Bought the '11 last year on closeout at a LBS for $1300 and change. The stock brake shoes appear to have been contaminated and despite several attempts to clean and break-in they reside in the trash as of last weekend (replaced with Serfas). Also the brakes were not properly bled and the shop was not willing to fix for free (go figure). I tossed the seat (always do) and grips and cut down the bars a few inches (at 6'2" the bars are still 4" too wide). I think the bike is overpriced at MSRP (when specialized bikes come with better builds at the same price point) and my review is based on the price I paid. I changed out the tires (to a 1.9" small block pattern) and think the wheels are a little weak for a 200# rider. Rebuilt the rear wheel last saturday with DT stainless (not anodized) spokes and it should hold up. Bottom line, use some of the money you save to buy a bleed kit (Jenson was cheapest) and brake pads (you should bleed these Avids every year). It's a solid bike and with 1400 miles on mine, it seems to be holding up well.
Strengths: SRAM X9, Juicy 5 Brakes, Fox shocks, Superlight, Great looks, Climbs like a goat, rolls over everything in it's path
Weaknesses: Seat, nothing else yet
This is my first 29er, which I bought used a couple years old. I have owned 7 or 8 26"ers before and everything they say about the 29er is true! Fast, rolls over everything, who needs full suspension, buy a 29er, what a change in biking....wish I would have bought this bike a year ago! This is by far the best bike I have owned and it's replacing my Giant ATX 870 26"er, which I now have up for sale. I still have a Trek 26" that I will keep, but I have a feeling I will be riding this bike every chance I get. I looked at all the reviews on this bike and most of them are all true, not too much wrong with this bad boy. I have the Powder Blue one, which at first I was unsure about, but now I just love it, the color grows on you and with the right accessories it's a pretty sick looking bike. I truly love my GF 29er! If you can get your hands on one of these bikes, don't hesitate, grab it, you will not be disappointed. Buy it used and save yourself a pile of money. Mine is 2 years old, bought new for $2200.00 and I purchased it for $620, what a steal!!!! Start saving today, this bike is all the bike you'll ever need!!!
Strengths: Strong responsive frame, incredibly light, great color.
Weaknesses: None that I can tell so far
Bought my Paragon used from a buddy. Running Sram XO components, stans wheel set, reba race fork. Love this bike. Flies along the single track like a dream. Super light bike, my neighbor has a carbon superfly HT, almost same weight!
Bike Setup: Stans & American Classic wheels
Sram XO components
Noir Carbon crank
Reba race fork
Date Reviewed: June 20, 2012
Strengths: Great components, my model was a 2011, came with x9. I have had no problems with the drivetrain. The fox 32 f100 rl that it came with has taken a lot of punishment from small jumps and hauling balls down hills and has held up exceptionally well. The bontrager mustang wheel set have been great, no problems whatsoever or any tacos thank god. The paragons frame just makes you want to go faster, I go up and down hills as fast as the trail and my body allows and have never felt like my bike was struggling to keep up. It's just a great bike. And the color is pretty awesome I don't know why everyone's hating on it
Weaknesses: Elexer 5 brakes, I didnt include these brakes in the rating because I feel they do not represent the quality of the bike. The brakes have Been bled 3 times, replaced pistons, replaced both organic an steal pads, and have spent many nights in the shop but still the lever will hit the grips without full braking force.
This is a great bike, it does what it's supposed to, bomb down hills and get up just as fast. In the 2 years I have had this bike I have had no problems. If you want a 29er I would recommend it.
Strengths: I like the fact that I got this for way under the MSRP. It's light, strong, and very nimble. It doesn't flex and feel cheap. It's sturdy and gives you that feeling to keep riding. The shock on it, it AWESOME. You can make it almost like a solid shock or make it soft. It's nice because you can change it as your riding. I drove this home in over an hour and a half in the rain. Didn't wipe it down and rode it 2 days later. It never missed a beat. Buy a cheap bike and the gears probably wouldn't work properly. The brake also work great in the rain
I also got the LBS to let me take it out and ride it with other bikes way over the price of the Paragon and way under price. Probably alot more bike then I needed but I figured if I spent this much I would ride it and not let it sit going to waste. I would say for the money I got a well built bike.
a Cross Country Rider
Date Reviewed: July 15, 2011
Strengths: Rolls over everything, light, tracks very well, comfortable, nimble, good fork and wheels. Tubeless set up was a breeze.
Weaknesses: color scheme is a combination of matte light gray, matte medium gray and matte charcoal gray. The salesperson called it "stealthy" but it's really very gray. Not much of a weakness, though. I'm getting a little gray myself.
A major weakness was the Schwalbe Rocket Ron tires. They were more airless than tubeless. The rear constantly sprung leaks along a seam in the sidewalls. The front was fine until a month after purchase when it blew off the rim while on a bike rack. Neither I nor two bikes shops could keep it on the rim past 20 psi. LBS gave me two Bontrager 29-3 tires in exchange. These are a HUGE improvement.
