The French brand Mustache has invited Frandroid near Fontainebleau to take control of your VTTAE Saturday 29 Trail 9, the time of two outings of about 2 hours in the famous eponymous forest. An ultra-favorable playground for mountain biking, where positive and negative elevations, paths, stones and other roots all coexist together.
It was an opportunity for yours truly to experience a high-end electric mountain bike for the first time. This handling aims both to expose the capacities of the model tested and to bring a relatively fresh and new point of view on this discipline much more exciting than it seems.
Mustache knows how to do it with electric mountain bikes
Mustache and electric mountain bikes is a love story that has already lasted 10 years. From the start, a first range of VTTAE was an integral part of the offer, which was subsequently expanded to form five large families: Saturday 26/27 Off, Saturday 27 Weekend, Saturday 27 Wide, Saturday 29 Trail and Saturday 29 Game.
After having tried the Samedi 29 Game 9 in June 2022, whose skills are more cut out for enduro, we had to ride the handlebars of the Samedi 29 Trail 9, intended for both the general public and professionals. Trail 3, Trail 5, Trail 7 and Trail 11 versions coexist within the range, at progressive prices depending on the characteristics.
The Saturday 29 Trail is not just a compilation of premium components. It is a thoughtful electric mountain bike, designed for trail and technical routes, which combines power, agility and comfort. Mustache engineers, for example, redesigned the battery and motor mountings.
In doing so, Mustache managed to position these two components as far down as possible, in order to improve the overall stability of the bike.
The Saturday 29 Trail also benefits from an in-house design on several scales, starting with the infinitely recyclable 6061-T6 aluminum frame. The Magic Grip Control rear shock – which comes in 4 versions, depending on the bike line – is designed on its own, which is rare enough to point out.
Finally, Mustache manufactures its own asymmetrical rims, which allow for a balanced tension between the different layers of spokes. According to Mustache, its wheel is more durable in the long run. All of these homemade adjustments would make the bike more dynamic and precise.
A stunning electric mountain bike
” Trust your e-MTB » : this advice provided by one of the Mustache members when presenting the Saturday 29 Trail was one of the most valuable advice heard during the press event. Because when you take the handlebars of your first electric mountain bike, you are not yet aware of all its capabilities.
Step by step, you learn to tame this relatively easy beast to handle as stability and comfort are at the rendezvous. You then venture to cross a few first small obstacles, from relatively flat stone to a few intermediate bumps, passing through more or less marked positive elevations and other roots.
This first warm-up lap actually allows you to take the temperature of the ultra-high-end equipment that equips the Trail 9. And to understand how much the rear shock and the FOX Float 36 Performance suspension fork with 150 mm of travel still have the margin in front of them: the possibilities are in fact much greater.
The 29-inch Maxxis Assegai 3C MaxxTerra tires offer excellent grip whatever the conditions (stones, branches, wet leaves, sandy ground). It’s quite impressive in practice. The only small difficulty is in fact to become aware of its rear axle, which should ideally be placed according to a well-defined route.
For example, I happened to sneak between two large rocks, where the narrow passage and in bends are not the most obvious to take given the size of the machine: in this case, the rear wheel tended to rub, without slipping away. Where the Trail 9 is strong is that it manages to catch up all the time as long as you have good control of it.
Unsurprisingly, the Bosch Performance Line CX motor is obviously the ideal ally for more technical terrain. This is a monster of power, which delivers a torque of 85 Nm ideal for hills and overcoming obstacles. With it, everything works for you, from the average hill to the steepest: just play with your gear ratio and the assistance mode, and you’re done.
To push the bike a little further in its entrenchments, Mustache took us on more difficult typologies. “Trust your e-MTB“. It is typically in this kind of situation that this sentence takes on its full meaning. Because at first glance, some passages just seemed impossible to cross.
This is when the Trail 9 deploys all its agility and power to wipe away imposing stones, protruding roots and vicious coatings: the front end is able to leap and override (almost) n anything, while cushioning your reception without crashing and destroying the dynamism of the two-wheeler.
Especially since the power of the Performance Line CX guarantees excellent liveliness, provided of course that you have good control of the intensity of your pedal strokes. As a reminder, in the presence of a torque sensor, the electric assistance is transmitted in proportion to the force you put into the pedals.
