old, fat & tired
Join Date: Jul 2005
Location: wyoming, usa
Bikes: 2005 gary fisher utopia, 2006 diamondback reponse sport, 2007 redline monocog 29er
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the utopia is an awesome ride for the money. it's for the person who favors street/path but wants some dirt functionality. the drivetrain is so much better than the kaitai you'll have to spend the extra $200. the montare's handlebar feels just a little better to me but i can't explain why. the stock saddle on the utopia is dodgy on the long rides - i put a wtb street smart saddle on it. the bike is a looker and feels very responsive. 26 vs. 29 arguments are rendered moot with one ride for many cyclists. sometimes it seems like you can coast all day on it - on level terrain just a few high geared rotations can set up a block or 2 of coasting. get the cane creek bar ends - they really finish off the killer look, they help on hills and the extra ergonomic hand position helps the tingles that older fellas often get.
looking at it next to a cobia/x-caliber/paragon it's obvious that dual sport frames are not analagous to fisher's 29er line. dual sports are not full on mountain bikes. a gf website comparison shows some common parts on the utopia and the pricey x-caliber which is surprising since the cobia is closer to the utopia's price point. my bike mechanic tells me the hubs are better on the utopia than on the cobia. he also articulated the coasting aspect by saying it was like an invisible rope pulls the utopia for the first 3 or 4 mph.
the stock 700c x 42c irc tires favor the street and rollout well with fairly smooth tread in the center - more knobs on the edges for cornering. you can put a more aggressive tire on it but a 2.2 will not fit. 1.85 will make sure that you don't have any frame rubbing issues. switching to mutano raptors looks very good on the bike and increases the dirt functionality. some 2.0 tires may work depending on the manufacturer. the suspension fork is 75mm for a smoother street roll. if you weigh anywhere near 250 expect issues with the rear rim. i had to get a 36 spoke rim upgrade for it to stay in true. the gf geometry feels good and i miss it when i ride anything else. taller riders often notice this. i'm maybe 6'3" on a 21" bike frame.
i'll likely get another one, '07 or '08, keeping one with eggbeaters & irc tires and keeping the other with a grippy platform pedal and a wider, knobbier tire. it's such a bang for the buck bike that there's nothing else near it's price point that i'd rather ride. it's addictive. and it's fun.
Last edited by cliffy63; 05-15-06 at 10:42 PM.