Trek Fuel 98 Disc XC Full Suspension

4.58/5 (12 Reviews)
MSRP : $3099.99


Product Description



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Reviews 1 - 12 (12 Reviews Total)

User Reviews

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Leo a Racer from Watertown, MA

Date Reviewed: April 7, 2006

Strengths:    This bike rocks. Climbs like no other, incredibly efficient! Its very snappy but not in a bad way, just VERY responsive. I love the lock-out but have stood and mashed the pedals up some steep hills and there was virtually no bob and I weigh 200lbs. Carbon fiber frame is stiff and light as hell, I didn'texpect this bike to ride so well, I can't wait for my first race on it. I came from a hardtail and this bike climbs better and is much more responsive. I can ride over and through stuff that used to be challenging.

Weaknesses:    Tires, whoever put them on must have been high! they are glued on in such a way that they are high in some spots and low on others,, they're not seeted properly in the rims, so i have to fix that and the chain needed to be shortened one link but besides that ,, its GREAT

Bottom Line:   
Get this bike if you want to go fast!

Expand full review >>

Favorite Trail:   harold parker state forest

Duration Product Used:   Less than 1 month

Price Paid:    $3500.00

Purchased At:   Harborside cycles in Gloucester

Similar Products Used:   Blur, Cannondale Scalple

Bike Setup:   stock all around

Overall Rating:4
Value Rating:4
Submitted by Christopher a Racer from Randolph, NJ, USA

Date Reviewed: July 26, 2005

Strengths:    This bike is exactly what it should be, a light, stiff, fast XC Racer. It is very nimble and very fast over an incredible amount of terrain. Even here in the Northeast where riding is never "XC" and always part downhill, this bike has served me very well over the last year.

Weaknesses:    $PRICE$, I would not have bought this bike if it had not been "last years model." The SID front end flexes a lot more than I would like. The tires get torn up in rocky terrain pretty quickly and do not have the "bite" needed in wet/loose terrain.

Bottom Line:   
If you're looking for a great race bike that you plan to get your moneys worth out of, this is for you.
If you're looking for a plush ride, but you aren't a dedicated biker, look elsewhere.

Expand full review >>

Favorite Trail:   Allamuchy

Duration Product Used:   1 Year

Price Paid:    $2800.00

Purchased At:   Cycle Craft

Similar Products Used:   I've ridden my friends FUEL 95. While the bike rides just as well, the SID front end drops a noticable amount of weight and the Carbon frame is slightly stiffer.

Bike Setup:   I have not changed anything major (bar ends, saddle, etc.) from the stock setup.

Overall Rating:3
Value Rating:3
Submitted by shawn bertagnole a Cross Country Rider from Bothell, wa

Date Reviewed: April 26, 2005

Strengths:    Follow up post

Weaknesses:    Follow up from previous post on pivots. Trek informed me that petro based lubes should never be used as the pivot bushings are silicone based. Good advice. Still the issue, for anyone who has removed the shock and tried to move the rear end up and down will find, it is very very sticky. Those that think it is smooth as they say should try it pulling the shock. I found there is no way to control the torque on the pivot screws,If loose enough to pivot well they will work there way out. I put a small bit of lok tite in after finding the best back off for free movement. Not the best idea, but it works. I am now going to make a little allen wrench and wire loop nut lock and would be glad to email a pic of this to anyone who askes. A Nylok screw would have made this a non issue and cost almost nothing. Still love this bike and upgrades have made near perfect other than this.

Bottom Line:   
Trek was really great at responding to my questions. As an Industrial Designer, I wish they had put a little more thought into the bushings.

Expand full review >>

Duration Product Used:   6 months


Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:4
Submitted by Dave a Weekend Warrior from Parkland, FL

Date Reviewed: April 13, 2005

Strengths:    Notably superior ride vs. aluminum frame, climbs like a goat, very responsive handling, nude carbon makes great looking rig

Weaknesses:    Stock seat, no carbon handlebars, stock tires need changing, pricey $$

Bottom Line:   
Bike is clearly different from Fuel 90 (and many other bikes) in that it is very, very responsive to almost any input. Cornering is crisp, downhill is predictable and easily controlled. Cockpit has plenty of room for technical moves. Rear shock works as it should though roots and rocks-- 3.5 inch travel seems plenty for most XC rides. It has lock out capability but have not had the need to use since there is very little pedal bob. Carbon frame is more supple ride than aluminum while remaining stiff and responsive. Push on the cranks--you get immediate response. I really like the XT cranks. XT brakes stopped quickly well but were "grabby". Able to change out most of of original equipment to upgrade another bike-so I came out ahead all the way around. Carbon frame is simply awesome!

