The trail hardtail is the cockroach of bicycle kingdom: tough to kill. Just when I thought full-suspension was set to crush the venerable beasties, plus tires and modern trail geometry came along and breathed new life into the hardtail category.
In fact, Trek offers two trail hardtails: the 29-plus Stache at the high end and the entry-level, 27plus Roscoe. Both models aim to please riders more interested in getting rowdy and having fun than pegging it on a race course.
With 27plus tires, modern trail geometry and RockShox’s capable-yet-affordable Judy Silver 120 mm fork, Trek’s Roscoe stands ready to shred everything except your wallet. The model 8 reviewed here tops the lineup at $1,260. The base Roscoe 7 rings in at $1,070.
The aluminum alloy frame features a tapered head tube, rack mounts, and Boost141 spacing. Boost141 employs traditional open dropouts and a 10 mm QR axle, but increases spacing from 135 to 141 mm, which helps accommodate plus-width tires and short chainstays.
Visualize the midpoint of the trail-bike-handling bell curve. That’s where I’d paint the Roscoe. Quirk-free handling quickly put me in sync with the bike. The Schwalbe Rocket Ron Performance tubeless-ready 27.5×2.8 tires lay down confidence-inspiring traction, without feeling “fat and bouncy” like wider tires often do.
The SRAM NX 28T Direct Mount X-Sync crankset mated to the 11-speed SRAM 11-42 cassette provided uphill-friendly gearing that offered plenty of choices for the rolling hills of my testing grounds.
Note: The full bike review will appear in print in Dirt Rag #203. If you don’t already, subscribe now so that you don’t miss the juicy stuff we’ve got planned for the upcoming issues! While you’re at it, sign up for our email newsletter to get great content like this delivered directly to your inbox every Tuesday.