Trek Fuel EX 8 Gen 5
- Price: $3,929.99
- Frame: Alpha Platinum Aluminum
- Gears: 1×12
- Tires: 27.5×2.50”/29×2.50”
What we like about it: Versatile full-suspension bike that gives you more possibilities to explore. Excellent drivetrain and braking give you a perfect riding experience.
What we don’t like about it: Relatively high price, no pedals, need to configure yourself.
Whether you’re riding in the wind on a cross-country course or sprinting down a bumpy enduro descent, you’re sure to see a Trek Fuel EX series mountain bike.
Because of their fame, many people want us to review them more thoroughly and honestly.
This time, we reviewed the Trek Fuel EX 8, which is one of the more expensive bikes in the Trek Fuel EX line. We have been impressed with the Trek Fuel EX 8 during the 3 months we have been reviewing it.
Because of the hot weather, we did more gravel trails and technical climbs, during which time we gained a clear perception of the Trek Fuel EX 8’s above-average climbing and its general suitability. Here’s our review of the Fuel EX 8 climbing performance and descending, general terrain, key features, components and specifications, and other versions in the series. If you want a more detailed review, stay tuned.
The Trek Fuel EX 8 actually tells us that it will perform well on climbs.
For this review, we traveled 100 miles away to find this unknown mountain (terrain), in a wooded area that we test regularly.
There are no clear upward climbing rides on this mountain, only vaguely visible trails that are covered in fallen leaves, most of which are extremely dry due to this year’s weather and will have prominent yellow clods of dirt on one side.
The trail surface was loose, soft yellow sand with dry roots and irregular rocks, and I could feel the challenge of the climbing trail at this moment.
As I started pedaling, the Shimano XT M8100’s drivetrain allowed me to roll forward without a hint of delay, propelling the tires smoothly. When I stood on the pedals and leaned down to impact a block of yellow dirt about 2 feet in length and 1 foot in width in front of me with more force, the sharp tires of the Fuel EX 8, crushed it right out of the way.
Not only that, but the full suspension design reduced the bumps I felt, and I faced constant interference from dead tree roots on the second half of the ride up the hill, but the Fuel EX 8 didn’t take that as a hardship. With the high-quality lightweight aluminum frame and shock-absorbing components, it made small jumps straight across them with ease.
After a lot of climbing, we managed to pedal up to the top of the mountain. It was hot and tiring, but we got to enjoy the climbing performance of the Fuel EX 8 and the view from the top.
This review of the Fuel EX 8 not only gave us a more comprehensive understanding of the Fuel EX 8, but also gave us a taste of the fun of climbing.
The Trek Fuel EX 8 not only gave us a great climbing experience but also gave us a view of the summit. Our group already had full confidence in the Trek Fuel EX 8, and we will continue to review its descending performance next.
When I had rested enough, I descended the other way and all I could see as I looked down this steep descent was the winding trail. As I rode down, I found the trail to be full of surprises, with no section completely flat and the slightest bit of inattention would put me and my Fuel EX 8 in the way.
But surprisingly, the Trek Fuel EX 8 conquered the rugged trail. The Fuel EX 8 jumped up and down when I encountered a small mound of dirt, and the adjustable saddle height dropper would adjust as the terrain changed, which not only provided shock absorption but also allowed me to see further downhill.
Of course, the Trek Fuel EX 8 shock fork also played a very big role at this time, it absorbed more of the impact and protected my wrists when I encountered big bumps.
In addition to hitting a dirt pile, I almost hit a dead tree stump during the ride. This time, the lightweight body of Fuel EX 8 gave me the courage to lift the front of the bike, and I lifted the bike for a jump and managed to cross the stump, which was really thrilling.
The Fuel EX 8 is not only great for mountain riding, but also for fitness riding, and I think it’s great for both if you want to use it for commuting.
I do a daily workout ride around the lake, where the trails are decorated with cobblestones on one section and potholes on the other that are not fully repaired. On my previous rides on the cobblestones, the ride vibration was so strong that it was hard to keep riding. When I rode the Fuel EX 8 on cobblestone roads, I barely felt any vibration.
