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  1. #1
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    Trek Fuel EX JR - Review(ish)

    I happened to walk into the local Trek store the other day, and they had a new Fuel EX JR...

    3 days later, after talking it over with momma, we went for a ride!

    Below are some thoughts, not in any order, and also, more than likely, not well written!
    I am not going to get much out of him as far as a review goes, but he loves it. He is 8.5 and 4'6" and I would say the bike is slightly big right now.
    The seat is almost all the way down, maybe 1" from bottoming out.
    His other ride was a MT60 with the 'mega range' 34t freewheel and he could ride that pretty good. His seat post on that bike was getting quite high.

    So far he is having trouble unlearning starting off while on the seat, he just can't do it on this bike. Also climbing on and getting off are proving troublesome. But kids are VERY fast learners and I don't think that issue will last long.

    The short ride we had ~2.5 miles (VERY short) was awesome!!!! He picked up trigger shifting immediately. The MT60 had a 6spd gripshift.
    He can climb things that he wouldn't have attempted, and he says the suspension is nice and makes the bumps feel better.
    I enjoy being behind him and watching the bike soak up the bumps and can tell that he is more comfortable.

    Soon the bike will be tubeless, carbon bars, thomson masterpiece seatpost (had it laying around!!! score), 1x10 with oneup cog and I think he will be a BEAST of a riding buddy.

    at the shop, 100% stock, with plastic demo pedals, reflectors (lol), the bike weighed 29.7lbs, which sounds high, but IMHO, not that bad compared to what it could be and seems to be on par with the other kids offerings (ripcord & fluid 6.3)
    I went with the fuel since it was there, the price was the same as the ripcord (fuel was 10% off) and the fluid had a 3x9 drivetrain. The ripcord is 1x9 (X-5) and the fuel has deore with clutch rear derailleur and is 2x10.
    It is rather solid and looks great (to me) and the suspension action is nice and smooth. I am still playing with shock/fork air pressure, but the recommended settings seem pretty good.

    stock seatpost: 347g
    stock front wheel with rotor: 1113g (my 29er 35mm carbon rim with CK hub is 754g)




  2. #2
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    My son is loving this bike, he is a lot shorter though at about 4'0" He is quite comfortable with the bike. I did have to cut an inch off the seatpost to fit him properly. bike with pedals currently at 29.32# will upgrade some parts slowly to bring down to about 27.
    The only thing though is that warning said not to go below 50psi, since my son is only about 50#, the fork and shock are set to about 40psi.

    Trek Fuel EX JR - Review(ish)-11693052_10207432243392764_726794256_n.jpg


  3. #3
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    Anitkid....did you look at the Ripcord at the shop as well, or are you basing the comparison on reviews between the two? I'm curious as to whether or not there is a noticeable difference in size between the two.

    My oldest will be using a bike predominantly for bike park, but we need something for trail use as well. I like the Ripcords slack, but I'm concerned he'll outgrow it too soon. He's ridden the Fuel, but I'd like to get something a little more oriented to DH. The fuel has a bit more reach and stack, but I'm not sure how the two look side by side...the old eyeball test.

  4. #4
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    Tomson75, Have you checked out the Kona Stinky 2-4 too?

  5. #5
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    Before choosing the Trek Fuel EX Jr., I looked at the Kona Stinky 2-4, Transition Ripcord, Norco Fluid 4.3, and the Specialized Camber Grom.

    There is also a Specialized Status Grom that is park bike oriented but it was too big for my little one. I find that the Trek Fuel Jr. will be with my kid the longest due to sizing.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by milo8172 View Post
    Tomson75, Have you checked out the Kona Stinky 2-4 too?

    He's ridden the Stinky at the bike park numerous times. He liked it a lot, but there's just no way to make that pig go uphill....at least within my budget.

    After riding the Trek he was amazed at the difference a few pounds makes...even in the park. He said it felt like he was going twice as big on the jumps.

    I'm thinking the Ripcord is a nice compromise between the trail riding ability of the Trek, and the DH ability of the Stinky.

    I do have two younger kids to pass the bike down to, but I'd still like him to get at least two seasons out of it. Hopefully he won't hit puberty at 12!

  7. #7
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    The Ripcord has a 67HA compared to Trek's 69HA but in the future, I plan on upgrading the fork from 90mm to a 100mm to 120mm to slacken the HA a degree or two. I am blessed and cursed that my son will remain short for a while so he will be riding the Trek for a LONG time.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by milo8172 View Post
    The Ripcord has a 67HA compared to Trek's 69HA but in the future, I plan on upgrading the fork from 90mm to a 100mm to 120mm to slacken the HA a degree or two. I am blessed and cursed that my son will remain short for a while so he will be riding the Trek for a LONG time.
    That's a pretty good idea....I could even use the fork off of the Trek for my son's old 24" and give it to my 9yo daughter. Hmm...

