Trek Fuel EX 5 Mountain Bike Review
If you want to upgrade to a full suspension mountain bike but do not want to be hampered by a cheap and nasty bike in the sub-£1000 category, then the Trek Fuel EX 5 could be your white knight. Built using the same frame and suspension technology as its more expensive siblings, this bike is a hardcore racer at heart. There may have been a few cost-cutting measures enacted upon certain components to keep the price down, but for developing mountain bike enthusiasts who want to improve their performance on trails of any type, it is really one of the best in its class.
The aluminium frame of the Trek Fuel EX 5 is of the typically study variety you would expect to see on a bike which is designed to be thrashed rather than treated with care. A large part of its punishment-absorbing functionality is provided by the rear shock from Fox and the front fork from RockShox, which in combination give the frame 120mm of travel that can help it outperform many of its 140-50mm rivals in the right hands. The purpose of choosing a full suspension setup is if you want to face off against any terrain in any conditions and still come out on top, with the Trek Fuel EX 5 helping you to pelt downhill faster and harder than ever before.
As you might imagine, the weight of the bike is taken up a few notches because of its rugged components. This does mean that hardtail bikes might have the advantage in the climbs and when accelerating from a standstill. However, you can turn the tables in almost any situation thanks not only to the stiff rear end but also to the bike’s ability to dominate in virtually any other situation. As soon as a descent looms, you can wave your opponents goodbye and take the fastest, most obstacle-strewn route without fearing that the rough terrain will do anything more than put the bike through its paces and reveal its potential for superb performance.
Trek has forgone the Shimano components in favour of SRAM alternatives this year and this should appease any critics who were unimpressed with the previous generations of this particular model. In partnership with Avid Juicy 3 hydraulic disc brakes and fast rolling Bontrager tyres, the bike is able to belie the added weight and feel deceptively nimble and responsive through the corners. This in turn makes its all-rounder tag seem an increasingly accurate way to describe this mountain bike.
The Trek Fuel EX 5 is not without its issues, but for your money you will be hard pressed to find a full suspension setup which can match this. You may be torn between picking a hard tail alternative and this style of mountain bike. While hardtails have obvious strengths, the comfort and off-road capabilities of this bike should easily persuade you that it is the right choice, particularly if you are relatively new to serious cycling.