2023 Trek Top Fuel 9.8 XT Review
- Price: $7199
- Category: Off-road bicycle
- Frame: Carbon
- Gear: 1×12
- Tires: 29.x2.40
What we like about it: The lightweight and sturdy all-carbon frame and 120mm of travel ensure that you stay supremely stable on the way up and down.
What we don’t like about it: The excessive price relative to the components.
Do you want to experience fun and crazy rappelling? Do you want to fly down from the top of a hill and experience the feeling of flying? If your answer is yes, then don’t miss our main character today – the 2023 Trek Top Fuel 9.8 XT.
The lightweight and sturdy full carbon fiber frame construction with 130mm RockShox Pike Select+ shock ensure the ultimate in-body stability on the way up and down. Not only that, but the Bontrager Line Elite 30 wide carbon tires are also the hidden secret of the Trek Top Fuel 9.8 XT.
Also, the special anti-puncture system allows you to travel through the mountains without worrying about the risk of a flat tire from sharp debris. At the same time, the Shimano XT 1×12 is also capable of maintaining extremely strong traction for your next cross-country mountain race.
We have had two months of experience measuring the Trek Top Fuel 9.8 XT. To make the results more informative for you, we will elaborate on the performance, key features, components, and specifications of the Trek Top Fuel 9.8 XT while riding, as well as other versions of the series.
If you would like to learn more about the other versions of the Trek Top Fuel 9.8 XT, please refer to our review.
Trek Top Fuel 9.8 XT Climbing Review
The Top Fuel 9.8 is a full-suspension carbon mountain bike for riders who don’t like to settle down. We’re these thrill-seekers, and the RockShox Deluxe Ultimate RCT shock is brag-worthy capital. Plus the sturdy seat tube maintains optimal riding position for challenging uphill trails.
We were faced with about 5 km of gravel singletrack between mountains and forests, with endless trees on both sides of the track. This is extremely demanding for the driver, who can come into close contact with them if he is not careful. Of course, Top Fuel 9.8 did not disappoint.
The 29×24″ tires on the Bontrager XR made a huge difference. It had great grip and held on to the ground even as I wound my way up the hillside and along the intertwined track. This gave me great confidence going forward. The vacuum tire configuration is also more forgiving. You know I have suffered from flat tire maintenance on previous mountain rides.
Some may have feared that the overly wide tires were a not-so-subtle compromise on steering. But it turns out that Top Fuel 9.8 has taken this into account as well.
I didn’t feel much difficulty in steering through the 18 sharp turns on the not-too-long track. Perhaps the 435mm rear fork and the 120mm trail travel made up for the steering problems. It was like a tamed beast marching toward the far end of the line.
Of course, the biggest surprise for me was still the Shimano XT M8100, with a 12-speed drivetrain, you’d be hard-pressed to pick any flaws with it. I was shifting at the end of the sprint on the grass, and I chose the lowest gear, which gave me more than enough traction.
One more thing, the 1x system is the drivetrain configuration I like the most. I didn’t need too many complicated operations in the process, I just needed my left hand to rotate the shrapnel to get the speed I wanted.
Trek Top Fuel 9.8 XT Descending Review
Not only climbing roads, but as a fully shocked carbon mountain bike, even the bumpy and rugged downhill flow trails you face are easy to traverse. We were returning the way we came, and the previous steep hillside became a springboard for my flight.
What is most important in this process? Yes, that’s right, shock absorption. You can be sure of this with the Trek Top Fuel 9.8 XT. This is not only because of the carbon body but also because of the front and rear forks (120mm rear travel, 120mm front travel).
During the descent, the forks can be seen moving up and down, and the DebonAir springs enhance the compatibility of the Trek Top Fuel 9.8 XT itself. In addition, with the help of the rear shock absorber RockShox Deluxe Ultimate RCT, the stability of the body is greatly improved.
Not only that, but the Charger 3 RC2 damper plays a vital role in this. I hate the thumping sound of the body colliding with the top of a rock wall, and its presence eliminates a lot of that noise and keeps the body drop safe.
Of course, mountain weaving will inevitably encounter some huge rocky roadblocks that are out of your path. It’s often in front of you in a flash, with great consideration given to the rider’s reaction level and braking system. Again, the Trek Top Fuel 9.8 XT still did not disappoint me.
