2014 Trek Fuel EX 9-7 29er mountain bikes details weights and first ride reviews
2014 Trek Fuel EX 9.7 29er Mountain Bike

Last week, Trek released a few key 2014 models to their dealers, and as expected, a few of the more, um, “eager” shops immediately posted images online well before the official public launch pegged for the end of the month. Even their athletes got in on it.

In years past, Trek dealers have often had to sit by and watch as the media pushed next-model-year info online and build hype, only to not see product available for them to sell for months afterward. To their delight, the brand flipflopped it this time, and dealers are now already taking delivery of the bikes. We found a few fresh off the truck at one dealer and put them on the scale, in front of the camera and on the dirt for a quick test ride!

Click past for specs, details, weights and first ride impressions on four of the new 2014 Trek Fuel EX 29er bikes…


2014 Trek Fuel EX 29er mountain bikes actual weights

From left to right, these are:

  • Trek Fuel EX 9.7 29er – 28.42lbs (12.89kg) – Size 17.5
  • Trek Fuel EX 8 29er – 29.81lbs (13.52kg) – Size 19.5
  • Trek Fuel EX 7 29er – 30.15lbs (13.68kg) – Size 18.5

Note that weights are with the reflectors, plastic cassette spoke guard and tubes all installed.

Across all three of the complete bikes shown here, there are some commonalities. They all get Fox CTD Evolution forks and CTD rear shocks with Trek’s proprietary (and quite functional) DRCV design. It’s using Trek’s Full Floater and ABP suspension design, which traps the shock between floating the rocker and an extension of the seatstays, built for 120mm of travel. Up front, the headtube and fork are based on their G2 geometry. They’re running what look to be new Bontrager Duster 29er wheels and Bontrager 29×2.3 tires. One interesting spec note: They’re all three running triple chainrings. There are a couple of differences on the partially assembled 9.8 bike.


Pictured in all its glory at the top of the post, the Fuel EX 9.7 29er sits just below the top rung model, shown next. It uses an OCLV front triangle with an alloy rear end and rocker.

2014 Trek Fuel EX 9-7 29er mountain bikes details weights and first ride reviews

The front end feeds the shifter cables into the frame and runs the rear brake externally along the downtube. The front shift cable runs inside the top tube and pops out just in front of the seat collar.

2014 Trek Fuel EX 9-7 29er mountain bikes details weights and first ride reviews

The rear shift cable pops out just in front of the shock and ducks into the chainstay, popping out again just in front of the rear derailleur. That black rubber port cover? That’s the entry point for stealth droppers…keep reading.

2014 Trek Fuel EX 9-7 29er mountain bikes details weights and first ride reviews

Both carbon and alloy models get their Carbon Armor downtube protection, it just extends further toward the BB on the carbon models. All models have ISCG chainguide mounts and use Pressfit 92 bottom brackets. On the carbon versions, it looks like the front derailleur mount is removable, letting you set up a 1×10 / 1×11 drivetrain without extraneous hardware cluttering the view.

2014 Trek Fuel EX 9-7 29er mountain bikes details weights and first ride reviews

Trek seems to have made the Fuel EX 29ers (and likely the new Remedy 29ers, too) ready for anything. Both the carbon and alloy models have routing and ports for “stealth” dropper posts as well as additional routing along the bottom of the top tube. The latter has double sided grooves, which would allow for running an externally controlled dropper post and a rear shock remote side by side. On the carbon frames, only the front is fixed, the rear two are removable.

Click to enlarge the image and you’ll notice the beautifully deep paint. It’s a high gloss blue that shows the UD carbon patterns beneath it. In the sunlight it’s quite striking.

2014 Trek Fuel EX 9-7 29er mountain bikes details weights and first ride reviews

The Fuel Ex 9.7 29er gets a full XT build with triple chainrings, Bontrager cockpit and Duster wheels. Retail is $4,199.99.

