Review: Trek Fuel EX 9.9 29

Oct 26, 2015
by Mike Kazimer  




The Fuel EX is a mainstay in Trek's lineup, a 120mm bike that has undergone numerous revisions over the years to ensure that it remains a cutting-edge trail machine. For 2016 the 29” wheeled version gets the Boost treatment, which means that the rear axle spacing is now 12x148mm, and 15x110mm up front. This change allowed Trek to drop the bike's chainstay length from 452mm down to 436mm while still allowing for the use of a front derailleur.

The 9.9 is the highest end complete model in the Fuel EX line, and comes equipped with a lust-worthy parts spec that includes a Shimano XTR drivetrain, Race Face's carbon Next SL cranks, a carbon DT Swiss XMC 1200 wheelset, and Kashima-coated FOX suspension. In short, it'd be hard to spec a nicer kit than this. The 9.9 29 is only the tip of the iceberg though, and there are five other models available, starting with the aluminum Fuel EX 5 for $1989.99 USD.



Fuel EX 9.9 29 Details

• Intended use: trail
• Rear wheel travel: 120mm
• Wheel size: 29''
• Frame material: OCLV carbon
• Boost 148/110 spacing
• Shimano XTR drivetrain and brakes
• DT Swiss XMC 1200 carbon wheels
• FOX Factory 34 Float shock and RE:aktiv shock
• Weight: 24.05 lb (size large)
• Sizes: 15.5", 17.5", 18.5", 19.5", 21.5"
• MSRP: $8399.99 USD
www.trekbikes.com

2016 Trek Fuel EX review
Trek's Control Freak internal routing keeps brake, derailleur, and dropper housing tucked away inside the Fuel's carbon frame.
Trek Fuel EX review
A small chip on the seatstay allows the head angle to be adjusted by .6 degrees and the bottom bracket to be raised or lowered by 8mm.

Frame Details

The Fuel EX's full carbon frame has a clean and modern look to it, with a subtle curve to the top tube that provides plenty of standover clearance while also leaving room to mount a water bottle inside the front triangle. The brake, derailleur, and dropper post housing are all tucked neatly out of the way inside the frame thanks to Trek's Control Freak system. Control Freak is one of the better internal routing configurations out there, offering nearly unlimited options for running housing through the modular rubber ports found on either side of the headtube. There are also two slits in the downtube that a zip tie threads through to cinch everything together and eliminate any potential rattling inside the frame.

Boost 148/110

Last year's Remedy was the first bike on the market to feature Boost spacing, a rapidly emerging standard that uses a 12x148mm rear thru-axle hub instead of the 12x142mm spacing that preceded it. Boost has spread to the front end as well, where 10 millimeters have been added onto the total hub width, bringing it up to 110mm. In both cases, one of the overarching goals is to increase wheels stiffness, based on the theory that wider hub flanges will improve the spoke's bracing angle, and in turn create a stronger wheel.

Boost spacing may still be a point of contention for riders frustrated by ever-changing standards, but even if you never thought that 29” wheels needed to be any stiffer, there's no denying the fact that it has allowed Trek to dramatically shorten the Fuel EX's chainstays while still maintaining a generous amount of tire clearance. That clearance will be a benefit for riders in muddy locales, as well as for those who want to run wider tires without worrying about frame or fork rub. The option to mount a front derailleur still remains as well, a feature that often ends up being eliminated in the quest for shorter chainstays.
2016 Trek Fuel EX review
FOX's Boost 110 Float 34 fork has plenty of clearance for tires even wider than the 2.3" Bontrager SE5 shown.

Geometry

Trek 2016 Geo


2016 Trek Fuel EX review

Suspension Design

The Fuel EX uses Trek's Active Braking Pivot (ABP) suspension design, which is used on everything from their downhill race rigs to XC speed machines like the Top Fuel. ABP uses a pivot that rotates around the rear axle, with the intention being to prevent braking forces from affecting the rear shock in any way. The shock itself isn't attached to a fixed point on the frame; instead, it's attached to the chainstay and the upper rocker link, allowing it to 'float' for what Trek says is increased sensitivity.

Keen observers will have noticed that the rear shock no longer has the upper top hat shaped portion that housed Trek's proprietary Dual Control Valve (DRCV) technology on previous models. Where did it go? It turns out that FOX's new Extra Volume (EVOL) air sleeve closely mimics the feel of DRCV, which allowed Trek to turn their attention to including their new RE:aktiv shock technology on as many models of the Fuel as possible.

Developed through a collaboration between Penske, FOX, and Trek, RE:aktiv was designed to improve a bike's pedaling performance without diminishing its ability to absorb impacts. A spring loaded valve inside the shock body allows for increased low speed compression for pedaling support on smoother terrain, but when the shock's shaft speed increases the valve opens up, enabling the shock to quickly and smoothly absorb the impact before the valve closes again. This action happens in all three compression settings, in theory allowing rides to choose how much pedaling support they want without worrying about being jarred by larger impacts.


Specifications

Specifications
Price $8399.99
Travel 120mm
Rear Shock Fox Factory Float EVOL, RE:aktiv
Fork Fox Factory 34 Float
Cassette Shimano XTR, 11-40, 11 speed
Crankarms Race Face Next SL, 32T
Rear Derailleur Shimano XTR, Shadow Plus
Shifter Pods Shimano XTR, 11 speed
Handlebar Bontrager Rhythm Pro 750mm
Stem Bontrager XXX, OCLV Carbon, 31.8mm, 7 degree
Grips Bontrager Race Lite, lock-on
Brakes Shimano XTR Trail hydraulic disc
Wheelset DT Swiss XMC1200 Carbon
Tires Bontrager XR3 Team Issue, 29x2.30"
Seat Bontrager Evoke RXL, carbon rails
Seatpost RockShox Reverb Stealth

2016 Trek Fuel EX review








Setup

The Fuel EX is extremely well specc'd out of the box, which should be a given considering its price tag, but there are a few little tweaks that can transform it into even more of a hell-raiser out on the trails. The first order of business is to swap the 70mm stem for something shorter, preferably 50mm or less. I know, you've heard this before, and everyone has their own preferences, but trust me – it's worth it out on the trail for the added control, especially when gravity takes over.

The next step is optional, but recommended if you spend any time in loose or wet terrain: install a meatier tire up front. The XR3 tires are solid performers across a wide range of conditions, but running a beefier tire like the Bontrager SE5 or something similar helps considerably in more technical terrain. Plus, by keeping the lower profile tread in the rear the bike's rolling speed isn't affected as much.

Setting up the suspension is a straightforward process, and to make things even easier Trek has a suspension settings calculator on their website. Simply select the bike model, input your weight, and with one click the suggested air pressure and rebound settings for the fork and shock will be displayed. The suggested shock pressure, 20 pounds above my body weight, ended up being exactly correct for me, although my final fork settings were a little softer than what the program displayed. In any case, it's a good place to start before adjusting things to match your personal preferences.

Trek Fuel EX 9.9 29 review

Climbing

Switching from a heavier all-mountain bike to the Fuel EX creates the same instant feeling of buoyancy that a deep sea diver experiences after shedding his weight belt and rocketing to the ocean's surface. 24 pounds is remarkably light for a 120mm full-suspension 29er, a number that's made even more impressive by how stiff and flex-free the frame is. Trek claims that the overall frame stiffness has been increased by 14% over the previous version, and although I don't have any way to precisely verify that number, I'm inclined to believe them based on my experiences out on the trail. Standing up and sprinting, hitting a natural hip jump into a root-filled landing, pushing hard into a bermed turn – in all instances the bike felt extremely solid, and much more composed than I would have expected given its weight.

