Preview: The New Trek Top Fuel Trail bike

XC Race, XC, Marathon, Trail, Enduro, Downhill

all names for MTB types and kinds of riding although the division and differneces between these categories are not extremely clear cut. Which in a way echo the trails and terrain we ride, and will combine climbs and downhills and flowy or technical terrain.

If you want to read more about this categorization and what it means for the build of MTB’s you can check out our gear guide. Suffice it to see that these categories are necessary to characterize a bike brought to market, and is certainly food for endless discussions and sometimes quite a bit of confusion.

In the press release announcing the Trek Top Fuel, this bike is alternately placed in the XC race, Marathon, Trailbike and the XC categories, which caused some confusion amongst our editors. Will the Trek Top Fuel be a bike that is all of the above?

That is why we turned to the pecifications and tried to read what they told us. It quickly become clear that, to us, we should be looking at the Top Fuel as a trail bike.

Which is a bike that really should be able to handle a lot of different terrains and riding styles. Which in turn fits the versatility that many MTB riders are looking for. You want to be able to handle the flat trails XC trails in less mountainous regions or countries such as in our native Netherlands, but actually also take them into the mountains.

The Top Fuel looks to be able to deliver just that, whatever you want to call it, .

Geometry

In our reviews of the Fuel EX and the Remedy we already saw the use of the so-called Mino Link, a fairly simple mechanism with which you can adjust the geometry of the bike. Simply put, with a special nut and oval bolt combination you can choose a position where your head tube angle is slacker and the wheelbase longer (you sit lower and wider which gives more stability downhill), or a position with a more steep head angle and shorter wheelbase. You ride higher higher, you can deliver power more efficiently and the bike becomes more manouverable, so more suitable for climb and XC riding.

So the Mino Link has been fitted to the Top Fuel, but Trek has moved it from the suspension bridge on the swingarm to the top mount of the rear shock absorber. According to Trek, this should make it easier to use.

Geometry

In our reviews of the Fuel EX and the Remedy we already saw the use of the so-called Mino Link, a fairly simple mechanism with which you can adjust the geometry of the bike. Simply put, with a special nut and oval bolt combination you can choose a position where your head tube angle is slacker and the wheelbase longer (you sit lower and wider which gives more stability downhill), or a position with a more steep head angle and shorter wheelbase. You ride higher higher, you can deliver power more efficiently and the bike becomes more manouverable, so more suitable for climb and XC riding.

So the Mino Link has been fitted to the Top Fuel, but Trek has moved it from the suspension bridge on the swingarm to the top mount of the rear shock absorber. According to Trek, this should make it easier to use.

What else?

Just like with the Fuel EX and the Remedy, the the ABP (Active Braking Pivot) system is fitted to the Top Fuel. This system (which we explain in the reviews) ensures that the same rear trangle of the MTB does not stiffen when you slam on the breaks. The stem is quite short (31.8 mm for the Top Fuel 8 and 9.7 models and 35 mm for the 9.8 and 9.9 models), which means that the bars are close to the frame and consequently steering should feel a bit more direct.

The bike is only available with 29-inch wheels, which guarantees speed and retention, also on more technical terrain, but requires more active steering. It will also be more stable, but just a little less agile than a bicycle with 27.5-inch wheels.

The bike is available in various set-ups and from the end of July you can fully customize your bike as much as you like (and your wallet allows) via Trek’s “Project One”.

 

Available Models
Retail Price
Kilo’s
Top Fuel 8 € 2.999,- 13.8
Top Fuel 9.7 € 3.999,- 12.63
Top Fuel 9.8 GX € 5.499,- 11.84
Top Fuel 9.9 XX1 € 8.999,- 11.05
Top Fuel 9.9 AXS € 9.999,- 11.84
Top Fuel AL frameset € 1.999,-
Top Fuel C frameset € 3.299,-

Conclusion

We think that the Trek Top Fuel will certainly be quite fast on flatter XC trails and Terrain. With that Dual Remote Lockout you are flexible in making your suspension rigid and making your bike more efficient. In addtiion with the Minolink in the high position, you have a bike that does have many features that fit the demand of XC trails.

With the suspension loose and Minolink down, it fits better to downhill demands again.

So this offers great flexibility and versatilty of course. However we don’t think that the bike will perform just as well on the XC and Downhill terrains as the specialist bikes would. An all-rounder can do a lot, but not always everything really, really well.

We hope to be able to ride a bicycle in the short term, and are curious to see if or expectations will be met or challenged. To be continued!

[vc_gallery interval=”3″ images=”27843,27841,27839″ img_size=”full”]

Mark Stokmans
Mark Stokmans
Since I can remember I have been very active in many different sports: started with baseball, tennis and riding later hockey, football, running and aikido. In addition, since twelve years old I've been into actionports: at first windsurfing, later climbing, inline skating, snowboarding, mountain biking. With the first action cams coming onto the market I've been making action sports videos. Furthermore, I've worked in the sports industry since 1990, sports marketing, media and live TV and until the end of 2016 at the Dutch Olympic Committee. Besides being partner in GearLimits I work as a digital freelancer. Based in the Netherlands, Married with Children (11 and 13 years old)

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