2014 TREK FUEL EX 9.8 29er

2014 Trek Fuel EX 9-8 29er mountain bikes details weights and first ride reviews

 For now, the top model will be the Fuel EX 9.8 29er. It gets a full XT 2×10 build and upgrades to carbon fiber seatstays. It also includes a Rockshox Reverb dropper post. The wheels also look like another new model for 2014 called Bontrager Elite 29er.

2014 Trek Fuel EX 9-8 29er mountain bikes details weights and first ride reviews

The 9.8 gets a shiny dark red paint scheme that’s like fire. Just out of view, this model gets a bolt-on (i.e. non-quick release) seatpost collar and includes a torque key so you get bolt torque set properly.

2014 Trek Fuel EX 9-8 29er mountain bikes details weights and first ride reviews

Here’s the port for the dropper post’s line to enter the frame. From the handlebar, the housing/hose would run parallel to the rear brake hose. Notice the cable guides have grooves on either side to hold two hoses next to each other. The bike comes with a Reverb bleed kit, which allows your Authorized Trek Dealer to properly trim the hose to length and install it as it’s supposed to be.

2014 Trek Fuel EX 9-8 29er mountain bikes details weights and first ride reviews

All of the bikes also come with their chainstay guard, which has a piece that curves up along the tube closer to the crankset. It’s a nice thought, but on my test ride it didn’t do much to quiet the chain slap if the rear derailleur’s clutch was turned off, and when hosing down the bike aprés ride, I noticed it holding a bit of water and dirt between it and the frame.

There’s little doubt they’ll eventually reveal a pro-level 9.9, but for now this $5,249.99 beast will rule the roost.

2014 TREK FUEL EX 8 29er

2014 Trek Fuel EX 8 29er mountain bikes details weights and first ride reviews

The top level alloy model is the Trek Fuel EX 9 29er, which we didn’t get our hands on. It will have an aluminum/alloy frame and will cost the same as the EX 9.7 in carbon, but will have a better kit. Shown above is the next level alloy frame the Trek Fuel EX 8 29er.

2014 Trek Fuel EX 8 29er mountain bikes details weights and first ride reviews

Cable routing is much the same as with the carbon versions.

2014 Trek Fuel EX 8 29er mountain bikes details weights and first ride reviews

The Full Floater suspension coupled with the DRCV shocks makes for a very plush suspension without sacrificing performance under full power.

2014 Trek Fuel EX 8 29er mountain bikes details weights and first ride reviews

The extra air canister at the top of the shock creates more volume once it’s about 50% of the way through it’s stroke. The effect is that of a firmer, tighter shock under small bumps that opens up to allow big bump eating movements when necessary. It’s a pretty slick design that works exceptionally well.

2014 Trek Fuel EX 8 29er mountain bikes details weights and first ride reviews

2014 Trek Fuel EX 8 29er mountain bikes details weights and first ride reviews

On the alloy bikes, a stealth dropper post cable or hose pops out of the seat tube just behind the lower shock mount, then run up the downtube alongside the brake hose.

2014 Trek Fuel EX 8 29er mountain bikes details weights and first ride reviews

With the 2.3 tires, clearance is still decent for this type of bike. Alloy models also get the chainguide mounts and downtube armor…it’s just not called Carbon Armor.

2014 Trek Fuel EX 8 29er mountain bikes details weights and first ride reviews

Trek’s ABP puts a 142×12 thru axle between concentric pivots. Retail on this model is $2,939.99 and it’s spec’d with Shimano SLX shifters, front derailleur and brakes, plus an XT rear derailleur. Cranks are the standard non-series Shimano triple.

2014 TREK FUEL EX 7 29er

2014 Trek Fuel EX 8 29er mountain bikes details weights and first ride reviews

Next down the line is the Fuel EX 7 29er, which shares the same alloy frame but basically just downspecs the components a bit.

2014 Trek Fuel EX 7 29er mountain bikes details weights and first ride reviews

Like the carbon bikes, you get one fixed cable guide under the top tube, followed by two dual-hose, removable retainers.

2014 Trek Fuel EX 7 29er mountain bikes details weights and first ride reviews

2014 Trek Fuel EX 7 29er mountain bikes details weights and first ride reviews

With only minor differences in spec, this one comes in just a bit less at $2,629.99.

