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TREK GOES BIG WITH PLUS

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In 2015 TREAD rode Plus-sized tyre bikes overseas for the first time and, based on our collective experience, decided that Plus size isn’t a bicycle industry sales-booster gimmick, but rather a wheel/tyre size that should hold a very welcome place in mountain biking, a sport that’s just over 40 years old and still developing on many levels, especially technologically.

Three years later and most bike brands now offer Plus-sized wheel/tyre models confirming the credibility of the category. TREK has invested heavily in the Plus-size category with a range of models to suit every type of rider; and TREK South Africa has made a number of Plus models available at very competitive prices. 

 

What exactly is Plus? Plus is essentially a wider rim and wider tyre than you’d find on a ‘regular’ mountain bike. As a rule of thumb Plus rims are generally 40-50mm wide and the tyres between 2.8 inches and 3.0 inches wide. 

The primary benefits of Plus are increased stability (handling) and a lot more traction, while the primary downside is a bit more weight. In South Africa, Plus is just starting to gain, um, traction, but largely among newcomers, for whom light weight isn’t as much a priority as control. However, increased traction is also the holy grail for seasoned shredders, as can be seen by the uptake in sales of Plus-sized full-sus trail bikes. And then of course there are the discerning mountain bikers that have discovered the excitement that Plus can bring to a trail-orientated hardtail. In our opinion, Plus has given the hardtail market a significant boost.

TREAD got to test ride a few TREK Plus models in recent months. Although it wasn’t the first time we’d ridden Plus size bikes in South Africa, the tests did introduce Plus to some of our newer TREAD testers to get an even wider perspective. We’ve included some tester opinions further below along with each of the models we rode.

 

The following are summaries of the TREK Plus models available in South Africa in each of the Plus-size sub-categories:

TRAIL HARDTAIL:

ROSCOE 

FEATURE BENEFIT
27.5-inch Plus wheels with 2.8-inch width tyres Confidence-inspiring traction 
Wider 141mm (rear) and 110mm (front) hubs Makes for stronger, more responsive wheels. Allows for wider tyres to deliver more traction, shorter chainstays for better manoeuvrability and more chainring options for greater pedalling efficiency
Longer travel suspension fork (120mm) For improved control (and comfort) over rough terrain
Tapered headtube and trail geometry More robust front end and better handling on steep gradients and unpredictable terrain

Roscoe is the ideal trail hardtail for those new to the sport that are looking for a confidence inspiring ride. The stability of the Plus wheels and greater level of control offered by the more relaxed geometry sees fear make way for fun. The fact that you can add a dropper post is a bonus. The new range comprises the Roscoe 7 at R14 999 and 8 at R18 499, as well as the Women’s Specific Design (WSD) models. 

Roscoe 7 @ R14 999

 

Roscoe 7 WSD (women-specific design) @ R14 999

 

FRAME: Alpha Gold Aluminium, E2 tapered head tube, internal derailleur & dropper post routing, rack & kickstand mount, Boost141, G2 Geometry 

FRONT SUSPENSION: RockShox Judy Silver TK, coil spring, preload, rebound adjust, TurnKey hydraulic lockout, E2 tapered steerer, G2 Geometry w/51mm offset, Boost 110, 120mm travel (13.5: 100mm travel) 

WHEELS: Formula DC 2241 alloy, Boost 141, SUNringle Duroc 40SL 28-hole, tubeless strips and valves sold separately 

CRANKSET: FSA Gamma Pro, 28T

REAR DERAILLEUR: Shimano Deore M6000, Shadow Plus 

BRAKESET: Tektro M285 hydraulic disc

 

Roscoe 8 @ R18 499

 

Roscoe 8 WSD (women-specific design) @ R18 499 

FRAME: Alpha Gold Aluminium, E2 tapered head tube, internal derailleur & dropper post routing, rack & kickstand mount, Boost141, G2 Geometry 

FRONT SUSPENSION: RockShox Judy Silver TK, coil spring, preload, rebound adjust, TurnKey hydraulic lockout, E2 tapered steerer, G2 Geometry w/51mm offset, Boost 110, 120mm travel (13.5: 100mm travel) 

