5 reasons the Trek Fuel EXe is most important bike of the decade

by 85

You may have seen the new e-bike from Trek launch this week. It’s called the Trek Fuel EXe and it’s a Very Interesting Bike. We’d go as far to say that it’s probably going to be the most significant bike launched this decade.

We’ll explain why shortly. In the meantime, a quick 101 about what the Trek Fuel EXe actually is.

The headline news is that it only weighs around 18kg (40lbs) but still gives out 50Nm of pedal assist power. And it gives out this power by a new-to-MTB player in the motor scene, called TQ.

The bike itself is a 140mm rear travel trail bike with 150mm forks up front.

For those of you not yet au fait with Nm, the Fuel EXe’s top power level of 50Nm is pretty much like a full-power e-bike’s middle assist setting.

You can think of the Fuel EXe as a regular e-bike that’s had its Boost/Turbo mode removed.

You can also think of it as a regular e-bike that’s had its half its battery lopped off. The battery is 360Wh, which is around half the capacity of modern e-MTBs that come with 720-750Wh capacity.

The TQ drive unit is significantly more compact than other motors too. The claimed weight of it is 1.85kg. Regardless of its weight, it’s clearly really flipping small. This has allowed Trek to make the back end of the bike (chainstays in other words) very normal, at 440mm in length.

You can pop to Trek’s website to read all the detail you want. We’re here to discuss what this bike means for the bigger picture.

Here’s why we think the Trek Fuel EXe is most important bike of the decade…

1. It looks like a normal bike

Not only that. It looks like a really nice normal bike. There is no aesthetic reason to dislike this bike.

2. It sounds like a normal bike

Okay, so the bike is technically not silent in its motor operation but away from tarmac you’d be hard-pressed to actually hear the motor above the general noise of offroad riding alongness.

3. It’s not too heavy

From a practical point of view (putting on a car roof rack, lifting it over gates) through to a bike handling point of view, 18kg is perfectly acceptable.

4. It’s designed for normal riding

It’s just a trail bike. Not a self-shuttler. Not a SUV MTB. Not an underpowered restricted diet e-MTB. It’s arguably even a trail bike that can be ridden amongst normal non e-bikes.

5. It’s from a big brand

Orbea must be looking at all the fuss about the Trek Fuel EXe and scratching their head a bit. Isn’t it pretty much just like an Orbea Rise? In all kinds of ways, yes it is. But not in one crucial regard: Trek is one of the biggest bike brands in the world. And this bike is very much a shot across Specialized’s bows. The ball in now in Specialized’s court. What direction that brand decides to do with its SL range of e-MTBs is going to be what everyone has their eye on now.

All of the above reasons mean one thing. The Trek Fuel EXe is going to be a whole lot of people’s First Ever E-Bike. And people generally don’t go back to non-assisted once they’ve had an a-bike as their main bike.

The Trek Fuel EXe is the bike (e or otherwise) that plenty of people have been waiting to see. Aside from the price, the Fuel EXe removes the final few issues that the e-curious crowd had.

What about you? Do you want one?

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Viewing 40 posts - 1 through 40 (of 85 total)
  • 5 reasons the Trek Fuel EXe is most important bike of the decade
  • fettlin
    Full Member

    Yep, colour me interested. Saw a couple of first ride video’s yesterday and it’s gone to the top of my ‘new bike’ list already. Been um’ing and ah’ing over a few bikes, both E and normal and this could well be my First Ever E-Bike(tm).

    Price not withstanding, it looks like a goldilocks bike to me, just about right in all the important areas. Mainly weight and handling, I dont want a monster truck/shuttle bike and an Orbea Rise was on the list for tha reason, but this my have the juice and power that the Rise doesn’t.

    Edit: my only concern would be an untested motor from a new manufacturer, what’s the warranty like ben?

    Oddly, of the non E bikes i’m looking at, a Top Fuel is up there as well, Trek do make some good bikes these days.

    Olly
    Free Member

    the ring gear motor looks great. i guess time will tell how it stands up to the abuse, but it has the makings of big things (in small packages)

    Theres something that doesnt sit right about the frame itself. Maybe its the yellow, maybe its the full carbon swoops. I think bringing this motor tech to more moderatly priced Aluminium frames and builds over the coming year, will be a welcome move.

