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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So here's the deal many of us old school folks are having: Everything is online. Great for mental comparing - terrible for trying them out. That said, Trek makes themselves VERY available are several shops near me (San Fernando Valley of LA).

So as a start, I'm looking at the Fuel EX 7 29. Under $3k and the online specs of components works for my needs. But looking for other options for a Trail for even CC in that under $3k point. The Salsa Horse thief looked like a nice option. But of course local to me it's REI and online only.

BTW, coming off a steep angle 26 CC. I'm 6' and older now so thinking trail would be nice.

Any ideas?
 

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I've been riding an older Epic Comp 29 and a Superfly HT but wanted to try something a bit more plush as I just turned 52, so I can relate to your situation.

I was going to try a YT Jeffsy online, but they weren't shipping until August.

Giant Trance 29-2 and Stumpjumper ST alloy are both around your target price-point. I rode all three plus the SC Tallboy and went with the Trance last week. Nice mix of all off them. It does everything well and I could climb much better than the Trek with the rear shock left in the open position. I also got their Spring Sale pricing which sealed the deal. Trek and Specialized dealers wouldn't compete.

You really can't go wrong with any of the them as the ride, suspension, and geometry of these newer trail bikes blows the doors off anything older than a few years ago imho.
 

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I agree that it's hard to go wrong in that price range on any modern mid travel trail bike. I preferred the Fuel over the Stumpjumper (non ST), but only marginally. I didn't like the Trance out of the box because it felt small, but the fit would have been easy to fix. It still ridde nice.

If you can demo the bikes to see which one had the best feel on a trail, that's your best bet. If not, pick the one with the best shop support and you'll never be the wiser to how the other bikes feel.
 

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Recently switched from a 2012 26 inch Santa Cruz Superlight to a 2018 Norco Optic A9.1 29er. You might find the 2018 models discounted (I bought mine online from Norco, delivered to a dealer for less than $CAN 3,000).

Pleasantly surprised by this bike, find it nimble and adapting from 2x9 and "old" geometry Superlight to the 1x11 drivetrain and more progressive geometry was easy within a few rides.

Seems you can get the 2019 carbon framed model with a discount: https://www.norco.com/bikes/mountain/trail/optic-carbon/optic-c2/
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Checked it out. Very nice specs. But I'm comfortable with alum and I can touch and feel the Trek local. So far from my parking lot demo (which gives me fit right away...) has a very nice cockpit for my body.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Follow up to my question...
Well, I took a leap of faith: After online spec comparisons and a few simple quick "parking lot" rides, I purchased the EX7 19.5 frame size. I must say quite a bit different in ride to my old 100cm CC FS with it's 71deg head angle.

As a more "senior" rider of 60, after a couple days riding I'm very impressed. I don't feel any weight issues compared to my older Ibex Asta 26" 100cm FS (don't laugh, was a fun bike for the money). Was concerned about the relaxed head angle for climbing. Went away on the first climb. And 29" wheels? How did I survive without them! For this 6' rider, it feels like an adult bike. I found when I was on trails with deep center ruts, I didn't have the fear of dropping into them. Crossed some creeks with short steep climb outs and it rolls right over them. The dropper seat post is something I felt all mountain bikes should have. And it works flawlessly. Now all this said, I rode it with the standard shock settings the mechanic thought would be a good starting point for my 200lbs. Maybe I can soften the ride just a bit as I'm not doing manky jumps and dropoffs.
The very large cassette is plenty low for us older weekend riders. I was a bit thrown by the shear size of it given I grew up in the world of smaller cassettes are better for weight on the rear. But having only the rear derailleur to deal with in quick shifting situations sure is nice.

If there is one glaring con, it's the noise of the cassette hub. I'm a long time Sram guy and like their shifting. But the NX level cassette is pretty loud. On the trail, just coasting a bit coming up behind hikers or bikers was enough for them to hear me. I don't think I'll need my gling-gling bell as long as this hub is on. I will keep it though until it's time to replace it. The shifts are very crisp though.