Our old friend Shimano XT M8120 hydraulic discs are still able to handle complex enough surfaces with confidence, and it is as good, responsive, and fast as ever.
The 4-piston construction greatly increases its braking capacity, and it can make quick stops even on wet and rainy surfaces. So you can keep greater confidence in Shimano when it comes to safety settings.
Considering the Trek Top Fuel 9.8 XT is an endurance race bike, we did a series of tests on its speed and the result of 42km/h is very satisfactory. Of course, if you get to the final sprint and still want more speed to go forward, the Bontrager DropLock shifter levers allow you to easily lock the front and rear shocks at the same time, thus effectively increasing the sprint or climb.
I believe one of the things that attracted me most to the Trek Top Fuel 9.8 XT was also its appearance. The OCLV Mountain Carbon body gives it a lighter shell while maintaining a greater amount of stable travel.
The Satin Baja Yellow is the color it is currently available in, so perhaps it could use a little more personalization next time it is revamped. This may significantly increase the sales of Trek Top Fuel 9.8 XT itself.
Not only that, but the Trek Top Fuel 9.8 XT has a storage space installed in the downtube. This makes it extremely convenient to carry your riding essentials such as tire repair tools, cycling clothes, or snacks with you at all times.
Geometry setting is also an important factor for mountain bikers when considering their bikes. A proper angle will keep your ascent and descent more efficient.
This brings us to the 596mm stack. It allows me to maintain a comfortable position while ascending, and even if I am at a stop, I can still maintain a stable upright position. Not only that, but the design of the seat tube is also unique. The extra-large seat post is compatible with longer and larger telescopic seat posts, while the knock Block 2.0 prevents the handlebars from damaging the cable in the event of a crash.
Also, the 1183mm wheelbase doesn’t seem overly long but is more suited to every car subject to size design (I chose the medium model). It allows me to maintain a smooth body while also having nimble steering.
Besides, the adjustable geometry is an advantage that it comes with. Simply fine-tune the head tube angle by 1/2° and the BB center of gravity by up to 10mm to switch back and forth between slack and compact geometry.
Components and Specifications
Drivetrain: Shimano XT M8100, 12-speed
I have always had great faith in the Shimano brand, and this is due to the ultimate experience it has always delivered. 1x system is standard on mountain bikes does away with overly complicated speed shifting, and only requires one hand to turn the slider for silky smooth speed adjustment.
Perhaps you are concerned about the operation of the chain. After all, as a mountain bike configuration, if there are problems associated with it, it can cause problems for safety. But for actual riding, this worry is not necessary.
Both the silky smooth shifting and its rich, dense gear ratio provide fast, seamless shifts that are quiet and stable enough. Allowing me to shift effectively in the face of different riding situations.
Brake: Shimano XT M8120 4-Piston Hydraulic Disc
Compared to mechanical braking, hydraulic discs enable more sensitive and quicker emergency braking.4 Piston brakes provide another step up in braking power. In addition, the use of a sturdy brake lever design provides extra support for intense riding and can ensure a smooth descent. Even if you’re facing a snowy mountain ride, you’ll still be able to maintain some stability. Not only that, but its lighter size doesn’t create a particularly large amount of distress and resistance for your ride.
Of course, it is also important to realize that the Shimano XT M8120 4 is expensive in terms of price. This also means that you have to be more careful in your daily use, otherwise the repair costs it brings can be quite traumatic to your wallet.
Tires: Bontrager Line Elite 30
I have to admit that the 29′ tires are tailor-made for mountain off-roading, and the wide, heavy tires keep the body extremely stable. Not only that, but the special puncture prevention system allows you to take on sharp gravel surfaces without any worries. Meanwhile, Tubeless Ready’s tire grinding rims make it easy to ditch the inner tube for even more traction. Eating pure plants, there also fewer flats, and less weight. And it uses the included TLR rim strips, valve nipples, and sealant.
Another good news is the carbon care tire loyalty program. In case of damage rate Bontrager carbon rims within the first two years, you will be eligible for a free replacement. This is a good marketing plan for mountain bikers.
