Strengths: Light, nimble, great cornering, well equipped
Weaknesses: SLX Rear derailleur is not the clutch type
Love this bike. Usually riding twisty single track, this bike corners very well, absorbs bumps with ease and the DRCV shock seems to be as good as they advertise it. Everyone bashes the Elixir 3s but for now they are fine, responsive. Bike comes with 180mm front and 160mm back, and it provides good stopping power with decent modulation.
I usually lose my friends with 29ers in the twisty parts of the track, and they seem to be a bit better climbers. Tried the 29s but I like the way I can move and turn on the 26.
Great prices to be found on the 2013s, this was a bargain for me. Only thing I replaced were tires for fall/ winter/ spring, I put on a set of Forte Pisgah 2.3s.
Strengths: Fast, light, great climber, plush ...this bike is just awesome!!
Weaknesses: minor...didn't like the xr3 tires so i put on the xr4 experts on...2.35 up front and 2.2 on the back
Just picked up this bike and wow is all i have to say! Been riding 29ht for the last year but missed that 26 feel. So happy i went with this bike and not another 29er. The bike is very very fast and just nimble and flickable. I've already set 2 new strava records on my local trail because the bike just bombs down everything i throw at her. The Fox suspension is just so plush too. Honestly thought i would be switching between my 29er and this bike to mix it up....LOL why bother. This bike kicks ass and is my everyday trail/ all mountain machine. All i can say is go buy one. I paid tad over $2,000 for it and it's the best money i've ever spent on a bike.
Bike Setup: Different tires is only thing i've added...Bontrager XR4 experts...2.35 up front and 2.2 in rear
Date Reviewed: May 29, 2013
easy to ride
great for up and downhill riding
looks amazing with some upgrades
stops on a dime
stock ready to ride
Weaknesses: stock pedals suck
needed some adjustment
needs new tires
could look better
This bike is amazing for all types of riding. Wether your downhill or cross-country this bike will eat whatever you put in front of it. Even better is the value, for just over 2k you are getting a top quality racing bike that can do whatever you want it to do. I cant stop riding this bike its just so amazing
a All Mountain Rider
Date Reviewed: April 23, 2013
Strengths: Good Control/Maneuverability. Front Fork and Rear DRCV with CTD. Shimano Derailleurs excellent smooth shifting a must for me. Excellent bike for somebody with good riding skill and a little above average money to spend.
Weaknesses: Tires, Brakes, rims
I love this bike. I bought a new one 6 moths ago. I upgraded from a 29er hardtail to this. After reading some of the reviews and talking with the guys in the bike shop I went ahead and upgraded the brakes to the Shimano XLR. It was cheap because I got a trade out price on the existing Avid brake components. There is nothing wrong with the Avid, but once you feel the squeeze on the XLRs you'll want them. I also went ahead and upgraded to the tires. I got a tubless set up with better tires. I had considered buying the EX 8, but after I upgraded the brakes, the major difference with the DRCV on the front shock, which is not but the Fox Float with CTD is an excellent fork. For the money with a couple of upgrades, you can't beat the value and ride-ability this bike has. I just today ordered some 5.10 shoes and some flats, I have been riding clipless since I started, but want to give flats a try to get some more movement out of the bike as this bike is so nimble. Well see how it goes. At some point, I plan to put some Stan's Flow rims on my bike as these stock rims can be taco'd if put to the test.
When engaging in sporting of any kind, it is critical that your equipment always work and can keep up with your skill set. This bike does both greatly. If you are looking for an entry point in the higher grade of bikes, this is it. Pay more, and you'll get less back. Pay less, and you'll be disappointed. This bike rocks! I am a large individual and constantly beat this bike, but it always performs and never fails. I wish there was a category for toughness, this bike would get a 6/5. If you want a quality bike that will Enhance the amount of fun you have on the trail, this is it.
Strengths: Handling, lock out for both front and rear shocks. Stability on downhills.
Weaknesses: Climbing is a bit less efficient that a hard tail or my previous 2001 Trek Fuel 80 full suspension.