2014 Bontrager Duster 29er Wheels


Missing from Bontrager’s website as of this posting are these Duster 29er wheels. They’re pretty good looking up close with a subtle brushed finish and smooth, rounded asymmetric profile. The spokes line up on the non-drive side in the rear, and away from the disc rotor on the front.


Eyeletted spoke holes sit in what looked like properly wide rim beds. They rolled smooth, holding the line well in the corners, and I didn’t notice any sluggish engagement. They’re tubeless ready, but I tested with tubes in them.


2014 Trek Fuel EX 29er mountain bikes details weights and first ride reviews
Whipping the 2014 Trek Fuel EX 8 29er through a berm a little to quickly for the GoPro’s burst mode!

The bike tested is sellable inventory for a shop, so I couldn’t thrash it (too hard), but I did give it a two-hour run at full speed on our local trails. This is just a first impressions review based on one ride, though I have ridden G2 and ABP/Full Floater bikes in the past.

I rode the gray alloy EX 8 alloy bike since it was the only one in my size. The first thing I noticed is how much better the range of the CTD is on this bike. Whether it’s Trek’s custom tune combined with their DRCV or just an updated version of CTD, it’s the best I’ve ridden. The Climb mode became very firm, both on the fork and the shock, giving it about as much lockout as I’d ever really want. Trail seemed spot on for our cross country-oriented singletrack, and Descend became super plush. All in all very, very good.

Part of G2’s geometry is a fork with more offset, which reduces the trail. It’s coupled with a shorter stem, and this one was pretty short, to provide tight-yet-stable handling. It’s definitely different and takes a bit to get used to, but once it does, the Fuel can be whipped in and out of corners.

Along those lines, the Fuel EX 29er is playful. Dare I say the handling resembled a 26″ bike, except it rolled over everything better. It’s easy to pop the rear wheel off the ground around a corner and flick it a bit sideways on a jump. It’s almost as if the bike knows you want to do that and helps things along.

2014 Trek Fuel EX 29er mountain bikes details weights and first ride reviews

On the descents, drops and rough stuff, the suspension felt controlled. The suspension settles quickly into its travel when pouring into a G-out or landing a small jump, but, once there, seems to maintain itself within a usable range in the travel. It didn’t feel like it sunk too low, nor did it sit too high in the travel.

2014 Trek Fuel EX 29er mountain bikes details weights and first ride reviews

On smaller stuff, it did feel a bit firm and wanted to skip around a bit when standing and hammering/climbing, but weighting the rear wheel slightly seemed to help. Even in Trail mode, there’s minimal bobbing when standing and pedaling. Like any full suspension bike, it’ll feel more efficient in Climb/lockout mode, but in Trail I could still scoot along and not feel like my efforts were wasted on useless up-and-down motion. Honestly, I think that combination of firm and plush is exactly what they’re going for with DRCV, and if so, it works. Heck, even if it’s not intentional, it’s pretty darn good.

I could only find a few small gripes: In the big ring, there was a chain grind noise under hard compression. Not sure what this was, but it wasn’t pleasant. Since the front derailleur’s position is fixed, it could be that the rear end brings the chain up too high in certain cogs and it rubs the top of the cage.

Second, there’s noticeable chain slap noise when RD’s clutch is turned off. Make sure you turn it on. Are we spoiled these days or what?

Lastly, I mentioned some small bump harshness, particularly at the hands. This could be more noticeable with the alloy stem and handlebar spec’d with paper thin lock on grips. Swapping to a carbon bar and thicker grips would turn this into a non-issue for me.

All in all, the ride is really good. Compared to other 120mm bikes, this one feels like it has 100mm of travel until you need more, which is (IMO) a pretty good thing. Fast and efficient but able to take bigger hits. Slotting this in above the 100mm Superfly makes a lot of sense for anyone that’s not all about XC racing and gram shaving. That said, it’s not hard to imagine shedding quite a bit of weight from any of these bikes simply by trading the tubes for a bit of sealant and putting a good 2x or 1x crankset on it. It’s not that the bike felt heavy on the trail, but reducing the rotating mass helps you feel fresher, longer and makes every ride more enjoyable.