    IdleJon
    Full Member

    5. It’s from a big brand

    Isn’t it pretty much just like an Orbea Rise? In all kinds of ways, yes it is. But not in one crucial regard: Trek is one of the biggest bike brands in the world.

    The entry level Orbea Rise seems to be roughly £900 cheaper than the entry level Trek, with a better spec, slightly more powerful motor and similar weight. What benefit does Trek’s size bring to this?

    scaredypants
    Full Member

    this my have the juice and power that the Rise doesn’t

    I’m not sure that’s correct – are you thinking of the spesh ?

    mert
    Free Member

    It’s a trek, if it’s anything like that last two or three treks i’ve dealt with there will be one critically important widget that only trek make and is only available through trek dealers and must be installed by a trek dealer. 6 weeks after they shift to the next version of the frame, they’ll stop making it.

    Kicker:- it’s a bearing that could easily be a ISO size, but instead uses a non-standard imperial size that has been defunct since the 1970’s.

    johnnystorm
    Full Member

    Aside from the price, the Fuel EXe removes the final few issues that the e-curious crowd had.

    For me the high initial purchase price isn’t as problematic as the potential cost of a motor replacement after a year or two, and that remains to be seen.

    weeksy
    Full Member

    I don’t see it Johnny, you’ve got warranty and several companies are doing full repairs on motors now, the more people buy them, the more the repair companies will pop up.

    honourablegeorge
    Full Member

    Trek are one of the best to deal with warranty wise, and this seems to be a close collaboration with the motor manufacturer, so I’d be optimistic about warranty support.

    I’d struggle with the spec though – nine and a half thousand euro for me for a base model, and that has Select+ Rockshox suspension, and a load of Bontrager parts, there’s hardly a single part I wouldn’t want to swap out. Stupid one piece bar and stem, I’m looking at you in particular.

    Worse still, the same bike with a GX AXS mech and shifter is 1500 more expensive (well, Code R’s swaped in for XT 4-pots also) – you can buy a GX AXS upgrade including cassette and chain for 600 quid, not to mention the price of the XT group that you’d be taking off.

    thegeneralist
    Full Member

    For those of you not yet au fait with Nm, the Fuel EXe’s top power level of 50Nm is 

    Um. Since when has Nm been a measure of power?

    rickmeister
    Full Member

    The TQ motors have been running in M1 Sporttechnik bikes for a while now…

    Home

    akira
    Full Member

    Interesting to see weights of the cheaper models rather than the all dancing singing version.

    doomanic
    Full Member

    The weights are on the Trek website, IIRC the base model is 19.5kg and to get the headline 17.5kg you have to spend £11.5K! The £13K flagship model is actually heavier…

    thisisnotaspoon
    Full Member

    I think bringing this motor tech to more moderatly priced Aluminium frames and builds over the coming year, will be a welcome move.

    The trouble is, when the “entry level” model is £5700, who do you market the £5000 aluminum one at?

    IdleJon
    Full Member

    The trouble is, when the “entry level” model is £5700, who do you market the £5000 aluminum one at?

    I missed that earlier – the cheapest is carbon, vs the alu Rise at £900 less.

    lister
    Full Member

    Won’t the most important bike of the decade (assuming all the way to 2029/30) be the bike that can do all that this one can but for £3k* and maybe 35lbs?
    At the moment it’s beyond the reach of most people and is therefore only as important as any other bike over £7k^?

    *choose your own arbitrary price for a ‘good value and good performing’ bike!

    ^choose your own arbitrary price for a ‘expensive and therefore niche’ bike!

    finbar
    Free Member

    Clickbait article title is clickbait

    kimbers
    Full Member

    Yeah bike companies definitely arent over reaching as we teeter toward a global recession
    and they are investing heavily in eBikes that have eyewatering price tags

    also have motors with high failure rates & batteries that loose efficiency over time
    oh and both of these are constantly being improved upon, so go obsolte quickly

    whats depreciation like for resale?

    Seller “Buy my ebike, used for 1 season- bargain at £10k”

    Buyer “Does it have transferable warranty on the motor/battery?”

    Seller “no”

    Buyer “How much is a replacement motor/ battery”

    Seller “£1000/ £400”

    Buyer “does the latest version of this bike use a compatible battery/ motor?”

