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New Trek Fuel EX 8 inaugural ride: 33.1 glorious miles.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011 by  
Filed under Daily Blog

July
26
2011

My very first Trek Fuel EX 8 Bike on a Trail shot. Notice that I've already taught the bike how to do solo track stands.

My very first Trek Fuel EX 8 Bike on a Trail shot. Notice that I've already taught the bike how to do solo track stands.


I took my new Trek Fuel EX 8 bike out for its first real ride yesterday, and today I’d like to share my thoughts about the bike. I rode a total of 33.1 miles: 8 miles on paved roads and 25.1 miles on the dirt.

The first thing I should mention is how comfortable the bike felt. The 18.5″ frame fits me perfectly, and I love the wide Bontrager (690mm) handlebars with a slight (25mm) rise.

Shifting was a joy. The shifters (3×10) and both derailleurs are Shimano SLX; the cassette (11-36) and crank (42/32/24) are also both made by Shimano. The shifters are perfectly positioned, and I love that they work in either direction. Shifting was quiet, crisp and ultra-fast. I ride with my index fingers resting on the brake levers, and I was able to shift up or down using my thumbs without changing my grip on the bars or removing my fingers from the brakes. Shifting felt natural and was second-nature. The shifters have removable optical gear displays, so if you’re a weight weenie those can come off.

I can’t say enough good things about the Avid Elixir 5 hydraulic disc brakes. Even though I quickly discovered how powerful these hydraulic disc brakes are, old habits die hard. Quite a few times on yesterday’s ride I braked using the same amount of pressure that I’ve grown used to using to stop or slow my old Trek 4300; thankfully I didn’t crash, but there were a few times (especially during the first few miles) that the sudden stops almost sent me over the bars. Once I got used to using a lighter touch things were fine. The brakes were totally quiet and never once squealed.

As for the full suspension, I can sum up my feelings with one word: “WOW!” This bike gobbles up roots and rocks like they are not even there. I can’t describe how comfortable the ride was compared to my old bike. I experienced absolutely no back, butt or ankle pain; not only that, even after 33 miles I felt considerably less fatigued than I usually would after a ride of that length.

Oh, and if you think the lack of fatigue was because I was loafing, I should mention that my average moving speed was a little over 2 MPH faster than usual. This bike is fast.

The stock Bontrager Evoke 2 chromoly saddle is very comfortable, but part of the reason it felt so comfortable may be due to the full suspension. I don’t really care why, all I know is that riding in comfort and without pain is very enjoyable.

My only complaint about the bike is the terrible stock tires. I was going to swap them out with a set of WTB Velociraptors (which I really love), but I decided to leave the stock tires on for my first ride. I wish I hadn’t. The stock tires really struggled to grip in the sand, they slipped on wet roots and they can’t corner worth a damn. I nearly washed out several times while taking corners at speeds my Velociraptors can handle without a problem. Needless to say the stock tires are coming off this morning and going straight in the garbage.

So, apart from the minor issue of the stock tires, I’m blown away by the Trek Fuel EX 8. I’m not feeling even the slightest tinge of regret over this purchase. The worst part of having this bike is the constant, irrepressible desire to ride. ๐Ÿ™‚

John Stone Fitness Comments

10 Responses to “New Trek Fuel EX 8 inaugural ride: 33.1 glorious miles.”
    • Definitely not! Yesterday I only took the picture shown above (I didn’t want to stop riding), but I’ll return to taking more photos soon enough. Also, my Cotton Carrier is en route, so once that arrives taking pictures will be a whole lot easier.

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  1. Do NOT pull the brake levers when your wheels aren’t on. Hydro brakes are a lot different and than mechanical ones.

    Glad you are very happy with your new bike!

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  2. Just one quick comment regarding the bike. This is a 120/120 mm travel bike with a 69ยบ head angle which puts it in the cross country category. For the trails that you are riding it’s probably completely adequate.

    However, you should not expect to be able to take this bike out on more challenging trail that either a trail bike or an all mountain bike could handle. The travel and head angle will just not be enough. If you have the chance, I would highly recommend that you take out something like a Rocky Mountain Slayer, Trek Scratch Air, Specialized Enduro, or some other all mountain bike with 160 mm+ of travel and a slack head angle (67ยบ or less).

    The reason that I recommend this is that all mountain bikes will give you many more options if you ever choose to ride more aggressive terrain. If you stick with the Fuel EX 8 you will be limited to cross country trails.

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    • Yeah, this bike is absolutely perfect for the kind of mountain biking that I do. Realistically I’m probably never going to be doing crazy downhill riding or hucking off 10 foot drops. I can’t risk life and limb to learn that stuff at my age and with my responsibilities.

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      • Yeah, that is what you say now. One trip out to a bike park and you’ll change your tune. Just like when you switched from playing around on roads to trail riding. Perhaps in a year when you decide that you do in fact want to ride more aggressive trails you’ll be ready for a bike upgrade again.

        Enjoy the Fuel EX 8 until then!

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  3. I recently started to use my mountain bike as a replacement for my elliptical cardio every other day. Thanks for posting stuff like this, it comes in VERY handy! on top of that it makes me want to cut out of work early to hit the trails….4 more hours to go…..ugh….

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