Some modern mountain bikes can look like space age spectacles, with alarmingly fashioned frames and all sorts of confusing gizmos arrayed on the surface.
However, the Trek Sawyer has one foot firmly planted in the past thanks to its retro-inspired design, while you still get some future-proof technology onboard to make it relevant in today’s market.
The Trek Sawyer is a rigid framed mountain bike with 29 inch wheels and it represents part of the Gary Fisher collection which has been subsumed into the Trek brand relatively recently.
It features a custom butted Platinum Series frame fashioned from chromoly steel, which is stiff and light while remaining in keeping with its historic design. Utilising this material also means that the bike is eminently rugged and able to take much more punishment than some of its contemporaries, which might be an appealing facet to certain groups of riders. The frame utilises G2 geometry to make it ready for racing thanks to its honed handling and well integrated components.
Modern Design, Classic Components
The Chromoly steel fork has its own customised geometry and fits in well with the rest of the frame. The wheelset consists of Bontrager Mustang Disc rims, Shimano M475 alloy hubs and Bontrager 29-3 tyres, making for a solid platform that keeps the Trek Sawyer in check regardless of the terrain.
You get a modern drive train made up of SRAM X5 and X7 components, while hard wearing Wellgo ATB pedals let you power along trails effectively and efficiently. Avid Elixir 1 hydraulic disc brakes are a nice addition, giving you extra stopping power when required and allowing you to maintain control of the bike without any problems.
The Bontrager Evoke 2 saddle with chromoly rails is comfortable and ergonomically designed, sitting atop a Rhythm Elite seat post . At the front your hands will be wrapped around a Bontrager Crivitz handlebar, with a Race Lite stem also present and correct, indicating that not everything needs to look back to the past.
The Trek Sawyer certainly looks the part, with its slinky frame and classic geometry harking back to past decades. The 29 inch wheelset makes it appear domineering and also helps to give the rider extra confidence as this rolls smoothly and at speed across surfaces which might otherwise be problematic on a standard bike with 26 inch wheels.
Of course since this model is not equipped with any kind of suspension on the front or rear as standard, it is not going to be as forgiving when it comes to taking big hits, which may be a sticking point for some riders, depending on your preference. However, when it comes to handling and responsiveness it is tough to beat a rigid model like the Trek Sawyer. The same goes for flat out speed and acceleration, either when carving up a cross country course or taking on a technical climb.
You could get the sense that the Trek Sawyer has been developed as a kind of novelty throwback and is thus unlikely to actually be a worthy choice for day to day use in the real world, let alone when you are out and about on a mountain. However, while this model is certainly something of an exercise in nostalgia, it is not solely built around this ethos. Its frame and components are light for what they are and very durable, while the visual impact of the thing is certainly a unique selling point which means that it can look good and still perform in a manner that matches its price point. Trek cannot be faulted for trying something different and the people who fall in love with the Sawyer will doubtlessly become fanatics.