Trek designed the Farley EX 9.8 to be a year-round bike capable enough to tackle any trail or weather condition. Fortunately I got my hands on this beauty at just the right time, as we transitioned between a glorious fall and bitter winter. I figured the large 3.8″ 27plus tubeless tires would be a welcome friend on the trail. There are a few dedicated souls around Pittsburgh that ride their fat bikes year round. Sure, it makes sense when the trails are covered in powder or mud, but it’s never really seemed like a great idea when the trails are dry and ready to rip. My interest has been piqued, and it’s time to see if they know something I don’t.
My first few forays on the Farley were surprisingly uneventful. Besides a bit of a rotational weight penalty, the bike was relatively easy to maneuver around my home trails. I wouldn’t necessarily say there was a decrease in agility coming from the 2.6″ 27plus I’ve been riding for a while, but there was definitely a change in riding style. The Farley floats over a lot of trail chatter, whereas previous bikes required a bit more of my attention to make those choppy sections of trail passable.
I’ve spent a good amount of time on rigid and hardtail fat bikes, but this is the first full-suspension build I’ve ridden. As you’d expect, it’s noticeably different. As we’ve found on other Trek bikes, the RE:aktiv shock is just awesome. Paired with a Bluto fork, this suspension is dialed.
Obviously, the wheels are a standout on this model. The Bontrager Hodag tires seem to be pretty decent in the conditions I’ve encountered so far. I’m looking forward to seeing how they do in a bit more slop and snow. And I’m really digging the 80mm wide Wampa rims. That’s a lot of carbon down there.
Check the next issue of Dirt Rag magazine to see how the whole system worked as the trails changed for the season, and if this is truly a trail bike in fat bike clothes. Subscribe now so you don’t miss the review and all the great stuff we’ve got lined up this year!
Also, here’s a video of Travis Brown melting some snow with his Trek Farley EX!