I really like the way this bike climbs--you don't feel like you are pushing anything up the hill--it just goes, and goes, and goes....

If you are a XC rider, you simply cannot go wrong with this frame. Buy it!!

Expand full review >>

Duration Product Used:   1 Year

Price Paid:    $3500.00

Similar Products Used:   Trek Fuel 90, Giant NRS 1

Bike Setup:   Fox FX100 front shock, XTR front der, SRAM XO rear der, X9 shifters, Hayes HFX Mag Plus disk, Mavic Cross Max SL wheels, CK headset, Easton carbon bar

Overall Rating:3
Value Rating:3
Submitted by shawn bertagnole a Cross Country Rider from seattle, wa usa

Date Reviewed: March 1, 2005

Strengths:    Light, very responsive and climbs like no other. Very durable frame with no perception of being a fragile carbon frame. New XT combo shifters are great for hands with joint issues, and I dont mean from smoking them.

Weaknesses:    Bontrager wheels leak profusly at the valve, even with thick grease. I dont want to get stuck with these in the dark forest on a rainy night, (I ride those). Rear pivots are sans bearings or even lubrication when shipped. I always wondered why it was so stiff, untill I took the shock off and tried to freely pivot the rear end, sticky does not describe fully what it felt like. I lubed it all, loosened the fasteners and used lok tite on them as they had to be backed off enough to loosen the pivots. We will see how long they last that way, I am hoping the lok tite will keep them in. It is easily 2x as plush now. I wish someone else had noticed this and I did read many reviews. I am only 160 lbs. and found it too stiff for my liking, I am sure this fix will make that much better.

Bottom Line:   
A great value on the used Market, mine was a good deal compared to a new similar heavier bike with the same components, and no tax. If you truly have 4k to spend then look into a blur if you are a XC rider who does not need to out run a rock slide. This a fast climber and will maneuver the trees well if you let it, try to find used one in the 2k or less range and it will be just as good.

Expand full review >>

Favorite Trail:   MOAB

Duration Product Used:   3 months

Price Paid:    $2500.00

Purchased At:   slightly used

Similar Products Used:   Cannondale super V, SC Blur, 1969 Mattel Bigwheel

Bike Setup:   Stock full XT with carbon adds and a new head set, panaracer tires.

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:3
Submitted by Brian a Cross Country Rider from Alberta, CANADA

Date Reviewed: January 3, 2005

Strengths:    Awesome frame, stiff, light very little BB flex (I weigh 220lbs). XL frame is an excellent fit for Clydesdale riders (6'6" tall). Very strong climber with flat bars and bar-ends. Solid descents with Fox fork. XT disc brakes give incredible stopping power with great modulation.

Weaknesses:    Price. Bontrager components - I have replaced the rear hub (freewheel) and headset due to failure. XT dual action shifters are unreliable in bad conditions - very difficult to shift during muddy days. Poor shifting and lots of chain suck in muddy conditions even with brand new replacement drivetrain. Cheap stock seat. Stock tyres are fine for dry conditions but front washes out very easliy.

Bottom Line:   
An excellent race-oriented bike capable of epic rides. I trained for and rode the 2004 TransRockies on this bike so it's had some long hard days on it which showed up some weaknesses. Shifting in muddy conditions was bad even with a brand new drivetrain and there was lots of chainsuck. However, it climbs like a goat, the frames beautifully made and I would have no hesitation in recommending it as a great high-end race bike capable of getting you home comfortably after epic rides.

Expand full review >>

Favorite Trail:   Buller Pass

Duration Product Used:   1 Year

Price Paid:    $3000.00

Purchased At:   Calgary Cycle

Similar Products Used:   Titus Loco Moto (broke 2 frames). Custom Brodie Expressos...

Bike Setup:   Fox fork, Thomson stem, Easton carbon bars, Selle Italia Ti seat, Myhtos tyres.

