First unveiled back in 2005, the Fuel EX range of trail mountain bikes has long served as a testbed for the latest advancements in mountain bike tech; including boost spacing, 1x specific drivetrains, longer travel and bigger hoops as standard. For 2020, Trek has evolved the Fuel EX yet again into what it says is the most capable, well-rounded trail bike on the market.
Complete with a host of upgrades to the suspension linkage, room for modern amenities such longer dropper posts, wider tyres and bigger brakes, join us as we take you through six things to know about the 2020 Trek Fuel EX.
1. More Squish Up Front
Following the modern trend of manufacturers making their trail bikes more capable and versatile, Trek has opted to increase the travel across the board from 130mm to 140mm as standard. However, it’s with noting that the 10mm increase in travel is at the fork only, with the frame remaining at 130mm. The increase in travel is said to provide riders with increased confidence when tackling a wider variety of trails, and combined with the meaty rubber (more on that below), reduce trail buzz.
2. Refined Rear Suspension
For 2020, Trek has updated the Mino-Link rear suspension linkage and surrounds to accommodate the new fixed lower shock mount, active braking pivot and refined RE:aktiv Thru Shaft shock. Mino-Link works by giving the riders the ability to adjust the head tube angle 0.5º and bottom bracket height. By adjusting these. Riders can find the sweet spot of stability, nimble handling, ground clearance and rollover ability.
By updating the RE:aktiv thru shaft, Trek claim the Fuel EX and its suspension package performs better under extreme conditions. The fixed mounting location of the rear shock is arguably the most significant change to the Fuel EX, with Trek stating that this increases tyre clearance and improves frame stiffness without affecting suspension performance. At the rear, the active braking pivot is said to ensure the suspension stays active under heavy braking, improving kinematics and ride feel on the trail.
3. Big Hoops and Wide Rubber As Standard
Also in keeping with modern trends, Trek opted to outfit the majority of the range with 29” wheels as standard. The exception to this is in smaller sizes where riders have the option of 27.5” or 29 (S) or are limited to 27.5” wheels (XS). The reasoning behind the switch is that bigger wheels have been proven to maintain speed more efficiently, requiring less rider input to maintain momentum. On the subject of rolling stock, the Fuel EX range is now capable of swallowing tyres up to 2,6” wide, with Trek outfitting the entire range with meaty 2.6” wide XR4 Team Issue rubber (set up tubeless) from the factory.
4. It’s Slacker and Gender Neutral
This is the part where we write “It’s longer, lower and slacker” and you try not to roll your eyes. However, a peep at the geometry charts shows a not so marginal increase in all area’s which has been proven to increase stability, front-end feel and capability on the trail. The reach has grown 10-20mm depending on size, while headtube angles have slackened to 67º-66º (also size-dependent). A steeper seattube angle of 74º-75º is said to aid in climbing prowess and allow for a longer travel dropper seatpost (up to 170mm) to be used.
Much like other hitters in the industry, Trek has also done away with gender-specific sizing and geometries. Instead, Trek has opted to offer a broader range of finishing options, colourways and sizes across all models in the range.
5. 1x Specific and Storage Included
It’s no secret that 2x shifting is on the way out in mountain bike circles, with most bikes now hitting the market in 1x (single chainring) specific guise. The Fuel EX is no different with Trek opting to outfit the entire range with 1x groupsets from the factory with no mounting option for a front derailleur. By removing the option of the front derailleur, the Fuel EX can now accept wider tyres and a more linear chainline than the outgoing model.
Another neat addition, as seen on the 2020 Domane, the Fuel EX range offers ample internal frame storage as standard. All models in the range come complete with a Bontrager tool roll and side-pull bidon cage included, neat!
6. Pricing and Availability
The Fuel EX range is available for order from today onwards! Check with your nearest [bike store] for local availability.
The Fuel EX line up includes;
- Fuel EX 9.9 X01: $8,999.99
OCLV Cabon frame & stays, Fox Factory 36 fork 140mm travel, Fox Factory Float EVOL RE:aktiv shock 130mm travel, SRAM X01 Eagle 12-speed drivetrain, Shimano XT 4-piston brakes, Bontrager Line Elite Dropper post, Bontrager Line Carbon 30 wheelset, Bontrager XR4 Team Issue 2.6” tubeless tyres.
- Fuel EX 9.7: $4,999,99
OCLV Cabon frame & stays, Fox Rhythm 34 fork 140mm travel, Fox Performance Float EVOL RE:aktiv shock 130mm travel, SRAM NX Eagle 12-speed drivetrain, Shimano MT-420 4-piston brakes, Bontrager Line Elite Dropper post, Bontrager Line 30 wheelset, Bontrager XR4 Team Issue 2.6” tubeless tyres.
- Fuel EX 8: $3,999.99
Alpha aluminium frame & stays, Fox Rhythm 34 fork 140mm travel, Fox Performance Float EVOL RE:aktiv shock 130mm travel, SRAM GX Eagle 12-speed drivetrain, Shimano Deore brakes, Bontrager Line Dropper post, Bontrager Line 30 wheelset, Bontrager XR4 Team Issue 2.6” tubeless tyres.
- Fuel EX 7: $3,499.99
Alpha aluminium frame & stays, RockShox 35 Gold fork 140mm travel, Fox Performance Float EVOL DPS shock 130mm travel, SRAM NX Eagle 12-speed drivetrain, Shimano MT400 brakes, TransX Dropper post, Bontrager Line 30 wheelset, Bontrager XR4 Team Issue 2.6” tubeless tyres.
- Fuel EX 5: $2,799.99
Alpha aluminium frame & stays, RockShox Recon RL fork 140mm travel, RockShox Deluxe Select Plus 130mm travel, Shimano Deore 10-speed drivetrain, Shimano MT200 brakes, TransX Dropper post, AlexRims MD35 wheelset, Bontrager XR4 Team Issue 2.6” tubeless tyres.