Trek mountain bikes are built for the trails, and no bikes illustrate that better than the Trek Fuel EX and Trek Top Fuel. So, it’s understandable to pit Trek Fuel EX vs Top Fuel, which compels us to ask, what’s the difference?
Trek Fuel EX is a full suspension 29er trail bike with a 140mm front suspension and a 130mm rear suspension, while Trek Top Fuel is a 29er or 27.5-inch full-suspension cross-country bike with a 120mm front and rear suspension.
So, you can distinguish the trail bikes according to the type, suspension travel, and wheel size. Other differences are with respect to the geometry, suspension technology, project one customization, speed, weight, and even price.
Below is a table breakdown of all the nine differences between Fuel EX and Top Fuel to be explored in detail later:
|Features||Trek Fuel EX||Trek Top Fuel|
|Bike Type||Trail mountain bike||Cross country mountain bike|
|Suspension Travel||140mmm front + 130mmm rear||120mm front + 120mm rear suspension|
|Wheel Size||27.5 inch or 29 inch||Only 29-inch|
|Geometry||Balance trail geometry||Progressive geometry|
|Suspension Technology||Mono Link, Active Braking Pivot (ABP), and Re: Aktiv||Mono Link, Active Braking Pivot (ABP), and Anti-Squat|
|Project One||Not available||Available|
|Bike Weight||Slightly heavier (by 2-4 pounds)||Lighter (by 2-4 pounds)|
|Speed||Slightly slower than Top Fuel||Faster than Fuel EX|
|Bike Price||Cheaper than Top Fuel||Slightly costlier|
This article will not just discuss the differences between the two Trek MTBs but will also highlight their similarities. Without saying much, let’s begin with the bikes’ overview.
Trek Fuel EX Overview
Trek Fuel EX is a full suspension trail mountain bike by Trek designed to take on just about any trail all season long.
This mountain bike comes with a balanced trail geometry that brings out the perfect balance between speed and control. As a result, it’s easier to handle on tricky trails and promises a fast pace.
Fuel EX is available in 29-inch (29er) and 27.5-inch wheel sizes to accommodate all heights. Women who naturally have a shorter stature can set for 27.5-inch options, while men who are inherently taller can go for 29ers.
Suspension-wise, Fuel EX features a 140mm front suspension and a 130mm rear suspension, which is enough to hit just about any trail and enjoy the same comfort and bump-cushioning.
In terms of suspension technologies, the manufacturer employs Mono Link to self-adjust the bike frame, Re: Aktiv to offer you more control, and Active Braking Pivot for more confident braking.
The most notable miss is the Project One customization option. But we’ve several models to choose from, such as Fuel EX 5 Deore, Fuel EX 9.1XOR, Fuel EX7, Fuel EX 8, Fuel EX9.7, Fuel EX 9.8 GX/XT/GX AXS, Fuel EX9.9 XTR, and Fuel EX 9.9X01 AXS.
Overall, Trek Fuel EX is perfect for anyone who wants a versatile do-it-all mountain bike.
Trek Top Fuel Overview
Trek Top Fuel is a short travel 29er cross country mountain bike designed for cross country racing and fun trail riding.
This bike is more forgiving and impulsive on aggressive descents than regular XC bikes but has a snappier feel than a traditional trail bike. So, it gives you the best sense of both worlds.
It has a 120mm front suspension and 120mm rear suspension to have a more comfortable and confident ride. And since it’s a 29er, obstacle rolling is much funnier. The full-suspension XC bike enjoys a progressive geometry, which is more relaxed and offers you more control.
Suspension-wise, this XC bike employs Mono Link Technology and ABP, just like Fuel EX to promise self-adjustment geometry and confident braking.
But unlike Fuel EX, Top Fuel lacks Re: Aktiv suspension technology. Instead, it employs Anti-Squad technology, a suspension resistance technology that offers you more acceleration with every pedaling. That’s practically why this bike is a better cross-country racing bike.
The best bit is that Top Fuel is customizable through Project One. But still, the bike family is split into several models – which include Top Fuel 5 Deore, Top Fuel 7 Deore/XT, Top Fuel 9.7 SLX/XT, Top Fuel 8, Top Fuel 9.8 GX/AX SXS/XT, and Top Fuel 9.9X01/XTR/XX1 AXS.
Trek Fuel EX Vs Top Fuel Side-By-Side Comparison!
Now, here is how Fuel EX and Top Fuel compare:
1. Bike Type
Fuel EX is generally a trail mountain bike that can take on just about any trail every day – from dirt trails to rough off-roads and forest trails.
On the other hand, Top Fuel is a cross-country mountain bike that you can use for any cross-country event. Whether you want to compete at a local event or race casually in the countryside, you cannot go wrong with Top Fuel.
2. Suspension Travel
Fuel EX is a do-it-all mountain bike mainly because of its long travel range. The bike features 140mmm of front suspension and 130mm of rear suspension, enough to take on all terrains.
