Trek Fuel EX 8 review – still one of the best trail MTBs?
Trek’s alloy fuel ex trail mountain bike lacks the latest features but is the overall package still a winner.
Heavy frame that misses the latest features but still a great package for fast and precise all round mountain biking
Tight, precise frame
Sorted all round handling
Very efficient suspension feel
Durable Shimano kit
Excellent sizing options
No internal storage
Press fit bottom bracket
Top Fuel is more playful
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Trek’s Fuel EX has been one of the best mountain bikes in the world for years, but the alloy-framed 8 is lacking some of the features the latest alloy and carbon Treks. High-durability component spec matches the vibe of a really well-balanced bike. One that plans ahead, hands its homework in early (having double checked it) and rarely puts a wheel wrong or goads you into being silly yourself. So how has Trek done that and is there a better option in the range if you want something short on travel but big on fun?
Design and aesthetics
Trek has been using a rocker link-driven, vertical shock suspension design on its bikes for so long that “Looks like a Trek Session” is a cliche on most MTB forums. No surprise then that the Fuel EX continues the clean looks which leave plenty of room for a big bottle on the down tube and strap-on storage. You don’t get the internal storage of the newer Top Fuel alloy frame though and this older frame still uses a press-fit bottom bracket rather than reverting to a more reliable threaded format. There are ISCG chain keeper tabs on the BB though, a wider-angle Knock Block steering limiter to stop bars hitting the frame in a crash and rear axle concentric ABP rear suspension pivot. Cunning zip tie tabbed ‘Control Freak’ internal cable routing and rubber frame armor including molded chainstay sleeves keep things quiet.
You also get the 0.5-degree geometry change ‘Mino Link’ flip chip at the seat stay/rocker pivot. That changes head angle from 65.5- to 65-degrees and effective seat angle from 75.5- to 75-degrees on the Large I tested. Reach also shifts from 475 to 470mm and BB height drops from 346 to 340mm. The big win with choosing a Trek though is the sheer range of sizes from XXS to XXL including a sweet spot ML in the centre. Smaller bikes also run 27.5in wheels for proportional balance, too, although the chainstays are the same length on all frame sizes. The Fuel EX 8 is also available in three different two-tone color options.
Trek acknowledges that the ‘priority is on the parts’ with the EX 8 and the highlight is an almost complete Shimano XT drivetrain (the chain is SLX). The Fox Float shock is a custom unit, too, using a Penske race car derived RE:aktiv damper setup for a pert-pedaling feel on top of the 130mm travel. The 140mm Fox 34 fork is the stock Rhythm spec though and the Shimano brakes are basic four-piston MT400s. Bontrager’s functional Line component range completes the bike in well-judged, size-specific cockpit options although dropper post strokes are short on the larger sizes. Big volume versions of Bontrager’s XR5 and XR4 tires on Bontrager Line Comp 30mm internal rims put plenty of air between bike and trail for protection, too.
While the EX8 isn’t light at just under 15kg (a full kilo heavier than Trek claims) it’s in the ballpark for a mid-travel, alloy-framed bike at this price. What really stands out is how well it hides that weight when it comes to pedaling. The big tires don’t drag nearly as much as they look like they might, while the RE:aktiv shock and overall kinematic give it a really clean, crisp and stable platform to put down power from. That means even with three potential low-compression settings to play with, we rarely felt compelled to flick it out of full open unless we were hoofing uphill out of the saddle. Add the clean shifting, top-quality Shimano XT drivetrain and the Fuel EX is a great choice for high-mileage rides and riders. The fast-engaging ‘Rapid Drive’ freehub and relatively high ground clearance are a bonus for anyone who likes to kick hard out of corners or attack rough technical climbs, too. The efficient suspension feel still gives enough sensitivity to track the ground under power and you can drop pressures in the big tires if you’re into a proper ‘crawler/swamper’ feel.
The 140mm fork/130mm rear travel feels well balanced on the trail and the Grip damper Fox Rhythm repeatedly proved why its our favorite cost-effective fork. Trek’s suspension calculator is accurate enough to get most people sorted on set-up for most situations. The angles and proportions of the model we tested were confident at speed on jumps but still turned in promptly on woodland twisters. Even the basic Shimano brakes feel better than normal through the neutral suspension responses created by the ABP pivot and the 200mm rotor up front boosts power, too.
While you could speed up reactions with a shorter stem, the stock setup probably suits its overall character better. That’s because while it will pop and play off trailside opportunities if you’re in the mood, it does tend to sit on top of an already relatively high ride height rather than sucking down onto the trail and railing. Interestingly that’s a big - and counter intuitive - difference to the Top Fuel 8. With slightly steeper angles, less travel, significantly different suspension kinematic and top-spec RockShox rear shock, Trek’s pocket rocket has an addictively playful charisma that’s very much at odds with it’s ‘XC’ categorization.
In fact, despite it being heavier we’d probably opt for the Fuel EX for long marathon-style or efficiency-based events, especially as it’s significantly cheaper than its little brother, leaving you more cash for race entries and energy products. Just make sure you keep an eye on the press-fit bottom bracket and get it replaced as soon as it shows any signs of wobble/creak as that can eventually creates frame issues.
Trek’s Fuel range might be a bit backwards when it comes to assigning categories based on travel but the main thing is that the Fuel EX is still a really efficient, enjoyable and fitness/skill flattering all rounder. While it misses out on the internal storage, threaded BB and super-plush playfulness of the Top Fuel, Shimano XT will always bring a lot of hard riding boys (and girls) to the yard. Those are exactly the riders who’ll appreciate just how well this extremely well balanced bike covers ground and keeps a fresh and sharp feel long into the day, and down tough technical sections, too.
