Can't decide between form and function? Good news: you don't have to. Sawyer is the perfect blend of rippability and retro styling. Custom-butted Platinum Series chromoly steel, 29er, G2 Geometry, split dropout and Chromoly steel w/custom geometry, 51mm offset, suspension correct axle to crown, disc brake mount Front suspension.
Strengths: Generous components, Good breaks and hardware, plenty of room for the biggest tires, smooth frame, the paint holds up well and the battleship grey hides any scratches
Weaknesses: The hubs, at first the split dropouts are fustrating to adjust, tires are only good for cyclocross or some fire road, I have had a few trips back to the store with a defective rim, broken crank retension bolt
I held out for a deal and found last years model for $1100 at sunshine cycles tallahassee. It Came home and was changed into a singlespeed within an hour. The stock tires I find are lame and I quickly opted for some hardy 2.4 maxis ardents to suply the suttle cushoin that I was looking for. The bike climbs well and responds wel under ressure. I went 6 months without suspension until I moved back home to the root infested lands of central florida where I took advantage of my trek cobia's overhaul and put my rockshox recon 120mm up front. It signifigantly rose my bottom bracket and made it a little out of balnce so I am currently looking out for a 20mm spacer to place in my fork to level it out. The components are a good value spare for the hubs which I quickly relaced a new set of deores, which the new model year adapted. This is my second 29er and it has proved itself well and shows promise to continue doing so. The bike is a versitle beast that will take you anywhere though it should have come with some braze ons for a rack for those that use it as a comuter. I have a crazy idea to convert it to a cross bike fitted with a 9 speed huband drop bars but for the time being it is y singlespeed demon. The split dropouts are well engineered though when adgusting the wheel take care to watch the wheel as you must adjust both sides and ensude that the dropout is tensioned against the set screw or as oon as you hit the trail the tension will settle and something will go arye.
Similar Products Used: Trek cobia 2011, going through complete overhaul
Bike Setup: Stock crank breaks wheels handlebar stem and seatpost clamp. Deore hubs surly chainring crank brothers candy, ergons, nier yawyd cap, rockshox recon with poploc, maxxis ardents, kmc ultimate ss chain, wtb speed v, Cane creek thudbuster, Shimano aluminum skewers,origin 8 redcrainring bolts, origin 8 cassette spacers, bontrager 5mm cages.
Date Reviewed: July 19, 2012
Strengths: Looks great. Rides fast. Handles well. Stops well. I love this bike. I estimate I climb a beast of a hill near my house 25% more efficiently than with my full suspension.
Weaknesses: Stock gear changing stuff sucks. I went all new SRAM X-9s. Much better. Disk brakes scrape alot when I'm just riding around, and when I turn it gets worse momentarily. Shouldn't be rubbing already. (even right after my free "tune" from the bike store I bought it).
Heavy. But so is the fat around my gut.
I ride this to work on crushed granite type trail--works really, really well with those fat tires just floating above the stuff at high speed. I drift sometimes when turning but it feels stable the way it tracks. I want to take it off truly road but I'm scared--I guess I shouldn't be. I just always think my full suspension is made for the Greenbelt and this mountain bike ranch I go to.
Strengths: 2012 model has a great paint job, durable and a nice shade of bronze. Good departure from the battleship gray. Because of the split chain/seat stay, I converted it to a belt-drive by Gates (32x20) The frame is steel so it flexes like steel. Old school design is eye catching and people don't realize that its a true mountain bike, rigid and singlespeed until they stop and take a good hard look.
Since Trek runs longer on the top tube, I opted for a 17.5" frame and a 100mm / 0 rize stem by Thomson and a CF handlebar with a 3/4 inch rise. I stand 5' 10" and the bike feels nimble in both standing and seated efforts. The stock 2.25 tires provide some relief on rocky trails.
