Strengths: It seems like a bomb proof frame and fork combination. Great travel when going full squishy. I'm a big fan of 29ers in general, and this one doesn't disappoint. Great climber, solid on the downhills. I paid about $1800 for it as a closeout, i thought that was a pretty good deal.
Weaknesses: Like a lot of 29ers, it really has to be ridden hard into corners to get it to go. I feel like it has to be pushed into the tight twists. The parts on this thing are crap. Either go all Shimano or all SRAM. This mix/match is a hodgepodge meant to hit a price point, but the X9 rear derailleur and X7 shifters are truly crap. And the wheels are bombproof, but pay a really expensive weight penalty.
I picked up this bike in May 2012. It has about 700-750 miles on it on really nice single tracks, some doubletracks. I'm absolutely sold on 29". I'm not sure I am sold on "this" 29er. I think the frame handle really well. No complains about the fork. The bars are very wide, but for me I think they're fine. It climbs especially well. Downhills predictably. It does suffer a bit when the trail get tight and twisty. The bike almost needs to be thrown into corners, whereas my older 26" just seems to go where I pointed it. Although it is nice when I pick a crappy line that rather than go around something it just goes over it. Its a real pig. Just plows through damn near anything.
Ok, that was the good. The bad...the parts mix/match sucks. Truly is crap. The SRAM X9 Rear Der, X7 shifters, Shimano SLX Front, Shimano Craptacular Crank, and Shimano Cassette do not play well. Yeah I know they are supposed to, but they don't. I've spent many long rides baby-ing this thing into gears, having to pre-pplan my shifts, hope the chain doesn't drop, or under pressure that the thing shifts at all. I don't know if its the combination of cassette, rear derailleur, shifters, or what, but its just to dang finicky and unreliable. So, this winter I'm dumping the drivetrain and just going XT. That should help this bike reach its full potential. Sure, I'm dropping another couple hundred into it, but I got a good deal on it in the first place (that's what I'm telling the wife).
The stock tires were ok, but wore out quickly. I do really like the brakes- Avid 5's I think. Way more power than I am used to. A little tough to moderate, but plenty of stopping power.
I have the stock wheel on this. They are bombproof. I've had far too many drops that I thought were going to just crush these wheels. I'm no light weight at 230lbs, and these things have taken a beating. They are really heavy though. I don't know exactly how much but I compared them to my riding bud's DT's and I bet I'm every bit of 2-3 lbs heavier without the tires- for wheels, thats a lot, but they do take a beating. Still as true today and when I first rode the bike.
Similar Products Used: Some random old Frankenbikes. Still fun, but way outdated.
Bike Setup: Pretty much stock except the tires were replaced with Conti's. That's the problem with this bike, its stock spec'd parts are hard to keep tuned.
a All Mountain Rider
Date Reviewed: June 28, 2012
Strengths: this bike kicks butt. uphill, downhill, XC this is a great all mtn bike. they keep saying its more of a xc-setup but i ride downhill singletrak with babyhead & bigger rocks the whole works and i have yet to have any problems. you can beat this bike up and it just asks for more! components are good. no problems other then minor usage adjustments. its the same frame as the rumblefish thats why they DC'd this line not for any other reason. if you cant find it anywhere just get the RF its all the same.
Weaknesses: heavy, but the bike is bullet proof. This bike is not for the little guy. if your 5'10" or taller forget the 26" bike. 29r is for big boys. if your worried bout wt get new rims, and bars thats all.
the 29r is a great bike in general. im totally past 26" bikes! will never go back. Im seeing that newr 29rs ar coming with greatr travel. Not sure thats better but it could be a little more helpful down the steep rough stuff. @ this pt i see no need for it. time will tell. As i said before if your 5'10" or more you have 2 go 29r its the only way 26" is worthless unless your doing tricks. I have to say all bikes are good just depends what your riding style is but if your a big guy 29r is the only way!!!
Bike Setup: stock except for new rubber. they set these bikes up for more XC at factory but new rubber and bars and go anywhere. SRAM and avid
a Cross Country Rider
Date Reviewed: May 17, 2012
Strengths: Suitable for a variety of riding styles and terrain. Stiff, reliable, effective design. Good looking graphics.
Weaknesses: Heavy, especially the wheels.
This is a fun, well-designed bike. A little bit of a tank... Trek had to warranty it's predecessors somewhat frequently and I think they cut down on that with this frame by adding material here and there. Also, the frame is shared with the Rumblefish, which probably explains why it has extra travel and a stiff axle attachment in the rear but not the front. I really dig the graphics and colors. The stock wheelset is a bit heavy, and replacing with nice wheels is a really rewarding upgrade.
Similar Products Used: sworks stumpjumper, mongoose teocali
Bike Setup: Sram x6 and fox suspension (all standard)
a Cross Country Rider
from Dearborn, MI, USA
Date Reviewed: September 22, 2011
Strengths: Rolls over everything and just flies. It's built like a tank. I've had no problems with, well, anything. I've ridden some of the toughest trails in Michigan and this ride handles everything I can, and the trail can, throw at it.
Weaknesses: None so far. Okay I won't whimp out here and put nothing. I did up grade the handle bar and tires, but other than that - it's good to go.
Prior to my HiFi, I was one of the middle of pack guys in my group and when I was done I was done. Now I finish top two and am still done but not as much as before. This past year has been a blast on the trails. Even over the technical stuff where before, and yes I'll admit it, I would unclip one side and put a foot down, now I don't even hesitate at the top of the run down through the roots and rocks. The bike is strong and feels 100% solid doing - well - anything. It is on the heavy side but this is not one of those rigid frames. It's made for the abuse that 90% of the trail riders out there dish out.
Similar Products Used: My last ride was a 26" - I did some rides on a few 29ers prior to purchase but did not ride one full time before buying the HiFi
Bike Setup: Other than the tires and handle bar upgrade it's all stock. I saw no reason to change what it came with. Fox shocks front and rear - Shimano drive train with X7, SLX, and X9 front to rear.
a Cross Country Rider
from Grosse Ile
Date Reviewed: September 21, 2011
Strengths: Strong frame. Good geometry. Decent equipment. Very comfortable. Powder coated frame - not sure why more manufacturers don't do it this way.
Weaknesses: The rake on the stock handlebars seems more for a beach-cruiser than a mtb. Overall weight.
The bike is a heavyweight contender for sure. The frame I've got is an XXL and yes was shocked to find out there was a bike co. out there making frames for "normal" sized riders. I'm 6'6" and thought for sure I would have to go custom to get anything close to what I needed. I have to say the bike fits me very well. I moved up to a 29 from my be-loved XL Fisher Sugar 2. I like how the HiFi fits like a glove. The HiFi is a great training bike but because of the overall weight of this behemoth racing it is chore to say the least. It tips the scale at close to 35lbs, now add the 202lbs clyde rider and man that's one deep tread print left behind.
I also don't care for the mix-match Shimano system. For the price I thought it would be easy for Trek to make it all SLX or X7. The X9 rear hangs too low. I've already busted the drop-out twice after picking up sticks in the chain. Ouch, that's not fun.
If you're picking one up, just go ahead an order a new handle bar. It will save you the trip back after your first ride. Oh, and the Trek tire selection is not the best either, you'll want to upgrade those as well.
Similar Products Used: Gary Fisher (a true Fisher, pre-Trek days) Sugar 2 baby.
Bike Setup: All stock out of the box. Fox shocks (F29 frnt, RP2 rear). X7 shifters, SLX frnt, X9 rear. Upgraded the handle bars and tires after my first ride. A Salsa carbon and small block eights fixed those issues.