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Old 08-28-11, 10:12 AM   #1
Deathly Hallows
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2012 Trek 8.5 DS Quick Review

http://www.trekbikes.com/ca/en/bikes..._series/8_5_ds

Was lucky enough to get a 2012 8.5 DS last week, and as there does not seem to be too many reviews of these bikes, I thought I'd write a little something.

Changes from stock version:
added Bontrager H2 tires
Thudbuster ST seat post (taken off old bike)
added platform cleat pedals -- my feet were sliding right off the stock pedals, plus they spun like there was sand in the bearings

LBS swapped tires and pedals for free (pedals are normally $90), so that was pretty cool.

I ride 30 miles per day, one trip, 90% road and 10% hard packed trail. Roads where I live are notoriously poor; city council admits neglecting roads to the point where they are basically undriveable.

I bought the 19" frame, even though I am only 5'8"; I've always went with this size frame, so it's what I'm used to. There is no stand-over clearance, but I'm not feeling squished when standing over the bike either. LBS guy recommended 17" (maybe 17.5", not sure on exact size), but I tested 17" in 2011 model and liked the 19" better.

Ride -- nice on smooth pavement, but on rough pavement I do feel it in the shoulders. Made the mistake of trying to ride on gravel and had my bones rattled pretty good. I can't comment on the ride without the Thudbuster, which does it's job nicely (actually cannot imagine riding a hardtail without one). Bike steers well on the rough pavement and is solid enough to take some pretty hard hits, but I try to stay on smoother roads.

Shifting -- shifters work nicely, FD shifts very easily. RD shifts well, except for taking 3-4 seconds to shift into smallest cog (2 trips back to LBS have improved the shifting, but it's still not where it should be).

Brakes -- exceptional stopping power. In my mind, hydros are a definite improvement over rim brakes. There is a long downhill bridge in my city; riding down the bridge one can easily top 40 mph, and the brakes stopped me dead in under 30 feet for the red light at the bottom. I felt completely safe at this speed, even when the bike was hitting bridge expansion joints, which were a pretty hard jolt. (Normally I am easy on the braking, I just wanted to see what they could do). Riding on the walkway alongside the bidge, I can easily keep my speed low without brake fade while navigating around pedestrians. Front brake gets a little noisy towards the end of my ride, then is quiet again the next day; am thinking of finding some better pads to see if that helps.

Saddle -- it's actually fairly good for me. Could be about half inch wider with a little more padding and a shorter nose, so I will be getting a lady saddle very soon. LBS has about 50 different saddles in stock and will allow me to ride one for a few days before buying it, so that's also pretty cool.

Overall, I am pretty impressed with this bike. It is much lighter and faster than what I am used to (other bike is a 24 speed long wheelbase crank forward cruiser). I can comfortably maintain 22-25 mph on the middle chain ring (haven't spent much time on the large chain ring, as my legs are still getting used to pedaling down instead of forward, as on my other bike).

That's all I can think of for now, but if anyone has specific questions, I'd be happy to answer them.

Last edited by Deathly Hallows; 08-28-11 at 01:23 PM.
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Old 08-29-11, 11:47 PM   #2
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After looking up the Canadian site, I wonder why the 11' Montare is priced more than the 12' 8.5?

The Montare lists oversized stem & handlebar, where the 8.5 doesn't, but both look the same in the pic. I think the tires are different as well. Usually prices go up LOL.
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Old 08-30-11, 10:02 AM   #3
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I was wondering about that too. I think the 8.5 is specced out slightly better than the Montare.
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Old 08-30-11, 10:17 AM   #4
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i thought I read somewhere that Trek was substituting the 8.x DS series for the katai, utopia, and montare starting in 2012. I've noticed that most manufacturers upgrade their components each year and that might be why the specs are better on the 8.5.
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Old 10-11-11, 09:11 PM   #5
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Thanx for the review. I was stuck between the 8.4 and the 8.5. I think ill go with the 8.5 for sure, although i like how the 8.4 looks much more.
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Old 10-12-11, 02:43 AM   #6
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Thanks for the review I needed it because i am stuck between the 8.5 and the Giant roam XR 1. Do you think it is worth the extra bucks because its $300 more than the Giant?
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Old 10-15-11, 10:17 AM   #7
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^^^ I think the XR1 has better shifters and derailleurs than the 8.5, but I don't have any shifting problems with the 8.5. It did take several adjustments and a little riding time to get my RD shifting properly, though. The Roam bikes are not available where I live (you can order them in, but the local dealer doesn't have any Giant hybrids to test).