This is a review on the 2013 Trek Fuel EX7. It was a replacement to my 2001 Trek Fuel 80 full suspension that I broke at the seatpost weld. The 2013 Trek Fuel EX7 has much greater suspension that my previous Trek Fuel. The trail that I normally ride felt like I was riding on smooth terrain vs. my old bike. There is a greater feel of control whether going up or down a trail. The new 10-speed drivetrain which uses a mix of Shimano Deore and SLX is very smooth and precise. The bike is heavier than my previous bike which probably contributes to the slightly slower climbing feel even with the front and rear shocks locked out. I decided to go with my favorite tires which are IRC Mythos XC II which seemed to help with the slower climbing feel and ditched the Bontrager XR3 tires which have a much wider profile.
Having a through-axle in the front contributes to a much greater sense of control. The front fork is very precise even in hard turns compared to my old bike. I do wish that Shimano didn't change the gearing for the front chainrings. I liked the 44-32-22 range but now they use a 42-32-24 range that is said to reduce chain suck and chain drop. Also, Shimano says that having a 42 chainrings helps to keep us longer in the higher gears. Not sure about the higher gear claim but I do notice I haven't had any chain suck or drop issues so far.
The paint job seems to be more durable than my old bike. The stock seat isn't as comfortable as my Selle Italia Flight saddle but it will do. I do like the ease of removing and reinstalling the wheels. All you have to do is line up the hub with the dropouts and just screw the through-axle or rear skewer into the bike. No more issues of aligning the wheel. It is forced only in one position. So installing the wheels and brake pads are much easier than ever before.
Overall I am quite pleased with this bike. It is a big step up from my previous Trek Fuel. Just like cars, bikes have progressed a long ways since my 2001 Trek Fuel 80 was new.
Similar Products Used: 2001 Trek Fuel 80, 2006 Specialized FSR, 2007 Motobecane Fantom DS, 2004 Santa Cruz Superlight
Bike Setup: Stock setup except switching out tires to 2.1 IRC Mythos XCII and replacing the stock handlebar and stem with a Ritchey Pro and flat carbon fiber bar with Titec bar ends.
a All Mountain Rider
Date Reviewed: December 23, 2012
Strengths: Great Suspension
Pretty light for a full suspension bike
Weaknesses: Tires are terrible
I got this bike back in May of 2012. Have put over 1,000 miles on it and it still performs like the day I got it. The DRCV is amazing. I have push the suspension on this bike to the limit many times and it hasn't failed me yet. Even though it's a full suspension bike at times it feels like I'm on my hardtail. The slacker head angle gives you great control when going down steep slopes and cornering. I also have Red Shield on this bike which I highly recommend. It basically pays for itself. Only negative I have with this bike are the XR4 tires, they suck . Plan on buying a new set of tires with this bike.
Strengths: First off, I have the 2011 ex 7. The frame and fork is the same as the ex 8, just the rear shock lacks the DRCV. The geometry is spot on and it handles very well. Really gives the rider confidence to push the bike and there is good feedback on how the bike is coping with the trail. For a 28lb/13kg bike it is a good climber, there is very little pedal bob on the climbs even without the pro-pedal on. With pro-pedal on, the rear end is noticeable stiffer and makes climbs easier.
Weaknesses: The drivetrain surely can do better for the price. Sram X7 isn't as smooth shifting as the shimano.. Maybe with a x7 front mech is fine but surely x9 at least for the rear. Otherwise I would be more than happy with SLX all round.
Standard XR3 tyres are just crap. Looking to buy some maxxis ardents to replace them now. The front doesn't grip enough to match the bike's capabilities and the rear just slips all over the place. Geez! Ridiculous for a 2k bike.
Brakes juicy 3s are fine but again would have strongly prefered SLX. The modulation and braking power is sufficient but the product quality leaves much to be desired.
Being fussy here but I wish the geometry could be a bit slacker. just a tiny bit.
Great bike, frame and suspension is awesome and easy to set up. There is much upgrade potential for the bike.
Really disappointing kit (sram x7) for a bike in this price range though. Yes, I appreciate that money is spent on the important areas like the fork and rear shock but seriously the X7 leaves much to be desired and stock tyres just shockingly horrid.
I love the bike but am frustrated that I have to spend more to "fix" it - the tyres desperately need changing.
a Weekend Warrior
Date Reviewed: May 27, 2012
Strengths: Plush suspension (front/rear)
DRCV rear shock
15 mm TA
Weaknesses: None to date. First bike in many years and don't have much to compare this one against other than the opinions of others.