Unlike their longer and slacker enduro relatives, trail bikes are expected to exhibit better than average climbing manners, and in this regard the Fuel EX 9.9 doesn't disappoint. It'll scamper up just about anything in its way like a mountain goat that's been raised on a diet of coffee beans, with a surefootedness that helps keep the rear wheel firmly planted on the ground even on loose terrain. Even with a short stem installed it was easy to keep my weight distributed properly, and there was never any front wheel wandering on steep climbs.

There is a modest amount of suspension movement if the shock is left wide open, especially when standing up and mashing on the pedals, but this can be counteracted by flicking the rear shock's blue lever to the central low speed compression setting. I rarely used the stiffest Climb mode, but the beauty of the RE:aktiv damper is that even in the firmest setting the shock will still absorb impacts, which allows for more traction compared to a shock that fully locks out. Plus, if you do forget to switch out of Climb mode before heading downhill there's not going to be the jarring, my-fillings-are-going-to-rattle-out feeling that can occur on a shock with a traditional lockout.

With a 40 tooth cog as the easiest gear out back and a 32 tooth ring up front, the Fuel's gearing is a bit tall for a 29er, but luckily the bike's light weight helps to counteract this minor inconvenience. For riders that do find themselves wanting to spin more than stand on the steepest ascents, Race Face's direct mount chainrings are extremely simple to swap out, and a 30 tooth ring up front would make an appreciable difference.


Trek Fuel EX 9.9 29 review

Descending

Okay, so a 24 pound carbon 29er climbs uphill well – that's not exactly surprising. It's what happens after the climbing ends that really matters, and once again the Fuel EX delivers. While it may not possess the same margin of error that's present with the Remedy, its longer travel sibling, the Fuel EX still dishes out a smooth and controlled ride, even on rougher terrain. The feel of the Float 34 up front matches that of the rear shock, and there's plenty of support to keep the bike from going through all 120mm of travel too rapidly.

A 68.8° head angle keeps the Fuel's handling on the quicker side of things without being twitchy, and the shorter chainstays (compared to the previous version) make it easier to get the back end around sharp turns. As a whole the bike feels extremely well balanced, placing the rider in a neutral position between the wheels, ready for whatever comes around the next twist in the trail. It does have its limits, but it takes a seriously rowdy trail before it starts to get rattled, and even then it's usually just a matter of easing off the throttle ever-so-slightly to avoid getting ping-ponged off line. Remember, this is a trail bike, and Trek has other bikes in their line for riders that are more focused on the downhill portion of the riding equation. I did find myself wondering what a 130mm fork would feel like, which is how the aluminum Fuel EX 9 comes equipped. That extra 10mm of travel would slacken the head angle a touch, and likely add a bit more stability in the steeps, pushing the Fuel more towards the Remedy's territory.

As far as jumping goes, depending on who's asking I may or may not have ridden a lap on Whistler's A-Line just to see what would happen. You know, for science. It turns out that hitting big jumps on a bike this light is a wildly good time, albeit one that's well out of the realm of the Fuel's intended purpose, and not something I'd suggest making a habit of doing. All the same, the capabilities of this carbon machine are downright amazing.


2016 Trek Fuel EX review
A right hand Reverb remote mounted on the underside of the bar would be nice to see.
2016 Trek Fuel EX review
Comfy and light, the Evoke RXL was an appreciated perch.

Component Check

• FOX Float 34 Factory fork: On my first couple of rides aboard the Fuel EX I wasn't able to get full travel out of the Float 34 no matter how hard I tried, so I removed two of the yellow volume spacers from the air spring side of the fork, a quick adjustment that made all the difference. Smooth, supportive and precise, the Float 34 is an ideal match for the Fuel EX, and the ability to adjust the low speed compression in the fork's full open mode mode is a welcome improvement.

• XTR Brakes: For the most part, the Fuel 9.9's build kit was flawless, but the XTR brakes gave me trouble. I ended up bleeding both the front and rear brake to try and achieve a more consistent lever feel, but still couldn't get them to pull to the exact same spot each time. One pull would have the lever going through ¾ of its stoke, and the next would have it moving halfway before the pads contacted the rotor.

• Bontrager Evoke RXL seat: Seats are always going to be a matter of personal preference, but I found the Evoke RXL to be extremely comfortable, with a supportive shape and just enough cushioning in all the right places.

• DT Swiss XMC 1200 wheels: The XMC 1200s held up well to everything I tossed at them, and despite the hard use they saw there was never a need to put them on the truing stand. Even if they had needed an adjustment, the nipples easily accessible on the outside of the rim, which isn't always the case with high end carbon wheels. The 24mm internal rim dimension isn't pushing the boundaries as far as width goes, but there was still plenty of support for 2.3” tires without any burping or rolling the bead off the rim.


Trek Fuel EX 9.9 29 review


Pinkbike's Take:

bigquotesIt's hard to think of a rider who wouldn't have fun on the Fuel EX. This is a bike that could easily toe the line at a local XC race one day and take on a rugged backcountry loop the next without missing a beat. Its trail manners are impeccable, a shining example of how a modern trail bike should behave. - Mike Kazimer




Visit the high-res gallery for more images from this review




About the Reviewer
Stats: Age: 33 • Height: 5'11” • Inseam: 33" • Weight: 155lb • Industry affiliations / sponsors: None
Twenty years deep into a mountain biking addiction that began as a way to escape the suburban sprawl of Connecticut, Mike Kazimer is most at home deep the woods, carving his way down steep, technical trails. The decade he spent as a bike mechanic helped create a solid technical background to draw from when reviewing products, and his current location in the Pacific Northwest allows for easy access to the wettest, muddiest conditions imaginable.



