This article is a transcript of the EMTB Videos review. The video can be found further down in the article.
The Moustache Game 4 is a new bike for 2020. Like many others it has been redesigned to accomodate the new Bosch Performance CX motor. The 625Wh battery sits firmly in the down tube, and can easily be installed and removed. The cable routing is nice and tidy, it’s not making much noise on the descents. The Game 4 feels like a solid and well built bike.
Several French and German brands, such as Moustache, have always had pretty tall and compact frames. The geometry of the new Game is looking modern, but it’s still not among the lowest-longest-and-slackest. The wheelbase of 1236mm for a size large is an average length today. The Moustache has got 460mm chainstays. I’d say that’s normal too, allthough 5mm longer than a lot of competition. So the rear-center is slightly longer, making the front-center slightly shorter. The consequence of this is that the Moustache Game has a fairly low reach measurement of 448mm. The tall 635mm Stack height compensates a bit. So does the seat angle of 74 degrees, which is on the slack side these days. The result is that when you sit on the bike, it doesn’t feel as short as the reach figure leads us to believe. But once you stand up, you may feel that the reach isn’t among the longest.
So the heritage of compact frames isn’t completely gone. And that’s a good thing. All bikes can’t be the longest and lowest. The Moustache Game 4 is a comfortable bike to ride. The riding position is relaxing. Unless you have the seat all the way back on the rails, the bike climbs with ease too. The chainstays helps push the rider weight forwards, which is a good thing in the steep ups. The 12-speed Sram SX drivetrain provides lot’s of low gears to get up pretty much anything. And the 356mm tall bottom bracket provides good ground clearance when pedalling over rockgardens.
On the trail
I’ve ridden an older Moustache Trail before. What stood out was the rear suspension performance. And it’s the same this time. The shock doesn’t look like much. No fancy piggyback reservoir, just a black and anonymous shock with the words “just” and “moustache” printed on it. I never expect much when seeing unfamiliar suspension components. But the Moustache shock is a great performer. The shock along with the rear linkage provides a stable platform that pedals very well. It feels firm while at the same time being active and leveling out the surface. And it feels composed when pedalling hard. I haven’t found much info on the suspension kinematics, but it seems it’s got a good ammount of anti-squat. Not too much though. Just once I felt the rear wheel seize up a bit when pedalling at some speed over a huge obstacle. I didn’t realize how big it was, otherwise I would have steered clear.
Other than that, the rear performed very well. When descending over rooty sections, it felt so composed and controlled. I think it’s cool that the cheaper Game 4 gets the same rear suspension performance as the top of the line Game 10. But it’s not getting the same front suspension performance. Of course. The Game 4 has the Rockshox 35 Gold RL 160mm. This is a pretty basic fork, but it’s solid and will take quite some beating. And it’s the obviuos choice for an entry level bike such as this. Along with the slack 65.7 degrees head angle, 160mm suspension travel and the powerful Shimano MT520 four pot brakes, this makes for a confident bike on the steep trails.
We were descending hard on the Moustache setting fast times. Enjoying the rear suspension performance. But it’s not the most playful descender. The slightly forward position of the rider and the big battery makes the Game a tad front heavy. It’s a stable bike with 29er wheels that straighlines some real chuncky stuff, but it takes some effort maneuvering the bike in thight sections or when lifting the front.
If you value a more relaxed bike the Game 4 is a great option, it’s a capable bike in most sorts of terrain.