Tech Specs: Trek Fuel EX 8 XT
- Price: $3,929.99 / £3,200
- Discipline: Trail
- Head angle: 66/66.5-degrees
- Frame material: Trek Alpha Platinum Aluminum
- Sizes: XS, S, M, M/L, L (tested) XL, XXL
- Weight: 14.9kg
- Wheel size: 29 x 2.3in
- Suspension (front/rear): Fox Rhythm 34, Float EVOL 140mm travel, 44mm offset/Fox Performance Float EVOL, 3-position RE:aktiv 130mm travel
- Components: Shimano XT 10-51T, 12-speed gearing, shifter, chainset and cassette. Shimano SLX chain. Shimano MT400 brakes with 200/180mm rotors. Bontrager XR4 Team Issue 29 x 2.6in front and Bontrager XR5 Team Issue 29 x 2.5in rear tires on Bontrager Line Comp 30 wheels. Bontrager Line 780 x 35mm bar and 50 x 35 mm stem, Bontrager Line Dropper 150mm dropper post, Bontrager Arvada saddle
Guy has been working on Bike Perfect 's since we launched in 2019. Hatched in Yorkshire he's been hardened by riding round it in all weathers since he was a kid. He spent a few years working in bike shops and warehouses before starting writing and testing for bike mags in 1996. Since then he’s written several million words about several thousand test bikes and a ridiculous amount of riding gear. To make sure he rarely sleeps and to fund his custom tandem habit, he’s also penned a handful of bike-related books and talks to a GoPro for YouTube, too.
Current rides: Cervelo ZFS-5, Forbidden Druid V2, Specialized Chisel, custom Nicolai enduro tandem, Landescape/Swallow custom gravel tandem
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FIRST RIDE REVIEW
The new trek fuel ex review.
Photos & Words by Dario DiGiulio
As mountain biking has evolved into what it is today, the trails we ride on have slowly but surely raised the bar of what modern bikes have to keep up with. Sure, some tracks have been sanitized over time, but there’s no question that the pointy end of the sport has kept pushing forward. As a result, trail bikes have had to pick up the pace to match the expectations of the average rider, leading to more capable and confident rigs with every new model. Stepping up to the plate, we have the evolved version of the Trek Fuel EX, Trek’s mainstay trail bike. This time it’s really meant to do it all, riding anywhere and doing anything. Being this adaptable can be a tricky task though, so has Trek painted themselves into a corner?
The new Trek Fuel EX breaks just about every mold that the prior generations had fit into, with a full-on redesign for the new model. The name of the game here is adaptability, whether in the geometry, the suspension kinematics, or even what size wheels you’ll run. Thanks to their Mino Link flip chip and two sets of press-in headset cups, you can shift the character of this bike drastically to suit your terrain and preference. As a result, it’s a bit hard to parse out the specific geometry of the bike (however Trek’s site features a geometry tool to let you do so), so I’ll just speak to it in its most neutral form, which is where many will likely settle. There are a whopping 8 size variations to this bike from XS to XXL, so it’s worth digging through the geometry tables to see which might suit you best. They’re all sporting 140mm of rear travel with a 150mm fork, upping the numbers on the prior generation by 10mm.
I’ve been testing the large frame, which puts the reach and stack at around 485mm and 621mm, which are in line with the majority of the industry right now. In keeping with the new Trek Fuel EX’s theme of being adaptable and capable. In its neutral-low setting, the bike comes with a 64.5-degree head tube angle and the effective seat tube angle sits at 77.2-degrees. Chainstays shift with the frame size, and on a large come in at 440mm. Thanks to the Mino Link flip chip, you can adjust bottom bracket height by 8mm up from the slammed 38mm drop in stock configuration, with a 0.6° steeper head tube and seat tube angle. The more significant head tube adjustment comes from the independent press-in headset cups that Trek supplies, which can steepen or slacken things by a full degree, giving a very wide range of handling characteristics. The last frame toggle is the progression flip chip, offering a simple more or less option to tailor the suspension feel and offer uncompromised coil shock compatibility.
As is trend right now, you can set the Fuel Ex up as a mullet, simply by popping a 27.5” wheel in the rear, swapping the Mino Link to high mode, and bumping up fork travel to 160mm. The bike comes stock as a 29er front and rear (or 27.5″ in XS and Small), so you’ll have to make this change on your own accord.
A notable thing lacking from the newest Fuel EX its the Knock Block – you’ll find no such thing on this frame. X-up fans take note, as this is a big move for the engineers in Waterloo, Wisconsin, and was necessary to achieve the headset adjustment range they wanted. Trek has also moved away from the RE:aktiv damper shock, now simply relying on an off-the-shelf model. Still included in the frames are the handy-dandy stash box in the down tube, with what I think might be the best weather sealing of any of the options on the market at this point, and a neat BITS tool roll.
Build kits come in as many flavors as the sizes, and the range of options is quite extensive, beginning at a respectable $3,699. I’ve been on the highest end build, the 9.9 AXS especial, coming in at a healthy $10,749. From Bontrager Line 30 carbon wheels, to the RSL one-piece carbon cockpit, to the XX1 drivetrain, just about everything is as nice as it gets, as you’d hope for this kind of money.
At my height of 6’3”, the geo combination of the Neutral-Low-More flip chip configuration on the large size makes for a really comfortable fit, one that feels stable enough at speed while still remaining lively for your average trail. I started my time testing the bright yellow Trek up in Whistler, riding some gnarly rocky pedal-access trails around the Valley. This was a great context for deciding where I stood on the less or more progression debate, and I settled on the latter end of the spectrum. Increased bottom-out resistance and a more supple top of travel were worth a slightly punchier suspension feel, and I stand by that choice for most of the riding I have around me. On my home trails in Bellingham, the Fuel has been a choice companion for fast and fun rides in our local trail systems, where technical and engaging climbs lead to fast, rooty, and jump-filled descents. My general synopsis is that this is a bike that loves to ride fast, both up and down.