210 Comments

  • 102 3
 I put a couple thousand miles on a 2014 Fuel EX 9.9 and then bought this one, and the difference in stiffness is astonishing. Some of this is likely due to the significantly shorter chainstays... but they've also beefed up the shock linkage significantly, the tube profiles are much wider, and the 12x148 spacing and carbon wheels surely help. It holds lines through rock gardens and ugly berms it shouldn't be able to hold. It feels like it will change direction in mid-air. It's likely the sum of a half-dozen incremental changes, but I don't really care when it adds up to a bike that rides this much better. Oh, and be careful with these short-chainstay 29ers. That rear wheel is a lot closer to the seatpost, which means it's a whole lot easier to accidentally wipe your ass with a spinning DHR 2.3 when things get steep.
  • 47 4
 Good comment is good.
  • 7 37
flag rexluthor (Oct 26, 2015 at 8:51) (Below Threshold)
 child please
  • 27 81
flag cerealkilla (Oct 26, 2015 at 9:44) (Below Threshold)
 Spoken like a Trek dealer (or employee) who really wanted certain product-angles included in the review, and is now chiming in like some "man on the street".
  • 73 5
 @cerealkilla neither. And I replaced the old bike because I broke the frame -- twice -- so you won't see me claiming that Trek always gets it right, either. But I guess it's not possible to have a favorable opinion without being labeled a shill?
  • 97 2
 Plot twist, cerealkilla is a Specialized employee.
  • 7 36
flag mountguitars (Oct 26, 2015 at 11:57) (Below Threshold)
 And I work for YT to get info on what a trail bike should be like since 'we' (YT) doesn't have one yet but will soon come out with one that's half the price of this trek.
  • 2 0
 Some of that is probably attributable to the fork
  • 2 1
 More than some of it, likely. The old bikes came with a Fox 32 (or equivalent Rockshox 32mm stanchion fork), and at 120mm it was really flex-prone. I basically managed to destroy mine, as all that noodling about left bushing scoring on the front of the stanchions, and it never performed well anyway. The new Fox 34 is a night-and-day improvement, and so far compares favorably to the 120mm Pike on my hardtail. It's also worth noting that I am running Bontrager's Rhythm Pro stem instead of that flimsy little carbon XXX thing, as I fail to see the value in saving 17g of stem weight by spending an extra $175 and perhaps losing some front-end stiffness in the process.
  • 3 0
 I picked up a Fuel 29 a season ago. First swap was replacing the 32 with a lowered 34 Float. Glad to see Trek is finally on board. Even after they told me not to do it....
  • 2 2
 160mm for the front. 27.5" for the rear.
  • 112 45
 Let me just pull a one of the many ten thousand dollar bills in my wallet to pay for this...
  • 268 10
 That's crazy, who would've expected a comment about this top-of-the-line bike being expensive.
  • 19 62
flag bikecustomizer (Oct 26, 2015 at 4:47) (Below Threshold)
 Crazy expensive NO MATTER WHAT.
  • 12 47
flag k-too (Oct 26, 2015 at 5:40) (Below Threshold)
 My thoughts exactly....!
  • 69 6
 ...or you could get one of the 5 cheaper models of the Fuel EX 29, the cheapest one being $2K
  • 10 76
flag bikecustomizer (Oct 26, 2015 at 6:14) (Below Threshold)
 Of course, minuses are here as usual!
I always wonder: who are that gu(a)ys with minuses in mind...
  • 13 39
flag Satn69 (Oct 26, 2015 at 6:44) (Below Threshold)
 OH but you get boost with that! Lol!
  • 9 60
flag bikecustomizer (Oct 26, 2015 at 6:56) (Below Threshold)
 @Satn69 Ahahaha! Yep, and a drasticaly huge 120 mm of travel!
  • 71 22
 this is the most below threshhold comments I've ever seen in a single thread
  • 14 65
flag iqbal-achieve (Oct 26, 2015 at 9:45) (Below Threshold)
 @bikecustomizer anyone who uses the neg prop for anything but abuse or spam needs to rethink their lives on the Internet and probably take a look at their life in general. If you've got nothing to contribute, do nothing at all otherwise let's have some debate...if you're not willing to come out of the shadows by all means carry on but I'd like you to know you are vile.
While in here, @hllclmbr those cheaper bikes aren't as good as this one. What's wrong with wanting performance and price? If we just roll over and take it won't the prices keep going up? :-P
  • 9 44
flag bikecustomizer (Oct 26, 2015 at 9:53) (Below Threshold)
 @ThomDawson
What are you talking about ? What are you know about my life ? Who are you to tell me what to do at all ?
Don't create useless fiction, please: I just said what I think. Period!
  • 6 52
flag iqbal-achieve (Oct 26, 2015 at 9:56) (Below Threshold)
 Of course, you could just be 12. In that case don't worry about it, you might develop a conscience one day. P.S not sure why I'm bothering but hey! P.P.S neg props aren't as funny as bad puns. Even the worst take some thought!
  • 5 46
flag iqbal-achieve (Oct 26, 2015 at 9:57) (Below Threshold)
 Dude I was agreeing with you!!
  • 6 38
flag makripper (Oct 26, 2015 at 9:57) (Below Threshold)
 @thomdawson don't tell me how to live my life.
  • 5 44
flag rockin-itis (Oct 26, 2015 at 10:01) (Below Threshold)
 Over 10K CAD and the brakes are junk?
  • 5 46
flag iqbal-achieve (Oct 26, 2015 at 10:05) (Below Threshold)
 My comment was directed at the neg proposers, not bikecustomizer.
@makripper, sorry. Not telling you how to live your life dude, just saying if you live it like a dick then I won't be inclined to show you any respect. They are only little plus see and minuses but I'd just prefer less negativity, we're all mountain bikers after all. People get down voted just for challenging the norm and voicing opinions that aren't popular. And they are silenced. It's rubbish.
  • 10 38
flag rickaybobbay (Oct 26, 2015 at 10:08) (Below Threshold)
 this is the highest "below threshold" percentage of comments i've ever seen in one comment thread.
  • 2 44
flag bikecustomizer (Oct 26, 2015 at 10:09) (Below Threshold)
 @ThomDawson
Allright. Got it.
  • 4 42
flag iqbal-achieve (Oct 26, 2015 at 10:13) (Below Threshold)
 @bikecustomizer sorry about that man. I need to start proof reading my posts.
  • 4 40
flag dropoffsticks (Oct 26, 2015 at 10:14) (Below Threshold)
 obviously people feel very passionately about this topic. But who can blame them, for 10k you better be getting the best bike in the world
  • 2 47
flag makripper (Oct 26, 2015 at 10:17) (Below Threshold)
 @thomdawson #dicklife
  • 6 38
flag iqbal-achieve (Oct 26, 2015 at 10:20) (Below Threshold)
 Oh dear. This seems to have gotten out of hand.
  • 5 35
flag DARKSTAR63 (Oct 26, 2015 at 10:20) (Below Threshold)
 This bike looks good man. I don't have 10k to spend on a bike but I can tell you right now I'd own a carbon Session if I did so imo people ought to just do the best they can and not worry about bikes they can't afford haha
  • 5 39
flag bikecustomizer (Oct 26, 2015 at 10:20) (Below Threshold)
 ...kinda CIA put everyone here below the threshold to keep the sales up. Smile ))
  • 7 31
flag iqbal-achieve (Oct 26, 2015 at 10:23) (Below Threshold)
 I can't afford anything so the bikes at the top are in the same league as those lower down the price ladder as far as my wallet is concerned! It's like the new Audi, incredible...and I might even own it in 15 years and 4 or 5 owners later ;-)
  • 13 35
flag grahammcdougall (Oct 26, 2015 at 10:26) (Below Threshold)
 Trek making a sexy ass bike once again... Thumbs up Trek.
  • 6 33
flag bikecustomizer (Oct 26, 2015 at 10:28) (Below Threshold)
 @DARKSTAR63
Nothing personal, but even if i got $9000, even if I EVER WILL, I NEVER spend it on a bike at all.
But if I'd ever gone totally crazy to spend that amount of money on the bike there are more than enough A LOT BETTER alternatives.
  • 5 30
flag DARKSTAR63 (Oct 26, 2015 at 10:36) (Below Threshold)
 I don't take offense at all. I've got a really nice DH sled. I spent about half of what my dream bike would cost and I'd say it's about 90% as good. I'm talking if I had it to spend, meaning real disposable income. I picked the Trek because it's a Fuel we are talking about here and the Session just makes me drool. What's your dream bike out of curiosity? @bikecustomizer
  • 10 34
flag rockin-itis (Oct 26, 2015 at 10:42) (Below Threshold)
 boy oh boy, pinkbike will have more than a few accounts to delete after all the neg-prop spamming thats going on here.......

More importantly though is, if you read the review, Mike does note how poor the brakes are. I don't know when the last time is that you rode your bike, but the last time I rode mine and the brakes weren't working at 100% it was downright dangerous and I could not get my shred together. At that price tag, the bike had better be tight and flawless, not being found lacking in possibly the most important department there is.
  • 5 31
flag DARKSTAR63 (Oct 26, 2015 at 10:46) (Below Threshold)
 Well the XTR is a high end brake. Not the first time I've heard of this issue with it though. I wonder if a bleed would help, or if they could be warrantied. It's not like Trek failed to put a top shelf brake on this thing though.
  • 6 30
flag rockin-itis (Oct 26, 2015 at 10:58) (Below Threshold)
 Good point @DARKSTAR63 . I'm just surprised to see anything performing at less than 100% on a bicycle in this price range, especially brakes.
  • 5 31
flag DARKSTAR63 (Oct 26, 2015 at 11:08) (Below Threshold)
 Agreed, you definitely don't want that when you are spending this kind of coin.
  • 5 33
flag iqbal-achieve (Oct 26, 2015 at 11:09) (Below Threshold)
 These latest XTR brakes do seem troublesome. Hoping it won't trickle down!
  • 5 34
flag makripper (Oct 26, 2015 at 11:33) (Below Threshold)
 maybe trek skimped out on the hoses.

