DMR Trailstar - Review

Feb 29, 2016
by David Arthur  


A classic has been reborn. The original DMR Trailstar became an iconic frame among British hardtail fans when it was launched back in 1996, a time when most hardtails were made for cross-country racing. Here was a properly capable hardtail that could be used as an all-mountain trail bike, or just for blasting around the local woods, sessioning jumps and downhill tracks. For 2016, the Trailstar has been relaunched with a completely new frame, rolling on 27.5” wheels with plus-size capacity, and with geometry updated to reflect that of modern mountain bikes.


Despite the prevalence of advanced of full-suspension bikes, hardtails have never gone out of fashion in the UK. Their affordability, sheer simplicity, and dependability means they are still an appealing choice for many mountain bikers. There's a lot to like about the simple riding pleasure of a well-sorted hardtail.

The new Trailstar is available as a frameset, but DMR supplied a bike built up with some quality kit, including a DMR Defy 50mm stem and 780mm Wingbar handlebar, DMR Axe crankset, Shimano ZEE rear derailleur, Praxis 10-speed wide-range cassette, X-Fusion Sweep 150mm fork, X-Fusion HiLo dropper post, TRP Slate disc brakes and a choice of wheels, including some 2.8" WTB tires on 40mm WTB rims.


DMR Trailstar Details:

• Intended use: trail / all-mountain
• Wheel size: 27.5"
• Head angle: 65.5° (actual)
• Heat treated 4130 chromoly steel frame with tapered head tube
• Shimano ZEE / DMR / Praxis drivetrain.
• TRP Slate brakes
• Fork: X-Fusion Sweep 150mm
• Weight: 2.8kg frame, 13.95kg complete
• MSRP: $750 / £499 frame only
• Contact: DMR Bikes / @dmrbikes



DMR Trailstar
A short tapered head tube and the low slung top tube gives purpose.


DMR Trailstar
There's space for 2.8" tyres with no special modifications


Frame Design

Like the original, this new Trailstar is made from steel, a 4130 chromoly tubeset. Without a doubt, the defining feature of the Trailstar’s aesthetics is the radically sloped and curved top tube. It provides loads of standover clearance for roosting the bike through corners, and it’s something of a talking point in the car park before a ride. You’ll either love or hate it, but it’s a grower. Well, it did grow on me. Aside from the frame material similarities (and the retro blue paint job) the differences start to emerge. The frame is compatible with a 140/150mm fork, and the geometry is longer, lower and slacker than the previous version. I measured a 65.5° head angle and 67.2° seat angle with a 150mm fork, along with 425mm chainstays, a 1172mm wheelbase and a 741.5mm front center on the size large, one of three frame sizes available. The lack of a wider size range will mean riders at either extreme of the height scale might struggle to fit the Trailstar.

DMR Trailstar


The other big news is that the Trailstar now runs on 27.5" wheels. More shocking than that, it’s also compatible with plus-size wheels and tires. The frame and this X-Fusion fork comfortably take 2.8" tires, and with an 8mm longer dropout, you could fit a 3" tire. Can you fit a 29in wheelset? Yes, just. The Trailstar, unlike many of the new breed of 27.5+ bikes, hasn't been designed as a 29er frame that can also accommodate fatter tires, but I was able to fit a pair of 29er wheels (Stan's Crest rims with Schwalbe Racing Ralph 2.1in tires). While they did fit, clearance was severely limited, particularly with the fork crown. You could use the longer dropouts to increase the rear clearance, but you'd really need to swap the fork as well.

The frame is bristling with details, including the "Swopout" dropouts that allow the frame to be converted between singlespeed and geared configurations, with a 142x12mm thru-axle or conventional quick release options. There are ISCG05 tabs for fitting a chain guide and the frame, as is increasingly common, is only compatible with 1x drivetrains. There’s a threaded bottom bracket shell, and while the gear and brake cables are externally routed, there’s internal stealth dropper routing.
Geometry
DMR Trailstar

Not surprisingly for a frame designed to be treated like a hooligan on the trails, there are reinforcements in key places to strengthen the frame. It's basically built to be tough and take some punishment. The top tube and seat tube are braced, as is the non-driveside rear dropout; there’s a gusset at the top of the down tube, and a plated chainstay bridge at the bottom bracket. At a claimed 2.8kg the frame isn’t what you’d describe as light, it’s clearly built to be rugged, but a sub-30-pound weight would be possible if you wanted to build it light. The pictured bike weighed in at 30.75 pounds.


DMR Trailstar
The Trailstar lets you go plus-size, with these 40mm WTB Scraper rims fitted


DMR Trailstar
The 2.8" tires were a welcome addition to the Trailstar's handling portfolio.








After first riding the Trailstar with the regular 27.5” wheels, in which it immediately impressed with its handling and stability, I then conducted the majority of the testing on the plus-size wheels. Why? Simply because I enjoyed the performance with the bigger tires more. The impact this wheel change has on the geometry is minor, the most notable difference is a slight increase in the bottom bracket height. You can swap between the two wheelsets without a major readjustment of riding style. The WTB tires aren't without their faults; they're not fantastic in gloopy mud, but on the right trails, harder rockier terrain, the bike felt faster and smoother over rough trails. Running the tires at lower pressures (13-15 psi) also gave the Trailstar more stability and composure on really rough trails, particularly trails latticed with roots or festooned with rocks. A hardtail can be a pretty unforgiving experience on those trails where a full-susser really shines, but the bigger tires just gave the Trailstar more capacity to not be outdone by such conditions.


