Is Trek Fuel EX 5 Worth Buying? [2023 Trek Fuel EX 5 Review]

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Trek Fuel EX 5

  • Price: $2,699.99
  • Frame: Alpha Platinum Aluminum
  • Gear: 1×12
  • Tires: 29×2.60″/27.5×2.60”

What we love about it: A full-suspension high-performance mountain bike that can resist all kinds of trail obstacles.

What we don’t like about it: The relatively low price makes some compromises in the performance of the components, and the heavier body weight makes climbing a little slow.

Rating: (4.7/5)

Trek Fuel EX 5

Cycling is very popular, as we can see now, and mountain biking is an adrenaline rush in cycling, so cycling is very popular.

Therefore, we reviewed the Trek Fuel EX 5. During the three-month evaluation, I not only experienced the feeling of adrenaline rushing, but also experienced enough security that the Trek Fuel EX 5 gave me. Needless to say, I am overwhelmed by the charm of the Trek Fuel EX 5, and I would like to be the Trek Fuel EX 5’s mountain off-road comrade-in-arms.

Below is our breakdown of the Trek Fuel EX 5 for climbing and trail riding, key features, components, and specs, as well as previous editions of the series.

If you want to know more, check out our review column.

Learn more:

Climbing

What is Bike Climbing? Is the difficulty of climbing a bicycle the same as that of climbing a mountain? I think this simplified understanding is possible, but what we should pay attention to is that the climbing of mountain bikes is not only affected by the bicycle itself but also related to the terrain. The Trek Fuel EX 5 is a full-suspension bike, and in fact, we were a little apprehensive about its climbing (you really can’t ask for much from a mountain bike under $2800). But I found we were wrong.

At the beginning, we were in the nearby countryside, and as soon as we looked up, we saw a yellow rocky mountain to the northwest, and the reviewers and I decided to challenge this rocky mountain.

Scene Show

Trek Fuel EX 5

Maybe I’m used to hardtail mountain bikes, and the gravel trails always take me out of the saddle a little bit. Technical climbs inevitably involve enough difficult gravel and roots.

The wet clay of the woodlands not only made my ascents extremely difficult, but I failed on the first ascent. I also had to do it all over again from the bottom, the second time I adjusted the fork, and this time I didn’t feel too hard on the climb, although it wasn’t as fast as I thought it would be.

The rocky trails are steeper, and the Shimano Deore 1×12 drivetrain is as efficient as I’ve ever ridden on a hardtail. The second time I used the lowest gear, the 10T pinion and 27.5×2.60″ tires did not have much difficulty on such a hilltop.

Without thinking too much about the impact of X-Fusion on the whole process, it just feels like such a climb is a certain challenge for the Trek Fuel EX 5.

Brief Summary

On the one hand, the tires played a big role in the climbing process. On the other hand, it is undeniable that the Trek Fuel EX 5 platinum aluminum frame offset a lot of vibration during the climbing process.

More importantly, the Trek Fuel EX 5’s shock-absorbing fork and rear fork provided just the right amount of shock during the second half of the ride, allowing me to maintain stable control during the climb, and I was able to maintain a good amount of control. Step on the pedals without any scruples, without worrying about other things.

If you choose a difficult climb on the mountain, we still recommend starting at the other end of the mountain, as the longer climbs and not the steep ones will make it easier for you to enjoy the process.

In most cases, mountain bikes under $2800 probably won’t have as much climbing performance, but the Trek Fuel 5 EX is a real differentiator for me, and it gives me a better impression of a low-priced mountain bike.

Forest Road Cycling

Trek Fuel EX 5

I have to say, if it weren’t for the Trek Fuel EX 5’s outstanding climbing performance, I’m afraid I wouldn’t have such high expectations for its forest-to-road riding.

We took the Trek Fuel 5 EX for a review on the woods trails. The trail is rugged and slippery, with no end in sight. As far as this trail goes, even though I’m a little scared, I’m still pretty confident in the Trek Fuel 5 EX, and the results really didn’t exceed my expectations.

Even in the face of sharp turns, the Trek Fuel EX5 overcomes this hurdle with its nimble steering. When I rode quickly on slippery ground, the tires still gripped the ground tightly, maintaining steady forward momentum. The grip of the Trek Fuel EX5 tires really amazes me.