SM-BH90 is the newer narrow bore hose for use with the new style brakes. This comes in 4 different versions -
straight to straight for Deore M596
straight to banjo for SLX / XT / XTR
straight to longer banjo for Zee
straight to longer gold colour banjo for Saint

You can use the new SM-BH90 hoses on older brakes but using the old wide bore hoses on new brake models in not advised.
  • 88 8
 Tough crowd today.
  • 2 30
flag bikecustomizer (Oct 26, 2015 at 12:46) (Below Threshold)
 @DARKSTAR63
> What's your dream bike out of curiosity? @bikecustomizer

I now really thinking out about the several alternatives: Zerode, Canfield Jedi, Banshee, Devicnci. (I mean frame only)
There are really very close to acceptable propositions in buy/sell.
They also expensive for me, but way far from $9k while much better.
  • 9 31
flag fpmd (Oct 26, 2015 at 13:01) (Below Threshold)
 Good thing they priced it at $8399.99. That extra penny would've put it out of reach for me.
  • 4 30
flag DARKSTAR63 (Oct 26, 2015 at 13:08) (Below Threshold)
 Those are all excellent choices @bikecustomizer. On that we certainly agree, you don't need to spend 9k to have a good time.
  • 50 9
 Holy below-threshold, Batman!
  • 6 25
flag rickaybobbay (Oct 26, 2015 at 17:51) (Below Threshold)
 the entire comment thread is below threshold... people angry.
  • 4 25
flag iqbal-achieve (Oct 26, 2015 at 23:52) (Below Threshold)
 People hilarious. It's a campaign plot, never underestimate the power of the neg proppers. I think they need an acronym, or rather we need one for them. Idiotic Shadow Internet Lurkers. Think that ones already taken though.
  • 4 25
flag dropoffsticks (Oct 26, 2015 at 23:56) (Below Threshold)
 Somewhere the person who made the first comment is thinking "shit what did I start" Razz
  • 5 26
flag JoseBravo (Oct 27, 2015 at 8:39) (Below Threshold)
 29ers are gay lol
  • 5 20
flag makripper (Oct 27, 2015 at 8:51) (Below Threshold)
 i love 29rs especially fatbike 29ers. gary fischer had it write!
  • 10 18
flag keystonebikes (Oct 27, 2015 at 13:44) (Below Threshold)
 looks like a neg prop session
  • 7 14
flag johnnyo5 (Oct 27, 2015 at 20:26) (Below Threshold)
 Wow, I had to log in just to read these!
  • 1 13
flag makripper (Oct 27, 2015 at 20:44) (Below Threshold)
 @johnnyo5 no
  • 5 11
flag pigit77 (Oct 27, 2015 at 21:33) (Below Threshold)
 Seems like everyone created 50 accounts and disliked each persons comment in this thread.
  • 1 8
flag zephxiii (Oct 30, 2015 at 10:47) (Below Threshold)
 lol well I just had a blast down ranking the down ranked!
  • 5 12
flag fpmd (Oct 30, 2015 at 12:59) (Below Threshold)
 I tried to neg prop myself so I could join in the fun, but it won't let me.
  • 2 10
flag DARKSTAR63 (Oct 30, 2015 at 13:28) (Below Threshold)
 don't worry I got ya bud
  • 1 9
flag bikecustomizer (Oct 30, 2015 at 15:02) (Below Threshold)
 @DARKSTAR63 & @ fpmd
Guys I help you get on a board both now! Smile ))))))
  • 1 9
flag fpmd (Oct 30, 2015 at 15:21) (Below Threshold)
 thanks dudes! a friend in need...
  • 1 10
flag bikecustomizer (Oct 30, 2015 at 15:49) (Below Threshold)
 LOL
  • 48 5
 Looks like a... pretty nice bike that probably rips. That and a session.
  • 12 1
 Yeah, I completely agree, and the write up was good. On another note: I think we have all heard "shorter stem & wider bars" now far to much. I work at a Trek dealer and when it comes to bike fitting the Fuels 80mm & 70mm stem options along with 720mm RXL Carbon or 750mm Rhythm Pro Carbon bars are perfectly suited combinations for this bike. Love PinkBike but why do "we" always have to convert every bike to DH like specs? Regardless, ride what works for you, fit is everything so if "Mr. Kazimer" prefers all his bikes with 30mm stems and 800mm bars more power to him.
  • 3 0
 Made me LOL
  • 40 3
 I keep on looking at short travel 29ers (Kona process 111, banshee phantom, transition) and liking what I see. Covers ground well but rips the downs. 6" enduro bikes can be too much for the local stuff to me (horse for course)
  • 8 1
 Very nice bikes. Love my 120mm 29er transition for exactly this.
  • 9 2
 Yeah I'm looking at buying a fuel or stumpy 29er. I assume the fuel climbs a bit better, while the stumpy feels better on descents. Tough choice.
  • 6 1
 Ride one, you will probably buy one.
  • 3 1
 Yep, looked like pretty sorted all rounders to me too....hmmm... now I wonder how much I have down the back of the sofa
  • 7 1
 Love my Evil Following!
  • 5 1
 This is pinkbike, should have had a 130 fork then compared to evil, tranny, riot, 111.
  • 3 0
 i have a camber comp carbon 650b if the 29er is anything like it it will rip single track
  • 4 5
 Travel amount is never enough.
  • 2 0
 I'd like a slacker HTA. But there are other options out there if I need. Could look at Works Components as well. Unsure if I want another 29er though :/
  • 34 1
 The part about a deep sea diver shedding his weight belt and rocketing to the surface... You realize that would kill you right?
  • 11 0
 Bends, anyone?
  • 28 0
 No bends here, it's too stiff because of the boost tech.
  • 38 3
 Ok, so maybe a shallow sea diver.
  • 6 0
 I assumed i meant free diver
  • 9 0
 assumed HE meant free diver
  • 13 0
 freedrive's not dead
  • 26 1
 Well seeing as some dude was riding whistler on a CCM Nitro on thanksgiving, the fuel ex seems like a glory
  • 38 17
 Boost allows the chain stays to be shorter... Boost allows 2.5" tyres to fit the forks... boost increases wheel performance by 17.26%... Boost makes magic rainbows come out of your carbon.... .... I wish I was on boost's payroll!!!