The climbing characteristics are comfortable and neutral, without wallowing too much or lacking grip in trickier terrain. Like many of the take-aways of the bike as it comes stock, things are extra-medium, in the best way. Compared to the new Hightower, the bike has slightly less support, but is significantly better in rough terrain and successive hits. Compared to the Stumpjumper EVO, the Fuel EX is definitely more of a trail bike, less of the all-mountain enduro-lite ride that the Specialized offers. All three bikes serve as a nice gradient from the lighter and sportier end of the trail spectrum to the burlier and more capable side of the category. Sitting pretty right in the middle is the Fuel EX, but I’m sure one could tweak it to either of the other extremes, given how much variability is baked into this frame.
Build kit notes are mostly positive, which you’d hope to see from the highest end build. My main gripe is with the Bontrager SE5 tires, which are some the least confidence-inspiring I’ve ridden in recent memory. The casing and tread pattern are fine, but the compound doesn’t seem to want to hook up anywhere, whether it’s dry loose terrain, rock slabs, and especially wet roots. This would be an immediate swap in my book, and I’d just keep the stock tires to run in the rear when conditions are dry and beat at the peak of summer.
The removable shuttle pad doesn’t seem to want to stay close to the frame, and bows out slightly when attached, giving the downtime a funny bulged look to it. One other frame annoyance has been a recurring suspension knock, despite chasing through every bolt in the linkage with a torque wrench. I still have yet to find the culprit, but luckily it’s not very noticeable when riding.
As a system, I’ve been more than impressed by Trek’s work on the new Fuel EX. Not only does it feel quick and confidant in the stock configuration, it also offers a whole host of layout options to better cater the bike to your preferences.
THE WOLF’S FIRST IMPRESSION
To close out our review of the new Trek Fuel Ex, it’s clear that Trek’s engineers and designers set out to design a bike that caters to that wide center of the market – the trail bike – where most riders spend their time, and where a bike can take many forms. In that goal, they found success. Sure some riders may feel the new Fuel EX has departed from what they were used to and liked about the bike, but many other riders will likely welcome the advancements in capability and confidence on the trail. The Fuel EX is a highly adaptable bike that feels comfortable in a really wide variety of terrain but doesn’t confuse itself for anything more or less. Bike riders, rejoice.
TREK FUEL EX 7
Frame: Alpha Platinum Aluminum, internal storage | 140mm Fork: RockShox 35 Gold RL | 150mm Shock: Fox Performance Float EVOL
Drivetrain: Shimano SLX/XT Brakes: Shimano MT420 4-piston
Wheelset: Bontrager Line Comp 30, Rapid Drive 108
TREK FUEL EX 8
Frame: Alpha Platinum Aluminum, internal storage | 140mm Fork: Fox Rhythm 36 | 150mm Shock: Fox Performance Float X
Drivetrain: Shimano XT M8100 Brakes: Shimano Deore M6120
TREK FUEL EX 9.7
Frame: OLCV Mountain Carbon, internal storage | 140mm Fork: Fox Rhythm 36 | 150mm Shock: Fox Performance Float X
Drivetrain: Shimano SLX/XT Brakes: Shimano Deore M6120
TREK FUEL EX 9.8
GX AXS Price: $7,699.99 XT Price: $6,749.99
Frame: OLCV Mountain Carbon, internal storage | 140mm Fork: Fox Performance 36 | 150mm Shock: Fox Performance Float X
Wheelset: Bontrager Line Elite 30, OCLV Carbon, Rapid Drive 108
GX AXS BUILD Drivetrain: SRAM GX Eagle AXS Brakes: SRAM CODE R
XT BUILD Drivetrain: Shimano XT M8100 Brakes: Shimano XT M8120
TREK FUEL EX 9.9
XX1 AXS Price: $10,749.99 XTR Price: $9,749.99
Frame: OLCV Mountain Carbon, internal storage | 140mm Fork: Fox Factory 36 | 150mm Shock: Fox Factory Float X
Wheelset: Bontrager Line Pro 30, OCLV Carbon, Rapid Drive 108
XX1 AXS BUILD Drivetrain: SRAM XX1 Eagle AXS Brakes: SRAM CODE RSC
XT BUILD Drivetrain: Shimano XTR M9100 Brakes: Shimano XTR M9120
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- Rider Notes
2022 · Trek Fuel EX 8
A 27.5″ / 29″ aluminum frame full suspension trail bike with high-end components. Compare the full range
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Based on frame geometry and build specs.
A bike with lower gearing will be easier to ride up steep hills, while a higher top end means it will pedal faster down hills.
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Based on build material and quality level of the frame, fork, wheelset, groupset, suspension system, and more.
Compare the full Fuel EX model range
Jun 2023 · Tom Marvin
A solid performer with a class-leading chassis, let down by a harsh front end
Great frame, with perfect handling and suspension feel
Adjustable geometry and sizing options mean a bike fit for all
Happy on any level of trail
Jun 2023 · Scotty Prendergast
Arguably one of the all-time most popular bike models of any MTB on the planet, the ‘Fuel Ex’ has been at the peak of Trek’s MTB line-up for as long as anyone can remember and it has had no fewer than six major design overhauls during that time. Late last year Trek unveiled their newest reinvention of the ‘do it all trail bike’ which rolls out of the store boasting a ton of rider customisation features, including a choice of […]
May 2023 · Jeremy Benson
The new Gen 6, Fuel EX 9.8 is the burliest, most versatile, and most capable Fuel yet; truly up for whatever you want to ride. Trek completely redesigned...
Apr 2023 · Drew Rohde
While the new Trek Fuel EX may have alienated a few riders, it will no doubt be a welcome redesign for a lot more riders!
Fast, confident and ready to rock!