For a more comprehensive review, we also came to another forest trail, the narrow trail only allows one bike to ride and can be called forest singletrack.

Not only that, because of the season, the trail is almost all fallen leaves, and the scenery is beautiful, but it was another great challenge for my riding.

Unexpectedly, the aggressive tires directly turned the Trek Fuel EX5 into a shredder, and the Trek Fuel EX5 still maintained a steady ride speed. Trek Fuel EX5 shock absorbers effectively absorb shocks in the ups and downs encountered during the forward process.

Main Feature

Frame

Trek Fuel EX 5 Frame

The Trek Fuel EX 5 we reviewed was available in two paint colors, Lithium Grey and Matte Dnister Black. I like both paint colors better, but I wish there were more options as I do review quite a few bikes.

Additionally, the Trek Fuel EX 5 uses an Alpha Platinum Aluminum frame, which is a very affordable frame that is relatively cheap, but has plenty of strength.

Not to mention the Straight Shot that Trek’s frame designers designed for the Trek Fuel EX 5. In addition, the Straight Shot design not only optimizes the stiffness-to-weight ratio, but also achieves a more responsive ride in this way.

If riding conditions get bad, you can protect your bike from injury with the Knock Block.

The reason the Knock Block protects the bike is that the Knock Block is an integrated frame guard system that prevents the handlebar lever from rotating into the top tube and preventing the cable tube from being pulled out.

The Trek Fuel EX 5’s Control Freak cable management came naturally when we looked at the frame. Control Freak is an excellent cable management system that runs any combination of shift, brake, lockout, and dropper post lines through the frame, giving us the Trek Fuel 5 EX very neat and clean.

On top of that, the Fuel EX 5 Trek has a very thoughtfully designed smaller (XS and S) frame with a top tube that slopes down as it approaches the seat tube. This design effectively reduces standover height, which is beneficial for short-stature riders.

Because it makes it easier for them to straddle the bike, it really boosts my preference for the Trek Fuel EX 5 for a rider like me who is under 5’4″.

Geometry

In fact, we found the overall frame of the Trek Fuel EX5 to take the shape of an obtuse triangle. Not only that, but when we measured the seat tube angle (67.5° in size M) and the head tube angle (66° in size M), there was very little difference in the size of the angle. The seat tube and head tube are almost parallel, which makes me want to ride the Fuel EX 5 Trek more to experience the experience.

After my 3-hour ride on city roads, I found that the slack head angle slowed down my steering response. But have to say, it makes it easier for me when I get downhill. The looser seat tube angle allows me to easily lift the front of my Trek Fuel EX5 and keep it moving forward, which really surprised me.

Do you think that’s it? No, Fuel EX 5 Trek also adds MinoLink configuration, MinoLink can adjust the geometry and just need you to turn the nut to fine-tune the head tube angle. BB height can be fine-tuned by up to 10mm without negatively impacting suspension performance. Don’t underestimate this 10mm, the height of the BB determines the height of your center of gravity. Whether it is climbing or descending, the height of the center of gravity will affect the stability of your riding.

Of course, we also measured the Chainstay length. The shorter Chainstay length (43.7cm) puts the rider’s center of gravity back, which makes it easier for the bike to lift the front end, making it easier for technical riding. In my opinion, I think the geometric design of the Trek Fuel EX5 is very technical and stylish.

Components and Specifications

Shimano Deore M6100 1×12 Drivetrain

Generally speaking, there are few full-suspension mountain bikes like the Trek Fuel EX 5 at this price. While it’s excellent in frame and geometry for this price range, the Trek Fuel EX 5 hasn’t ditched its drivetrain for this.

The first thing we saw was the Trek Fuel EX 5’s Shimano Deore M6100 1×12 drivetrain, and the Deore 12-speed rear derailleur was pretty impressive considering its price in the Shimano hierarchy.

It still has the Shadow RD+ clutch mechanism for improved chain retention and shifting precision. So when I was on a natural road ride I noticed that the Shimano Deore M6100 1×’s drivetrain was easier and smoother to shift than the 2× I’ve ridden before.

