With all the world’s bike companies claiming to have a perfect 29er trail bike, there are plenty of options. However, definitions of what makes a trail bike vary greatly between companies, so creating a short list can get complicated. For Trek, the Rumblefish is the bike that is designed to do it all. Rather than the simple term “trail bike”, Trek expands on the category calling it, instead, “singletrack trail.“ Here is a description of what the genre is to them.

Trek Rumblefish Pro size 19 (Large)

“Trek singletrack trail bikes are your do-more ride. They’re versatile, light, and exceedingly capable, climbing as well as they descend, conquering trails from the Dolomites to Durango. They’re the right bikes from a quick stint in the park to a brutal day of racing. No other bikes offer this level of no-compromise performance, any situation versatility. “

Less poetic, Trek provides some guidelines for what the Rumblefish can handle in their owner’s manual under Category 3. This includes drops and moderate jumps as well as rough technical trails. This covers a broad range and is well within the terrain and skill level of most riders.

If you can only own one bike, and are not race focused, this type of bike is a good bike to look at. While this bike can be raced, there are better tools for the job. This bike is for riding wherever the trail takes you, and it is designed to tackle most anything. I strongly believe this is the type of bike that will serve most people the best, as it should be able to do almost anything most enthusiast mountain bikers without an orthopedic and dental surgeon on speed dial will require of their bikes.

During our test, we will be looking to see if, in fact, it does everything well. To do this we will be putting the Rumblefish through as wide variety of types of riding and terrain as we can in order to find out what circumstances cause the bike to start showing its limits or, conversely, the types of terrain where it feels like too much bike.

The Rumblefish series comes in 3 price points. The Pro( tested), Elite and Rumblefish. $4,299.99, $3,049.99, and $2,469.99, respectively.

The Trek Rumblefish has 120mm of travel, or about 4.7 inches of travel front and rear. The travel is controlled by Fox Suspension using Trek’s proprietary DRCV system. The acronym stands for Dual Rate Control Valve. According to Trek, this is the equivalent of having a small volume shock in the beginning of the stroke and a high volume shock at the end of the stroke - effectively combining the best attributes of both shock volumes into one package. This is, by far, the most exciting feature of this bike to me. Better suspension means more control without sacrificing efficiency or comfort, which will allow you to enjoy the trail more during all types of riding. DRCV is also utilized in the Fox Factory 32 fork (pro model). The goal here is to allow for less brake dive and an efficient use of the fork’s travel to balance small bump performance with big hit ability.

DRCV rear shock

Another feature that stands out on the Trek Rumblefish DRCV shocks is the ABP pivot. This is the rear pivot at the axle that goes around the rear axle, allowing the suspension to be isolated from braking forces. ABP stands for Active Braking Pivot. An active rear end while braking is important because it allows your wheel to keep traction and absorb bumps when many suspension designs would stiffen up. This is a feature we will be paying particular attention to because, in truth, most manufacturers claim some sort of feature or pivot location that eliminates issues while braking.

ABP= Active Braking Pivot

The Rumblefish frame is aluminium, comes with a tapered steer tube (1 ⅛- 1.5), has a press fit bottom bracket, direct mount front derailleur, and a 51mm rear disc mount. It has a 31.6 mm diameter seatpost, so it should be compatible with the majority, if not every brand of dropper post. The rear axle is 12x142. This is a stiff through axle type system and it is compatible with any 12x142 hub. This is not as proprietary system, which gets a big thumbs up from me. Basically, all the latest and greatest technology is used on the Trek Rumblefish.

The Gary Fisher name may have largely disappeared since Trek purchased that company several years ago ( 1993, thanks Jay), but remnants remain in the G2 geometry, which Trek says features “a custom-offset fork and advanced frame geometry for precise handling at low speed without compromising high-speed stability” Other companies have tried for similar results by playing with bottom bracket heights, chainstays, and short top tubes, while still utilizing a slack head angle. I am interested to see if Trek’s G2 geometry achieves a noticeably better combination.

Component Highlights:

The Rumblefish we have for review is the Pro model. It has a solid mix of great, reliable components. The drive train is a 3x10 Shimano XT setup. It is across the board XT components. No downgrades in favor of a nicer rear derailleur. This is exactly what I like to see. XT components have been a benchmark for reliable, high performance mountain bike parts and this level of performance is all that is needed for trail riding.