Why 27.5 Plus?

Proponents of plus-size state the main benefits as being improved grip with greater rolling speed, due to the larger outside diameter of the bigger tire. I'm not here to convince you 27.5+ is better, you really need to ride it and make up your own mind. Could I tell the difference? Yes, there’s a clear, albeit subtle benefit of the bigger tire, at least on my local trails with my riding style. The larger outside diameter allowed the bike to maintain speed slightly more easily on up and down trails. Despite the drawbacks of the tires in mud, there’s no doubting the speed and stability benefits of the bigger tire. Put simply, I had more fun on the Trailstar with the plus-size wheels.

The nice thing about the Trailstar is that it’s easily interchangeable with the two different wheelsets, so you’re not tied to one standard. You could run this frame with regular wheels to start with, and maybe invest in a second set of 27.5+ wheels and tires down the line. It’s still early days for plus-size with loads up for grab (the optimum rim and tire width, axle standards) but the Trailstar provides a bit of future proofing.


Climbing

The Trailstar isn't really designed to be a fast climber, and if that's your thing, you'll be better served by a cross-country hardtail. That being said, the bigger tires enhanced its climbing abilities, providing extra traction to help the Trailstar scramble up steep inclines (as long as it wasn't too muddy), and I cleaned a couple of climbs I had struggled with previously on other hardtails. I did find that on really steep climbs it could be tricky to keep enough weight over the front-end; I'd imagine a travel adjustable fork would be the easiest solution to this. On steady gradient climbs, like fireroads, the Trailstar is just fine and the weight is manageable.

When you get into fast flowing singletrack, the Trailstar, in plus-size guise, feels rapid and it maintains momentum surprisingly well. The bigger tires, combined with the springiness of the steel frame, makes it a surprisingly comfortable bike to ride - certainly enough that an entire day in the saddle didn’t leave my lower back in a million tiny pieces. And hats off to the DMR saddle, that's a comfortable thing to sit on.


Handling

While the Trailstar isn’t exactly a lightweight or highly responsive bike in the way a lightweight aluminum or carbon race hardtail is, it will do something those hardtails can't - steamroll right across roots and rocks. It isn't easily bounced off-line, and the back wheel stays underneath you and follows the front wheel faithfully, as much as can be expected of a hardtail. Despite its hardcore credentials, the Trailstar is more than capable of being ridden all day as a trail bike, but one that maximizes any descent or swoopy trail you stumble across. This is a bike designed for having fun on, going out for the weekly night right with the lads and sessioning a downhill or jump spot on the weekend. Hardcore hardtails are often second bikes to more expensive trail bikes, but the Trailstar is good enough to be a primary choice.

DMR Trailstar

bigquotesWhile full-suspension bikes might be faster and easier to ride, the updated Trailstar is a reminder of how much fun a simple unsprung rear end can be.

Descending

Okay, so the Trailstar isn't designed for climbing, but where the Trailstar really shines is on the fun stuff. This is a bike that will put a smile on your face every time you ride it. You don't ride it as much as you whip it around corners and boost it over jumps. Point down the trail, stamp on the pedals, and it wriggles and darts off down the track, with only the merest hint of unwanted flex if you really push it hard. The long wheelbase and slack head angle provide stacks of stability and composure, and the Trailstar comes into its own on steep and technical descents. The 150mm fork lets you charge on challenging trails, and the rear wheel will follow where the front leads, and isn't easily bounced off its line.

The low top tube might not be the most aesthetically appealing to all eyes, but it provides generous standover clearance. With the saddle dropped, you can push the Trailstar over into corners, leaning it low enough to get the handlebars scrubbing through the dirt (or so it seems). The Trailstar does lack a bit of agility in very tight singletrack, and you do need a bit more body energy to get the bike to change direction at lower speeds. It’s something you quickly adapt to and work to its strengths. And those strengths are blasting through high-speed sections, railing berms and sliding through the dirt.

The frame is well up to the job of being roughly manhandled over rough and challenging terrain, but there were occasions when the frame felt a little overwhelmed by the long-travel fork and big tires. It never gets loose or noodly, but the bit of flex does serve as a reminder that you’re pushing a steel frame with pretty skinny tubes probably further than it can handle. It would be interesting to try the Trailstar with a 140mm fork and see how that compares, although that would obviously steepen the head angle and take away some of its poise in the steep stuff.

Fun remains a central design philosophy of the redesigned Trailstar then, and I’m glad none of the charm of the original has been lost in the makeover. I have fond memories of blasting around my local woods on an old Trailstar adorned with Marzoccchi Bombers, and riding the new bike, reborn for 2016, reminded me of those halcyon days. While full-suspension bikes might be faster and easier to ride, the updated Trailstar is a reminder of how much fun a simple unsprung rear end can be.


DMR Trailstar
DMR Trailstar

Component Check

• X-Fusion Sweep RC HLR fork: The fork is stiff and well damped, thanks to the company’s own HLR Cartridge Damper. The stanchions are 34mm and this is the top-end model with enough tuning adjustment to get the fork dialed in just the way you like it, including high and low-speed compression damping and rebound adjustment.