And, I rode the Fuel EX 8 on my commute and I don’t think it performed any worse than a professional city bike. On the contrary, Trek Fuel EX 8’s tires performed a bit better than city bikes when facing rainy days.
Trek Fuel EX 8 Frameset
Seeing the Trek Fuel EX 8 paint colors – Rage Red, Dnister Black Fade, Deep Dark Blue, I’m not sure which color paint I like better because both colors are very striking.
Aside from the color, we can see that the Fuel EX 8 uses Alpha Platinum Aluminum for the frame. Alpha Platinum Aluminum is lightweight, strong, and has a sensible geometry that provides a solid ride for climbing and agile handling for fast-riding situations.
I was trading bike rides with a friend and she said my Trek Fuel EX 8 was powerful and allowed for nimble control even on fast descents. I was happy because I thought so too.
Not only that, Fuel EX 8 has two water bottle mounting holes, two water bottles quenched my thirst when I was on long endurance rides with my friends and allowed me to ride farther to enjoy the ride.
The Fuel EX 8 has a built-in cable that gives the body a generous and minimalist look and keeps the frame clean and tidy.
In addition, the Fuel EX 8 thoughtfully bends the top tube of the smaller size bikes, which makes it easier for the smaller me to get on and off the bike. At this point, I can’t help but marvel at Trek’s care. Trek really pays attention to the needs of its customers.
The Trek Fuel EX 8 has a very distinctive geometry design. It has a shorter Wheelbase (M 117.9 cm), which makes it easier for me to pick up speed when riding on the one hand, and more stable when making turns on the other.
In addition, Trek Fuel EX 8’s slack Head angle (66°) makes it easier to make descents, and I think the slack Head angle reduces the wind resistance. It adjusts the center of gravity and will increase stability and grip when facing steep climbs.
The Trek Fuel EX 8’s geometry is ergonomic and aerodynamic, and it gave us a big boost on our ride.
Components and Specifications
Shimano SLX M7100 Drivetrain
The drivetrain of the Trek Fuel EX 8 is the Shimano SLX M7100. this drivetrain has reduced weight in the flywheel and not only that but has increased the range of gears (10-51). This allows the Fuel EX 8 to shift to larger gears for more effort when climbing hills and smaller gears when driving on flat surfaces, which will make it faster.
Some people may find shifting cumbersome, but the Fuel EX 8 1×12 drivetrain is much easier and smoother when shifting, allowing even novice riders to quickly master shifting.
Even when riding over rough terrain, the Trek Fuel EX 8’s drivetrain can be operated with a light lever. The silent setting enhances our attention to the process of riding and allows us to enjoy the ride more immersively.
Shimano Hydraulic Disc Brakes
The Shimano hydraulic disc brake on the Trek Fuel EX 8 is lighter and more effective than the Shimano hydraulic disc brake.
When riding in the rain, I was in a hurry to get to work, so my riding speed was not reduced.
Unfortunately, the rain was blown into my eyes by the wind and I couldn’t open my eyes for a while, so I immediately pressed the button to make an emergency stop. If I hadn’t stopped in time, the consequences would have been unimaginable.
This gave me more confidence in the Trek Fuel EX 8’s braking system. Shimano’s hydraulic disc brakes are not only reliable, but they also reduce sound when braking, which allowed me to hear very little when braking.
We couldn’t help but notice the Bontrager XR5 Team Issue TLR MTB tires on the Trek Fuel EX 8 while conducting our review. First of all, at 2.50”, the Bontrager XR5 Team Issue TLR MTB tires are not that wide, but the tire’s tread will provide confident cornering and braking traction on climbs and descents.
Secondly, the 60tpi tires are relatively lighter in weight and the tires get softer for better traction on gravel trails, which can make the rider feel more comfortable.
Lastly, the Fuel EX 8 is vacuum-ready, allowing for easy vacuum setup, and the vacuum tires will allow for better traction and lighter weight.
FOX Rhythm 34 Fork
I think most riders are not familiar with the name FOX. As we can see, the Trek Fuel EX 8 uses the FOX Rhythm 34 fork, which is not only strong, but also well-made and lightweight.