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by tomson75 View Post
    Anitkid....did you look at the Ripcord at the shop as well, or are you basing the comparison on reviews between the two? I'm curious as to whether or not there is a noticeable difference in size between the two.

    My oldest will be using a bike predominantly for bike park, but we need something for trail use as well. I like the Ripcords slack, but I'm concerned he'll outgrow it too soon. He's ridden the Fuel, but I'd like to get something a little more oriented to DH. The fuel has a bit more reach and stack, but I'm not sure how the two look side by side...the old eyeball test.
    I wish there was a ripcord to check out, but there wasn't. I was more sold with the fact that the fuel was 26" vs 24" for the ripcord. I also went from not buying him a VERY $$ bike, to swiping a card within 3 days... Also, the fuel went to 10% off making it roughly the same amount as the ripcord.

    After today's ride, I have NO RAGRETS. NONE, not even one letter. I would gladly pay the $$ again, and will when he outgrows this. He went up hills that he normally wouldn't attempt, and also down some that he would walk. he didn't have a problem descending on the MT60 though fwiw.
    He cleaned technical hills that made his mom slip and she walked. He was waiting for us at the top. The bike boosted his confidence way up. I like to think that part of it is from the 26" wheels vs 20" wheels and rolling over things. The other part is in his head, he knows he has a big boy bike and that helps him a lot.
    I actually got to sweat a bit for the first time riding with him today.

    Today was the first time he ever tried this, after walking him over it, he rode it about 10 times by himself and loved it. I had a small heart condition every time

  10. #10
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    Small (but huge) update:
    I took him to one of my favorite trails, but also the most physically demanding trail that we have around here. He walked some sections, but rode way more than I thought he would. I was a very proud dad!!!
    4.3 miles and 533 ft in 1 hour

    We also rode a paved bike trail the other day and averaged 11mph over 6miles! For him, that is INSANELY fast.
    Our previous average would have been around 5 or 6mph. This path is mostly flat along a river.

  11. #11
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    went out yesterday, he rode ~8miles and cleaned every single section on the 'technical/more difficult' trail!
    I will say that the 20" bike he was on was absolutely holding him back, no question about it. The kid is an animal and will soon be yelling "DAD! hurry up!"

  12. #12
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    That's great

  13. #13
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    took him to Canaan WV and we rode Moonrocks trail in Davis. The trail was really neat and the only thing similar I can think of is slickrock in Dupont NC.
    according to strava, 8.1 miles and 722ft in 2hrs.

    we got to this sign, after being sort of lost for a bit, and he asked what 'exp' and 'beg' meant. not sure how he didn't know, but whatever, i told him we're going left and to stop so i can get a pic...
    after the ride, i told him what it meant and you could tell he was very proud of himself


    this is the moonrocks section. it went on for longer than i thought it would, he walked a bit, but rode way more than i expected. he was picking lines like a pro, and we were going up.


    this is the only pic i have of the hoodoo rocks section. luckily we were going downhill through this. he didn't crash, was popping off rocks, and again, picking lines that made me worry...


    I have some video of the ride, but need to go through it all so it isn't super boring.

    a 20" wheel would have been completely swallowed in the moonrocks section and he would have walked nearly all of the fun stuff.

  14. #14
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    Ripcord vs Fuel ex Jr:
    For those of you that were preferring the Ripcord over the Fuel because of its slacker head angle, remember that what really matters while riding is wheel trail.
    A slacker head angle gives more trail, but so does a bigger wheel, so the end result is that the trail on both bikes is virtually the same(85 mm), and the larger wheels on the Fuel add some more stability, to the point that I bet the Fuel might even feel a bit more stable at speed in the rough.

    The Fuel is simply a bigger bike than the Ripcord, chain stays, stand over, stack and reach are all longer, and the wheels are bigger, basically they are two different sized bikes.

  15. #15
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    any advice on coverting to 1x10 on the fuel ex jr. Like whats the bcd and what parts do i need

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by snipes1 View Post
    any advice on coverting to 1x10 on the fuel ex jr. Like whats the bcd and what parts do i need
    remove front derailleur and front shifter, install a Narrow-wide chainring, for kids, maybe a 28-30t. resize or replace the chain.

  17. #17
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    I managed to get his bike down to 27 pounds

    New Tubeless wheelset.

