Trek Fuel EX 9.8 Mountain Bike Review
The biggest asset of the Trek Fuel EX 9.8 is that it provides a very balanced approach to mountain biking, somehow managing to match a lightweight build with rugged longevity and masterful handling. The full suspension package is not overly loose or sketchy on the uphill climbs and the carbon frame with its dual-chamber shocks is able to give you an impressive amount of travel that actually outdoes in real life what the specifications promise.
You can deliver all of your power through the powerful frame and fork setup when you are in a competitive situation, thanks to the intelligent geometry and finely tuned suspension. Some of its rivals can be a little too willing to make your pedalling efforts feel fruitless when you want to accelerate, but the Trek Fuel EX 9.8 is eager to please across flat ground and even climbs, meaning it has enviable racing credentials for this price bracket. Of course, when you are careening down the side of a mountain, the bike is equally able to aid you in your progress, with precise handling letting you carve along the path of your choosing without making you fight for control and with thoroughly absorbent shocks taking serious punishment while letting you regain your composure almost instantly after a landing or bump.
Trek Fuel EX 9.8 Specifications
The Trek Fuel EX 9.8 uses many of the components from the more expensive Fuel EX models, including the Bontrager XR3 tyres and DT Swiss rims. The tyres are high capacity and have relatively shallow tread patterns, letting you get up to speed quickly and gain control in slippery conditions while still having enough give to help out with soaking up the pounding the bike is certain to receive. Shimano Deore XT components round out the gear specifications, while the Avid XO hydraulic disc brakes on the front and rear are more than capable of biting hard when necessary but also letting you control your speed with greater subtlety and finesse.
The OCLV carbon frame is the core of the Trek Fuel EX 9.8 and it allows it to combine lightness with hard wearing consistency. You might not expect a bike designed for trail riding to tip the scales at such an appealing weight, but this all leads into its race-friendly features. The advantage of using a hardtail bike in certain situations begins to melt away when you feel the effortless power transfer provided by Trek’s latest offering. Carbon handlebars from Bontrager are a good match for this package, never lending the neutral, lazy feeling to the handling that other bikes suffer.
The Trek Fuel EX 9.8 it lighter, tighter and more competitive than ever before. This range is already a hit with the professionals and the critics and the price difference between this and the 9.9 is significant enough to give you all the more reason to consider it over its marginally better stable mate. The black and electric blue design helps it to look the part too, if style is a concern for you.