2012 Fuel EX 7. Basically the same as last year's EX 8 with a Thru-axle front.
To date, this has been a great bike that has given me the confidence to tackle trails that I would not have done on previous bikes. I like the Fox front & rear suspension as well as the front thru-axle. The ability to convert the rear to a thru-axle is nice as well. This makes installing the wheels a little easier.
At some point in the future, I would like to change out components to full XT. Granted, I could have paid more for a higher model but I love the white colorway of the EX7.
The one thing that bothered me was that my bike came with XR3 expert tires vs the XR4 experts as spec'd.
Strengths: Solid frame, Fox fork fork and shock. Climbs very well
Weaknesses: Heavy seatpost, front and rear hubs create a creeking sound. Brakes take awhile to set in and gives a bit of noise till they do.
Purchased a '11 model in for the 2012. Main difference is the DRCV which the '11 EX 7 model doesn't have. Not a big deal as I found the the RP2 suitable for the type of riding I do. Not too technical and no more than 3' drops. Propedal is hardly used, as the ABP with the full floater works well and peddle bob harldy noticed. I find the front forks compressing more so than the rear on hard peddle pounding. The gearing is smooth as it provides numerous gear selections from the 3x10 setup. The Elixir 3 works well with nice modulation. As noted in the "Weakness" report, they are a bit noisy before set in. Once they do, they the noise subsides and the rub is vurtually gone. Overall, the EX 7 performs very well. It's easy to gain speed and it inspires riding confidence.
a Weekend Warrior
from Epping, NH, USA
Date Reviewed: March 30, 2012
Strengths: This bike climbs like a champ, turns on a dime, has great control, it is very light and can take a serious beating.
Weaknesses: Being nit-picky here: Could use larger rotors, better rear derailer and more travel.
Please note that I am reviewing a 2009 that I bought in 2011. I love to ride the rough, tight New England trails and this bike delivers. After a full year of riding this bike, my proficiency/technicality has gone through the roof and that's why I believe this is a great bike for anyone else that wants to get serious about mountain biking. The bike has a great feel where I can pull up, wheelie drop, or huck-up anything on command. This bike is nimble enough to navigate through baby heads and strong enough to hit 5' drops. I am 5' 10" and a medium (17.5 in frame) fits me perfect. The suspension sucks up most of the impact, but on a flatter landing from a 4' drop the suspension bottoms out. I would suggest this bike to anyone that likes to attack the XC trails loaded with hills, hucks and rocks. I plan to ride this bike until it dies (or I kill myself on it; whichever comes first). 4 chilis for the overall because of the weaknesses listed above.
Favorite Trail: Terry's Trail in Harold Parker State Forest
Duration Product Used: 1 Year
Similar Products Used: 2004 Gary Fisher Sugar 4
Bike Setup: Race Face bash guard (no need for a large sprocket), clipless pedals and Specialized Armadillo Eskar Elite 2.3 tires front and back.
a Weekend Warrior
from San Angelo, TX
Date Reviewed: February 8, 2012
Strengths: fairly light for being full suspension and having zero carbon on it
ease and range of suspension adjustment
dropped top tube makes your nuts feel safer
Weaknesses: stock tires
cable housing rubs frame and scuffs the finish
only has SLX rear derailer
Take with grain of salt because this is my first full suspension...
I ride mostly singletrack and wow this bike handles amazing. I have put around 150 miles on it and I am loving every bit of it. The fox fork soaks up everything and the rear suspension doesn't let my rear tire off the ground. I didn't even know a bike could have this much control through a rocky turn. The hydraulic brakes are a huge stepup from my previous cable driven discs and allow me tons of stopping power without losing contol of the bike. I don't do a whole lot of climbing here in Texas but the hills I've ran into were nothing compared to climbing them on my old Q620. I haven't really ridden the bike with the fork locked out or the rear on "propedal" so I am not sure how well those work. If you're thinking about getting this bike - do it. It has made me a 10 times better rider. Technical sections that I used to struggle with are like cake walks and now I'm doing sections that I wouldn't have even tried with my old hardtail. I was also skeptical about getting the white one because of it not being white for long but the paint seems like it will hold up well and it looks SWEET. I get compliments on it every ride.