The seatpost is a RockShox Reverb model with 5 inches of drop and hydraulic remote control. Unfortunately, there is a little side to side movement, but just the fact that the bike includes this practical component, is a big plus for me. I feel a dropper post is really a must-have for a new bike used for trail riding. Even the crew of testers here at 29erOnline, despite initial scepticism, is slowly seeing the light, with the overwhelming majority now praising them. The dropper post allow you to move around, while still staying low in the bike, which, in turn, allows you to ride much more dynamically. Confidence is a huge added bonus as well. The Reverb is a unit that allows you to set your saddle anywhere within its travel, in comparison to some which have pre-set heights. The more I use this type the more I like it.

Trek appropriately spec’d Shimano XT disc brakes. With real one finger braking and gobs of power, it is hard to find fault with Shimano’s brakes. This is an excellent spec.

The stem and handlebars are Bontrager units. The stem is the Rhythm Pro model. Our 19” Large bike has an 80mm stem with a 7 degree rise. Combined with Bontrager’s Race Lite low riser handlebar at 720 mm wide, 5mm rise, 9 degree sweep back and 4 degree flair, the combination looks like exactly what I like. Width of bars is largely preference. Since you have the option to cut down the bars if desired, we like seeing a wider bar speced. I personally won’t be changing anything here. Trek is current with the industry trend and it is appreciated on this end.

The Rumblefish is spec'd with Bontrager Rhythm Elite tubeless ready wheels. To run them tubeless it is recommended you use Bontrager rim strips. We will be using Bontrager’s tubeless conversion kit. Keep an eye out for a future post with regards to this set up - it is the first time we have used it. The rims are 28 mm wide. They are 28 hole front and rear and use DT spokes, sealed bearings, 3 pawls and a 24 tooth drive mechanism, if you are into that level of detail. Claimed weight is 2,010 grams a set. Remember the intent of this bike. It needs to climb well but also needs to be able to descend equally well. The wheels may be heavier than some, but should hold up and be reliable at a small expense in weight and acceleration.

30 lbs 10 oz with Shimano XT trail pedals. This is before converting tubeless

The Rumblefish Pro comes with Bontrager tubeless ready 29-3 tires. They are 2.3 inches wide (claimed) and they are designed for a wide range of trail conditions from wet to dry.
They are appropriate for this bike as a trail bike. Realistically, as long as they can perform decently in most conditions, we won’t criticize this choice. Some may want more, some less, but, from a manufacturer’s standpoint, they can't possibly cover every kind of condition perfectly. These should get you going at the very least. We plan on reporting on what they do best and where they leave off.

Please follow us as we test the 2013 Trek Rumblefish. We will, as always, focus on strengths, weaknesses and any durability issues that you need to know about. In the end we’ll be able to give our opinion on who we think should ride the bike.

All pictures can be seen larger in the gallery below

Trek Rumblefish

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{ 17 comments… read them below or add one }

Ricardo August 12, 2013 at 8:01 am

Hi, Im 5.9 Tall, what would be the reccomnedation for sizing a Trek TREK


trailmedk March 11, 2013 at 5:56 am

I have the rumblefish and im 6ft tall. Just a word on the sizing trek does virtual sizing so the bike ls seem to run a little small i brought a 21 and i tryed the 17.5 and the 19 and felt better on the 21.Its not a huck bike more like a lawn mower so i use my 26er roscoe for that size large which i wish i brought a xlarge. Case in point opt for the larger size

FatBob February 22, 2013 at 10:44 am

working on it as I type. The review is on its way. the videos have been uploaded.

6foot6 February 16, 2013 at 11:54 am

Hey – long time no see…
What about an update?
Thanks in advance!

Hifi February 12, 2013 at 8:33 pm

They in fact were identical companies for the 20 years now. Just different dealer lines. When the Gorilla buys you, you are the Gorilla’s banana. Bike names and colors only matter when the color is green.

FatBob February 3, 2013 at 6:53 pm

o.k. Jay check out the update. Thanks !

