2017 Trek Fuel EX first ride

More travel, slacker and longer with revamped component group

29er All Mountain Trail
We handled some very tricky terrain in Squamish and Fuel EX never missed a beat.

We handled some very tricky terrain in Squamish and Fuel EX never missed a beat.

What is it?

The Trek Fuel EX is the biggest selling bike by Trek so it has stayed the course through the years as an XC bike with a playful side. This year though, riding styles and terrain have evolved enough that Trek saw it fit to significantly alter the Fuel EX’s course. This 29er is now more capable and more fun with the following changes.

What’s new?
  • More travel from 120mm to 130mm rear / 130mm front
  • Slacker geometry from 68 headtube to 67.7 degree (high) / 67o (low) headtube
  • Longer reach from 448mm to 453mm for a 19.5 in bike (low position)
The bike is slacker, lower, radder indeed.

The bike is slacker, lower, radder indeed.

Straight Shot Downtube

Another significant change is what Trek refers to as the Straight Shot Downtube. It is a downtube design that is massive and meets to steer tube in a straight shot, devoid of curves or the characteristic ‘gooseneck’ seen in many frames today. This produces a lighter & Stiffer frame because it avoids all the layering and strengthening required of carbon fiber to achieve the desired stiffness lost from all the curving and shaping that diverge from classic front triangle designs.

Knock Block system is a keyed headset that can be retrofitted to any other stem brand.

Knock Block system is a keyed headset that can be retrofitted to any other stem brand.

The downside is the fork crown will not clear the downtube at almost 90 degree angles so special apparatus had to be designed in to prevent the fork from damaging the frame. To this end, Trek designed the Knock Block system which has a keyed stem to block the fork crown from hitting the frame. There is also bumper on the downtube as a failsafe from contact.

The test ride

We did some fun, flowy trail in Squamish, BC that featured a lot of roots and rock kickers. This is indeed the sweet spot of the new Fuel EX. But as the trail descents got steeper and with bigger boulders and extended rock slabs, the new Fuel EX never lost its composure. The slack head angle and long reach on the bike allowed it to stay composed on the steepest maneuvers. The front Fox fork stayed high in its travel as well, thus not upsetting the fore/aft balance of the rider and bike.

Rough, twisty singeltrack is the new Fuel EX's domain.

Rough, twisty singeltrack is the new Fuel EX’s domain.

On the twisty segments, turning the bike on berms and navigating through the tightest corners was a delight as well. This bike feels very stiff laterally and that can be felt when cornering hard or throwing the bike around. The new Bontrager XR4 tires helped as well as they have a new pattern with better side knobs and the rubber compound of the very capable SE5 tire.

Continue to page 2 for geometry and pricing details ยป

About the author: Francis Cebedo

The founder of mtbr and roadbikereview, Francis Cebedo believes that every cyclist has a lot to teach and a lot to learn. "Our websites are communal hubs for sharing cycling experiences, trading adventure stories, and passing along product information and opinions." Francis' favorite bike is the last bike he rode, whether it's a dirt jumper, singlespeed, trail bike, lugged commuter or ultralight carbon road steed. Indeed, Francis loves cycling in all its forms and is happiest when infecting others with that same passion. Francis also believes that IPA will save America.


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