Testing a 120mm travel 29r on overly manicured bike park trails just about says it all, man that grass looks like you'd need boost to get over it!
  • 7 3
 That thing has long chainstays by 2015 standards and a pretty steep head angle. It's beautiful to look at, but the geo seems less than ideal, but maybe a test ride would prove otherwise. They should just slap some plus size wheels in there and call it a day.
  • 5 17
flag Alasdair-S (Oct 26, 2015 at 6:30) (Below Threshold)
 one thing I will never understand about boost is why they use a 148mm hub on the rear..... there have been numerous manufactures making frames and hubs that are 150mm spacing so why the f$@k make it 2mm shorter and call it boost.......
  • 41 5
 @ctd07 - I can assure you that this bike was tested on plenty of rough trails over the course of three months, ones that are the opposite of 'overly manicured.' And there were no magic rainbows - sorry to disappoint you.
  • 9 4
 Big S's enduro 29er has had 430mm chainstays and a front derailleur with the superior 142mm rear hub for years now
  • 1 2
 Trek makes great bikes but being a Midwest co. Not a lot of dealers or support in the PNW.
  • 14 4
 But Big S has never advertised the other compromises they had to do to achieve that: 32t is the biggest ring you can fit, no tire clearance, paper thin chain stays, weak pivots. Plus, have you actually measured their stays? 430mm isn't exactly accurate.
  • 12 4
 @Saving-Jones1013 well-put. I was a Boost hater too -- until I tried to put a larger 1x ring on another 29er and couldn't (no clearance), couldn't even fit a 2.3" tire (no clearance), etc. It's all competing for the same space in the frame. This new Fuel has the same chainstay length as my full-weenie XC hardtail, but can clear a 36t instead of 32t and a 2.4 instead of a 2.2 ...oh and it has almost 5 inches of travel.
  • 24 3
 @JesseE keep in mind that these Treks use a 51mm (G2) offset fork, so the trail is different than another bike with the same HA on a standard-rake fork. Plenty of people love how the original version of the Ibis Ripley handles with the same fork offset at a 69.2 HA. It's all personal preference, though, and the real story here is this: Trek has taken a very well-received, very popular bike and lengthened the front center by 10mm or so, shortened the provided stem by10-20mm depending on size, shortened the chainstays by 15mm, made it a whole lot stiffer, switched from a 32mm fork to a 34mm fork and added a flip chip so you can slack it out a half-degree if it suits you better. I think nearly everyone would agree these are positive changes, but we're all complaining about it anyway for some reason.
  • 5 0
 I better go take my 34t off then. I didn't realize it isn't allowed! And source on that inaccurate measurement?
  • 6 0
 @Saving-Jones1013 - No tire clearance on a S Enduro 29? You can even fit a 27.5x3.0 tire.
fotos.mtb-news.de/p/1819141

32t max? No. 36t is possible. Google it.
cdn.velonews.competitor.com/files/2013/04/DSCN1677.jpg

Paper thin chain stays? My Enduro 29 rear end is pretty flex free. Never heard of any stiffness related problems.

Changed my bearings after 2 years (i do that on every bike). The guy form the Bike shop told me after the change, that it wasn't necessary. Pivot problems? No.

Boost? gtfoh...
  • 12 3
 All this comparing to a enduro 29 is silly.... They are made for different purposes. On another note, people can hate boost all they like but this trek highlights the benefits that boost is able to provide bike designers, ultimately providing a superior bike to the end rider compared to the older version
  • 16 1
 it would be good to see a back to back review next week of Evil's approach to a 120mm 29er with the Following Smile
  • 14 0
 Smuggler, Following, Process, Fuel Shootout. I need this.
  • 7 5
 + Salsa Horsethief...
  • 4 0
 + Yeti SB 4.5c
  • 5 0
 Curious that the Horsethief comment got down voted and the Yeti comment upvoted. Exact same geometry, bit more travel on the Salsa. Very, very similar bikes. Brand snobs, anyone? I've ridden the Process, Following, Yeti 4.5, and the Horsethief, all are great bikes and fit the long low slack 29er category well. I haven't ridden the new Fuel EX, but l would expect it to be the most XC of the bunch and the Following or the Smuggler the most Trail/AM/Enduro.
  • 11 0
 @mikekazimer Great review. I bought this bike and love it, mostly because its fun to ride with my fast friends, but punches above its weight for the riding I enjoy the most. You can change the travel on the Fox 34 to 130mm with $48 dollars worth of internals that my LBS swapped out gratis. The Re:Active shock is for real. Bring on the neg props for tacking another $48 bucks on to an already expensive bike!
  • 10 1
 Thank you for taking it down ALine. -Science
  • 21 10
 I liked Mike's joke but the sad part is that this more or less how "Science" works in bicycle industry. Bigger wheels roll faster wider hub flange increases stiffness by X% (read: it is better than your current setup). Put a racer on it and make him ride to nice scenery and music. No empirical data to back it up but then a dude of likes of Deeeight jumps in and backs it up with sales numbers. Because for some people, reality is not about actual mechanical property of something, but about sales, about what others ride. If you say that this and that is an obvious BS, but then it sells, then you are obviously wrong. Sales bend both laws of physics and the common sense. Especially if you say that it sells but in reality it doesn't, then it surely will.
  • 2 0
 Spot on, @WAKIdesigns that has always bothered me as well.
  • 2 1
 Just for the sake of conversation, I wonder what empirical data would be most relevant? I feel that empirical data can be misleading, telling you what should work best instead of what does work best for you. Perhaps the very reason for reviews is so someone can share their experience of the intangible qualities of a bike: how does it work as a whole? How does it compare? My perception that big wheels roll faster and have more traction is based entirely on my own anecdotal evidence from riding an mentally comparing a lot of different bikes. I chose my main squeeze (2015 Transition Suppressor/Patrol 1 650B Build) based on the way it rides and the company it came from. I had established which bolt-on parts I like to have on a bike, I picked their frame because it was the most fun to ride. Especially on ALine. What's more important than that?
  • 5 3
 No one said that we need empirical data. Data must be managed and interpreted, which requires ability to do it - that has always been and will be the case. But when you make marketing claim that "Big wheels are faster, clipless pedals are more effective - it's science", then you either provide data, at least a research paper with clearly stated conclusions, or you do not speak science' name in vain. And that NEVER happens.
  • 8 3
 It's funny that 15mm x110 is a "new thing" now...

20 mm thru axles have always been 110. 15mm axles moving closer to being 20 mm axles. Maybe we could have just not bothered with yet another "standard" in the process with 15 from the beginning, instead working to refine an existing, and entirely functional set up?

Nah. Then it's way harder to be the latest and greatest at something.
  • 7 11
flag WAKIdesigns (Oct 26, 2015 at 5:54) (Below Threshold)
 15x110 had wider flange spacing which is beneficial ONLY for extra wide rims for +sized tyres. For regular rims with minimal spoke/nipple hole offset it does virtually nothing
  • 7 1
 Planned obsolescence. It's been a favorite in the automotive industry for a while.
  • 14 1
 Its new because the hub SHELL standards are different. 110x20 is a regular 100mm hub with longer end caps. 110x15 is an entirely new hub with the same end caps as a 100x15 hub. What the industry should have done twenty years ago when they were developing 110x20 is actually changed the hub shell dimensions instead of increasing the end cap spacing. But it didn't. Now we need something else as a result.
  • 5 3
 If you look at that picture you will understand why has flange spacing been increased. brimages.bikeboardmedia.netdna-cdn.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/02/Kuroshiro-747-275-plus-650b-rim-carbon-wide-2.jpg. There is no other reason what so ever, and when I hear some spokesman talking bullcrap about possibility of decreasing chainstay length (as if it was needed) thanks to Boost, then I am getting my rage on. They should have gone even wider in the rear, make it 152 - when you want to recalibrate several product categories, do it well - by a margin. 142>148 is what we call a "Swedish compromise" - a situation after countless meetings and presenting tons of pros and cons, when you chose a solution that no one is happy with. In this way everyone leaves satisfied because there are no winners, so there can be no losers.
  • 2 0
 That's what I'm saying- they should have simply improved the 20mm thru application, rather than coming up with a new standard, only to move the new standard closer to the old standard, while improving the design of other components made to work in conjunction with the original standard- and now we've got another "new standard".