• X-Fusion HiLo SLS dropper post: RockShox’s Reverb might be the go-to dropper post, but I don't have any complaints about the HiLo's performance, along with it's impressively smooth action, good durability to cope with the winter mud and ran, and internal cable routing. I really liked the remote lever for operating the post, a round knurled lever that can be pushed in any direction. It’s easy to hit with a thumb with good reach from the grips.

• WTB Scraper rims on DMR Zone hubs: A solid wheelset - though I did oddly pop a spoke in the back wheel towards the end of testing, with the 40mm wide profile rim really the key to the new plus-size development. The 2.8" WTB Trailblazers provided good grip in most conditions, but extreme mud is too much for them - hardpacked, rocky trails seemed to be their favorite territory.

• TRP Slate disc brakes: This was my first experience with the TRP Slate disc brakes and I was impressed. They have a four pot design and power is plentiful at the lever, with easy and solid one-finger application and good modulation of the available stopping power.

• DMR Defy stem and Wingbar handlebar: Loved the handlebar and stem setup. Not only does it look cool, but the stem is the right length at 50mm and the 780mm handlebar has a good shape and it’s plenty stiff enough for aggro riding.

DMR Trailstar


Pinkbike's Take:

bigquotesThe revamped geometry, modern details and plus-size capability brings the Trailstar right up-to-date, and it's a hard charging, thoroughly fun bike to ride. It's also excellent value for the money. Updating a classic was always going to be a tall order, but DMR has managed it, and in the process made the Trailstar relevant once again. - David Arthur



Visit the feature gallery for high resolution and additional images





About the Reviewer
David Arthur is a freelance mountain biker writer based in the UK. Stats: Age: 34 • Height: 5'11:” • Weight: 154lb • Industry affiliations / sponsors: None



141 Comments

  • 87 9
 How can they get away with charging £499 for this frame, when the original used to cost circa £230? steel prices are at a massive low at present, and when you compare it to something like a Stanton with Reynolds tubing (albeit still fabricated in the far east) it should cost around the £350 mark. Orange have their aluminium crush, which I think I am right to say is fabricated in the UK? and this costs £400. their new P7 as a full build comes in at £1450, so frame one would expect be around £300.
Steel hardtails should be priced in the region of £150-£300 but no more. When companies like on-one have their steel frames for £150 as a comparison it doesn't make sense. if anyone can shed some sensible reasoning for charging this much for a 4130, far eastern fabricated bike then please share as for me, this seems like pricing to fit the market but without doing a sense check against the comparison (stanton, Orange, On-one etc)
  • 14 2
 Couldn't agree more. If I want a 'fun' hardtail (can of worms remains fully sealed) as a second bike I'm not likely to spend a whopping £500 on just a frame. Likewise if I'm looking at a hardtail as my main trail bike it's likely because I'm a bit short of funds for a good full suspension frame - for £500 you can buy a very good second hand full sus frame. I can imagine a lot of people, especially in the UK, biting for ~£350 but for £500? You'd have to be mad or loaded?
  • 19 0
 Honestly they (and lots of others) are taking the piss when it comes to pricing. How can you charge close to 500 quid for a Taiwan made 4130 frame when you can have a US made Fit or S&M frame with Supertherm tubing for less?

And don't tell me it's because a bmx frame is smaller..
  • 11 1
 Instead of article comment/question on why this might be so overpriced, conclusion praises the 2.8kg frame as an excellent value?

At this price they won't be making it up on volume.
  • 16 3
 Greed is the Creed ...Money is the need.
  • 14 0
 Thanks riktherider, this is why the comment section is so important because it keeps the alot of these articles in check.
  • 7 1
 The On One frame cost half of this thing and they ship here to the US for very little .
  • 5 1
 I also have an on-one, the 45650b. Bought it as a whole bike for £1200 originaly for commuting, and upgraded quite heavily and now use it as my main bike. The original intention was to see how the Hardtail 650b rides, then if I like it get a Stanton, Production Privee or similar. But after thinking long and hard about the benefits of one of the higher priced frames, it doesn't make sense to be honest. and as you said @ThomDawson , a good full suss frame (even new on chain reaction such as the nukeproof mega range) go for £650+

I am only hoping Orange intend to sell the new P7 as a frame only, as this should be reasonably priced (around the £350 mark) but for the mean time i am rather happy with my £150 framed steed.
  • 8 5
 I guess one thing to bear in mind in relation to On One's pricing is that they are a direct sales company whereas DMR aren't.
  • 10 1
 when Cotic BFe is around £350 .. Reynolds 853
  • 8 4
 I'm from the US and bought an OnOne Inbred (150GBP/$250 USD) and 2 Cotic's (BFe 350GBP/$490 USD and Solaris -on sale- 250GBP/$350 USD) from the UK with FREE shipping. No duties or taxes. The Cotic's for those prices, these are the full or mostly full Reynolds air hardened 853 frames, I can't come close to the pricing for something like that for a US company. Even a taiwanese made lower grade 4130 frame is $700 USD. US company-Taiwan made Reynolds 853? $1100. There might be a few hidden gems, but I haven't found them. Want something made here? Starts at around $1500. Want it custom? $1800. It's crazy. England is where it's at when it comes to good frames for the dollar.

