-All the awesomeness of Fuel EX, now in a 29er version
-ABP keeps your suspension active while you’re on the brakes
-DRCV shock gives you smooth, predictable all-terrain control
-Trail-optimized G2 29er geometry is fast, agile, confident
Frame Alpha Platinum Aluminum, ABP Convert, Full Floater, E2 tapered head tube, internal derailleur & dropper post routing, press fit BB, ISCG 05 mount, magnesium EVO link, down tube guard, G2 Geometry, 120mm travel
Fox Evolution Series 32 Float w/CTD (climb-trail-descend) damper, rebound, E2 tapered steerer, 15QR thru axle, custom G2 Geometry w/51mm offset, 120mm travel
Fox Evolution Series Float w/DRCV, CTD (climb-trail-descend) damper, rebound, tuned by Trek in California, 7.25×1.875"
Weaknesses: Front fork, CTD setup, heavy flimsy duster wheels, XR3 expert tires, average weight
PROS: In my opinion, Trek did a great job coordinating this bike's color scheme (grey & red). The bike's spec is about average for this price point, but Trek did a good job with keeping the cost down without sacrificing durability or performance. The rear suspension feels like more than 120mm of travel partially because of the Horst link esque setup, and partially because of Fox's "dual rate control valve" which remains closed for smaller bumps and only opens up on bigger hits. Trek's active brake pivot prevents braking forces from affecting suspension performance. This means when you are hard on the brakes, the rear suspension keeps working to keep the wheel planted, thus, giving you more traction. Also, the wheels are pretty easy to set up tubeless BUT the stock Bontrager XR3 expert tires are not tubeless compatible.
CONS: I set up the suspension according to Trek's recommendations for my weight and did not mess with it at all. The front fork has a lot of braking dive in trail mode, and comes close to bottoming out under normal riding when in descend mode. The fork does not feel particularly smooth through the travel BUT the seals are bomb-proof so far. It seems like this fork is not as high performance as other forks in the price range, but it is very durable. Fox's climb trail descend setup is a good idea, but can be a pain in the butt to reach down and switch while riding. I keep the suspension in trail mode for everything besides road riding & gravel trails because trail mode is very efficient and descend mode bottoms out very quickly. I taco'd my rear wheel on the second ride after landing hard on a rock. I do not have enough experience with 29er wheels to say whether another brand would have survived the impact, but it just kind of ticked me off. The XR3 tires have a great tread pattern, but the expert level compound is not very durable. After about 150 miles of normal Pennsylvania riding, the rear tire had 4 separate cuts showing threads, so I replaced it with an XR3 team level tire. I guess the higher thread count made a big difference because I have put twice the miles on the same trails without a problem. My 19.5 comes in around 28-29 lbs which is not particularly impressive for this price point.
OVERALL: It is a fun, efficient, and sensible trail bike.
Strengths: Compared to other bikes in the same price range, this is a great bike. Suspension works like a charm, I like Shimano parts all around with proper size rotors for a trail bike.
Weaknesses: Stem feels thin, Fox DRCV shock leaks a lot of oil, although no issues, just never had a fox shock do that.
Haven't owned a Trek bike since 1996. Nothing against the company, just never found a bike that I really liked until now. Never bought a bike over the 100mm travel range, so really nothing to compare to in the same range. What pushed me over the fence is once I rode this bike I quickly figured out that could have a longer travel XC range bike that could be my quiver killer. Local trails were fine for a 100mm travel bike, but found myself out matched on more technical trails. Really wanted a light weight trail bike that can ride both disiplines.
That is where I saw the light after my first ride. On top of that the price was right! Before the bike left the store had them swap the wheels, tires, rotors for my King/Crest wheelset, tubeless with Specialized ground control 2.1 tires. Changed the saddle, post, stem, handlebars and crank. Dropped that weight down to 27lbs. with XT pedals. Not the lightest, put light enough to accomplish any trail ride.
Suspension tracks really well, surprised the hell out of me. Both braking and climbing, got my A+ on Trek's ABP technology. Using the trail settings on both front and rear suspension. Combination of 29er wheels and 120mm just smooths out trail clutter.
Simply put, this bike works well. I have had this bike for about 4 months and just love it. I am real happy with the component group that comes with this bike. I Replaced GF HiFi 29er with this bike and I can tell a big difference. Bike is stiffer, and has much more travel. It is built for all mountain, but rides like a cross country bike.
I did not think I would like the 140mm travel, but have not noticed the pedal bob that I thought I might get, and never use the lockout on either shock. I have noticed that the bike eats up obstacles and just keeps rolling without much loss in speed. I am much faster on this bike than on my other full suspensions, and faster than the 29er hard tail I have.
The brakes are top notch. I have changed from 2 fingers on the brake lever to only one finger on the brakes which helps with technical descents.
The handle bars are MUCH wider than anything else I have ridden. I have not changed them yet, but do find that I need to ride the center of the trail to miss trees in tight areas.
I removed the big chain ring and added a rock guard. This give the bike great bottom bracket clearance.
Strengths: Inspires confidence, feels stable yet easy to steer, decent component group
Weaknesses: While test riding, the front and rear suspension felt a little out of sync with each other but I think I have a little too much pressure in the forks. I still need to dial it in for my weight and how I position my weight.
I have spent a lot of time lurking here and elsewhere on the net studying the difference in suspension design and application. Based on my pseudo-scientific analysis and seat-of-the-pants experience, I have concluded that I should make a selection based on looks and how it rides! It looks good to me, feels good - so I bought it. I'm happy with it.
Similar Products Used: Old Cannondale super-v 700, Old Specialized Stumpjumper, Old Giant Trance
Bike Setup: stock
Date Reviewed: September 3, 2013
Strengths: Suspension is on the high lever of sensitivity cpmpare to my previous 26' EX8 but with all the options and more. Easy of pedaling. Speed.
Weaknesses: Not found yet. Maybe some unsecure on navigation on singles with a lot of curves ang too long handlebar.
It's my secend EX8, my current bike was 26' from 2010 and they was like part of my body. I expect the same feelings on 29' and so far it's great. A great change on the 29' version is the drive system. I think that the transfer ratio of the drive system is better and there is 30 Transmission System, one side effect is that there is no big different among the 3 steps of the front drailour.
My second Fuel EX, my last one was the EX8 26". The suspension is out of this world. Using the recommended settings from the Trek website the bike just rolls over and through everything. Braking and shifting are very responsive. The bike just seems to want to go. I have been trying to hit more roots and rocks and other things with it just so I can feel the suspension soak up the trail it is so good.
Really great bike, I'm looking forward to riding this for years to come.