Strengths: My first 29er and probably my last. I still have my 2003 Jamis Dakar Comp and I'd have to say that I really don't miss the soft tail after buying this beauty. I love the speed and roll going downhill and the pedalling is easy. Best bang for the buck since I got it for about 1500 Singapore dollars which is about the same retail price in US. I took it to Italy with me where I ride in the mountains and wheras the clearance on the pedals are considerably higher than most, the trails I take have some pretty big rocks and I knocked the heck out of the cranks. Might have to replace those soon because I have not been able to shift properly since. Wheels are beefy and quite comfortable. Considering the price, the bike is truly a steal. It's just so much fun to ride, and the clincher really is the value you get. Bang it up? you don't feel bad. Scratch is up? Still ok. It's one to take a beating. It's the vehicular equivalent of a Toyota Tercel with the parts of a Subaru Impreza. It's got gumption where it counts.
Weaknesses: Hate the derailleurs. Taking the rear wheel off sucks. The seat will not do wonders for your hemorrhoids so change it immediately or buy padded French tights. There is something wrong with the way the rear wheel locks into place because if you take a sharp turn, no matter how tight you get the rear, my wheel will make a strange sound as if it were hitting the frame (never really isolated this problem since you can't really look at the rear when you're taking a sharp turn.) I might take the advise of some of the posts here and upgrade to Shimano XTRs (for both brakes and derailleurs). Ok now, the brakes. THEY SUCK. They really suck. I've had to replace the front discs because I banged them on a rock ever so slightly and they came right out of alignment and never could get it right so I replaced the front with some other nameless brand and it works fine. Heaven forbid you ever find yourself going downhill at about 95kmh and a garbage truck or some other immovable behemoth of an object gets in front of you because those brakes don't hold for nothing. XTR's will replace them.
Despite the weaknesses, I give it 4 stars because everything else is awesome. Like I said, it probably will be my last bike because I am so happy with it. With the upgrades it will get you up to about 2000USD as I am still eyeing a set of Mavic Crossrides for my street application with 20 tires to keep it easy to handle. I love this bike with all it's shortcomings because I cannot in good economic conscience buy a more expensive one and get the same components and performance that this little princess provides. 4 stars baby.
Strengths: Agility: Bike is very easy to handle for me. Height 5'll" bike size 18.5. Weight: I feel the bike is fairly light for its price point. Crank Set height: The crankset on this bike is fairly high which was awesome to me because it was rare to ever hit anything with the pedals and had great clearance going over logs and rocks.
Weaknesses: Breaks: The breaks to me were not very good at stopping me. Really had to squeeze the handle to lock up the rear. Chain/shifting issues: Constantly had issues with chain coming off, chain suck, slipping, not shifting correctly. Took it to LBS so many times I lost count to no avail.
While I liked the bike overall I feel there were some serious issues with the cassette,crank, derailleurs. I loved to ride it and hated to ride it at the same time. I ended up upgrading to all 2x10 x7 components which fixed my all my problems, but was probably not the best financial choice and would have traded up bikes if I had to do it all over again. My son has the same bike and is having the same issues I have had. Now that I have upgraded it, it is an awesome bike to ride. It handles great, stops well, and is now enjoyable. I am not sure how widespread this problem is, but have read some other reviews from people suffering the same problems. My Cobia is a 2010 model. Hopefully this issue has been rectified with newer models.
Would I recommend this bike? Probably not. I would hold out for the Ex-Caliber.
Bike Setup: Originally stock, now all 2x10 x7 components.
Date Reviewed: July 30, 2012
Strengths: -incredible climber
-nimble handling thanks to g2 geo
-great front shock
Weaknesses: -weird clicking/popping noise from rear hub
-x5 a little unreliable
I love the bike. The technical climbs i used to have problems with are so much easier thanks to the bigger hoops. Just lean forward and pedal like hell and I guarantee you can get up any climb. They definately help with just cruising through roots and such. The front fork is a huge ipgrade over what i previuosly had and really helps to smooth out the trail. As for the bad parts, rear hub may need some work but the x5 rear deraileur can be a pain. Hasn't shifted right ever since a stick got jammed in it. Guess thats not its fault though. In summary, I love the bike. Its definately taken my riding to the next level.
Strengths: This is for the 2012 model. Everything is good except the weaknesses I will list below. I rode the Specialized Hardrock, Giant Talon 1 first. Then I rode the Trek Mamba and Cobia. Although they are not the same price range I found that everyone I talked to said to go for the Cobia due to the fact it had better components and a Rock Shox Recon Air Adjustable Fork. All the others came with SR Suntour forks. Non-Adjustable. This was the same for Specialized Rockhopper.
