Out Of The Box: Trek/Fisher Stache 8- by Grannygear
Originally all mountain bikes were play bikes or adventure bikes. Racing came along pretty quickly as mankind will race a wheelbarrow if that is all they have to work with, but the modern MTB we have now is a splintered mirror reflecting XC, AM, DH, SS, Rigid, HT, FS, and so on. ‘Niche’ comes to mind. And as 29″ers have been evolving and refining, they have followed along with this trend, since after all, they are just MTBs with big wheels. But at first, what we got with a 29″er hard tail (HT) from bike makers was what one would recognize as a typical XC based bike that would have that now classic ‘NORBA’ geometry of 71/73 degrees. Geometry has been changing and now we have 29″ers that have very short chain stays and slacker head tube angles. Bikes like the Kona Honzo, Canfield Brothers Nimble 9, and the yet to be named Niner AM hard tail. They run up to a 140mm fork and get pretty far away from something like an S Works Stumpjumper or Niner AIR 9 RDO. The new AM (for lack of a better term) 29″er hard tails typically have 17″ or shorter chain stays and a 140mm fork and are sure not what most trail riders need in a 29″er hard tail. Then again, maybe the typical XC focused frame is not quite right either. Get into faster, more demanding trails and a 71° (or steeper) head tube angle can be a bit high strung unless you are a skilled rider.
In the middle seems to be the realm of the Stache series from Trek/Fisher. We have a Stache 8 on test at TNI.com and if I was to get out my crystal ball, I see this as a return to the all around trail bike/fun bike/adventure bike in a modern aluminum frame and big wheels. Why do I think that?
- Well the 120mm fork and 68.6° head tube angle is one clue. OK….NOT a racer boy bike.
- 17.52″ chain stay length. Ok…NOT an AM focused, log dropper.
- Not a burly 6 pound frameset.
- Yet, there are accommodations for a dropper post and lots of stand over clearance.
The other clue to what this bike is intended to be is right on the Trek website:
So we shall see. Out of the box the Stache 8 is a good looking bike. I like the green/grey scheme and the anodized bits, like the Race Face crank: all are nice touches. It also has a somewhat unique sizing in that Trek calls out the bike we have as a 21″ frame (typically measured from bottom bracket center to top of the seat tube) but it actually measures to be a 20″ frame. That works very well for me as I have shorter legs to my longer torso/arms. I get an XL top tube length and a LG stand over. Nice! If you are opposite my dimensions, maybe not so much.
The spec is a mix of Trek in-house brand Bontrager parts and Shimano SLX with an XT rear derailleur. The Press Fit bottom bracket and Race Face Turbine crank set are of note in a sea of SRAM/Shimano cranks. Cool. The Fox Evolution Series 32 Float w/CTD (climb-trail-descend) damper, rebound, E2 tapered steerer, 15QR through axle, custom G2 Geometry w/51mm offset, 120mm travel takes the hits for you. CTD has been a real hit with me so far and I have not missed the wider range of choices you get in a ‘traditional’ compression adjuster with 8 or 10 clicks, etc.
Out the box, but with XT SPDs and two Bontrager cages (matching color, of course) the XL/21″ Stache 8 weighed 27lbs/12oz (12.5kg). We intend on making some changes to the bike from stock, that being the addition of a Rockshox Reverb Stealth dropper post as the Stache 8 is built with the Stealth routing in mind and has a ‘port’ built into the seat tube for the hose routing. As well, you can run a normal ‘outside’ routed dropper post, Reverb or otherwise. We also will be taking the wheels tubeless using the TLR system from Trek. But for now, we are on trail with it and I have had jeffj out there putting the bike through some Clydesdale testing.
Two stories of note. I have a buddy who is a real Trek/Fisher fan and has had a Hi Fi and a Rumblefish 29″er. He recently bought a Stache 8 and told me that he has been descending faster on his Stache 8 then he did on the Rumblefish. In fact, he expects this will lead to trouble if not his demise. He is having a blast.
Then, while showing some out-of-towners the local testing grounds, jeffj was at the top of the trail head, a long and flowy, but rutted with baby heads trail, and was surrounded by three riders, all on Yeti SB66s. Very capable bikes for sure. Perhaps they felt sorry for the big, old guy or they wanted a Harvey sized rabbit to chase…dunno…but they got dropped by a circus bear on a Stache 8. Buh-bye! See ya at the bottom. Very interesting so far. Stay tuned.
Note: Trek Bikes sent over this Stache 8 at no charge to Twenty Nine Inches for test and review. We are not being paid, nor bribed for these reviews and we will strive to give our honest thoughts and opinions throughout.