I don’t like to say I told you so, but…

Mountain Biking UK - - LONG-TERM RIDES -

Trek have al­ready started rolling out their 2018 Fu­els, and it’s in­ter­est­ing to see what they’ve changed and com­pare this to the tweaks I’ve made to my bike.

They’ve switched the wheels to a wider set and added their ex­cel­lent Team Is­sue XR4 tyres as stan­dard, just like I did in 29er mode. More im­por­tantly, the prob­lems I had with the rear sus­pen­sion seem to have been sorted, with Trek ’fes­s­ing up to an is­sue with early-batch 2017 shocks, in­clud­ing mine.

While you still get the stan­dard­lay­out Fox Re:ak­tiv damper on the 9.7, not Trek’s rad­i­cal new ‘Thru Shaft’ de­sign, it should now feel sim­i­larly great to my Mojo-fet­tled shock. The one fit­ted to the 2018 EX 8 we tested last is­sue cer­tainly did.

The Fuel’s back end is still pretty mobile, be­cause of the axlecon­cen­tric ‘ABP’ rear pivot and the ‘Full Floater’ de­sign, which mounts the shock be­tween the link­age and chain­stay tips. While this easy move­ment looks in­ef­fi­cient, the Trek is ac­tu­ally re­ally good at get­ting power down, par­tic­u­larly over rough ground, and it de­liv­ers good re­sults on the climbs.

My only concern at the mo­ment is the Ki­ne­sis Max­light wheels, which are start­ing to make an omi­nous bang­ing noise. Thank­fully I’ve got some Halo Vapour 35s wait­ing in the wings. www.trek­bikes.com

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