As far as US BMX companies, $350 is about the normal pricing for a US made steel frame. Less tubing, still butted, etc, etc. I don't get it. However, If I was to ever buy a DJ frame, I would probably buy a Standard Byke Company DJ 26. It's still $600, but it's US made. But here is why I would spend $600. They can custom make you something for a couple hundred more!!! Want a 29er? Sure. 27.5? Sure. Less than $1000? Sure. YES, a BMX company can make you an MTB hardtail of your dreams, for less than $1000... I only wish I knew before I bought my last frame.
  • 5 5
 There's more than just tubing in a bike frame; I can only assume they are trying to capture some of their research and design costs when setting a price. I agree though, the value offered from On-One is hard to beat.
  • 2 2
 Bought a mk1 inbred frame off here recently for £50 2nd hand.its built up into a fantastic bike for very little money.
  • 12 4
 people have been going to hardtails for the price not the cool. I guess the industry has noticed and misinterpreted it. Thanks Obama.
  • 4 2
 Old school: I was prospecting a few years ago and had a sluice modified to fit on a wheel barrel frame as well as a dredge head for a pump (the pump shelf was tubing under the sluice and the whole set up came to around $900. More welds and more metal that a bike. only 1 made which means that it would of been inefficient to make The bike industry is taking advantage of ignorance. its time to admit it and force the companies to start being about the sport again and not about the profits. this sport is going to die if they keep this up. I have seen a lot of people walk away from it in the last couple of years.
  • 1 1
 Your right, i had a DMR Exalt and it was about £350. This at £499 is way too expensive .
  • 2 1
 Not in the U.K..sterlings quite strong.
  • 5 3
 New Orange P7 frame is £500 at retailers I've enquired about it.

Don't forget the retailer is taking £200-£250 of that £500 where as on one is direct to consumer.
  • 5 0
 Not too sure about retailer mark up,sounds very high.
  • 4 2
 The P7 was never going to be cheaper than a crush. The P7 builds are all about £50 more than crush builds, so logic says the P7 will cost more in frame only variant. Pretty sure the Crush is a far east product as well, not uk built, just uk designed.

Also inflation alone increases the price of the frame from 1996 to about £330. Plus, it is redesigned which obviously some people got paid for. Plus minimum wages are all higher too. I'm not saying £500 isn't expensive, cos it is, but just because it used to cost £250 ish, does not mean it should now.
  • 3 1
 The saddest part of all this is knowing how much the tubing is and what they sell for. I know, the person designing it needs some know how and everything. 4 years ago my brother and I got the crazy idea to start making frames. I can TIG weld, stainless mostly, so we got the ball rolling. Researched it and found tubing suppliers and wholesale pricing. Found a used frame jig. Found a small shop we could rent. He lost his job so we didn't have the funds, then he moved out of state. I used to break a lot of frames, I'm pretty sure I could make a better frame. We were talking about 853 frames with your choice of powder coat (know a guy) for around $675. Just paint, base/clear coat for $600. Lower end Reynolds would be $400. We'd still make $200+ a frame. Maybe one day.
  • 2 1
 "...inflation alone increases the price of the frame from 1996 to about £330." Then the price ought to be closer to £330, people had to design the first one too and whoever designed this one doesn't seem to have done anything special. Nobody is suggesting that prices stay the same. And if they'd wanted to charge this much money they could have at least made it look good. Shame really because I like DMR but I think they've made a mistake with this one.
  • 2 0
 Agreed.p7 is still expensive though,but at least it'll hold it's resale value if you move it on.rather think you'd be struggling to get £150 for the trailstar in say 18months.may be wrong.
  • 2 2
 I don't think the price is to out of line. Bending the TT adds cost, and makes it butt ugly!
  • 2 1
 I typically like DMR, but I agree with everyone on the pricing. Plus, they seem to be a little late to the game, considering Canfield (among others) have had similar hardtails around for years (even if they started as 29er only... 27.5 wasn't really around)
  • 4 1
 $2000 for a FS frame is also overpriced when in 1996 they cost like $600. reality is that frame design is not so rudimentary as it once was. come on guys its 2016 not 1996, as well as inflation consider how technology has changed & hardtails no longer consist of 8 poles assembled into something bikey lookin'. custom forming/butting & cnc machining, rear interchangeable dropouts, custom cast headtube, these are NOT off the shelf tube sets.. the dmr is ugly to my eyes but the pricing is the same as a switchback/shan/instigator etc. what about the ritchey timberwolf or a btr which will set you back $1000+?
  • 2 2
 "...pricing is the same as a switchback/ shan/ instigator etc." That's exactly the point - it shouldn't be. And those frames are also over priced but they have at least got something to help them pretend they're worth more. Nobody thinks it's 1996, nobody is suggesting prices stay the same. I'm just suggesting that in 2016 £499 for this thing is a little OTT. the full suspension frame has undergone way more development, there is more scope there for a price increase over the frames of the past. Yes they're still overpriced (isn't everything?) but this is just a cheapo steal hardtail with a heavy price tag.
  • 4 0
 take a look: www.chainreactioncycles.com/dmr-trailstar-frame-2016/rp-prod142308 I agree its a lot of money to spend on a lowly hardtail but I get the feeling you have not even taken a close look, different beast to the steel frames of yesteryear - the original trailstar was built from off the shelf tubing & id actually consider that overpriced at the time for what it actually was (cheapo in my opinion).
  • 1 1
 Oh hang on, it's uni sex. I take it all back.
  • 2 0
 The Crush is, and always has been, fabricated in the far-east. As are the Stanton frames, and probably more of the other competitors than you realise.

