I had the chance to spend some time with the new Stache 9 29+. Fatter tires are becoming a hot topic on forums and in shops. With 30mm+ internal width rims becoming common. People have been singing the praises of more volume, less pressure, all is better! Surly started 29+ with the Krampus a couple of years ago. One can only assume that Trek thought it would be a good idea, and threw their design team at it.
What we got in the Stache 29+ platform is a pretty darn fun and versatile bike.
By designing the Chainstay the way they did, high on the drive side. They have allowed the use of normal spindle width cranks. Using at Pressfit 92 bottom bracket give you many options. This does limit the bike to only using a single ring up front. With Stanglehold Dropouts, you could also run the Stache 29+ frame with 27.5+ wheels and tires. It would make the chain stays even shorter, but Trek does recommend going to a 140mm front fork to preserve Dropout height and ride characteristics.
The rims are supplied by Sun Ringle. They are 50mm MuleFut Tubeless ready (bike comes with tape!) laced to DT Swiss 350 hubs. The hubs get the newer Boost 148mm rear, and 110mm front though axles.
The tires are what make this bike possible. The Bontrager Chupacabra is marked as a 29×3.00. I compared it to another tire that was a xr4 2.35 and the Chupacabra may indeed be close to 3 inches wide. Noticeably bigger than the XR4. It doesn’t have huge nobs, but they are pretty prominent. Maybe a tad shorter than a fresh XR3 but not by much. If Bontrager can be trusted for weights, this tire is about 130grams liter than a Surly Knard also. AND the Chupacabra is tubeless capable.
Another thing the Stache 9 29+ includes, is the new Manitou Magnum Pro fork set at 110mm. This fork brings with it a lot of adjustability. The Red knob is the Incremental Platform Adjust. The Black knob was the Low Speed compression. The Middle knob is the Adjustable Hydraulic Bottom Out control. Also, 34mm stanchions.
I rode the fork with only 1 click of the IPA, 2 clicks of LS, and zero HBO. With it like this there was still very minimal brake dive. It stayed pretty high in it’s travel, but that could also be the 17-18psi I had in the tires. Side to side stiffness and crown flex was hard to judge because of the tires, but even grabbing the rim and pushing and pulling sided to side I didn’t notice much. Overall I would say Manitou has a great product in this fork.
Fantastic. I liked the old Stache a lot. I missed it the day after I sold it. This bike may end up being added to my stable. It had every pit the fun and play fullness that the Normal Stache 29er has. There was no real detectable frame flex while standing and pedaling. I was hitting some moderately technical features liek I would have on a full suspension bike. Really confidence inspiring to just charge into something and have the tires and fork just absorb it. Almost felt like a full suspension bike. Definitely more forgiving than my Superfly 100. AND the traction! Everywhere felt like hero dirt.
The 29+ tires handled gravel, sand, and the SoCal kitty litter over hardpack very well. Any small trail imperfection was erased by the low pressure big tires. With a 2.3 tire sometimes you feel like sand is sucking all of your energy, the 29+x3.00 just sailed over it like it wasn’t even there. I am sure a Full Fat tire would handle it better. But the sand we typically get on a SoCal trail system isn’t as deep as beach sand. Standing and hammering it never lost traction where a narrow tire may have. The only draw back, was when I hit a successive bit of trail chatter on a down hill. It got a tad bouncy. Maybe I could have let more air out to fix this. Or, it could just be a hardtail on technical trail thing.
Of course the X1 drive train, with carbon bars, and XT brakes was a dream. The KS eThirty Integra dropper post worked pretty well. The was no noticeable play side to side or front to back. The lever was nice in shape. It did feel a little hard to push. Maybe it was just not set up well. Not sure on the history of the demo bike I was using.