Field Test: Trek Fuel EX - Evolution Underlined

Dec 9, 2022
by Mike Levy  


PINKBIKE FIELD TEST

Trek Fuel EX 9.9 XX1 AXS



Words by Mike Levy; photography by Tom Richards


The fifty-second generation of the Fuel EX is by far the most radical, most adjustable, and probably the most capable that Trek has ever put together. It now has 140mm of travel and a 150mm fork, and you can even run a mullet wheel set-up if you use a 160mm fork. Coil-sprung shock? Not stock, but you can put one of those on as well.

There are nine 2023 Fuel EX models that start at $2,699.99 USD, but only eight of them are new bikes. That first price is for the EX 5 that's actually a carry-over using last year's aluminum frame, which means it has 130mm of travel and a 140mm fork.
Fuel EX Details

• Travel: 140mm rear, 150mm front
• 29" wheels
• 64.5° head-tube angle
• 77.2° seat-tube angle
• Reach: 485mm (lrg)
• Weight: 31.9 lb / 14.5 kg
• $10,750 USD
• More info: www.trekbikes.com

The new platform starts with the aluminum EX 7 which costs $3,700 and gets the same features as the pricier carbon bikes, including a storage compartment, adjustable geometry, and coil-compatibility. Carbon fiber shows up with EX 9.7 which costs $4,700 USD. If you have more than twice that to spend, the 9.9 XX1 AXS tested here gets all the expensive bits, including a set of carbon wheels, and will set you back $10,749 USD.


Trek Fuel EX photo by Satchel Cronk
Want to run a coil shock? A flip chip is used to increase or decrease the amount of progression.
Trek Fuel EX photo by Satchel Cronk
The Haribo Hole.


The new frame gets a much meatier-looking front-end and a more complicated design at the seat tube and bottom bracket area, but there are a few things you might recognize. Trek's ABP suspension design is one of them; those three letters are short for 'Active Braking Pivot' and describe what it's supposed to be doing. Instead of using a Horst Link or pivot on the chainstay, this system rotates concentrically around the hub axle.

Trek's also given it a 10mm bump of travel on both ends to 140mm and 150mm, making it the biggest Fuel EX ever and also the first that'll work with a coil-sprung shock. A flip-chip at the lower shock mount tweaks the leverage curve to add the progression needed to run a coil shock, or to suit rider preference.

The Mino Link pivot hardware holding the rocker and seatstays together has also been updated, but it still offers a 0.5-degree head angle and 8mm of bottom bracket height adjustment. If you want more, the biggest news is that Trek is selling different headset cups that change the angle by a full degree in either direction. The stock number is 64.5-degrees, but those who want to go slacker (or steeper) can buy a set of cups that does both. You install them one way for 63.5-degrees or the other way for 65.5-degrees. The upper cup will drop in, Trek says, but you'll need a headset press for the lower one.

The downtube storage compartment is on the new bike, and while it seems like Trek has put all the things onto the latest Fuel EX, there's one that they didn't: Knock Block. The 2023 Fuel EX has gone back to a curvy downtube with plenty of fork clearance.




Trek Fuel EX photo by Satchel Cronk
Trek Fuel EX photo by Satchel Cronk


Climbing

There's a spectrum of good, and the previous Fuel EX was certainly somewhere in there on the climbing, but it also had active, forgiving suspension when left fully open that sure felt like it added more traction than speed. That's great if all your climbs are steep and techy, but it also leaned on its pedal-assist switch anytime they weren't. The new Fuel EX is an entirely different animal, though, with more jazz for your jam that meant the only time I firmed up suspension was on a long, boring paved climb before we hit the steep pitches leading to Whistler's Flank trails.

I would have left the suspension open had Kazimer not been half-wheeling me since we left our rental house, but I need all the help I can get at the end of the season. When I did get onto the chunky and tricky stuff, the Trek isn't as nimble as its predecessor, but it'll still get around almost anything at slow speeds if you're used to modern geometry. You can't hide the wheelbase, of course, but some foresight and body English will get you anywhere you need to go.

It's nearly as big as the Genius but manages to not feel anything like it through tight switchbacks, and our leg-o-meters were telling us that it's more efficient than both the Yeti and Norco. When you do get a brief respite between the ups, or when you can pump instead of pedal, it's also pretty good carrying speed when the ground levels out. It's obvious that the new Fuel EX is more capable than the old one, but that goes for the descents and the climbs.


Trek Fuel EX photo by Satchel Cronk

Trek Fuel EX photo by Satchel Cronk
Trek Fuel EX photo by Satchel Cronk


Descending

I've spent a lot of time on various iterations of the Fuel EX over the last fifteen-ish years, so the mustard-colored Trek was the bike I was most interested in riding. Like all the other long-lived names, it's changed and evolved so much over that time, but this is like when you go back to school a foot taller and a lot hairier after the summer break. All of a sudden, it's a much bigger world and you have a hell of a lot more freedom to have fun and inevitably get yourself into trouble.

So much is different, but let's start with the new bike's suspension. Instead of an oddball shock, there's a normal Float X with what feels like an ideal tune; it's plenty active and fluttery when you need traction, but manages to balance that with much more support than the previous bike provided. This means that it doesn't feel like you're sacrificing one for the other, and it also means the Fuel EX is much more fun than the old bike when the trail was smooth and more level than down. Yup, despite it having more travel on both ends and being a much longer, slacker bike, it's much easier to pump and carry speed on the new Trek, a notable trait for a bike meant to be ridden everywhere and anywhere.

If my local trails were elevation-challenged or Sea Otter smooth but I still wanted a capable trail bike, I'd be choosing the Fuel EX out of our five test rigs. That sort of impression used to mean the same bike could feel a bit nervous and on-edge at the other end of the trail spectrum. Not. So. Much.


Trek Fuel EX photo by Satchel Cronk
Trek Fuel EX photo by Satchel Cronk


Whistler has some challenging terrain both in and out of the bike park, and there's a decent chance that the 50-year-old lady who bagged your groceries, that quiet kid sitting by himself, or the guy in a button-up shirt and no gloves are all riding some seriously scary shit on their trail bikes. The level is high, but the Fuel EX didn't have a problem with any of that kind of riding. Both the Trek and the Genius ST had the most poise when the trails were rough and fast, and the Fuel was remarkably stable and attached to the ground despite endless rocks and dust. It was also the quickest during Kazimer's timed downhill testing, further driving the point home. Again, credit to the bike's rear suspension that offered great control over the second part of the travel, never asking for more progression but also feeling like it was using the shock stroke wisely.

You can relax the front-end out to 63.5-degrees if you want to, but I spent my time on the Fuel EX set to the stock 64.5 number and didn't find the need to push that front wheel out any further. The stock handling seemed to suit my sometimes-loose riding style well, and the Fuel had a bit more composure on the steep tricky stuff than the Hightower, although I don't think I got around a single corner on the Trek as well as I did a few hundred on the Santa Cruz. But the Trek had the edge when smashing through a mess of roots and rocks, not feeling like it was moving around as much under me as the other bikes, and I just seemed to usually be in control for longer on the Fuel EX.

In the slow stuff, it had the upper hand on the Genius but seemed on par with the Yeti, Santa Cruz, and Norco in that it didn't exactly feel agile but I managed to not fall over too many times on any of them.


2022 Trail Bike Field Test photo by Satchel Cronk.


Getting into the details, there are a couple of picky complaints and a couple of things to like, mainly the wide range of adjustability. If the Fuel EX's suspension was still the same as the previous version, making it coil-compatible or giving it such an adjustable head angle might have made for a bike that only felt half-ready for fun. But with suspension that manages to feel both efficient enough for any sort of pedal-mission you'd have in mind while also being ready for some seriously rough terrain, it makes sense to be able to steepen or relax the handling depending on where this bike is going to end up in the world.

In the less-good column is Bontrager's one-piece carbon handlebar and stem that even comes with titanium clamping bolts. Personally, I like how clean the cockpit looks because of it, but Kazimer and I both noticed sore hands and shoulders that we didn't get when riding the other bikes. That could be down to the handlebar's stiffness, something Kazimer also noted went with a different bar on another Fuel EX he's spending time on. Other quibbles include paint that sure chipped easily and, if I had just spent this much money, I would not want to see the downtube protector sagging away from the frame. Small detail but unsightly to me.




Pros

+ Wide range of effective geometry adjustments
+ Just as much fun on smooth trails as it is on scary trails
+ Great climber, efficient pedaling

Cons

- One-piece handlebar might be too stiff for some riders
- Paint chips easily





photo
The 2022 Fall Field Test is presented G-Form



Author Info:
mikelevy avatar

Member since Oct 18, 2005
2,032 articles

366 Comments
  • 605 38
 Dear Pinkbike,

Thank you very much for all these new bike reviews. I appreciate the time and effort it takes you to create this content for us to view. I understand that you can’t review every single bike brand, but the ones you did review look really great. I also am educated enough to understand that there are many more affordable models from each brand and that most of your comments and thoughts would translate to the lower cost models. Unlike most of the comments, myself and the people I ride with, as well as most of the bicycles I see at the trail head, are in the 6-10k range. I enjoy seeing the latest and greatest parts and look forward to saving and spending my money on my favorite sport and past time. I am not a dentist or doctor, just a regular guy that enjoys nice things that I work hard for. By paying attention to the economy and understanding inflation and supply chain issues, I see why the price of bicycles has gone up.

