Sizes: 15.5, 17.5, 19 (tested), and 21 in; www.fisherbikes.com

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