FatBob February 3, 2013 at 6:21 pm

Jay You are correct. I will change the 30.9 to 31.6. Also if the wording of the write up was confusing, Trek has owned Gary Fisher for a long time. They were quite separate in many ways as companies though even until recently, as in a few years, using separate dealers as well. Thank you for the history though, Ill leave those details in your comment instead of the article.

Jay February 2, 2013 at 5:30 am

Having just purchased one of these I’m looking forward to your review! Couple small bones to pick:

The Rumble (along w/ most of Trek’s full suspension MTB offerings) uses a 31.6mm post, not the 30.9 noted in the article.
Also, your reference to Trek’s purchase of Fisher (“Trek purchased that company several years ago”) just fuels the common misconception that Fisher was not under Trek ownership until recently. Trek bought Fisher in 1993–twenty years ago!

Mike Power January 6, 2013 at 4:28 am

Hi “FatBob”, thanks for the advice,its not too late. There has been a problem with RF deliveries to the UK, they are now due to arrive 28 Jan. My local dealer has agreed to get a 19 and 21 into stock so I can try both and take away the one that fits best. I’m looking forward to your review, hope it supports my reasons for buying – better for larger rider, provide confidence on technical trails, good spec’. The extra weight is not an issue for me as I have a lighter bike for X-country, non technical trails

Re Larsv comment on reach, Cube 19 has 415mm and Trek 19 has 434mm, but the Cube has more room (in standard kit)as the reach is extended by a setback seat post and longer stem.

Thanks for the great website, and Happy New Year!

larsv January 5, 2013 at 4:56 am

@ fatbob: Thanks 🙂

larsv January 5, 2013 at 4:56 am

@ Mike: Mind you: The Cube frame has a waaaaay shorter frame reach / top tube than the RF!
I ride my RF with a setback seatpost, btw

For what i’ve read in magazines, the RF feels more all mountainish, while the Cube feels more XC.

FatBob January 4, 2013 at 6:01 pm

Hi Mike I tried to reply to this and for some reason it didn’t post. sorry for the delay. I would recommend the XL. I believe the Rumblefish size large runs a little small. My riders who run medium frames are having no problem fitting the Rumblefish. Zoe, my first rider is about 5’7 and fit the length great. she typically rides a medium Anthem 29 with a 65 mm stem. that should give you an idea. I am about your size and I ended up running a 100 mm stem. It still felt short.

hope this helps and that i am not too late

FatBob January 4, 2013 at 5:57 pm

Lars V, I read your review. Its fun with the translation on. Good job and a fun read. The 2012 is being ridden now by Al. He should be done by the end of next week. After that it is off to Jamie. I should get enough time to refresh my memory so I can write my review. Yes, there are alot of steps !

Still a fun bike though !

Mike December 19, 2012 at 1:50 pm

I’ve ordered a Trek Rumblefish Pro, but they are not available in larger sizes in the UK until late January so I’m reading everything I can aboutthis bike whilst waiting patiently for my bike to arrive. i’ve noticed that the Rumblefish has very similar geometry to the Cube SL 29, and both have similar suspension arrangements and offset forks. The Cube is a bargain price wise, but has less of a warranty, and the frame looks cruder. It would be interesting to compare how both ride.

The sizing of the rumblefish is a problem for me. I’m 6’2″ which means I should probably go for the 21 but I’m told the 19 will suit me better as smaller is more manouverable. I’ve tried last years 19 model and it seems a little cramped. The Cube 19 has a lay back seat post and this gives more room in the “cockpit”,so it feels good but the Rumblefish Pro is equipped with a dropper post which has no lay back. Do you have any advice on sizing for me?



larsv December 17, 2012 at 12:21 am

ps: i beat you to it with the review 🙂 .


Google translation to English is quite funny 🙂

FatBob December 16, 2012 at 7:55 am

Cool bike so far. It will be with its second tester by next week. I have a good amount of time on it. I am very happy with how fast it steers for a trail bike. I was over steering it for the first few miles. It takes a light touch to change lines. I did notice though that factory fork settings on Treks website are way off. The rear shock factory recommendations were spot on for sag but I definitely prefer less rebound damping. the website offers a great starting point and is a resource I hope owners are using.

Cool bike so far and a really solid value. I can see why you are happy with it.

larsv December 12, 2012 at 2:58 am

I have been riding my 2012 Pro since may, and i’m very happy with it.

Looking forward to the review 🙂

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