Also, if you took a moment to work out what it actually costs to produce a frame like this without cutting everything to the bone and squeezing every margin as tight as you can, you'll realise that £500 is pretty reasonable.

BTR frames cost around £1000 each. But they're hand built from scratch in the UK.


Think about that.
  • 2 2
 Yep, I thought about that. Not sure what your point is? If the manufacturers genuinely can't make a hardtail frame and sell it for a reasonable price and not make a good cut on it that's not my problem. I'm a consumer, I'm not working my arse off just to pay over the odds for something because somebody hasn't put the necessary leg work into providing a product for a reasonable price. Lower the price, shift more units - think about that? I can't see DMR selling many of these for £499 when there are so many other better options, if they had priced it at £350-400 or provided something that the competition aren't already providing then I'd be happy to see the Trailstar make a come back, as it is I'm just disappointed to see what was such an iconic bike from back in the day let down somewhat by this thing carrying the same name. You can bang on and on about how much it costs to produce things to try and justify the price but it's besides the point, the end consumer dictates whether the product is worth the price and if you can't meet that price then you're doing something wrong.
  • 3 2
 I've thought about it too.manufacture costs,overheads,marketing blah blah blah.even if it rides nice,so on and so on.IF it looks as garbage as this even at £400 nevermind £500 no ones gonna buy it.theres just so much better out there for your coin.
  • 4 0
 There "should" be price brackets separating the frame material, location of manufacture and quality, for example:

On one frames (cheap steel, standard dropouts, Far east manufacture, etc) £150-£200
DMR, Productioon Privee, etc (4130 steel, custom drop outs, Far east manufacture, etc) £350-400
Stanton, Orange P7 (reynolds tubing, custom drop outs, Far east manufacture) £400-500
BTR, Swarf cycles, Curtis etc (reynolds/other tubing, fully custom design hand built in England) £800-1000.

4130 is a readily available tube material used for many applications (Motorsport, aerospace etc). Reynolds tubing is specialist and more expensive. you cant compare DMR frame to something like a stanton, as they are worlds apart.
  • 2 1
 My Privee cost me upwards of £500 and it's worth every penny. I'm happy to have paid more than a stanton as in my opinion, it's prettier, and had all the features I needed.
  • 1 2
 I thought they were the same price? Either way that's fair enough, I would take the Privee over the others. The geometry looks better - the Switchback felt like a jump bike rear end welded to an xc bike front which I didn't like at all. The point you make is kind of what I was getting at too - it doesn't matter what fancy shit it's made of or how much it cost to make, if the consumer wants it they'll pay for it. I just can't see that with this DMR, especially with the competition. Maybe I just don't get it!
  • 1 0
 I guess it's a niche bike, I considered buying one, but it's just too fugly. Shame really. I bet if it looked the Shan, nobody would be whinging about the price.
  • 3 1
 custom drawn tubing of 4130 is more expensive than off the shelf reynolds tubing. on the front triangle are actually reynolds not the whole frame. the shan has extensively formed stays & intricate paintwork, so id say it should cost more that a switchback. shan has custom interchange dropouts too. also has a st tt brace.
  • 3 1
 Own a Shan hazzard and it shouldn't be talked about in the same context as this awful bike.
  • 66 9
 Fun factor not withstanding, that bike looks awful.
  • 35 7
 That top tube is fugly
  • 13 18
flag mhoshal (Feb 29, 2016 at 1:43) (Below Threshold)
 Agreed it's fugly and looks almost as stupid as a fat bike which is the worst fad ever. I rode one if you can even say that and it was like peddling a Sherman tank for crying out loud I don't consider that "fun" by any means
  • 14 5
 For me it looks really hot
  • 10 6
 Id only ride it if my pretty bike was broken and I was needing a fix. I think it is like that girl that starts looking good after lots and lots of drinks.
  • 6 2
 There's just something plainly not right about this bike.it has all he modern frame attributes,but still looks alarmingly yesteryear.
  • 4 2
 My brain software crashed when I looked at that side profile for a minute. Too many odd angles, gussets, and bends to compute. Performing a reboot now...
  • 3 2
 Computer says noooooo.....
  • 5 2
 if someone is "plus" sized it helps if they are at least good looking..... that aint the case here...
  • 2 3
 For sure lol ill stick to my sexy Giant Reign with a monarch xx shock its the best of both worlds!!!
  • 24 2
 Wow Fugly and WAY overpriced.
  • 16 0
 Not a trailstar. Should be renamed
  • 14 1
 Loved my old 26" wheel Trailstar, easily the most fun hard tail I've ever owned, and super affordable with the frame around £240 back in the day
  • 10 0
 I just got one of these about a month ago. It is an incredibly fun bike and riding it with 2.8" tires just added to the fun. Reading the comments I think its too bad the bike industry came up with the "Plus" name for 2.8" tires besides just calling them 2.8". As soon as people here another goofy name that implies a new standard they get really annoyed it seems (and I don't blame them - this new standard every week thing is nuts). I got the Nobby Nic 2.8 and was really impressed by the weight, ride and durability and helped make it possible to ride this bike really aggressively in terrain that would usually punish riders on a hardtail. I picked this bike because its geometry, suggested fork length, "plus" tire compatibility, and ultra-low standover (whatever you think about the looks, having a frame this slammed is functionally awesome). It started off honestly as an experiment to see what such a quirky beast would be like. I love this bike so much I might be ditching my full suspension Enduro bike and carbon XC hardtail and just enjoying the hell out of one bike I can use for everything... and that is the goal: at least one XC, Enduro and Marathon race on this super fun pig of a bike.
  • 19 11
 I'm glad you mentioned the tire pressures you used. If you can get away with 12psi without deciding that you've turned your bike into a mess then I know we have very little in common in riding style and I'll need to wait for another review before I can judge how this thing actually handles.
  • 11 2
 I was thinking the same thing. I find plus sized tyres at 12 psi squirm around so much I spend more time concentrating on keeping the bike pointing in the direction I want it, than actually choosing the best lines. Pump them up any harder however and the tyres begin to bounce around the trail as soon as the pace picks up. Its a bit like trying to ride a space hopper.
  • 15 4
 @AgrAde - what tire pressures have you been running in 27.5+ tires? I'm not sure how you can discount David's views on how a bike handles based on his preferred tire pressure. Remember, pressure will vary depending on rider weight, rim width, and the model of tire.
  • 11 2
 As Gabriel said, tires feel like a moon hopper at any pressure approaching 12. Regardless of casing and rim width. I only weigh 74-75kg.