The 51mm offset fork puts the weight of the rider slightly behind center of the front tire giving the bike a very stable feel at any speed. I can often ride no hands on fire roads at slow speed (less than 10mph) just to illustrate the stability.
Weaknesses: Even with the carbon drive system by gates, CF handlebar, Thomson stem, this bike is heavy and is a beast to climb with as a singlespeed. Having said that though, I am still running the stock wheelset and stock tires. Stock wheels and tires are a pain and despite their 'tubeless ready' status, the tire is not tubeless specific and you the rim strip it came with was so poorly installed that I kept getting flats because the rim tape kept folding over and exposing the spoke holes. Using Velox cloth rim tape now and that works really well.
Once I change wheels and tires, I have no doubt it will be a bit more fun to point it uphill.
Last I checked the weight is right around 25lbs. Not bad for all that steel.
The first time I saw this bike, I just had to have it. I was concerned about the weight initially and I was very apprehensive about ordering it since most bike shops don't stock it; even Trek Stores don't keep any on-hand sot test driving one is not even an option. Once you order it, it's yours. What I did to help in the decision making process is finding a Trek hardtail that had similar dimmensions and test riding them.
Trek retailers, for some odd reason, want to push you into the 'size' based on your height. Every place I went told me to go with the 19". Longer top tubes are unique to Trek and despite 'expert' advice, I went with the 17.5" (I am 5'10") Best decision ever! Bike weighs just slightly less (less metal) and it didn't feel 'too big'.
On the trail, as a singlespeed, the bike soaks up bumps reasonably well for a steel frame. As far as flex, sure it does quite a bit of that but I'm glad it does and it doesn't flex so much that you lose power in your pedal stroke, not that I can feel anyway. I upgraded the crankset to Shimano Saint and that gave it a stiffer feel under effort. CF handlebars and a Thompson stem gave the handling a bit more responsiveness more so than the stock Crivitz handlebar (mustache bars) Bontrager 90mm stem / 6 degree rise.
Bottom line, between my Sawyer and my Specialized Stumpjumper, if it's less than a 2.5 hour ride, I often grab my Sawyer unless of course there's a lot of climbing involved. I like that it's unique and I often tout it as my converted beach cruiser. Only true SS / MTB riders can size up the geometry and the parts on it and know that it's a full on cross county machine.
My favorite part is riding up hills with buddies on full suspension bikes and beating most of them to the top. They beat me downhill of course but I don't mind. Don't get me wrong, I have a full suspension Stumpjumper with a 2x10 drivetrain so technology comes in handy when I'm on long half day / all day jaunts.
Most of the time though, I like the purity of an uncomplicated, really quiet bike. Being rigid, riding the Sawyer helps me spot better lines and being singlespeed, it helps me with big effort gnashing of teeth and legs climbing and helps develop a really efficient spin on flats and rollers. All skills that benefit me when riding my full suspension bike.
Ultimately, I didn't get this bike to be a weight weanie. I bought this bike so that it will be my go-to bike as long as it holds up. Eventually, the shocks on my FS bike will leak, the derailleurs will need replacing and long after I retire it or sell it on craigslist, I will still have this trusty steed to tool around on with my family or tearing up local singletrack trails with my buddies. It's functional in all arenas of riding and boy is it simple to maintain and operate. Should you get one? If you like bucking the norm and like an uncomplicated bike, perhaps you should. It does come stock with 2x10 drivetrain (2012). It's been a great ride and I probably put more miles on it than my Stumpy. At least that's what my GPS says. Of course, when I like to just go and ride, no computers, GPS, phone or music, this is the bike I grab.
Nothing beats the sound of breaking dirt beneath your tires!!! Happy trails y'all!!!
a Cross Country Rider
from Cincinnati, Ohio USA
Date Reviewed: January 3, 2012
Strengths: Feels like a softtail with all the metal on and around the seatpost tube. Beautiful frame creates many compliments and belt drive capability.
