The 2020 Trek Fuel EX bears little resemblance to the previous model – we take a look at what’s new.
The 130mm travel 29er bike is set to be the battle ground of the top brands next year. With enough travel to take on chunky trails, but the potential to be light and efficient enough for a big day of climbing, this is an important part of the mountain bike world and the 2020 Trek Fuel EX is going to slot right into it.
Trek Fuel EX – New v Old
The 2020 Trek Fuel EX bears little resemblance to the previous model. And while it’s obviously going to be longer and slacker to keep up with modern trends, there are some big changes with the suspension – gone is the ‘Full Floater’ suspension linkage that pushed on the rear shock from both ends, Trek reckons that modern shocks are clever enough not to need this fiddling with suspension curves and can get the same effect from a regular rocker-actuated rear shock.
The 2020 Fuel EX has 130mm travel out back, with a 140mm fork up front, room for 2.6in tyres and, as mentioned a longer reach and a slacker head angle. The geometry changes slightly according to the Mino-Link setting chosen – bikes will come set with ‘High’ as a default. In High, you get a head angle of 66.5°, it’s joined by a steepened seat angle of 75° (which doesn’t change with Mino-Link adjustment).
Geometry & Sizing
Standover on the bikes has been improved, which also allows for longer dropper posts across all the sizes. The Small and XS will come with 100mm droppers, while the medium and larges will get 150mm droppers. At the 9.8 and 9.9 spec levels, the large and XL sizes get a 170mm dropper. And talking of sizes, the small and XS sizes will come with 27.5in wheels, while the small will ALSO come in 29in too.
Trek Fuel EX Suspension
Now, let’s talk suspension. The previous Fuel EX featured a lower suspension mount that was attached to the chainstays, so that as the suspension cycled, the lower link effectively moved from the top link as the shock was compressed, this allowed the suspension designers to tune the spring curve. Trek reckons that its new RE:aktiv With Thru Shaft shock can do all of that while being anchored to the downtube.
One additional feature of the new shock is the ‘external thermal compensator’ which acts like a tiny piggyback shock, giving the hot oil somewhere to go when things start heating up on repeated hits and long downhills. It’s the small cylinder in the photo above, to the right of the shock adjusters. And talking of adjusters – praise be! – the rebound adjuster is NUMBERED! This means no more ‘dial it all in and count the clicks back’ – this apparently is a pain in the arse for Fox as the shocks need to all be individually calibrated at the factory, but Trek has finally bullied them into it.
The Active Brake Pivot remains, which is where the rear pivot is around the rear axle. This is said to keep the suspension unaffected by braking.
What’s this? Apparently, while another large bicycle company pioneered using large, hollow carbon downtubes as a place to stash stuff, there wasn’t enough novelty in it to patent. Or Trek has found a way to sidestep its way round. Anyway, the upshot is that there is a removable panel beneath the bottle cage, operated by a lever, that reveals a hollow void of the downtube. Rather than leave it up to you to fill it with fun things (jackets, sausages, pumps…) Trek has made a neoprene burrito that holds just enough to get you out of trouble if you have a flat. There’s a tube, a CO2 and regulator and a pair of tyre levers, all wrapped in a neat package.
The rest of the spec has also been looked at too. The frame is now all carbon on the 9-series bikes, so all bikes at the 9.7, 9.8 and 9.9 level get full carbon front and back ends. There’s been a move to Fox 36 forks on the higher end models, something that suits where this bike is aimed.
And now a few of the bikes…
Pricing is from £1,850 for the Fuel EX5 to £2800 for the EX8 and £3400 for the ‘entry’ carbon 9.8 up to a cool £8000 for the SRAM AXS equipped 9.9:
- Trek Fuel EX 5 – £1,850
- Trek Fuel EX 7 – £2,350
- Trek Fuel EX 8 – £2,800
- Trek Fuel EX 9.7 – £3,400
- Trek Fuel EX 9.8 GX – £4,750
- Trek Fuel EX 9.9 XO1 – £6,500
- Trek Fuel EX 9.9 X01 AXS – £8,000
And that’s the new 2020 Trek Fuel EX. Check out Trek’s website for further information and ordering.
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Chipps travel and accommodation was provided by Trek