The Trek Rumblefish is a beautiful mountain bike with clean lines, modern hydroformed tubing, asymmetrical chainstays, and hot graphics that I had to ride during my time at Interbike. Like the other Gary Fisher 29er descendents, the Rumblefish has a reputation for being a solid big wheel bike with excellent handling characteristics.

The 2012 Rumblefish is currently spec’d with 110mm of rear travel and a 120mm travel fork which is a bit unconventional most manufacturers prefer to match front and rear travel numbers. The rep I spoke with admitted the set-up wasn’t ideal and that the frame designers were still trying to make the geometry work (early adopters beware!).

Even with just 110mm of rear travel, Trek classifies the Rumblefish as a Trail bike which is traditionally 5-inch (120-140mm) travel territory. Of course some will argue that a 29er effectively rides like a longer travel bike than one with 26-inch wheels, making it difficult to pinpoint equivalent ranges of travel for big wheel bikes (XC vs. Trail vs. AM, etc.). Anyway, enough with semantics and classifications I wanted to see how the Rumblefish handled itself on the trail.

On the climbs the Rumblefish definitely felt dialed in and efficient. While other companies are turning to carbon frames to moderate the 29er weight penalty, the Rumblefish is actually quite light despite its fully-suspended aluminum frame. On the descents the Rumblefish was agile and responsive and I had a hard time finding fault with the mismatched front and rear travel. This bike, like most of the other FS 29ers I rode, was a lot of fun on the trail and the geometry felt just right to me.

Still, I never got the feeling that this bike was more of a “Trail” bike than any of the other 29ers I rode at Outdoor Demo. Just about the only thing that screamed Trail to me about the Rumblefish was the wide, 2.4″ Bontrager tires on the demo model. If you ask me the Rumblefish (starting around $2,400 MSRP) rides like a fast, fun big-wheel XC bike in the same way as the Giant Anthem X does. It will definitely be interesting to see how the frame and geometry on the Rumblefish evolves over time!

Update: The Trek website is now showing the 2012 Rumblefish comes with 120mm of travel front and rear (thanks Neil!). The rep we spoke with at Interbike apparently didn’t have the latest information – either way, the bike rode well!

# Comments

    • trek7k

      Hmmm… What’s interesting is the Trek rep actually said the bike only has 100mm rear travel – I got the 110mm number off the Trek website because the 100mm # seemed so strange to me.

  • maddslacker

    I couldn’t wait any longer for the Anthem review…I put my deposit down on one last night. 😀

  • mtbgreg1

    Sometimes “claimed” rear wheel travel and “actual” rear wheel travel differ. The company runs the numbers and mathematically it ends up being one thing, but real world application differs.

    Sorta like how no matter what a company says a bike weighs, it always seems to weigh more when you put it on the scale…

  • dgaddis

    haha, don’t even get me started on claimed weights. Some road bike manufacturers (it was either Cannondale or BMC I saw doing this) are using some sort of ‘correction factor’ to advertise a comparable weight. So the add says something along the lines of “XXXg size-corrected weight for 56cm frame”. What a bunch of crap.

  • GoldenGoose

    Got to demo the 2011 version of the Rumblefish earlier this summer. It was the first 29er I had ever ridden and felt completely different than I was expecting. I expected something slow, heavy, and unruly in tight spots. I came away so impressed with the ride that I’ve decided to get rid of one of my existing 26″ bikes and make the FS 29er leap. Now it’s just a matter of riding enough bikes to make an informed decision.

    Trek7k, having ridden a number of 29ers, do you notice the proclaimed benefits of the G2 geometry that the Gary Fisher bikes use?

    I haven’t been able to ride many 29ers but, in my limited experiences with them so far, I haven’t really noticed a huge difference in the handling characteristics from the GF G2 geometry to that of other brands.

  • neil.beltchenko


    Alpha Platinum Aluminum main frame & stays w/ABP Convert, magnesium swing link, G2 Geometry, E2 tapered head tube, replaceable derailleur hanger, 120mm travel

    its official it is a 120mm rear! finally trek posted there 29ers on the website!

  • trek7k

    Thanks for the update! Now if they could just get the updated info to their field reps. 🙂

  • GTXC4

    I rode at the Trek Demo here in Omaha on October 15, 2011. I tested the Fuel EX 9.8 Carbon first. I was thinking of something that does it all for a bike. Ran the trail and I wasn’t impressed personally. The suspension was better than my cheap bike that I have now. Other than that, not a huge difference and didn’t feel right.

    Then, I tested the Rumblefish II Pro (what I really wanted to ride). Same one here. HUGE difference. I rode the same trail and shaved almost three whole minutes off of my time. It handled like a champ. The bike just went where I pointed. Suspension felt amazing and climbs and dives were great! It was as if someone studied me and made a bike to fit just me. This is what I’m getting. Once I tasted 29er’, I can’t go back.

    • mspear1

      I have a 2012 Rumblefish base model that I upgraded with a Dynasis XT package and carbon wheels. Great bike. Rarely ride my Yeti ARS575 any more.
      One problem. I take the front wheel off to load onto my bike carrier and often the plastic hub insert falls out, usually in the dirt, and I have to clean it up and replace. The o-ring is supposed to keep it in place but doesn’t do a good job. Also can fall out when the tire is stored inside the vehicle during travel.
      Any thoughts?

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.