Friday, December 5, 2014

The new Trek now features a new and improved setup compared to last years model, but is it able to take the top spot ?
Introduced earlier this season, the new Fuel EX 29 gets all of the improvements that were developed for last year’s 26in bike and combines them with the better rollover and stability of bigger wheels.
This means the frame shares many of the same features, including the E2 tapered head tube, press-fit bottom bracket and the ABP suspension design, where the concentric pivot at the rear axle helps keep the rear wheel tracking the ground even when the brake is applied.
It’s a super-stiff frame design, but it’s worth mentioning that the EX7 doesn’t get the 142x12mm dropouts found on the higher specced models. Instead, Trek uses its neat convertible dropout to fit a less expensive 135mm quick-release rear hub.
The bike is available in six sizes, ranging from a compact 15.5in all the way up to a massive 23in, giving the Fuel EX7 the best range of sizes of all the bikes on test.
Our 19.5in test rig came with a shorter-than-expected stem, which complemented the reach perfectly. Hopefully, this marks a shift in direction for Trek and it didn’t simply swap the stem before sending us the bike, as the overall fit and proportions of the Fuel EX7 are right on the money.


Trek’s signature suspension configuration is basically a single-pivot swingarm design, where the ABP pivot transforms the seatstays and rocker link into a floating brake mount. The shock also floats between the rocker link and a small forward extension of the chainstays. The advantages of this Full Floater layout are twofold: there’s no shock mount on the front triangle, so it can be made lighter; and it also allows Trek to fine-tune how progressive the suspension is. As if that wasn’t enough suspension wizardry, Trek also uses a custom DRCV Fox rear shock that gives the support of a small volume air spring at the beginning of the stroke, before a larger-volume second chamber opens up halfway through the stroke to make it easier to use the full 120mm of travel.


The triple-ring chainset on the Fuel EX offers a massive spread of gears, but it instantly marks the bike out as being somewhat behind the times, with all of the other bikes in test sporting twin-ring chainsets. There’s no faulting the performance of the Shimano drivetrain though, and we were really impressed by the light lever action, ample stopping power and overall reliability of the Deore brakes.


Out on the trail, the Trek feels much heavier than the Whyte, even though both bikes are evenly matched on our workshop scales. As such, it feels more solid too.

Straight-line speed on the Trek is impressive thanks to the long wheelbase, and the resulting extra length and stability help offset the highest BB and steepest head angle in test. The bike also pumps really well, allowing you to milk speed from the trail when it’s not possible to pedal.


The Trek Fuel EX7 is a solid performer — fit and geometry are both dialled and the spec is reasonable given the high-quality frame.

Full Specification

Frame :
Alpha Platinum aluminium 120mm travel
Shock :
Fox Float CTD Evolution w/DRCV
Fork  :
Fox 32 Float CTD Evolution 120mm
Wheels :
Bontrager Duster rims and hubs, Bontrager XR3 Expert 2.3in tyres
Drivetrain :
Shimano Deore chainset, SLX rear mech, Deore front mech + shifters
Shimano Deore 180/180mm
Components :
Sizes :
15.5, 17.5, 18.5, 19.5, 21.5, 23in
13.86kg (30.5lb)
Contact :
Size tested :
Head angle :
Seat angle:
BB height :
Chainstay :
Front centre :
Wheelbase :
Down tube :

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