Trek’s updated Fuel Ex now features storage in the downtube, 29er wheels, more travel and a gorgeous frame… oh and it’s rollicking fast too
The updated Trek Fuel Ex now features storage in the downtube, 29er wheels, more travel and a gorgeous frame… oh and it’s rollicking fast too.
Trek Fuel Ex need to know
- Trek’s latest twist on its popular 29er trail bike
- Still has 130mm suspension and custom Fox shock, but now it’s matched to a burly 140mm Fox 36 suspension fork
- New carbon frame with internal storage, internal cable routing and improved geometry
- High-volume 2.6in Bontrager tyres, with no more 27.5in Plus option
- Women’s specific designs are out, in are unisex sizes and colours
- This top-end 9.9 XO1 model costs £6,500
Trek has pumped up the new Fuel Ex this year, it now comes with a 140mm fork, better geometry, improved stiffness, 29er wheels and a host of other tweaks.
The suspension has been updated too, Trek has done away with its Full Floater design and instead the lower shock mount now bolts directly to the front triangle.
Why? Well, it’s to free up space at the back end for more tyre clearance, and it’s 20% stiffer too, Trek says. They also say that their RE:aktiv Thru Shaft shock is so good it doesn’t need Full Floater anymore.
It’s a completely new design of shock from Fox, and Trek reckons this gives the performance of a larger piggyback shock without having to accommodate a second reservoir. Usefully, this shock also comes with a numbered rebound dial so you can better tally up your settings with the recommended ones online.
The frame is all new, and most interestingly there’s now a compartment in the downtube where you can stuff tools, secured in Trek’s burrito-like tool wrap.
OK, so Trek didn’t invent the concept but it’s great it now offers it on its carbon bikes, which incidentally are full carbon now the alloy rear triangle has gone.
The modernising doesn’t stop there either, the head angle has been slackened a degree to 66°, the seat tube steepened by one to 75° and the reach has gone up 10-20mm, size dependant. Sizes large and XL now come with 170mm dropper posts too, so pretty much everyone can have their seatpost pushed right in to the hilt to make the most of the good standover height.
Trek usually does a good job creating beautiful frames, and the Fuel Ex is no exception. We’re pleased to hear the brand now gives a lifetime warranty on all of them, carbon and alloy, and the paintwork comes with a two-year guarantee too.
Gender binary is a thing of the past for Trek, it’s ditched the women’s bikes moniker in favour of a greater spread of sizes across the range as a whole, which is great for both men and women looking for the perfect fit. The XS is a 27.5in bike, you can choose between the smaller hoops or 29in wheels on size small, while medium and up it’s 29er all the way.
Trek Fuel Ex: first ride review
Trek has done a terrific job making the Fuel Ex solid and stiff, and it gave me a real feeling of confidence to ride steep trails and trust the bike to hold its line on those washed out, rutted corners you get all over Italy.
It seems to handle big terrain like an enduro bike, shouldering aside rocks that its meagre travel and weight really have no right to.
It’s no trail plough either though, this bike is playful and fun, the progressive feeling suspension helping you skip down the trail.
I can’t help feeling Trek has got the balance absolutely spot on between fun and stability for a short travel trail bike.
The Fuel Ex was our Bike of the Year in 2017, a top-scoring bike that demolished the rest of the field. The new Fuel Ex is a more versatile, smarter looking, more practical and better bike to ride. Watch out competition.