But here comes the Trek Stache with its short stays, slack head angle, dropper post eagerness and it is wagging its tail and ready to play. This is the fun hardtail 29er and it is ready to rally. It will climb, corner, drop and jump and do things beyond the traditional 29er hardtail comfort zone. It is agile, capable and it looks darn good too. And although some folks might think the pricing of $1760 for the Stache 7 and $2420 for the Stache 8 is a lot of money, I will make the argument that these bikes offer a heck of a deal. Continue reading →
Strengths: Solid build with thru axles front and rear, post mounted rear brake, stealth reverb routing, RF turbine crank, slx brakes and biggest of all...a shadow plus derailleur.
Weaknesses: Poor cable management options when you're mounting a stealth reverb post: Trek provides the outlet at the seattube for a stealth post but then doesn't provide a cable management option on the downtube so you have piggyback the rear brake housing..also frames run a little long on the top tube so you may choose to drop a size from your normal size range.
This is a review after my first test ride on bike. I'm 6' tall and got a 19" frame. Everything is stock except for a shorter stem (replaced 90mm w/ a 50mm), a raceface atlas bar, a tubeless setup and a stealth reverb. Bike weighs a hair under 28lbs.
The Stache is a great bike to ride. The shadow plus rear mech makes it unbelievably quiet for a hardtail. I took this bike on one of the rockier trails in my area and even on fast descents in rock gardens the bike had ZERO chainslap. The bike felt playful with its geo and didn't mind getting a lil' air. It was solid in the corners and felt stiff and responsive with very little flex thanks in part to the thru axles. After riding full suspension exclusively for the last 8 years it felt weird to be on a hardtail. However, with all its modern trail bike amenities, I never felt the need to dial it back on technical terrain and climbing of course was rediculously efficient.
The stache is great for aggressive riders who like to have fun on the trail. The Stache 8 build leaves little to be desired or upgraded out of the box. Sure you could get an entry level full suspension bike at its price range but that bike wouldn't come close as far as components go. Just be sure to test ride one as the sizes feel a little on the large side of spectrum.
Strengths: Here's my 2nd ride review. I'll add an update after a bit more time on the bike.
Full disclosure, I repair bikes for a living and currently work for a Trek dealer. That being said, I've worked at dealers that sell pretty much all of the major brands and try to remain as unbiased as possible when having interactions on message boards. Yes, I typically buy what I can get a deal on, but have payed retail while working at a shop (a cardinal sin for us shop folk) to get a bike if my shop didn't carry a brand that offered what I was looking for at the time. So, even though I do work for a Trek dealer, please trust that when I review a bike, I'm doing if from the standpoint of someone who's been riding mountain bikes for 20 years and has been wrenching on them professionally for 15 years. I bring all of that history to a review, and try to keep the fact that I work for a dealer that sells the brand I'm reviewing out of my mind while writing a review.
Weaknesses: Some background:
I tend to have one favorite bike that I keep for many years while cycling through a bunch of others, trying to find the next favorite. My last 3 primary bikes were a 2005 Santa Cruz Chameleon that I bought in 2005 and rode through 2011 (it was my backup bike for 2011), a 2011 Xcal that I bought and rode for the 2011 season and a 2012 rumblefish elite bought this year and rode till August. During that time I also had 7 other mountain bikes pass through the quiver. Even though I hadn’t found a suitable replacement for the Chameleon, I sold it at the end of the 2011 season because I felt I’d been on it long enough.
There's something about hardtails that keep me going back to them. Every couple years I buy a new full suspension bike and try it out. I can totally see the benefits, and for going downhill, they're the best. I've raced downhill in the past and if I had better access to lift/shuttle riding, I'd have another dh bike. I've just not found a full suspension bike that I have as much fun riding on my day to day trails. My latest full suspension bike was the 2012 Trek Rumblefish elite. If I lived somewhere with more descending I think I would like that bike a whole lot more, but as it is I ride the flat lands and occasionally make the drive to lift or shuttle served riding. It was a great bike, it just made my local trails too easy but it wasn't burly enough for those dedicated downhill days. So I sold it in August and was planning on riding my rigid single speed for the remainder of the season.
I've owned 17 mountain bikes in 20 years of riding and ridden many more. My most favorite bike so far was my Santa Cruz Chameleon. It was also one of only a handful of bikes that stayed in my quiver longer than a season. That is a hardtail that makes you feel like you can do anything.
