The bike has a stiff bottom bracket area and the wheel is tucked underneath the rider with shortish stays of 17.5 inches. While not leading edge short for a hardtail, this translates to an agile and responsive climber. Some say that 29ers accelerate slow. This does not as it will scoot forward when you spin, mash or pounce on the pedals. It achieves good traction with with the capable Bontrager 29-3 tires when running low pressure. It is still a hardtail so rocky and climbs have to be tackled with finesse as there is no rear suspension conforming with the trail for traction. Achieving the minimum air pressure on the rear tire is key for getting traction and minimizing getting bounced around on tech climbs.
When it comes to handling and quickness the G2 geometry, lateral stiffness and 142 mm rear thru axle deliver a bike that likes to carve. We are not certain what the 142 mm rear axle contributes to an already stiff hardtail but this blend of G2 geometry, slack head angle and shortish stays blend together to create an agile and balanced bike.
Jumps and Drops
Ok, this is where the fun begins as this bike loves to play. It is like a trail dog that like to run all over the forest, jump over rocks and splash through the water. This is the greatest asset of this bike and it is a great revelation since this not the assumed habitat of the hardtail 29er. We all know that the peers of this bike are taking over the XC racing circuit and winning races both of the short and endurance variety. But to actually hoot and holler while riding an all mountain trail on a hardtail 29er is somewhat new ground.
We rode this bike without a dropper post for a couple of weeks and were impressed. But then we put a KS Lev on it and the bike’s attitude transformed along with ours. All of a sudden, this 29er hardtail felt a little bit like the 650b all mountain bikes we’ve been riding lately. The riding position and wheel base now felt similar. Of course there was no travel in the rear so letting the brakes go on a rock garden was not a good idea. But every berm, every undulation and tree root jump looked like a target for this eager trail dog to pounce on. This bike felt like a dirt jump bike for the forest.
We believe that in five years, most bikes, even hardtails will have a dropper post. But we’re not quite ready for that paradigm shift as none of our hardtail steeds sport one. But this bike has expedited our exodus from the world of rigid posts. The dropper post completely transformed the Trek Stache in to a trail bike. And the the Stache was ready for it with its wide bars, slack head angle and playful geometry. The stock 90 mm stem had to go of course for a 60mm but everything else was dialed.
The Stache 8 is drop dead gorgeous if you like the lime green theme. That frame itself is a nude-bronze polish with green graphics. This green theme is then carried on to the seatpost hardware, seat, rims, fork headset spacers and grips. Everything is just a hint of the theme until you get to the centerpiece lime green Race Face cranks.Then the bike is finished off with internal cable routing throughout. And the leading edge idea here is the built-in internal Sram Reverb Stealth cable routing. In the end we don’t think many folks will use the Reverb Stealth routing since that requires bleeding the cable to install this specific dropper post. But it is a bold statement to say that this hardtail was designed for a dropper post.