Trek presents the new Fuel EX, its bike designed for trail riding which, in our latitudes, is called all mountain. I had the opportunity to try it for over a month on the trails of Lenzerheide, where there is no shortage of mountains, as well as alpine trails and high-altitude tours. I invite you to watch the video to discover the bike while I travel a thousand and one nights itinerary, that is the one of the Furcletta Ramoz (here the GPS track).
140mm of rear travel, 150mm at the front, 29-inch wheels and a carbon frame (also available in aluminum) are just some of the highlights.
In fact, the new Trek Fuel EX can be defined as a Swiss army knife thanks to the many geometric and set-up options, obtained thanks to a flipchip, an eccentric headset and the possibility of varying the progression curve of the rear suspension. We can thus transform it into a mullet with a 160mm fork and spring shock absorber, if we want.
Trek Fuel EX geometry
There are so many variables that change the geometry, which is why on the Trek website you will find a configurator that changes the parameters depending on how the flip chip and the eccentric headset are positioned.
In the configuration I used during the test, i.e. with 29-inch wheels, flip chip in the low position and neutral headset at 0 °, I had a nice steep seat angle of 77.5 °, head angle of 64.5 ° and a reach of 470mm. The test size is an ML, perfect for my height of 179cm and seat-bottom bracket distance of 74cm.
The detail of varying the length of the rear stay according to the size is very well thought out. In my case it is 440mm long, a perfect size that is placed in the right half between agility and stability on the climb.
Trek Fuel EX details
Don’t be fooled by the color, identical to that of the light electric sister Fuel EX E. Here the only battery to recharge is your body, with a nice plate of pasta at the shelter. The frame has the same shape as the EX E, is massive, sturdy and not a featherweight. The Fuel EX of the test, without pedals and in ML size, stopped the needle of our scale on 14.2 kg.
The assembly under test is the top of the range 9.9 AXS, but the lightest should be the 9.9 XTR, with a declared weight of 13.71 kg in size M. Here you will find the weight table.
We often discuss the weight and what you should be able to do with a bike that, with pedals and tools inserted in the glove box located in the down tube, overcomes the 15kg barrier.
Yet consider that I shot myself the 2400 meters of the Ducanfurgga having fun like crazy, despite being many of those steep meters and on technical trails. The pedaling position is perfect: central on the bike, you don’t have to move your torso too much towards the front to keep it attached to the ground when the slope increases.
The ABP suspension system, one of my absolute favorites for its sensitivity, on the Fuel EX does very little pedaling, even with the shock absorber open. This ensures that uphill traction, on technical trails, is excellent.
With 29-inch wheels Trek recommends keeping the flip chip in the Low position, which I did without ever having a problem with pedals hitting the ground too easily. On the other hand, on the descent, the Fuel EX is thrown well in the corners, giving confidence on the battered sections (and in the bike park) despite the only 140mm of rear travel.
However, it must be said that the whole bike has been designed and assembled to be sturdy: beyond the frame I have already told you about, we find massive suspensions like Fox 36 and shock absorber with piggy back, 1 kg tires and a seat post. telescopic with a diameter of 34.5mm and 150mm of excursion.
The thing is felt and appreciated. Consider that in the month of testing I practically planed the rear tire, but I never had a puncture or had half a technical problem. Since I was often out and about in deserted areas far from the first road, a bike like this gave me confidence and above all fun without interruptions.
The rear suspension can be more or less progressive depending on where the shock absorber is anchored. In the photo above you can see the flipchip with the words “more” and “less”, where we mean the progressivity at the end of the stroke. With an air shock absorber, turning on unprepared trails, the best configuration is the “less”, because you can use the whole stroke better.
But when you tackle prepared routes, with jumps and compressions, I appreciated that extra touch of progressiveness, which is actually intended for spring shock absorbers, in case you decide to mount one.
Unfortunately I didn’t have the chance to try the eccentric headset, which is available with ± 1 °. The one fitted as standard is neutral, the eccentrics must be purchased separately. Let’s be clear, I had a great time with the standard head angle and probably, if I bought the Trek Fuel EX, I would not go to change it.
Remaining in the steering area we find the multitool integrated and hidden in the fork steerer. Easy and immediate to pull out when needed, it also has a chain tool.
The integrated Race Shop handlebar is beautiful. I would cut it to 780mm wide to avoid hitting trees and rocks when the path gets narrow.
Note the cleanliness: no cables, just the two brake hoses. This is thanks to the SRAM Eagle AXS group and the Reverb AXS.
Speaking of brakes, we find the SRAM Code RSC with HS2 200 / 180mm diameter discs. Powerful and with zero problems, I only had to change the pads because they were worn out.
Going back to talking about robustness and practicality, note the extra-large protection under the down tube.
As well as the casing designed to prevent stones and dirt from getting stuck between the wagon and the front triangle, ruining the paint of the frame.
The Bontrager wheel / tire combination is perfect for traction, strength and weight. The rims are made of carbon, but they are not among the most rigid in circulation. The comfort of the bike benefits, which is more important than the stiffness on an all mountain bike.
We were talking about practicality: the bottom bracket with threaded caps could not be missing. Easier to maintain, it is also less prone to creaking.
Trek hits the mark with the new Fuel EX: an all mountain bike with a well-balanced geometry between uphill and downhill, a lot of options with which to adapt it to your needs, a frame and an assembly that focus on substance rather than grams. A month of testing without breaks on alpine terrain such as Lenzerheide, without any mechanical or puncture problems. This alone speaks volumes about the quality of this bike.
Sizes range from XS to XXL. On the XS the wheels are 27.5 “, on the S 27.5” or 29 “, for all other sizes 29”.
FUEL EX 9.9 XX1 AXS: € 12,999
FUEL EX 9.9 XTR: € 10,999
FUEL EX 9.8 GX AXS: € 7,699
FUEL EX 9.8 XT: € 6,999
FUEL EX 9.7 SLX / XT: € 5,549
FUEL EX 8 XT: € 4,599
FUEL EX 7 DEORE / XT: € 3,799
FUEL EX C FRAME KIT: € 4,499
#Trek #Fuel #Swiss #Army #knife #trail #riding