    He's loving it. I also installed 630mm Carbon bars.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Trek Fuel EX JR - Review(ish)-12235071_10208314856297535_2457111803578622497_n.jpg  

    Trek Fuel EX JR - Review(ish)-12274540_10208380508058788_4542545929632652520_n.jpg  

    Trek Fuel EX JR - Review(ish)-12279066_10208380509338820_8151899604383074014_n.jpg  

    Trek Fuel EX JR - Review(ish)-12301634_10208380506178741_5874197377435306711_n.jpg  


  18. #18
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    Just looked at Trek's website. MSRP is $1,899 but what is the real world cost. Really want to get my 8 year old a mtb but no way am I dropping near 2 grand on something that he's gonna outgrow in a couple summers. If we could ride year round I'd consider it.....but bikes are a 4-5 month deal here in Montana unless you ride fat bikes. (I do)
    Trek Madone 4.5
    Surly Ice Cream Truck Ops
    Salsa Pony Rustler GX1
    And a couple other beater bikes.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by fatkidonabike View Post
    Just looked at Trek's website. MSRP is $1,899 but what is the real world cost. Really want to get my 8 year old a mtb but no way am I dropping near 2 grand on something that he's gonna outgrow in a couple summers. If we could ride year round I'd consider it.....but bikes are a 4-5 month deal here in Montana unless you ride fat bikes. (I do)

    The advantage I have is I am short, the bike is good for a rider that is 48"-60" Good chance that my kid will have it for at least 5 years. Now if you guys are on the short side, this will work.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by fatkidonabike View Post
    Just looked at Trek's website. MSRP is $1,899 but what is the real world cost. Really want to get my 8 year old a mtb but no way am I dropping near 2 grand on something that he's gonna outgrow in a couple summers.
    Depends on if you think your son will enjoy a 29.7 pound stock bike. Real world cost is you start with $1900 out the door and the modifications to make it lighter start if that is your direction as most of us end up doing. The OP's first post lists out some of the weights. I would start with the easy stuff: Wheels/Seatpost/tires/bars etc should help to take off 3 pounds quickly.

  21. #21
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    Bumping this thread back to the top since I'm considering this bike for my 9 year old. Post your pics, insights, and reviews now that many of you have had the bike for a year. Would you buy it again? Has anyone actually tried a 100 or 120mm fork on it? Thanks

  22. #22
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    Looks nice!
    Bars are very high though. Channel your inner roadie and slam that stem. Put the stem in the down angled position and put all the spacers on top.
    The bar lower will allow him to push and pull the bike around much more, allowing him to really ride the bike, not just be along for the ride.

  23. #23
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    I just bought the 2016 Fuel Ex Jr, found a good deal from a shop in Ca. I hated that the 2017 model downgraded the aluminum frame (platinum to gold) but didn't offset it with better components. ~29lbs is too heavy, but i'm out of budget. So i'll be looking for a cheap (used?) light wheelset as well as ebay carbon parts. Hopefully, I can bring it down ~25lbs.

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by kle5701 View Post
    I just bought the 2016 Fuel Ex Jr, found a good deal from a shop in Ca. I hated that the 2017 model downgraded the aluminum frame (platinum to gold) but didn't offset it with better components. ~29lbs is too heavy, but i'm out of budget. So i'll be looking for a cheap (used?) light wheelset as well as ebay carbon parts. Hopefully, I can bring it down ~25lbs.
    It's the same frame. They just changed the designation.

  25. #25
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    DeepThought, what do you mean? The 2016 spec stated frame is alpha platinum which is same one on the adult superfly. The 2017 now has the alpha gold aluminum which is the one on their x-caliber/marlin.

  26. #26
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    I have a buddy who bought one of these and had the same question. He asked Trek, who said it's the marketing copy that changed, not the actual frame, which was a carry-forward.

  27. #27
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    I just contact Trek's support and they stated the 2016 model has the higher end platinum frame while the 2017 has the gold aluminum frame. I'm inclined to believe this, else it would be false advertising on Trek's part.

  28. #28
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    < shrug > One or the other rep is mistaken. Hard to say which one. It would be surprising that they would change the frame on a low-volume bike after just one season.

  29. #29
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    Isn't treks differentiation in frame materials mostly marketing? What is the real difference between platinum and gold? Trek U doesn't even seem to lay out the differences for trek employees.

    My trek platinum framed rumblefish is still a tank with that platinum frame but I love it.

  30. #30
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    Trek's website seems to infer the Platinum and Gold differs in the level of butting. Wouldn't make no sense to have different classification for identical frame.

  31. #31
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    Unless the first description was wrong in the first place, which is my hunch. It's not uncommon for a company's marketing department to get a product description wrong.

    But it doesn't sound like this is really influencing your purchase anyway.

