The Roscoe 8 combines modern geometry, 27.5×3.0-inch tires and a reasonable price. Those are features that usually don't go together, but they really should. Modern geometry doesn't cost any more than outdated geometry, but when you look below $1,500 in most brands' lineups, you'd think it did. That's because, at this price point, models either tend to stay in circulation far past their prime, or their designers don't think beginner riders care about cutting-edge design. But the Roscoe's life is just beginning, and hopefully it will prove that everyone could benefit from some modern lines.

There's more to the Roscoe 8 than its price and its geometry. There's also its component spec… though I guess that relates back to price, so maybe there isn't more to it than price and geometry. But that should be enough. The SRAM NX drivetrain was the first 1x setup to really reach out to the masses and snatch the front derailleurs from between their ankles. And there's also the RockShox Judy Silver fork. It doesn't pack any fancy-schmancy guts. It just works. And it stands out in its price range for featuring a tapered steerer tube and Boost spacing. The Rocket Ron tires are knobbier than the often-minimal tread you find on plus tires, but they're not over the top. The 60-millimeter stem matches the modern geometry, but the 740-millimeter bars deserve an extra 20 millimeters.

But really, the highlight is the fact that the Roscoe comes with a dropper post. And not a bad one. Not a brand-name one, but still, not a bad one. It's infinitely adjustable, internally routed and offers 125 millimeters of drop. Bikes rarely come with droppers at all in this price range, and the Roscoe would still be a good value if it didn't. But buyers in this range may be tempted to put off upgrading to one aftermarket. The fact that the Roscoe 8 comes out of the box with this century's single most impactful component innovation makes it the perfect choice for anyone new to the sport or veterans looking to add a plus-size hardtail to their quiver.

There are a few hardtails out there that push the envelope of aggressive design. They're so aggressive that their push has long come to shove, and it's a bit much for most hardtail users. You might say the Roscoe is a bit less aggressive and more assertive. It has a particularly intuitive ride at moderate speeds thanks to the equally moderate 68.3-degree head angle. You don’t feel like you need to put it in over its head for it to behave properly, like on other aggressive hardtails. Its weight bias is also relatively moderate. Other ultra-modern hardtails’ extremely long front ends and extremely short rear ends make sense for those on the steepest of trails with the raddest of intentions, but for the rest of us, the 438-millimeter chainstay and 453-millimeter reach (for a large) are moderate, but just right.

I rode the Roscoe in the steep, rocky slopes of the San Gabriel mountains, where there’s no such thing as moderation. I found that, as long as I kept my speed within the brakes’ ability to control, I had the ability to keep the bike under control. Much of that is thanks to the plus-size wheels. The most recent extreme hardtails I’ve ridden were the Kona Honzo and the Chromag Surface, both with traditional 29-inch tires. The 27.5×2.8-inch Rocket Ron tires add enough traction and stability that the not-so-long, not-so-slack Roscoe 8 was quite capable in terrain that wasn’t designed with hardtails in mind.

The most welcome frame feature when I was out getting rad was the low standover. Not only does it make it look rad, but it makes it eager to get thrown around. I noticed this especially when I found some less steep terrain closer to the coast. I began to channel the rider I became growing up in the midwest when, without endless amounts of gravity at my back, I had to make my own fun, 30 feet of elevation at a time. The Roscoe is so nimble, it made any terrain and any speed into a carnival. It made me think back to the kind of rider I could have become if my first bike had a dropper post. This bike encourages the rider to seek obstacles that could help get the bike airborn, or any soft spot that might help get it sideways. All the while, the big tires and relatively long wheelbase keeping it calm and collected when it was time to go back to reality. And how fitting, given that the Roscoe 8 is priced for riders who happen to live in reality.

Find out more here: Trek Roscoe 8