Keep up the great work and thanks again for the content.

-lol do you think I will get downvoted?
  • 109 8
 Mate who cares if you downvotes I’ll upvote ya for writing something nicely
  • 173 6
 Whoa dude what you wrote was humble, polite and reasonable. As a Pinkbike commenter, I have no frame of reference for this very anomalous tone you strike, so it scares me. At the same time, I find it oddly positive and uplifting. I don't know what to make of this experience but I like it.
  • 9 1
 Nailed it!!!!
  • 3 2
 @MT36: this!
  • 4 0
 @MT36: frame of reference……it’s nearly Christmas , come on
  • 6 3
 @Compositepro: the only frame I want is the we are one composite bike giveaway they were doing last week
  • 14 1
 Worked 4 months this summer in the french Alps in a Trek store repairing / renting bikes... Still not in love with the brand, but I have to admit that their bikes are solid, well made, efficient, fun, and not too pricey.
I'll always prefer more "confidencial" and exotic brands, but for sure Trek knows how to make some bloody good bikes.
  • 44 0
 Wow, bots are getting sophisticated these days, gave the game away with its name though. Nice try, everything still sucks.
  • 10 0
 @MT36: he must be canadian.
  • 2 0
 So now we have bots that troll us rather than bait us into huggy hugs?
  • 11 11
 true that these "forum" is mostly an exercise at free-shooting, but why should your post be down-voted? (And really, why do you care?)

When it comes to cost of bikes ... well, for me it is still hard to believe that nowadays one has to shell out $11,000 to ride a bike that is 32 pounds without pedals. It is nutty weight, that used to be close to downhill territory.

And sure the reviews says "most radical, most adjustable, and probably the most capable", but one has to wonder ... how is it possible that bikes gets "most radical, most adjustable, most capable" literally every single production year?
  • 2 0
 @danstonQ: same feeling here. Im day dreaming about the Transitions, the Arrivals or the Athertons (bikes,not humans) but at the end of the day I must admit that Trek does a very efficient efficient job and that the brand offers a high quality service to their customers. Can’t wait to see what the next Slash will look like …
  • 8 1
 Sus user name, sus comment, into Treks. NPC for sure.
  • 1 1
 Awesome.
  • 1 0
 @dododuzzi: that weight is with double down tires. Prob a pound less with single plys. And any bike that's 64.5 is gonna have a stout frame and components to match. Anything under 30 would prob be a compromise and be better speced on a steeper less travel bike.
  • 4 0
 if my wage would've gone up at the same rate as bike prices, I would be (almost) rich now
  • 2 1
 of course we upvote you. I've looked up the Trek website. They have a beautiful 4700 US-Dollar version of this bike, without the carbon parts that are too expensive and too stiff
  • 5 23
flag browner (Dec 10, 2022 at 0:44) (Below Threshold)
 I downvoted purely because of the flag. Better luck next time
  • 3 0
 @bikeguy92: you mean: too polite to be honest?
  • 1 1
 Lovely stuff! New age letter to the editor
  • 3 0
 @Yody: It also should be mentioned, this generation bumps up from a class 3 to a class 4 frame. That detail always seems to be brushed aside but it shouldn’t be.
  • 1 3
 Lancaster area trailhead with 6-10k bikes? I call bs, and p.s. I'm a real PA native.
  • 1 0
 @outside750 Username checks out
  • 1 0
 @Compositepro: Yeah spend it wisely
  • 1 0
 @danstonQ: YES WELL PUT.
  • 1 0
 @Yody: Well ... tires have always been heavy, The realty is that carbon bike frames now weight MORE than aluminum bikes did 10-15 years ago, and people are riding what used to be down-hill weight bikes on regular trails. Maybe people are stronger, but the weight increase might be why e-bikes are getting so popular. Really, who wants to push a 32-33 pounds monster up a hill?
  • 1 0
 @dododuzzi: well, if i am confy on the bike and i can peddle well, i dont really care.
  • 1 1
 @dododuzzi: I do. I pedal heavy bikes. I found the secret to pedalling an enduro bike uphill is employ a novel biking technique: I try not to act like a wuss.
  • 133 4
 Trek isn't the ultra chic boutique hotness but dang are their bikes compelling. Especially as they offer a M/L size. This bike is much sweeter than I would admit to my riding broz.
  • 81 3
 And they have reasonably priced, well-specced models. The 9.7 has a Fox 36 and SLX/XT for $4700.
  • 25 1
 @rickybobby18: Exactly and you can go even cheaper if you want aluminum. That's why it doesn't make sense to hate on the bike just because they tested the top of the range version.
  • 7 38
flag KalkhoffKiller (Dec 9, 2022 at 9:10) (Below Threshold)
 @zarban: I hate it
  • 7 59
flag 8a71b4 (Dec 9, 2022 at 9:18) (Below Threshold)
 When you are getting the most run of the mill geo for a trail bike, there is no reason to spend extra on a bike shop brand. You can get a Vitus bike or one of the Chinese Carbon frames from Dengfu or ICAN (there are name brands that buy these frames and resell them with a warranty under their own name, so the whole chinesium critisism doesn't really apply).
  • 19 1
 @8a71b4: Do you really think geo is the only difference between well established manufacturers and no name Brands?
And on the other hand, do you think geo is enough of a justification to send twice as much or even more on a frame?
  • 6 15
flag KalkhoffKiller (Dec 9, 2022 at 9:33) (Below Threshold)
 @fred-frod: Boutique Brands are extremely overpriced. Simple as....
  • 3 0
 @rickybobby18: it would be interesting to see the real world difference between the 9.7 and this one reviewed
  • 16 1
 @Madfella: I would suspect the main tangible differences between the 9.7 and 9.9 XX1 AXS models are that with the 9.9 XX1 AXS you get to high-post or single-speed the rest of your ride when you forget to charge a battery.
  • 3 0
 @8a71b4: evil and intense have a warranty too. Good luck getting a good response
  • 10 0
 A Trek that has neither a proprietary shock nor a knock block and it became better.
  • 24 2
 One important factor here (that is often overlooked) is that with Trek, at least in my personal experience, as a company they have given me the best customer service that I have received anywhere. Period.

Crash replacement on a seat? No problem. Unfortunately, we don't have the direct part in stock, but here's three options that we can offer.

Derailleur out of adjustment? Let me fix that right away, and no cost.

Want to us install brakes you bought somewhere else? Sure thing, we will discount the labor charges since you bought the bike from us and will have it done in 24 hours.

The customer service at my local Trek store is the main reason that I seriously considered buying the new Fuel gen 6, even though I think it's really, really ugly (especially in alloy).
  • 2 1
 My wife has a Remedy, yougest daughter has a Fuel ex5, my son has a spec SJ Evo and A Forbidden Dreadnought owns me.

With all the work required on my ride, I think this is might very well be my last boutique bike…
  • 1 0
 @Groov-E: is there a lot of difficult work on?
  • 2 0
 Also not the prettiest thing at the dance
  • 6 1
 @bok-CZ: nothing difficult, it’s simply more time for everything from cleaning to maintenance. Just for cleaning, I would estimate twice the time of the other bikes with more places for mud and dirt to accumulate.

You will need an extra chain lying around for the extra links. Idler pulley replacement alone is close to 100$ a year. Keep the crunch zone clean and protected. Not every store carries the Forbidden derailleur hanger or the idlers for instance.

My point is, I Love the bike, but I would trade it for a generic bike with the same great ride quality in a non high-pivot bike.
  • 4 0
 @tacofeet: I fortunately don't have direct customer service experience with trek, but a member of my immediate family used to ride a 2004 Klein Adept Race FS bike that cracked at the chainstay... in 2011. Trek honored the frame warranty on the Klein and offered a brand new 2012 Fuel EX8, AT COST, which was around $600 at the time.

If their service is half that good still I'd have no qualms riding a Trek.
  • 1 0
 @Groov-E: not sure I understand,
The additional cleaning has nothing to do with a boutique brand bike, that’s just a specific frame design issue. Willing to bet the Commencal, and Norco bikes would be the same.
Up until the advent of the UDH, we all had specific brand, and usually model and year specific der hangers. Both the Druid and Dreadnaught use the same one, and NSB makes em as well.