More capable than ever
Great downtube storage solution
Adjustable and versatile geometry options
SE5 Tires in the wet
Some may not like the newer, burlier bike’s transition
Dec 2022 · Mike Levy
The downtube storage compartment is on the new bike, and while it seems like Trek has put all the things onto the latest Fuel EX, there's one that they didn't: Knock Block.
Wide range of effective geometry adjustments
Just as much fun on smooth trails as it is on scary trails
Great climber, efficient pedaling
One-piece handlebar might be too stiff for some riders
Paint chips easily
New geometry, more travel, and even better suspension improves Trek's mid-weight trail bike.
Trek's top-tier Fuel EX 9.9 XX1 AXS delights on the climbs and tackles downhill terrain with it's slack (and very adjustable) geometry.
May 2022 · Guy Kesteven
Trek’s alloy Fuel EX trail mountain bike lacks the latest features but is the overall package still a winner?
Tight, precise frame
Sorted all round handling
Very efficient suspension feel
Durable Shimano kit
Excellent sizing options
No internal storage
Press fit bottom bracket
Top Fuel is more playful
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Trek Fuel EX 8 Trail Bike Review
December 22, 2017
By Max Shumpert
Trek's line of Fuel EX 8 trail bikes is designed to withstand wind, weather, and other wear-and-tear that they might throughout their lifetime.
The heavy-duty 130mm frame is made of hydroformed Alpha Platinum Aluminum frame, offering strength and stability with none of the rigidity that's typically associated with aluminum frames.
The EX 8 is their most costly aluminum-framed model, but we think it's a good deal for a shred-ready component package that features excellent suspension, a GX Eagle engine, a 150mm dropper, and hefty 2.6" wide tires.
The frame is compatible with both standard-sized and plus-sized wheels and can comfortably seat adults ranging in height from 4'10.3" to 6'7.5" in height.
You can adjust the geometry of the Fuel EX using the Mino Link, although I often kept it in the 'Low' setting, which is optimum for 29in wheels. Reasonably priced, with the specification of good components for the budget, excellent minor bump compliance, and a versatile/well-rounded design.
Its big wheelbase and slack head tube angle make it surprisingly stable at high speeds and confident in steep, rugged terrain.
The Trek Fuel EX 8 comes in four different models:
- The Fuel EX 8 29 : The most basic bike in the Fuel EX line, the 8 29 model includes Bontrager Line Comp 30 wheels and Bontrager XR4 Team Issue tires. An SRAM GX Eagle 12 speed shifter and rear derailleur give riders more control when navigating a variety of rough terrains.
- The Trek Fuel EX 8 29 XT : This model offers a little bit more than its bare-bones cousin, including a Shimano Deore XT M8000 11 speed shifter and both front and rear Shimano derailleurs. The 8 29 XT also boasts a top-of-the-line Shimano MT500 hydraulic disc brake set.
- The Trek Fuel EX 8 Women's : This model is designed specifically to work with in tandem with the unique mechanics of a woman's body. Plus-sized tires help to improve balance and traction, while a specially engineered Bontrager Evoke 2 women's saddle offers a more comfortable ride.
- The Fuel EX 8 27.5 Plus : The 8 27.5 Plus is the most advanced bike in the Fuel EX line. It offers additional stability when riding, with Bontrager sealed bearing alloy axles that provide boost 148/110 hub spacing and robust SUNringlé Duroc 40 SL 28-hole rims. The assembly includes Schwalbe Nobby Nic Performance wheels with Addix compound added for grip and longevity.
Each Fuel EX 8 bike comes equipped with exclusive suspension technology that allows it to act as both a long-distance trail bike or a high-performance XC bike.
Specially engineered Trek systems offer the most consistent possible ride, giving cyclists maximum control while enhancing safety.
The RE:aktiv suspension system improves the bike's maneuverability, while a Full Floater setup absorbs shock and gives a comfortable ride even over rocky terrain.
Braking is also made easier by Trek's patented Active Braking Pivot system, which prevents brakes from locking up on more strenuous trails.
Trek Fuel EX 8 Tech Specs
TREK FUEL EX 8 FRAME SIZE: Alpha Platinum Aluminum 130mm frame. BRAKE TYPE: SRAM Guide R hydraulic disc or Shimano MT500 hydraulic disc. SHIFTER: SRAM GX Eagle 12 speed or a Shimano Deore XT M8000 11 speed. RIMS: SUNringlé Duroc 40 SL 28-hole rims. TIRES: Bontrager XR4 Team Issue tires or Schwalbe Nobby Nic Performance with Addix Compound.
What We Like
The Trek Fuel EX 8 is designed with both comfort and style in mind, boasting a sleek hydroformed frame that comes in black or silver, with pink highlights adding a vibrant touch to the Women's model.
We like that the elegant design forgoes many bells and whistles that too often clutter up the appearance of top-of-the-line trail bikes. Fox Rhythm 34 Float, GRIP adjustable damper, tapered steerer, G2 Geometry w/51mm offset, Boost110, 130mm travel.
A 130mm Fox Rhythm 34 fork with the Grip damper sits up front. This is the most basic model 34, but it's one that rarely disappoints me. The stock spring curve is a little linear, but if you add a volume spacer or two, it will ramp up towards the end of the stroke.
The bike's frame is not only attractive but also lightweight and stronger than many other similar aluminum models.
Trek uses its own design of reinforced Alpha Platinum Aluminum, which doesn't suffer from the rigidity of traditional aluminum.
An Alpha Platinum Aluminum frame not only makes the Fuel EX 8 fast, but also easy to handle and maneuver. The material is stiff enough to offer support but compliant enough that it doesn't stress joints or muscles as you ride. A 148/110 boost also helps to strengthen and balance the frame by increasing spoke angles and creating a more stable base.
Perhaps one of our favorite features is Trek's RE:aktiv system, which is designed to enhance the responsiveness of the Fuel EX 8.