WHEELS: Formula DC 2241 alloy, Boost 141, SUNringle Duroc 40SL 28-hole, tubeless strips and valves sold separately 

CRANKSET: SRAM NX, 28T Direct Mount X-Sync

REAR DERAILLEUR: SRAM NX, Roller Bearing Clutch 

BRAKESET: Shimano M314 hydraulic disc

TREAD TESTER COMMENT

The Roscoe offers all the grit of a thoroughbred mountain bike, but delivers significant traction that translates into a feeling of increased confidence, not only on corners, but all the time. It quickly alleviates traction-loss nervousness among novices, while still giving hardened bike handlers the awareness that what they thought was the bike’s limit, wasn’t. A real grin-producing ride and great for both men and women keen to embrace mountain biking with more confidence.

More on the Roscoe hereTrek Bicycles – Roscoe

 

PERFORMANCE HARDTAIL:

STACHE 

FEATURE BENEFIT
29-inch Plus wheels with 3.0-inch width tyres Confidence-inspiring traction and the ability to just ‘bulldoze’ your way over ruts, roots and small rocks
Short chainstays (420mm) The ability to weave the bike through twisty, tight trails smoothly
Stranglehold Dropout Allows you to change wheels from 29 Plus to 27.5 Plus to regular 29. Versatility of the highest order!
Shimano Deore 1×10 drivetrain Simplicity that allows you to focus on the ride and not become distracted by a surplus of gear choices

Stache is an all-new species of 29 Plus mountain bike that allows you to explore the versatility of being able to fit different wheels without significantly affecting frame geometry. The Stache is for riders that not only appreciate, but demand performance without compromise. The carbon-framed 9.7 is light and responsive for snappy climbing but offers balance with a dropper post to make descents and fast turns a cinch. The range features the 5, a light-weight aluminium model at R24 999 and the show-stopping carbon 9.7, at R54 999!

Stache 5 @ R24 999

 

FRAME: Alpha Platinum Aluminium, Boost 148, Midstay, E2 tapered head tube, internal derailleur and dropper post routing, Stranglehold dropouts, G2 Geometry

FRONT SUSPENSION: Manitou Machete 32 Comp, air spring, ABS damper, lockout, E2 tapered steerer, Boost 110, G2 Geometry w/51mm offset, 120mm travel

DRIVETRAIN: Shimano Deore M6000, 10-speed

SEATPOST: Dropper post, Bontrager lever, 31.6mm, internal routing

 

Stache 9.7 @ R54 999

 

FRAME: OCLV Mountain Carbon, Boost 148, Midstay, E2 tapered head tube, internal derailleur and dropper post routing, Stranglehold dropouts, G2 Geometry

FRONT SUSPENSION: RockShox Pike RL, Solo Air, Charger damper, E2 tapered steerer, Boost 110, G2 Geometry w/51mm offset, 120mm travel

DRIVETRAIN SRAM GX Eagle, 12-speed

SEATPOST Bontrager Drop Line 125, internal routing, 31.6 mm (15.5: Drop Line 100)

TREAD TESTER COMMENT

There is no trail obstacle that’s not worth challenging on the Stache. The huge 29-Plus wheels make you feel like a superhero on the trails. Seriously!  It takes a bit of getting used to the additional weight and ‘tyre burl’, but once you’ve ‘tuned in’, it’s a superb experience, especially for powerful, skilled riders that love to push their limits. A bonus is that the Stranglehold dropout on the 9.7 offers a singlespeed conversion option as well as different wheel size alternatives. Essentially, three bike-riding experiences in one beautifully presented package. If simplicity is a priority, this could be your primary bike. If not, then it’s a great second-bike option.

