This bike is a total ripper
Now in its third year of production, the Trek Roscoe 8 is a Plus tyred trail-hardtail that’s decked out with all the modern luxuries you could want.
The Trek Roscoe 8 is no stranger to mbr. In this year’s Hardtail of the Year test it scored an 8 rating in the £1,000 category, narrowly missing out on second place in that test. Not only were we impressed by its handling, it featured all mod-cons, including chunky 2.8in Plus size tyres and a dropper post.
Trek Roscoe 8 review
For 2019 Trek has made some tweaks to the specification and the price has crept up by £100 to reflect these changes. Changes that include the latest SRAM Eagle cassette, with its massive 11-50t gear range, and the new RockShox Judy fork with Fast Black upper tubes. But before we get into how these changes impact the overall performance of the bike, let’s take a closer look at the frame.
Formed from Trek’s Alpha Gold aluminium it’s a seriously sleek design. Thanks to the flattened profile of the top tube, stand over clearance is equally impressive even on the smaller sizes. And Trek really covers the full size range, with everything from a diddy 13.5in option all the way up to 21.5in. The sizing is skewed towards smaller riders though, and at 5ft 11in tall the 19.5in bike could definitely be a hair longer. So if you’re in between sizes, we suggest getting the bigger bike and fitting a shorter stem.
In terms of travel, RockShox designs the Judy to sit under the Recon, the Judy range running from 100mm up to 120mm, Trek opting for the latter on all frame sizes bar the 13.5in, which get a 100mm fork to reduce the high of the front end. Even with its spindly 30mm upper tubes (the Recon gets a fatter 32mm chassis) the Judy doesn’t feel overly flexy, thanks in apart to the sturdy 15mm Maxle that secures the front wheel in the Boost dropouts.
Newly added for 2019 are the Fast Black upper tubes and better quality dials. Taken together these give the entry-level Judy the look and touch of RockShox’s higher end forks. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said of the fork’s action. It felt like it was indexed, moving in 10mm increments rather than seamlessly though it’s travel. It’s the first 2019 Judy we’ve test so it too early to say if they all feel this way, but given how smooth the performance is on most other RockShox forks, we have to assume that this particular fork had a fault so it won’t influence the final rating.
Trek has done such a standout job with the build kit on the Roscoe 8 that the only small change we’d make is to fit a shorter stem. And not because there’s anything wrong with the fit when using the stock 60mm stem, but going 10mm shorter would make it a little easier to get your ass back over the rear tyre on the steepest descents. The luxury of a 130mm Bontrager dropper post comes in to play here too, and with it ergonomically designed underbar remote, it gives the Trek a distinct edge over the more expensive Marin, while the 780mm handlebar, ribbed lock on grips and comfy saddle, all give positive feedback from the key contact points and a thumbs up from us.
Even though we’ve been testing bikes with Plus-size tyres for over three years, because we don’t ride them exclusively, we still underestimate the benefits chunky 2.8in tyres bring, especially on a hardtail. So even if the geometry and sizing on the Trek isn’t anything like as cutting edge as the Marin, it can be ridden every bit as hard. The big fat tyres act like additional suspension so it’s better at carrying speed across choppy terrain too. In fact, they are so effective at absorbing chatter; they even mask the notchy action of the RockShox Judy fork. Best of all, the bigger air cushion makes the Trek more comfortable to ride, so it’s a better option than the Marin if covering ground is your primary focus, the addition of the wide-range SRAM NX Eagle drivetrain further increasing the Roscoe 8’s remit.
If you only looked at the geometry of the Trek Roscoe 8 is would be easy to write it off as being too steep and too short. Ride it however, and it’s clear that this bike is a total ripper; the 2.8in Plus size tyres providing comfort and control that no amount of complex tubing manipulation could ever match. That’s not to say the Trek wouldn’t be even better with a 130mm travel fork and extra length in the frame, so much as we love the addition of the SRAM Eagle drivetrain, it’s not quite enough to elevate the Roscoe’s status.