I cant say anything for the stock tires except that they looked like they weren't worth a crap so the LBS sold me the tires I wanted when I bought the bike and gave me credit for the stock tires.
Bike Setup: stock except for tires - tubless small block eight on rear and tubeless nevegal on front
a Weekend Warrior
from Tampa, FL, US
Date Reviewed: September 27, 2011
Strengths: I have ridden the bike about 6 times and it feels comfortable and fits me very well. Suspension works well, brakes are great. Overall it is a very nimble bike, feels great going down hill and climbs much better than my former hard tail. I experience no peddle bob. Looks awesome!
Weaknesses: Not to excited about the front tire. I do not feel confident going into sandy turns, it wash's out. I am from Florida so sand is plentiful. Brake cables rub on the frame and scratch the paint. That is pretty annoying.
I recommend the 2011 Trek fuel EX 7 to anyone who will listen. This bike has made me faster and I am clearing sections of trail I never thought I would be able to do before. The ABP really does keep the rear tire on the trail I never have issues with the back tire bouncing around.
Bike Setup: stock, going to replace front tire soon
a Weekend Warrior
from Canton, GA
Date Reviewed: May 27, 2011
Strengths: This bike absolutely flies and TREK nailed the geometry and suspension on this bike. It gives you more confidence to tackle terrain and more technical trails than I have before. Bottom line strengths are geometry, suspension, and frame rigidity.
Weaknesses: Upon purchasing immediately replace the tires!! The Bontager XDX tires that come on this bike are good for the road and roll fast but they do not have any knobs on the outside edge to allow you to use the bikes full capability of tackling technical trails with off camber decents or shredding corners. If you attempt you may break your neck!!
Once you replace the tires on this bike and tune the suspension it is an animal!! TREK does a good job of providing you with tools and charts to roughly get your suspension tuned. However, they only get you in the ball park. Take the time to keep fine tuning the suspension. This will pay off and you will get to use the full capabilities of this full suspension bike. I cannot say enough about how impressed I am with this bike. The components that come on the bike can be upgraded. Do not allow this to deter you from purchasing it!! Besides thats the fun part of upgrading and customizing your rig!
PS - Consider getting WTB Wolverine tire I have run them for years on several of my other bikes and they are awesome!
a Cross Country Rider
from Norwich, VT, USA
Date Reviewed: March 21, 2011
Strengths: Agile suspension with very little bob or braking lock-up. Great frame and (mostly) solid component group for the money.
Weaknesses: Some weaker components but all upgradable over time. Mine had been ridden for a year by a bike tech and upgraded so I cannot comment on the standard complaints I read here about stock tires and seat.
Most importantly, do not even read pre-2008 reviews unless you are buying a pre-2008 bike. The suspension changes in the 2008 model were significant making this one of the best frames on the market for rugged XC riding and even some light AM. The EX7 gets you into the same world-class frame found in more expensive models while keeping the total package affordable.
I swapped bikes last summer on a ride with a friend of mine who is on a Santa Cruz Nomad which in my opinion is the one bike to have if you can afford it. He had not ridden Trek in a while and was very impressed with how favorably it compared to his Nomad.
Similar Products Used: Specialized FSR XC Pro, Santa Cruz Nomad
Bike Setup: Stock with some nice upgrades: SRAM X-9 Derailleur with grip shifts, Bontrager Race rims, Maxxis Ardent EXO tires, Bontrager Race Lite carbon handle bars, WTB Rocket V seat, 70 mm stem. NOTE: Stem makes a huge difference in handling from the 95 that comes stock. Tempted to go even shorter.
I have 2011 Fuel EX7 with stock wheels, I'd like to get better, lighter wheels but i have no ideal about the size of rear thru-axle and the front QR, my budget is around $300 - not sure if it's worth to upgrade with $300, maybe not enough.
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After couple months of researching and checking out new bikes i decided to go with Trek Fuel bike...It's perfect for desert terrain i ride on and super stoked about it. LBS set it up Tubeless for free and put me on a better tire at no charge. Cyclery USA in Rancho Cumamonga kicks ass with customer s ... Read More »