After 17 years on 26" wheels only, and a couple years going back and forth between 26" and 29" wheels I've become very sold on the idea of 29' wheels for my all-around trail bike. I do have some time on 650b wheels as well. I won't go into detail, but right now, they're not for me. The Xcal felt like a race bike. It was fast and agile, and it handled more technical stuff than I expected, but I never found it to be confidence inspiring and it didn't put as big a grin on my face as the Chameleon. In fact no 29er that I've ridden prior to the Stache came close to the playfulness of the Chameleon. Granted, I haven't gotten on a Canfield, Banshee or Transition. If you want to read my whole write up on the Xcal, you can refer back to here http://forums.mtbr.com/29er-bikes/first-impressions-2011-trek-gf-x-caliber-709714.html So, I knew I wanted a 29" wheeled hardtail with a burly build, slacker angles and a longer fork than a typical XC 29er. What I wanted was the 29" version of my SC Chameleon.
When the Stache was leaked prior to the full release of Trek’s 2013 line, it piqued my interest. I was going to buy a Banshee or Transition next spring. But the Stache seemed to be the same concept, plus I can get in through my shop ;). I got to make the trip from my shop in NE Wisconsin down to Trek for Trek World, the unveiling of the new model year to their dealers. The former service manager from my shop works at Trek so he arranged for a couple of us to take out some demo bikes after the official demos were over, meaning we got to spend more time on them. I opted for the Stache of course. The short version is, I liked it soo much I ordered one the next day. Dealer employees were offered a frame/fork only deal that would be shipping much earlier than complete bikes so I went with that. I only mention it so I don’t have to answer as many questions as to why my built isn’t stock.
There’s just a bit more you need to know. I’m what I like to refer to as “festively plump,” and I like and seek out technical riding. Those two traits mean I need a burlier build than typical or I’m constantly breaking and replacing stuff.
When I got on the Stache I instantly felt at home. It's exactly what they say it is, a trail bike. The difference in ride between the Xcal and Stache is far greater than the sum of the geometry tweaks. The front and rear thru axles, wider rims, meatier tires, longer fork, stiffer bottom bracket and frame all add up to a very different ride from the race bikes. With the Xcal, I always felt awkward getting it off the ground and noticed flex in the frame and fork when ripping corners. 5 minutes after getting on the Stache I was wheelie dropping stairs. 20 minutes into the ride I was hitting doubles and casing some, following my guide off unknown-to-me drops and over skinnies while pinning it through corners. This bike taunts you into doing stupid things then uses the longer travel and big wheels to make up for any shortcomings. This thing loves to carve corners. It’s forgiving of mistakes. It’s far more playful than the race bikes.
Thoughts on the build:
My build is a bit heavier than stock. Most of it is in the wheels. The stock wheels (rhytm elite 29er) are strong and decently light given their intended use. I can feel the extra weight in my wheels, mostly on the climbs. I prefer the SLX brakes that the stock bike comes with over the XX brakes I’m running. Shadow plus derailleurs are one of the most substantial new technologies to come along in the last several years. I can’t see ever buying a rear derailleur that doesn’t have this technology. Between the new brakes and the shadow plus derailleurs, I’m firmly back on the Shimano bandwagon.
I like the new 29.3 tires that come on the stock bike. The 29.4 I have on the front now is much like a kenda nevegal. It sticks like glue to the trail, but also rolls like it’s stuck to the trail with glue. Slow. I’ll probably swap it for a 29.3 and keep the 29.2 in the back. The 29.3 fits in with Kenda Slant 6 tires. Its a great compromise between rolling resistance and traction.
For most of my riding, a dropper post is unnecessary. But I have really liked having it on more technical rides. The joplin functions as it’s intended, but I’m lusting after a Rock Shox Reverb with stealth routing.
Similar Products Used: 2011 Trek X Caliber, 2012 Trek Rumblefish Elite, 2006 Santa Cruz Chameleon
Bike Setup: - 2013 Stache 8 Frame/Fork - 120mm Fox Evolution 32mm, G2, 15mm thru axle
- Bontrager Rhythm Elite bars 820mm cut down to 740mm
- Bontrager Rhythm Pro Stem 80mm 7 degree flipped down
- SLX Shifters
- SLX Shadow Plus rear derailleur
- XT direct mount front derailleur
- Raceface Evolve DH crank. 22-36-Bash.
- Sram Elixir XX brakes 185mm front 160mm rear rotors
- Wheels - Azonic recoil hubs, 36 hole, 142x12 rear, 15mm front, Eighthinch Bueller rims. My shop has a house brand called Eighthinch (more info at eighthinch.com). It’s a fixie brand. These rims are sold for Fixie Freestyle, but they are an off the shelf all-mountain 29er rim. Since we buy them at OEM pricing, they were a screaming deal for me.
- Tires, Bontrager 29.4 up front, 29.2 in the back.
- Crank Bros Joplin post.
- Bontrager evoke saddle