It applies Formula 1 technology to the biking world, allowing riders to accelerate efficiently and control their bikes even at high speeds. A Full Floater rear shock setup also helps to improve handling by effectively absorbing shock.
Active Braking Pivot technology is another patented Trek system that's designed to keep riders grounded and in control of their bike. By changing the placement of the rear suspension pivot, this system prevents brakes from locking up and offers cyclists both a safer and more consistent ride.
Despite all of the unique features that the Trek EX 8 has to offer, models are still on the lower end of the price range when it comes to quality trail bikes. Using treated aluminum makes the bike cheaper than similar carbon fiber options without sacrificing durability.
Read Also: T rek 520 Touring Bike Review
- Easy to handle
- Relatively inexpensive
What We Don’t Like
Though the Trek fuel ex 8 frame is made of treated aluminum, the Fuel EX 8 is significantly heavier than other aluminum models.
This not only makes it difficult to transport but can also affect acceleration. Most of the trek fuel ex 8 weight is found in the back of the bike, which can make it tough to handle on downhill trails.
Some riders have found that the tires included with the Fuel EX 8 don't meet their demands when it comes to trail riding. While the wheels handle many types of terrain well, they are designed to cross rougher terrains with ease. The heavy weight and thick tread of Bontrager tires, in particular, can make it difficult for cyclists to make their way through boggy or muddy surfaces.
- Inappropriate tires
The Trek Fuel EX 8 is made for a wide spectrum of cyclists, from the casual trail rider to the avid mountain biker.
There's even a model for women that's designed to give a safer, more comfortable ride.
While this bike works well for a wide variety of applications, however, the design is relatively bare-bones and may not offer additional features that more advanced cyclists typically look for in a piece of equipment.
No matter what you’re looking for in a bike, the Fuel EX 8 offers the very best of both trail navigation and an XC handling.
If you’re looking for a bike that safe, durable, and easy to maneuver, you should consider looking into Trek’s Fuel Ex 8 line for a cost-effective option also trek fx1 is good option.
TRek FUEL EX8.8
Why we liked it?
- Value for money
- Fast for a trail bike
87/100 our score
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Trek Fuel EX 8 Review: Unleashing the Full Potential of This Mountain Bike
Brigham preston nov 10, 2023 2:09 am.
The Trek Fuel EX 8 is a highly regarded mountain bike that promises an exceptional off-road experience. This review aims to delve into its features, performance, and overall value.
Designed for trail enthusiasts, the Fuel EX 8 boasts an impressive blend of agility, durability, and versatility. With its advanced suspension system, sturdy frame, and top-quality components, this bike is built to conquer any terrain. Whether you're a seasoned rider or a beginner, this review will provide valuable insights into the Trek Fuel EX 8.
ROYCE UNION RTT 24" Womens 21-Speed Mountain Bike, 15 Inch Aluminum Frame, Trigger Shift, White (74418)
AI Score is a ranking system developed by our team of experts. It from 0 to 10 are automatically scored by our TopBikeAdvisor tool based upon the data collected. This score has no relationship or impact from any manufacturer or sales agent websites. Learn more
- Brand ROYCE UNION
Assembly video under images; ready for adrenaline-soaked adventures; RTT features a lightweight, durable aluminum frame for easier handling on the trails and 21 speeds with smooth trigger shifting; radiant silver frame with gloss overcoat looks sharp
All tools are included for fast assembly; this 24-inch wheel bike is for a minimum inseam of 26 inches; 26-inch wheel size is also available; knobby tread digs into the terrain for a solid grip on trails and paths
The Shimano EZ Fire Plus Trigger & TY 300 rear indexed derailleur deliver 21 speeds of ultra smooth shifting with just your index finger and thumb
Lightweight alloy linear pull brakes with machined alloy wheel rims enable superior brake pad contact to deliver smooth stopping power; slight-rise handlebar enables upright riding so less back and shoulder strain
The padded saddle, with quality side stitching, can be adjusted for the perfect height and angle; the alloy quick release binder lets you easily customize for a proper fit; bold black suspension fork absorbs bumps (kickstand not included)
Last update on 2023-11-10 / Affiliate links / Images, Product Titles, and Product Highlights from Amazon Product Advertising API
- Lightweight and durable frame
- Advanced suspension system for enhanced comfort and control
- Excellent traction and stability on various terrains
- Tubeless-ready tires reduce punctures and improve ride quality
- Customizable upgrade options for suspension components
- Higher price point compared to entry-level mountain bikes
- Limited color options available
- May require professional assembly and fine-tuning
- Some riders may prefer a more aggressive geometry for downhill riding
- Limited storage options for water bottles and accessories
The Trek Fuel EX 8 features an Alpha Platinum Aluminum frame, which offers a great balance of strength and lightness. Consider the material's durability and weight to ensure it suits your riding style and preferences.
Evaluate the bike's suspension components, including front and rear shocks. The Fuel EX 8 is equipped with a reliable suspension system that provides excellent control and comfort on rough terrains. Consider the suspension travel and adjustability to match your preferred riding conditions.
Choose between 27.5-inch and 29-inch wheel options based on your riding preferences. Larger wheels, like the 29-inch ones on the Fuel EX 8, provide better rollover capabilities and stability, while 27.5-inch wheels offer nimble handling and maneuverability.
Assess the quality of the bike's components, such as the drivetrain, brakes, and wheelset. The Fuel EX 8 comes with high-quality components from reputable brands, ensuring reliable performance and durability. Consider the gearing range, braking power, and overall reliability of the components.
Pay attention to the bike's geometry and sizing to ensure a proper fit. The Fuel EX 8 is available in various frame sizes to accommodate different rider heights. Consider factors such as reach, stack, and standover height to find a size that provides optimal comfort and control.
What is the frame material of the Trek Fuel EX 8?