After 600 miles on the 8.5, I am impressed with how well it holds up over some very rough pavement, how fast it is, and how well the brakes stop the bike. The bike shifts more smoothly than anything I have ever ridden. The only negative I can think of is the chain master link seems to dry out quickly and needs to be oiled every couple of rides. I have also found that the brakes get fairly noisy if the rotors are not cleaned every couple of rides. And the front forks will make a clicky sound if ridden on rough roads while locked out, but that's not an issue for me (I can't imagine NOT having front suspension on a bike).

Last edited by Deathly Hallows; 10-15-11 at 11:39 AM.
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Old 10-15-11, 09:35 PM   #8
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Awesome! I went ahead and let my LBS know i wanted to upgrade to the 8.5(8.4 was on lay away) and advised me that the 8.5 will be in early Nov. I am eagerly awaiting its arrival. How do you like the stock seat? I think that would be my only upgrade for now until i get some miles on the bike. Thanks again for posting..this is probably the only thread i follow here. No one else seems to either have the bike or have any experience with it.
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Old 10-15-11, 10:18 PM   #9
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I think the stock saddle is actually pretty good; it's certainly one of the best stock saddles I've had on a bike. It was a little narrow and too long for me, and I had a Brooks B67 lady saddle I wasn't using, so I switched it to that. Bontrager has a pretty wide selection of saddles, and they're not too expensive (at least at my Trek dealer).

I hope you enjoy your new bike as much as I do mine. Let me know how it works out.
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Old 10-16-11, 02:20 PM   #10
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THankyou DH! I will definitley report my experience with my DS as soon as i get it in my hands! =)
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Old 10-18-11, 04:48 PM   #11
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Hmmm...what's the difference between a DS vs. putting skinny tires on a 4300? i like the new paint scheme on the 4300
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Old 10-18-11, 05:44 PM   #12
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How do you like the H2 tires? I just put some (700 x 35) on my 8.4 DS yesterday but only rode them around the neighborhood. The 8.4 came with the Bontrager LT3 and I wanted something that would be a little faster.
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Old 10-19-11, 02:18 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by side_FX View Post
Hmmm...what's the difference between a DS vs. putting skinny tires on a 4300? i like the new paint scheme on the 4300
The 4300 has longer travel(100mm) compared to the DS 8.4(63mm), 4300 uses 26" wheels while the DS uses 700's, 4300 used Acera components and DS uses Deore...

It all comes down to what suits you best.
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Old 10-19-11, 03:29 AM   #14
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I've been looking at this bike also. I went to my local bike shop (where I bought my last two bikes) and they said that the earliest they MIGHT be able to get me one of these bikes (17.5" frame) would be mid December!!!! If I could find one locally, I'd get it today!!

Tom
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Old 10-19-11, 10:29 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by choclabman View Post
i thought I read somewhere that Trek was substituting the 8.x DS series for the katai, utopia, and montare starting in 2012. I've noticed that most manufacturers upgrade their components each year and that might be why the specs are better on the 8.5.
this is true. what I personally think was happening was that a lot of Trek dealers didn't bother with the Gary Fisher branded stuff. they were selling Trek MTBs or Trek City bikes, and they moved a lot of the FX series hybrids / flatbar road bikes... but weren't doing much with suspension hybrids. EDIT: actually, I don't know that I've seen any GF bikes in a Trek-branded store. I have two LBSes with Trek, both have minimal GF bikes. I've been to a Trek store twice (KC and OKC) and I don't recall seeing GF bikes. That said... I didn't look hard for them.
___

thus, they folded all the Gary Fisher suspension fork hybrids into the DS series. Trek's always been a numbers over names company so I'm sure they think moving customers up and down through the DS 8.1 - 8.5 is easier than talking them about a Kaitai up to a Montare.
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Old 10-20-11, 10:03 AM   #16
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Bontrager H2 Tires: They are fast (and they make that cool noise when you're pedaling hard). However, it seems to me that the rear tire loses traction under heavy acceleration; after only 300 miles I could see the rear tire had significantly more wear than the front, but after 600 miles the wear doesn't seem to be getting worse. They are fairly decent off road, at least better than I had thought they would be given the tread pattern and width. As far as overall grip on pavement is concerned, I have had cheaper tires that have had far better grip. They are a good tire for racing around town and seem pretty flat resistant, but I would have to say that when they need replacing, I will likely be looking for something different.

