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2020 Trek Fuel EX Review and Interview with Trek’s Suspension Wizard

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[VidSitePro id=117 ]Hey everyone Ian and poncho from Summit bicycles here with an awesome new product review on treks new fuel ax bike we’re lucky enough to actually have Jose Gonzalez here the general manager for trucks suspension lab in Southern California and we are going to do a in-depth review of the new fuel px there’s a lot of changes how you guys doing good are you very good awesome so we’ll get right to it Pancho you rode the fuel IX the new one model year 2020 and the 99 if I believe right yes a 99 X so one mechanical build it’s pretty awesome I’m on an X to one bike now so that was a no adjustment appeared for me so getting on it was you know really easy and man the new fuel was way different than the last fuel I was on yeah that’s great let’s start with just your your first overall impressions of the bike overall I thought it was great it’s been a while since I’ve spent all the time on a fuel but this one is fantastic I mean the last one I rode was probably a couple years ago at least last in our world very thoroughly this one is far different than the last fuel that I was on that’s quiet it’s long it’s slack it’s it’s really rowdy trail bike it’s it’s real fun to be on that’s awesome how did it have how did it climb I mean tracks have never not climbed well and this one there’s no exception that the fuel just Billy Goats up the hill every time you pedal it just keeps going and yeah there’s no reason you can’t get up any climb on this bike yeah we use Pancho as our testing dummy for climbing because he is by far the most sensitive to how well are not well by climbing it’s a really nice way of saying I’m terrible at climbing I worked on that yeah no problem how did it we have a lot of awesome video of you in some pretty sweet corners how did it Corner yeah the bike is great it’s super stiff it responds well in corners I mean you throw your weight right into it and it snaps out of every single corner really really impressive the bottom bracket and chainstay area seem to do really well with all the forces you want to throw at it that’s great yeah that’s great any other features that you want to touch on real quick yeah it was noticeably quiet I think it’s the quietest bike ever in probably in the last handful years if not the quietest bike I’ve been on you know bikes tend to make noise the the box sections are real big and they’re big hollow sections with rocks banging against it and the chain banging against it and you don’t hear anything I mean it’s like the bike has foam in it but it doesn’t it’s I don’t know what magic that Jose threatened but it’s dead quiet it’s unbelievable yeah how did it descend that’s quite different geometry this year yeah they they nailed it with the geometry you know the big knock on last year’s model was maybe it wasn’t as long as some of the bike set people wanted it maybe it wasn’t a slack but this one hit the nail on the head I mean it’s a four 70 ml regional large which i think is what people are looking for it’s certainly what I really like to see in a large trail bike so the bike is long enough it’s slacking off the bottom bracket felt lower so the corners are really nice and it descends again like a really rowdy trail bike you know the the 140 travel in the front with a 130 in the rear it just wants to go yeah that’s thanks for that breakdown Pancho I’ll let Jose and you kind of talk out the number of improvements that Trek made on this bike this year so let’s dive in a bit I mean let’s start with the the frame what were the biggest improvements you guys sought to make over last the last few well as you can see the frame is completely brand new one of the significant changes is the increase in cross section on numerous tubes and that enhanced the stiffness of the bike it also gave us the proper frame tuning as well so you can make a bike too stiff which is something that’s not really desirable then it becomes uncomfortable to ride because you have people yeah it’s it it’s over-reactive too you know one of the things that you want out of the chassis is for it to be able to settle when you drop it into a turn and so on not just ride over the turns right it takes a tune stiffness to do that yeah a little kick you around if it’s too stiff I can’t go in a straight line if it’s you know wanting to kick every rock the left and right exactly exactly you know and the other thing to keep in mind is that you know suspension can only respond to so many frequencies and then you know be on suspension your your frame tuning you know your tire stiffness all those things are coming to play so one of the reasons why the bike it was so calm for you and so quiet it’s because all of those aspects are working in unison to calm the bike down yeah the bike was really really impressive and I can’t say enough good things about it but it’s good to know that all that went into the frame I mean it shows that a lot of hard work and engineering went into it cuz it rides unlike anything else do you guys have something pretty cool this year there seems to be a storage section that down kid can you go into detail about that a little bit yeah yeah actually it’s it’s a feature that we’ve been exploring for a few years and it took us a little while to really get it to the point where we felt good about it you know from frames that stiffness standpoint from a weight parameter standpoint and so on we’re calling it the trunk box and essentially you