Thursday, May 9, 2013

Fun on purpose.

This bike is fun.  Trek/Fisher Stache 8
I bet most of us, when we really get down to it, ride because it is fun.  And unless you are truly driven or are in this for cash or acclaim, when it stops being fun we stop riding.  So here is a bike that, according to the builder, is all about 'fun'.

A 29er hardtail with a twist here...120mm fork with 51mm (G2) offset, 68.6* HT angle 72* ST angle, 17.5" stays, dropper post ready, 2.3 tires stock.  Long TT, long-ish stem.  Typical 2x10 XC gearing.  SO what is it?  AM hard tail?  No...not short enough or burly enough.  XC racer?  No, too heavy with that dropper post and big tires plus the HT, not an XC racer.  Endurance bike?  Well kinda over qualified for that too.  SO what is it?

Just a fun bike to ride in the way that maybe 90% of the people that do ride, ride.  That being, out with the gang, on the trail, up the hills, down the hills, across town, over the horizon, maybe fast, maybe not fast, checking Strava, checking in to life, checking out of life.

Why is this bike so different then, so 'more fun'?  Here is what I think.

  • The relaxed HT angle and overall weight distribution works to keep YOU relaxed and smiling.  You are off the front wheel, back in the center of the bike.  So while this is against you in some cases, like steep seated climbs up a switchback, it is for you most all the other 99.9% of the rides. This is the first time I have been...wait...the second time I have been impressed with a bike that had a 51mm offset fork on it on purpose; this G2 Trek and an Ibis Ripley.
  • It loves to just play down the trail, bopping off everything, taking rougher lines just for fun, whatever.  Speed feels really good on this, keeping in mind the hardtail limitations.  
  • Dropper post.  Man, those things make a bike into a whole new animal and let you do things with your weight balance that a normal post will not do (unless you stop and drop, raise, drop raise, etc)
  • Fattish tires.  More rubber is more gooder on trail rides.
  • 120mm of travel and a 17.5" CS length.  Just right for anything short of full on BC log drops and yet you can sit and spin along, having some hope of getting up the steeps without needing to perch on the nose of a faux leather, ti railed suppository.
  • The vibe is right.  Yeah it all just comes together to not be the 'nth' degree of anything but the meat of everything we like about riding.  In fact the closest thing to this I have felt in an FS is that Ripley 29er, but that was just a brief impression.
  • No pretense of being all serious.  Trek seemed to get it marketing wise and I think riders will respond once they stop obsessing over perceived needs like under 17" CS lengths and 140mm forks on hardtails, and conversely, steeper than required 71+* HT angles and bike set-ups that only feel really good when we are trying to go very fast uphill or on some smooth course.
Like anything, this simple but slightly unique 29er is not for everyone but I really came to appreciate it and I had to think to myself that it was, more often than not, more fun to ride on any given day than many other bikes I have hanging around the garage.  And that was quite interesting to me, at least.  

Maybe to you as well.

And if I was to go out and order a custom bike right now, I would take the specs of this Stache 8 and have it rendered in Ti just for kicks.  And then I would ride and smile, having fun.