Chris K Benz
a Cross Country Rider
from Wsstminster, CO.
Date Reviewed: July 17, 2007
Strengths: Extremely light, very-quick and durable! Great Mtn. bike for the advanced rider through Pro, as you can go "very" fast and this machine will handle like no-other..
Weaknesses: old seat-post,
Clearly the best bike I've ever had. Stock, it was great and took a beating without any problems. Reason for rebuild was to bring the bike up to date a bit. After several years, re-built rear suspension and replaced all bushings and Ti bolts. It's approx. a $65.00 kit from Trek and the rear is as tight as the finest piece of; anyway it's rock solid. Replaced the seals in the Duke only once.
I've studied several full suspension designs over the years and as of 7/17/07 this is the simpelist most comfortable and best handing bike you'll ever ride, period!
Similar Products Used: Jamis Dakar, 1995,96. Demo'd several others..
Bike Setup: Completely rebuilt after several years of hard-riding. Full XTR from the crank-set, derailuers and v-Brakes, hate disk, as it adds weight and are problematic, though this year I've seen some great changes,,,Monkey-lite bars Ritchey Pro stem and seat-post, newer DT swiss wheels and hubs, etc.
a Cross Country Rider
from Suffolk, UK
Date Reviewed: October 4, 2006
Strengths: Fast and light. I can keep up with anyone on this.
Weaknesses: No disks on my 02 model, no pro pedal. Steering a bit steep & twitchy for tight singletrack & downhill, but the payoff is fast acceleration & great climbing. 80mm travel front & back is only just enough- 100-125mm would be better.
Bottom line is it makes me want to ride all the time, & ride hard. I've lost 30lbs & become much fitter without having to give up curry & chocolate! Double bonus. The bike was amost 4 years old when I bought it, so some aspects are a little dated, such as V brakes, but overall it has superb geometry & just feels right for my type of riding. I would love to get my hands on a new Fuel as they are getting superb reviews.
Bike Setup: I bought this bike secondhand & have almost rebuilt it since. Full XT drivetrain, shifters & levers, Avid Single Digit 7 V brakes, XTR cables, Kooka 660mm wide, 30mm riser bar (didn't get on with the 600mm xc flats), Odi lock on grips, rebuilt wheels with Mavic 819 rims.
a Cross Country Rider
Date Reviewed: December 23, 2005
Strengths: This bike is awesome and has alot of strenghts. It made me a better faster rider. And I was able to compete in some XC races. Trek Carbon fiber is the best in the business and although The bike doesn't have much travel(by today's standards) The carbon frame soake up alot hence a sweete comfortable ride. Components are good on this bike too.
Weaknesses: The two main drawbakes for me with the stock bike are The Rockshox SID fork. I don't like the flex in it, it made my downhill very sketchy I have no confidence with that fork. I'm 200 lb. rider and I believe that fork would suit a 150-160 lb rider muck better. So I upgraded to a Marzocchi Marathon. Problem Solved! The other thing I dsid'nt like about the stock bike is the fact that the hobs are not disc compatable. Great Hubs and wheels, DT Swiss and Bonty Race lite Tubeless, but if you want disc brakes like me you must upgrade the huds and therefore the wheelset unless you have someone swap out the hubs which for all that trouble you might as well buy a new Wheelset altogether. Which I did to avic crossmax.
This bike is amazing. Super light and fast. So far has handled aggressive XC and racing. Trek has the best Warranty and Customer service. The newer Fuel Lokks sweet with disc brkes being standard. Why pay up to 1500 - 2000 for a frame from some glitzy company when you can get the whole bike for a bit more. These bikes are handmade in America.
Bike Setup: Trek fuel 98 Full XT, Marz. Marathon fork, Avid Mech. Disc brake, Mavic Crossmax Enduro Wheels, Fox FloatRL Rear shock.
Date Reviewed: July 14, 2005
Strengths: Extreemly Light, No Bob, Stiff and responsive, very well balanced bike.
Weaknesses: Ground Clearance. Brakes.
True XC design down to the non disc option (yes, vbrakes are still the preferred tool for XC...just look at what most pros used in the olympics and in any other race..or simply what you prefer i guess). This bike is extremely efficient with virtually no bob. It climbs as well as my last hard tail (i was reluctant to give it my merlin for full suspension) and doesn't give anything up in cornering either. It is setup to place you in a more forward, much less upright position (other manufactures like yeti tend to have a much more upright ride...less of a race oriented..again preference). I have riden this thing in 3 24hr races and it has been great...it has made a huge difference for me. The only real complaints I have are: the bike seems to be a little low to the ground, which causes more pedal bashing than usual. the brakes are pretty much trash. my bike was outfitted with Avid Digi 5's, which are not true linear pull brakes (like shimano). Other than my two small complaints, I simply couldn't be happier with this bike. 5+!