I read a wonderful review of a plus bike, I think a stumpy? Where two people rode it and had entirely different opinions. Mostly it was due to the tires.The guy that hated it pushed into corners and pumped terrain, and couldn't find a balance between stability and conforming to the trail surface. The guy that loved it didn't load the tires near as much, so was able to use a lower pressure and get the tire to perform how he wanted. Sums up my feelings on plus bikes better than I can ever hope to explain, but I can't remember what website the review was on...
  • 4 0
 Mike - doesn't the fact that the reviewer got away with such low pressures mean that he probably didn't ride the bike like many PBers would (/like to think they did)?
  • 1 0
 @Lupine - sorry to duplicate; we must have posted at the same time.
  • 11 2
 How dare he ride the bike with tyre pressures he liked. The bastard! Clearly he is wrong and you are right of course.
  • 2 1
 12psi with casings that flexible would ride horrifically, is there even am argument against that?! Reviewer must have been pootling along at a leisurely pace...
  • 2 0
 Yes, the argument against it is the reviewer did it and didn't complain. Whereas, it seems nobody else has used the exact same combination of items he has, so clearly don't know how it rode at all, but are verrrrry quick to tell someone their personal opinion is wrong. Which is just dickish behaviour.
  • 8 2
 Methinks the fat tyres added suspension to the hard tail equation. Rather just buy a full suspension bike maybe? My 160mm enduro weighs less than this thing. I'd be interested in a trail oriented HT that weighed in at 11kg or less that I could race an XCO type event and hit the descents at speed. Does such a beast exist?
  • 4 5
 True, and it'll probably be more agile too, just like my 29er Honzo,or my DH bike, or..

27.5 has to be the stupidest 'innovation' the industry has come up with in quite some time. Or are we supposed to only ride down the hill in a straight line?
  • 9 1
 Agree that the 29 Honzo is the best all mountain style hardtail going at the moment.
  • 4 0
 Yes it does. Canfield epo
  • 2 0
 @headshot yes but you'd be looking at ti or carbon, carbon crankset & xx1. also sub 700g tyre. on the dmr their branded components weigh a ton so theres that to consider. honzo frame weighs the same. in fact every other steel aggressive hardtail frame on the market weighs in at 2.7kg +/-100g.

my old 2.7kg surge weighed 11kg running racing ralphs on stans flow, carbon cranks/bars/brake levers, ti saddle on thomson masterpiece post, 11-28t cassette. added 1kg when i upgraded to a dropper post & wide range cassette running hans dampf.
  • 8 0
 Hardtails are rowdy, they keep you honest, and this one looks to be no exception. Everyone should have a fun hardtail in their life.
  • 9 2
 Good to see the Trailstar is still going strong, a classic bike if ever there was one!
  • 5 6
 Screw this Trailstar. I had one of the originals back in the day, and another a few years later and for the price they were excellent. This price is shocking and I cant see a reason for it. Add to that the horrific top tube.... I simply wont be getting this.
  • 6 0
 3 inch tires and no boost hubs. If I was working at DMR that would be near the top of the list of good stuff to say about this frame.
  • 8 1
 "Externally threaded bottom bracket"
I hope thats a typo and not another new std. Smile
  • 2 0
 Flaming arrows extinguished! Article fixed
  • 2 0
 I ride a steel hard tail (cheap Chinese fire eye 4130 cromo) w 140mm revelation and this is the best most versatile bike I've ever had. From gravel grinders to flowy single track to rocky NC mountains downhills to urban assault to pump track railing. Haven't had to do any maintenance in months. The bike just goes forever. Makes the local twisty single track extra fun and every root is a kicker. Highly recommend it!
  • 6 2
 Wow !

