A 29er with a traditional, tall bike feel, the Trek Fuel EX holds its momentum over trail obstacles but is slow to respond to commands. This lack of precision detracts from descending confidence. The bike's cockpit is well appointed but a rigid seatpost blocks optimal positioning in corners and steeps. When climbing and pedaling, the Fuel EX sets riders up high in a strong position to keep their well-earned momentum. However, the suspension does bob noticeable when not in climbing mode. Trek unleashes the Fuel EX 7 with a respectable build kit, including a KS Lev internal dropper post, Rock Shox Revelation fork, and Fox Float Performance EVOL shock. The Shimano/SLX 2x10 drivetrain on a 2017 model bike is surprising, but we concede that it provides an excellent granny gear for a bike that designed with climbing in mind.
The Fuel EX is a great option for riders seeking the safety net of stability provided by a little extra travel and true 29er characteristics, but who don't want to stray far from cross country style terrain. This bike handles a wide variety of trails but is a little too sluggish in the corners to confidently tackle steeper and tighter turns. Those seeking a more aggressive downhill feel while retaining climbing skills should consider the well-rounded Santa Cruz Tallboy or the Ibis Ripley LS for its nimble attitude.