Bike Setup: Have made many upgrades: Mavic Crossmax SL's, xtr vbrakes, xtr cranks and carbon seat post (didn't need most of these except brakes).
from Rhode Island
Date Reviewed: April 23, 2005
Strengths: Light and the carbon seems to dampen the small trail vibrations
I am a 210lb intermediate/advanced rider who loves xc. No drop offs or jumps other than your occasional bunny hop over logs. My first Fuel 98 was the 2001 model which had an aluminum main frame and a carbon rear triagle. After about 600 miles the rear swing arm cracked and I had to wait 6 weeks for Trek to paint up a new one and ship to my LBS. After another 600 miles, the aluminum main frame started to develope spider cracks where the rocker link attached to it, and then after a night ride the top tube almost cracked entirely off at the junction with the seat tube. Waited another 6 weeks, paid an up charge of $300.00 and replaced the main frame with the 2003 model in all carbon. I have about 1000 miles on this new frame and swing arm and now again hve a cracked swing arm and have found the carbon seat tube to be cracking apart. (No I didn't use a too short seat post, it was pleanty long.) I like the bike when I can ride it, but the durability and dependability of this rig has me very disapointed. Thank goodness Trek offers a lifetime frame warranty, if not, I would definitely move on to another manufacturer. So far this bike has caused me to log way too many miles on my road bike, while it is down.
When rideable, the bike is everything, everyone says it is: light, fast, easy to carve. The suspension is good for light bumps and fast riding. If you cover a lot of rock gardens and occasional baby heads you should probably look for more travel.
Strengths: This bike is so light, for an FS. There is no bob, when shock is set to desired weight settings, Carbon frame is stiff and strong, sid forks are responsive to the smallest pebble, XT transmition works without a single mis-shift, wheels are crazy light!!!! espc the front one!
Weaknesses: none so far. tires seem to have minimal profile thus they slip a little in hardpack or lose surfaces, but i guees its just my technique. Seat post has slipped once, but never since.
This bike is a racing machine!!! everytime i ride this thing i am just overhwelmed by the capabilities it has, it can make the toughest track a peice of cake with its fs performance, the first week i got this steed, it was raced at canberra and with results i cannot even fathom, a guy which i was currently 30 seconds behind i beat by 5:30 mins, over a 32km course. i am a junior racer and very spoilt. But to race and achive our dreams i belive that people need all the help they can get, which my parents fondly agree on. Note howerver: this bike is not for the weekend warrior looking to trash around local trails for 10 km then leaving the bike to sit there for another week, this is a pure bred racing machine, and in the right hands will take you as far as you can go. Bottom line: if you have the money get this bike you will not be dissapointed
Bike Setup: Stock except, upgraded to Sid World Cup, Avid Ti`s, Odi Lock-on`s and Ritchey WCS barends.
a Cross Country Rider
from The Foothills of NorthCarolina,USA
Date Reviewed: April 26, 2004
Strengths: Absolutely no flex, makes for a quick imediate response.Step on the pedals and she launches, sprints like a hardtail.Quick in and out of the corners.Very tight handling .Stays put even with too much speed and braking hard in a tight corner.Climbs so nice lock out that front shock and it feels like a road bike ,SWEEEEEEEEET!!!!!!!! Oh and most important she jumps like a jack rabbit, can you say light!!
Weaknesses: None but I just have gotten it so I'll maybe add later.
Don't try one of these unless you really want one.You'll be taking it home . To me it's the dream bike.Light ,fast, nimble,and climbs so sweet.Hands down, best bike I've ever ridden.
Bike Setup: Standard setup even has the 270 cranks for the small frame .I changed to a longer seatpost,longerstem and am going to get a straighter bar and my old saddle as it was comfy.
a Cross Country Rider
from Laguna Beach, CA
Date Reviewed: March 22, 2004
Strengths: Stiff, Light, Great Handling on singletrack, Great climber.
Weaknesses: Strictly X/C. Not for big hits. Brakes / pads need upgrade.
I have been riding various Fuel bikes since '99, starting with the first Aluminum Fuel 100 (which broke and I upgraded under warranty to the carbon 03). Believe me I am sold on this technology.