Rear Shock Absorber: RockShox Deluxe Ultimate RCT
One of the biggest advantages of the Deluxe Ultimate is the lightweight case size, which means you don’t have to worry about how much of a hindrance it will be to your travels. The fully checked damper design allows for low-speed compression adjustment and optimal traction control adjustment adjustable DebonAir™ springs provide a smooth, consistent feel throughout the tour.
There are also independent open threshold pistons that can be precisely adjusted for your ride, paired with 120mm of fork travel. So with this double insurance, the Trek Top Fuel 9.8 XT can keep the body stable and moving forward without worrying about bumps.
Not only that, but the Deluxe Ultimate offers a fully checked damper design for low-speed compression adjustment and optimal traction control adjustment. One more thing, it features Maxima Plush fluid for improved performance and rides quality.
Other versions of Trek Top Fuel
To give you more options, we tested the Trek Top Fuel 9.8 XT for a certain amount of time to be objective and fair. These include the 2023 Top Fuel 9.8 and 2022 Top Fuel 9.8 XT
2023 Top Fuel 9.8
Priced at USD 7,400, the 2023 Top Fuel 9.8 is probably not a small figure for every rider. Of course, the extremely high price can also be the ultimate riding experience.
First of all, the lighter weight of 12.6 kg can be easily lifted. Secondly, the more advanced GX Eagle AXS components are used. This gives you more traction on gravel and in the mountains, so you can face the next XC race with confidence.
Finally, the drivetrain system eschews complicated cable tangles in favor of a more advanced, agile electronic drivetrain. So you don’t have to worry about traveling with complicated cables to disrupt your view. If you don’t look at the price, it must be a very excellent choice.
2022 Top Fuel 9.8 XT
Like the previous generation version of the 2023 Top Fuel 9.8 XT, the 2022 Top Fuel 9.8 XT has an unbeatable advantage in terms of price. Even in terms of material, the same oclv carbon material is used. So they are not much difference in weight.
The difference is perhaps some difference in the rear travel setting (120mm after the 2022 Top Fuel 9.8 XT). This will still be a slight difference for off-road race veterans. Of course, the Charger 2 RL shocks also have certain shortcomings.
After all, the latest version of the Charger 3 RL shock is also a functional refinement, in terms of damping and sound deadening and will have a great improvement. If you are a newcomer to the industry, I believe the 2022 Top Fuel 9.8 XT will meet your needs in terms of both price and performance.
What we like about it
- The oclv carbon material gives a stronger and more resilient body structure.
- Shimano 1x drivetrains help you navigate the mountain tunnels.
- The wide tires maintain more stable body travel.
- Piston braking maintains extremely fast, agile braking.
- The tubeless setup ensures an extremely long service life for the vehicle.
What we don’t like about it
- Rarer color options.
- Relative to the group price more expensive prices.
- What is the price of Trek Top Fuel 9.8 XT?
The Trek Top Fuel 9.8 XT is $7,199.
- What is the drivetrain of the Trek Top Fuel 9.8 XT?
The Trek Top Fuel 9.8 XT has a Shimano XT M8100 drivetrain with 12 speeds
- What is the body material of Trek Top Fuel 9.8 XT?
The body of the Trek Top Fuel 9.8 XT is made of carbon.
- What is the tire size of the Trek Top Fuel 9.8 XT?
The Trek Top Fuel 9.8 XT has a tire size of 29×2.40″
Size chart for Trek Top Fuel 9.8 XT.
