Product DescriptionNothing beats the efficiency and simplicity of a 29er hardtail. Great for XC racing, marathons, 24-hour racing, or simply shredding singletrack. Upgrades from Mamba:
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Date Reviewed: January 14, 2014
Strengths: Fit. Overall reliability and durability.
Weaknesses: Rear rim (somewhat anticipated because I'm a heavy rider on a hardtail).
Rode bright-red, 2012 Cobia 29er all summer on everything from paved cycle trails to greasy chutes on the south side of Fish Creek and both sides of the reservoir. Rode it right through the flood of 2013. Major improvement from my beloved cro-mo's of yore.
The red Fish is comfortable, predictable and reasonably durable for a bike in this price range ($950 Cdn).
Replaced the stock Bonty 2.10 tires with Kenda Nevegal 2.25 out back and Tiogo Psycho Genius 2.25 on front, both mounted with direction arrows pointed forward. The tire swap opened this thing up to much more off-road terrain, making it far more sure footed in all circumstances. Extra rolling resistance on paved commutes is well worth the swap. Didn't have to, but swapped out the stock bear-trap pedals for some studded flats. Both work well. Seat and bars are fine. Will get new grips this season.
After a summer of riding, all the gears still shift positively, the brakes work fine and the shocks are good.
Having left the rigid cro-mo 26er behind, it took me a few rides to catch up to the 29er geometry (the 23-inch frame at times makes steep plunges somewhat daunting), but this thing eats up the trail. Reduced front-wheel deflection and more ground clearance at the crank makes for a more confident ride over roots and other xc-trail obstacles.
Did I mention this thing is comfy? I'm 6 feet, 230+ and this thing just feels right. Not nearly the neck/upper back stiffness I used to get on the old stuff.
The only thing from a summer of xc-style trails and urban commuting (no DJ or serious DH) is one busted spoke in the rear rim. Getting some humming out of the rear cassette at certain RPM and the brakes squawk a bit, but it isn't affecting performance.
Will probably upgrade rear hoop before summer 2014 arrives. After that, just ride.
I like the Trek/Gary Fisher Cobia 29er. The big, red Fish puts a smile on my face every time I throw a leg over.
I can recommend buying one. The only reason I didn't give it a five-chili overall rating is because there's probably a better bike in the Trek/Fisher line at a higher price point.
Anxiously waiting for the snow to melt in the eastern slopes of the Rockies.
Duration Product Used: one summer
Price Paid: $950.00
Purchased At: Cycle Path
Similar Products Used: None, unless you consider '90s rigid 26er cro-mo crates similar.
Bike Setup: 2012 Trek/Gary Fisher Cobia 29er hardtail, 23-inch frame. SRAM X7 rear, X5 front derailleurs. Whatever rear 10-speed cassette, chain rings and SRAM crank came stock with the bike. Shimano XT front hydraulic, Hayes rear hydraulic brakes. Recon air fork.
Date Reviewed: August 1, 2013
Strengths: FYI: This review is for the 2013 model. A great frame, 10 speed cassette and Rockshox solo air fork provide an awesome platform for you to immediately enjoy straight from the shop, and also down the road when you're ready for some upgrades. Trek's G2 Geometry is spot on, at least for my body type.
Weaknesses: My 15.5 inch completely stock cobia came in at around 30 pounds even. That is a little on the heavy side, but understandable for the price range of this bike. The Avid Elixir 1 brakes equipped have a known issue affectionately known as the "Turkey Warble". After about a month or less of average riding a very loud, and potentially dangerous sound/shuttering vibration starts to develop when the brakes are applied.
Duration Product Used: 4 Months
Price Paid: $1100.00
Similar Products Used: Specialized Carve 29, Trek Super Fly 100 AL Elite
Bike Setup: Recon Solo air, Bonti AT-850 wheelset laced around Shimano hubs, X7 double crank with GXP BB, 10 speed X9 rear derailleur, X7 shifters, Avid BB7's, Specialized BG saddle and the rest is Bontrager specials.
Date Reviewed: July 29, 2013
Strengths: Price, geometry and fit, performance
Weaknesses: Trek needs to develop more comfortable seats
Duration Product Used: 8 months
Price Paid: $950.00
Purchased At: Bobs Bicycles
Date Reviewed: July 19, 2013
Strengths: Researching for a 29er in this price range? This is the bike you will want. Just got off mine --again today-- and have put it through commuting, single track, rocks, stumps, log hopping, gravel trails, and up and down off my roof of my car many a time since I bought it. It rakes over rocks on NC mountain trails as easily as it helped get my groceries and both are possible with the lock out fork. I have noticed most of these reviews are from some good sized men. For a different perspective, I am a woman (5'9" and 145lbs.) and found my rides equally as enjoyable as my male counterparts have eloquently written here. That diversity of positive experience all probably speaks well of the bike too.