I did get a chuckle out the last sentence... we "need" something else. Do we? Do we need 15mm thru to be 110 with a bigger hub interface? Maybe, i guess... I understand why this happens, in the end, it's fine. On and on it'll go. I just think the route to get to this point in this specific case has been a bit asinine.
  • 5 0
 Except once you've "improved" the 20mm application you've also come up with a new standard, because the new hubs wouldn't be backwards compatible to old forks built around the old 20mm standard. Its not just the flanges growing apart for the spokes, but the disc flanges are moving outboards as well. If you tried to put a new hub into an older fork then there'd be no place to put the disc rotor, it would be 5mm too close to the caliper.
  • 5 4
 15mm got in instead of 20 because A- it looks lighter and is microscopically lighter (and that's enough to make business case) but more importantly B-it slides in/out easier than 20mm, slightly easing up wheel installation/removal. With average stanchion diameters increasing (34/Pike) stiffness becomes a non-issue. These are all slight props for the buying force. In fully rational terms, PLUS size is a dumbing down of mountain bike as a machine, but most people need bikes that are easier to manage within their riding ability, to make them ride this bit gnarlier terrain with a bit more confidence. Nobody cares for people riding fast, once you ride fast, you can ride on anything.
  • 1 0
 Yes, technically a "boost" 20 mm set up would be different than an old 20mm set up, but that's not really my point. The point is we added 2 iterations of standards that didn't have to happen, in reality. Certainly Shimano and Fox decided to create a new standard predominantly for sales purposes. The physical difference between the two, if we were to base it on real empirical data (speaking to what Waki commented on earlier), there's likely a very minimal difference.

20x110 old hub flanges
15 x 100 old hub flanges
15x110 new hub flanges
20x110 new hub flanges

I'd also be willing to bet that if the industry had been developing this tech earlier, they could have moved the disc mounts in 5mm to make them compatible (although that works against the idea of selling more new things, so naturally it's unlikely it'd happen anyway).
  • 1 0
 As to "easier installation" of 15mm vs. 20mm... my 20mm SR Suntour Quickloc is FAR easier than both 20mm/15mm Maxles and Foxs' 15mm QR axles.
  • 1 0
 But that's related to Suntour's quickloc axle design, not the diameter involved. They offer a 15mm version also for their 15mm lowers forks.
  • 1 0
 Right, I'm saying that the QR design itself is more important than the diameter, in response to Waki listing "ease of removal" as a reason for 15 gaining traction.
  • 1 0
 Well Suntour would not have developed that axle design at all had it not been for the arrival of 15mm.
  • 2 0
 There is no basis for that statement, whatsoever. Now we're just being silly. I think 15mm was a needless iteration of something that didn't need to be fixed. It hasn't really led to any tech that 20mm alone would not have developed, given the same amount of R&D investment.

Apparently, you think otherwise, and that's ok. I own both, so I'm "part of the problem" (in a manner of speaking) myself. Such is life.
  • 1 3
 I personally find installation/removal of a 15mm RS Maxle a tad smoother than with 20mm Maxle - same with Fox. Hence such statement of mine. 15mm was introduced to simplify wheel removal on XC forks, it never really increased stiffness in relation to 9mm axle since there has never been any significant clamping force on 15mm axle equipped Fox or RS forks. It was also introduced so that XC crowd doesn't feel that they are getting DH-related "technology" that 20mm used to be. If they were to get thru axle it had to be "theirs" - the better, light weight stuff.
  • 2 2
 Talking out yer arse again Waki? 15mm was not introduced to simplify wheel removal on XC forks. It was to stiffen the fork/wheel interface and more securely hold wheels in place with the trends to longer travel, larger disc brake rotors, and dumber bike buyers who couldn't properly tighten a skewer.
  • 3 3
 Give me data on stiffness of 15mm Fox and 9mm and we can have a chat about talking out of our arses. As to your second sentence, I agree. Larger rotors? For target group being people running semi-slicks on front wheel, greatly decreasing max braking force? Ever rode bike park on 32mm fork like 32 series or Revelation? Axle stiffness is not an issue, whole fork is under-dimensioned for the purpose. Then in STD design, sht starts twisting not allowing stanchions to slide in. 15mm axle solved virtually nothing in structure in relation to 9mm, it improved functionality.
  • 1 0
 Waki I agree with most of your statements. But 15/9mm axle isn't only about ease to remove the wheel.
This is actual data based information Smile Source : me, bending 9mm axles, but never happened with 15mm.
  • 1 1
 I have never broke/bent a 9mm QR. Maybe because I used Shimanos - them "OMG-heaaaavy" ones. I know 2 people who broke 15mm drop out on rockshox. Not because of 15mm axle itself but because of flimsy 32 Series structure used for longer travel application (weak crown, 32 stanchions, no torsional clamping on axle). Yes I have seen people like Kirt Voreis destroying the trail on such fork but still, saying that 15mm axle improved forks structure over 9mmQR is a far fetched statement. You have to take my word for it as a source of information.
  • 7 3
 It amazes me that the one consistant comment on every bike review on any site is about stem length. So why is it that manufacturers still make basic errors like putting massive stems on and putting rings on for a 26/650 bike?
Its a lot of money for some daft specing.
  • 3 2
 a lot of shop will swap your stem out for free when you buy a bike, i know if you buy a spesh bike and want a bar wider than 760(?) they will give you the spesh DH bar (which is nicer)
  • 54 19
 It amazes me how people think that shorter stem will fill them up... look! 80mm and I am fireroad racer, 40mm - Utah Rampage site - here I come! There are people of different sizes on all sorts of different bikes on different terrain, all over the world. Thank God, Stalin is not around anymore and he doesn't follow MTB trends as we would all ride 6" bikes with 35 stems, 760 bars, 550 reach, 61 head angles and 1500 wheelbases.
  • 36 2
 Damn @WAKIdesigns, youre bitter as f*ck.
  • 7 4
 Haha I have to agree with Waki on this one. They took the bike down a downhill trail and bitched about stem length. This is what happens when Pinkbike get their hands on a xc/trail bike. I personally run a 55mm on my XC bike but that's admittedly pretty short for the application. It just makes it easier for me to switch between bikes.
  • 25 3
 Since when is a 70mm stem "massive"? I get that 35mm stems are hip with the kids these days, but it's not like 70 is outrageous for a trail bike.

32 tooth is too tall with a freakin' 40 ring in the back? The thing weights 24 lbs... if you can't push that uphill with a 32-40, you might need to hit the gym.
  • 4 3
 I think the front chain ring is fine too, I'd prob run a 34t. @phobospwns
  • 5 4
 I think it had to do with that specific bike, I personally find 29ers in general to be too stable at lower speeds so 35-50mm does make it more lively and easier to manouver on twisty bits. Mike has also ridden tons of bikes so he has an idea what he likes and how to adjust a bike so it rides that way, there may be something in his choice that many could agree with, but demn, let's not put everyone into the same bag, just because. I tried several stems on different bikes for longer time and found what works for me. Settled for 60mm on 26 FS and 40mm on my 26 HT. 15 minutes ago I was in Trek Factory store and they had plenty of stems in all lengths, so...
  • 3 0
 Well that's sort of my point @WAKIdesigns It's such a personal preference item it's not worth mentioning really in a review like this. If it was an "enduro" bike and had a 70mm, then yeah I'd think the same thing, why fit this? But 70mm seems on the money for this bike as a starting point. At this price I believe you would be leaving the shop with the length of your choice so it's a non-issue.
  • 2 0
 Stem length is partly offset by the spacers above the headset. With around 60 deg. of HTA, a flat bar (looks like), 65mm stem and 30mm of spacers should put your hands in the same position as a 50mm stem, bar with 30mm of rise, and no spacers. That is if both stems have 0 deg. rise.
  • 2 0
 @dave-f good point. To make things interesting, the photo next to the specs shows the bike fitted with a Bontrager RXL 720mm handlebar, which is flat... but the specs themselves show the bike coming with a Bontrager Rhythm Pro 750mm handlebar (which has a 15mm rise), and the on-trail photos from the ride portion of the review show a different riser bar which I cannot identify but looks to be even wider.
  • 16 1
 Could use the boost 48mm stem. Has the stability of a 80mm stem with the liveliness of a 35mm
  • 5 8
 Trek is firmly onboard with the XC crowd, and not too concerned with anything else. Even their Remedy's and Slash's come with long stems and narrow bars.
  • 5 0
 As long as you have a option to put on a shorter stem, you can really have your soul feel whole. Glad there is none of that Giant OD2 garbage anymore.
  • 4 0
 spot on review. I just built up a fuel ex 27.5 frame, and put a 130 fork on it, and it is great. Tires obviously vary by where you're riding, but I agree with this one. I'm running a nobby nic in the front and an xr3 on the rear, and it's a great combo.

