To this day they’ll surface on eBay. The launch of the Trailstar was, after all, a landmark moment for mountain bikers in the ‘90s. Before the brave revision of what a mountain bike’s geometry could look like, off-road hardtails were cross country hogs. Forget leaving the ground, riding like a grinning hooligan, or popping a half-decent wheelie. Prior to the Trailstar fun was earned, not guaranteed.
Built to withstand the abuse that a lower standover positively encourages, the Trailstar became an instant favourite and in the very same year that the first v8s and V12 pedals came to fruition. Suddenly, DMR had the attention of the off-road world and plenty of eager-to-copy rivals.
Roll forwards to 2015 and the Trailstar is set for another roll out, this time as a 27.5-wheeled beast, as well as a 2.8 (possibly 3”) plus size tyre capable version.
Brand manager and team rider Olly Wilkins tells BikeBiz: “This is very much in the spirit of the original, but with a modern twist. Originally we hadn’t banked on plus size tyres becoming a thing, but with a few revisions we’ve been able to accommodate the wider platform, should the customer want it – the only compromise being that it’s 1×11 only, but that seems to be the way things are going anyway.”
20 years on from launching its first product – a simple, yet effective chain tug that would have fitted a horizontal dropout mark one Trailstar – Wilkins says that the brand’s audience is now maturing. There’s more than just a nod to the past, however.
“We spent a long time perfecting the finish, which on the blue frame will resemble our first production run’s graphics. It’s very different in its design, but fun remains the priority. We’ve integrated cabling for a dropper, it’s ready for a 140/150mm fork, the clearance is obviously much wider too. We’ve opted for a threaded BB which is, in our opinion, a tried and tested answer and it’s a very affordable, yet durable frame at £499.99,” says Wilkins.
The most noticeable change over the original is a standover-boosting swooping top tube, which on larger sizes carries a brace to keep things robust. The rear end remains short and responsive, even with plus size tyre accommodation, though a +8 adapter is available separately, if so desired.
“Being a steel bike, lightness hasn’t been a priority, but it’s still very respectable. Like the original it’s built to be handed down the generations, or to be a backup for riders who don’t want to go out and wreck their super pricey carbon bike in winter.
Interestingly, while at Upgrade Bikes HQ the topic of sales direct to consumer came up, the retailer remains key for the brand, explains Damian Mason.
“We have in the past tabled it for discussion, but you cannot underestimate the importance of a retailer, we can see the value, despite pressure from competitors. With that in mind we’ve just upgraded our B2B to make it a lot easier to sell frames like the Trailstar as complete builds, or at least 80 per cent of one.
“Our customers can now log on and produce a custom build in front of the customer, with or without prices shown. With the likes of X-Fusion, TRP, Praxis and many others we can offer some excellent build options.”