Remember 2001? The launch of Wikipedia, a nifty new gadget called the iPod, Brad Pitt and George Clooney looking suave and getting rich in Oceanâ€™s Eleven?
Believe it or not, 2001 was also the year Trek first brought out the Fuel EX. Since then itâ€™s constantly evolved to sit firmly in the sweet spot between their cross-country model, the Top Fuel, and the more enduro-focussed Remedy and Slash. With the release of the 2020 Trek Fuel EX the American brand has given it a complete makeover, creating a bike that will appeal to a huge variety of riders with a broad range of options and features. If you want one bike that does it all, pick this one.
King of ALL trails
Like most of you guys, weâ€™re always looking for that one rig to rule them all â€“ a full suspension bike thatâ€™s made to hit any trail, any day. The Fuel EX might just be that bike. From epic long-distance rides to rowdy local trails the balanced geometry and sweet suspension setup give you nerve for the drops and heart for the climbs.
The new model has had the geometry tweaked to offer a longer, lower and slacker ride, putting more terrain within its reach. The increased stability means the bike is at home on harder and faster rides, and without the jittery handling of shorter travel bikes, it will give beginner riders greater confidence to push their limits.
You can now fit huge tyres on the Fuel EX; in fact, Bontragerâ€™s XR4 2.6â€ wide rubber is standard on all models. Increased dropper seat post travel is also catered for, with the XS and S bikes getting 100mm droppers and M and M/L bikes 150mm. The L, XL and XXL sizes come with 170mm.
Oh yeah, you did read that right. The M/L (medium-large) size is a welcome addition to the fleet from Trek, plugging the gap between the medium and large bikes where a lot of folks found themselves in the past.
Trekâ€™s Mino Link flip-chip is a nifty little switch located on the link between the seat stay and rear shock link. Changing from â€˜lowâ€™ to â€˜highâ€™ setting allows you to dial in the ride for better downhill or uphill performance depending on where youâ€™re riding that day.
A whole new setup
The new Trek Fuel EX has 140mm of bounce up front and 130mm out back, and just like the Session, Slash and Remedy, Trek have replaced the previous Full Floater design with a fixed lower shock mount by the bottom bracket. It provides improved tyre clearance and allows them to design in a claimed 20% increase in frame stiffness. And a stiffer frame means a faster ride, so weâ€™re all over that!
Trek offers the new Fuel EX in both aluminium and carbon-framed versions. The carbon versions are denoted by the number â€˜9â€™ in their name.
The Fuel EX 5, 7 and 8 are built around a lightweight Alpha Platinum Aluminium frame with internal cable routing. As you go up the range you move from RockShox suspension and Shimano 1x10 drivetrain on the EX 5 to Fox suspension and 12-speed SRAM GX Eagle gearing on the EX 8. Itâ€™s a great value all-around trail bike for a wide variety of terrain.
With the Fuel EX 9.7, 9.8 and 9.9 Trek have created a carbon trail bike that can fly through singletrack, throw down with the rowdy trail crew and crush miles during marathon races. The lightweight full OCLV Mountain Carbon frame, top quality spec and advanced suspension make it an outstandingly versatile whip for endurance racing and ripping every kind of trail.
The range-topping Fuel EX 9.9 really is a dream bike. With a SRAM GX Eagle drivetrain, carbon wheels and FOX Performance Float suspension with Trek's exclusive RE:aktiv and Thru Shaft shock, itâ€™s the perfect choice for all-mountain shredders who want a single bike that does it all.
Weâ€™ll have the new Fuel EX in store soon. Keep your eyes open, because when this lands it will fly off again pretty darn quick!