Trek Fuel EX 8 Review
The Trek Fuel EX 8 is an alloy framed, full sus mountain bike designed for singletrack success, although it offers fast speeds and comprehensive functionality across most surfaces to make it a good all-rounder. For a bike with a dual shock setup it remains surprisingly light and agile. You will not feel like it is dragging you down whilst you take on climbs or holding you up during cross country sprints.
The Alpha Platinum Aluminium frame of the Trek Fuel EX 8 is a full floater with an E2 tapered headtube for stiffness and responsive handling and even internal front derailleur cable routing to give it that light, clean look.
A frame is only as good as its suspension in this part of the market, so the presence of a Fox 32 Float RL fork and Fox Performance Series Float RP-2 shock will inspire confidence in riders who know their bikes. Each of these shocks has been adjusted for this particular model, so they respond delicately and accurately as is appropriate to the pressure applied. Whilst 120mm of travel is on offer, you can also activate full lockout if you want to alter the geometry and give the bike that stiffness and rigidity that you need for truly decent power transfer.
The drivetrain utilises aspects of both the Shimano Deore XT and SLX groupsets, so you should be adequately impressed with the lightness of this setup and the smoothness with which it can shift. You get Shimano SLX M666 hydraulic disc brakes, which Trek has chosen for a number of models outside of the Fuel EX 8. These are good all-rounders, like the bike itself, which means you can enjoy precision control of speed regardless of the conditions that you are facing.
The Bontrager Rhythm Comp TLR Disc rims and hubs benefit from the Bontrager XR4 Expert tyres, giving you a wheelset platform that is durable and sensitive enough to complement the full sus setup and the downhill damage that this will need to absorb. This bike also offers plenty of grip and fast rolling speed for straight line dashes.
A Bontrager Evoke 2 saddle joins the Rhythm Elite seatpost to give riders somewhere comfortable to rest themselves when they are not stood over the bike fighting for dominance in a race. At the front, there is the Bontrager Race Lite Low Riser handlebar that allows for plenty of accuracy and depth to the handling, which you might assume would be lacking from a bike that delivers so much travel at both ends.
The Trek Fuel EX 8 has received high praise from the press in its previous iterations thanks to its geometry and poised suspension setup, so the minor adjustments made for the 2012 edition of the bike will not do much to alter these opinions.
This is the kind of bike you want to have with you during all day stints in the saddle, whether you are actively racing or simply looking to have some fun in your downtime. Whilst it may not feature the superior lightness afforded to its carbon-based stable mates, it still has the same generous suspension arrangement that never feels like it is clunky or poorly implemented. The result is a bike that is as happy careening down technical trails as it is rolling smoothly across open fields and even over tarmac.
Trek Fuel EX 8 Specifications
- Front Fork: Fox 32 Float RL, lockout, rebound, 120mm travel
- Rear Shock: Fox Performance Series Float RP-2
- Front Derailleur: Shimano SLX
- Rear Derailleur: Shimano Deore XT M780 Shadow
- Gears: 30
- Chainring: Shimano Deore XT M780, 42/32/24T
- Cassette: Shimano HG62-10 11-36T 10 speed
- Shifters: Shimano SLX
- Brakes: Shimano SLX
- Wheels: Bontrager Rhythm Comp TLR Disc
- Tyres: Bontrager XR4 Expert, 26×2.2″