  32. #32
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    The bike came in. It's even better looking in person and the full suspension felt really plush. On the frame, it states plantinum aluminum. so presumably, the 2017 model does have the downgraded aluminum. I weighed the bike and it's exactly 13kg (28.7lbs). I think I bring this weight down (~25lbs) over the winter with some cheap wheels from BWW and ebay carbon parts.

  33. #33
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    Edited.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Trek Fuel EX JR - Review(ish)-img_20161231_125739.jpg  

    Last edited by crankpuller; 04-23-2017 at 09:41 AM. Reason: Pic removed

  34. #34
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    I currently have the bike broken down to apply frame protection tape. See below my plan to bring the bike down to ~23lbs.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Trek Fuel EX JR - Review(ish)-capture2.jpg  


  35. #35
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    I got a very decent set of carbon bars from China ..I bought 2 and planned to test one to breaking but when cutting it down the bar seemed pretty well made and strong. (much better than I expected so good indeed I replaced the Giant Contact on my own XC bike...) Its put up with a lot of abuse on the XC bike .. which gets used on red trails with 4'+ drop offs and taken a couple of crashes... at 660mm .... My trail bike has much wider bars = more leverage and I don't care as much about the weight so that is aluminium)


    The Alligator ARIES rotors are also worth looking into (76g). (Obviously try and stay away from designs that are sharp and sawtooth you probably know that but I thought worth mentioning)

  36. #36
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    I haven't been on this forum for a while, but finally got around to putting carbon wheels on the fuel jr, and some other upgrades.
    the rear end is now 12x142 (i used the parts from my '12 Fuel EX)
    for the front i ordered this: (https://smile.amazon.com/gp/product/...?ie=UTF8&psc=1) which made using the 15x100 front hub easy and cheap.
    I also put the 50t shark tooth XT setup on the rear because I didn't like it on my 29er.
    next on the list is removing the front double and shifter and going 1x with a 30 or 32t front, and also carbon bars/stem

    we went to Ray's this weekend and he enjoyed it!

    Trek Fuel EX JR - Review(ish)-20170120_204653.jpgTrek Fuel EX JR - Review(ish)-20170121_133950.jpg

  37. #37
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    Just finished the build- one happy kid!

    I haven't weighed it yet but it feels in the 25 pound range.

    Magura durin air fork (100mm)
    Easton haven wheels,
    Deore hydros
    Brood crank with a 26 tooth NSB ring
    XT cassette with a 40 tooth one up
    Gx shifter and deraillerTrek Fuel EX JR - Review(ish)-img_20161231_125739.jpg
    2.4 maxxis advantage front tire
    2.2 Conti rubber queen rear
    Blackspire sub420 pedals
    Carbon bontrager bar
    Kore stem[/QUOTE]
    Just weighed it - 27.4 lbs including pedals. Could easily drop a pound off the tires but have no desire to spend any more cash.

    He is turning every slight undulation on the trail into an opportunity to catch some air.

    So far very happy with the bike

    Sent from my Nexus 6P using Tapatalk
    Last edited by crankpuller; 04-29-2017 at 09:13 AM.

  38. #38
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    Quote Originally Posted by kle5701 View Post
    I currently have the bike broken down to apply frame protection tape. See below my plan to bring the bike down to ~23lbs.
    Nice- what pedals are you using for 160g?
    My son would be pinch flatting the rocket rons- the boy likes to Huck it!

    Sent from my Nexus 6P using Tapatalk

  39. #39
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    Quote Originally Posted by milo8172 View Post
    The Ripcord has a 67HA compared to Trek's 69HA but in the future, I plan on upgrading the fork from 90mm to a 100mm to 120mm to slacken the HA a degree or two. I am blessed and cursed that my son will remain short for a while so he will be riding the Trek for a LONG time.
    2 years later, fun ride at big bear, pulled the trigger and bought the 120mm fork.

    2015 RockShox Reba RL 26" Fork SoloAir Tapered 120mm | Suspension Forks | Forks | Closeouts | Bikewagon.com

  40. #40
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    Quote Originally Posted by crankpuller View Post
    Just finished the build- one happy kid!

    I haven't weighed it yet but it feels in the 25 pound range.

    Magura durin air fork (100mm)
    Easton haven wheels,
    Deore hydros
    Brood crank with a 26 tooth NSB ring
    XT cassette with a 40 tooth one up
    Gx shifter and deraillerClick image for larger version. 

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    2.4 maxxis advantage front tire
    2.2 Conti rubber queen rear
    Blackspire sub420 pedals
    Carbon bontrager bar
    Kore stem

    Nice, just ordered a 120mm rockshox fork for my son's trek fuel jr.

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