First off I might be a little bias with this ride repost. And not cuz I sell Trek. Its because Ive been on 29+ for two years already. And I already knew how this was going to turn out. But I’ll act surprised here for practical purposes.
So the 29+ wheel and tire. What the hell is that? As far as rim its a 29er (no big deal there) but it’s wider than a normal 29er MTB. Between 40 and 50mm wide. But the plus moniker is really due to the tire. They call them a 3in wide tire but most are bigger. But the plus comes in the outside diameter. Its a taller than normal tire. That wheel\tire combo is big. Not necessarily wide, but tall. Like circus bike tall. I call it a 31er.
The 29+ is not a fatbike per say. You can’t race it in any sanctioned fat bike race as most call for a minimum 3.7in wide. If you take this thing on some machine groomed trails like Marquette you will get talked to. This is a summer wheel.
Lets start from the beginning. Once again you can credit the engineers at Surly’s intergalactic headquarters for this concept. Like the fatbike, Im not sure they invented it but they were the first to mass produce it with Surly’s Krampus out several years now. The minute I saw this wheel I knew it was for me. Then, at that time it was a race to build those wheels for your fatbike to ride in summer and that just what I did.
What a blast. I almost just wanted to keep the bike as a 29+. But alas, Trek was coming out with a cool Farley with a Bluto fork so I sold this bike along with the wheels. Fast forward to last Sept. I received my new Farley 8 and before it even got here I had some pretty high end 29+ wheels waiting for it. I was pumped. And then not so much.
The short chainstays on the Farley did not let a 29+ wheel fit in the frame. And while the shorter stay made the bike super summer nimble, it was just not the same as a big hoop the likes of 29+. So I was super bummed. And had a awesome wheelset I could not use.
On a side note… Trek’s new Farley’s will now support 29+. So its game on in that respect. And I will ride this Stache right up to the day I get my Farley 9.8, then it’s getting tossed aside like a sack of moldy diapers (sold) and I will once again throw a set of these wheels on that fat bike…
So…. lets talk about the wheels and how they ride. First off, if you are one of those guys who hated the 29 format and wish everything was 26in don’t bother. Your reasons for not liking 29er are tripled here. That said, for those of you like me that like the roll of the bigger wheels your reasons for liking them is also tripled.
Wow what a roll! Nothing seems to slow these wheels down. Bigger guys like me rely on our momentum and not so much the climbing. I would assume the bigger wheels climb slower. I dont know cuz I suck at climbing anyway.
But they do help me going uphill. Those big tires have a ton of traction. When climbing super duper steep hills in the woods my biggest downfall was spinning out the rear tire. Not with this. If I have the power to do the hill it just grabs the incline and does not let go. Same go’s for a fatbike. Same theory.
The absolute thing I do notice is downhill. You hold you momentum so much better than a normal 29er that holds its momentum better that a 26in. Premium traction. I notice some downhill turns that I always brake checked no longer need it. These big tire allow you to rail corners better than you ever did before. Again what a blast. Remember that feeling when you first rode a 29er? You get that same first feeling here coming from a 29er to this.
This bike\format would be good for beginners. We have a quite rocky trail system near here and when I’m on it with a XC bike Im constantly staring in front of me to pick the best line thru said rocks. Its the kind of rocks where if you reach down for your water bottle your hand gets ripped off the bar. You have to stop to drink.
With a 29+ or a fatbike, the bigger tires allows you to not have to be so specific to your line. Its easier. Sure the bigger wheels are heavier and a bit slower up the hills but the increased traction both in the uphills and corners make this a great format for the less experienced to get out on these trails. For me it allows me to think about other stuff when riding those rocky trails. I can look around and talk and stuff. I can take a drink without taking my life into my own hands. Its just easier to just ride. More fun.
So, we covered my history of the 29plus and the advantages of the big wheels. Lets talk about the bike. This is the first production 29+ bike out of the big three (Trek, Specialized and Giant). Of course there are some smaller manufactures that had a few on the market. Surly of course. For years. There are even a few dual suspension bikes out. But for the big three Trek was the first. They put this out so fast they could not wait for their own wheels (which are very nice) on the production bikes. They come with SunRingle, also a very nice rim.
The bike comes with yet another hub standard. Called Boost. Its 148 in the rear and 110mm in front. The bottom line is wider is stronger. Moving on.
The bike has a elevated drive side chainstay that allows the Q factor (distance between the pedals) to be narrower and not have the chainline interfere with the stay. Smart.
Its got the new Manitou Magnum fork. It works very well. Its got this weird thru axle that you only need to turn a 1\2 turn to lock. It takes a little getting used to but also works well.
This bike is all trail. So much trail that it comes with a remote dropper post which I do not use. No trails around me needs a dropper post. If I lived up in the U.P. of MI that would be a different story. But not here. Of course its swapped out with a Bonty XXX.
The wheels come tubeless ready with tape but I don’t do ghetto tubeless and will wait for Bontrager’s tubeless ready wheels. So I tossed in a white rimstrip for personalzation and a 2.4in tube. The bike weighs in at 26 pounds 10ozs without pedals. Very respectable for a 29+ with a suspension fork.
Again, with those sure footed tires and trail geometry this thing is a rocket on the descents. I can see racing enduros on this bike. Ive never really owned a trail bike before as all my MTB’s have been XC racers. But no more. As far a more suspension, when they come out I will most likely get one. Being old I thought I would never be on a hard tail again but with the bigger, fatter tires is not as bad on my back as a Superfly would be.
In fact, I was not planning on getting a MTB until the Farleys came out in Sept. I was just going to wait but when this thing was announced I had one in house the very next morning. So in a way the Stache saved my summer woods riding.
I am no longer all about the speed but the ride. And this this is a blast to ride. Its almost like they knew what I wanted. Every spec down to the Sram 1X11 is what I like.
Its going to be a good summer in the woods for me.