Weaknesses: You might want some new pedals.
Date Reviewed: April 4, 2013
Strengths: Fit. Comfort.
Weaknesses: None yet. Will shake it out more and update if possible. This is a just-out-of-the-box, first-impression review.
I am a large (6-foot-1), heavy (230-pound) man.
Until today, I'd ridden nothing but rigid cro-mo mountain bikes on 26-inch rims, frame sizes from 21-22 inch (down-tube length) since 1984. I was loyal to the cro-mo rigids because they were durable, reliable, versatile and reasonably inexpensive. I replaced the first one because I donated it. I replaced the middle two because they got stolen and I finally broke down and bought the Cobia yesterday because it was a deal and my current rigid (1990 Bridgestone Trailblazer MTB-6) needs brake pads (rim-pull), a bottom bracket and some serious TLC.
I was used to having a sore left shoulder/neck after every ride because that's just the way it was.
Took the shiny, fire-engine red Cobia for a light spin down a paved lake trail and a still-snow-covered stretch of single track. Had the shocks locked out because the only fork I've known to this point is cro-mo.
Rode for about 10 km, got home, and neck and shoulders were not sore. At all. A similar spin on my old cro-mo would have set off the discomfort within about five minutes.
Score one for the salesman (I'll call him Dan) at my LBS (Cyclepath, Calgary).
I really wanted the 2012 X-Caliber on sale, but they only had 21-inch. Dan insisted the 23-inch frame was the better fit after seeing me on both the 21-inch X-Cal and 23-inch Cobia.
LBS wins. Fisher wins. Trek wins. I spend $250 less than the X-Cal but don't get REBAs, better crank and other bits.
I'd read tons on MTBR about the various bikes out there. I really wanted Rocky Mountain (Ritchey out of my price range). Near as I can tell, Rocky goes 21-inch, max. Giant Talon 22-inch felt good in the store, but they didn't have any 2012 XTCs left in that size.
And I can source Gary Fisher's name back to the mid-80s because my buddy had one (Yup, fire-engine red). That figured in my decision to go with the Cobia, along with Dan's insistence I needed the 23-inch frame size.
Plenty of MTBR reviews have cited the contact points (pedals, seat and grips) as issues. I was pleasantly surprised by the pedals. I'm not a bear-trap fan because they're usually on the small side. These ones accommodated my feet very well and had a very positive grip on my shoe (a well-worn pair of low-cut, waterproof hikers with some tread left on the Vibram soles.)
Not enough saddle time to offer a good opinion on the seat, but because the bike fit so well it wasn't an issue. The bars are a little wide and will probably get cut down an inch on each end. The grips are marginal, but will be replaced with grip-shifters at some point.
Once I can get to Fish Creek and some of the crit-style single track down there, I'll better be able to speak to the Cobia's durability and reliability. I don't downhill or dirtjump, so this bike will be used primarily as a cross-country, single-track mule. I try not to beat on my stuff, but the nature of trail-riding does make durability/reliability one of the key thing's I look for.
But, for now, not having any back/shoulder/neck discomfort during/after a ride made this $950 purchase worth every cent.
I'm grateful for whatever Gary Fisher did to fit large people onto mountain bikes. And even more grateful to the knowledgeable staff at my LBS for fitting me to the proper-sized Fisher frame.
Looking forward to some XC single-track pedalling in the near future (if it ever gets warm.)
Duration Product Used: 30 mins
Price Paid: $950.00
Purchased At: Cyclepath, Calgary
Similar Products Used: None. This is my first 29er. Rode rigid cro-mo until now.
Bike Setup: 10-speed cassette, three-ring SRAM X5 crank (30 speeds total) SRAM X5 shifters. Shimano XT hydraulic front brake. Hayes Comp hydraulic rear brake. Shimano Deore front derailleur. Stock pedals, seat, grips. Bontrager stem, rims.
Date Reviewed: April 3, 2013
Strengths: Geometry, durability, and comfort.
Weaknesses: Breaks a bit noisy
Date Reviewed: March 4, 2013
Strengths: Value. Beats any bike in this price range in terms of components. Lifetime warranty on frame from Trek is also great.
Weaknesses: Color would not be my first choice (or 2nd or 3rd) but its not that bad; White seat is a terrible idea. Mine is now light brown.
- Bike has handled the few singletrack trails I've done very well and it rolls over roots and rocks without flinching.
- Handling, being a 29er, isn't the best but you get used to it pretty quickly.
- I am a big guy (280 lbs) and this bike has handled my weight quite well.
- The fork is really great and I am glad I decided to get a bike with air coil. It is great being able to adjust the PSI depending on where I am riding.
- SRAM X5 drivetrain works fine and I do not see myself upgrading this until something breaks.
- Hayes Dyno Comp hydraulic brakes stop on a dime. Have had them mudded up pretty good and they still worked great.