Not only that, but it also has a 12-speed option, which I think is adequate even for off-road riding, or urban riding.

Shimano Hydraulic Disc Brakes

Trek Fuel EX 5 Brakes

Of all the bikes I’ve ridden, the Shimano series has the most braking, but there’s no denying that Shimano hydraulic discs have their own.

Since our review of the Trek Fuel EX 5 is very comprehensive, I rode the Trek Fuel EX 5 over a variety of terrains, but it was a thrilling ride within three months of this review.

That time we did a forest road ride, but it was a very challenging and technical trail. When I started riding, I saw with my own eyes an unfamiliar rider whose face was in direct contact with the ground of the forest road as he descended. When we went over to help, we found his mouth full of dirt, thankfully, no major problems.

So my heart went out to my throat on this ride, but we did this review anyway, and the Trek Fuel EX 5 didn’t hurt me, and it braked even when I encountered sharp turns and slippery roads. The heat still held me and the tires firmly so I didn’t fly out.

I would also like to talk about the ABP function of Trek Fuel EX 5. It plays an important role. It saves me a lot of effort when controlling the bike, and it almost makes me feel the realm of human and vehicle integration.

If you’re serious about safe braking, you can really try the Trek Fuel EX 5.

Tire

Trek Fuel EX 5 Tire

Another interesting thing about the Trek Fuel EX5 is its tires. Its 29×2.6” tires are, in my opinion, the absolute king (in this price range) when it comes to climbing or descending. Whether it’s muddy country trails or rocky singletrack, there’s super grip and traction to keep you firmly in your saddle.

Not only that, but the bumps on the tire surface not only play a good role in traction, but also have a good shock absorption effect. Still, some would argue that the Trek Fuel EX5’s large tires would have trouble riding on smooth and flat city roads.

But my rides told me otherwise, the Trek Fuel EX 5 maintained its charm even in the city. The Trek Fuel EX5 27.5×2.6” tires have more flexible steering, and while it may not be as fast as a professional road bike, I think the Trek Fuel EX5 is an absolute value for money.

TranzX JD-YSP18 Dropper

TranzX JD-YSP18 Dropper

Although the Trek Fuel EX5 is not expensive, its configuration is very complete. The Trek Fuel EX5 also features a TranzX JD-YSP18 dropper post.

The TranzX JD-YSP18 dropper post is equipped with a pneumatic drive, which allows me to freely adjust my seat position even when facing uphill or downhill terrain or even rolling trails.

Not only that, but the thoughtful design of its invisible internal wiring and the simple-looking remote-controlled dropper are even more praiseworthy.

RockShox Fork

Trek Fuel EX 5 Fork

Based on the professionalism of our review, one more word must be said about the Trek Fuel EX 5 fork.

When I’m riding on the road, I want to get a fast-paced experience on the road. At this time, the shock absorption function of the front fork will consume my power. So the fork lockout feature set by the Fuel EX 5 Trek solves such a problem.

When I locked the fork, I even caught up with the car in front when I hit a downhill on a flat road ride. If you are riding on a flat park trail, the suspension front fork can effectively absorb the shock at this time, allowing you to ride comfortably and feel the fun of riding in the park.

Not only are SoloAir springs lighter, but they also protect the rider’s wrists during high-speed rides and can be easily adjusted to fit a specific rider’s weight. All in all, I’m already looking forward to riding the Trek Fuel EX5 again.

Rear Suspension

Trek Fuel EX 5 Rear Suspension

The Fuel EX 5 is a full-suspension bike, and its rear suspension is just as important. The 130mm rear suspension does a great job of slowing down big mounds when jumping. Not only that, but when I was riding rough mountain trails, the rear suspension gave me effective traction when making turns, making it more comfortable and easier to turn.

Previous Versions of The Trek Fuel EX 5

2020 Trek Fuel EX 5

First introduced in 2007, the Trek Fuel EX5 has gone through several iterations. We found the 2020 Trek Fuel EX5 in Trek’s database to compare it with the latest 2023 model.

The price has increased by $600, but the transmission system has been greatly improved, from 1X10 to 1X12. Wider gear range. Good news for riders who like technical climbing.

