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Interbike 2008 – Trek Top Fuel

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As soon as the first shuttle bus arrived at outdoor demo on Monday, this is the first bike I rode.  Having owned a Trek Fuel 100 for the past five years, I couldn’t wait to give it a spin, and I wasn’t disappointed in the least.  Having a full suspension, race ready rocket like this makes you feel faster. The technology on this bike is amazing, with lots of trickle down from their Madone road bikes. Check the vid for a run down, and read “more” for pics and more on the first ride of the new 2009 Trek Top Fuel…

Click on the pics to enlarge them. The complete bike shown above is pretty much what the production bike will look like, except you’ll get carbon-rimmed Bontrager wheels and a DT Swiss rear shock.

The front shot below shows the headtube bulges at top and bottom.  The headset is fully integrated into the carbon frame to reduce weight.  Frame weight with shock is only 2000g with 100mm travel front and rear.  The SID World Cup comes equipped with the remote PopLoc lockout lever on the handlebar.

The one-piece magnesium rocker arm keeps things laterally stiff and saves weight over older models that bolted together.  Shown here with a Fox shock, the production units will come with the carbon DT Swiss rear shock. The bottom of the shock mounts to the front of the chainstay swing arms, effectively “floating” between the two rockers, hence Trek’s Full Floater branding.

The bottom bracket area is oversized and houses the BB90 bottom bracket size and FSA 2×9 crankset.

The rear end has Trek’s ABP (Active Brake Pivot) which puts the pivot at the axle.  Trek claims this keeps the suspension fully active under braking, which helps when trying to slow down over stutter bumps or other gnarly, bouncy terrain.

The quasi-integrated seat mast is trickle down from the Madone, but has a good bit of adjustability.  The shape of the seat tube is what Trek calls the Crossbow frame.

So, what was it like to ride this thing?  Fast!

The demo trail was short, only a couple of miles, and a mix of smooth, swoopy singletrack, rock-and-pebble strewn downhills and a couple of sandy spots.  It also had some nice jumps that let you carry momentum, and that was the first thing that really caught my attention about this bike…it absolutely floats in the air.  For a bike this light, it was impressive, but in hindsight, to be expected.  What might be more surprising for a full-suspension bike at this weight was how stiff and stable it rode.  I pushed it down some bumpy trail with very high-speed turns and banks, and it never felt out of control.  Some of the credit for this goes to the new SID with beefier sliders.  The extra travel (versus previous 80mm models) is welcome, and 100mm has pretty much become the standard minimum travel, even for race bikes these days.

This was a very short test ride, and the trails are completely different from my home turf in North Carolina, my hunch is this bike has the handling, stiffness and travel for medium-length, half-day rides with all the performance you need to win races.  Even the Bontrager seat was comfortable enough for long rides, unlike some previous Bontrager seats I’ve ridden or the SLR that came stock on my bike (five years ago).

Trek will offer three models:  The 9.9 (shown here) and the 9.8 share the carbon frame.  The Top Fuel 8 uses a brand new Alpha Red Aluminum frame with standard seatpost but all the rest of the technology is incorporated.

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