I'm new to this forum, and just wanted to say thank you to all the DS owners for sharing their experiences and non-DS owners for sharing their opinions.
I found my way to this forum while looking for reviews of the DS 8.5. I haven't found a lot of reviews for the 8.5 around the web.
So to my question. Is the Trek DS 8.5 the right bike for me? I have a deposit on a DS 8.5 at a LBS, and I'm just waiting to go test ride it to make sure it's what I want. Initially I was looking for a new bike to take my daughter on rides with. 20 years ago I started mountain biking with a Diamondback V-Link FS bike. A few years later I bought a Gary Fisher Joshua F4, also a FS bike. While I enjoyed riding those bikes on trails, I always thought about getting a dedicated road bike because I like to go fast. Back then, I was considering a cyclocross because I know if I see a dirt path, I am going to take it.
Jump to present day. I haven't been doing any real riding in a long time. Maybe 10+ years. I have a hybrid Schwinn I bought a few years ago because the wife wanted to go biking with friends. I took it out on a couple dirt paths, but it was all flat. So now I want to get a bike to attach a baby seat called a Weeride, and take my daughter to the park and on some paved trails. I thought the DS 8.5 would be perfect for that and for scratching my itch to play in the dirt. So as I am waiting for the LBS to build the 8.5, I hit youtube to see videos of riders on the locals trails close to where I live. Now I really want to ride some of these trails, but worried the 8.5 with it's less aggressive 63mm Suntour won't be up to the task. I've seen Zerogravity's video of his 8.4 (tricked out) taking on some trails, but I do not have the time to tweak a bike to make it trail ready when I can just buy one. I'm trying to stay under $1,500 because I don't know how much I will get back into riding, let alone trail riding. Wife thinks it's a phase I am going through to recapture my youth. I'm turning 40 this year, so maybe she is right...
I guess I just need some reassurance that I am making the right choice by going with a crossover/dualsport instead of a mountain bike. I don't want to take the 8.5 on the trail and get hurt trying to push it beyond it's limits. See the link below to see what type of trail I want to take it on when not giving rides to my daughter. Sometimes you can not go back to recapture your youth. Or at least you shouldn't try.
Thanks in advance for all your input.