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:4
Submitted by Tom a Cross Country Rider from Canada

Date Reviewed: November 1, 2004

Strengths:    Light and stiff carbon frame. Very responsive pedaling action. Excellent climber, good control on technical single track. The 2004 XT dual levers are outstanding. Shifting is precise and breaking is well modulated and smooth. Tires are good for racing, but you may want more aggressive patterns for certain conditions. Stock tires are tubeless and wheels are tubeless compatible. I just need a latex sealer to convert. The front fork (Rock Shox Sid Team) is firm and XC race oriented. Set up low rebound and equal positive and negative air if you want a more "plush" ride. But don't expect miracles. The rear shock is also on the firm side (as it should be for this bike). I use 70 PSI setting which is about 45% of my body weight. I set shock rebound 6 clicks away from slow (there are about 22 clicks between slow and fast rebound on the Fox RL Pro Pedal shock). I barely notice any bobbing on climbs and the rear tire hooks up really well when the climbs are rough or I have to get over roots. Very impressive indeed. I never felt the need to lock out the rear or front shock.

Weaknesses:    The bike is very expensive (In Canada MSRP is $4800, tax included, with the hydraulic disk setup). It is hard to justify this price unless you are as dedicated to mountain biking as I am. Look for sales or end of season specials to ease the pain. I paid less than CDN $3000 (end of season clearance), which is why I gave it a high value rating. Otherwise there are few weaknesses I can think of. The stock saddle is a poor choice. The stock pedals (Shimano 520) are mediocre and heavy. Some have complained about a non-carbon bar and seat post. The dual XT levers will rattle a little bit on rough terrain. I experienced occasional rubbing on the disk breaks. I suspect that the wheels need trueing. On the first ride, the 17.5 frame felt a little high in the saddle (I am 5'7'), but the stem and bar combination placed me in the perfect riding/pedaling position. After 15 minutes on the bike it felt like home so the high position is not threatening.

Bottom Line:   
I switched to this bike from a $1500 Norco Nitro (29 lbs entry level XC "race" bike) so it was not difficult to be impressed. The first time I took out the Fuel 98 on the trails, I was able to experience the full contrast between the old and the new bike. As a first impression, I recognized that the carbon frame is considerably less harsh than aluminum. The difference was so drastic that I even wondered why I bothered with full suspension. But not for long. The shock made a huge difference in climbing on rough technical single track and going over roots. While the Norco made me bounce and lose traction, the Fuel 98 kept it quiet and engaged with literally no bob. On top of that, the XT Hallotech II cranks are stiff and extremely responsive and I consistently climbed in faster gears compared to my old bike. I can confidently say that the first hour of riding the Fuel 98, opened my eyes to the huge difference between an average bike and a top-of-the-line bike. The climbing ability of this bike is what I like best about it. The quiet, forgiving, smooth ride is also very impressive. The cockpit is also well balanced for technical rides. The bars are a little wider than pure XC race bikes and in combination with the short stem (80mm) it handles the bike really well. Even descending is quite comfortable - as long as the terrain is reasonable. But the Fuel 98 is no Trek Liquid 55. I demoed the Trek Liquid 55 and would have gladly bought that bike for general trail riding. But for very technical trails which are full of narrow single track and tough climbs, the Fuel 98 is a better set up.

If you are looking for a fast, light FS bike that climbs very well, is responsive and handles technical single track with ease, this is definitely a top choice. There are better XC race bikes out there, but they won't feel as comfortable and as forgiving as this bike.

Expand full review >>

Duration Product Used:   Less than 1 month

Similar Products Used:   Own Norco Nitro. Demoed Trek Liquid 55, Giant NRS Air, Giant NRS 1,

Bike Setup:   Stock setup (as specified "http://www.trekbikes.com/bikes/2004/mountain/fuel98.jsp"), but with the XT hydraulic disk break option. I have a Selle Italia Trans-Am Ti saddle and Crank Brothers Candy pedals. Bike weighs 25.6 lbs with this setup. Not bad considering that the XT disk breaks are on the heavy side. I have the 17.5 inch frame, I weight 160 lbs and I am 42 years old. I have about 8 years of XC riding experience.

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by David Greaves a Cross Country Rider from UK

Date Reviewed: October 25, 2004

Strengths:    Really light about 26 pounds for a full suss bike is great. Steering is really responsive. Lock-out on up-hill climbs. A real confidence booster. Also great looking.

Weaknesses:    RRP price , it will ruin your bank account! No carbon handlebars as stock.

Bottom Line:   
Everything about this bike is great, the rush you get from speeding down hills with the awesome suss is addictive. If you test this bike you will want to get one and keep riding it at every oppertunity. Carbon is the way to go and theres no need to worry about damaging the frame as its covered for life by trek. If you are scanning these reviews you already understand how good this bike is. 5 chillis for vale as i got mine for less than half price, and 5 chillis overall because this bike will exceed your expectations.