Review hit right on all the points I would have made (and addressed in my own bike) - and it's a killer trail setup.
  • 1 0
 Not to butt in or anything, but offset is 44mm, at least for the 2016 spec, and I don't think they've changed the 27.5 much. I'm putting a 140mm Fox 34 on my build, which has the proper offset. Might switch to 130, not sure yet.
  • 1 0
 130 pike is amazing. had a revelation rct3 on there in 130 for a while, and the pike is a whole lot stiffer. definitely pike or new fox 34 would be sweet
  • 9 1
 Looks like a nice bike
  • 6 1
 Agree, for a 29-er it does. Must be a comfy ride.
  • 5 2
 Funny enough, I demo'd this bike yesterday.. pretty awesome, only issue I had was I kept rolling the tire off the rim around hard cornering(rear only, not the front), so it took alittle bit of an adjustment to get that under control. I was suprised at how un-29er it felt, changed direction fast, was fun and easy to lean into turns. Very nice bike, I don't think it will be replacing any of the bikes in quiver anytime soon, but for the dentist looking for the perfect do-all bike, this is great.
  • 3 0
 I think every 8000 plus bike is probably awesome. I'd think 98% of 8000 plus 29ers are awesome. But then when you can only afford the 3000 dollar 29er it's just not awesome anymore...
  • 1 0
 I'm curious what they use for a bottom bracket on this. I have a 9.8 carbon frame and to the best of my knowledge there are no press fit bearings available to allow you to run a 30mm spindle crankset on Trek's BB95 shell. And email to Trek resulted in a "best to stick with a 24mm spindle crank for now".
  • 1 0
 It's a PF92, meaning (I assume) that Trek has finally abandoned the proprietary BB95. For example, there was no way to run a Next SL crankset on my 2014 Fuel EX 9.9 with the BB95, per Race Face, but this new version ships with one. Odd that Trek wouldn't give you a straight answer on that question, as it specifies PF92 on their website in the details for this bike.
  • 1 1
 Yeah mine is last years model. Maybe they changed the bb shell this year. I guess what I don't understand is that the 95 and 92 numbers only refer to the width of the shell. The circumference of the shell isn't any larger or smaller. If I had plain old aluminum frame with a thread in bb shell, I could run a crankset with a 30mm spindle. Those shells aren't any larger than the BB95. Maybe the bearings would be too thin in these carbon shells, who knows. But you're its interesting that they wouldn't give me a straight answer especially considering they spec bikes with 30mm crank spindles.
  • 1 0
 Seems to be a bit of blurring the lines between remedy and fuel models. Really only 20mm travel separates them when you get down to it, with each geo pretty close when you set via the chips into their low and high settings. Even though I mostly trail ride, I ended up with the Remedy, erring on the side of more travel available for times when I hit terrain with more vertical and drops ...... and with how well it pedals, unless I was a Strava turd, I don't think there's much to miss with not getting the Fuel.
  • 1 0
 I'd have one of these in a heartbeat!
I don't generally like buying complete bikes, but now that "everything" on my Santa Cruz is obsolete I may make the jump.
I demoed a Top Fuel a few years ago and was amazed how much of a beating it could take, but I think this is more my speed Smile
  • 8 8
 They make an issue that its cos of 148 boost that they were able to shorten the chain stays but there was nothing stopping them doing that with 142.

Does an extra 3mm of width either side really make that much difference?

Probably not.
  • 5 5
 The bike's weight has zero to do with gearing, I'm not sure why this always get mentioned, it cracks me up. Unless it's going to pedal itself up a hill without you on it that is. What matters is the combined weght of the bike, you, and all your gear, and whether or not the gearing gives you enough mechanical advantage to hustle all of that up a mountain or not.
  • 3 0
 Anyone else find the spacing between the shock and the seat tube awfully tight? Just asking...
  • 4 0
 On paper, looks like the most dialed trail biking going right now.
  • 3 0
 That's a really light bike for its capability.
  • 3 0
 Love the idea of these new slack geo 120mm 29er's. Fun and efficient.
  • 3 0
 this makes me wanna go 29er !!
  • 1 1
 I have a Trek Fuel EX7 from 2013 and I can do almost anything on it from the bike park to my local trails in Santa Cruz. Sure it does not have the nicest components or travel, but it still works.
  • 2 0
 20mm more and you are in Remedy territory. Tough call but the Remedy is by far the better all rounder.
  • 6 3
 looks like a ticket Razz
  • 3 1
 One of the best looking bikes around !
  • 1 0
 Am I the only one who worries about possible heel rub with the new boost rear standard?
  • 1 0
 I was worried about it but haven't experienced it in the couple of weeks I've owned this bike.
  • 2 2
 Please expland!!! I'm still at a loss here on boost hubs.why can't 142 hubs be as close as the boost? also what's wrong with 150mm wouldn't be able to get closer?
  • 2 0
 @mikekazimer
what helmet are you wearing in these photos?
  • 2 0
 @lirch1 - That's a Troy Lee Designs A1.
  • 3 1
 nice bike
  • 2 0
 Great write-up.
  • 1 0
 What water bottle is that?
  • 1 0
 this one: fabric.cc/shop/waterbottle (I guess)
  • 1 0
 I think it's the Fabric cageless bottle. There was a PB article on it a while ago
  • 2 0
 Dream XC bike
  • 1 1
 What's the bike like for covering long distances quickly? Presume same as other 29ers???
  • 3 2
 Pass I think I will just buy a car instead :-)
  • 5 8
 Why is it that a companies like Intense, Transition, Commencal, YT, Santa Cruz can put out bikes comparable to this one for in some cases THOUSANDS less? But the big mfgrs like Trek, Giant, Specialized, etc. regularly come out with this BS? I mean you could purchase an XX1 level Santa Cruz CC Carbon Tallboy for 1K less than this Trek.

You would think that bigger companies with more purchasing power (when it comes to spec'ing their bikes) would be able to offer prices comparable to a Transition, or SC, or YT etc...just based on their sales volumes alone. But instead they gouge the heck out of the customer and justify the price by...?

Specialized is probably the worst offender. Trek can at least claim US based manufacturing resulting in higher costs but Specialized...where are you guys coming from with your prices? Specialized S-Works Camber 29...9800 bucks? Thousand dollars more than this Trek and it is made offshore in China where carbon mfg is dirt cheap? How do you justify that? And don't tell me it is the RS1 fork because it is only 200 bucks more than the Factory 34 Float on this Trek...if that.

