The Fuel EX is arguably the most versatile bike in Trek’s lineup and has long been built for real trail riders. Over the years, the Fuel EX has adapted to the demands of modern
riding with various upgrades and tweaks, but has stayed true
to its intended purpose as a bike that can go all over the
mountain, whether the trail is full of long and steep
climbs or technical descents.
EX 9. 9 29
Fuel for flat-out fun
Trek released a revamped lineup a couple of years ago that
offered an all-new design with a new geometry and frame
construction. This year the Fuel EX has essentially the same
bones as the previous generation, but Trek had another card to
play to improve the already tried-and-true platform. That came
in the form of a new shock treatment that we decided to put to
the test. After months of test riding and countless trail miles,
the verdict is in on what Trek claims is the best iteration of its
workhorse trailbike platform.
WHO IS IT MADE FOR?
Trek designed the Fuel EX as a do-it-all machine for a huge
cross section of riders looking for a bike that can handle a wide
range of trails. Whether you are a cross-country racer looking for
a weekend weapon or a dedicated trail rider in search of a bike to
handle big backcountry days and technical terrain, the Fuel EX is
ready and willing.
WHAT IS IT MADE FROM?
There are several levels of the Fuel EX, ranging from entry-level
aluminum to the highest-end 9. 9 model we tested. Our test bike
came with a full carbon fiber frame with Trek’s Straight Shot
downtube that stiffens up the bike when pedaling out of the
saddle. Coupled with the downtube is a Knock Block headset that
keeps the handlebars from over-rotating into the frame in the event
of a crash. The rear triangle on the Fuel is 1x-specific and uses
Trek’s Active Brake Pivot and Mino Link to adjust the geometry.
At the heart of the new Fuel EX 9. 9 is a new shock treatment
called Thru-Shaft. This design also uses Trek’s RE:aktiv system
that it licenses from Penske Racing. RE:aktiv was designed to give
riders pedaling support, and RE:aktiv with
Thru-Shaft has even more pedaling support. Thru-
Shaft eliminates the Internal Floating Piston (IFP)
that is currently used on most shocks and
essentially eliminates oil displace-
ment by doing so.
Trek spared no expense on the
build kit with the 9. 9. The SRAM
Eagle XX1 drivetrain provided flawless
shifting and gave us a wide-enough
gear range for any type of riding.
Photos by Pat Carrigan