just kind of flip the lever and the whole thing comes out yeah it’s pretty easy to use pretty intuitive and it’s also very convenient yeah you know to get to stuff there’s basically a tool roll that will go inside so you’re not just fishing for stuff you just pull out a tool roll and in that tool roll you’ll have your tube you have your air whatever and just likes it a lot easier to get to so yeah our film guy actually got a flat yesterday and your purse let’s say yeah that was started there worked came came in handy real fast so it saved the day for sure one of the interesting things too on the fuel I know is is the chain is so close to that chain say can you go into detail about that as well so essentially by placing the chain closer to the chainstay he eliminate the chains ability to develop that momentum and and you know Clank around yeah it’s very cool it’s almost like you guys using the chain says like a chain guy yeah I mean essentially it’s what it does is it’ll even with 32 frame it still has the right clearance so it doesn’t create drag but it does really force chain to kind of stay on a trajectory yeah what uh changing sizes is the bike optimized for that is 3232 is what it’s optimized for 30 is really close to optimal okay well so you can go to a 30 and still be good yeah it’ll accommodate a 34 up to 34 yep we saw in your your bike had a 30 on it yesterday right yeah at higher cadence no I like the smaller front ring that ABP pivot looks a little bit different this year is there anything new with that yeah it’s been reconfigured slightly you know to be more optimized and and a slightly more compact the other thing is that it has a more robust derailleur hanger well sign into it so again it’s just like you said it’s it’s the whole purpose of the bike is to be an aggressive burly trail bike yeah and you know all those little features kind of complement that well the small thing is that up to the that’s exactly and absolutely it’s you know the other element is that the bike was designed to accommodate 150 and 170 droppers sweet and that that took a little bit of reconfiguring of the seat tube so the seat tube not only grew in diameter for stiffness at the BB but it also got straightened a little bit so that you have enough insertion for those longer dropper post yeah we noticed that the seem to be a little bit steeper this year can you go into detail about that as well yeah again it’s gone in that direction of the modern trail bike with slacker head angles longer front centers and you know part of that is going to a 75 degree a/c tube angle yeah but I felt excellent climbing yeah and that’s does is it makes a bike a more neutral climber you know you it still maintains good grip for technical climbing but at the same time it puts you over the crank a little mores so it’s a little more efficient get that nice pedal stroke going yeah the other thing that does is complements the suspension function how so because that when you move the rider forward you tend to calm the pedaling function and understand in relation to the shock very cool yeah well that shock looks pretty fancy there’s a couple bits on there that you don’t really see in other shocks what’s going on there yeah so that’s a brand new shock it’s completely redesigned and it’s all new components it’s got an all new air spring and all new damper one of the big changes is we went away from the internal compensator of the previous through shaft to the external compensator that you see on this one and that’s what this feature is up here that gave us a shock with more capability and at the same time it allowed us to reduce the diameter of the shaft we went from a 12 millimeter shaft to a 9 millimeter shaft the benefits of that are reduced friction and stick-slip because you have less seal area dragging on the shaft but at the same time it increased the oil volume within the shock slightly so it essentially puts the shock on a same platform as an EP x2 instead of the float good the previous shock was more of a float you know you need body shock where now you know we’re talking more of a you know an aggressive trail bike yeah shock yeah generally like to see those larger volume air shocks on my trail bikes but I had no issues with that truck overheating at all on the ride yesterday so pretty piece you won’t I the the thing that that gets overlooked with reservoir shocks is the majority of that reservoirs again charge yeah there’s no oil in there per se and that’s to accommodate a large amount of displacement that graphically is found on reservoir shocks and since we don’t have to deal with displacement our reservoirs are a lot smaller yeah but from a capability and thermal control standpoint and stuff there’s no no difference so there’s no need for a big old chamber and exactly because we’re not displacing that fluid yeah cool you know the other thing you’ll notice on the shot is that we have numerical rebound not so cool so you now no longer have to count clicks you can just kind of visually you’re at three do that flick order that that decision and it’s read some really nice features that’s amazing you know we could do that right yeah I also missed the pull floaters fun right right yeah so as shock technology has evolved full floater really had diminishing value and there were more benefits for for us from being able to manipulate that cross section of the frame yep which both float are kind of limited in the past so you know as as the shocks improved you know we didn’t have to overcome some of the efficiencies that were in shocks at the time with the leverage trade yeah