Expand full review >>

Duration Product Used:   Less than 1 month

Price Paid:    $2400.00

Purchased At:   private

Bike Setup:   Hope disc brakes, raceface stem and easton handlebars. Gel Saddle, Hutchinson scorpion tyres.

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Gary Nebeker a Racer from Omaha, NE

Date Reviewed: June 9, 2004

Strengths:    Being in the sport for only about a year now I made a colossal leap when going from a Trek 4300 to the Fuel 98. This leap can be likened to the difference of driving a Kia and a Maserati. As several of the other reviewers have noted, the bike’s responsiveness to pedaling is immediately noticed. It virtually leaps forward with each pedal stroke. The bike’s responsiveness in cornering is also quite remarkable. It climbs well and the lock-out function on the fork makes a noticeable difference on extended climbs. Where the Fuel really seems to shine is on gnarly descents. Rooted uphills are a less intimidating as well. For my own weight (175 lbs.) and personal preferences, I keep the front fork at 120 PSI in both the positive and negative chambers. For the rear shock I prefer 100 PSI.

Weaknesses:    This bike may be a bit overpriced. Guys at the races have been beating me on less expensive bikes, but that’s another story (see below). The Bontrager tires wash out when cornering in dry conditions. To compensate I had to drop the tire pressure to 23-25 pounds. I will probably replace the stock tires with WTB Mutano Raptors. I have noticed that some reviewers have not been pleased with the saddle, but I have no complaints after about 450 single-track miles. There is a plastic guide on the top tube that holds the rear disc brake cable in place. It is held on by some kind of adhesive. This guide came off after a couple of rides. I took the adhesive off and put a small amount of Handi-Tak underneath and it hasn’t budged since. After intense braking I will sometimes hear a slight rubbing sound coming from the discs. But it goes away after a few minutes. I was told that this is typical. Ironically, the rear lock-out on the shock seems to add more bob to the ride when not locked-out. Is this due to the particular rebound setting I am using? I am not really sure. Thus far, it does not seem that the lock-out on the rear shock serves any real advantage. After several hundred miles I noticed a creaking noise that sounded like it was coming from the bottom bracket. However, after investigating matters more fully I discovered that some of the bolts on the rear shock linkage had loosened. Once tightened, this eliminated the noise. On rare occasions, maybe three times in 450 miles of riding, I have had chain suck. Upon reflection, I would attribute this to poor technique on my part (i.e., pedaling while shifting to the granny ring). Slight pedal hesitation before shifting to the smallest chain ring is the way to go.

Bottom Line:   
As outstanding as this bike is, the old adage rings true: In racing its 95% rider, 5% bike—or something like that. With the kind of beginning level XC racing I have been doing, all the top finishers are riding $1800.00+ bikes. While I have found that this bike allows me to be competitive, I also find that my own conditioning and bike handling skills seem to be the real edge. If you have the money, this is bike is an excellent choice. At the same time, don’t rule out other less expensive options (e.g., Gary Fisher Sugar Race). In my judgment the Fuel 98 serves the XC racer the best. Trail riders who are into more intense technical riding might be better served by Trek's Liquid line.

Expand full review >>

Favorite Trail:   Lewis & Clark

Duration Product Used:   3 months

Price Paid:    $3800.00

Purchased At:   Highgear

Similar Products Used:   Gary Fisher Sugar Race

Bike Setup:   Stan’s No-Tube, Oury grips, Cateye Enduro 8 computer, Crank Brothers Cro-Moly Egg-Beater pedals

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Reto Rigassi a Cross Country Rider from Rheinfelden, Switzerland

Date Reviewed: June 7, 2004

Strengths:    This bike is really fast for cross-country riding. It feels very light and nimble on single trails. Downhill i'm way faster than with my old hardtail. But don't missunderstand me: this is not the right bike for freeriding. The Fox-Fork works like a dream. It's worth every dollar.

Weaknesses:    I'm not sure if the headset will last for a long time. The brakes squeal a lot - perhaps this is caused by the light wheels. This bikes gives me a lot of fun - but costed me a lot of hard earned money.

Bottom Line:   
A perfect bike for cross-country and marathon. The suspension works very discreetly - no noticealbe bobing uphill. Feels very fast and nimble on single tracks.
I have absolutely no worries about the carbon-frame (see other reviews). I've been riding a Trek OCLV Hardtail for 6 years no without any problems.

