Strengths: Plush and stable through roots and rocks. Loves going fast, in a straight line on the level or moderate downhill. Climbs well once you get used to it.
Weaknesses: Suspension is a little squishy on short steep climbs where it would be nice to stand up. Wise use of pro-pedal helps a lot, but still some squish there. It could be quicker and more nimble in the tight twisty woods, but a lot of that is due to it being an all mountain 29er. Its a little heavy so hopping logs requires perfect timing and a lot of strength.
I ride the 2011 base model in a 21" frame. 6'3", 200, inseam a little more than 34". I consider myself to be an intermediate trail rider who errs on the cautious side.
I was split between the 21 and 19" frame. The 21" is fine 95% of the time. When the going gets really technical or requires big log crossing, I wish I had gone with the smaller frame, but then I wouldn't be as comfortable in the more open two-track stuff. All about trade-offs.
Setup: Tires at 30/32 psi front/rear. Cut about an inch off of each side of the bars and flipped the stem upside down. The stem change really improved the quickness and control, especially when climbing. I have also found that for most of my riding, going softer than the recommended settings works better. With my camelback, I am 205 ish on the bike. I run the recommended settings for a 180lb rider when I am doing the slower, rocky, rooted stuff which we have a lot of in the Northeast. I go with either the 190 or 200 pound settings if doing faster paced, smooth riding with lots of drop-offs, jumps, fast downhill. I get the feeling the recommended settings from Trek are aimed more at the latter "Western" type trails for aggressive riders who do lots of 3-4 foot drops and the like. The softer settings really help keep the wheels on the ground in roots/rocks, and seem to yield better traction when its greasy/wet.
On the level, and downhills sections, I LOVE this bike. It climbs well too, once you get used to it. Definitely a sit-down-and-spin bike rather than a standup bike for climbing. Pro-pedal usage is a must on this bike for climbing, although leaving it off will help you track a little straighter if the climb is really bumpy.
It is a very big feeling bike, but much of that is owed to it being a 120mm travel 29er, and also me being on the very small end of the height range for a 21". The top tube length on these Fisher bikes seems short compared to the other brands I tried, so to be comfortable, you end up buying a larger frame, along with which comes more weight and a longer wheelbase. For comparison, I tried out a Specialized Carve 19", which actually felt LONGER in the top tube, but in fact had a much shorter wheelbase. Not apples to apples, but I figured it was worth noting.
Overall, I would say this is a great bike. My two complaints about the squishy climbing and large frame size are what make it so nice in the fast rough stuff. I am finding for my riding I would sacrifice some of that for quicker handling and climbing. Not the bikes fault, just my personal preference.
Do not hesitate to buy this if you need a plush, stable all mountain bike! You can't beat the value.
Strengths: Overall rides well, good feel, balanced
Weaknesses: Suspension a little "harsh"
Overall the bike felt pretty good. I was loaned this bike from the shop while waiting for a warranty replacement on my regular ride. This was my first real ride on a 29er, so I was excited to test it out. I got about 100mi over a long weekend. All the parts were decent, though overall the bike felt pretty heavy. At $2500 price point I would have liked to see X9 or XT shifters/derailleurs. As heavy as it was the bike climbed pretty well. It did good on both fireroad as well as technical climbs. I was right up there on Strava segment times for my regular trails with my regular bike. A couple PR's even. It didn't feel like it had 120mm of suspension though, it felt more like an 80 or 100mm bike. The bike felt chattery or harsh on the descents. Not so much to make it unrideable, just as a comparison to other bikes I've ridden. Overall a nice bike, and one I would look at if I was in the market for an FS 29er. Even more so at a clearance price. I would really like to ride one with a nicer wheelset. If you enjoy climbing more than descending, this should be on your list of test bikes.
Strengths: Great bike for the $ - I paid 1799 for a 2011 left over. Good spec, the X7 stuff works fine along with all the Bonty bits.
Weaknesses: Humm... stock seat is pretty hard, swapped that for my WTB Pure V, a tad heavy at just under 30# for a 17.5. Pretty hard to complain at this price range.
This bike rips - lock out the rear on the way up, flip the fun switch at the top and haul back down. Try to wipe the silly grin off your face and do it again! I have it set up a bit softer than the Trek recommended guidelines, to get full use of the suspension but other than that I just ride the crap out of it. 20-25 mile single track rough rocky loops that had me hurting on my hardtail are a breeze on the RF. 600 miles in 2.5 months and the only issue is a worn out chain. One heck of a bike for the price of a nice frame from other mfgs. Highly recommend for anyone looking for a great FS 29'er trail bike in the sub to low $2K range.
Similar Products Used: Trek 6500, Klein Pinnacle XT
Bike Setup: Stock except saddle swap to WTB Pure V
Date Reviewed: April 29, 2012
Strengths: bottom bracket clearance, 120mm travel front and rear 2012 model, uphill and downhill stability,control without bobbing up uphill. Through axel both front and rear for more stability.
Weaknesses: fox dhcv front fork seal kits sucks and luckily Freddie from Zion cycles was able to dial it in on site and have a seal kit
overall, very sweet bike. I came from a Niner jet 9 and decided to go more trail than cross country. There is almost 2 more inches of bottom braket clearance on the 2012 rumblefish than niner. Zion cycles set this up with chris king hubs, stans flows rims, xt front derailer, xt brakes, new xtr lockout rear derailer, xt cranks.
a Cross Country Rider
from Mims, Fl
Date Reviewed: September 11, 2011
Strengths: Eats technical trails, durable, nice components for the price range. This bike loves to be pushed hard. Seems the harder you ride it the the better it gets.
Weaknesses: Bony 29-3's had to go and the saddle was a little uncomfortable on long rides.
I love this bike in the wide open fast stuff and in the tight technical trails. It eats up everything I can throw at it. Very pleased with the RS Reba and the x7 drive train. This bike is great on all day rides and epic adventures very plush and easy to ride hard.