DMR ruined the Trailstar

Actually, Wasn't that a song by "Buggles" in the 80s?
  • 1 0
 @captaingrumpy You absolutely nailed it - they won't be making it up in volume, but knowing that they've set the frame price to cover their fixed costs at a much lower volume.
The downside is that this bike will feel obsolescent once some existing niche companies come out with 29/27+ ready bikes at a better price point (I'm thinking of a + friendly Kona Honzo, or a Whyte 9X1).
  • 2 0
 Nice review and am loving the trail hardtail segment that keeps coming along. Call me crazy, but a 150mm fork seems excessive, especially with 2.8" tires and a relatively flexible frame.
  • 2 0
 On paper I'd agree but when riding I found the combo of 150mm fork, 2.8" tires and cromo frame to be flat-out fun and allowed this bike to be ridden more like a full suspension bike as far as drops and charging through rock-gardens.
  • 1 0
 Nice! Thanks for the insight. Having not ridden it I have no idea, but having a Trek Stache, I am familiar with the plug size trail hardtail segment, and can confirm these bikes are inappropriate amounts of fun.
  • 5 2
 Stoked about this review. I've been seriously thinking about getting a burly hardtail.
  • 2 2
 Do it, but get the purple edition commencal, I was either going for this or the commy, commy wins
  • 2 1
 The Commençal is gorgeous, just not the longest bike out there but hey there's a XL
  • 1 1
 You're right it's not that long, but it's more fun. Think that may come from Max Commencal's BMX heritage. But by god it's a nice bike, feels fab, looks great and the details are soooo neat. Finish quality is second to none too. One of my good mates got the DMR at trade and paid more than I did for the Commencal and had to wait 2 weeks for a rear axle that fitted it too which was a shame. Just my opinion but it'll be money well spent. I'm in love!
  • 2 0
 @cunning-linguist: What maximum tire size for the commencal? Can it take a 2,5 or 2,35 max?
  • 1 1
 Mate I have to say I've not got a clue! I have 2.35's in there with plenty of space for uk slop, but sure you could fit a 2.5... Although you probably won't need any extra compliance as the unbraced back end is supple as. But not flexible sideways due to the clever tubing profiles and bolt through axle is way stiffer sideways than I'd have imagined. Just get one, you won't regret it!!!!
  • 1 0
 Get a 2016 Ragley Blue Pig then
  • 1 0
 @davidarthur What now, is it a HLR or a RL2 damper, that is working inside the fork? As far as I can see on the pictures it es a HLR.

Can you say a bit more about the damping characteristics?
  • 2 1
 That is a lot of money for a hard tail! I am sure I won't be able to swoop thetubes like that athome, but I bet you for 500GBP I'll have at least 20 tries to get one frame right, damn!
  • 1 1
 Wait! If you are picking up a hard tail, at least in my case, aren't you doing it to have a bike that climbs easier than my 6" bike? Really glad I waited for a review before considering ordering one. Now the task of finding a decent hard tail for more flowing front range riding.
  • 2 2
 @everyone

If you compare an On One 456 EVO2 with a DMR Trailstar regarding pricing, you know very little to nothing about the extreme differences between the two frames.

Not only that, but I'd question your ability to understand how to draw up a contract with a parts/tool maker. A hint, the negotiations deal with quality control. The cheaper the contract, the cheaper the frame, the higher chance of quality control being relaxed and not removing poor tracking frames from their shipments.

I'll keep the companies name private because I like the people who support who they work for... Their supplier sent them an unknown quantity of frames where the rear triangles were not geometrically correct, causing the rear wheel to track right. I told them to go through their shipments and measure. We found 6 of 6 in a large were all set improperly on the jig.

So I spent 380usd plus shipping on an ALU frame and will seek a steel HT later.
  • 4 0
 That does bring up a good point. I should have mentioned that I was very impressed by the build quality, Swop Out rear end (not a standard dropout from the factory in Taiwan) and general fit an finish. I didn't have to fart around with brake alignment, axle fit through perfectly, threaded bb was very clean and well cut.
  • 10 8
 Only two months into the year and we already have a winner in the Ugliest Bike Of The Year category.
  • 1 0
 Q for MikeKazimer, - did you ever get to test ride the Surly Instigator 2.0 ?

I'd be interested in a review of that please kind sir. Wink
  • 1 2
 Tired of the "...a bike designed for having fun on" statement when it comes to a steel hardtail. It's more than that. Also, TRP brakes are stepping into the game (which is good) but I assume that Gwin played a major role in relation to that. The TRP brakes have been reviewed in the past by a well known magazine and they concluded that they are ""Powerful and with good blade features, but that's where the plus points stop". DMR makes good products for sure, see cranks, although I am not a big fun of this bike specifically (due to the design I suppose). Also, you can get lighter CrMo than that - at least 500gr less per frame (see Tange for example).
  • 3 0
 Is this frame only?? I seen its only £399.99 on Freeborn.co.uk
  • 5 2
 The ugliest bike ever made
  • 2 1
 Just ordered a Last Fastforward frame. Comes in XL, has a straight top tube, is 29/27.5+ and costs 450€. Taiwan made, german design, steel frame.
  • 2 1
 Steel Hardtail, well specced, 150mm with slack geos? I raise you the 2016 Ragley Blue Pig, my one Big Grin www.pinkbike.com/photo/13064189
  • 3 0
 Sooo sick !! This might be the update to my SC chameleon
  • 4 0
 I want it!
  • 2 1
 Is that a 1 1/8th headtube..? I know it says tapered but is it? Or do I need my eyes checking?
  • 3 2
 @Gav-B it is tapered, but it is a very subtle taper. In the picture in the handling section, it is more noticeable front on.
  • 2 0
 Cheers @Kiwiplague , very subtle, love it though.
  • 9 7
 27.5''... ? No thanks, I'll stick with my 26'' bike
Wink
  • 2 4
 I have a steel HT, as someone else above mentioned, they should be cheap!
Mine is a 26 inch Ragley and was £250 in one of CRC's sales when the 27.5 tsunami hit.
Built up with Shimano Deore level drivetrain and brakes and with an RS Revelation up front (140mm) it rocks....and was cheap, did I mention that?!....it's kind of important in this category.
The bike is awesome and just as happy on DH tracks as pootling around the countryside.
I have a FS that cost thousands but there's diverging satisfying about an older HT that can take abuse, be thrown in the garage dirty and just wheeled out again next time you want a laugh giggle....and requires bugger all maintenance!
I had been toying with a 650b HT but my money will be going too Stanton or Last, gorgeous bikes and not ugly like this overpriced POS.
  • 1 2
 Same here, i run a cheap 26inch On One 456 hardtail. Built this bike with old parts of my old fs.
Amazing bike, use it now almost fulltime, especially in wintertime.
The more "expensive" FS is stationary since september and is mainly used for trips abroad.