The Trek Fuel EX 8 features an Alpha Platinum Aluminum frame, known for its lightweight yet robust construction.
Does the bike come with tubeless-ready tires?
Yes, the Trek Fuel EX 8 is equipped with tubeless-ready tires, allowing for improved traction, reduced punctures, and a smoother ride.
Can I upgrade the suspension system on the Fuel EX 8?
Yes, the Fuel EX 8 offers upgrade options for its suspension components, allowing riders to customize their bike's performance to match their preferences and needs.
In conclusion, the Trek Fuel EX 8 is a highly capable and versatile mountain bike. With its durable frame, advanced suspension, and top-quality components, it excels in various terrains and riding conditions. Whether you're tackling rugged trails or enjoying smooth descents, the Fuel EX 8 offers a balanced and exhilarating experience. While it may come at a higher price point, the bike's performance and reliability make it a worthwhile investment for serious riders seeking the ultimate off-road adventure.
Trek Fuel EX 8.0 XT 2020 on test – Versatility for the Best Buy
The Trek Fuel EX 8.0 XT is the most expensive bike in the group test and still gets our Best Buy. What have Trek done to justify this award?
Click here for an overview of the the best trail bike under € 3,200 € in review
The Trek Fuel EX is an absolute classic in the mountain bike scene. The latest, completely revised model was released last year. As is so often the case, the super expensive carbon model attracted most of the attention during the launch. Unjustly so, because the more affordable aluminium version is also a real highlight in Trek’s portfolio. The Fuel EX 8.0 XT costs € 3,199, which still is a lot of money, especially since other bikes in this group test cost almost a third less. However, there is nothing to complain about with the spec and you’ll benefit from the extensive network of Trek dealers.
The 29er features a complete Shimano XT groupset, FOX suspension providing 130 mm travel at the rear and 140 mm up front and a 150 mm dropper post (in size L). As usual, a lot of the components are supplied by Trek’s in-house brand Bontrager. The ergonomics of the cockpit and saddle are excellent while the wheels and tires offer good acceleration and grip. The 2.6″ wide tires are best ridden with a bit less pressure for added grip and comfort. Trek rely on budget Shimano brakes but thanks to the large rotors and single-finger levers, they deliver more stopping power than the four-piston calliper on the Canyon or SCOTT.
Trek Fuel EX 8 XT
Fork FOX 34 Rhythm 140 mm Rear Shock FOX Float EVOL Performace 130 mm Seatpost Bontrager Line Dropper 150 mm Brakes Shimano M6000 203/180 mm Drivetrain Shimano XT 30 (10-51) Stem Bontrager Line 50 mm Handlebar Bontrager Line 780 mm Wheelset Bontrager Line Comp 30 29 Tires Bontrager XR4 Team Issue 2.6"
Size XS S M L XL XXL Weight 14.18 kg
The geometry of the Trek Fuel EX 8.0
If you look at the geometry, you can see that the Fuel EX has been updated recently. The trail bike features modern geometry with a long reach (470 mm in size L), a slack 65° head angle and a bottom bracket drop of 34 mm. Our only concern is the slack seat tube angle of 75°. However, in comparison to the previous model, the kink in the seat tube is less pronounced, so that the effective angle doesn’t slacken as much when you extend the seat post.
Once you get on the Fuel EX, everything feels very familiar. Trek manage to weave their unique DNA into their bikes better than most other brands. The riding position is upright and very comfortable, so it might be worth pushing the saddle forward slightly if you feel the need, but isn’t a must as with other bikes. This is also due to the very efficient rear suspension, which hardly bobs or wallows, ensuring that every pedal stroke propels you forward. Step on the pedals and the Fuel EX sprints forward despite the wide tires, allowing you to have fun even on flat trails. On technical climbs, the bike delivers plenty of traction. However, you’ll have to shift your weight forward ever so slightly so as not to lose control of the front wheel.
Ready for anything! With the Fuel EX you can rest assured that you’ve always got the right bike for the job!
Going downhill, you feel securely integrated with the Fuel EX thanks to the 780 mm wide riser handlebar, the low bottom bracket and the long reach. This instils you with the confidence to stay off the brakes and send it. The suspension underlines this feeling. It performs well and effectively absorbs all kinds of impacts without feeling undefined or spongy. The Fuel EX feels poppy and also easy to get airborne. Once in the air, it feels very stable and confident. Despite its capability in rough terrain, it never feels sluggish on flat trails or like you’re hauling around too much bike. Thanks to the supportive suspension, you can easily generate speed off rollers and dips and the weight distribution between the wheels is spot on. As such, the Trek is a lot of fun to ride, even through switchbacks and tight sections. Through open corners, the front wheel never feels like it’ll wash out. The handling of the Fuel EX makes it easy for anyone to have fun on simple trails but it doesn’t hold you back in demanding terrain either.
How does the Fuel EX compare to the competition?
The Trek Fuel EX is the most versatile bike in this group test. It climbs well, but it doesn’t feel as efficient as the YT IZZO or MERIDA. Here, the focus is more on comfort than maximum propulsion. The Fuel Ex is a little less direct on the descents, though much more versatile. At a point where the IZZO would be nudging you to slow down, the Trek will happily send it. As a result, the Trek is also suitable for rougher or more demanding trails and is the most versatile bike on test.
Tuning tips: narrower and more robust tires
Value for money, intended use.
For this group test, it’s the versatility of the Trek Fuel EX 8.0 that secures it our Best Buy. If you’re looking for a bike with which to have fun on flat, flowing trails, that climbs efficiently yet doesn’t mind veering off into rough terrain, this is the bike for you. In search of the elusive one-bike quiver? Then check out the Fuel EX!