I was essentially local floater a lot of us to do and there’s there’s two down tube pads right the top one is actually a backup for the NOC block feature and the headset correct correct and then this is that one’s been there forever or multiple versions of bikes just to help protect the frame from kick up and whatnot Cariah correct yeah some kick up or if you you know happen to run into a rock on a technical cereal section the one difference with that pad is is it’s it screws on now it does so cool on anymore so it’s it’s much easier to replace it if you need to go after some trail or whatever just another little feature there yeah so I think I wrote a 140 ml fork on there is that correct correct yeah thanks I’m with 140 Forks and you can put a 150 on there maybe that’s right you know the bike the frame is tested and designed to accommodate a 150 suite what will we get with a 150 fork on that bike as opposed to the shorter 140 the 154 will give you about half a degree less head angle also so puts it right about a 65 and a half and then it’ll raise the BB about a 3 millimeter cool give you a little extra clearance in case you want to write those really rowdy trails when right someone go beyond going to the high you can also put a 150 fork in there and it’ll give you a little bit slack or head angle a little bit taller front end and obviously longer travel but at the same time it bumps up your BB four little clearance on that sounds like gets a little bit more fun with a 150 floor up on there yeah it does I mean it’s it at that point it really becomes a rowdy trail bike sure and to go to 154 I guess all you need for that thing is an air spring right that’s correct so we do that for you guys in the shop so just ask before we move on to the different models and line of the holy X range we want to touch on a couple different of the components the tires and we noticed the dropper actually a huge improvement on that one I’ll let you guys go into the details but what tires did you ride poncho looks I rode the XR 40 my shoe and a 2.6 so it looks like the clearance on the bike went up and the 170 Miller was a nice addition to have also I didn’t need to have any seat post sticking on the friend because my legs aren’t super long so the 170 actually fit me just perfect slammed all the way down and that lever action was really nice as well so on the older line I notice that there’s a little bit of stiction but on this one it felt butter smooth yeah so do all the fuel ship of the same wheel size I know the extra smalls are smart wheel size so they go to 27 5 but just the extra small the small you get the 29 correct awesome all right so you rode the fuel ex9 9xo one cabled version obviously the what are the different offerings for the full lineup yeah so one of the main differences is when you go from the nine eight nine nine you go to thirty four millimeter forks the only the nine eight nine nine get 36 there’s still one all 140s got it but you go to that smaller platform got it and then from a drivetrains standpoint you know the they’re all one by one by old a right yeah yeah I just what allowed you to do a lot of and it allowed us to approve the chain say and you know for any sickness and so on there’s a there’s a mix of OSHA model and shrimp and as far as drivetrains depending on you know what you prefer you can have either option yeah the 99 was so XO one cable XO one access and an XT are correct for the 99 right in for the 99 there’s three options there’s analog in Wireless never ran nine a it looks like there’s GX and Shimano XT as well got it right yep and the nine nine is the only one with Kashima correct correct yep yeah Kojima’s limited to the nine-nine and there’s two there’s a a and B color for all the models right that was aluminum yeah so and this is we call this the B color this is right what’s right the darker tones you lead any color looki colors usually a brighter tone got it I like the paint job on the new yeah that blue manual it’s yeah sharp it’s pretty yeah it’s kind of the Miami green evolves yeah yeah you’re in San Jose Sharks territory here so we’re big fans of that hello away yeah yeah how’s looking the specs on the nine seven nine eight and a nine and it looks like they’re all full carbon frames is that correct that’s correct even ninety-seven gets a full carbon that’s pretty sweet because that wasn’t the case before right right that was one of the adjustments that was made in past nine sevens per cost and we were able to address that going forward sounds like it’s a really good value then it’s an awesome value punch I notice you had somebody comment about the brakes the new XC brakes on the bike you wrote yeah I really like them I mean they were strong and stop me on a dime every single time so it was really excited to have those new XT four Pistons on there yeah yeah all that our brains come with small brakes yeah yeah that’s awesome our mics yeah yeah all right that about does it I think we’ve covered most if not all the details on this awesome new fuel I want to give a special thanks to Jose for coming out and you guys crushed it on this bike so give give congrats to your team we really appreciate it so thanks so much for the opportunity for bringing us out here letting us ride it and letting me ride it it was a great experience yeah thanks a bunch yeah yeah thanks for having us and yeah for sure so stop by the store we have demo bikes in stock ready for you to test this awesome bike give us a call shoot us an email come by and we’ll take care yeah see you guys

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