Trek Bikes recently released the 2016 Version of the Trek Stache – The Stache 5 ($1760), Stache 7 ($2520) and Stache 9 ($3880). Last year’s model was a 29er and was lost in the line up between the Marlin, X-Caliber and Superfly hardtail models. It didn’t really have a place. To solve this problem, Trek has re-introduced the Trek Stache as a 29+ bike with 29x3.0 Bontrager Chupacabra tires. For the weight conscious, the tires weigh 910 grams each and the new wheels weigh 2,280 grams for the pair. The Stache 9 comes in at a respectable 28 lbs.
So what does this mean? It mean’s Trek totally redesigned the frame to accommodate the larger wheels and 3” tires. In doing so, Trek was able to design an aggressive riding bike while leveraging the larger, grippier tires. The new frame design allowed the new Stache to have shorter chainstays while taking advantage of Trek’s new Boost 148/110 rear and front hub spacing and thru-axles. This allowed the wheels to be stiffer, create a better chainline and eliminate any spacing issues between the chain ring and tire.
The Boost 148/110 hub spacing was designed in conjunction with Trek. The new spacing allows for greater tire clearance as while increasing the distance between the hub flanges. The idea between the new hub flange spacing is to allow for stiffer wheels due to the improved bracing angle.
Something new to the bike industry and not so apparent with the new frame design is the ability to run either 29er, 29+, 27.5 or 27.5+ wheel and tire sizes while keeping the bike’s geometry close to stock. Trek accomplished this by using a long travel fork (140mm) and horizontal dropouts that Trek is calling Stranglehold dropouts. Combining the elevated drive side chainstay and Stranglehold dropouts, the new Stache can be converted to a single speed and even use a belt drive without having to have a ‘break point’ in the frame.
One thing our eyes are good at is deceiving us. When looking at the new Stache, you immediately think the bike is going to ride like a pig. But on the contrary, the bike rides very ‘light’ and once the bike gains momentum, it rolls great with very little of the anticipated rolling resistance. The bike is properly balanced and it is easy to ride through loose corners and get the bike over obstacles. With the short chainstays, it is easy to lift the front wheel over any obstacle – and a ball to wheelie. The Bontrager Chupacabra tires offer superior traction both going straight and when leaned over in a corner when set at 12psi.
With the large, low pressure tires, technical climbing is easy as the large tires absorb any roots and rocks in your way and hardly ever lose traction. The only discernible difference between the Stache 29+ is when riding at slower speeds is that the bike does take a little more effort to steer.
The new Stache will never descend like a 29er race bike, but it isn’t designed to. But with that being said, the bike still descends great. It takes some getting used with the larger tires and the bike can still be leaned over in fast corners. The low volume tires take the edge off of small bumps and are very forgiving when the optimal line is missed.