The Trek Fuel EX 5 is a full suspension, full floater mountain bike intended to take on the trail and flex to suit the requirements of riders with varying styles.
It is part of Trek’s best selling range and is also the most affordable model in its family, which means that it is likely to be seen as the most accessible.
The core of the Trek Fuel EX 5 is its Alpha Platinum Aluminium frame which is kitted out with a range of well chosen contemporary components. The frame is light and stiff in its own right, but Trek has taken a number of steps to make sure that it goes beyond its innate capabilities to offer a little extra. The active breaking pivot (ABP) is a good example, as this allows the suspension to remain active and alive at all times while still giving you 30 per cent more lateral stiffness than you would expect from a typical full-sus mountain bike.
When it comes to suspension you get a RockShox Recon Silver TK front fork that offers 120mm of travel. At the back is the RockShox Ario RL shock which is part of the floater frame design. This basically means that the bike is able to deliver its travel in an intelligent, adaptive way that does not hamper power transfer or stiffness. As such the bike is just as capable and comfortable while it is being driven hard uphill as it is when compensating for serious bumps and lumps on a downhill trail.
Strong, Light and Strong
Bontrager AT-850 rims and XR4 tyres form the foundation of the Trek Fuel EX 5 when it makes contact with the gravel, dirt and mud beneath you. There is a decent amount of strength here, but thankfully it does not come at the expense of lightness, because you will still be able to control and manage the bike well whether cruising, racing or going for all-out fun.
SRAM X5 components on the drivetrain represent a good start for riders who are eager to see improvements in their performance on the trail, with a 3 ring crankset enabling you to pedal efficiently and pick from a broad selection of gears to help you respond dynamically to the path ahead.
The Hayes DynoSport hydraulic disc brakes are a good addition, acting as an introduction to the world of precision and power that is offered by this kind of brakeset. Trek has selected a range of components like this which are affordable enough to match with the low price bracket of the Fuel EX 5 without also counteracting its performance levels.
While this is by no means the cheapest full-sus bike available at the moment, it manages to sidestep some of the obstacles that are thrown in the way of the affordable competition. The shocks are able to take up the slack when you need to counteract impacts and help to make the bike comfortable during long distance journeys. This translates into a good degree of confidence, which might otherwise be lacking from a similarly priced hardtail model, which is worth considering when you come to make a decision.
In terms of aesthetics, the 2012 Trek Fuel EX 5 certainly looks the part, with its black frame and silver detailing never looking to gaudy nor too dull. There is plenty of finesse to the way in which it has been put together and while it is certainly the entry level option in this range, it is by no means earmarked as a bargain basement option when it comes to performance. If you want to experience what the Trek Fuel range has to offer, the EX 5 will be a worthwhile investment.