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Ridden & Reviewed: Hill’s first ride impressions on the Trek Stache

May 4, 2015

Funnest. Bike. Ever!

Having spent the last 33 years totally enamored of riding mountain bikes and drooling over mountain bike things, at least most things, I’ve had the opportunity to be exposed to the good, the bad, and the somewhat useless coming from the miscellaneous reaches of the mountain bike world. While I don’t have the bright eyed enthusiasm for shiny new things that I did the first couple of decades in the bike biz I can still get pretty stoked at times, and when I saw the release of the Trek Stache with the new 29 plus tires and its host of other cool features I had a sense that there was something intriguing going on here.

The Stache easily cleans Elephant's Butt on the Greenbelt.

The Stache easily cleans Elephant’s Butt on the Greenbelt.

So it was with a mixture of excitement and moderate expectations that I set up a Stache for its maiden ride on the Barton Creek Greenbelt, my home trail since my very first ride off-road and one that I know better than the back of my hand. The Barton Creek trails have a perfect mix of fast, flowy smoothness and some really harsh, chunky sections that are the epitome of mountain biking for me–the perfect terrain to demo the purported attributes of these new fatties and figure out if, after riding full suspension almost exclusively for the past 15 years, I could still have fun on a hardtail mountain bike. As an older mountain biker it would be impossible to keep riding hard on this technical terrain without the forgiveness of full suspension, so the big meat on the 29 plus had to at least come close to my soft tail to make it a fun experience.

Dropping in the Toys ‘r Us descent I got my first taste of how well the 29 plus tires handled as I was able to lean over well past my comfort level on a standard 2.3” width tire, a function of the tires remarkably low air pressure (I started out at 17 psi, pressure range on tire is 12-30 psi) that just molded itself to the terrain and gripped the sides of the chute like putty. There are several new “features” on the Toys descent and I launched off the first one, finding the bike to be perfectly balanced in the air and landing as soft as a 5” travel bike. I was hooked!

Heading upstream on the long straight flats there was no challenge getting the wheels up to speed, and once at full velocity it was easy to maintain momentum.   Launching down Elephant’s Butt the tires sucked up the uneven rock face like it was smooth concrete. The bike’s super tight wheelbase made bunny hopping ledges and rocks effortless, the bike snappy and light with the wheels off the ground.

The real test came on some of the chunder sections of sweet 16 and pump house and the Stache handled it with silky smooth grace. At one point climbing a steep rocky section I felt like I was bouncing on an undamped suspension so I stopped and knocked about 3 psi out of the rear tire. That allowed the tire to form itself around the sharp rocks and edgy ledges and I was able to romp on it with no fear of bottoming out the tire on the rim bead, enabling even more lean angle in the loose rocks at trails edge. At the end of the day I was a bit more worked than I would be on my 29” wheeled full suspension bike but that may be more a function of getting used to a new bike and having put more muscle into some of the technical climbs in an effort to clean them fast, something that one may just let go as these bikes aren’t just about fast, but more about fun.

29+ rubber run at low pressure lets the Stache make short work of rock gardens.

29+ rubber run at low pressure lets the Stache make short work of rock gardens.

If you’re interested in the concept I’d encourage you to read this write-up by Vernon Felton on the new 29 and 27.5 plus bikes and the unique frame and component designs the bike industry has developed to meet their specific challenges.

Bicycle Sport Shop will be bringing both the Trek Stache and the new Specialized Fuze and its women’s specific version the Ruze into our demo fleet as soon as they have adequate inventory available.

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