- performs on every kind of trail
- fantastic spec
- a great balance of composure and agility
- seat tube angle could be steeper
You can find out more about at trekbikes.com
The test field
All bikes in test: Canyon Neuron AL 7.0 (Click for review) | FOCUS JAM 6.8 NINE (Click for review) | GIANT Trance 29 1 (Click for review) | MERIDA ONE-TWENTY 9.700 (Click for review) | ROSE GROUND CONTROL 3 (Click for review) | SCOTT Genius 950 (Click for review) | Specialized Stumpjumper ST COMP (Click for review) | Trek Fuel EX 8 XT | YT IZZO COMP (Click for review)
This scale indicates how efficiently the bike climbs. It refers to both simple and technical climbs. Along with the suspension, the riding position and the weight of the bike all play a crucial role. ↩
How does the bike ride and descend? How spritely is the bike, how agile is it through corners, how much fun is it in tight sections and how quickly can it change direction? ↩
Is the bike stable at high speeds? Is it easy to stay in control in demanding terrain? How composed is it on rough trails? Stability is a combination of balanced geometry, good suspension and the right spec. ↩
This is all about how balanced the bike is and particularly about how well it corners. Balanced bikes require little physical effort from the rider and are very predictable. If a bike is unbalanced, the rider has to work hard to weight the front wheel to generate enough grip. However, experienced riders can have a lot of fun even with unbalanced bikes. ↩
How sensitive is the suspension over small bumps? Can it absorb hard impacts and does it soak up repeated hits? Plush suspension not only provides comfort and makes a bike more capable, but it also generates traction. The rating includes the fork and the rear suspension. ↩
This aspect mainly comes down to the suspension. How much pop does it have, does it suck up the rider’s input or is it supportive, and how agile and direct is the bike? ↩
We don’t calculate value for money in an excel spreadsheet or based on how high-end a bike is specced. We are more concerned with how a bike performs on the trail and how the bike benefits the rider. What good are the best components if the bike doesn’t perform well on the trail? Expensive bikes with a lower-end spec can offer very good value for money – provided they excel where it matters. Just as supposedly cheap bikes with good components can get a bad rating if they don’t deliver on the trail. ↩
No, it’s not about racing, it’s about efficiency. Fast, fleet-footed and efficient – those who want to speed along flowy singletrack and gravel roads need a defined and spritely bike that accelerates with ease and efficiency. Nevertheless, reliable components are important too. We interpret XC more like the Americans do: big back-country rides instead of a marathon or XC World Cup with the ultimate in lightweight construction! Uphill-downhill ratio: 80:30 (not everything has to be 100%!) ↩
...also known as mountain biking. Classic singletrack with roots, rocks and ledges – sometimes flowy, sometimes rough. For this, you need a bike with good all-round qualities, whether climbing or descending. Uphill-downhill ratio: 50:50 ↩
Even more extreme and challenging compared to Trail riding, riddled with every kind of obstacle: jumps, gaps, nasty rock gardens, ruts and roots. For this, you need (race)proven equipment that forgives mistakes and wouldn’t look out of place on a stage of the Enduro World Series. Climbing is just a means to an end. Uphill-downhill ratio: 30:70 ↩
Strictly speaking, a 200 mm travel downhill bike is the best choice for merciless tracks with big jumps, drops and the roughest terrain. Those would be the black or double-black-diamond tracks in a bike park. But as some of the EWS pros (including Sam Hill) have proven, it’s the riding skills and not the bike that define what you can ride with it. Climbing? On foot or with a shuttle, please! Uphill-downhill ratio: 10:90 ↩
You can find more info about our rating system in this article: Click here! ↩
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2015 Trek Fuel EX 8 27.5 Bike (discontinued)
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Sizes and geometry.
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Trek Fuel EX 8 29 review
A cross-country lineage doesn’t hold the Fuel EX back on the trail
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By Tom Marvin
Published: April 21, 2018 at 12:00 pm
The Trek Fuel EX 8 29 is a bike with a lineage going back to cross-country racing. This DNA shines through, but without the drawbacks that this can bring — the Fuel EX is a genuine trail bike.
- Bike of the Year 2018
- Best bike: our buyer’s guide to which bicycle type you should buy in 2018
- The Trek Fuel EX 8 29 is one of our Bike of the Year bikes for 2018. To read reviews of the other contenders and the categories tested across road, mountain and women’s bikes, visit our Bike of the Year hub .
Trek uses its ABP linkage design on this aluminium frame, with a rear pivot planted around the rear axle. This, combined with the custom RE:aktiv shock delivers a bike that not only climbs well, but can handle the descents too.
The RE:aktiv shock has an inertia valve inside it, which effectively gives an auto on-off pedal platform to prevent the shock from suffering too much influence from pedal inputs, while still remaining active on the descents.
In practice this works well, and it feels like there’s a subtle improvement in feel over some previous generations.
If you mash on the pedals you can definitely get the shock cycling through its stroke — it’s not a lock-out as such (there’s a low-speed compression lever for longer smooth climbs), but on pedally sections the bike feels very calm, composed and efficient.
While older versions had a slight clunk when the platform opened, the current generation is smoother, and there’s less of a noticeable feel when the platform gives way to the bike’s travel.
Once in the travel, the Trek is relatively active, happy to sit into the travel, rather than on top of it. The Fuel EX doesn’t feel super at home on the steepest or roughest of trails, but with a cross-country heritage, this isn’t such an issue.
Riders who want to get the most from the bike could add a volume spacer or two to the shock for more progression out of the back end, as the faster and steeper you go, the more the bike likes to find its way to the depths of its travel. It’s here that the bike also feels like it gets knocked around a bit, losing some of that sure-footedness composure it has elsewhere.
However, on the trails it’s most suited to, the ABP suspension does a great job. The rear wheel tracks the ground well, boosting confidence, partly thanks to the fully floating shock that’s bolted between the main swingarm and the rocker linkage.
