We had the opportunity to try out the all new Fuel EX from Trek in Squamish BC. This bike has been completely redesigned for the 2017 model year. It’s available in both 29″ wheels or 27.5+ which is what we rode. The new Fuel is also available in a WSD or Women’s Specific Design. Fuel EX models start at $2799.
Trek has made quite a few changes to the 2017 bike compared to the previous version. However there are still some familiar features that we have become used to seeing on Trek bikes. There is still a Mino Link for adjustable geometry, ABP (active braking pivot) to keep the suspension active under braking and Full Floater shock mounts are also used on the new bike.
Now for the changes. The bike gets bumped up to 140mm of suspension travel on the front and 130mm on the rear. The 29er version gets a 130mm fork. This is up from 120/120 in previous years. The frame gets stiffer with the re-design mostly thanks to what they’re calling the straight shot down tube, and of course the option for 27.5+ wheels. The Fuel EX is longer, lower, and slacker than the previous bike. This makes it more aggressive than the previous Fuel and possibly more similar to the previous Remedy.
I must admit, I was very skeptical of 27.5+ wheels on a full suspension trail bike. However it didn’t take long for this bike to change my mind and prove that it’s legit. The bike climbed with ease. The plus tires combined with Trek’s proven suspension platform allowed the bike to pedal over technical sections of trail and wet roots without spinning out. It rolled over obstacles with ease. It’s difficult to say if the bike is faster or slower than the more conventional wheels sizes; unless you’re a racer looking to shave off hundredths of seconds I don’t think it really matters.
Descending is where the bike truly surprised and impressed. The extra travel compared to the previous Fuel and the plus tires gobbled up the terrain like a champ. The bike remained super stable on the trail with traction galore. The ABP suspension helps the bike track the trail, even under hard braking, giving the feeling of control and confidence. All that without sacrificing the climbability of the bike.
The overall first impression of this bike is that Trek has come through with a killer bike that will handle everything our local trail systems have to offer. You’ll be able to clean climbs you’ve never cleaned before and make absolutely no sacrifices when descending. This is a very well-rounded bike. This bike can instill confidence both up and down the trail with its stability and traction. It won’t have you wishing for less bike at Ellison and it’ll also handle Big Ed without a problem. Maybe that makes it a great choice for the Honest Ed Loop!