    Seller “no theres a new version out”

    Buyer “will you take £500?”

    Seller “but it cost me £15k!!” …..

    chrismac
    Full Member

    I don’t see the point. It’s still too heavy to replace a mtb with one. Who wants to pedal something that heavy. But you don’t get the benefits of being motorised because the battery and motor aren’t upto the job compared to other motors. Do what’s the point? Worst of both works as far as I can see. The video’s on other sites suggested it’s along way from silent

    doomanic
    Full Member

    But you don’t get the benefits of being motorised because the battery and motor aren’t upt o the job compared to other motors.

    Utter rubbish. I’m hardly an athlete (unless eating chock Hob Nobs is an Olympic sport) and I ride a Kenevo SL with a 35Nm motor. It’s plenty, unless you get your kicks from riding up hill like your arse is on fire. I used to ride a Trek Rail with 85Nm and the KSL is more satisfying in every respect.

    gavalar
    Free Member

    Hardly a shot across Specialized bow Specialized put a.shot across the bike industry when they launched the Levo, you’re saying the Trek is the most important bike of the decade, more like its taken the competition a decade to catch up, and what about the new Pivot, it makes this Trek look positively old in comparison.

    andylc
    Free Member

    Naysayers aside that is the first eMTB I’ve seen that I would consider buying.

    didnthurt
    Full Member

    I hired a Specialized Levo SL and it was the perfect amount of assistance IMHO. Rode just like a nice competent mountain bike.

    The Trek is very nice but as with all these new bikes, I’m too poor afford one.

    Northwind
    Full Member

    Definitely more interesting to me than pretty much all other e-mtbs. I don’t need full power, I just want everything to be a little bit easier. But, too expensive for me still.

    bowglie
    Full Member

    Well, I’m glad I’ve ordered an Orbea Rise (better VFM and with a more powerful motor from a known brand with years of experience of manufacturing them). Hope the motor in the Trek is more robust and reliable than the Brose ones Spesh use!

    richb1910
    Full Member

    everyone is too poor to afford one, hence interest free credit on new ones! same applies to all top end MTB’s and the industry relies on it.

    kraeondesign
    Full Member

    Tbh, I think it looks stunning simply as a mountain bike, the motor tech is icing on the cake, I’m very interested!

    chrismac
    Full Member

    It’s not even a bike it’s a motorbike. It has as engine. Just think how much you could save if you spent a fraction of the cost on getting a bit fitter

    daveylad
    Free Member

    I wouldn’t say the most important bike of the decade.
    Looks interesting though and the power sounds reasonable. I wouldn’t buy a specialized sl as it just sounds too weak at 35nm and the high pitched motor noise is horrific.
    Who is even buying motorless bikes these days? They have surely gone the way of the dodo.

    intheborders
    Free Member

    At the moment it’s beyond the reach of most people and is therefore only as important as any other bike over £7k^?

    Based on the number of eBikes I see at the likes of the Golfie, ridden by folk that really don’t look ‘minted’ I’m not sure I agree with you.

    singlespeedstu
    Full Member

    I wouldn’t buy a specialized sl as it just sounds too weak at 35nm

    I have it on good authority that the new SL that’s not released yet is a fair bit more powerful.
    Same motor just more oomphh.
    A friend had one fitted in his KSL to test a couple of weeks back.

    zippykona
    Full Member

    Will these low power bikes get you up as steep a hill as a more powerful one?
    If I was to get an ebike I want to climb the steepest hills around.

    doomanic
    Full Member

    I have it on good authority that the new SL that’s not released yet is a fair bit more powerful.
    Same motor just more oomphh.
    A friend had one fitted in his KSL to test a couple of weeks back.

    There has been at least one bike on long term test in the Forest of Dean for ages. If it’s just a firmware update there will be a lot of happy Spesh owners, if not, well… 🤣

    convert
    Full Member

    I was pretty scathing about the idea in a thread a while ago but I’m warming up to it now. I’m guessing a piggy back battery is available too.

    I think if I go there I’ll be late to the party as I only bought my main bike (non ebike) last year and I can neither afford or justify the addition/swap any time soon.