But the DRM is almost the same price as a Stanton.
When the 456 breaks probably a Stanton will replace it.
  • 1 1
 I ride an older 26" Banshee alloy hard tail that weighs 4.4lb and will take a 2.3" rear tire( photo in my profile). Heavy duty frame and will take from 120mm-140mm fork though only 1 1/8" straight steerer. Banshee only makes this type frame in a 29" version now and I think they'd sell allot of they if they offered it in 27.5" with tapered head tube that you could run a + tire in.
  • 3 2
 Am I the only one who doesn't first think of a 31lb hardtail when they think of a "do anything" bike?
  • 1 1
 Can we get a review of that praxis cassette? And the Sunrace wide-range cassette as well? I assume this one worked as it was not mentioned in the review
  • 2 1
 after 3 months on the praxxis cassette I cant fault it, the sunrace one is a lot cheaper, I imagine it will do the job but is heavier and 99% certain it will wear out quicker. the praxxis is a very good option.
  • 1 1
 Thanks! I just got my SunRace one mail. It is a bit heavy, but really not bad. We'll see how it rides!
  • 3 1
 A hardtail that isn't a fatbike. That was about time PB.
  • 2 2
 I'm just going to keep on keeping on with my current 'proper' Trailstar, you know, 26 inch wheels, straight (apart from a few dents), top tube etc etc...
  • 4 2
 So want this bike
  • 1 1
 The frame look like Dalí designed the top tube.

I'll keep an eye on the Last Fastforward instead...
  • 3 3
 Well let's see now; a little heavy, quite expensive, and 'ugly'...so who's going to buy it?
  • 2 2
 Whats the deal with running 2.8 tyres at 15psi, don't they just puncture all the time?
  • 1 0
 the lower pressure means you have more tyre contact with the ground and therefore more grip!
  • 1 1
 Remember only a few years ago when we were all told in articles that 2.35 maybe a 2.5 tire up front was wide enough even for downhill and anything else was just wasted energy in rolling resistance due to added width, now its all 'look at my 2.8's with 15 psi'.... Oh f&*k o$$ marketing BS
  • 1 1
 it is wasted energy, there is increased resistqance, anyone that tells you otherwise is talking bs. but the increased traction is a thing.
  • 5 3
 I like it! good job DMR
  • 1 1
 Who wouldn't go 27.5 and 'plus' and long travel when you can charge £200 more for what amounts to minor trendy tweaks?
  • 3 2
 surly 2.0 instigator rules this catagory!
  • 4 4
 Shouldn't even bear the same name as the original Trailstar. What a sack of sh!t
  • 3 2
 I will take an Explosif frame for $500 CAD any day over this thing.
  • 1 3
 There's a reason why tire manufacturers have recommended minimum and maximum tire pressures printed on their tires. Running 13-15psi is BS! It can only mean the rider doesnt have enough experience.
  • 1 0
 Or they're riding wide carbon wheels.
  • 2 1
 Wrong tire for the condition of the trail on this review.
  • 2 5
 God I hate that frame style.

It's funny. I was just saying... man I can't stand that style. Looks like a 24" Kmart bike... or something from 1993. Then I read it's some update from a 1996 frame.

Well people... a lot has changes since 1996 AND there were way better frames available then as well.
  • 2 1
 steel hardtail used to be cheaper than aluminum
  • 2 1
 I'll stick with my Ragley pig me thinks!
  • 5 4
 braaaaaaaaaaap
  • 1 1
 Is the headtube 1 1/8? I thought that shit was dead
  • 2 0
 integrated tapered. its 2016 running 27.5 fork. here ill set you a challenge: find me a 2015/16 27.5 150mm fork that has a straight 1 1/8 steerer...
  • 1 0
 I think u mid understood what I was saying I know the troubles of finding strait tube forks my bike is one of them and has for the fork I found some 140s and 160s no 150s though
  • 2 2
 Ugly just doesn't do it...
  • 1 2
 The "Tr" in the Trailstar logo on the bike look like an "F". maing it he Failstar
  • 3 4
 That bike is really nicely specced.
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