At the end of the day people will buy what they wanna buy and I am sure this post will generate some neg props because it is centered around pricing but...if someone is paying that much money for a bike while competitors are offering pretty much the same thing at substantially less...you would think one would ask where there money was going?
  • 10 1
 @scbullit36 - It's important to compare apples to apples when looking at bikes from different manufacturers. Take the Tallboy you mentioned for instance. True, with an XX1 kit it retails for $7499, which is 1k less than the bike tested here. But click on the button to add ENVE wheels and what happens? Bingo - the price is now up to $9499. Carbon wheels tend to drive the price up by a good deal. And on the Specialized point, the RS1's MSRP is $1865 vs. $875 for the FOX 34 Factory.

Luckily, all of these companies offer less expensive models, allowing riders to drool over these highend exotic rides and then purchase the one that actually fits their budget. The lower priced options might end up being a little heavier and not quite as refined, but they're still going to be a good time on the trail.
  • 3 1
 And pretty sure this frame is made in Taiwan. Trek gets a lot of mileage out of their "made in USA" line, but only the highest of their high-end *road* frames are made in America. 99% of their frame output is made in Taiwan (by one of the other Extremely Large bicycle manufacturers).
  • 3 0
 I agree with mikekazimer that you have to compare apples to apples . In fact, if you compare the same part spec the bigger brands almost always are less expensive. I also take issue with scbulit36 blanket assertion that all carbon manufacturing in China is dirt cheap. The crappy Walmart and no-name internet carbon bikes coming out of China are cheap but there are some good carbon manufacturers in China and their bikes are not cheap. That said, almost all the bikes we are talking about here are made in Taiwan in state of the art high end facilities. The fact that Trek can compete with Asia on their high end carbon road bikes is a testament to savy product management and production efficiency. My remedy 9.8 is made in Taiwan and I assume this bike is as well. Santa Cruz makes bikes in both Taiwan and China and is now owned by an Dutch holding company. At least Trek and Specialized are owned by the same USA families that started them.
  • 1 0
 @mikekazimer - you got me on the Enve wheel thing. I agree those wheels add some ching to any bike. However your fork pricing, as far as I can tell is a little off. True the RS1 is more expensive that the Fox 34 but I am finding it all day long on the net for 1100-1200 bucks. Sure I can find a few being offered at 1600 but the vast majority are much cheaper.

At the end of the day, there is no point in arguing this really. We've all seen these posts before every time PB reviews a bike with a price up in the stratosphere. There are clearly 2 camps, one that thinks prices are justified and the other that thinks it is out of control.

That being said, personally, I think this high price business model hurts the industry a little bit. It hurts it in that all of the above mentioned bikes I listed are available on line and they are all incredibly competitive against these stratosphere bikes offered by the bigger brands. So if you are a shop, and you deal say exclusively Specialized and Giant, and a customer walks in wanting a high end bike, what are they going to do? Are they going to shell out the extra grand on a bike because it says Specialized or will they order the Santa Cruz off of CBO? And lets face it...when it comes to bike sales...shops make money on these high end sales because the profit margins are high...as they should...but if the MSRP's are set up into the stratosphere on the high end equipment...people are going to buy on line ans shops will suffer.

I see this happening in my area. Shops carry hardly any high end stuff because they can't sell it. Then when you try to buy a part to repair a high end bike, it's never stocked and it needs to be ordered anyway. I couldn't even buy a BB92 for my Kona and I checked 3 different shops. As for these high end bikes...I have never seen one in a shop personally...at least not in my area.
  • 1 0
 @Rflyrel - I may be wrong about Carbon manufacturing in China. Maybe it's changed. But as of 2008-2010 I have seen first hand what a big name brand company was paying for carbon frames coming out of China. Now China's economy has changed vastly since then so I would imagine the prices have also gone up.

Secondly, I never said anything about Taiwan. In-fact I believe carbon AND aluminum bikes coming out of Taiwan are much better and higher prices are more justified when compared to Chinese made frames. Again, I am basing this on first hand experience with frame prices and quality coming out of China in the 2008-2010 range.

Thirdly, if you read my original post, I did make mention of Trek's prices being at least somewhat justified being that they do have in-house composite manufacturing which is incredibly expensive and as you mentioned very difficult to stay competitive with off shore carbon manufacturing.

So you say SC has bikes coming out of both China and Taiwan? I would be curious to know if the split is Aluminum bikes coming from Taiwan and Carbon from China or does it go even further with the C bikes coming from China and the CC bikes coming from Taiwan. If it is the latter, I think the price delta between the 2 tells the story and perhaps really drives home the fact that big mfgrs are way overpricing their China made carbon frames. On the other hand of both the C and CC bikes are made in China, I think that still begs the question as to why the big mfgrs are so expensive because everybody's frame is made there. If anything, the volume of carbon and number of frames purchased by a company like Specialized compared to SC should entitle them to a bulk discount...which again begs the question...why are the big box guys so $$$. If anything they should be the ones bringing this high end stuff to the people at much more reasonable prices.

And BTW, Although Trek and Specialized still being USA owned is very admirable, it's irrelevant to the point. I mean are you arguing that it is justified to throw more money their way for something as intangible as USA ownership? At least when Cannondale was profiting off of the USA mantra you knew you were getting a USA made bike.
  • 2 0
 Wow, lot's of good points. I'll address them one at a time. I don't disagree that there is cheap carbon manufacturing in China. There is also unethical child labor, environmental rape, product counterfeiting and political corruption. My point is there is also some great collaborations between US entrepreneurs and Chinese manufacturers to produce some high quality, high value and high ethics products. Hyalite equipment and Carver bikes are two that come to mind. I know both owners of these companies and they have established very strong relationships with the factories and surrounding communities where their products are produced. Your broad paint brush ignores the details.
Secondly:these bikes you are bitching about are made in Taiwan, not China.
Finally, disclaimer: I sell bikes fromTrek, Specialized, Salsa and Retrospect. In my 30 year career I have sold bikes from the above plus Giant, Cannondale, GT, Fuji, Univega, Diamondback, Proflex, Fat City, Redline, SE, Bike-E, Vision, Sanataria, Co-Motion, Schwinn and a. Half dozen others I can't remember.
The point is both Trek and Specialized offer awesome customer service. That is why they are worth the price. I have 2 open customer service claims right now that will result in happy customers with Trek or Specialized products.
Thirdly,, if Pon holdings decides to follow the excellent customer service model that Trek and Specialized have, they will give these guys a run for their money.
I am happy to order hard to find parts for my customers. That is why I am in business.
Someday there will exist a ethical, high quality and affordable channel for bikes directly sourced from a Chinese factory. By then, it might be cheaper to buy from Wisconsin.
  • 1 0
 Although it's a Trek, i still think I'd have one.
  • 2 2
 Since i dont have a spare 8400 laying around how abouta review of the 8
  • 1 2
 ^ This
  • 3 1
 The EX9 is the best deal of them all IMO; alloy frame, Fox 34 130mm, full SRAM X1, Rockshox reverb stealth, all for $4k. A good bit less if you have a good relationship with your LBS.
  • 1 1
 My buddy just put a order on the 9, got an amazing price 3400 OTD, I kinda wish I would of waited and went for that than my 16' Stumpy Carbon Comp at 4066 OTD.
  • 1 0
 I just built up my EX 9 last friday the 30th. I have two rides on it so far, and I'm really happy with it.
  • 1 0
 nice
  • 1 0
 it is definitely modern.
  • 1 1
 fuck this shit, i want to go disney land
  • 1 0
 sweet niner
  • 1 2
 10 pounds lighter than my aluminum fs 29er. and $6k more expensive
  • 1 2
 My Ripley with xt brakes.........gooooood
  • 1 2
 $8k bike need modifications from the shop?
  • 2 3
 Looks like a trek.
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