Expand full review >>

Favorite Trail:   Grand-Raid-Cristalp

Duration Product Used:   3 months

Price Paid:    $3800.00

Purchased At:   Radsport Manna

Similar Products Used:   Trek OCLV 9900; Marin Pine Mountain, Univega Alpina 5.9

Bike Setup:   Fox RLT 80 Fork; Bontrager Race X-Lite Disk wheels; SRAM X9 shifters and derailleur. 2003 Shimano XT Disk-brakes.

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Brett a Cross Country Rider from Battle Creek, MI USA

Date Reviewed: June 3, 2004

Strengths:    Great climber! Stiff as can be but no vibration. Bike looks awesome. Everything on the bike has worked flawlessly. Heck, even the stock saddle fit pretty well. The tuble Bontrager tires work great in dry conditions.

Weaknesses:    I am always a little affraid of hitting a rock or a tree since it is a carbon bike. I would be very sad if it smashed into pieces. I have hit both with it so far and it hasn't broken, but I am still nervous as it costs so much. I have not had the problems with the wheels needing truing like the previous reviewer. Change the tires before you race in muddy conditions.

Bottom Line:   
This bike is the best bike I have ever riden, hands down.

It almost jumps when you start to pedal as there is no flex in the frame. This was one of the first things I noticed and that is saying a lot as I was riding a very stiff aluminum bike before. There is also very little vibration so your teeth won't fall out.

Climbing is so much easier with this bike. In the races I have been in I seem to be catching up and passing on the climbs. There is also very little pedal bob even though it doesn't have all the fancy lock out devices on the rear shock (like the Epic brain).

This bike is a racer's dream and although it isn't cheap it is the best money I have spent in a long time.

Expand full review >>

Favorite Trail:   Fort Custer

Duration Product Used:   3 months

Price Paid:    $3375.00

Purchased At:   Team Active

Similar Products Used:   Trek 8000

Bike Setup:   Project One bike w/custom flame paint job. I am running the stock XT Disc groupo but upgraded the fork to a Fox F100X (which is included in my above purchase price as it is an option from Trek). Furthermore, I am using Ti eggbeaters.

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Aaron a Racer from Stillwater, Oklahoma

Date Reviewed: April 21, 2004

Strengths:    Carbon Fiber, stylish looks, great components, efficiency when climbing.

Weaknesses:    Its going to take a little chunk out of your wallet. MSRP is around 3600. I was able to buy the bike through a "friend deal" for just above cost. Couldn't resist.
I wish Trek would have gone ahead and put a carbon bar on this bike, its a full carbon bike without a carbon bar, just doesnt seem right. The Bontrager wheelset should be ridden about twice then trued because the spokes seem to back out and get loose, not a huge problem, just a little annoying.


Bottom Line:   
The carbon fiber full suspension trek is one of the best rides that are out there right now. Trek will fully stand behind the frame for life. The shocks are delightful to ride on, even with only 3 inches of travel front and rear, which is more than you will need for most single track. This bike is made for racing and will take minutes off your best times. The SID shock in the front is great and is a perfect racing shock, same with the Fox RL in the back, it just doesn't get much better. The new Shimano dual control shifters are the way to go, shifting is so much easier and you will be able to shift from multiple hand positions. This is my first bike with disc brakes and the hydraulic on this thing will stop you in a hurry even me at 220 pounds. Just make sure to hold on tight when slamming on the brakes. If you are looking for a bike to race on then I believe you should look no further. The full carbon bike is crazy light and even faster than you can imagine. My bike is an XL and the weight is somewhere around 25 pounds. With that said, if you can't afford the carbon, or you dont like the flex that carbon has, the fuel 95 isnt a bad ride either and is basically the same bike with a zr9000 frame. If you want a bike to bail off 4+ foot drops on a regular basis better look into the trek liquids, they are much better set up for that type of thing. As long as you want to race then this bike will be perfect for you. 5 chilis.

Expand full review >>

Duration Product Used:   Less than 1 month

Purchased At:   Pro Bike, Oklahoma City, OK

Similar Products Used:   Klein Mantra Comp

Bike Setup:   Stock except changed rear der. to XTR, changed to a Flite seat, and put Crank Bros Candy Ti pedals on.

Reviews 1 - 12 (12 Reviews Total)

Review Options:  Sorted by Latest Review | Sort by Best Rating


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