|S||153 – 167 cm5’0″ – 5’6″||72 – 79 cm28″ – 31″|
|M||161 – 172 cm5’3″ – 5’8″||76 – 81 cm30″ – 32″|
|M/L||166 – 179 cm5’5″ – 5’10”||77 – 84 cm30″ – 33″|
|L||177 – 188 cm5’10” – 6’2″||83 – 88 cm33″ – 35″|
|XL||186 – 196 cm6’1″ – 6’5″||87 – 92 cm34″ – 36″|
|2XL||195 – 203 cm6’5″ – 6’8″||92 – 95 cm36″ – 37″|
Trek Top Fuel 9.8 XT Specs
|Frame||OCLV Mountain Carbon, internal storage, tapered head tube, Knock Block 2.0, internal guided routing, downtube guard, magnesium rocker link, Mino Link, ABP, Boost148, 120mm travel|
|Fork||RockShox Pike Select+, DebonAir spring, Charger 3 RC2 damper, tapered steerer, 44mm offset, Boost110, 15mm Maxle Stealth, 130mm travel|
|Shock||RockShox Deluxe Ultimate RCT, 185mm x 50mm|
|Max compatible fork travel||130mm (541mm axle-to-crown)|
|Wheel front||Bontrager Line Elite 30, OCLV Mountain Carbon, Tubeless Ready, 6-bolt, Boost110, 15mm thru-axle|
|Wheel rear||/, /, /, Rapid Drive 108, 6-bolt, Shimano MicroSpline freehub, Boost148, 12mm thru-axle|
|Hub front||Bontrager alloy, sealed bearing, alloy axle, 6-bolt, Boost110, 15mm thru-axle|
|Hub rear||/, /, 6-bolt, Rapid Drive 108, Shimano MicroSpline freehub, Boost148, 12mm thru-axle|
|Skewer rear||Switch thru-axle, removable lever|
|Rim||Line Elite 30, Tubeless Ready, 6-bolt, Boost110, 15mm thru-axle|
|Tire||XR4 Team Issue, /, Inner Strength sidewalls, aramid bead, 120tpi, 29.x2.40”|
|Max tire size||Frame: 29×2.5″ Fork: see manufacturer|
|Shifter||Shimano XT M8100, 12 speed|
|Rear derailleur||/, long cage|
|*Crank||Size: XS, S, M, M/L, L, Shimano XT M8120, 30T, 55mm chain line, 170mm length|
|Bottom bracket||BB-MT501 BSA|
|Cassette||/, 10-51, 12 speed|
|Chain||Ultegra/XT M8100, 12 speed|
|Max chainring size||Max: 36T (oval – 34T) Min: 28T|
|Saddle||Bontrager Arvada, austenite rails, 138mm width|
|*Seatpost||Size: XS, S, Bontrager Line Elite Dropper, 100mm travel, MaxFlow, internal routing, 34.9mm, 345mm length|
Size: M, M/L, /, 150mm travel, /, 440mm
Size: L, /, 170mm travel, /, 485mm
|*Handlebar||Size: M, M/L, L, XL, /, 27.5mm rise, 780mm width|
|Grips||Bontrager XR Trail Elite, nylon lock-on|
|Stem||Bontrager Line Pro, 35mm, Knock Block, Blendr compatible, 0°, 45mm length|
|Headset||Knock Block 2.0 Integrated, 72° radius (includes infinite-radius chip), sealed cartridge bearing, 1-1/8” top, 1.5” bottom|
|Brake||Shimano XT M8120 4-piston hydraulic disc|
|*Brake rotor||Size: XS, S, M, M/L, L, XL, Shimano RT76, 6-bolt, 160mm|
|Rotor size||Max brake rotor sizes: front see fork manufacturer, rear 180mm|
|2023 Santa Cruz HIGHTOWER S / Carbon C / 29||$6799||SRAM GX Eagle, 12spd||29 x2.4″||Click View|
|Norco Optic C1||$6599||Shimano XTR M9100, 10-51T, 12 Speed||29 x2.4″||Click View|
|Ibis Mojo XT||$6699||Shimano XT M8100 12 speed||27.5x 2.5″||Click View|
|Pivot Trail 429 Pro XT/XTR||$7499||Shimano XTR M9100 SGS 12-Speed||29 x 2.4″||Click View|
2023 Trek Top Fuel 9.8 XT vs 2023 Santa Cruz HIGHTOWER S / Carbon C / 29
There is a certain weight difference between the two with the same carbon body, the Santa Cruz HIGHTOWER S / Carbon C / 29 is heavier. This is because the fork is made of aluminum, so there is a difference in weight. Also in the selection of components, it is Gx, so it will have more traction in the travel. As for the speed, they are measured to have the same speed ratio (42km/h).
Although the Santa Cruz HIGHTOWER S / Carbon C / 29 will have a longer travel (150mm front travel and 145mm rear travel). Many people think it will have a better ride in terms of damping, but in my opinion， if you just focus on the length of travel. This is one-sided.
