In any given year, there are only a handful (or fewer) of new cycling products that truly catch my attention. While on the search for something unique at the Sea Otter Classic, I walked by a bike lying on the ground that immediately drew my eyes because of its elevated drive side chainstay. Thinking maybe it was a vintage Alpinestars, I did a double take and found myself staring at a Trek, but not a vintage one. It was a 2015 Trek Stache.
Trek showcases the playfulness of their Stache 9 in this video. Riders have great traction and maneuverability at around 14 psi of tire pressure.
The elevated drive side chainstay was just the beginning of what made the fully redesigned Stache by far the most interesting bike I saw at Sea Otter (which has essentially become a trade show for the cycling industry).
The next observation was its three-inch wide Bontrager Chupacabra tires mounted on 50mm wide rims, making this rig a “mid-fat trail hardtail,” according to Trek. Then I noticed Trek’s new Stranglehold horizontal sliding dropouts. I stopped staring and marched straight over to the Trek booth to find out what the deal was with this curious contraption.
The Stache is built with Trek’s top-of-the-line alpha platinum aluminum hydroformed tubeset, an extremely short and adjustable chainstay length of 405-420mm (shorter than most 26-inch hardtails), a slack 68.4-degree head tube angle, the ability to run 27.5+, 29+ or traditional 29-inch wheels, and thanks to the Stranglehold sliding dropouts, the option of setting the bike up as a 1x or singlespeed drivetrain.
According to Trek, the elevated drive-side “midstay” is essential in sucking the rear wheel in, the only drawback being that this design only allows for a single front chainring. But considering Stache can be built-up in the 25-pound range, 1x should suffice for most riders.
The Stache is also the first bike to feature the new Boost 148/110 hub spacing standard. Now before people get all worked up and angry about this seemingly unnecessary new “standard”, consider this: Without Boost, the Stache would not be possible. Because the Stache’s chainstays are so short and the tires are so big, the rear tire and front chainring actually overlap each other. And without the 3mm offset Boost crankset, a traditional crankset would hit the tire. And thanks to Boost, the Q-factor and bottom bracket shell width on Stache is the same as a traditional mountain bike, as opposed to the more awkward 100mm-wide crank spindle of most fat bikes.
Why should you even care about any of this? Because after going for a “Free Stache Ride” (especially relevant to those Super Troopers fans), I can say with all confidence that this bike absolutely hauls the mail. The Stache is one of the most fun and fastest rides I’ve ever had on a hardtail mountain bike, especially in 29+ guise.