Last edited by Deathly Hallows; 10-20-11 at 10:06 AM.
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Old 10-20-11, 10:14 AM   #17
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DH, what tire would you replace them with so i can do some researching myself.
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Old 10-20-11, 01:28 PM   #18
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I think I would go with a Continental tire next time, something from their Contact line of tires.

http://www.conti-online.com/generato...s/city_en.html

Last edited by Deathly Hallows; 10-20-11 at 03:03 PM.
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Old 10-20-11, 07:05 PM   #19
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Wow! They actually come in different widths! Very cool!
On another note..I just came from a few more LBS'(4 to be exact) and only one had a 8.5 in stock. Im gonna be honest...i dig the 8.4's paintscheme better for sure. The shop i put mike bike on layaway has the 8.4 there waiting for me and the 8.5 is on its way. Too bad Trek doesn't sell just the frames..Sigh...
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Old 12-15-13, 09:35 PM   #20
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Hi,

I was wondering if you can give me an update on the back after a couple years.

I got the chance to purchase this exact bike that's in good shape for $550.

What concerns should I have or what should I look at for possible issues.

Thanks,

John


Quote:
Originally Posted by Deathly Hallows View Post
http://www.trekbikes.com/ca/en/bikes..._series/8_5_ds

Was lucky enough to get a 2012 8.5 DS last week, and as there does not seem to be too many reviews of these bikes, I thought I'd write a little something.

Changes from stock version:
added Bontrager H2 tires
Thudbuster ST seat post (taken off old bike)
added platform cleat pedals -- my feet were sliding right off the stock pedals, plus they spun like there was sand in the bearings

LBS swapped tires and pedals for free (pedals are normally $90), so that was pretty cool.

I ride 30 miles per day, one trip, 90% road and 10% hard packed trail. Roads where I live are notoriously poor; city council admits neglecting roads to the point where they are basically undriveable.

I bought the 19" frame, even though I am only 5'8"; I've always went with this size frame, so it's what I'm used to. There is no stand-over clearance, but I'm not feeling squished when standing over the bike either. LBS guy recommended 17" (maybe 17.5", not sure on exact size), but I tested 17" in 2011 model and liked the 19" better.

Ride -- nice on smooth pavement, but on rough pavement I do feel it in the shoulders. Made the mistake of trying to ride on gravel and had my bones rattled pretty good. I can't comment on the ride without the Thudbuster, which does it's job nicely (actually cannot imagine riding a hardtail without one). Bike steers well on the rough pavement and is solid enough to take some pretty hard hits, but I try to stay on smoother roads.

Shifting -- shifters work nicely, FD shifts very easily. RD shifts well, except for taking 3-4 seconds to shift into smallest cog (2 trips back to LBS have improved the shifting, but it's still not where it should be).

Brakes -- exceptional stopping power. In my mind, hydros are a definite improvement over rim brakes. There is a long downhill bridge in my city; riding down the bridge one can easily top 40 mph, and the brakes stopped me dead in under 30 feet for the red light at the bottom. I felt completely safe at this speed, even when the bike was hitting bridge expansion joints, which were a pretty hard jolt. (Normally I am easy on the braking, I just wanted to see what they could do). Riding on the walkway alongside the bidge, I can easily keep my speed low without brake fade while navigating around pedestrians. Front brake gets a little noisy towards the end of my ride, then is quiet again the next day; am thinking of finding some better pads to see if that helps.

Saddle -- it's actually fairly good for me. Could be about half inch wider with a little more padding and a shorter nose, so I will be getting a lady saddle very soon. LBS has about 50 different saddles in stock and will allow me to ride one for a few days before buying it, so that's also pretty cool.

Overall, I am pretty impressed with this bike. It is much lighter and faster than what I am used to (other bike is a 24 speed long wheelbase crank forward cruiser). I can comfortably maintain 22-25 mph on the middle chain ring (haven't spent much time on the large chain ring, as my legs are still getting used to pedaling down instead of forward, as on my other bike).

That's all I can think of for now, but if anyone has specific questions, I'd be happy to answer them.
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