More on the Stache here: Trek Bicycles – Stache

 

PERFORMANCE TRAIL FULL-SUS:

FUEL EX PLUS

FEATURE BENEFIT
Longer travel suspension (130mm rear and 140mm front) The new ‘sweet spot’ for discerning riders that appreciate a faster, smoother, more controlled ride on virtually any terrain and gradient
RE:acktiv suspension (on the 8) The cutting edge in rear-suspension technology that delivers next-level efficiency and smoothness 
Active Braking Pivot (ABP) Ensures the suspension remains active and the chain isn’t compromised during high-speed, rough-surface braking
SRAM GX Eagle 1×12 drivetrain Simplicity and range in gearing that allows you to ascend even the steepest gradients with composure

One of the world’s best-loved mountain bikes gets a major capability boost. Packed with features, the Fuel EX Plus is hard to beat in terms of value for money. Quite possibly the most versatile mountain bike in TREK’s arsenal, the Fuel EX Plus range in South Africa comprises the 5 at R31 999 and the 8 at R49 999.

Fuel EX 5 Plus @ R31 999

 

FRAME Alpha Platinum Aluminium, ABP, Boost 148, Knock Block steerer stop, Full Floater, EVO link, E2 tapered head tube, Mino Link, Control Freak internal routing, downtube guard, PF92, ISCG 05, G2 Geometry, 130mm travel.

FRONT SUSPENSION RockShox Recon Silver, Solo Air spring, Motion Control damper, E2  tapered steerer, G2 Geometry w/51mm offset, Boost 110, 140mm travel.

REAR SUSPENSION RockShox Deluxe RL, 210×52.5mm

DRIVETRAIN SRAM GX Eagle 12-speed

 

Fuel EX 8 Plus @ R49 999

 

FRAME Alpha Platinum Aluminium, ABP, Boost 148, Knock Block steerer stop, Full Floater, EVO link, E2 tapered headtube, Mino Link, Control Freak internal routing, downtube guard, PF92, ISCG 05, G2 Geometry, 130mm travel.

FRONT SUSPENSION Fox Rhythm 34 Float, GRIP adjustable damper, E2 tapered steerer, G2 Geometry w/51mm offset, Boost 110, 140mm travel 

REAR SUSPENSION Fox Performance Float EVOL, RE:aktiv 3-position damper, tuned by Trek Suspension Lab, 210×52.5mm 

DRIVETRAIN SRAM GX Eagle 12-speed

TREAD TESTER COMMENT

We gave the TREK Fuel EX an almost perfect score last year (Tread Insight, Bikes: Tested, TREK Fuel EX 9.8). So, it was with a sense of anticipation that we received the Plus version. Big, burly, knob-sprouting chunks of Schwalbe Nobby Nic rubber, mated to equally impressive Sun Ringle rims and Bontrager boost hubs. The larger-than-life wheelset sets the tone for the Fuel EX Plus, which is a no-nonsense throw-anything-at-me trail/Enduro machine. The Fuel EX is unsurprisingly entirely most comfortable on any descending trail and has the 12-speed drivetrain to reduce the severity of ‘gravity tax payment’ when climbing to reach such descents. 

Where line-choice is essential on the Fuel EX, the Plus version eliminates that concern, but still offers incredible handling and agility, most appreciated by more adventurous riders.

More on the Fuel EX Plus here: Trek Bicycles – Fuel EX

 

As mentioned earlier, Plus wheel size bikes aren’t a fad, they form an essential sub-category in the mountain bike ecosystem. Riding confidence is key in bicycle design these days and Plus bikes are all about confidence. TREK has succeeded in taking Plus and integrating it seamlessly into various riding styles. To date no other brand has tackled Plus as aggressively in South Africa as TREK has. 

We’re still buzzing from the increased levels of thrill we were able to enjoy on the TREK Plus test bikes and look forward to the growth of this category over the coming years. 

Unsure which is the best TREK mountain bike for you? Here’s a useful guide: Trek Bicycles Buyers Guide

To find your nearest TREK retailer, browse the South African options here: Trek Bicycles – Retailers

TREK GOES BIG WITH PLUS Reviewed by on . In 2015 TREAD rode Plus-sized tyre bikes overseas for the first time and, based on our collective experience, decided that Plus size isn’t a bicycle industry sa In 2015 TREAD rode Plus-sized tyre bikes overseas for the first time and, based on our collective experience, decided that Plus size isn’t a bicycle industry sa Rating: 0

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