The air spring reduces weight and the damping effect is very fast, often without the sense of feeling a little vibration immediately disappears (a little exaggerated).
FOX Rhythm 34’s fork lockout function, when we carry out ordinary flat road riding, can reduce the loss of power of the pedal, so that our ride is more efficient.
The Trek Fuel EX 8’s rear suspension is designed to make me safer on forest road descents. While we were reviewing the damping capabilities of the Trek Fuel EX 8, we encountered slippery soft mud on a forest road.
It was difficult to control the steering of the rear wheels on a fast downhill, and this is where the rear suspension came into its own. It not only dampens the shock when descending, but also has great traction.
Although the design of the rear suspension adds a little weight to the Trek Fuel EX 8, I think this weight is negligible when it comes to safety.
I consider the dropper to be an alternative shock absorber. The Trek Fuel EX 8 pays attention to every detail when encountering tree stumps or on trails.
With the adjustable dropper at the seat tube, it provides good shock absorption when encountering small stone steps.
In addition, the adjustable seat saddle height allows you to sit higher and have a higher view when riding.
Other Versions of Trek Fuel EX
The Trek Fuel EX series is known to be one of Trek’s best-selling series, and not only that, the feedback from customers has been good. If you want a versatile and affordable mountain bike in the Trek Fuel EX series, you can rely on the Trek Fuel EX 8.
The Trek Fuel EX has the relatively lightweight Alpha Platinum Aluminum and is equipped with the Shimano SLX M7100 drivetrain. In terms of components and features, I think the Trek Fuel EX 8 is a great all-rounder. The Trek Fuel EX 5, in the same series, is heavier than the Trek Fuel EX 8 in terms of weight.
Although the drivetrain is the same 1×12 speed, the Trek Fuel EX 8 has an upgraded drivetrain that is smoother and lighter than the Trek Fuel EX 5’s shifting. By comparison, I think the Trek Fuel EX 8 is a versatile mountain bike.
What do we like about it?
- The Alpha Platinum Aluminum frame is more affordable while reducing body weight.
- The simple and comfortable Shimano SLX M7100 drivetrain with a relatively larger gear range.
- Versatile mountain bike that is not only suitable for off-road but also for commuting and body building.
- Firm traction and grip whether climbing or descending.
- Simple and generous ergonomic geometry makes the rider more comfortable.
What we don’t like about it?
- The paint color is not more selective and more monotonous.
- Some people think it will be slower on smooth roads (my actual experience tells me otherwise).
- What is the body weight of the Trek Fuel EX 8?
The M model of Trek Fuel EX 8 is 13.86 kg / 30.56 lbs.
- What is the travel of the Trek Fuel EX 8 front suspension and rear suspension respectively?
The Trek Fuel EX 8 has 130mm of front suspension travel and 150mm of rear suspension travel.
- What is the Trek Fuel EX 8 drivetrain?
The Trek Fuel EX 8 drivetrain is a Shimano SLX M7100 1×12.