If you’ve been holding out for Trek to move their ABP/FF platform to 29″ wheels, I’d say get thee to your local Trek Store ASAP. Word is plenty of dealers just got them in stock, and they’re not allowed to EP them until August…so you might stand a chance.


  1. I would rather have a santa claus HDV with a more stable gnome killer for platform pedals and paddle shifting. all in all, all was had by a good time…lancelancelance.

  2. The EX 9.8 is spec’ed with Rhythm Elite 29’s. The Duster is a replacement quality rim that’s been available for a number of years. It’s essentially a Rhythm rim that’s 10g heavier and available in 32h or 28h. Rhythm Elite’s are always 28. Same story in 26″ and a similar story when speaking about the RXL wheelset with regard to the Mustang rim.

    These have been used on price point models for a little while now and are an easy way for product managers to make a 32h Rhythm-width rim available on a lower spec’ed model. See the 2013 Remedy 7 or base level Rumblefish for example.

    Dusters and Mavericks are available from Bontrager as a rim only. No wheelsets.

  3. Seems a bit applicative of the Rumblefish, which has the same 29″ wheels and 120mm suspension. I supposed they’re eliminating the Rumblefish?

  4. Nice. But the wheels are too big. Seriously, Trek? I’m too small for wagon wheels. Show me a 650b option and I’ll be all over it.

  5. So what makes this different from the Rumblefish, because from what i see they both have the same travel but have different shock lay out for the frame?

    Are they making 2 different 120mm travel 29ers now?

  6. Sweet action shot of somebody almost rolling down a small root up there. I wasn’t so sure at first but damn you make that bike look so sick!

  7. @Nick- There are Pro racers that are only 5′ tall that have won world cups on 29ers. Size has nothing to do with which wheel size is best for you. Which wheel is best depends more on your riding style. If you are more aggressive and playful then a 26 or 27.5 will suit your style. If you’re into pedaling and want a fast rolling bike then go with a 29er.

    @Adam- There’s no way in hell a similarly spec’d Tallboy is 4lbs lighter than one of Trek’s 29ers…just saying. I should know I’ve got a Tallboy AL custom built. Plus the Tallboy is a 4″ travel bike (unless you’re talking about an LT). The Superfly 100 SL Pro ,(a 4″ travel bike if ya want to compare apples to apples) we built in the shop recently came in at 22 lbs w/o pedals w/ a tubeless setup.

  8. @Frederick- the Fuels and Remedy 29ers are 2014 bikes. The Rumblefish is a 2013 model that will likely be eliminated for 2014.

  9. Rumblefish also does not have the full-floater shock mounting. Travel is much smoother with the Fuel/Remedy/Slash suspension layout.

  10. Carbon front and alloy rear Fuel EX 9.7 is HEAVY.

    “Trek Fuel EX 9.7 29er – 28.42lbs (12.89kg) – Size 17.5 Trek Fuel EX 8 29er – 29.81lbs (13.52kg) – Size 19.5”

  11. Nice bike but i’ll stick with the big red S @ssholes for my 29er needs. Uh,ok,Cannondale too…
    Everytning but a Lance bike anyway.

  12. About time Trek replaced the non-floater Rumblefish – the ABP kinematics did not work properly on that one, resulting in an astonishingly harsh ride for a 120mm 29er. Did not come anywhere close to Remedy or FuelEX-platforms, really.
    Still hoping that Trek (just like Scott with their Genius platform) will add a 650B version to the already shown 29er Remedy, though.

    Size DOES have something to do with wheel size.
    As wheel size determines the height of the upper headset bearing, fitting becomes a proper pain in the arse for smaller people. Sure, you might mount flipped rizer bars or a negative rise stem (increases the risk of slamming your brake levers into the bike’s top tube, which could cause havoc especially on carbon fibre frames). But that is fighting the symptoms of too big wheels.
    We are talking about proper fitting here, and one size most definitely does not fit all. Or do you put toddlers on 26 inch bikes as well?