Maybe I’m missing something, but I don’t see your stated issues as “boutique” brand issues. Maybe regional specific, friggin trip over Forbidden bikes around here, WAO’s as well, Yetis’, Santa Cruz, Transition none of these brands are ones I would call “boutique”

An Antidote, or Canfield, or Unno, or Deviate, now those would be boutique, hell, even an RSD would be cool to see.
  • 3 0
 @tacofeet: I totally agree! Trek has been the best customer service of any bike brand I have ever had! Amazing bikes as well!! I switched to Trek from yeti because they sponsor NICA and give millions to support youth biking. But when I switched I also started riding faster, had better customer service and my trek bikes are so freaking reliable!! No squeaks, creaks, or weird noises. Just sweet bikes and costumer experience.
  • 1 2
 @Solerider: I’d like to direct you to either Knolly, or Transition for your next bikes.
If you think Treks customer support is good, I’ve gotten emails direct from the company orders about product questions and support (suspension setup, custom options, warranty questions with aftermarket suspension goodies)
They have been incredible, full stop.

I worked with Trek for years, and their support (at the time) for anything mtb was below average. Think early 00’s when Lance was king, and Treks flexy carbon stays broke at first sight.
I was even a certified Rolf wheel builder, and couldn’t get Trek to support their own wheel builder program.
Maybe it’s better, and if that’s the case, fantastic
  • 75 4
 Let it be written: the new name for in-frame storage by all manufacturers shall henceforth be "Haribo Hole."
  • 81 1
 Gummy grotto
  • 39 1
 Candy cubby
  • 36 1
 Chocolate Cavity
  • 38 1
 Snack Shack
  • 12 2
 Chorizo tube
  • 17 1
 @tom666: Chorizo Cave
  • 15 0
 @mrift04: I think that term might already be in use...
  • 40 1
 Let me tell you about an experience with a 5lb bag of Haribo sugar free gummy bears...
  • 11 0
 GORP port
  • 4 0
 @mrift04: dentists approve
  • 2 0
 Athletic Cup.
  • 16 3
 Store Weed And Things. First one, and still the best.
  • 2 1
 @cky78:

Cheeba cutout?
Hash hole?
Ganja grotto?
  • 2 0
 @CascadeComponents: yes, I know about this. Toilet better be firmly bolted to the floor.
  • 3 1
 @jgoldfield: Ganja Grotto. Big Grin
  • 2 0
 Souvlaki Space
  • 14 0
 Baguette Bin
  • 2 0
 Vegemite Vault
  • 82 17
 The previous generation of fuel looked way better in my opinion. Not a fan of all this tubes.
  • 119 7
 Pros: much better actual bike
Cons: looks fugly now
  • 15 4
 I think it's a look that will grow on people. It's totally different which is nice to see when a lot of bikes basically look the same.
  • 21 0
 Personally, all I see is the straight seat tube for massive dropper insertion depth. That’s a win for me, as I use a 240mm dropper. Previous Treks I’ve owned could only dream of accommodating that post.
  • 19 2
 @sngltrkmnd: that's what she said
  • 3 2
 @Mkrol: Well it hasn't worked for Devinci.
  • 3 0
 The design team's inspiration was the internet, a series of tubes.
  • 2 4
 @DG370:

Someone beat it with the ugly stick and it recovered from its injuries that much better.
  • 1 0
 Double posted whoops..
  • 1 0
 I found the old one to be boring as and really nothing worth any kind of given hype, this new one tho is and looks sick to me
  • 2 0
 @Speeder01: Hah ironically it can out run the ugly stick now it has evolved, hopefully avoid a second beating.
  • 6 2
 This new gen is simply the E-Bike with the motor and battery removed, that's why it looks so bulky, they saved on development effort to bring you competitive prices Big Grin
  • 3 0
 @DG370: why didn't they just make it look like a mini-Slash? That's a fine looking machine ‍♂️
  • 65 13
 - looks like a GT
  • 66 8
 Looks like a Niner even more.
  • 7 5
 @stevemokan: Too straight of a top tube
  • 5 1
 wait wasnt this the first comment last time they rolled out a fuel ex with a motor
  • 9 22
flag Compositepro (Dec 9, 2022 at 7:34) (Below Threshold)
 A 10 grand bike that isnt a yeti? Discuss how
  • 5 1
 I see it and instantly think Troy to me
  • 7 3
 @Compositepro: lol yeah you think there is a shred of originality in the PB comments?
  • 4 0
 looks like a devinci
  • 6 3
 pinkbike should be split these days showing the bikes the poor people can afford and everything else should be subscription only,
  • 2 2
 @Compositepro: with aluminum headset spacers???
  • 5 4
 @kilz: i believe theres a massive range of people but by the time you get to the comments you pretty much are dealing with the terminally f*cking thick or those who cant reference last years in joke
  • 11 0
 In 2023 they reached the "it looks like" singularity, where any bike could be said to "looks like" any other bike, and the universe disappeared up its own swat box.
  • 1 0
 Looks like an Intense
  • 13 1
 @Compositepro: I buy 10k bikes but I won't subscribe to sh*t. I still use my moms Netflix password
  • 3 2
 @DCF: oh you poor bastard with your 10k bike ….. if only you had tried harder you could be a roadie with a 20k bike
  • 12 1
 @Compositepro: as a middle school teacher, "a poor bastard with a 10k bike" describes me quite well.
  • 3 3
 @DCF: awesome bud as long as your happy
  • 1 0
 Big ugly and gate-like, I'd say cdale
  • 1 0
 @stevemokan: I love the look of the lower "ribs" of the Niner.
  • 1 0
 @DCF: High School teacher here with a $3300 bike from a couple years ago. Even more poor of a bastard?
  • 2 0
 @jmhills: Hey man, we're about to get 3 weeks off to ride, Poor bastards with long vacations is what we are!
  • 1 0
 @DCF: 3 weeks? Damn, you are exceptionally lucky. Week and half over here. Not that I am complaining.
  • 38 1
 That one cable routing into the frame looks way cleaner than if it was jammed in the headset. I don't care about headset routing from a mechanical perspective, but headset routing looks like shit. This bike looks clean even though it seems to have some unnecessary tubes going on.
  • 20 2
 Getting rid of everything but the brake lines helps Wink
  • 18 1
 You should care about it from a mechanical perspective.
  • 2 2
 @nickfranko: thanks for educating me all knowing god of bike mechanics
  • 3 6
 @jeremystclair: it really has no bearing on it to me. One cable or three cables looks like shit crammed into the headset. And getting rid of shift cables should be the way anyway. Single speed or wireless. You pick.
  • 35 1
 I appreciate the small 'TREK' logo on the side instead of their usual splash along the downtube.
  • 23 0
 The value is also pretty good when comparing to Santa Cruz Hightower builds, I mean the bike still remains expensive, but you're getting more for less money and the top XX1 build gives you full XX1 AXS drivetrain along with a Reverb AXS while SC is robbing you with X01/GX drivetrain and regular Reverb for more money.
  • 12 0
 "Regular" Reverb is far too friendly
  • 4 3
 you know, you can simply drop the overpriced Reserve wheels and get the X01 Hightower build for $8799
  • 9 1
 @f00bar: That's non AXS. The Trek in the GX AXS is $7.699 and the XT version which is similar to the X01 is $6,249 and they all come with carbon rims. Your point?
  • 3 9
flag Starsky686 (Dec 9, 2022 at 9:35) (Below Threshold)
 @zarban: what do you drive for a car? A Nissan Frontier offers value over a Taco. A Sante fe offers value over a Pilot. Probably get a Sweet Malibu cheaper than a Camry. (Do they still make Malibu?).
  • 10 0
 90% of bikes are better value than Santa Cruz
  • 8 2
 Yeah the price is high, but at least you actually get the best parts with this build. SC is taking a piss with their 11k bike with a GX derailleur, gtf outta here with that. Like, it would probably be difficult to do this build better and cheaper yourself if you bought frame only and are paying retail prices for components, whereas the SC you could literally buy their expensive frame, go to your bike shop and buy all the components, and still probably be about $1000 less than the sticker price of the new bike. So nice work Trek - it's expensive but at least you get your money's worth!
  • 23 1
 I want to see a @mikelevy vs @mikezakimer shoot out on the Fuel Ex and the Stumpy Evo.
  • 3 1
 I think this is a very relevant comparison to make for the average buyer. Both of these bikes will be very popular options.
  • 10 0
 Mike Zakimer, the evil twin.
  • 4 0
 I second this @mikelevy and @mikekazimer - we’ve got to see some comparisons here considering models available, value, storage volume, and overall ride-ability between the two bikes.
  • 3 0
 I’ve owned (currently own the Fuel Ex) and can weigh in a bit here. The Fuel is a great pedaling bike that makes you want to pedal hard with how responsive it is to your pedal inputs, but then can more than handle its own on the descents. The EVO was definitely more leggy. Yes it pedaled well, but didn’t encourage you to go full gas on the pedals, at all. Honestly, the Fuel has impressed me so much, I have a hard time thinking where the EVO would get the nod; probably if things get super gnarly. If you just have a crawl up and then point down and don’t want to haul an enduro bike up, probably the EVO, but the Fuel could probably handle it as well. Everything else, Fuel. It’s such a great ride. Plus, if you want, coil it without worrying about exploding your shock, bump up the travel and mullet it, set it in high and go hammer the pedals. A note on both of them, expect pedal strikes. Not the Mikes, but my two cents.
  • 23 2
 The fuel ex had always been a great bike. I'm sure this one is great too. Unfortunately, this version is ugly as hell.
  • 8 0
 I have previous version (2020-2022) of Fuel Ex and I love that bike. This new version goes to allmountain category with suspension and geo, I can imagine that it is very capable bike.
But in terms of looks I like 2020 version more.
  • 1 0
 @Brdjanin: Same shock stroke, id like to see this rear shock put on the old bike and see how it compares. eyelet distance is different but length of stroke identical. I have the older version too and got a custom tuned DPS and everything Levy praises in this review is how I feel after upgrading from the stock rockshox suspension. transformed the bike.
  • 3 0
 @tprojosh: I changed recently my rear shock on my Fuel Ex 8 2020. I bought new Fox Float X.
Yes it transformed bike. It doesnt bob so much, it rides higher on its travel and have good small bump sensitivity.
I never liked that reactive DPS, if I open it it is supple but bob too much, if I put it in trail mode (in the middle) it doesnt bob too much, but it is harsh-because I rode it with 25% sag. Also that DPS made some clonking sound during repetative fast hits.
This new Fox Float X is awesome, and bike looks better with it Big Grin
  • 1 0
 @Brdjanin: does the float x fit well on your bike?? I’ve got a 2021 ex 8 and have been wanting ti fit a float x for while now, but have been unsure if the piggy back would hit the bottle cage or down tube, especially at bottom out
  • 32 12
 Am I the only one that thinks this frame looks pig ugly?
  • 10 3
 Nope.