|Frame||Alpha Platinum Aluminum, internal storage, angle-adjust headset, Mino Link adjustable geometry, adjustable leverage rate, guided internal routing, magnesium rocker link, 34.9mm seat tube, ISCG 05, 55mm chainline, BSA 73, downtube guard, shuttle guard, ABP, UDH, Boost148, 140mm travel|
|*Fork||Size: XS , S|
Fox Rhythm 36, Float EVOL air spring, GRIP damper, tapered steerer, 44mm offset, Boost110, 15mm Kabolt axle, 140mm travel
Size: S , M , ML , L , XL , XXL
Fox Rhythm 36, Float EVOL air spring, GRIP damper, tapered steerer, 44mm offset, Boost110, 15mm Kabolt axle, 150mm travel
|Shock||Fox Performance Float X, 2-position damper, 185mm x 55mm|
|Wheel front||Bontrager Line Comp 30, Tubeless Ready, 6-bolt, Boost110, 15mm thru axle|
|*Wheel rear||Size: XS , S|
Bontrager Line Comp 30, Tubeless Ready, Rapid Drive 54, 6-bolt, Boost148, 12mm thru axle
Size: S , M , ML , L , XL , XXL
Bontrager Line Comp 30, Tubeless Ready, Rapid Drive 108, 6-bolt, Boost148, 12mm thru axle
|Hub front||Bontrager alloy, sealed bearing, alloy axle, 6-bolt, Boost110, 15mm thru axle|
|*Hub rear||Size: XS , S , M , ML , L , XL , XXL|
Bontrager alloy, sealed bearing, 6-bolt, Rapid Drive 108, 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 rear||Bontrager Switch thru axle, removable lever|
|Rim||Bontrager Line Comp 30, Tubeless Ready, 6-bolt, Boost110, 15mm thru axle|
|*Tire||Size: XS , S|
Bontrager XR5 Team Issue, Tubeless Ready, Inner Strength casing, aramid bead, 60 tpi, 27.5×2.50”
Size: S , M , ML , L , XL , XXL
Bontrager XR5 Team Issue, Tubeless Ready, aramid bead, 120 tpi, 29×2.50”
|Tire part||Bontrager TLR sealant, 6oz|
|Rim strip||Bontrager TLR|
|Shifter||Shimano XT M8100, 12 speed|
|Rear Derailleur||Shimano XT M8100, long cage|
|Chain||Shimano SLX M7100, 12 speed|
|Saddle||Bontrager Arvada, hollow chromoly rails, 138mm width|
|*Seatpost||Size: XS , S|
TranzX JD-YSP39, 100mm travel, internal routing, 34.9mm
Size: M , ML
TranzX JD-YSP39, 150mm travel, internal routing, 34.9mm
Size: L , XL , XXL
TranzX JD-YSP39, 170mm travel, internal routing, 34.9mm
|*Handlebar||Size: XS , S|
Bontrager Line, alloy, 35mm, 27.5mm rise, 750mm width
Size: M , ML , L , XL , XXL
Bontrager Line, alloy, 35mm, 27.5mm rise, 780mm width
|Grips||Bontrager XR Trail Elite, nylon lock-on|
|*Stem||Size: XS , S|
Bontrager Elite, 35mm, 0 degree, 35mm length
Size: M , ML , L , XL , XXL
Bontrager Elite, 35mm, 0 degree, 45mm length
|Headset||Integrated cartridge bearing, 1-1/8” top, 1.5” bottom, angle adjust cup compatible|
|Brake||Shimano 4-piston hydraulic disc, M6100 lever, M6120 caliper|
|*Brake rotor||Size: XS , S , M , ML , L , XL , XXL|
Shimano RT66, 6-bolt, 180mm
Size: XS , S , M , ML , L , XL , XXL
Shimano RT66, 6-bolt, 203mm
|Bag||Bontrager BITS Internal Frame Storage Bag|
|Weight||M – 15.65 kg / 34.51 lbs (with TLR sealant, no tubes)|
|Weight limit||This bike has a maximum total weight limit (combined weight of bicycle, rider, and cargo) of 300 pounds (136 kg).|
|Ibis Ripmo AF GX||$4,557||1×12||SRAM Code RSC Hydraulic Discs||29” x 2.5”||Click View|
|Canyon Spectral 125 AL 6||$3,499||1×12||Shimano SLX Hydraulic Discs||29″×2.4″||Click View|
|Pivot MACH 6 Race XT – Coil||$5,999||1×12||Shimano SLX M7120 Hydraulic Disc||27.5″ x 2.5″||Click View|
|Niner AIR 9 RDO 3-STAR SRAM GX EAGLE||$4,599||1×12||SRAM G2 R Hydraulic Disc||29″×2.35″||Click View|
Trek Fuel EX 8 vs Ibis Ripmo AF GX
The 2022 Ibis Ripmo AF GX and Trek Fuel EX 8 have similar components with their aluminum frames, 29X2.5 “D mountain tires, and 1×12 drivetrains.
But we tested the 2022 Ibis Ripmo AF GX and found that it has a somewhat lighter frame weight and features a steep 76-degree seat tube angle that allows the rider to maintain a comfortable ride for extended periods of time.
