Trek Wahoo 29er Review


This is a review of the 2012 model

In 2011, the Wahoo was only available in 26 inch wheel size. The 2012 model year saw the bike move to the “Gary Fisher” collection within the Trek lineup. In other words, the Gary Fisher name moved one step closer to the likes of Lemond and Klein. Starting in 2012, the bike moved to big wheel format exclusively, and sat at the bottom of the Trek 29 inch wheel lineup.

My prior bike was an old Trek 6000 I bought via eBay. I would likely have continued to ride the 6000, but the frame was one or two sizes too small. When I looked into a new frame, the price jump to a complete new bike wasn’t that large. In fact, the price jump to a new entry level 29er wasn’t that big either.

I began to look at entry level 29ers. Although I am used to mid level grade equipment on the road, I figured I would settle for low grade stuff on the trail because I don’t spend that much time on the dirt. Not that I would rather ride the road over dirt, but that’s another story. For some reason, I have an aversion to Specialized. It came down to the Trek vs. Felt. I was in a local shop with another bike for service, and they blew me away with their customer service. They had a nice looking Wahoo on the floor in my size, so
I decided to take her home.

The frame looks like a more expensive frame. The paint and decals are top notch and the frame looks burley.

I love the tires. The tread is circular and not knobby. I think this helps to not only shed mud, but also grip roots and slippery rocks.

The wheels are single wall. If that makes them weak, I wouldn’t know it, as they are still true even with my 230 pound body and 30 or so miles off road.

The weakness of every lower level mountain bike is the front shock. No different here. The Suntour shock has no lockout and isn’t the stiffest under hard braking. But what else would you expect?

Full Shimano, low level pieces. Again, what do you expect. However, the stuff works just fine if you aren’t mountain biking every weekend.

One disappointment was that the crank is so cheap, it’s pressed and riveted instead of bolted. I was hoping to convert the bike to 1x, but this would have required a new crank.

Mechanical discs…tough to stop from squeaking. ‘Nuff said.

Overall, I would actually recommend this bike to an infrequent user such as myself. I can’t say enough about the ability of the 29 inch wheels to roll over obstacles. Lines aren’t as critical downhill, and little downed trees and rocks don’t slow forward progress when the hills point up. Get a used set of wheels to proactively replace the single wall stock rims, throw on a new saddle and lock on grips, and you have a decent machine.


buy it if:

  • you want to dip your toes in the 29er water
  • you aren’t a component snob
  • you don’t have a trust fund
  • don’t buy it if:

  • you like to discuss if Shimano is better than SRAM based on weight of rear derailleur and crispness of shifting.
  • you don’t eat at McDonalds
  • you ride tons of miles and expect components to last
  • you are going to ride on the street–buy a hybrid!
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