And let’s face it, it is a factor.
  • 5 0
 @BarneyStinson: It seems to me that because so many bikes *do* ride so well these days, people can afford to be a little more choosy when it comes to superfluous details like frame look or paint color.

If this bike was given to me I would ride it with zero complaints. However, if I am dropping 10k+ on what is ultimately a hobby, yeah, I'm gonna also want to like the way it looks in addition to how it rides. (Noted: beauty is in the eye of the beholder, etc.)
  • 3 0
 @mikealive: totally agree. Looks matter when you're dropping £k's. This bike clearly rides well but the frame looks overly complicated.
  • 1 1
 This new gen is simply the E-Bike with the motor and battery removed, that's why it looks so bulky.
  • 1 0
 The yellow color is not my favorite, but bike doesn't look horrible. But there are better looking bikes out there for sure.
  • 17 0
 Every time Levy says "all the things" take a shot.
  • 12 1
 Has anyone reviewed the alloy version? Or a cheaper carbon one. All the reviews I’ve seen are in the 10k one. I’m curious about the weight in the alloy one, trek claims 34.5 pounds for a size M. Is the size L going to be a 36-37 pound trail bike?
  • 4 0
 The weight is my biggest problem with the new Fuel Ex. I have a medium 2022 Ex8 that is pretty close to stock and is just under 30# whereas a medium 2023 Ex8 is pushing 5# heavier! Size for size every one of the 2023 Exs is 3#-5# heavier than the previous generation.
  • 10 0
 I've read the alloy frame is 10lbs. If accurate, that's tanky. My guess is this thing optimized for ebike use and they use the same tubeset for the regular version. For reference Transition Spire - 10lbs Raaw Madonna - 9.5 Privateer 141 - 9.1 Banshee Titan - 8.7
  • 3 0
 @greenblur: Just saw that a minute ago too.
10lbs/4.6kg is a full 2lbs more than my '08 Session frame with a coil DHX2.
  • 6 0
 I’m wondering the same thing. It’s a really beefy frame. I know people don’t like to complain about weight but when approach or exceed 35lbs for a trail bike there’s a legit performance loss. I think it’s suspect when brands only offer up their best specced model for testing.
  • 3 0
 @greenblur: I would absolutely believe the aluminum frame is 10 lbs. The carbon frame must be at least 7.5lbs, as the complete bike with high end components and carbon wheels is still 32lbs.
  • 3 2
 Trek makes very agricultural alloy frames. Not refined and very heavy. I'd avoid.
  • 3 0
 @bridgermurray: No way the top spec alloy is sub 35. My Prime w/ basically same spec but carbon wheels is 34.5. Prime frame is 8.2 w/shock.
  • 1 0
 @boopiejones: pretty it is 7.5 lbs
  • 3 3
 @bridgermurray: This new gen is simply the E-Bike with the motor removed, and probably kept the battery installed, that's why it looks so bulky and is so heavy Wink
  • 1 3
 @schu2470: size for size they’ll hold up to the harder use the extra travel warrants. Giant Reign Advanced and Trance X Advanced are light-and the frames develop stress cracks near the head tube and/or bottom bracket in a few months hard use.

If you’re strong enough and light enough that weight really matters, shave them legs and get a purebred XC bike.
  • 1 0
 @wyorider: ripmo af.
  • 12 1
 Paint chips and at 4:59 in the vid it looks like a shitty paint job at the flip chip area, am I being picky, hell yeah for 11k I want the best paint job there is.
  • 3 0
 I got a 2022 Top Fuel and it has some of the most impressively bad paint I’ve ever seen, including drips at the pivots and now has chips everywhere. Great bike but horrendous paint.
  • 10 1
 OK so people are mad about the price. I am too, but not about the 11000 dollar one. The entry level EX7 for 3800 dollars is what pisses me off. It comes with a rockshox 35, for 3800 dollars. Are you f*cking kidding me? Nearly 4000 dollars and they cant put fox rhythm, or a Marzocchi or a yari at least? Entry level stumpy comes with the same fork for 1000 dollars less. Marin, another bike shop brand, sells the alpine train for 800 dollars less with a Yari.
  • 3 0
 Check out the Propain Start-level builds.
  • 1 0
 Unfortunately I have to completely agree with this. I bought the '22 Remedy 7 and it came with the 35 Gold fork. I wasn't happy with it at all Frown

Scored an excellent deal on a new Yari and it's drastically better. These bikes should not be coming with a fork like the 35.
  • 8 0
 My first "real" bike was a Fuel EX in 2015ish when they still had the reaktiv (I died inside writing that out) shock and plus tires. It wasn't great, in fact it was bad, terrible even, but it got me into a sport I now cherish, so I look back on it with largely good memories. Glad to see they've made it what it deserves to be.
  • 1 0
 My first "real" mtb was also a Trek Fuel EX, but with 26" tires. I then had a 29er 2016 Fuel and thought it was great until I test rode a Yeti SB5. Sold the Fuel and have been on Yetis ever since.
  • 6 0
 @husker411: did you also earn your DDS in 2016?
  • 2 0
 My first "real" mtb was a Trek Fuel 80 in 2002. 100mm travel front and rear, V brakes, 2x8 gearing probably. Shit was dope
  • 7 0
 This seems close to the performance and tune of the previous generation Slash (a bike I liked a LOT). As enduro bikes have become more race specific (more travel, near DH geometry) it’s good to see Trek back in the big (but not too big) travel trail bike category. Bonus for ditching the reAktiv shock!!

I’m a year or 3 out from a new bike, but a Fuel Ex (Cool will be on my short list.
  • 1 0
 Yeah - I got me a 2019 Slash 9.8 but have dropped the front end to 150mm and it's a keeper.

The new Fuel Ex is a compelling bike though but I will hang on to my current Slash for a while with the X01 drive train, 150mm fork and 35mm rise 800mm bars. It's just a lovely bike and it's in British Racing Green (would like to paint over the TREK logo on the down tube though).
  • 7 0
 Honestly, this is what I expect from a $10k bike. Full Axs XX1 + axs Dropper, carbon wheels, fox factory, carbon bar/stem. Not light, and not something I would spend, but at least the spec is relative to the price.
  • 1 0
 Well said exactly!
  • 6 0
 Great review and my only gripe is I disagree on the chainstay cable routing. 1. Its a total pain in the ass 2. I don't want to bleed my brakes when servicing my pivot bearings
  • 2 0
 do you send the rear triangle to a different country? I see absolutely no problems with getting bearings out without removing the caliper unless you cannot do it close to the rest of the frame
  • 15 11
 I actually own one of these. The Black 9.8 XT Build. I swapped out the Drivetrain for an XX1 AXS and put on an AXS dropper on. Despite all it's weird tubes, this bike is beautiful in person.

Few thoughts. At first, I wasn't sure how I felt about the bike. Took me a while to get the suspension dialed where I wanted. But that's on me.
I've since began falling in love with this bike. I've never had so much fun climbing, and it descends like my Remedy. I've tried it in both the mullet and full 29" configurations and I'm sticking with the 29" but with a 160mm fork.

