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.

We'd love to see the bike come in a little lighter than 30 pounds, but overall we were impressed.

We'd love to see the bike come closer to 27-28 lbs, but overall we were impressed (click to enlarge).​

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 90mm X-Fusion fork and rear shock are purpose-built for this frame.

The 90mm X-Fusion fork and rear shock are purpose-built for this frame (click to enlarge).​

Key Components

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.

Continue to page 2 to read our first ride impressions and see a rundown of key highlights »



Dropping in at the Mammoth Mountain Bike Park.

Dropping in at the Mammoth Mountain Bike Park (click to enlarge).​

Ride Impressions

There aren't a whole lot of options in this category. Before this bike showed up, my son Logan was riding an XS women's frame with 24" wheels. Simply riding a bike which was designed for his size, weight and riding style was a breakthrough. His abilities on the trail immediately improved.

One thing that has always bothered me with kids bikes is that the manufacturers do a poor job of replicating the proper stance and proportions of adult bikes. But the Fuel EX Jr addresses this, allowing pint-sized riders to get into an aggressive riding position and ride to their potential.


On the downside, I was dismayed that this bike came with a front derailleur. Burdening young riders with unnecessary complexity just doesn't make a lot of sense. This is no flyweight either, tipping the scales at nearly 30 pounds.

Another essential item on our local trails is a dropper post. And while it's fine that it's left off this bike's stock build to keep costs down, the fact that seat tube has a bend in it means it wont accommodate a dropper even if you wanted to spend the extra money. At the very least, I'd like to see a quick-release seat post bolt to ease adjustment, but that was left off as well.

This bike has allowed our tester to get into an aggressive riding position and ride to his potential.

This bike has allowed our tester to get into an aggressive riding position and ride to his potential (click to enlarge).​

Bottom Line

Since the Trek Fuel EX Jr arrived, I've seen my son climb up things he'd previously never cleared, roll over obstacles that used to make his bike bounce wildly, and carry enough speed to make our rides together a whole lot more interesting. I feel like I have a new riding partner - and Logan seems pretty happy, too.

Get them involved when they're young and they'll be riders for life.

Get them involved when they're young and they'll be riders for life (click to enlarge).​

Features and Specs

  • Price: $1,980
  • 26" wheelset provides big wheel benefits to kids
  • Smaller diameter grips designed for kid's hands
  • X-Fusion Suspension tuned for lighter riders, 90mm of travel
  • Active Braking Pivot provides smooth braking during suspension travel
  • Full Floater suspension linkage connects shock to swingarm
  • Hydroformed aluminum frame
  • Adjustable reach brake levers
  • E2 tapered headtube
  • Weight as tested: 29.66 pounds

For more information visit www.trekbikes.com.