  13. Over 28lbs for that EX9.7 does seem a bit porky for a (mostly) carbon-framed trail 29er. My 2011 EX9 weighs 27.2lbs in its all-aluminium glory. It’s stock except for the tyres. I wonder what difference switching to a Nobby Nic/Racing Ralph combo would make to the new EX9.7?

  14. @Laurens

    last time I checked, most american ADULTS are over 5′ tall and average in the 5’6″ to 5’10” range female and male respectively. There are plenty of 29ers that can fit 5′ and above with plenty of stand over clearance. Sure you can talk about NBA players that are 6’10” that would be better suited to a 36″ wheel or a midget who might only be able to fit a 26″ bike. But for most people who are not outliers in the height bell curve, wheel size is not a fit issue….its riding style.

    As for your toddler analogy..FAIL…kids bikes don’t have varying frame sizes so you have to go by wheel size there.

    I’ve got a 29ers and 26ers….they both FIT me fine….which I ride depends on the style of riding I’m looking for that day.

  15. Used to work in a Trek concept store, and it was interesting to see what an inferiority complex Trek seems to have. Everything was compared to Specialized, as in: “we hired Jose Gonzalez, so now we have our own shock guy just like Specialized’s Mike McAndrews, we have ABP, so now our bikes “are fully active under braking” just like FSR, and so on. To me, Trek has always been a pretty boring/vanilla brand. Besides DRCV, what has Trek done lately that is truly innovative? Certainly not ABP, as Crestone Peaks did that in the 90s (heck, you can even find forum threads that discuss theoretical ABP/Split Pivot designs well before DW or Trek filed their lame patents). Full floater? Nope, MacMahon also covered that a long time ago. I bet they are scrambling yet again to be like Specialized and offer a 6″ travel 29er with short chainstays. I’m not a big fan of Specialized either, but at least they truly innovate and break new ground once in a while.

  16. @ Stamps – I don’t think standover height is the issue anymore, for the most part.

    I could, however, see 650b being very useful for average height riders who have difficulty getting the bars low enough (relative to saddle) on a 29er. Mostly XC racers, of course, though with longer travel forks on non-race bikes it can be a challenge as well. There are negative rise bars (Niner) and stems (Syntace) that address this to some degree.

    I agree that very short racers can ride 29ers successfully… but looking at Emily Batty’s setup (and Willow Koerber before her) there are a few compromises to get saddle/bar in the right spots. I recall a reversed setback seatpost as well as a massively downsloping stem – and still the bars were a little above the saddle.

    There are also packaging issues with long-travel rear suspension and 29″ wheels – though these are obviously being gradually overcome with bikes like the ones highlighted here.

    Geometry-wise, the Tallboy is a good comparison for the Fuel EX, travel aside. Both are slack-ish XC-able bikes that are more trailbike than anything. The Superfly may be a 4″ bike but it’s a different animal altogether, both in intended purpose and geometry.

    I also agree that riding style is probably as much a determinant as anything. One thing I occasionally miss about a 26er is that steer-by-the-hips flickability that the bigger wheels don’t seem to do as well.

    I would like to ride a racy, 100-120mm travel 650b bike to see how it is. Too bad there are very few of these yet.

    The new Trek bikes are very sweet, and a step forward for 29″ trailbikes.

  17. I would like to see a new TopFuel 9.9SSL – maybe in 27,5. I use my 9.9 SSL for three years and the rear suspension is the absolutly best I have ever ridden and further more the frame with his integrated seatstay looks incredible cool.

    Nothing against the Superflys. It seems to be that these bikes are really good (but much TOO expensive). But the Fuels are the more exciting bikes.

  18. Looks like I found an upgrade path for 2008 Fuel EX8, although I’m disappointed that a new EX8 29er is almost $3k when my EX8 was $2300 new. Fortunately I buy ex-rental or demo bikes so I won’t be paying list. I also would like to see a 650B version since 120mm 29ers seem a little tall to me.

