Under Test: Trek Fuel EX9

With a tip of the helmet (and any required apologies) to The Godfather, may he rest in peace:

Come here sister
Papa’s in the swing
He ain’t too hip now
but I can dig that new breed bike;
He ain’t no drag
He’s got a brand new bag

Please allow me to introduce my current test bike, a brand-spanking-new 2008 Trek Fuel Ex9.

Trek Fuel EX9

For 2008, Trek has given the Fuel EX line a serious makeover. One key change to the 120mm-travel Fuel EX9 is the Active Braking Pivot (ABP = rear pivot concentric with rear axle). Traditionally, mountain bike suspension designs have located the pivot point either on the seatstays (like the previous Fuel EX) or on the chainstay (i.e. Horst link), and Trek points out that either of those locations cause the the suspension to stiffen under braking. The new Trek EX uses Trek’s ABP technology, which locates the rear pivot concentric with the rear axle. This pivot location is claimed to keep the suspension active and independent of braking, which keeps the rear tire in contact with the ground for reduced skidding and better braking control.

Another key change is the Full Floater rear shock mount. Instead of mounting the bottom of the rear shock to the frame like traditional designs, the new Fuel EX’s Full Floater technology allows the shock to "float" between two independent linkages. Trek says that they tuned the linkages to produce a continuously active suspension with a bottomless feeling—and good pedaling efficiency.

After I log some more miles, I’ll let you know how well Trek’s design philosophy translates to on-dirt performance. For now, you can read my initial ride impressions on the new Fuel EX platform via my prior blog entry from Trek’s press camp held in Idaho back in June, 2007. For a closer look at the Full Floater and ABP, check out my 2008 Trek Fuel EX Sneak Peek blog entry.

Here’s a data dump:

Make: Trek
Model: Fuel EX9
Model year: 2008
Type: Mountain
Country of origin: Taiwan
Wheel size: 26”
Rear travel: 120mm
Frame material: Aluminum alloy
Suspension description: R1i Trail Tuned Suspension, ABP pivot, Full Floater
Rear shock: Fox Float RP23 w/3 position tunable Pro Pedal, custom tuned
Fork: Fox Talas RL (90-130mm)
Handlebar: Bontrager Race Lite, 40mm rise, 31.8mm
Stem: Bontrager Race X Lite, 7 degree, 31.8mm
Headset: Cane Creek S-3 w/cartridge bearings, sealed
Bottom bracket: Shimano Deore XT
Crank: Shimano Deore XT 44/32/22
Pedals: N/A
Chain: SRAM PC971
Saddle: Bontrager Race Lite
Seatpost : Bontrager Race Lite
Front hub: Bontrager Race Lite
Rear hub: Bontrager Race Lite
Front derailleur: Shimano Deore XT
Rear derailleur: SRAM X-0
Shifters: SRAM X-9, 9 speed w/MatchMaker
Cassette: SRAM PG970 11-32, 9 speed
Brakes: Avid Juicy 7, hydraulic disc; 185mm front, 160mm rear rotor
Rims: Bontrager Race LiteTubeless Compatible
Tires: Bontrager Jones XR, 26×2.2/2.25"; folding; Tubeless Ready
Sizes: 15.5, 17.5, 18.5 (tested), 19.5, 21.5"
Colors: White with black highlights
Weight: 27.4lbs. (w/o pedals)
MSRP: $3,409.99
Company website: www.trekbikes.com

That should do it for now. Look for additional blog posts as testing proceeds and miles accumulate.


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