29ers in general: I rented a 29er before buying one to see how it would be. Sounds like a cliche, but I couldn't remember having more fun on a mt bike in years. Pretty much everything people have said is true: they roll better, they are generally faster everywhere cross country riders ride, I haven't missed my full suspension bike, blah, blah blah. It's all true, but I wonder what it will be like when all of us 29er converts get on brand new full suspension 26" "clown bikes" in 10 years. We'll see. Whatever happens, riding a bike is fun, so who cares?
Paragon in specific: very stiff laterally; surprisingly compliant in the rough stuff; very stable; tracks like a champ - you point it and it shoots; though it's a size larger than I thought I would need, it is actually nimble - I took it on tight single track up at Tahoe and it never had a problem zipping around the ax heads, trees, boulders, bear scat, etc.; Schwalbe Rocket Ron tires had to be replaced - wouldn't hold air, wouldn't stay on the rim - replaced with Bontrager 29-3s with no muss, no fuss, no more tire sealant spraying all over creation; I'm getting used to the very wide, sweeping handlebars, but they're ergo and light; the saddle is a little on the soft side but fine; the brakes are fine but who wants to slow down?; the crankset is chunky but it works fine.
I did a lot of shopping and I don't think you can get a better bike for the money.
Similar Products Used: This is my first 29er. Replaces my Santa Cruz Superlight. Had a series of hardtails, both steel and alu before that.
Bike Setup: Fox F29 fork, SRAM X9 rear der., Bontrager Mustang Tubeless Ready rims, Rocket Ron tires (replaced with Bontragers), Bontrager stem, handlebars, saddle, seat post, Avid Elixer 5 brakes, X7 shifters, X9 rear der, some obscure Shimano fr der, added some ODI Rogue grips, Chromag post QR and Titec bar ends
a Cross Country Rider
from Jerusalem, Israel
Date Reviewed: July 9, 2011
Strengths: Good geometry for my body type (6'3", long torso). Makes me a better rider. Rigid - good for climbing while standing. Strong - frame did not bend when a car crashed into my back wheel and the bike and I hit the road hard. Classy but low-key paint job.
Weaknesses: Stock 17 degree sweep handlebar concentrated pressure on heels of my hands = pain. (Trek has now noticed and changed stock to 12 degrees.) I switched to Niner Flatbar w/9 degree sweep - a big improvement. Seat is a bit gnarly - want to upgrade to WTB Rocket. Avid Elixir brakes often rub/squeak event when centered - the shop guy told me this is a chronic problem with them. Why could Trek not have chose something better?
A superb bike. Needed some upgrades to get the cockpit dialed in and comfy, but aside from that, great. Worth every penny.
Similar Products Used: None. Have not had a mountain bike since 1990. Been riding a Bianchi Axis cyclocross bike since then up until I got the Paragon this spring.
Bike Setup: Came with Schwalbe Rocket Rons. A fine tire, but I will be switching the rear to a Maxis Crosstrack for lower rolling resistance. Will keep the RRs on the front.
a Weekend Warrior
from Albany, NY
Date Reviewed: June 3, 2011
Strengths: Very stiff and snappy. Excellent geometry for tall riders. They have improved the weld at the seatpost site. I broke my old Paragon there and the new frame is definitely more solid struturally.
Weaknesses: None so far
This bike rips....period. I owned an older stock but broke the frame. Fisher sent me a 2011 and they have corrected the previously flawed frame. It is rigid and I'm up to speed immediately after a few strokes. A great deal b/c the value of this bike exceeds the price.
Bike Setup: Easton wheel set, Hayes Stroker Trail brakeset, Fox Talas29,
a Cross Country Rider
from Boise, ID, USA
Date Reviewed: April 19, 2011
Strengths: Best bike I have owned by far. I'd rather ride this bike than any full suspension bike I have owned on any xc trails. Its a great climbing bike and descends well on all but really rocky rough trails. Great combination of durability and weight reduction.
Weaknesses: NONE....have put this bike through the ringer since 2006 and have not had one issue.
Its not a Free Ride Bike or a DownHill bike....its a moderately priced Race equipped XC bike.
from Port Jefferson, NY USA
Date Reviewed: April 1, 2011
Strengths: Lightweight, solid groupset, not too much to upgrade (IMO), Decent wheels, durable.
Weaknesses: Big Sweep Bars-might be ok for the West Coast, but here on the East Coast riding with those things would be suicide. Waaay too many tight spots on our trails.
I was blown away with this bike. I actually switched from a 29er ('07 X-Caliber) for a 26er (2010 Trek 8000). I didn't like the handling of my old X-Cal, and wanted faster acceleration and nimble handling, so I went with the Trek 8000 and sold the X-Cal.
After doing some research on the new Trek/Fisher Collection bikes, I decided to try the big wheels again. They suit the racing I'll be doing better (endurance and XTERRA tri), as well as seem to be the 'missing link' between hardtails and FS.