2019 Trek Fuel EX 5 29

We reviewed the Trek Fuel EX5 over a three-month ride. Its Shimano Deore M6100 powertrain and Shimano hydraulic disc brakes, fork, and dropper post cost less than $3000. There is hardly anything in the range that makes us dissatisfied. I even think it’s the champion among them.

In fact, there are many versions of the Trek Fuel EX series. If you want to pursue higher component combinations, we have also made an in-depth review of the Trek Fuel EX7. Its price is around $3500, you can refer to our review.

What do we like about it?

1. Better at forest road riding, the design of a full shock absorber can enjoy the stimulation of riding more.

2. Internal wiring makes the bike look more concise and elegant.

3. In this price range, Trek Fuel EX5 is more value for money.

4. The neat and aerodynamic geometry can easily perform the technique of lifting the front wheel during riding.

What do we not like about it?

1. Some people think that the selectivity of car paint is too small.

2. The remote control dropper is not advanced enough, I hope it can be improved.

FAQs

  • What is the powertrain of the Trek Fuel EX 5?

The powertrain for the Trek Fuel EX 5 is a Shimano Deore M61001×12 drivetrain.

  • What material is the frame of the Trek Fuel EX 5?

The frame of the Fuel EX 5 Trek is Alpha Platinum Aluminum.

  • What is the largest tire size for the Trek Fuel 5 EX?

The largest tire size for the Trek Fuel EX 5 is 29×2.60″.

Trek Fuel EX 5 Specs

Frameset

FrameAlpha Platinum Aluminum, tapered head tube, Knock Block, Control Freak internal routing, downtube guard, ISCG 05, magnesium rocker link, Mino Link, ABP, Boost148, 130mm travel
ForkRockShox Recon Silver, Solo Air spring, Motion Control damper, lockout, tapered steerer, 42mm offset, Boost110, Maxle Stealth, 140mm travel
*ShockSize: XS , S
X-Fusion Pro 2, 2-position damper, 210mm x 52.5mm
Size: S , M , ML , L , XL , XXL
X-Fusion Pro 2, 2-position damper, 210mm x 55mm
Max compatible fork travel150mm (561mm axle-to-crown)

Wheels

Hub frontBontrager alloy, 6-bolt, Boost110, 15mm thru axle
*Hub rearSize: XS , S , M , ML , L , XL , XXL
Bontrager alloy, sealed bearing, alloy axle, 6-bolt, Shimano MicroSpline freehub, Boost148, 12mm thru axle
Size: XS , S , M , ML , L , XL , XXL
Bontrager alloy, sealed bearing, 6-bolt, Shimano MicroSpline freehub, Boost148, 12mm thru axle
Skewer rearBontrager Switch thru axle, removable lever
RimAlex MD35, tubeless compatible, 32-hole, 35mm width, presta valve
Spokes14g stainless steel
*TireSize: XS , S
Bontrager XR4 Comp, wire bead, 30 tpi, 27.5×2.60”
Size: S , M , ML , L , XL , XXL
Maxxis Rekon EXO, wire bead, 60 tpi, 29×2.60”
Size: S , M , ML , L , XL , XXL
Bontrager XR4 Comp, wire bead, 30 tpi, 29×2.60”
Rim stripBontrager TLR
Max tire sizeFrame: 29×2.60″ Fork: See manufacturer

Drivetrain

ShifterShimano Deore M6100, 12 speed
Rear derailleurShimano Deore M6100, long cage
*CrankSize: XS , S , M , ML , L
Shimano MT511, 30T steel ring, 52mm chainline, 170mm length
Size: M , ML , L , XL , XXL
Shimano MT511, 30T steel ring, 52mm chainline, 175mm length
Bottom bracketShimano MT500, 92mm, PressFit
CassetteShimano Deore M6100, 10-51, 12 speed
ChainShimano Deore M6100, 12 speed
Max chainring size34T

Components

SaddleBontrager Arvada, steel rails, 138mm width
*SeatpostSize: XS , S
TranzX JD-YSP18, 100mm travel, internal routing, 31.6mm, 361mm length
Size: M , ML , L , XL , XXL
TranzX JD-YSP18, 130mm travel, internal routing, 31.6mm, 425mm length
HandlebarBontrager alloy, 31.8mm, 15mm rise, 750mm width
GripsBontrager XR Trail Comp, nylon lock-on
StemBontrager Rhythm Comp, 31.8mm, Knock Block, 0 degree, 50mm length
HeadsetKnock Block Integrated, 58-degree radius, cartridge bearing, 1-1/8” top, 1.5” bottom
BrakeShimano hydraulic disc, MT201 lever, MT200 caliper
Brake rotorShimano RT56, 6-bolt, 180mm

Weight

WeightM – 15.70 kg / 34.62 lbs
Weight limitThis bike has a maximum total weight limit (combined weight of bicycle, rider, and cargo) of 300 pounds (136 kg).