The overall shock absorption is probably one of its biggest strengths: you never feel unduly rushed, whatever your speed. Speaking of speed, and as a VAE, the Trail 9 is electronically capped at 25 km/h, which is extremely easy to reach with Turbo mode.
On descents, speeds of 35 km/h or more are largely achievable, without fearing the slightest slip: just keep good control of your handlebars, anticipate the route and raise your sitting position towards the rear of the saddle to balance the overall weight and add stability to your rear end.
The Trail is equipped with an ultra-practical accessory which is none other than a telescopic seat post, adjustable from a small trigger fixed to the handlebars. Put some weight on it, flick the trigger and your saddle goes down in one fell swoop. Raise your butt, reactivate the trigger for the opposite effect.
This equipment might seem trivial for ordinary mortals, but is in fact devilishly essential for mountain biking. Because with each relatively full-bodied drop, whether positive or negative, it is important to lower your saddle in order to adopt a lower riding position.
Downhill, this position offers for example a better control and a better balance of the machine. Once back on flat ground, just play with the trigger to raise the saddle and return to a more classic riding posture. You get used to it very quickly.
The brakes are extremely effective: these are Shimano XT BR-M8120, front and rear, with 4 pistons and generous 203 mm discs. Each brake lever can be manipulated with a single finger as the bite and progressiveness are there. It’s very practical to keep your other fingers on the handles, and thus maintain good control of the bike.
An intelligent system on board
The version of the Trail 9 tested for a few hours was equipped with Bosch’s Smart System and the Kiox 300 computer. This intelligent system allows the bike to receive updates remotely with new features. Everything can be connected to your smartphone via Bluetooth, via the eBike Flow app.
GPS navigation, driving statistics (time, distance, average speed, etc.), personalization of very fine assistance modes, battery level and autonomy, eBike Lock, nature of the routes (elevation, type of ground): l he application provides you with a lot of practical and interesting information if you are a data lover.
We plan to write a complete dossier on the Bosch Smart System. This article will be updated accordingly.
A very comfortable autonomy
The autonomy of an urban VAE and an electric mountain bike probably does not have the same value: an urban bike is meant to be used every day, for bike-work for example. The range can therefore be a more than important criterion for the user. A mountain bike will mainly be used on weekends, for outings in the forest or in the mountains.
The fact is that the distances traveled during these small escapades can reach several tens of km if you plan to have fun all day. During our first outing, for example, we rode about 10 km over a period of barely 50 minutes. Our second outing of 1h20 led us to complete 15.5 km.
Fortunately, the Trail 9 is equipped with Bosch’s best batteries in terms of energy capacity: either the 625 Wh version or the 750 Wh version, which gives you a very good margin of maneuver. In eMTB mode – adapts to the terrain and your needs – 64 km of remaining range is displayed for 84% battery.
In Turbo mode, the most powerful, the system indicates a range of 46 km with 98% energy. In short, it’s more than enough to have fun for a whole day, or even a whole weekend. Then simply recharge it to prepare it for your next mountain/forest outing. Note that the battery is removable for convenience.
Price and user target
At 7499 euros (750 Wh battery), the Saturday 29 Trail 9 is clearly not for all budgets. Nor to all types of profiles. Admittedly, Mustache does not hesitate to point out that its model is intended for both beginners and professionals, but it is clear that it is necessary to have both the means and the passion to finalize the act of purchase. .
AE VTT enthusiasts could therefore fall for this little electric gem, or even save a few thousand euros by falling back on the Saturday 29 Trail 3 (625 Wh battery) sold for 5299 euros. The Trail 9 is nonetheless a machine cut out for technical routes, whose potential must be fully exploited to make the most of it.
Admittedly, its price might seem exorbitant, but this two-wheeler has been designed to withstand time and delicate terrain. Each skilfully chosen component constitutes a significant expense, as evidenced by the Fox fork sold for more than 1000 euros in the trade – we imagine that Mustache negotiated its prices with the manufacturer.
The driving experience and the sensations remain singular, for relatively unique possibilities of escape. Only one question haunts me: when is the next onewrinkledin a high-end electric mountain bike?
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