Weaknesses: Seat Evoke 1 - Hard in my opinion
Pedals- Wellgo (not sure of model They are a stock model with the reflectors)
Im giving it a 4/4. Why? For the price paid I think they would do better slapping on some under 40 buck platform or similar pedals instead of the stocks. How about Wellgo MG1 which is one of the top reviewed pedals here on MTBR?
Similar Products Used: GT, Mongoose (the real mongoose), Redline
a Cross Country Rider
from Ontario, Canada
Date Reviewed: July 20, 2011
Strengths: Rolling over things, large and small, and climbing.
Weaknesses: Heavy, cornering.
Used for cross-country, commuting and racing. Average height and 165 lbs.
My first 29er and still not happy with the poorer cornering due to the long GF wheelbase. Otherwise I'm a convert to the big wheels. Faster rolling than previous bikes and I can coast past others while they're still peddling. Downhill speed is great. Almost don't wish for full suspension as those big, fat wheels take some of the mickey out of the roots and rock.Climbs anything you aim at.
Bike Setup: Gripshift X.0
Shimano LX FrontDeraileur
a Cross Country Rider
from BedFord NY
Date Reviewed: June 17, 2011
Strengths: Great Frame, G2 Geometry, light for a 29er, color looks better in person, built Strong!
Weaknesses: I think the bike would be nice with thinker tire.
I would like to preface that the last bike I bought I listen to, too many people. It was a good bike but did not suits my needs or the trails. This time around I wanted to know exactly what I getting. I also, plan to have this bike for a while. The trek dealer got me hooked on a $1600 x_caliber, that was before I rode the Cobia. I went to specialized dealer to see if the trek and specialized could compare. I got to the dealer around 6 and closed at 7. Lucky for me, I know the salesperson so we hung out and rode the $1600 and the Cobia.
I stayed at the dealership till 8:15 or so. It was a good I really enjoy the new bike. At the end of the day I know I went with the right bike for me.
FYI I could have afforded the Xcal or Cobia. It was the bike and not price .
Similar Products Used: There are good 29er out there, there are some great 29er but they ONLY person that it matters to is the rider. Cannonade 29er, Trek X Cal, Rockhopper Comp 29er, Giant Talon 2($700) and 1($1000). Felt 29er($2150) This is an investment, I could have bought the X cal but like the ride on the Cobia better. It is all about preference.
a Weekend Warrior
from Seattle, WA, USA
Date Reviewed: June 9, 2011
Strengths: Great component upgrades over last year's model (hydraulic discs, air shock, Sram X7).
Weaknesses: Very low quality brakes. Promax hydraulic brake system with Tektro rotors. The rear brake began squeaking loudly on the 4th mountain ride. Sounds like metal on metal. The entire frame shudders and vibrates when applying the brake. Took the bike in to local Trek dealer. Was told that they have done 15-20 warranty returns on the brakes in the last 4 months and that the manufacturer has stopped accepting warranty cases on the rotor. Evidently a very common problem. Bought a new rotor for the bike, solved the problem.
a Cross Country Rider
from Boston MA
Date Reviewed: May 27, 2011
Strengths: Looks killer, great stance, rolls over anything, very stable
Weaknesses: Comes with a crappy drivetrain
This was my return to a hardtail and I really like my choice. I am 5'9" and weigh 165; I thought the 17.5 was the right size for me until I rode the 19 and understood what the geometry was up to. My stem and bar change has tightened up the cockpit just slightly: the stock bar is 15 degree sweep and my carbon one is 12, the stock stem is 10 deg and it's a 105mm;I put on a 17 deg and it's 100mm. I did change out the drivetrain to one more of my liking. All of that said I have found this to be a fast stable cross country ride. The fork has a nice lockout that allows for some spring even in lockout. I will often lock it going up a singletrack hill and it performs very well. Decending and on technical terrain it holds it's own. NOTE: Have the shop call Rock Shox and get the specs for the Recon oil level; some left the factory low and it makes the fork bouncy without the correct ammount. Mine was low and the change is dramatic. I also keep a check on the air level...properly set-up she's a beauty. I have had no sleepy steering, it feels like a 26 in every way...well except for going over stuff. I have made it a point a number of times not to lift my front wheel when log or rock comes up and just feel the amazing ability of the 29er to roll right over it. For climbing I have found that this climbed well stock but with the changes I made it's a billy goat. It has dropped some weight but numbers are just numbers. The brakes were a concern for me and I really thought I would end up replacing them. I have to say though they have perfromed very well and I have been impressed; they will stay. I will change out the saddle and eventually the wheels. If you are looking for a 29er put this on your list and take it out for a good 2 hr test ride...you'll get hooked.
Bike Setup: (New)SRAM XO rear and X9 front,XO twist shifters, Truvative Stylo cranks, Bontrager RXL big sweep bars, Bontrager 17 deg 100mm stem.
