Trek Fuel EX 5: In depth Review of the 2018 model

The 2018 Trek Fuel EX 5 has gone through some changes from the 2017 version. These changes have brought it up to date and made it a very capable and rugged bike.

Who is it for?

The Trek Fuel EX is a cross-country bike that is good for beginners and experts alike. It is ideal for those riders who like to go long distances. This bike allows the rider to take on technical terrain and have some serious fun on flowy single track too.


FrameAlpha Platinum Aluminium, ABP, Boost148, Knock Block steerer stop, Full Floater, EVO link, E2 tapered head tube, Mino Link, Control Freak internal routing, downtube guard, PF92, ISCG 05, G2 Geometry, 130 mm travel
Rear ShockRockShox Deluxe RL, 210×52.5 mm
ForkRockShox Recon Silver, Solo Air spring, Motion Control damper, E2 tapered steerer, G2 Geometry w/51 mm offset, Boost110, 130 mm travel
Front DerailleurShimano Deore M6020
Rear DerailleurShimano Deore M6000, Shadow Plus
Number of Gears20
ShiftersShimano Deore M6000, 10-speed
Chain setRace Face Ride, 36/22T
Bottom BracketPF92
CassetteShimano HG500, 11-42, 10 speed
ChainKMC X10
PedalsNot Supplied
BrakesetShimano M315 hydraulic disc
HandlebarsBontrager alloy, 31.8 mm, 5 mm rise, 750 mm width
StemBontrager Rhythm Comp, Knock Block, 31.8 mm, 0 degree, 60 mm length
HeadsetKnock Block Integrated, sealed cartridge bearing, 1-1/8″ top, 1.5″ bottom
GripsBontrager Race Lite, lock-on
RimsBontrager Connection 32-hole double-walled
Front HubBontrager alloy, alloy axle, Boost110
Rear HubBontrager sealed bearing alloy axle, Boost148
TyresBontrager XR3, 29×2.30″
SaddleBontrager Evoke 1.5
SeatpostBontrager alloy, 2-bolt head, 31.6mm, 12 mm offset
Weight17.5″ – 14.97 kg


How Does it Ride?

trek fuel ex


The Trek Fuel EX climbs brilliantly, due to the Shimano drive train. Additionally, the 29″ wheels help you roll over rocks and roots easily. This makes technical climbs a bit easier. Personally, I would prefer it to come with a dropper seat post, as it would make undulating trails a lot easier, and for a cross-country bike, this is the whole point.

Trek Fuel EX does have a lock out on the rear shock that makes climbing easier, however it only has two modes, off and on. I may be being a bit picky here, but sometimes you want at least some suspension travel for technical climbs. Therefore, I would like to see a shock that gives you the option to firm up the suspension, but not totally lock out if desired.

Descending and flow sections

For a 29″ wheeled bike the Trek Fuel EX is surprisingly agile. It turns a lot tighter than I expected it to, and rolls over obstacles, rocks and roots with ease. This gives you lots of confidence and you find yourself using the brakes less on descents. When blasting a long flow single track, it is great fun in a weird grown up way, rather than an aggressive playful way.

I found the Bontrager tyres are good for climbing and they roll easily. They also provide good grip in a straight line on the dirt. However, they have quite a round profile. Therefore, for me, they did not give me too much confidence on wet slippy rocks and corners. But, you cannot have everything. If I was to buy this bike, I would upgrade the tyres to something a bit more grippy.

trek fuel ex

Where is the Trek Fuel EX 5 good for?

The Trek Fuel EX 5 is great for long distance trail riding, especially when you fit a dropper post. We tested this bike at Coed y Brenin in North Wales, and it was great for trail centre riding. You wouldn’t want to do big jumps and drops with it, but it should cope with anything that most trail centres can throw at it.

Key Features

  • Alpha Platinum Aluminium Frame
  • RockShox Recon Silver Fork
  • RockShox Deluxe RL Rear Shock
  • Shimano Deore 20 Speed Drivetrain
  • Shimano M315 Hydraulic Disc Brakes
  • Bontrager XR3, 29 x 2.30″ Tyres
  • Mino-Link feature is a small chip in the rocker link that allows you to change the seat stay position. This allows you to change the geometry of the bike. Therefore, you can make it lower and slacker to make it a bit more downhill friendly.


A great cross-country bike that is very capable. The advantage of being able to change the geometry with the Mino-Link is a great feature. The Trek Fuel EX 5 is great but it would benefit from wider handlebars, a dropper seat post and stickier tyres for riding in the wet. Out of the box, this bike will be amazing in dry conditions, but, customising your bike is fun, so don’t be put off buying one.

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