Trek says the all-new Fuel EXe delivers the “world’s most invisible assist and natural ride” compared to any electric mountain bike that’s come before it. Like other brands, Trek has been working to make their e-bikes look, sound, and feel like the traditional bikes we’re used to riding, and with the Fuel EXe it seems they’re chipping away at any remaining differences. The Trek Fuel EXe promises a lightweight, quiet, dialed ride feel thanks mostly to an innovative new drive system from TQ Group.
TQ HPR50 transmission
Perhaps the biggest innovation the Trek Fuel EXe delivers is the TQ Harmonic Pin Ring (HPR) motor and drive system. While existing e-bike motors utilize a belt to deliver power, the HPR50 doesn’t have one which allows it to fit together in a smaller package. Not only that, much of the noise and “whine” from e-bike motors is reportedly due to the belt so the HPR50 is said to be considerably quieter, almost on par with a traditional bike. Trek claims the simpler design and fewer moving parts should also make the system more durable.
All told Trek says the HPR motor plus the 360Wh battery weigh less than 4kg (8.8lbs) allowing for complete builds that weigh as little as 38.5lb. The HPR50 can produce up to 50Nm of torque compared to 85Nm from the more powerful Bosch motor used in the Trek Powerfly.
Battery, display, and smart tech
The Trek Fuel EXe comes with a 360Wh battery which the company notes should provide about 2-5 hours of ride time. The battery can be easily released from the frame for charging, or it can be charged in place. Trek offers an optional range extender battery pack with 160Wh of juice for longer rides.
An integrated display on top of the top tube offers info on battery life and assist modes. Naturally there’s a Trek smartphone app that can be used to tune motor assist levels and to monitor range. Fans of Knockblock will be sad to hear the Fuel EXe doesn’t have it due to the placement of the integrated display. I am, however, silently cheering Knockblock’s absence.
Top-of-the-line Fuel EXe 9.9 builds come equipped with Tyre Wiz and AirWiz sensors that constantly monitor tire and suspension pressure. Picking up the bike before a ride wakes the system up, and it alerts the rider if tire or suspension pressure is outside their preferred range. Say goodbye to the pre-ride, tire-squeeze and parking lot handlebar jounce routine for good!
More aggressive than the “regular” Fuel EX
Trek didn’t just slap a motor on a Fuel EX; instead they tweaked everything from design to geometry. Notably, the 150/140mm Fuel EXe gains 10mm of travel front and rear over the Fuel EX, and gets a slacker, 64.7° head tube angle. Whereas the Fuel EX is solidly a trail bike, the Fuel EXe moves the bike into all-mountain territory for slightly rowdier, shuttle-fueled descents. Still, the seat tube angle is steeper at 76.7° so it shouldn’t be a slouch on the climbs by any means, with or without pedal assist.
Trek Fuel EXe Geometry
The following table is based on the Minolink flip chip in the low (stock) position.
|Saddle Height at Effective Seattube Angle||665||700||770||800|
|Effective Seattube Angle||76.7||76.7||76.8||76.8|
|Actual Seattube Angle||68.7||69.2||70.3||70.8|
|Bottom Bracket Drop||38.5||38.5||38.6||38.6|
|Bottom Bracket Height||338.5||338.5||338.4||338.4|
Trek says the Fuel EXe is mullet-able, though there don’t appear to be any mixed wheel builds available, AND there’s another big caveat. Because the rear wheel sensor is calibrated for a 29er wheel its accuracy will be affected by swapping in a smaller, 27.5″ diameter wheel. In practice this means a reduced top-end assist speed. Trek notes this can’t be changed even via the software so mulleters beware.
At launch there will be several carbon frame builds available including 9.5, 9.7, 9.8, and 9.9 models priced between $6,499.99 and an eye-watering $13,999.99. More info at trekbikes.com.