In real-world riding, both bikes have a good ride on harsh descents. The full suspension design reduces your impact through rebound compression even if you are making a big jump.
The Trek Top Fuel 9.8 XT is a good choice if you want a relatively lightweight and good shock absorption system. The quality of after-sales service will also give you a greater sense of security.
2023 Trek Top Fuel 9.8 XT vs 2022 Norco Optic C1
The 2022 Norco Optic C1 is undoubtedly a king in terms of speed. in our real-world tests, it led the pack with a driving speed of 44km/h. Not only that, but the 1x system allows it to maintain a smoother handling experience whether riding or competing in races.
At the same time, the 2022 Norco Optic C1 is no less impressive in terms of damping. Not only is the body equipped with carbon material, but the rear shock absorber is Fox Performance Elite FLOAT DPX2 (190x45mm). The front fork has 140mm of travel to maintain a smooth body even in the face of slippery roads with snow and wind.
But accordingly, perhaps the 2022 Norco Optic C1 does not have an absolute advantage when it comes to body weight. At the same time, over-damped shocks can lead to a poor ride.
I have to say that in actual riding, the aptly named Trek Top Fuel 9.8 XT, both in terms of geometry design and its shock absorption mechanism, behaves very thoughtfully.
Excellent shock absorption in the face of bumpy roads makes your ride more comfortable. In addition, the unique guided internal cable routing keeps the Trek Top Fuel 9.8 XT quiet on the road and also makes maintenance a breeze for you.
Yes, if you prefer a relatively light body and a more comfortable ride, I think the Trek Top Fuel 9.8 XT might catch your eye.
2023 Trek Top Fuel 9.8 XT vs 2022 Ibis Mojo XT
The surprise is that the 2022 Ibis Mojo XT will have a definite advantage in terms of the weight body. With a weight of 12.1 kg, you will be able to lift it easily. It also has the same front and rear fork travel as the Trek Top Fuel 9.8 XT (130mm rear travel, 140mm front travel), and the carbon body construction makes it even more agreeable to ride in races.
Not only that, but the Ibis Mojo XT didn’t go for the overly wide 29er tires. Instead, it goes for the smaller 27.5er tires. This means that you will have more responsive steering in the corners, giving you the confidence to overtake the corners.
However, for the Trek Top Fuel 9.8 XT, the tires can be changed to 27.5er as needed. So if you want more responsive steering, the Trek Top Fuel 9.8 XT is up to the task. Also, if you want faster rolling efficiency, the 29er may be better.
Of course, there is no absolute right or wrong choice of tire size. There will be someone who is looking for wider tires to add stability and comfort to his trip. If you don’t like the 27.5er tire setup, perhaps the Trek Top Fuel 9.8 XT is still the way to go.
2023 Trek Top Fuel 9.8 XT vs 2022 Pivot Trail 429 Pro XT/XTR
The high price of the 2022 Pivot Trail 429 Pro XT/XTR brings high quality, which is reflected in the fact that you can choose the right Groupset. In addition to the XTR, there are also XT options for you to choose from, which greatly frees up the freedom of assembly.
At the same time, the geometry of the choice is also more balanced. First, the 75.5° seat tube angle ensures a stable and comfortable seating position as you ascend. Secondly, the 29er Maxxis Dissector maintains strong traction when ascending. Finally, the more relaxed head tube angle (65.5°) is also a consideration for comfort when descending.
If you think this is how the Trek Top Fuel 9.8 XT concedes defeat, you may have underestimated it.
This Trek Top Fuel 9.8 XT not only has a reliable after-sales service. And the design itself is also very thoughtful.
Whether it’s the Line Elite 30 tires for better support or the Active Braking Pivot unit for more confident control when you need it most, the Trek Top Fuel 9.8 XT does it all with care. It gives you more freedom to enjoy your ride while riding.
To sum up, the good and bad between the Trek Top Fuel 9.8 XT and the 2022 Pivot Trail 429 Pro XT/XTR are in one sentence.
But if you’re looking for a more comfortable and reliable experience, perhaps you could try the Trek Top Fuel 9.8 XT.
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