Overall, a very happy purchase!
 

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Congrats and glad you're happy with the EX.

I'm on my third season on a 2017 EX8.....started life as a 27.5+ and now I run it almost exclusively with 29s. Best bike I've ever owned. Fits like a glove and inspires a lot of confidence. I run it with the recommended starting points on the Trek suspension set up site: https://suspension.trekbikes.com/nz/en But I think I like it best when it bleeds down just a bit i.e. like your idea of going just a bit softer.

Either way, the bike strikes an amazing balance of qualities. Congrats again!
 

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Congrats and glad you're happy with the EX.

I'm on my third season on a 2017 EX8.....started life as a 27.5+ and now I run it almost exclusively with 29s. Best bike I've ever owned. Fits like a glove and inspires a lot of confidence. I run it with the recommended starting points on the Trek suspension set up site: https://suspension.trekbikes.com/nz/en But I think I like it best when it bleeds down just a bit i.e. like your idea of going just a bit softer.

Either way, the bike strikes an amazing balance of qualities. Congrats again!
Thanks for your reply, but it leaves me with a few questions for you...
Why did you switch from 27.5+ to 29?
What's your height and weight (if willing)?
What type of trails do you ride?

I ask this because I am pondering on purchasing a 2019 Fuel EX 8 (27.5+ or 29). A little background, about 2 years ago I bought a Marlin 5 (spring), then less than 6 months later I upgraded to a Stache 5 (which was very noticeable). I like to ride moderate to black diamond rated trails (nothing too crazy though). I had 29ers on the Marlin, but wider 3.0" 29ers on the Stache, which I love, which makes me question the tire size for the Fuel EX. I am 6'1" 165 lbs.

Any advice or input from other Fuel EX or 27.5+ to 29 riders? Thanks!
 

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IMHO, the EX is one of the most underappreciated platforms out there. Build quality and overall performance are excellent. My wife went from a Pivot Mach 4 C to the EX and she prefers the EX in all types of riding. Happy wife=Happy life. Thank you Trek.
 

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Thanks for your reply, but it leaves me with a few questions for you...
Why did you switch from 27.5+ to 29?
What's your height and weight (if willing)?
What type of trails do you ride?

Any advice or input from other Fuel EX or 27.5+ to 29 riders? Thanks!
5'8" and currently 165 lbs....I ride a 17.5....eastern PA rocks and roots and some mild drops, technical climbs and descents. EX8 eats this stuff up!

First, my decision to go 27.5+ was complex: 1) in 2017 the EX8 29s came with a front derailleur and I wanted the single chainring. 2) 140mm fork, which I wanted even if I eventually went to 29 wheels 3) Wanted to try this "new" plus thing.

It worked out great. First, I loved the plush ride of tubeless plus tires and I started shredding downhills faster than ever. Also, they are great foul weather tires, and I keep a wheel set just for that purpose.

But as time went on, I found myself avoiding grippier tires to keep myself from dragging down on the climbs. Chose Ikons over Minions...stuff like that. Then, I bought Ibis 938 wheels, which are 34mm internal, and mounted up some Minions...2.5f/2.3rear.....HOLY COW...suddenly I had a bike that rolled vastly better, had even more traction, and really lost nothing in the bashing-down-the-rocky-trail department.

So, that's the story....I'm glad I did my tour of plus tire duty, but for speed and precision, oh, and FEWER PEDAL STRIKES, I'm on 29s for good now (unless it's on snow or maybe mud.)
 

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Thanks for your story and time. I'm leaning towards the 29er, my LBS has it on sale for 20% off, but I will wait until next month (Aug.) when the 2020 Fuel EX's are released to compare. I know that Trek is going to raise the price, but want to see if it is spec'd better (and color options), but if it's the same, then I will probably go with the 2019 model. We will see...
 
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