Playing house was not my thing when I was growing up. I played at exploring. I would tear around my little town in Indiana for hours on my banana seat bike. Once I figured out how to balance on a bike, with the help of my patient mother, there was no stopping me. I rode everywhere the sidewalk, path or pavement led. I disobeyed my parents with regularity on which streets to cross and how far afield I was supposed to go. I didn’t go “just a few blocks” away, I went miles away. The town was small, and the world was large. It was all mine when I was on my bike. Recently, I looked on Google Maps and found my old house and it’s funny how the street looks like it’s been minimized as if it were that yellow dot on my computer window.
Today I got a bit of my childhood back. I bought the Trek Stache 5. It is the perfect combination of mountain bike-fatty tires and no muss, no fuss suspension. Tire pressure is my suspension. From the first test ride I knew. Love at first spin. It was the fourth and final bike in my research and I rode it home from the bike shop today. The best part was the detour. As is often the case with a detour, you discover. And that’s what exploring is all about. Oh, and fun. This was epic fun.
It has been at least five years since I’ve had a mountain bike in the fleet. I didn’t really notice until a snow storm we had in early January. I took my Kona Roundabout out for a ride and I didn’t get very far. The snow packed up in the fenders and I didn’t make it to the grocery store which is only a 15 minute ride from the house. Removing the fenders is not an option since my Kona is my commuter bike and we don’t get enough snow to justify being without fenders. It was one of those unusual storms and the snow was gone in a few days. However…it made me long for a bike that would be up to the challenge of inclement weather.
We could have starved, or worse, the zombie apocalypse could have left us stranded in the house with no way to escape. I started thinking maybe it was time to look around at a fat tire or a mountain bike. For safety, of course!
I started with a test ride of a Cannonade and a BMC.
What do I want in the mountain/fatty bike? How about simplicity. The bike salesperson was telling me about the RockShox and frankly that was one of the reasons I didn’t keep the Gary Fisher Tasajara in the first place. I didn’t want to go over $1500 and I wanted something that was a mix of a fatty and a mountain bike. Did what I what even exist? I wasn’t overly impressed with the first two.
Both of these bikes were fine, but I wasn’t wowed! The bike lust feeling didn’t assault me and neither of the bikes made a lasting impression. I decided to walk away and think about it another time.
The clock struck another time last weekend. I had the Kona in the bike shop for a cable issue and I asked the guy, Tobin, who always tries to sell me something… because I ask what I need and he leads me around the shop with the smell of fresh rubber tires dominating my olfactory senses like some sort of bike musk. I gave him my wish list. He showed me a few things but I came clean and said I also wanted the bike to be pretty. I would even pay a couple hundred for something that would turn heads in addition to being a fatty/mountain-esque bike.
Tobin listened to something I said when I talked about the suspension and decided to steer me in the direction of no suspension but fat tires. I could see him take it like a challenge.
“Wait a second,” he said.
“I have another idea,” he added.
Then he walked to the desk and did a little snooping on the computer.
“How’s this?” he offered.
My left eyebrow said, “Hello my pretty!”
Today, I took this stunner for a test ride which felt like 15 minutes, but apparently was closer to 30. “I thought maybe something happened to you!” Tobin said. Seriously, time stops when I’m on a bike. Especially the right bike. There’s nothing at all wrong with this bike. It handles like an extension of your body. It flies up or down anything… streets, curbs (yes, I tried one) even trees! I didn’t try climbing a tree with it, but the gearing is amazing. High is hard and low is granny. The Trek Stache 5 wants dirt and potholes for snacks. The 29+ makes you feel like you could tree a cougar. The only thing I don’t like is that you can’t really go bike packing with it because you can’t add a rack, but whatever. That’s minor. You could add something to the seat post if you wanted. I did that with the Gary Fisher.
I’m smitten. It’s likely I will visit it tomorrow for another little spin around the block.
Shall I compare thee to any other bikes of similarity? Wait, that wasn’t the poem, but I am wondering how to compare this bike to another bike of its kind when in fact this is an unusual bike. If you have any ideas please tell me in the comments.
Did I mention it’s on sale? Yeah, the price is good and that’s a bonus too.