The suspension allows you to ride downslope and go over rocks. That’s how powerful the MTB is. Top Fuel promises 120mm suspension travel on the front and rear side, shorter than what you get from Fuel EX but enough for cross-country biking.
You want your cross-country race bike to feel lightweight and offer you better control, and that’s what you get from the 120mm travel range.
3. Trek Fuel EX Vs Trek Top Fuel Wheel Size
Top Fuel is a 29-er (29-inch mountain bike), while Fuel EX offers 29-inch and 27.5-inch wheel options. The difference is that 29ers mostly favor taller guys while 27.5-inch accommodate both taller and shorter guys.
So, you are more likely to get a matching fit with Fuel EX than Top Fuel. However, the advantage of Top Fuel is that you can have a custom-made bike matching your body size.
These two Trek mountain bike families differ in their geometry, which affects their overall feel.
Fuel EX, for example, has a balanced trail geometry, which bridges the gap between the fast-handling short-trail geometry and the slow-handling greater-trail geometry.
As a result, the bike is easier to handle at high-speed and, pretty stable, and offers you more control. You cannot ask for anything better than a balanced trail geometry.
On the other hand, Top Fuel has a progressive geometry characterized by a longer wheelbase, thus more relaxed and promising more control.
5. Trek Top Fuel Vs Fuel EX Suspension Technology
Both Trek MTBs employ Active Braking Pivot (ABP) and Mono Link suspension technologies. ABP generally tunes the bike suspension to the braking and acceleration to enable you to brake more confidently and boss the trail.
Mono Link in opposite allows you to adjust the bike’s geometry quickly and on the go. The difference is that Fuel EX employs Re: Aktiv suspension technology while Top Fuel uses Anti-Squat suspension technology.
Re: Aktiv offers Fuel EX more grip, control, and a responsive feel, while Anti-Squat suspension allows you to go faster with every step. The more you pedal a Top Fuel, the faster it accelerates.
6. Trek Ex Vs Top Fuel Project One
Project One is Trek bike’s customization project. While Project One is available for top high-end Top Fuel models, it’s not available for Fuel EX. So, if you want a custom-made MTB for competition, Top Fuel is the way to go.
That, however, doesn’t make Fuel EX an inferior family. No! There are so many high-end Fuel EX models to choose from, and they all come in all frame sizes, which means you can easily find your fit.
7. Bike Weight
There is at least a 2-4-pound difference between Fuel EX and Top Fuel of the same generation and size. For example, while Fuel EX 9.9 X01 AXS weighs 28.15 pounds, Top Fuel 9.9 XXL weighs 26.13 pounds.
That makes Top Fuel lighter than Fuel EX, and it’s understandable, given that Top Fuel is a cross-country racer while Fuel EX is a trail bike.
8. Top Speed
Being the lighter of the two and employing Anti-Squat technology makes Top Fuel faster than Fuel EX. That hugely explains why Top Fuel is a cross-country bike as it’s speedy, thus suitable got cross county.
Though you can race with a Fuel EX since it’s an all-terrain trail bike, you cannot go as fast as someone riding an XC bike, which is Top Fuel.
9. Bike Price
Trek Top Fuel costs more than Fuel EX because of the lower weight advantage, anti-squat technology, and Project One customization availability.
Trek Fuel EX Vs Top Fuel Similarities
After looking at the things that set Fuel EX and Top Fuel apart, here are some things that the two Trek MTBs have in common.
Suspension Technologies – Both bikes employ Active Braking Pivot (ABP) and Mono Link suspension. ABP promotes confident braking while Mino Link encourages geometry adjustment on the go.
Frame – Both families employ alpha aluminum on their mid-range bikes and OCLV carbon on high-end options.
Sizes – Both bike families come in all frame sizes as follows:
- Extra small (rider’s height: 137-155cm)
- Small (rider’s height: 153-166.5cm)
- Medium (rider’s height: 161-172cm)
- Medium/Large (rider’s height – 165.5- 179cm)
- Large (rider’s height: 177-188cm)
- Extra Large (rider’s Height – 186-196cm
Weight Limit – These two bike families limit their load capacities to 300 pounds. So, they are equally strong and perfect for heavyweight guys.
People Also Ask
1. What Is the Difference Between Trek Top Fuel and Fuel EX?
The difference between Trek Top Fuel and Fuel EX is that the latter is a 29-inch trail bike while the former is a 29/27.5-inch cross country bike.
2. Is The Trek Fuel EX A Trial Bike?
Yes, Trek Fuel EX is a trail bike. It is a full-suspension trail bike with 140mm front suspension and 130mm rear suspension.
3. How Much Travel Does the Trek Fuel EX Have?
Trek Fuel EX comes with a 140mm front suspension and 130mmm rear suspension. The suspension offers optimum bump absorption and stability to take on just about any trail.
Closing Thought on Trek Fuel EX Vs Top Fuel:
Generally, Trek Fuel EX is an all-terrain trail bike with a 140mm front suspension and 130mm rear suspension. On the other hand, Trek Top Fuel is a cross country racing 29er with a 120mm front and rear suspension.