The Trek Fuel EX 8, on the other hand, has a braking and power system that can adapt to any environment and quality tires that provide plenty of grip and traction.
Both mountain bikes feature a 1×12 drivetrain, with the Ibis Ripmo AF GX featuring the more expensive SRAM GX, a component I’m more than happy to have on my bike.
Also comparing on each component, we think the Ibis Ripmo AF GX is an upgrade, but you have to pay over $500 more. But considering my all-mountain riding and woodland trails, I’d rather spend a little more to get a more versatile bike.
The more affordable Trek Fuel EX 8, which doesn’t lose out to the Ibis Ripmo AF GX on equivalent terrain, also proves to be a quality trail mountain bike as well.
Trek Fuel EX 8 vs Canyon Spectral 125 AL 6
The latest Canyon Spectral 125 AL 6 is the strongest competitor to the Trek Fuel EX 8 in this race, at a similar price, and with similar fork travel and rear suspension travel.
In terms of body weight, the 2022 Canyon Spectral is 3.4 pounds heavier than the Trek Fuel EX 8, which isn’t exactly a welcome boost. We think the Canyon Spectral 125 AL 6 is biased toward fast riding, and it has 29×2.4″ MAXXIS Dissector tires.
We learned that the 2022 Canyon Spectral 125 AL 6 is 3.4 pounds heavier than the Trek Fuel EX 8, which to me makes it a bit bulky. 2022 Canyon Spectral 125 AL 6’s Shimano SLX hydraulic disc brakes are also very responsive and allow for quick reaction braking, but The sound can be a little noisy to me.
On my 2022 Canyon Spectral 125 AL 6 ride, its long, slack geometry threw me for a loop on the climbs.
The Trek Fuel EX 8 not only excelled on the climbs, but the lightweight, sturdy frame appealed to me more, and its braking system was equally quick and virtually silent. So I’d rather pay for the lighter and stronger Trek Fuel EX 8.
If you need a mountain bike with more features, I suggest you give the Trek Fuel EX 8 a try.
Trek Fuel EX 8 vs Pivot MACH 6 Race XT – Coil
When I saw the 2022 Pivot MACH 6 Race XT – Coil I felt a sense of déjà vu and remembered seeing it at a friend’s house before. The 2022 Pivot MACH 6 Race XT – Coil is a carbon fiber frame that is lighter in weight and very stiff.
In addition, its aggressive geometry can challenge more terrain, not to mention it has height adjustable suspension, and dropper design for effective shock absorption.
Not only that, but my friend showed me its excellent cornering performance, but after I tried riding it, I felt it wasn’t as stable as the big tires, and it wasn’t quite as easy to keep stable on loose ground.
To be honest, I don’t think it’s affordable, although its carbon fiber frame appeals to me.
Trek Fuel EX 8 vs Niner AIR 9 RDO 3-STAR SRAM GX EAGLE
The 2022 Niner AIR 9 RDO 3-STAR SRAM GX EAGLE is built with a Niner RDO carbon fiber frame and the whole bike weighs about 20.5 pounds. The lockable fork can be locked when riding on flat surfaces, which will reduce the loss of speed.
Not only that, the 2022 Niner AIR 9 RDO 3-STAR SRAM GX EAGLE’s SRAM GX EAGLE 12SP drivetrain can perform well even when competing in professional races.
In fact, there’s nothing I don’t like about the 2022 Niner AIR 9 RDO 3-STAR SRAM GX EAGLE in every aspect, but the fact that it doesn’t have a dropper design at this price makes me complain a bit. Seeing the price, I don’t think it’s affordable enough. The Trek Fuel EX 8 is not a carbon frame, but the aluminum frame is more affordable and strong enough.
The Trek Fuel EX 8’s 1×12 drivetrain can accommodate a variety of rides, and I think the Trek Fuel EX 8 is one of the best at this price. If you need a bike, I hope you’ll think hard about what you’ll be using your bike for more than anything else, and the trails you’ll be riding, in order to make a careful choice.
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