(Came with) RockShox Recon Silver fork, Promax hydraulic brakes, Bontrager Ranger wheels, Jones tires. Bontrager seat and post
a Cross Country Rider
from Minot, ND
Date Reviewed: May 24, 2011
Strengths: Geometry that works, TORA fork, SRAM drivetrain components.
Weaknesses: Heavy wheels and crankset
For only $600 this was a great introduction to the 29er world. This bike retails for over $1100 so I couldn't pass up the deal. The cranks are Deore and a bit heavy. The wheels sport Deore hubs and bontrager rims and come in on the heavy side also. But that is to be expected at this price point as it is an entry level bike. All of the parts on this bike are smart, durable, and effective.
The TORA air fork is more easily adjusted to rider weight than a coil spring fork and makes the price jump from the Momba worth it even at full retail. It has lockout for long climbs and road sections also making the bike more versatile.
Fisher/Trek got the 29er geometry right before most other big manufacturers. The G2 geometry is nearly perfect for me in that it makes this bike ride like a bike. I have no trouble lofting the front of the bike when riding over obsticles. The front does not flop around in low speed maneuvers like some other bikes I tested.
a Cross Country Rider
from Marietta Ga
Date Reviewed: May 4, 2011
Strengths: air fork, hydraulic brakes
Weaknesses: loud breaks
In my opinion this is the best around for the money. The air fork is great for rocky terrain and its 29 inch wheels roll over everything. I had 26 inches on my DB and I can tell a huge difference. it just takes a couple rides to get use to the turning radius (which is not bad at all considering the pros that come with it)You can always upgrade the components if you have to or when they wear out. All in all this is a solid bike, I absolutley love it and would be happier with anything else
Similar Products Used: diamond back response sport
a Weekend Warrior
from Garrett County, MD, USA
Date Reviewed: April 13, 2011
Strengths: Sharp turning (I can turn completely around on sidewalks)
The stock tires actually work much better than expected both on and off road.
Pretty confident at high speeds (hit a 3+ foot drop/turn at 25ish and felt completely comfortable)
By far the best bike I've ever ridden, good all around bike.
Weaknesses: Brakes are loud, but work just fine.
Brakes seem to rub just a little bit, like barely at all. (they don't even slow the wheels down while spinning freely)
Derailleurs took a little while to get broken in, but now are pretty smooth (but not high end)
Great all around bike.
Best bike I've ever ridden.
Not too heavy.
Prolly put 60+ miles on it and it's still working fine.
All of my friends (both bikers and non-bikers think it's awesome.
Similar Products Used: Mid/Low range Specialized 26 MTB, Mid range Cannondale 26 MTB.
Bike Setup: Stock for now, Specialized air tool
a Cross Country Rider
Date Reviewed: March 28, 2011
Strengths: Smooth Ride, Quality Craftsmanship, Color
After test driving darn near every bike in this price range, the Trek Cobia won hands down. This bike had the feel that is was custom built for me and what a pleasure it is to ride. I ride mainly on sand/gravel roads and it just cruises right on down the road. I purposefully ride on top of the washboards in the road and unless they are real severe I barely notice them. If I ever decide to hit the asphalt more than I do now (which I doubt)I will definitely look into some different tires but for now the stock tires are just fine.
Similar Products Used: Haven't had a bike in years. Previous bike was a Specialized Road Bike
Bike Setup: Stock
a Cross Country Rider
from Saint Paul, Mn. USA
Date Reviewed: June 25, 2010
Strengths: Strong frame, smooth ride, comfortable position
I use this to commute. Took off the nubbies and put on Schwalbe Big Apple slicks. Major difference in speed, and quiet! I hate that whine of nubbies on pavement. Slower than my road bike, but easy to carry a backpack without stressing shoulders, arms and hands.
I am only 5'6", 130 lbs., bought the size medium, so the bike is big for me. Too big to use on switchbacks, but I use my 26er Tassajara for that. No problems with brake fade, but they do get stuff in them and start singing.
Climbs great, in or out of saddle. Front fork locks down well enough, but not entirely. Bounce from big balloon tires when out of saddle, but it is fun, like jumping on a mattress. Makes me start thinking.....
Goes over all the road furniture of urban environment, straight up onto curbs,
down rough brick roads, over pot holes.
Smooth and relaxing, I don't feel beat up after long rides. I don't want to get off.
One dis: Big time tail slap due to long wheelbase. Get the arse out of the saddle and you're fine.
Two dis: Heavy.
Even with the Big Apples I can do the trails along the rivers here, even through sand. Would need nubbies only to climb loose surfaces, and even at that I bet just a nubbie on the rear would be good enough. Great rear traction.