Weaknesses: a bit heavy but you don't notice when you ride it. A bit low on the bottom bracket since I now hit stuff with my pedals when I never did before
I absolutely love this bike and I only ride it on singletrack of all sorts. I just got back from taking it to the mountains of VA and it had no problems at all. Bike feels very responsive and like I said in the weaknesses the weight but it is not a bit deal at all. I think this bike can handle anything you throw at it I even used this for a 75 mile ride and I felt fine afterwards.
The reason this cost me only $38 bucks is it was a warranty replacement after breaking my Ferrous which I also liked. I have broken many bikes all in the same spot which is the weld right at the seatpost top tube junction so I hope with all this steel meeting in that same spot, 5 different weld spots, it will hold up to my abuse.
I might go to beltdrive this spring but not totally sure.
Last thing I do strike pedals on stuff which I never do before I assume it is due to the lower bottom bracket. Oh one last thing this has horizontal dropouts and my previous SS had EBB which I had no problem with but the horizontal needs to be tended to more often which is not a big deal just have to remember to give everything a tighten before every other ride.
Similar Products Used: Trek Ferrous, GF RIG, Trek Paragon
Bike Setup: SS setup with Fox fork Bonty duster wheels and sram crankarms and sram low riser handlebars, BB7 brakes.
a Cross Country Rider
Date Reviewed: January 1, 2012
Strengths: Style, flexibility in your setup (geared or SS, chain- or belt-drive), some very decent stock components (bar/stem/saddle/seatpost/crank/rims), smooth ride, and did I mention style?
Weaknesses: These are all nit-picky: weight (even though it only bothers me when I read comments complaining about it), some lower-end stock components (Deore hubs, X5 shifters, stock grips, Juicy brakes), fork is heavier/stiffer than it needs to be, no 1x9 or SS factory option, long-cage derailleur stock instead of medium-cage, extra horizontal tube limits the size of water bottles that you can carry, people constantly asking me what kind of bike it is.
After a year of riding non-technical trails/singletrack, forestry roads and pavement, I still love mine and would buy it again if I had the chance. Sure, it’s a little on the heavy side, but I haven’t noticed a real speed difference between it and my previous 25-lb Cannondale. I haven't found the frame to be too flexy, and actually wish that it had a little more flex at times. Other than the style of the frame (if you like it), the big selling point is the ability to set it up any way that you want. Weight weenies should look elsewhere, but the Sawyer has something to offer nearly everyone else looking for a hardtail.
It’s perfectly rideable in stock form, but look at all the pictures of them and you’ll notice that nobody keeps them stock for long. The frame is obviously the soul of the Sawyer: it's as close to custom as you'll get from something that's mass-produced, and the welds on mine look good. There is a run in the paint on my seat tube, but it's not noticeable enough for me to worry about. The split stays allow you to go with a belt-drive, and I haven’t had any issues with the swinging dropouts other than there not being a lot of clearance between the frame and skewer. The Crivitz bar is comfortable for me and I have no plans on swapping it out, but the 25 degree sweep may be a big much for some. The stock grips are way too thin and hard for my liking. The stock stem is highly decent, but it looked out of place with the silver faceplate and I replaced it with something a little beefier. The stock saddle and seatpost are also surprising decent. I found the little ring to be useless and ditched the front derailleur and shifter, and wish that Trek sold these as 1x9's and used that money to upgrade the Deore hubs to something a little more durable (they’re holding up fine for now, but I know their day is coming). The Duster rims are holding up well and certainly look the business once you de-sticker them. The stock tires aren’t bad, but I guess I can complain that they’re wire beads. The Juicy brakes were replaced with BB7's immediately based on past experience. The Firex crank is quiet and spins like a fan (no problems with the BB so far). The X7 rear derailleur is working fine, but the long-cage looks ridiculous and isn’t necessary with the factory 2x9 set-up. The 12-36 Shimano SLX cassette is good if you need that kind of gearing, but I swapped it for a 11-32 SRAM PG990 and cut 1/3lb in the process. Overall it's a decent package that was likely put together by a committee: it's not the ideal bike for anyone in stock form, but with a little work you can make it into the ideal bike for you (within the limitations of a 7lb hardtail frame, of course).
