I have owned this 1990 Fisher Sphinx since I bought it new in 1991 and it had been my main ride until I bought a Rivendell Sam Hillborne at the end of 2009. I wanted an all-rounder because I knew I wanted/could afford only one decent bike, for commuting, mountain biking, touring, and even roadie club rides.

I think of the Sphinx as the original monster cross, released 16+ years before the category was even invented. After 19 years of hard use, very few of the parts are stock: just bottom bracket, Deore LX crankset and front derailer. Other parts:

Nitto noodle 46cm DuraAce barend shifters (friction mode)
Tektro brake levers and Soma (Tektro) interruptors
Campagnolo "Touring" (or Euclid) wide profile cantilevers (front), Deore DX (rear)
Nitto threaded to threadless 1 1/4 to 11/8 stem adaptor and Dimensions silver stem
Shimano 600 hubs with OpenPro front/Synergy OC rear rims
XTR rapid rise rear derailer (am converting all my bikes to rapid rise)
9 speed custom Shimano cassette (12-32)
Brooks Team Pro
VO seatpost with shim
Minoura rack cheap flat pedals
tires: Vittoria Cross XN Pro 32mm with SKS/Bontrager fenders, or IRC Mythos XC Slick 42mm

I am surprised more people don't know about the Sphinx. In 1990, it was the only bike of its kind, as far as I know. There was a similar Novara with an even more hideous purple/teal fade paint job, but I don't think it had the high bottom bracket, or as much clearance for fat tires. Bianchi came out with a whole line of nice cyclocross bikes in 1991 I think, but they were lighter and had less clearance. I'd say the Sphinx was as revolutionary as the Bridgestone XO-1 of 1992/3, but never got the cult following it deserved.

If you know of an earlier production monster cross, I'd like to hear about it!

Gernot Huber

earlgrey at gmail dot com



Gary Fisher Sphinx - side view


Gary Fisher Sphinx - front end details

Gary Fisher Sphinx - drive side view


Gary Fisher Sphinx - front end view
Gary Fisher Sphinx - Monsoon Season
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