The carbon Trek Fuel EX 9.9 performs exactly as you would imagine it does: flawlessly. I had the chance to demo a shiny extra-large EX 9.9 today and here are the not so surprising conclusions I came to:
1. It’s lightweight. At around 26 pounds for a size XL stock model (minus the quick release seat post clamp) the Fuel EX 9.9 climbs like it’s on a t-bar up the mountain. Pedal bob is virtually non-existent and of all the full suspension XC bikes I rode today, the Fuel EX 9.9 rode closest to a hardtail going up.
2. Scandium wheels. Although it was tough to zero in on the performance of the wheels themselves, these babies are clearly lightweight and roll ultra true. Plus they look pretty sharp too
3. The Fuel EX 9.9 is a smooth ride, even at fast speeds over rocky terrain. With nearly 5 inches of rear travel this bike can take pretty much anything a serious cross country rider can throw at it and then some. I found myself picking lines not because I needed to avoid the hits – I just wanted to avoid flatting in the cactus! This bike transforms rocky, dusty trail into marshmallow.
4. It’s responsive and surprisingly stiff in the corners. Maybe it’s because I’m tuned to riding a 29er but the Fuel EX 9.9 felt super agile on tight sections. There was very little muddiness in handling despite having 120mm of travel up front and in back.
In the words of Ferris Bueller, “If you have the means, I highly recommend picking one up.”