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  1. #1
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    2011 Trek Top Fuel 9.7 vs 2013 Fuel EX 8

    Would like some opinions / advice regarding a new FS bike that I am considering ...

    I am currently riding a Trek 4300 and I am considering giving that to my son and buying a new FS bike for myself. My son and I basically ride easy to moderate single track trails around where we live.

    I have been looking at the Trek Fuel EX8 and went to my LBS today to talk with them about it. My LBS doesn't have one in stock, but they can order one in a day or two.

    While I was there, the owner had me try out an older 2011 Trek Top Fuel 9.7 that they had on the floor. The 9.7 was listed for $4200, but the owner said that he would like to clear it out to make room for new inventory, so he said that he would give it to me for $3200 (which seems like a pretty good deal, based upon what I've read).

    The Fuel EX 8 on the other hand would run me $2700, so the difference between the two is $500.

    I don't mind spending the extra money for a better bike, but I am not really sure that the Top Fuel is a better bike for me.

    I am a relatively new mountain bike rider - been riding road for many, many years, but have only been riding mountain for about a year.

    As I understand it from researching on the net, the Top Fuel 9.7 is really a XC racing bike, versus the EX 8, which is more of an all mountain general bike.

    The Top Fuel is carbon, so it is obviously lighter, but the EX has a newer componet set and a better fork.

    The tires on the Top Fuel are a lot slicker than the tires on the EX. One of the people in the store told me that the Top Fuel has a very good, very fast set of tires, but I wonder if a slower knobbier set of tires would be better for the kind of riding that I do.

    I've also read that XC bikes tend to be a little less comfortable for all mountain riding, whereas all mountain bikes tend to be more comfortable at the expense of speed.

    I'm no speed demon, so getting the fastest bike isn't a big deal for me. On the other hand, a lighter bike that makes it easier to climb .... well that's attractive.

    Finally, I wonder if I'd be better off with an aluminum bike over a carbon one, from a durability point of view. I'm not particularly crash prone, but I certainly have had my share of falls this past year.

    Anyway, people's thoughts, suggestions and advice would be appreciated. I can certainly ride both bikes on the hill behind the bike store, but I'd really appreciate some real world advice.

  2. #2
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    Personally, I don't worry so much about durability with carbon, however the majority of responses you would get from users of this website is "what kind of riding are you doing?".

    The XC bike usually has a longer top tube with a more stretched out position with greater stiffness while the fuel ex will be more relaxed more stable going downhill and more plush in general. There is a significant difference in weight from 2011-2013 also. I believe the Fuel ex series keeps getting lighter every year. THe top fuel was discontinued for this year.

    So if you're not racing, and you are riding downhill with rocks ruts, other stuff, maybe want to do some small drops and jumps, but love pedaling uphill than the fuel ex is for you.

    If you are racing, want a more steep head angle, want stiff and really light, than maybe you want a top fuel.

    I have one friend who has broken his top fuel, but I think the carbon reliability is pretty good these days. He was definitely doing more on his bike than it was designed to do.
    "Chancho. When you are a man sometimes you wear stretchy pants... Its for fun..."

  3. #3
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    Thanks Whason - that makes a lot of sense.

    At this point I am leaning toward the Fuel EX - I'm definitely not racing and I could use something a little more plush to support my old bones and joints. .

  4. #4
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    I purchased the fuel ex 8 new last year. Let me just say I absolutely love it. Its a great all around bike. Its a great climber and it's a great downhiller. I would suggest this bike to anyone. All though the components from 2011 weren't that great you can always upgrade. It is a very good base to start on.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by FuelEX8guy View Post
    I purchased the fuel ex 8 new last year. Let me just say I absolutely love it. Its a great all around bike. Its a great climber and it's a great downhiller. I would suggest this bike to anyone. All though the components from 2011 weren't that great you can always upgrade. It is a very good base to start on.
    Thanks for the feedback. I went back to my LBS yesterday and rode both bikes for about an hour. It wasn't quite an apples to apples comparison, because the frame on the EX was one size too small for me, but in the end I picked the EX 8 ... I just liked it better and felt more comfortable on it.

    Bike should be in by the end of the week ... can't wait to ride it this weekend!

  6. #6
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    No problem. You are going to love it.

  7. #7
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    You made the right call. You will have way more fun on the Fuel EX. It's so much more forgiving than the Top Fuel. I think the EX was redone this year too.

  8. #8
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    FYI, There are tons of 2012 ex8 out there for $2k or under.

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