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  1. #1
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    Fuel EX 29. 9 vs 9.8

    I've narrowed my bike hunt down to a Fuel EX 29. I'm trying to decide between a 9 and a 9.8. I haven't been able to test either one as no shops have one in my size. They will bring one in with no strings attached, but of course I need to decide which model to order.

    This isn't meant to be a CF vs Al thread, but here goes. They both have the same component spec and wheel, but the 9 has a better fork. The 9.8 is a carbon frame with lesser fork. 9.8 cost about $1,000 more. Both look sexy with the slight edge going to the 9.8 with the translucent red paint job.

    Which did you choose and why? I'm not fixated on weight, but does any one know how much weight the 9.8 saves in a 21" frame?

    Thanks,

  2. #2
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    The 9.8 will save you 2 lbs. I have a 21" 9 all XT and my brother has a 19" 9.8. Mine comes in at about 30 lbs with xt pedals and his at about 27.8 with xtr pedals. I kind of wish I had sprung for the 9.8 but I justify my decision by telling myself that I have more money for a lighter set of wheels. You might want to check to see if what you order will come with the updated Bontrager Rhythm Elite wheels which are a bit lighter. I don't think there's much difference in the performance of the forks. Kashima coating? Best of luck deciding.

  3. #3
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    Yep, the internals on the fork are the same, just the Kashima coating is added to the Factory series.

  4. #4
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    Fuel EX 29. 9 vs 9.8

    Quote Originally Posted by Sunderland View Post
    The 9.8 will save you 2 lbs. I have a 21" 9 all XT and my brother has a 19" 9.8. Mine comes in at about 30 lbs with xt pedals and his at about 27.8 with xtr pedals. I kind of wish I had sprung for the 9.8 but I justify my decision by telling myself that I have more money for a lighter set of wheels. You might want to check to see if what you order will come with the updated Bontrager Rhythm Elite wheels which are a bit lighter. I don't think there's much difference in the performance of the forks. Kashima coating? Best of luck deciding.
    Thanks for the reply. How do you like your EX 9? I will definitely check for the Rhythm Elite wheel set. Is that what you have?

  5. #5
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    I bought the 9, and while the 9.8 looks great, i would not trade for the carbon. The main reason I chose the aluminum version was the reviews that indicate flex in the carbon frame. I then contacted Trek, and they indicated that the aluminum was the significantly stiffer frame. Secondarily, I wanted the Factory fork which has the trail adjust feature that the fork on the 9.8 lacks, so it is more adjustable in the trail mode that I ride all of the time. I think real world weight difference is about 1 pound on average between equal sizes, and that is what the side by side weighings indicate. For a stiffer frame and slightly better fork, i will take the pound. My 19.5 weighs 28, but I changed to lighter wheels, saddle, and different stem, and bars. They are both great bikes with great spec. I love the 9 and it was right for me, but both are awesome.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fletch Bomb View Post
    Thanks for the reply. How do you like your EX 9? I will definitely check for the Rhythm Elite wheel set. Is that what you have?
    Like Haymarket, I like my 9 quite well. Yes, the frame is a lot stiffer than the carbon frame. I upgraded from a 2012 Rumblefish Elite with SLX components. I really like the XT components on the 9 much better as well as the 2x chainring setup.

    The Rhythm Elite wheels that came on my bike are the old version. Bontrager has come out with an improved Rhythm Elite wheel.

    Bontrager Rhythm Elite trail wheels, shoes, tires - BikeRadar
    Last edited by Sunderland; 11-07-2013 at 06:14 PM.

  7. #7
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    Fuel EX 29. 9 vs 9.8

    There's also the mater of the $1,050 price difference. Sounds like some of you guys would take the 9 even if there was zero price difference.

  8. #8
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    The difference is the carbon frame and components. The weight difference is noticeable but you have to figure out if the price is for you.

  9. #9
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    Fletch,

    Which Fuel did you actually get? Like you, I also am considering the Al-frame Fuel EX 9 29". I have tried the 21" Fuel EX 29 9.8 and loved the feel of the bike and the components (all XT) are super. I really don't care about the heavier weight of the Al version of it and kind of prefer the durability of the Al with respect to impacts. But I have not been able to try the Al version. I do have a bit of apprehension on that. I thought the carbon frame of the 9.8 was very very comfortable and I don't know if it was really the suspension that made it like that or the frame itself. If it is the latter, I am worried that the Al version might be a bit harsh. But I am a big boy 185 lb+ geared up, so I might not notice it. Any thoughts? (Related a bit: I thought the Al Stache felt a bit harsh but that might have really been just the lack of rear suspension).

    In reality, although I think the Al 9 is a great deal, I am not crazy about the polished look, so I am considering either getting the 8 with the different frame color and swapping out to get the 2x10 and putting a Thompson dropper seatpost on it or really splurging and setting up a Al frame using the Project One approach. Not sure which is more cost-effective. The biggest consideration is probably the wheelset when you try to figure the best approach. Too bad they don't offer the frame by itself.

    Any regrets on what you actually ended up getting?

    Thanks,
    Nick

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