Bike Review – Trek Full Stache 8
Plus-sized bikes have rapidly grown in popularity; however, the focus has mostly been on 27.5-inch wheel sizes—that is, until now. Trek recently introduced an all-new 130mm-travel plus-sized bike to its lineup, and this one is proud to be an outlier. The Full Stache stands tall on monstrous 29×3-inch tires and offers many of Trek’s proven technologies. Trek didn’t simply slap a pair of monster truck-sized wheels and tires on a previously designed bike and call it a day. The Full Stache was carefully engineered to make the most of its big wheels, and that extra attention to detail shows out on the trail. We got our hands on the brand-new Trek Full Stache a few weeks prior to its release date and have been hammering out the miles on this Clydesdale trail bike since. Here’s what it’s like to ride Trek’s unapologetic Full Stache.
WHO IS IT MADE FOR?
The most obvious customers for the Full Stache would be previous Stache owners looking to upgrade their hardtails to the new full-suspension version. That said, this brand-new machine may convert some riders who never planned to own a 29er plus bike at all. The combination of short chainstays, advanced suspension technology, well-designed geometry and, of course, humongous tires sets this bike apart from the rest.
WHAT IS IT MADE FROM?
The Full Stache was constructed from Trek’s Alpha Platinum aluminum and features many of the technologies we’ve come to expect from Trek. These technologies include Active Braking Pivot, Mino Link adjustable geometry, Control Freak internal cable routing and a Straight Shot downtube with Knock Block frame protection. Trek wanted to make the Full Stache as fun as possible, so the frame was designed around 420mm chainstays, which were made possible by elevating the chainstay on the drive side for additional clearance. Trek was unable to squeeze the large 29er plus wheels into a size-small frame, so riders are limited to medium through extra-large sizes. Trek knows the Full Stache will likely be popular with adventure riders, so Trek teamed up with Bedrock Bags to help them outfit the new ride.
WHICH COMPONENTS STAND OUT?
Trek offers the Full Stache in just one model; however, that one model comes ready to rip with a solid build kit. Starting up front, Trek gave the Full Stache a RockShox Pike RL fork with 130mm of travel. The bike rolls on Sun Ringlé Duroc 40 wheels wrapped in Bontrager XR4 Team Issue tires. Power is delivered to the wheels through a SRAM GX Eagle 12-speed drivetrain, and a 30-tooth chainring was paired with the large cassette to give the Full Stache a low-enough range to spin its big tires. A 32-tooth chainring is the largest a rider can fit on the Full Stache. Trek then custom-tuned a Fox Float shock with its exclusive RE:aktiv damper to optimize the performance of the large 29 plus wheels. A full line of Bontrager parts completes the build from the cockpit to the dropper post.
HOW DOES IT PERFORM?
Setting up: Large air-volume tires require much lower pressures, and the Full Stache’s big 29er plus tires are no different. We found pressures between 16–18 psi balanced traction and control well. Higher pressures caused the bike to bounce, while lower pressures slowed handling. Our suspension was set at 25-percent sag in the front and 30-percent sag in the rear. Our test riders then noted that a slightly slower rebound speed complemented the feel of the large air-volume tires.
Moving out: The massive 29-inch plus tires are immediately noticeable as soon as you toss a leg over this machine; however, the Full Stache fits and feels much like Trek’s more traditional trail bikes. The short stem, long front center and 150mm-travel dropper post inspire confidence before you even hit the trail. On the other hand, Trek’s Knock Block technology limited the Full Stache’s ability to handle extreme switchbacks.
Climbing: Looking down at those ginormous tires is enough to make any rider feel tired. Once you hit the trails, however, the Full Stache quickly surprises you. The almost unbelievable amount of traction this bike provides encourages riders to pedal up the steepest trails they can find. Trek’s well-engineered suspension further enhances climbing performance.
Cornering: The Full Stache has unmatched levels of traction that inspires riders to push as hard as they can into every twist and turn. Our test riders confidently found themselves drifting this bike faster and further than they could any other machine. The snappy geometry gives the Full Stache an agile feel, while the large contact patch of the 29er plus tires provides a glued-to-theground feeling. The Full Stache blurs the lines between a snappy trail bike and a ground-hugging fat bike.
Descending: The best way to describe this bike’s descending prowess would be to compare it to a bulldozer. Its large tires carry insane amounts of momentum, and the tall attack angle of the tires allows them to turn the gnarliest rock gardens into a walk down a pebble beach. Slowing the bike can be a bit troublesome, but tapping the brakes is rarely needed, as the Full Stache is never afraid to go full speed.
TRICKS, UPGRADES OR TIPS?
We imagine the first concern many riders will have is the availability of 29er plus tires. Well, besides the stock Bontrager tires, there are quite a few companies who offer 29×3-inch tires, including Surly, Maxxis, WTB and Vittoria. As far as upgrades go, the Full Stache is well-equipped right out of the box; however, a strong downhill-specific brake set could help provide riders with additional confidence when the large tires begin to really pick up speed. We also recommend Full Stache owners invest in a quality tire pressure gauge to ensure they’re within the 16- to 18-psi range. This will greatly increase performance.
The Full Stache is a unique bike that isn’t likely to replace your main steed, but it could be a stellar second bike with the ability to spice up your local trails. The bike features advanced technologies that set it apart from any other 29er plus bike we’ve ridden. The Full Stache is likely the best full-suspension 29er plus bike on the market today. That said, 29er plus bikes are a niche market that not many riders will be interested in. But, if you’re the least bit curious about trying something new, the Full Stache is an excellent place to start.