BUT. This bike is noisy AF. It creaks so bad on hard square hits and huck to flats, that I swear I've bottomed out and broke the bike, but when I check the fun-o-meter, the ring is not blown off the bottom. And I am quite confident that I'm not smashing my rims.
I also had the Integrated tool (BITS) installed in the headset which made it so loud up there as well. Tried tightening that up yesterday and the thing exploded (pretty confident i wasn't over tightening it either. It spun pretty easy until it blew up). That ended my ride early. More money spent at the bike shop yesterday to put a star nut back in the steerer tube.

Anyway. I'm no bike mechanic here. The bike feels amazing, except for when it doesn't'. But I'm convinced that once I quite this thing down, it will be the dream machine. Really.
  • 11 0
 One my one ride on the alu version I was struck by how quiet it was. Seems like you might have some loose pivots or headset or something going on. It's definitely a quiet bike
  • 21 0
 @dustn323, it shouldn’t be making those noises - something isn’t right on your bike. I’d recommend checking your pivot hardware, bearings, and headset to try and chase it down, and if you’re not comfortable doing that on your own bring it to a shop.
  • 5 0
 I have the 9.8 and it is very quite bike. There must be something wrong.
  • 2 0
 A Youtube commenter said it was the noisiest bike they have ever had.
  • 8 0
 @Leviathandive, for what it's worth our test bike was nice and quiet. I also have a different Fuel EX frame built up into a mullet configuration that's not noisy at all, and I can't stand loud bikes. It's important to check the torque on all the linkage bolts, and confirm that there's enough grease on them.
  • 2 0
 @dustn323 It sounds like you need to grease the linkage pivots. Most trek bikes are built with a shockingly thin amount of geese in the pivots that wears out it the first couple rides, leaving it to sound like it’s falling apart. Spend 30-45 minutes regressing them and it should be dead silent for a long time.
  • 4 0
 @mikekazimer: THIS, the greasing of the hardware is typically not done by the mechanics at the stores and is essential to quiet the bikes down.
  • 2 0
 @tprojosh: CORRECT; the stock linkage might not be properly loctited/lubed. I ordered a Bronson online and a massive linkage bolt squirmed it's way almost entirely out of the frame within the first 4 miles of me riding it. After about 3 bearing overhauls, I finally figured out how to make the linkage dead silent.... Then I sold it.
  • 1 0
 my Gen 5 fuel EX had absolutely dry main pivot bolt. The shop manual also doesn't mention that it needs to be greased. It was very loud. I took the bolt out and applied some grease and the bike is so quiet that I can only hear tires hitting the ground.

Oh and steam bolts needed to be re torques after a few weeks ( but never after that).
  • 2 0
 @valrock: Yep. My EXe hadn't been within 100 feet of any grease when it showed up from the factory. Disassembled everything and installed properly and dead quiet.
  • 1 0
 @mikekazimer: I'm keen to build one as a mullet. Does the mullet end up having a lower BB to the stock 29er after you change to 160mm fork and run in the high position?
  • 8 2
 Giving it so much credit for having adjustable head angle doesn’t really make sense when the process isn’t really any different than putting an angleset on any bike.
  • 1 0
 I thought that too. Although possible some advantages to having it designed in from the start.
  • 3 1
 @BarneyStinson: how they designed it from the start and thought having to press cups was he way to go isn't very smart.
  • 1 0
 @Garradmiller: non press-in angle sets are nearly impossible to set up creak free.

I’m all for pressed in cups.
  • 1 0
 @wyorider: the newmen ones work well and haven’t creaked on me
  • 8 0
 @mikekazimer How does this compare to the stumpjumper evo?
  • 2 0
 Would love to know this! I wish the Evo and Ripmo were included in this comparo.
  • 2 0
 @DanTae: Alicia really loves the Propain Hugene IIRC. Would also be a good one to compare. Its very light, 28.5 pounds
  • 4 0
 My guess is the weight is the result of gen 5 warranty issues. I had a 2020 fuel ex 9.8, cracked around the shock mount points, warranty replaced with a 2021 9.9 frame, cracked at the chainstay, warranty replaced and sold the frame and moved on. That fuel 9.9 with carbon wheels, x01, fox 36. Was a 28lb bike with pedals. I can’t believe they’ve added 4lbs
  • 1 0
 That is why they changed the chainstay design on the 2020 model aluminum bikes even it was simply too small and would crack near the rear derailleur hole.
  • 2 0
 Yeah-the whiners don’t ride hard enough to crack frames (pedal power or airtime). I’ll take a little heavier frame that’ll do some bike park days and shrug off chunk and drops all day.
  • 1 0
 in your AD you didn't mention warranty replacements... you are a bastard!!! Big Grin
  • 2 0
 @valrock: actually I completely informed the buyer and gave original invoice for warranty transfer
  • 4 0
 As a former trek shop kid I’m stoked that they’ve come this far geometry wise with this iteration. I always had a problem with burliness of the treks I had. They were always very fun to ride tho…
  • 4 0
 I was thinking the same thing. My wife had a 2014 Fuel EX and it had a reach shorter than the chainstays, a 71 degree head angle and a sketchy 120mm CTD fork. People gripe about how heavy new bikes are, but I think forget how sketchy stuff used to be!
  • 4 1
 So after 5 bikes, 32 lbs is the number for a 140mm rear travel chassis?

I have a 200mm DH bike, a 160mm enduro bike, and a 0mm gravel bike. I want to replace the 160. Demo'd a Spur but wasn't sold immediately on the feel but I didn't touch the suspension.

Still lost on 120 vs 140 and weight 27 vs 32.
  • 6 0
 I've lived and ridden in the Midwest, Southeast, and PNW. It's been my experience that when you are in fire-road-climb territory that a couple extra pounds doesn't matter as much. You're going to sit and grind out a climb for 30 minutes, and most of us mere mortals aren't going to exactly hit the top feeling 'fresh' regardless if you are on a 30lb bike or a 33lb bike. But where trails are more pedal-y, with more frequent ups and downs, a few pounds on the bike certainly does come into play imo.

I was asking myself that same question you are. For what it's worth, I just pulled the trigger on a Canfield Tilt frame for delivery Spring '23. I crunched the numbers on the build, fairly confident I can get it under 30lbs without having to go to carbon rims. Rear shock can be set at 125mm or 138mm, 140 fork. I'm curious what other bikes could be built up lighter (than advertised) with minor component changes?
  • 1 0
 Same boat here. I have and enduro and an offering. They kind of do the same thing so I’m thinking I sell the offering and a 120 bike. Many 120 bikes will weigh the same. So am I really gaining? It’s been a while since I’ve ridden a 120 bike. How did you like the spur. That’s on my short list. I’m thinking I’d put a 130 34 on it and tires I won’t shred, then I’m in the upper 20”s for weight. My evil is 32 with a coil, enduro 35 with a coil and DD tires with Cush…. Give me some recommendations. I live in the Midwest.
  • 1 0
 @txcx166: Right now I have a Stumpy and a Stumpy EVO. EVO doesn’t give up a huge amount on the climbs but is more comfortable everywhere else. I’m betting if I swapped wheels even less difference on the climbs. Like 3lbs difference. 28 vs 31 lbs. Lots of rocks here in New England so the extra travel is nice as long as it doesn’t kill me on the climbs.
  • 2 0
 140=about the performance of most enduro bikes from 5 years ago or so. 120=a bike with geometry to go big and suspension that can’t cash that check.

Short travel trail bikes can be fun, but 140-160 travel bikes are better daily drivers if you’re riding still is more send than good off and jib.
  • 3 0
 My new alloy spire gx is the most expensive bike I ever got, and I don't believe any bike is worth more money than that. 7300cad that is. Maybe I could go 8000 in the future, but probably not. Anything above is mentally deranged I think lol
  • 1 0
 that is crazy amount of money for an alloy frame
  • 1 0
 Nevermind, I've looked at their NX alloy build and it is even crazier.
  • 3 0
 Seriously considering a Fuel EX for my new bike. Sizing though at a short 164 height but 172 wingspan, would it be better to size up to medium or small? Currently on a 2019 Remedy in medium and it feels pretty good. But it has a shorter reach than the medium fuel but similar effective tt.
  • 3 0
 I would get a small for the better stand over and in the slack position it gives you more reach at 427.8mm. Unless the small frame is all smooshed and weird looking like on some models. Im 5'6" so Im kinda in the same boat.
Or heck just get a Ripmo.
Edit. I see the stand over is the same for small and medium. So never mind
  • 3 0
 If you like your remedy for fit the small is much closer. Small has the 27.5 vs 29 decision. Stack height is lower on 27.5 and higher on 29 than the remedy. The 29 will probably feel like it’s bigger than your remedy even with the shorter TT?
  • 3 0
 Nice review Levy and Kaz! I would agree that Trek kind of killed it with this trail bike with lots of cools features/adjustability. Hard pressed to consider the new Hightower with a bike like this, especially with more affordable models with decent, adequate parts to ride.