The new '04 98 is only a bit heavier than the Fuel 100 and substitutes a less pricey XT group, fork, and a cheapo brake set and no remote front shock lockout. For almost $1,700 difference in price! So replace the brakes. (the pads wear out in about 10 rides) The saddle isn't great but it works for me until I wear it out. For the kind of riding I do (X/C singletrack in the mountains) this bike is perfect. The Fuel climbs like no other bike. I also have an older Fuel 100 carbon frame on another bike and this new '04 frame feels stiffer. (of course my other frame has 3K miles on it so who knows?)
I have ridden the Fuel 100 and I don't think the extra money for components is worth the difference - but I'm not a racer either.
The carbon frame however is worth the difference in price over the Aluminum Fuel models. Its subtle, but the carbon is both stiffer and more comfortable. (That said, I don't think the carbon is necessary if you can't afford it - the Aluminum Fuel is still a great bike.)
The new XT shifting is nice. I prefer it to the older XTR on my other bike. For once the "bigger gear" shift direction is the same for both front and rear. The shifting is very precise and has been completely trouble free. The XT shifting is vastly improved from old XT and now seems to work as well as the XTR. Also the new hollowtech XT crank is wonderfully stiff like the new XTR on my other bike.
The Bontrager tubeless tires have worked extremely well. No flats (knock wood) and never any air loss even between rides to this point. They work well (pretty much exactly like a Hutchison) until things get So-Cal dry dusty, then its time for a bigger tire. Wheels seem tough enough - no need to true at all yet.
Forget any other X/C bike for speed and efficiency - this is the real deal. This bike is also VERY nimble and can pick through stuff and power up switchbacks easily. It balances and turns extremely well and is reasonably stable at high speed. Of course that light weight and short travel is not the best thing for some kinds of riding. If you are looking for a "huck bike" or you are Joe Carshuttle or Bob Chairlift you will be happier with something else - check out the Fuel Liquid.
Note: Great bike fit and excellent full service from dealer as well!
Similar Products Used: '00 Fuel 100, Specialized FSR/XC, Psycle Works Wild Hare, various demo rides
Bike Setup: added XX Lite carbon bar, Blackbox remote shock lockout, Chris King Headset 130/110 front shock, 135 rear. 185 lb rider. Tires at 32 front, 35 rear.
a Cross Country Rider
Date Reviewed: February 13, 2004
Strengths: Amazingly smooth ride, smooth suspension in the front and the rear. Sooooo light, stiff and sick. New XT pods are sweet, everything works so well toghether
Weaknesses: The sid team flexes a bit too much for my taste and the rims are easy to bend if you are being abusive. COMES WITH THE WORST SEAT EVER: Bontrager FS 2000 on a $3000 bike?
Bike is amazing, just needs a new fork for trail riding but bike is almost perfect for racing. Comes with almost the worst seat in the world, definately needs to be replaced before the bike leaves the shop. This bike changed the way that i race and ride, its amazing. The rear suspension setup doesnt even need a lock out, it never bobs even when i stand to sprint, althought i only weigh 150 lbs. This bike is worth the money, huge improvement over aluminum or steel.
A dream-bike like no other!!! I'll never be able to ride a hardtail again... Compared to other fully's the bike has no effect on the pedalling movements. It doesn't use fancy concept like the Epic Brain from Specialized, it just works how you expect it will do!
Hello all. I have a 98 carbon and am looking for a new rear suspension shock. My question is what kind of shock would you recommend and what size would I need?
I currently have a blown Fox float.
[URL="http://s1224.photobucket.com/user/Tkaczuk/media/IMG_20130607_130707_edit0_zps47f6d5f3.jpg.html ... Read More »
I am looking at a bike on craigslist the owner said it is a trek fuel 98 but doesn't know what year it is and I also tried figuring it out but no luck. Could anyone help me out thanks.
Also is this bike worth paying $500 for?
[url=http://atlanta.craigslist.org/nat/bik/3269421274.html ... Read More »
Wanted to share a pic of the Fuel 98 I just bought. I had a mid 90's GT hard tail that needed some work and I am just getting back into riding MTB(started road biking last summer) after not doing it for probably 10 years. I figured instead of putting 200 into a 20 year old ride I would look for some ... Read More »
I have the opportunity to purchase an '02 fuel 98. It's a complete bike, but missing tires, cables, and a chain....purchase price is $250. I figured i would post up in the Trek part of the forum to see what you Trek guys had to say about it. I'm new to biking and would greatly appreciate any in:thum ... Read More »
Hey everyone...i'm just getting into the sport and am looking for some advice. There are two bikes i've found locally, and i'm going to purchase one of them....i just need your help to decide which one is the best deal.....
[B]The first one is a 2010 Specialized Hardrock sport disc[/B], all stoc ... Read More »