- Only change so far has been the addition of a bash guard and the subtraction of the big gear which I rarely used.
- Local Trek store has been awesome with support and advice.
About 100 miles in and I do not have any regrets. I may look to upgrade the wheelset but I am not in a hurry to do so unless something fails. Look around and compare the bikes in this price range but I don't think you will find anything that offers as much as the Cobia does. Bike is sold and setup as a XC bike but it can definitely handle some dirt. Great hardtail for anyone not willing to drop $2-3k for a FS but also still wants to ride in the woods.
Duration Product Used: 2 months
Price Paid: $900.00
Purchased At: Trek Pittsburgh
Date Reviewed: March 2, 2013
Strengths: air shocks
Date Reviewed: January 12, 2013
-SRAM 3x10 speed
-RockShox Recon Silver air fork
Weaknesses: -Slight weird feel in brakes
-Seat can get dirty VERY easily
I really live the blue/black/white color scheme. My older F9 uses the same colors. The 3x10 is awesome, but may be a little too many gears. The air fork is incredible, and absorbs all of the bumps (it is the 100mm fork). The tires are good, but not as grippy as the all mountain tires that I put on my F9.
The Avid Elixir bakes are not the highest end, so a small problem can be expected. Because there is a white seat, it can get dirty very easily.
It is a great bike overall.
Price Paid: $960.00
Purchased At: Claremont Cycle Depo
Similar Products Used: My Cannondale F9, Friend's F7, other friend's Specialized Hardrock, Dad's Trek 3700 Disk, Uncle's Trek 3900 disk
Bike Setup: Stock, except for added bike computer, stronger pedals from my F9, seat from my F9
Date Reviewed: December 26, 2012
Strengths: The price is right!!! I just purchased this bike for $799 and rode the bike straight home. Gears are great the performance on bike handles well and love the 29ers,
Weaknesses: Pedals and breaks make a squeaky noise.
Date Reviewed: December 1, 2012
Strengths: Outstanding bike. Have put well over 450 miles of upstate New York single track. I bought this bike after I bought a 12 Hardrock disc, and knew that I was seriously getting back into the sport after a good 15 year lay off. Hard to fine Rock Shox Recons on a $1200 bike, usually you have to fork over a few more hundred for it, but the Gary Fisher Trek series 29er's seems to be a awesome line up. Good Value for the money. I was either gonna pick this or the Carve comp, the Carve had an SLX RD and Deore shifters(only 9 speed) with a Rock Shox XC32... I weight 210, so the air fork had me sold along with the way the cock pit set up was...
Over all though. Nice bike. And I really don't know why everyone always says "upgrade this, upgrade that" in terms of Drivetrains. I ride hard and all year long. This summer I rode this bike almost 3 days a week right up until about a month ago, which now because of winter, I choose to just ride on the weekends.
I have ridden bikes (including my own) with drivetrains from Sram X3, X5, X7 . Shimano Zee. Deore and Acera. And to be perfectly honest with you. They all function fine to me. I do not notice the difference in terms of durability. Now in terms of "feel" while shifting, thats another story. My Cobia still has the X5 rear mech, however it has X7 shifter due to something I did to the product, the product only broke because of me. It def shifts a little smoother than the x5 and is quieter as well. But like I said, in terms of all of the Rear Mechs I have ridden listed above, I do and did not notice a difference in terms of durability. They all and have taken the same amount of punishment and still function. Hell I ride my 12 Hardrock (which I upgraded to Panaracer Xc fire pros, Bontrager stem, lock on grips and Rock Shox xc 28 's mg. Which I must say, after all of the bad things I have heard about XC 28's, whenever I choose to ride this bike over my cobia (which is not very often) I still have a nice ride and am very comfortable riding the XC 28 fork. Good product by rock shox..
Date Reviewed: November 30, 2012
Strengths: This is My first 29er hard tail and it rocks! It is super lite, climbs quick and can take a beating. Great fork, frame and drive train.
Weaknesses: I've had mine about a year now and put 500 miles on it. First thing, rip the brakes off. Hayes is worthless and terrifying. Put something-anything else on. Upgrade tires, rotors and crank set. I did a basic upgrade to the Shimano diore set. Rock some ODI grips and some new pedals. You will have a mean hard tail. The color scheme isn't the most likable feature either. Be rough to resale. People love darker colors.
Date Reviewed: October 14, 2012
Date Reviewed: September 29, 2012
Strengths: Smooth shifting and ride, great quality parts for the price, takes a beating, lightweight, looks great
Weaknesses: Brakes are squeaky
Date Reviewed: August 26, 2012
Strengths: 30 speed , frame warranty, Rock Shock silver shock and hydraulic brakes
Weaknesses: Saddle, petals and grips.
Duration Product Used: 1 mth
Price Paid: $1135.00
Purchased At: http://libertybikes.
Similar Products Used: First mountain bike
Bike Setup: N/A
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