Video

Comparison Chart

BIKEPRICEGEARBRAKETIRECLICK VIEW
2023 Norco Fluid FS A4$2,699.001×11Tektro HD-M535 Hydraulic Disc29’’×2.4’’Click View
Cannondale Habit 5$2,5251×11Tektro M275 Hydraulic Disc29’’×2.4’Click View
Trek Fuel EX 7$3,499.991×12SRAM Level T Hydraulic Disc29.x2.40”(Front)
29×2.60”(Rear)
Click View
Trek Roscoe 8$2,399.991×12Shimano 4 Piston Hydraulic Disc29×2.60”Click View

Trek Fuel EX 5 vs 2023 Fluid FS A4

2023 Norco Fluid FS A4

We can learn that the Trek Fuel EX 5 and the 2023 Fluid FS A4 are about the same price. But when we rode it, the TTrek Fuel 5 EX’s aluminum frame felt lighter and easier to handle. The 2023 Fluid FS A4 6061 alloy is relatively heavier and a little sluggish on technical road riding.

Not only that, but the 2023 Fluid FS A4 has fewer speed choices than the Trek Fuel EX 5, and I felt the Trek Fuel EX 5 had smoother shifting while riding.

Also, for braking, I prefer the Trek Fuel EX 5’s Shimano hydraulic discs, which give me a stable ride in all conditions. If the price is the same, why not choose one that suits you better?

Trek Fuel EX 5 vs Cannondale Habit 5

Cannondale Habit 5

The Cannondale Habit 5 costs $2,525, which is really not that high for a full-suspension bike, or even cheaper.

But for me, it just wasn’t enough for my riding needs, and the Cannondale Habit5’s Tektro M275 hydraulic discs took a toll on my tires when braking hard. Probably because of my tires, but I’m still disappointed with the Cannondale Habit5.

That’s where I have to mention the Trek Fuel EX 5, which is only slightly more expensive than the Cannondale Habit 5. Both its brakes and its speed options are superior, not to mention some of the thoughtful components of the Trek Fuel EX 5. For example, the Trek Fuel EX 5’s ABP feature.

If you want a great-value bike, why not give it a try?

Trek Fuel EX 5 vs EX7

2023 Trek Fuel EX 7

The Trek Fuel EX is the same series as the 7 and 5. There is almost no difference in geometric design between the two, but we can see from the data that the Fuel EX7 is a little lighter.

In addition, the same 1×12 speed, although their transmission system is not the same, but I think they all meet my needs in terms of speed. But the Trek Fuel EX7’s tubeless tires allow the Trek Fuel EX7 to gain more traction.

So if your needs are different, you can choose a bike that suits you according to your actual situation.

But to be honest, I like both of them equally.

Trek Fuel EX 5 vs Trek Roscoe 8

2023 Trek Roscoe 8

The Trek Roscoe 8 is a hardtail bike, and at $2,399.99, its components are excellent.

The first is the lightweight aluminum frame, which is light, and the lockout RockShox 35 Gold fork and SRAM NX Eagle 1×12 drivetrain and other components are good enough for the price.

Still, the design of the Trek Roscoe 8 hardtail makes the bike lighter, but bumps are more noticeable on gravel trails due to the lack of a rear shock. However, the full suspension Trek Fuel EX 5 has no such concerns. In fact, I pay more attention to the shock absorption function of mountain bikes, after all, I will often go on mountain trail riding.

If you need a bike, I recommend that by all means choose the one that suits you better.

Learn more: Is Trek Roscoe 7 Worth Buying? [Trek Roscoe 7 Review]

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