    I think for me something like this with a piggyback might be what I’d go for when……..reliability is a default given. Until then it’s just too much cash for the level of risk they seem to come with.

    towzer
    Full Member

    Deffo interested in this class of ebike (*doddering xc rider, but still trying to pedal, so on a levo, off/low about 80% time, mid – 15% high – 5% (possibly lower, steep hill bits, mud disaster, abject leg failure and once for about and hour when after a phone call I had to get home).

    Tried the levo sl, but didn’t think it had quite enough power, esp as when I need it it’s because I need it if you see what I mean (*ie I’m knackered/can’t do it)

    Loved the rise, esp after weighing it, but having had a shimano motor just not prepared to deal with the potential out of warranty costs due to lack of repairability. (*I still use my 2006 orange 5, can’t build wheels or e-motors)

    Overall I *think the 50/60 power and 350 battery will work for me, esp with extender.

    So trek
    – removable battery a plus for me (hotels, self catering etc)
    – unknown motor – ho hum – warranty, rebuildability, spares
    – big brand but seen some ‘critique’ of their warranty/parts availability.

    Pivot
    – seems to be as above(*not sure on battery)with probably more warranty critique.

    awaiting new levo sl, my levo has really impressed me and I have a localish very highly recommended dealer. If it is the same motor it is “apparently” rebuildable but it probably has a fixed battery.

    Wonder what else will come along.

    bowglie
    Full Member

    Yes, it’s the ‘unknown’ motor that really puts me off this bike just now.
    It might turn out to be a good one, but guess it needs a few thousand of them to be out in the real world for a couple of years to see how they hold up.

    IME, not all ebike motors are troublesome fragile things. The Bosch Performance CX in my Trek Rail has been flawless – just over 2000 miles in 2.5 years and still feels and sounds like new. (Used all year round, but I’ve never jet washed or modded it). A friend has a few Rails on his hire fleet, which get much more use and abuse (and jetwashing!) than mine and they’re also still going strong. He’s been hiring out and servicing lots of bikes and ebikes for years and says the Bosch motors are generally the toughest and most reliable out there. Not the quietest of motors, but the CX does feel robust.

    Stealth ad warning – it’s a shame I’ve got to flog my Rail to fund the Orbea purchase.

    tthew
    Full Member

    Who is even buying motorless bikes these days? They have surely gone the way of the dodo.

    That’s just rubbish. I ride with 3 distinct gangs of riders, One person amongst them owns an e-bike and I don’t hear much talk amongst the others enthusing about them. And that’s actual mountain bikers*. When you think about kids with bikes, MTB riding commuters, general transport bikes, I see even fewer e-bikes.

    *Not an elegant phrase, but you know what I mean, people who have mountain bikes specifically for mountain biking and not general riding.

    HoratioHufnagel
    Free Member

    Kimbers sums up all my issues with ebikes pretty well!

    Really need to be more maintainable. 2 years non-transferable warranty for motor/battery is not enough IMO. What happened to sustainability? Could this be part of the reviews maybe? Can this motor be fixed anywhere outside warranty or is it like Shimano?

    Maybe you clip a pedal (not uncommon) and damage something in the motor not covered by warranty, what happens?

    IHN
    Full Member

    Who is even buying motorless bikes these days? They have surely gone the way of the dodo.

    Well, people like me.

    Ebike to replace a car journey – fantastic.

    Ebike cos you need help to overcome disability/illness/age – go for it.

    Ebike cos, basically, you’re too lazy to pedal – get in the sea

    The dodo comparison is apt, they were made extinct though human stupidity.

    stevextc
    Free Member

    weeksy

    I don’t see it Johnny, you’ve got warranty and several companies are doing full repairs on motors now, the more people buy them, the more the repair companies will pop up.

    Last time I checked NO-ONE but Bosch can do a full repair on a Bosch motor… they won’t sell the control board even to partners.
    Kimbers sums it up pretty accurately^^^ , essentially ticking financial time bombs after warranty or if warranty isn’t transferred ..

    iainc
    Full Member

    ^^^ this is a nagging worry for me, My Levo SL is just on 2 yrs old now, it was an expensive bike at the outset and has since had an upgraded fork and AXS shifting and dropper, so a lot of cash in it were it to break outside warranty..

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