But man, Levy, seeing your phone in back pocket on that type of terrain makes me cringe some. I surprisingly went down on my back side with phone just like that on mellow turn at speed in the backcountry. Result was phone smashed into side/back of thigh, massive contusion to hematoma to major internal infection from old fluid hanging around that almost let to sepsis to urgent surgery to drain with draining tubes sticking out of me for week following with minimal mobility and no riding for at least a couple of weeks. Just saying! Don’t want to see that possibly happening to you as well from phone placement in side pocket. If only most phones could fit in the storage compartment.
  • 4 0
 i am struggling with the idea of spending well over $14,000.00 CDN for a trail bike that weighs 32 pounds with ultra trick wireless and carbon parts.
  • 2 0
 It would be nice if they would sell it in the mullet/160mm version from the factory.

Sucks to spend $6-7k get a great spec with carbon wheels and then have to buy a matching 27.5 carbon wheel and tire along with 160 air spring to get the config you want.
  • 1 0
 it's a trail bike, there is no point to mullet it
  • 2 0
 Why does it weigh only a pound less than my GX build slash with dh casing tires and dt swiss 511 wheels? Have to spend nearly $10k to get away from performance suspension. Spec sj evo definitely wins in the build kit department.
  • 2 2
 Because frame recycling of off their latest E-Bike
  • 1 0
 Such a sweet bike, climbs great, loves getting air and charging through rough stuff. I wonder if you could even run a longer stroke shock in it? I rode with an E13 carbon bar and a normal stem, not the one piece cockpit, did feel a bit more stiff than the alloy bar I'm used to.
  • 1 0
 I'm not aware of any 185 eye to eye that has longer than 55 stroke length. That being said, for the people that preferred the shorter travel fuels of the past, you could put a 50 in there and the rear travel ends up somewhere around 127mm. Pair that with a 130 or 140 fork for tighter tech riding.
  • 1 0
 @DizzyNinja: do you think a different link could allow for a longer eye-to-eye length shock? I love the idea of decreasing the travel too, possibly shortening the wheelbase a bit. Having all this geometry adjustment and ability to run a coil and mullet setup is sweet, but having even more adjustment, like travel, would be awesome. Not to say it's not already a great bike, but something truly modular would be great to see.
  • 2 0
 @Lebmartin: Hopefully Cascade can make such a link, but the cross strut on the seat stays might impact the seat post, too early to tell. As it stands, 140mm is its limit. That being said, I've ridden two different 140mm bikes at several DH parks in BC and they both handled any of the flow single black, and some tech single black. This bike seems tougher than both of them (2015 Trance, 2019 SJ).
  • 1 0
 @DizzyNinja: I rode this Fuel Ex for quite a few miles in Marquette, MI and thought it was a blast on the freeride and double/single black diamond trails. Not asuch elevation as out west of course, but plenty chunky and gnarly. 140 felt like enough, but there are a few trails in the area that warrant a bit more travel for more speed. I'm just a sucker for a true "do-it-all" platform, this bike definitely comes pretty damn close, I'd love to get one.
  • 4 0
 "Hello my name is Kevin and I am addicted to spending all of my money on mountain bikes."
  • 2 1
 See the thing that bums me out is their cheapest offering has that X-Fusion shit that kinda sucks. So while they can always say 'there are cheaper trims and the frame is great so just buy within your budget etc etc'... But that's not ideal when the suspension, one of the most expensive things to upgrade, is rather poor and affects the ride so much. Whereas most of the low end Rockshox and Fox is very usable.

To a certain extent even a bike with a mediocre frame with wonky kinematics could feel good with the top of the line spec. I understand only one bike is in a different price point, essentially, so it's "fair" but I still think its misleading when the majority of people are buying the cheapest trim and it has some questionable parts like that X-Fusion shock.
  • 5 0
 Some X-fusion shocks are pretty good actually. They need to be tuned properly to match the bike's leverage curve though, which not everyone does. No idea how well the Fuel is matched to the X-fusion they are using though.
  • 4 1
 Almost 2x the price of the most expensive car purchase I've made. ~$14,550 CDN Shekels.

This has become the Theater of the Absurd.
  • 1 0
 Riding a Canyon spectral 27.5 now, and looking for something that has a better climbing platform, has a little higher bottom bracket and carries momentum a little without sacrificing the downhill capability. Was originally looking at a shorter travel bike like the Izzo or Stumpjumper, but wondering if this might be the ticket...
  • 1 0
 The climbing shots in this video (along with the others too) have all been awesome. Really show the type of steep, techy climbs that you're testing these bikes on. For me this is more than enough... I'm not doing trials moves or anything else ambitious. And then combining this with the commentary, it paints a solid picture of what to expect from these bikes while climbing. Cheers!
  • 1 0
 I am midwest based. Downhills are short, and climbs are steep and punchy with tons of roots up and down. No trial moves here either, just want a bike that hangs on and carries momentum well.
  • 2 1
 Similar to the SJ Evo, I don't understand the huge range of HTA adjustability. Is anyone clamoring for a 65.5 degree HTA on a 150mm fork? Also, you need like 10mm of chainstay adjustability to preserve the weight distribution as you change the HTA by a massive 2 degrees.
  • 1 0
 I find it very useful on the SJE. It does change how the bike feels, and as I ride in a few different types of terrain - gentler trail centres -> bike parks -> steep & tight alpine enduro trails it’s useful to be able to set the bike up differently for each one.
  • 3 1
 Just wait a few months until the economy tanks and nobody is buying anything.. companies will be forced to sell at cost just to make ends meet..that's when ill show to the bike shop with cash
  • 1 0
 No knockblock, no bizarre shock. Vindicates my decisions to just buy bikes with normal stuff on them. 157 will be on the chopping block eventually. Also sounds like Fox is finally putting out a good shock with this FloatX. All this praise to Trek's suspension should really go toward the shock, because that is what is doing all those things they are praising it for. I need to test ride one.
  • 2 0
 I’ve got one on my Stumpy Evo, and coming from a coil shock (Cane Creek inline) on my previous bike, I’m seriously impressed.
  • 1 0
 157? Do you mean the 157 superboost standard?
  • 1 0
 Bike boner. I got away from Trek a few years ago because of the squishy feel of the Fuel. Glad to hear they've fixed it with the latest iteration. Great....now I have to check out another amazing bike.... First world problems, I guess. Oh, and I kinda like bile. As long as it's in a bike color.
  • 1 0
 The new Fuel EX looks a lot like the 2021-2022 Devinci Troy... same split pivot 140mm rear travel with kinematics that look to be remarkably similar. I owned a Devinci Troy for a little while and it is a brilliant bike that does not get enough good press, in the US at least. I loved my Troy for the very short time I had it (check pics in my profile) but I knew I was riding it at like 50% of its capability, if that... felt bad for the bike and sold it to guy who raced for Devinci.

A lighter version of the Troy would be an awesome trail / light-all-mountain bike. So it makes sense that the Fuel EX is pretty darn good.
  • 2 1
 This bike is really heavy and very expensive. The 9.8 version doesnt even have a GRIP2 cartridge in the fork, it only got a GRIP1 version. 14.33kg without pedals in size M for this price is also really not ideal. Maybe this is the reason why almost nobody here rides TREK bikes.
  • 1 0
 For being a 140/150 bike, 31.6 lbs/14.33kgs isn't the end of the world. It hides the weight well, and still gets up and scoots. It's no Top Fuel or light-duty trail bike. It is a bit pricy for the components, but you're kinda paying for the name, which sucks.
  • 3 0
 A comment on the trail this morning. "GX AXS = SRAM have just added electronics to a shitty derailieur and bumped up the price.
  • 2 0
 Cons that weren't really mentioned in this review:

-irregular sizing with a weirdly large gap in between sizes L and XL
-extremely low stack height
-very low BB
-absurdly expensive
-obviously not pretty
  • 1 0
 My old 2014 EX 29er was a fast, fast, pedaller and it a bullet on rolling terrain and climbs. It's 69.3 degree head angle made descending tricky though. I think this new bike is probably closer to intent of the remedy 29er. Good to see trek learning over the years. This latest design finally seems to address their slack seat tube issues.
  • 1 0
 How would you say this bike stacks up to the current Stumpjumper Evo? It seems like that is the most comparable bike on the market to the new Trek. Stumpy has 10mm more travel but shares all the adjustments and frame storage. I do like the idea of a mullet link, or cascade link, even the WRP link that is available for the SJ Evo..
  • 1 0
 Really nice review as usual, @mikelevy and @mikekazimer. I'm interested in the bike, but the 9.9 XX1 AXS is quite a bit more $'s than I'm looking to spend. What are your thoughts on the EX 7? Any chance you might review that model? Keep up the great content guys!
  • 12 7
 Too ugly unfortunately
  • 5 0
 NYC Taxicab yellow?
  • 2 0
 Not enough variations of matte black out there?
  • 3 0
 Levi looks so happy riding this bike!! Almost as much as when he plays Kaaaazzzoooo!
  • 2 0
 The weight seems a bit high for the component spec., travel, and price. I would be hoping for something closer to a pound lighter.
  • 5 3
 What's wrong with performance suspension??.. nothing..you just won't be broing down so hard ..and that guy on performance suspension shreds harder than you
  • 2 4
 This is the best comment in Pinkbike history
  • 4 0
 M/L FTW!!!!! Need more brands doing the M/L.
  • 3 0
 Mike / Kaz , if you were to buy this bike for yourself? Would you stick with L or get the M/L?
  • 1 0
 fyi: this carbon frame weights 3.4 kg (which is 200 g lighter than aluminium stumpy evo, I assume that norco frame is equally weighted). and aluminum version of this frame weights 4.6 kg.
  • 1 0
 Probably forgot to take the E-Bikes battery out when the took the motor off.
  • 3 0
 I can't believe that all these expensive new bikes don't have chain guides?
  • 1 0
 Upvoted as I was quite miffed to have to pay extra to fit a bashguard to my new bike recently.
  • 1 3
 You only need one with Shimano 12spd and their crappy clutches.
  • 1 1
 Chain rings and clutches wear out faster this way and it saves the brand money. What not to like?
  • 1 1
 An orange 222 with no carbon and quality components was in the 32-33 lb range.

