What is it?
As the industry has rapidly transitioned to larger wheel sizes and machines that are able to rip down rugged trails while still getting us back to the top, Trek has adapted its proven Fuel platform into a bike for the next generation of riders.
Introducing 26” wheels to a category dominated by 24’s, and collaborating with X-Fusion to create a suspension optimized for smaller riders, Trek appears serious about providing a solution to the challenge of finding kid’s size bikes worthy of the trails we want to ride with our young ones.
The geometry of the Trek Fuel EX Jr traces back to trends in the all mountain category. With a slack 69-degree head tube angle and short 429mm chainstays, this bike handles similar to its bigger siblings.
As with all kid’s bikes, one primary concern is how many seasons it will last until a new size is needed. With a low standover height of 653mm, the Fuel EX Jr will accommodate riders as small as 4’4”. As your child grows, you can swap on longer stems, wider bars, and raise saddle height. Just know that when your little guy or gal hits 5 feet, it will probably be time to go shopping again.
The X-Fusion fork and rear shock are purpose-built for this frame. The look and level of quality is as good as I’ve seen. Indeed, all of the parts hung on the bike are respectable for a alloy bike that costs less than $2000.
In a category where disc brakes were challenging to find only a couple years ago, nearly all the components on this bike have been appropriately configured, including the hydraulic disc brakes. The stem is scaled down slightly, as are the 160mm crankarms.