  19. Well that’s cool and all but… WHERE’S THE SLOPESTYLE FRAME??????? STILL WAITING PATIENTLY TREK

  20. Interesting – my FUEL EX (heavily modified) was probably my favorite f/s bike I’ve owned. DRCV, at least a couple of years ago didn’t do it for me though. DRCV is probably ok for the average point and shoot rider but there’s no ability for pre-loading your suspension over obstacles as doing this simply charges that second air chamber instead of pre loading the rebound. Removing the DRCV shock to a standard float RP2 and later and even better a Cane Creek DB air made this platform amazing. I think Trek has gotten quite a bit right with their full floater line of bikes, and an offset fork on a 29er is a great idea (Ibis does it as well) and it’s probably why the bike steers well as I doubt it’s chainstays are too short! Wish there was a non-DRCV option but it’s probably part of what sells…

  21. Fully agree with Tommyrod74.

    The main issue of 29ers and fitting for smaller people is the height of the top crown of the headset. That is the decisive factor. Sure, you might resort to a negative rise stem and an inverted riser bar (and try not to look at your bike as it really looks shitty) to get that handlebar lower than the saddle, you might even machine off part of your steerer tube to get there. But then what happens in case of a crash? You’re gonna slam your brake and shift levers into the top tube, which might break a carbon frame. Yes, there are headsets that limit the stem to 180 degrees of movement to prevent an impact on the top tube, but it’s obvious that the attempt to force 29ers down the throat of all sizes of riders just leads to a number of symptoms that have to be dealt with. The result are compromises of an unsatisfactory kind.

    These are real life issues, and these are the reason why I strongly doubt the “one size fits all” slogan. To me it clearly does not.

  22. Did you ever get a weight of the 9.8 after it was assembled. I’m close to pulling the trigger, please post it if you know !! Thanks !!

  23. I just received my EX 9.8. Weighs in at almost 27lbs with carbon post and 2.3 Bontrager tires tubeless, worth every pound.

  24. We (five us from the shop) rode the Fuel EX 29 9.8 carbon’s in Sedona Arizona… what a blast! the bike felt very nimble and climbed very well on the short little tech climbs that Sedona throws at you, I’ve ridden the same trails many times on other bikes (mostly hard tales) and never had this much fun… I’m hopping the alloy EX 8 29’er rides close to the EX 29 9.8 can’t afforded the carbon right now…, I’m a die-hard hard tail fan…but the Fuel EX 8 29’er will be my next bike with an XT 2X10 Crankset change. (the SLX shift levers will convert over with a flip of a switch)

  25. a lance bike ? you mean that guy busted for epo and rollin with out a colon, i mean daddy 1 nut ?

    haha. 4 grand. hmmm. i would rather build my own bike.

    too pricey for me, more suited for the corporate pocket book. seing the average rider is surviving on 35 a year.

    im pullin 50 a year and this stuff is just out of my league.

    it sire is shiny and pretty tho. good luck guys.

  26. RickyBob-

    Word on the street is that the new Slash is going to be ~350g lighter than last year’s model, which is comparable to the difference between AL and carbon frames. Should be a Mojo killer fasho!

  27. I am somewhat new to mnt biking and just bought a fuel ex 8 and am wondering if it’s a little small. Maybe someone can input what they think? I’m about 5’10” with about a 32-33″ inseam weighing in at 165 lbs. I thought I bought a 18.5 but I see that it’s really a ” actual 17.5 and virtual 18.5″. It seems to ride ok but I have a bit of weight on my hands which can get soar after awhile. Did I get to small a size?

  28. Jeff-
    For your height and inseam, a larger 18.5″ would have been a better fit for you. Even a 19.5″ would not be out of the question for mountain biking. Of course there is that balancing act of size vs. weight.

  29. @adam — you can also take your similarly spec’d SC Tallboy and add about $1000 to the pricetag. I’ve ridden SC and Trek extensively and the extra money for the SC isn’t worth it. But you can drink that expensive Kool Aid if you want.

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