Before Trek was even done launching their new race bikes with the Procaliber SL and new Top Fuel SL, Waterloo was already working on the next release. Representing one of the most popular models in the line, changes to the Fuel EX platform aren’t taken lightly. While the Fuel EX 27.5 got its day in the sun last year at this time, the 29″ version was patiently waiting its turn.
Perhaps the wait was to see how the adaptation of Boost standards played out – or more likely just waiting for Boost compatible parts to become available. Whatever the reason, the new Fuel EX 29 is here and it looks like it was worth the wait…
One of the biggest changes to the big wheeled Fuel is the inclusion of Boost 148/110 spacing (EX 8 and above). Trek was one of the first brands to push the wider hubs with the introduction of the 29″ Remedy since the design would allow for stiffer 29″ wheels and shorter chainstays. That same theory applies here, with the chainstays nearly identical to those on the 27.5″ bike and Trek’s claim of improved wheel stiffness.
Additionally, the new Fuel EX 29 also drops down the RE:aktiv suspension that was developed in conjunction with Penske for the 27.5″ bike to the EX 8. The RE:aktiv tech is combined with the new Fox EVOL air canister and tuned for the Trek Full Floater, ABP suspension system. You may notice the lack of a DRCV air canister – Trek states that the linear spring curve of the new EVOL cans closely matches the spring curve that they were trying to achieve with DRCV. Now that the same suspension performance is available without a custom shock, more models will get the RE:aktiv tech with all Fuel EX models 8 and up getting the improvement. The 29er also includes a Mino link to allow control over the suspension with two settings for a 68.8 or 69.4º head tube angle as well as slight changes to the STA and BB height. Suspension travel is set at 120mm front and rear with the exception of the Fuel EX 9 29 which is the only bike to receive a 130mm travel Fox 34 float up front.
Internal cabling has been tamed with the new Control Freak system which will allow nearly every set up you can imagine. Trek mentions that there are 54 different possibilities for cable arrangements that the EX needs to accommodate which highlights the need for a versatile system. With all of the changes to the frame the resulting weight is a bit higher – a whopping 30g. However, the stiffness is said to have jumped 11% at the bottom bracket and 14% for the entire frame. Built with clearance for some 2.4″ tires and up to a 36t single chainring, the frame also includes ISCG 05 tabs for running chainguides.
Shown at the bottom, the orange Fuel EX 5 29 and blue Fuel EX 7 29 both retain the same aluminum frames as the previous model and do not get the upgrades mentioned above – but they also come with prices that are easy on the wallet considering the level of bike ($2,089.99 and $2,629.99). The EX 8 (black w/silver seat stay) which is most popular model in all of the EX line up sticks with an Alpha platinum aluminum frame but gets all of the frame updates with the exception of the Control Freak cable management system for $3,049.99. The same goes for the EX 9 (green, top) which gets an upgraded 1x drivetrain over the EX 8 as well as that 130mm travel fork mentioned above. At $4,199.99 the EX 9 is a good looking bike.
Jumping into the carbon frames will all of the bells and whistles, Trek will be offering the full carbon frameset for $3,469.99. Complete builds start with the blue and orange EX 9.8 29 above which uses an aluminum chainstay and XT 2x drivetrain to keep the price at $5,569.99. At $8,799.99 you jump to the top step with the full carbon 120mm EX 9.9 with an XTR 1x drivetrain, Carbon DT Swiss wheels, and stealth dropper. Carbon Fuel EX models will also be available through Trek’s Project One program starting in August while standard bikes are available immediately.