Similar Products Used: Several 80’s and 90’s vintage steel-frame bikes, Cannondale Caffeine, Haro Ally.
Bike Setup: 1x9 using stock crank & 32 tooth chainring, SRAM PG990 cassette (11-32), BB7 brakes with SD7 levers, ODI Rogue grips, Race Face stem, Salsa Flip-Off skewers/seatpost.
a Weekend Warrior
from Dalby, N yorkshire, England
Date Reviewed: October 24, 2011
Strengths: looks, comfort and stability, versatility
Weaknesses: brakes and tyres
as my first 29er I am really pleased with my purchase. I wanted a versatile winter ride, the conditions locally in winter are pretty much MUD MUD MUD so I wanted something easy maintenance, I had tried 26" SS but not sure if it was for me so am now trying the 29er route to ease the bumps and lumps without the expense of shock and fork maintenance in the winter.
I have to say it makes a big difference to a normal hardtail. I'm no weight weannie, at 6'1 and 15 stone and ended up with a medium for comfort. I am able to climb easily with the fast xc lads, great on single track, lacks a bit of lightness on the front end for technical trails but that maybe the bars or me getting used to bikes riding differently.
to sum up - great fun and loving it. it will never be my mojo, but it is winter!!
Similar Products Used: first ever owned 29er. demoed hifi pro and singular
a Weekend Warrior
from Kobe, Japan
Date Reviewed: September 26, 2011
Strengths: Unbreakable. Fast (going dh due to its weight). awesome handling. G2 geomtery is the next big thing as it really provides smooth and efficient steering response.
Weaknesses: Heavy as tank. the fork is very stiff (like zero flexibility). that is why a wider/fatter front tire is recommended in order to add comfort to arms and wrists.
This is my first 29er and I really love this bike! Though it's a bit big for me as I only stand 5'9 with 31" inseam. When I got this in Trek Store Rokko, I changed its 100mm bonty stem rightaway to 70mm due to its long wheelbase/top tube (resulting me to lean my weight on the bar making my wrists numb). But after a month I still felt the wrist pain so I changed the stem again to 50mm and it felt better now. I also put Titec J-bar to add good maneuvering response. The Big Apple tires also add comfort to handling/ absorbing bumps not to mention its wider tires make it faster and braking-efficient.
I use this bike as my weekday urban warrior and trail-ninja on weekends/holidays.
This is the bike that will surely last until forever and a day. :)
I love this bike, yes it is heavy but that does not concern me. I upgraded most of the parts on the bike like a suspension fork and shimano drivetrain. The bike is very versatile and can be run single speed or belt drive. The steel frame gives the bike a great smooth ride. This is my first 29er and I will never go back. It is fast on the single tracks and handles very well. I gave it 4 flamin chilies for value because the stock components are cheap and I upgraded them.
Bike Setup: Trek Sawyer, RST M-29 fork, XTR rear Der, shimano brakes, Deore LX STI shifters, carbon bars, ESI grips, Tubeless.
a Cross Country Rider
from Raleigh, NC USA
Date Reviewed: August 19, 2011
Strengths: Smooth ride, G2 Handling, Great Looks
I am using the bike as a commuter and for "light" trail duty. I love the smooth ride of the bike, it almost feels like it has some rear suspension. Digging the G2 geometry for the most part but find the front end likes to wander on very steep climbs. The G2 geometry also limits your choices on aftermarket forks, you have to be willing to pony up the cash for a Fox fork if you want to preserve the handling. I love the Crivitz bar on the trail but not so much a fan of it on long road rides. Buy it if you want something different that will stand the test of time, skip it if you're trying to huck your way onto a Mountain Dew commercial.