Despite its 14kg weight, it doesn’t feel lardy and it’s happy to be lifted and placed where you want it on the trail. It is, in fact, better suited to a more refined, precise ride, rather than just being pummelled into whatever is in the way — it’s a bike that goes fast and rewards riders who are happy to place it where it’s needed.
The frame, combined with the planted feel through the suspension feels like a solid, tight package too. It’s not flexing everywhere, but fortunately avoids feeling harsh, though the front triangle’s stiffness results in a definite accuracy as you guide it through the chop. Thanks to this it’s a fast, stable and fun bike that seems to want to accelerate everywhere.
Through the use of its Mino Link you can change the geometry of the Fuel EX, though I generally kept it in the ‘Low’ setting, best for the 29in wheels.
There’s room for 650b+ wheels in there too, and at this point it might be wise to switch to the high setting to account for the lower ride height given by plus-wheels.
For £2,700 / $3,199 I feel the Fuel EX 8 29 is decent value for money. Trek uses a lot of its in-house Bontrager kit, and generally this is no bad thing.
The Line Comp 30 wheels don’t feel heavy or wooden and the cockpit is a decent shape (though I’d like a slightly wider than 750mm bar). The Line dropper post hasn’t proved the most reliable though, getting a touch sluggish in cold or grimy conditions.
Due to supply issues, the test bike came with Schwalbe Nobby Nic tyres, but Trek lists Bontrager SE5s as the stock tyre. I would like to ride the bike with the Bontrager rubber as the relatively hard compound Nobby Nics on the bike aren’t the grippiest and I feel I could get more out of the bike with slightly better tyres.
Up front is a 130mm Fox Rhythm 34 fork with the Grip damper. This is the base model 34, but one that I’m rarely disappointed to see. Okay, the spring curve from stock is a touch linear, but add a volume spacer or two and it’ll ramp up towards the end of the stroke.
However, the feeling through the bar is smooth and composed, without the slightly harsh or spiky feeling other ‘budget’ forks can have. This year’s Performance and Performance Elite level Fox forks feel better than last year’s, but they don’t feel drastically better than the Rhythm 34s here.
SRAM’s Guide R brakes offer decent braking power for a bike such as the Fuel EX, and the GX Eagle groupset now has to be regarded as the benchmark trail groupset.
Trek also offers an XT 2×11 option for the same money in some territories, though I feel the GX Eagle is the one to go for.
If you’re looking for alternative options, have a look at the following list. Each bike has been thoroughly tested and robustly reviewed. Click on the links for the full review.
- YT Jeffsy 29 CF
- Norco Sight A2 29
- Canyon Spectral CF 9.0
- Orbea Occam TR H10
- Marin B17 3
- Transition Scout NX
- Commencal Meda TR V4.2 Essential
- Santa Cruz Tallboy Alloy R
- Juliana Joplin R
- Specialized Rhyme Carbon Comp 6Fattie
- Canyon Spectral WMN CF 9.0 SL
- Yeti Beti SB5 C-Series XT
- Scott Contessa Spark 910
- Best women’s mountain bikes of 2018
- BikeRadar would like to thank Life Cycle Adventures , Sanremo Bike Resort , MET Helmets , Bluegrass Eagle Protection , Mercedes Benz and Brittany Ferries for their help and support during our Bike of the Year test.
Senior technical editor
Tom Marvin is a technical editor at BikeRadar.com and MBUK magazine. He has a particular focus on mountain bikes, but spends plenty of time on gravel bikes, too. Tom has written for BikeRadar, MBUK and Cycling Plus, and was previously technical editor of What Mountain Bike magazine. He is also a regular presenter on BikeRadar’s YouTube channel and the BikeRadar podcast. With more than twenty years of mountain biking experience, and nearly a decade of testing mountain and gravel bikes, Tom has ridden and tested thousands of bikes and products, from super-light XC race bikes through to the most powerful brakes on the market. Outside of testing bikes, Tom competes in a wide range of mountain bike races, from multi-day enduros through to 24-hour races in the depths of the Scottish winter – pushing bikes, components and his legs to their limits. He’s also worked out that shaving your legs saves 8 watts, while testing aerodynamics in a wind tunnel. When not riding he can be found at the climbing wall, in his garden or cooking up culinary delights.
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Trek Fuel EX 8 27.5
- AUS $ NZD $ USD $ CAD $ GBP £ EUR €
Colour / Starry Night Black/Trek White
Size / 15.5, 17.5, 18.5, 19.5, 21.5"
At a glance
Where to buy.
- Frame Alpha Platinum Aluminum, ABP Convert, Full Floater, E2 tapered head tube, press fit BB, internal derailleur & dropper post routing, ISCG 05 mount, magnesium EVO link, down tube guard, 120mm travel
- Wheels Bontrager Duster Elite Tubeless Ready, w/TLR strips, 15mm front hub, 142x12 rear hub
- Wheel Size 27.5"
- Tires Bontrager XR3 Expert Tubeless Ready, aramid bead, 27.5x2.35" front, 27.5x2.20" rear
- Crank SRAM S1010, 36/22
- Front Derailleur SRAM X7, high direct mount
- Rear Derailleur Shimano Deore XT, Shadow Plus
- Shifters Shimano SLX, 10 speed
- Brakeset Shimano SLX hydraulic disc
- Handlebar Bontrager Race Lite Riser, 31.8mm, 15mm rise
- Saddle Bontrager Evoke 2, chromoly rails
- Seatpost Bontrager Rhythm Elite, 31.6mm, zero offset
- Stem Bontrager Race Lite, 31.8mm, 7 degree
- Headset FSA IS-2, E2, alloy cartridge
Q: What size wheels does the 2015 Trek Fuel EX 8 27.5 have?
The 2015 Trek Fuel EX 8 27.5 has 27.5" wheels.
Q: What size 2015 Trek Fuel EX 8 27.5 should I get?
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