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So I'm in the market to replace my 2009 (2010? Bah) Cobia, and I'm looking at Trek 29ers. I was able to get on an X-Caliber 8 and a Superfly 5 they had in stock -- both feel about the same as my Cobia, frame-wise.

However, nobody around here has any Staches on the floor for me to try.

So I'm at a bit of a loss, here -- do I go with a Stache 6, a Superfly 7 (I say with a slight pang of the heart -- the color the Superfly 6 comes in just looks *so sharp*), or do I take the component hit and make the jump to a Superfly FS 6 at a slightly higher price point?


For background, I live in Ohio, so my trail access is much more akin to cross country than I grew up riding in New England, but I actively look for the more technical trails I can find nearby. I ride recreationally, so I'm not looking for anything super-racy, just something I can mess around on some rocks and roots to get outdoors and get back in shape.


I've narrowed it down to those 3 options based on budget and local stores' affiliations (along with a happy history with Gary Fisher). But I've never been good about keeping up with components and frame tech, so... what would you guys go with, and why? Also, what's the reasoning behind the Stache and Superfly as distinct lines in Trek's lineup of 29ers?
 

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Hey Kaffis -- welcome to MTBR.

As I understand it, the Stache is a hardtail All-Mountain/Enduro sort of bike. Longer travel, and slacker headtube angle (steering would be more stable). X-Caliber & Superfly is more XC Racing -- less suspension travel and more nimble steering. I suspect that the X-Caliber and Superfly will have similar if not identical geometry to your Cobia.

It would be good to ride both. I have ridden FS AM bikes, but never a Stache or other hardtail enduro-type bike. Check and see if Trek is having a factory demo that you could go to. They give you $100-off coupons to boot! (I think it has to be applied to a $1500+ bike)

Failing that you could ride a Fuel with the rear suspension locked. The rear geometry would be different -- longer chainstay and who-knows what else, but it would still have the G2 geometry (which I love BTW). My guess is that if you like the Fuel with the rear suspension locked out, you would love the Stache.

Our trails are narrow, twisty, occasional roots and very few rocks. My 2012 Superfly AL Elite hardtail is great for my needs.

Something in favor of the Superfly or Stache over the X-Caliber is the "Platinum" series frame. It is lighter and stiffer.

Here is the thought process I went thru in getting mine. I rode a friend's X-Caliber and liked it. It was similar to the X-Cal 9 of today. Then I demo'd "my" Superfly AL Elite extensively, and liked it too of course. The X-Cal was about $1500 list and the Superfly AL Elite was about $2200. With my $100 coupon and dealer discount, The AL Elite ended up costing about $1950. I wasn't sold on carbon fiber, not only because of the cost, but because I crash a lot. The AL ELite was their top-of-the-line aluminum XC bike. So I figured buy once cry once you know. At the time, my skill level was such that I couldn't really tell any difference between the two. The main difference was that the AL Elite was a little easier to lift into the truck :). If I never got to appreciate the AL Elite, it was an acceptable loss.

But my skills have since improved, and I can really tell the difference now. My son has an X-Cal and we swap off quite often. So I am glad I went the way I did.

BTW, I plan to use the money I didn't spend on a carbon frame to get a new wheelset at some point. I have demo'd a '13 Genisis-project $5000 carbon Superfly with Bonty's next-to-top-of-the-line wheelset. It was NICE. I also demo'd a $750 set of Stans Crest wheels on my bike. They made big difference. Not as nice as the Genisis Superfly of course, but surprisingly close. I was going to upgrade wheels this summer, but with carbon wheels getting cheaper and more readily available, I think I will hold off another season :)
 

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The new superfly geometry has no similarity to the cobia or the new x-cal whatsoever, sorry they are two totally different frames. I am riding the new superfly 9 aluminum frame and it is incredible. I was riding a superfly comp carbon last year but the new frame geometry just blows the comp away. The new superfly is the the best riding most compliant 29er I have ever ridden. I do mostly marathon events and I ride them on the aluminum HT if that give you an idea of the comfort.

I know the demo team is making the rounds. Our here in Stl is coming up soon. So hopefully they will be coming through Ohio also. Glad you like treks they are great bikes.

Scott
 
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I demoed the FuelEx 9.8, Superfly 9.8 and Stache 8 late last year in Michigan.
The carbon Superfly frame has the 435mm chainstays and geo of the aluminum version. This is another developmental step beyond the Superfly 9.9 from 2013(nchanged in the 2014s). Better and cheaper.
It has compliance like nothing else. I would take it anywhere a FuelEx 9.8 would go. And you would have the benefit of added trail feel. This gives you a very fun sensation going over rocks downhill. It makes me want to pick lines just to hit rocks.
The new geo, including the 51mm offset forks is quicker and even a little edgier than the traditional Trek very stable handling you get on the other bikes.
It will outperform a Stache for ride comfort with its stiff aluminum build. That model needs a similar carbon frame version with compliance.
The solo air SID or Reba(on the SF 9.6) needs some help for more small bump compliance while climbing for my style of riding. It rides like a traditional XC race fork. There is a bump stop mod I will be trying.
I will be using a ArchEx Dt Swiss wheelset I have with the surprisingly grippy fast XR1 2.2 Team tires. Down the road LB 35mm hookless/Dt hubs with the same tires when I get them built.

If there is any opportunity to stretch your budget, I would recommend a SF 9.6.
The frame tech, with the help of Trek's road bike carbon frame experience, is on another level.
 

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Thanks for the info Scott & EB, & for correcting me.

Do I understand correctly that the Superfly geometry was similar to the x-cal in '13 and before, but changed in '14? Do you know offhand what was charged? More or less fork offset, etc.

If there is any opportunity to stretch your budget, I would recommend a SF 9.6.
Lotta bike for the $$$, no question!
 

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The chainstays got shorter and the BB was dropped a bit for 2014. The 9.9 (and last year's Elite) frames were part of the Apollo project and had a bit more vertical compliance (per Trek) than the new carbon 9.8 frames. The new Aluminum and Carbon frames are still designed for a fair amount of vertical compliance and will be more comfortable than the old Superfly AL's and Xcalibers. Get a bike with TLR wheels and run them tubeless. That will make as much a difference as anything.
 

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So the crankshaft is closer to the ground, and less pedal/ground clearance? How much less?
5mm. the chainstays are 435mm--- 10mm less. And the total changes and carbon frame action makes the steering pretty quick almost a little edgy with the 51mm offset fork.
The carbon frame engineering for compliance is very noticeable, many times more than changing to tubeless.
 
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