Anyway, I pulled the trigger on the Paragon and have absolutely no regrets. Straight out of the box this bike handled very similar to my Trek 8000 26er. It accelerates slightly slower, but more than makes up for it once things get rolling. It's stable and nimble, with pinpoint steering. This bike is just as whippy as any 26er I've ridden.
Bottom line is it's an unbelievable value for the price you pay, and more than race worthy right out of the box. Simple upgrades would make it even lighter, rivaling even the carbon HT's Trek offers.
Contrary to what most say, I actually find the stock saddle (Bontrager Evoke 2) to be rather comfy. I'm used to a firmer saddle, but the extra cusion of the Bontrager saddle was in just the right places and didn't feel too squishy at all.
If you have any reservations about purchasing this bike, don't! You won't regret it. Trek and Fisher have combined for an amazing product.
Bike Setup: Stock except seatpost (swapped for carbon Bontrager model) and handlebars (swapped for Bontrager Race Light flat bar)
a Cross Country Rider
Date Reviewed: March 21, 2011
Strengths: Fantastic bike, top-notch components, great geometry, very reliable, reasonably light. Reba is very flexible and tunable. Can run 2.3" tires in the rear.
Weaknesses: Since I got mine in 2006, Trek has been decreasing the level of the components and increasing the price of the bike. It's just not the same anymore.
I love this bike... the only reason I'm selling it is to go to a full-suspension, and am almost sad to see it go. I've no complaints at all, everything has been flawless. Enough that I'm building my new bike with the same component setup, just updated to 2011 parts.
I don't think you can find a better hardtail 29er from a major manufacturer.
Similar Products Used: Fisher Montare 1998. Beat the snot of this beast and its still rolling even after breaking just about every piece thats bolted on the frame 1 or 2 times over.
Bike Setup: Stock except for seat.
a Cross Country Rider
Date Reviewed: February 13, 2011
Strengths: Best handling bike Ive ridden. Really solid frame, feels like you can throw it around the trail.
Weaknesses: The paint was peeling off the brand new frame I was testing. It seems like theyre actually using decals instead of just painting the frame.
This really is the best handling bike Ive ridden. I was throwing the bike into turns and never felt unbalanced. The frame is really stiff and the drivetrain seems extremely efficient. I could accelerate like I was on a 26er. The component combination was extremely solid. It felt like a much smoother shifting, riding, and accelerating bike than the Stumpy 29.
a Cross Country Rider
from Houston, TX, USA
Date Reviewed: January 25, 2011
Strengths: Awesome drive-train. Never Used SRAM before, very happy with it!
Weaknesses: None so far
This bike is great, my first mountain bike(also my first 29er). Came from Road Biking and couldn't be more excited/pleased. The whole Trek/Gary Fisher experience has been a great one, they threw in some Schwalbe upgrades and I got some nice eggbeaters to go with the bike. It looks great, it shifts great, it eats trail like theres no tomorrow, and the sweep bars are comfortable. Some people complain about the seat, it's all about preference(and shorts!) but I haven't had any problems with it. If you have the money and are considering it, buy it.
Bike Setup: Stock, crank brothers eggbeater 3ti pedals
from Pittsburgh, Pa
Date Reviewed: December 15, 2010
Strengths: Fairly light for a 29er and Fast. Good spec overall, especially the brakes and the fork.
Weaknesses: Chain suck problems and uncomfortable seat. Stock tires are also a bit lame.
Now I have read the other reviews and understand I am probably a light guy, 5'8" and 155 lbs. But I have absolutely beat the crap out of this bike and it has not flinched. I race on my college's mountain bike team and I have ridden this bike in races from xc to full on downhill and dual slalom. The wheels and frame have been great. The bike has a great ride and was fairly easy to get used to on the change over from 26 inch wheels. The only real problem I have had is some serious chain suck problems with the front chain-rings and I haven't had a problem like that on any other bike. The chain will sometimes get wrapped around the whole granny gear and get stuck between the gear and the frame. But that problem aside the bike is amazing and I couldn't be happier.
I went to a different LBS and they had a leftover '11 Paragon. It was a 19" which felt better than 17.5 Treks. I'm actually between sizes and would rather go larger. Anyway, I didn't negotiate with him because I wanted to do some research on the bike. It's all been positive and the test rid ... Read More »
I purchased a Gary Fisher Paragon frame from The Pros Closet. The frame has never been built up. The guys at TPC said it is roughly a 2000-2002. I went through about 16 pages of the GF picture thread and could not find pictures of Paragon frames in the same paint scheme or year. Does anyone know rou ... Read More »
anyone use one yet? I was thinking about making one, and I was somewhat concerned about doing that, but [URL="http://www.paragonmachineworks.com/cgi-bin/commerce.cgi?preadd=action&key=MS2009"]since Paragon is making one[/URL] it seems more interesting.Read More »
I have done some googling, but it's still not totally clear to me. Can I build a frame with Paragons Rocker drops with 135mm QR inserts, and then swap the inserts out to use a 142x12mm axle? It would be nice if I could build a 142x12 frame without making new jig parts.Read More »