Tuesday, July 7, 2015

2015 Trek Fuel EX Series - Choose Your Adventure

Fuel EX continues to set the bar for full suspension trail bike versatility, bringing race-day tech to all-day adventure.

The Fuel EX is categorized as a ‘trail’ bike, which essentially means that it favors uphill and downhill equally, and the geometry numbers reflect this. A reasonable 68-degree head angle allows for tight handling on undulating terrain, but maintains stability when things get a bit steep. The chainstays and bottom bracket also hit a nice happy medium between agility and stability.

 Like most of its models, Trek offers the Fuel EX many, so make sure to ride a couple sizes to hone in on what fits you best.

2015 Trek EX 5 29
There are two grades of aluminum frames available for the five most economical models (one for the EX 5 and 6, and another for the EX 7, 8, and 9). The higher-end Fuel EX 9.7, 9.8 and 9.9 share the same carbon front triangle, but have different rear ends—the 9.7 has aluminum stays, the 9.8 has carbon seatstays and aluminum chainstays, and the 9.9 has a full carbon rear. Trek claims the frames weigh from 5.3 pounds to 3.9 pounds and all models come in six sizes between 15.5 to 23 inches.

Additionally, each frame features a tapered head tube, press-fit bottom bracket, thru-axle-compatible rear dropouts, magnesium rocker link, and a guard on the downtube to protect against rock strikes. The EX 7 through 9.9 have internal cable routing, ISCG 05 chainguide tabs, and internal and external dropper-post routing. The carbon models have a removable front-derailleur mount for 1x drivetrains.

The EX 7 through 9.9 also are equipped with Trek's proprietary, Fox-built DRCV (dual rate control valve) shock with dual air chambers. Trek says DRCV combines the control and small-bump compliance of a small-volume shock with the big-hit plushness of a larger air can.

Without a doubt, the RE:aktiv damper is the key piece, or heart, of the updated Trek Fuel series. The technology was first taken to the trails mostly as an external addition to Trek's already established DRCV, until such a time that Trek and Penske were happy with the ride characteristics. Once they reached this point the shock was passed along to the clever tech team at Fox, in order to make the technology ready to build for the masses.

This partnership resulted in a damper that has the ability to create a solid platform for both rider and smaller external inputs, yet when a larger velocity impact occurs, the valves open and the suspension takes action. This is different to the more common tactic of shutting off the valves altogether, or at least heavily restricting their ability to allow oil through, and it grants riders a little of the best of both worlds. A strong platform to mash on, but retaining the ability to smoothen out the trail and theoretically, retain traction when climbing more technical terrain.

"Never before have I ridden a bike that is as capable on the descents as it is on the climbs. Being more of a climber, the climbing aspect appealed to me more than most - could it climb? Hell yes it could, and preferably in the most hellish terrain imaginable. I found the Fox Performance Suspension easy to set up as well as fine tune for certain courses or riding locations." - Joey Esterhuyzen; BikeRoar.com

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