Monday, August 08, 2016

News Season: Trek's Plus Bike- The Stache

Trek Stache 9.6 Image courtesy of Trek
I mentioned in my Salsa Cycles 2017 bike post that the Stache was coming out in a carbon fiber version, and if you were paying attention last week, you saw this come true. There are two levels of the carbon framed Stache and a carbon frame set available as well. Interesting to note that for a couple of years there has been a "direct-from-China "Stache-like" carbon frame available, but obviously it cost far less than the legit Trek version. You know, the Stache frame which has a warranty, and probably is a bit more verified for actual mountain use by testing? That cost money. Anyway, that's a different debate......

The point here is that Trek has a bike which is Boosted, obviously, and is 1 X only, which is understandable, what with the short wheel base and funky bottom bracket/chain stay junction. What is interesting about the carbon version is that it has a bit longer reach and a lower bottom bracket than the aluminum bike. The top-o-the-line 9.8 version gets Rock Shox's plus bike version of the venerable Pike. Yes.......it is expensive. A Stache 9.8 is $4700.00. The 9.6 shown here is a more reasonable $3000.00.

Keep in mind that the Stache can run regular 29 inch wheels, which makes for the possibility that this could be your cross country race bike. Yes......extra wheels that would compliment this bike are expensive. Figure on between a grand and twice that. But......another XC carbon race bike would cost more, so...... In the end, all this, this bike can take different wheel size stuff probably will not be taken advantage of by very many riders. Most folks will just run what come wit da bike, and buy something else for other disciplines. Options for wheel sizes sell bikes though, and help justify $4000.00 purchases, so there is that. You will have to decide in the end if any of this, or none of it, matters to you.

The aluminum Stache 1. Image courtesy of Trek
To my way of thinking, the aluminum Stache 5 is the bike that will make 29+ a more widespread "thing" in mountain biking. Why? Because it comes in at a price that is a lot more accessible to many more trail riders. Here we have a Manitou Machete plus bike fork, a Race Face crank, and sturdy, dependable Deore derailleur. Shimano hydraulic brakes and Sun-Ringle' rims round out a decent, mountain bike-able component spec. You get all that for $1580.00, which, by the way, is the same price for just the carbon frame. The Stache 7 aluminum version is $2100.00 and has a nicer spec, obviously.

But getting back to the $1500-$1600 range. That's where the "real mountain bikes" are for price now. We see it all the time. Yes, there are some that go for less. The new 29"er version of the Salsa Timberjack comes in right under a grand, but these bikes are getting rarer, and at that 1G price you are starting to see some not so solid spec choices, which leads me to say that real mountain bike worthy bikes are going to cost you more now.

I remember back in the early 90's we used to tell people that "real mtbs" were costing at around the $500.00 mark. You got an all chro-moly frame and solid spec at that price that would withstand actual trail riding. That's about $790.00 in today's dollars. That would get you a frame and fork, with a little left over for some bars and a seat post maybe in 2016. Also, we have much more sophisticated parts and pieces nowadays. Disc brakes, tubeless ready tires, ten speed cassettes!! Front suspension that makes those old versions of Mag 21's look like department store fare. So, adding in all of that value, I feel confident that $1500.00 is the new line of demarcation between the "real" mtbs and the "mountain bike shaped objects". The area between 1000.00 and 1500.00 is a grayer area nowadays that I feel won't have a lot of selection in this "real mountain biking" category in the time to come.

But this was about the Stache......

Yeah, that Stache 1, which will "street price" for a bit less than MSRP, I think, is the bike that either puts 29+ on the map or doesn't. Time will tell.

6 comments:

Scott said...

Interesting discussion of a "real" mountain bike. My first MTB was a new 1995 GT Tequesta (rigid cro-mo) with Shimano STX components. What you said above really rings true. I can remember the LBS guys telling me I would need to spend $500 to get a "real" MTB (the Tequesta was $500ish).

I am curious. Regarding the lower end Stache 5. Would you rather see it with a suspension or rigid (perhaps carbon) fork at that price point?

Guitar Ted said...

@Scott: I think Trek did a decent job getting a suspension fork AND a decent spec on the Stache 5, but if a rigid fork worked for the masses, then yes- I would expect better parts and a more mtb-like performance. The thing is, can you have a "real mtb" these days and NOT have a sus fork? That's a debate for another time.......

Smithhammer said...

It's good to see 29+ gaining more momentum, both in terms of manufacturers and models available, and also in terms of tire options.

Whether we're talking 27.5+ or 29+, I think that the whole "you can also run regular 29" wheels" is a seductive, but largely theoretical, selling point for the sales floor and little more. The reality is, I know very few people who, after running plus on their MTB, opt to plunk down a chunk of change for an extra set of skinny wheels. Of course it's always great to have options, but the number of people exercising that option is very minimal, from what I've seen.

Matthew said...

For what it's worth, I just picked up a used 2016 Stache 5 with the factory rigid fork, converted to singlespeed, and it's the most fun I've had on a bike since the first-gen Raleigh XXIX. In my world, that's high praise. Sad to see the rigid fork dropped from the 2017 Stache lineup, since the bike seems plenty capable without front suspension.

Unknown said...

Would you need new wheels though? Can't you just run a 29" 2.1 on these 29+ original rims?

Guitar Ted said...

@Unknown: Technically, you "might" be able to do that, but these rims are wide- Probably 40-50mm wide. They also are going to be pretty heavy for XC racing. Well......if you are seriously XC racing, that is.