That’s why in 2002 everyone was riding farmgate filing cabinets down the hill.

We can get back to even lighter higher performing bikes by making things simpler.

Less range,smaller chainrings.36mm stanchions(because all the flex is in the steerer anyway)simpler linkage layouts.tires that are Actually between Dh and trail.etc
  • 1 0
 Allow me to ask a crazy question.

Let’s say you were well inside of the top two percent of 50 year of XC racers.

How much of a detriment would a 28 pound Fuel EX be, relative to a 24# Top Fuel?
  • 1 0
 My only question: Does Trek still press frame bearings directly into carbon? I've seen their frames consume themselves because of this and its the dumbest idea ever. Tool steel will always win vs carbon.
  • 1 0
 "We want innovation!" "We also want frames to never look any different! Two plain triangles only and evermore! But also make the bike work very differently/better than before!"
  • 1 0
 It’s heavier, but it’s still not heavy enough. Noticed a pretty major JRA-related crack in my swingarm yesterday afternoon.
Gonna try an aluminum replacement swingarm and hope it lasts longer than a month!
  • 1 1
 ChatGPT obviously don't know Pinkbike:

Input (full article):
Can you write a forum comment to this article like it was Pinkbike user Waki who wrote it?

"Hey everyone, Waki here! I just wanted to give my thoughts on the new Trek Fuel EX. Overall, I'm pretty impressed with what Trek has done with this bike. The adjustable geometry and compatibility with a coil shock are definitely standout features for me. The new, beefier front-end and updated design at the bottom bracket area are also nice touches.
I'm definitely considering picking up the 9.9 XX1 AXS model for myself. The carbon wheels and all the high-end components make it worth the price tag in my opinion.
What do you guys think? Are you as impressed with the new Fuel EX as I am? Let me know in the comments!"

From chat.openai.com/chat>;
  • 1 1
 Needed some tweaking and starting to look right:

Input:
Can you make it more poisonous and sarcastic?

"Hey Pinkbike, it's your favorite user Waki here again! I just had to come back and give my two cents on the new Trek Fuel EX. I have to say, I'm absolutely blown away by just how much Trek is trying to charge for this bike. I mean, $2,699.99 for the base model? Are they kidding me? And don't even get me started on the $10,749.99 price tag for the top-of-the-line model. Who in their right mind would spend that much on a bike?

But even setting the ridiculous prices aside, the new Fuel EX still leaves a lot to be desired. Sure, the adjustable geometry and compatibility with a coil shock are nice, but is it really worth breaking the bank for? I don't think so. Trek may as well just take all my money and set it on fire at this point.

Anyway, that's just my two cents. What do you guys think? Are you as unimpressed with the new Fuel EX as I am? Let me know in the comments!"
  • 11 8
 It has a sort of Alibaba look to it.
  • 16 13
 They forgot, Cons - pricey.
  • 11 9
 Yeah, funny how the "pricey" con is brand-dependent...
  • 20 0
 probably because Trek offers it in a wide range of pricing. Their Alu frame look like pretty good value to me.
  • 14 0
 @jcelli2013: its almost like you can pick up an alloy version with a good spec for a third of the price of the bike tested. you can't do that with the yeti or Santa Cruz bikes.
  • 10 0
 The Trek high-end build actually comes with exclusively high end components (compare that to the same priced Santa Cruz with GX lol). And they actually offer lower cost options in their range, including aluminum frames.
  • 2 0
 @Rhojax: finally someone who is thinking
  • 1 0
 I mean, for the build kit on it, it's a better deal than some of the other $10k bikes in the test, and they do have a wide range of price points. I'll give Trek some credit on pricing this time. Though CAD pricing here in Canada will be the question. Treks have historically been a pretty mediocre value in the Canadian market over the years, even when their USD pricing has been competitive.
  • 4 0
 There is an aluminum version that's cheaper than the Norco, and some decent build options above that. Not sure that's a fair critique.
  • 5 0
 I think they do a decent job addressing this as they discuss the review. They are pretty clear that there are less expensive build options that still offer decent parts spec. For example, the $6.2k model will get you carbon wheels and full XT (although you have Fox Performance suspension) - that seems decent for a non-DTC brand.

If you are really on a budget, build up the aluminum frame. It's $2.5k. The same options simply don't exist for Yeti and Santa Cruz - neither of which seemed to offer the performance of the Trek in this review.
  • 1 0
 Somehow not even in the top 3 of ridiculous pricing in this test
  • 25 26
 I used to get excited for new bike reviews because I could potentially see myself buying one, now I just know it will never happen, it’s not even the ability I just can’t justify the cost. So for me it’s just stretching out the gaps between buying used bikes/frames and maintaining components till they explode. These articles are like looking at a Ferrari in a showroom, oh that’s cool but it doesn’t mean anything to me.
  • 49 3
 If only a bike like this was offered in a range of different builds at a lower price ….. hmmmmmmm
  • 7 15
flag mtnfox37 (Dec 9, 2022 at 7:35) (Below Threshold)
 Same, I'm hoping the manufacturers are reading the responses... cause we're not alone in being beat up by how out of hand prices have become
  • 10 2
 Ex 8 has just about all the goodies of this one for waaaaaay less money.
  • 8 0
 I found that one of the compelling aspects of the Trek is that it actually comes in a wide variety of price points with reasonable spec. If you are really on a budget, you can build with the AL frame, which offers all the advantages of the carbon, with just a tiny bit of weight.
  • 10 0
 @tmtb999: Something like 9 versions that cover almost every price point should do the trick....
  • 5 0
 If you wait and are friendly with your local Trek shop, you can get steep discounts on the previous model year the following spring/early summer. My last few bikes have all been the 9.8 version of various Trek models, but I haven't paid anything near 9.8 prices.
  • 6 0
 @mtnfox37: Um, did you read/watch this review? There are like 9 different model pricepoints for this bike.
  • 5 0
 I sure wish the brokies would find another site to comment on. This is getting exhausting.
  • 5 0
 TBH ‘you’ dont need a new bike, maybe a different one but not much has changed in the last 4-5 years, just haribo holes and headset cable routing.
  • 4 0
 Trek's alloy bikes are extremely good. We had two riders build up previous gen fuels to be lightweight, capable trail bikes. The one rider picked carbon a carbon frame, and the other picked alloy because he saw the weight difference wasn't that substantial and knew he could get close to the carbon weight with a better specced alloy bike for the money. Don't be afraid of an EX 8 or alloy frame.
  • 2 0
 @jeremystclair: some seriously reasonable builds on the list too
  • 2 0
 @tmtb999: @tmtb999: yeah I know there are cheaper builds but why would I replace my current 3-4 year old carbon bike with a mix of mid/top end components with a budget new bike?

I used to be a chronic bike flipper just because it was fun to swap bikes out but nowadays unless you have money to burn it’s tough to justify. In particular frame prices these days are just a complete ripoff.
  • 1 0
 Repost
  • 2 0
 Did SRAM improve their AXS clutch? Huck to flat looked surprisingly strong for what is usually a floppy situation down there
  • 2 1
 what camera are you guys using Sony FX 3,6,or even 9. Which ISO do you like with what shutter speed. And finally, ND filters...Great photos guys, keep up the beauty shots
  • 1 0
 I am also curious
  • 2 0
 It that a Timbit product placement on the first image of Levy flying over the roots...?
  • 3 0
 This is a very solid re-design by Trek, well done.
  • 2 1
 I am just remembering that episode where Gee Atherton tells Levy that he needs a bit more pace. But in these photos he looks so fast.
  • 1 1
 From what I just heard, the Trek is the best bike. It's the fastest and the most adjustable. The paint chipping is pretty annoying though. I have that problem on my Supercaliber
  • 1 0
 Ya'll didn't go into parts spec too much. What kind of brakes is this running? Still baffled by the Code RS (no C) on that $10k hightower... smh
  • 1 0
 Roughly 34,000,000 tater tots USD for an integrated handlebar and adjustable headset you need to pay more to actually adjust. Id pay more for that Mt. Rushmore hoody.
  • 1 0
 World economy colapsing and....Pinkbike goes mid or top range products Trek/Secialized/Trek/Secialized/Trek/Secialized/Trek/Secialized...dude i am broke.
  • 1 0
 Tires of these $10k bikes.. just silly.. Are you telling me this bike is 125% better than my $4100 Stumpy EVO (2021)? I doubt it.. keeping it forever..
  • 2 1
 At this price, I expected the same hate that Yeti or SC received. Since this bike looks just like the e-bike version, I'd just buy the e-bike instead.
  • 1 0
 But can u fold the fuel ex into a different bike?
Like start with a trek but when the ride gets ruffer turn it into a session?
  • 1 1
 Pretty cool bike here. Hopefully when I make a move to a modern bike there will be 27” bikes around. I tried a 29” bike but it was way too twitchy for my liking, can’t follow the sheep on this one.
  • 1 0
 You tried one?
  • 4 1
 Why no Bonty tire spec?
  • 6 0
 Control tires on all the bikes in test.
  • 1 0
 looks a mean bike...ready for some propper business....invisiframe it will save the paint. cant afford one though.
  • 2 0
 That is one good looking bike!
  • 1 0
 My XL stumpy is still lighter than this $10k banana, with no carbon other than the frame
  • 1 0
 People hate on the Trek, but recently they are making better Down Country and Trail bikes now.
  • 1 0
 Whatever Trek is doing with their paint, they need to change it. Stare at it disapprovingly and it chips.
  • 1 0
 This bike will WON in this testing, mark my words! It is most complete bike.
  • 1 1
 @mikelevy you missed the correct geo in the mullet/slack cup/overforked version! It'd be 63.5 with a 29er rear wheel, but 27.5 rear wheel makes it a 62.9 degree head angle
  • 2 0
 Ehh not a fan of the new look of the frame.
  • 3 0
 Autoplay still suck.
  • 2 0
 Gawd dang that GT yellow af
  • 1 0
 Not much to whine about on this one. Rides good, can be had for a reasonable price in aluminum. Winner!
  • 1 0
 To mullet this do you need anything special part? or just switch wheels and go?
  • 1 0
 Hi position on mino link and then a 160 fork is recommended
  • 1 0
 Anybody gonna make it full 27.5? Seems doable if it can be done in a mullet.
  • 1 0
 Just gotta say Mike & Mike - some really nice riding between you fellas in this series. Good stuff.
  • 1 0
 @mikekazimer as far as I know the Project One option isn’t available on the Fuel Ex (at least in Europe).
  • 1 0
 Love the look, not a far of the handlebars though yuck! that shit belongs on XC bikes only
  • 2 0
 I like chips!
  • 4 0
 flip chips or paint chips?
  • 2 2
 Adjustable Geo. Snack Box. Seems like copying the 2020 Bike Of The Year does great things for your products!
  • 1 0
 Why is everyone on Time pedals this field test?
  • 2 1
 Who decided one piece stems/handlebars were the next thing? bc please no
  • 2 1
 This.

Personally, I don't think they look good and can't imagine there is a huge second hand market for expensive, carbon, one piece stem/bar's (because I would absolutely remove it and sell it if it came on a bike I bought).
  • 2 0
 They look fkn ridiculous . What moron thinks this is a good idea?
  • 1 0
 It doesn't look like a Session.
  • 2 0
 No XXL in carbon?
  • 1 0
 That loud squirrel photobombs the bike at 9:44.
  • 1 0
 Can you put a bashguard on it?
  • 1 0
 Is it just my computer or is the video jumping every so often?
  • 1 0
 Stuttering would be a better word.

Edit: it was my browser. Different one = no stutters.
  • 1 1
 i LOVE my 2nd Trek Remedy...but this trek bike remains just ugly in may eyes
  • 1 0
 This is first Trek bike I like how it looks
  • 1 1
 Fifty-second generation of the Fuel? Seems like about 46 too many, unless we count every prototype version as a "generation"
  • 2 0
 Looks like a niner.
  • 1 4
 No desire to drag my balls on a 29er rear tire or wait for the bike to turn on short rides.

I'm being told to screw off and get in line for faster Strava times & doing my local trail approximately 6" faster than last year is where it's at though...even if I have to take a straighter line and NEVER squat off the back.
  • 1 0
 Probably be selling my slash 21-2022 for this bike.
  • 1 0
 Hey hey hey children let’s keep the comments positive….
  • 1 0
 It sounds like this is a Star Trek
  • 1 0
 BBC not high enough, pedal strikes all day long in the rock gardens.
  • 2 1
 Stumpy Evo still is KING!!
  • 1 0
 BEST BIKE EVER! -from Dad with 2 kids
  • 2 1
 The Trek Fuel E(vo)X.
  • 1 3
 Love the versatility and the do-it-all-approach of these new bikes. BUT a 2020 Transition Scout already ticked most of the boxes nearly three years ago, just sayin...Smile
  • 1 0
 Looks like a 9er
  • 1 1
 Trek the Toyota Carolla of the MTB world
  • 1 0
 Not sure if you mean this as an insult or compliment. Toyota Corolla's are great, but boring, cars.
  • 1 1
 Are there people who aren't cops who rode treks? Asking for a friend
  • 1 0
 I don't think Jolanda Neff or Vali Höll are cops
  • 1 0
 @pmhobson: nah they are sponsor money chasers
  • 2 3
 So, no comments about the short headtube?
  • 1 0
 My body proportions really favour a short head tube, so I'm for it. It's easier to add rise than reduce it. But I get it won't work for everyone. There are other bikes with more stack for those people. That being said, I think typically if you have the flexibility, a shorter stack is faster up and down for body position weighting (and while it sounds dumb, cheating wind when you're over 30km/hr).
  • 2 1
 @pbandjam: For any bike ive ever ridden, Stack is to low even at higher numbers... i need bigger headtubes.

they also make the front feel much stiffer and direct. you run out of stiffness on short numberd headtubes as you run longer steerer and it starts to wobble when you start riding beyond green trails
  • 1 0
 @HeatedRotor: the road bike world talks about stiffness and exposed steerer - I find it odd mtb doesn’t with the higher forces. Most riders seem to use quite a few spacers (I suspect this is partially a long reach thing). I’ve gone with a smaller frame with fewer spacers (5-10mm) and a higher rise bar to keep stiffness and reach. Wonder if I I’d prefer a longer wheelbase, but I ride a Trek that has the M/L just 15mm more reach, so with most companies I’d be a solid medium and I try not to think of it.

Atherton doing two stack heights per reach (+ custom) is awesome. Wish I could afford.

Hope you feel you have good options for your preferred kinematics and geometry.
  • 1 0
 @pbandjam: more spacers and higher bars is due to short headtubes on MTB - many of us feel like we are lent over the front, Higher front in general gives more confidence.

Low fronts and Slack STA Suit XC... Which is anther thing i find funny, We dont climb walls so the excessively steep STA are getting a bit dull as MOST climb trails arnt vertical inclines
  • 1 0
 @HeatedRotor: I understand. I ride the top fuel that PB complain about the stack from last year. I ride a medium though. And I have short inseam. It was very well reviewed everywhere. This fuel ex was fast down and up, climbed well. Very well reviewed everywhere. So not everyone will get along with short stack, and of course XC needs to be lower and downhill higher.

Body proportions, skill, flexibility, and terrain all matter. We should all have options. But I do believe lower better weights a rider with the bike. Just like taller people have an advantage at basketball, if you’re lucky to get along with lower stack, it’s a plus.

But often those picking long reach with lots of spacers are less good riders looking for stability and comfort. So it works for them, and manufacturers like it, they appeal to both. Again, I get you don’t want spacers, and you have a good argument.

Trek is particularly low in recent designs. Reviewers are raving. Longer reaches require to a degree lower stacks as well lest a bike get too big. So the trend is not helpful, and that feels crappy when it affects you.

I just hope you are able to find the one for you. I went though this with disc brakes on road bikes. Not as big an issue. I’ve decided I’ll be keeping my rim braked bike forever.
  • 1 0
 Short head tube is great if you want to Mullet!
  • 2 4
 "Knock Block?"
  • 8 1
 This model proves that Knock Block was unnecessary.
  • 1 0
 @the-one1: nah, they just completely redesigned the frame so no need anymore. Betcha the bars actually clear the downtube now.
  • 1 0
 @pinkbert: you need to really try to make it possible for your bars to get close to downtube Big Grin
  • 1 0
 @valrock: or crash
  • 1 1
 @pinkbert: whooooosh
  • 2 0
 @valrock: oh yeah, I forgot I wrote down tube instead of top tube. Cool story.
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