Results 1 to 19 of 19
  1. #1
    mtbr member
    Reputation: wyrm's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Posts
    1,425

    My Fuel EX8 "do it all bike"... AM, DJ, XC....

    I have been meaning to post my Fuel EX8 for all the mods I have done to it. I had to get creative with this bike... because literally I have to make it my "do it all bike". So here is the story.

    I come from a XC background.... and converted to a DH/ FR passion. So in the last 4 year I have only owned DH bikes: Iron Horse 7.7, Kona Stinky, Transition Bottlerocket... and tested tons of other DH bikes: Canfield F1, Orange 223 and others. Just to keep it simple, I am a DHer at heart.

    Then I got married. The guys dropped me (they say I dropped them). So in the last year and a half my wife has been my primary riding partner. She is a XC all the way thru the Lycra. So things have changed and I need to change with it... insert the Fuel EX8. I need a bike that would climb and descend. Let me tell you about all the changes I have made to try to keep it aggressive.

    First, let me tell you what I did to make it all work. At 5'10" I would regularly have been on a 17.5 frame... but because I wanted it to handle like a DH bike I would need to get a much shorter stem. Remember at the same time I wanted a bike that would be comfortable to climb, 17.5 with a short stem would have been too short of a cockpit. So I went with a 18.5 frame to keep the cockpit longer with a shorter stem. Shorter stout stem... from 100x17d 2bolt to a 60x0d 4bolt stem.

    Second, the chain guide and chain rings. When descending it is critical to minimize the amount of chain drop. Also when riding technical trails who needs a 44t chainring? In DH riding I have found that 36t is plenty if you know how to pump the terrain. Lastly... a bash guard is essential if you are riding over logs, drops, roots and rocks. Remember again... I need to climb. So I went with an E-13 DRS guide, and a ring combo of 24-36.

    Third, the wheels that came stock needed to go. There is no way the Bontrager Race wheels are gonna hold up on drops, jumps and such. So I went with the Rhythm Elite rear wheel for 09'. And for the front... I went with the Bontrager Race X Lite. Good ol' Swiss hubs on both and some decent hoops. Lite but not chinchy.

    Fourth, the most underrated up grade anyone can make... tires. I went with the Kenda Nevegal 2.35 Tubeless. I mounted it to the rear only to find out that the rear stays are too narrow and won't take it. So the JoneXR it had to be till I found another tire. I did go tubeless to keep it lighter again.

    Last, a couple of bits that I changed. Check the derailleur housing.... full length. Ya it is heavier, but I have found over the years it has been more reliable and maintenance free. I had to drill out the cable stops to make this work. Second... the stock grips suck. So I went with the Oray lock on grips.

    The final build is about 30lbs, heavier than stock. BUT much more sturdy. So how does it ride. Stay tuned............
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Bikeless Rider

  2. #2
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Posts
    12
    that looks spot on to me. i have a new ex9 frame that trek gave me to replace my broken liquid 25. when i get round to building it thats the sort of spec i will go for,but with some flat pedals.

  3. #3
    mtbr member
    Reputation: V.P.'s Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Posts
    1,704
    Nice, thanks for sharing. Now post some real action shots : )

  4. #4
    mtbr member
    Reputation: PatrickP's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Posts
    26
    Sweet setup. I ride my EX8 about the same way you do, love going downhill but have to climb back up (no chairlift in the Midwest). I've been wanting to do something like that to mine. The bashguard/chainguide is my next step. My big ring is pretty much unusable now.

    Quick question: How do you get your seatpost to go down that far? Mine sticks out a good 6-7 inches all the way down.

  5. #5
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Posts
    21
    Quote Originally Posted by wyrm
    Fourth, the most underrated up grade anyone can make... tires. I went with the Kenda Nevegal 2.35 Tubeless. I mounted it to the rear only to find out that the rear stays are too narrow and won't take it. So the JoneXR it had to be till I found another tire. I did go tubeless to keep it lighter again.
    Try Maxxis 2.35. Highrollers fit fine on my girlsfriends EX9...

  6. #6
    mtbr member
    Reputation: wyrm's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Posts
    1,425
    Quote Originally Posted by PatrickP
    Quick question: How do you get your seatpost to go down that far? Mine sticks out a good 6-7 inches all the way down.

    First off.... thanks. To answer your question about how do I get it to drop so far. The frame is really your only limitation. Your post will go only so far as it stops. The stock post is really long... I think about 400mm. I found that I don't even use that length. The min that you need in the frame is only 3". So what I did was measure to the fullest length how much I needed and then added 3". Then chopped off the rest. I ended up cutting off about 4". But remember to measure twice and cut once. To be on the safe side you may want to add 1/2"-1" of extra.
    Bikeless Rider

  7. #7
    mtbr member
    Reputation: wyrm's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Posts
    1,425
    Quote Originally Posted by kleinerHai
    Try Maxxis 2.35. Highrollers fit fine on my girlsfriends EX9...

    OOOO.... good tire. I think I may. I'll tell you what those are some of the fastest tire I have tried to date. They corner well, accelerate, and stop very well. But, call me a fashion ho, I think that mixing of tire brands is tacky and I do want to keep my Nevegals. I will go with the 2.1 Nevegal UST on the rear till I can pony up some cash for some Highrollers.
    Bikeless Rider

  8. #8
    LCW
    LCW is offline
    mtbr member
    Reputation: LCW's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Posts
    4,307
    Quote Originally Posted by wyrm

    Fourth, the most underrated up grade anyone can make... tires. I went with the Kenda Nevegal 2.35 Tubeless. I mounted it to the rear only to find out that the rear stays are too narrow and won't take it. So the JoneXR it had to be till I found another tire. I did go tubeless to keep it lighter again.
    Odd that the Nev 2.35 won't fit in the back. I have the EX8's sister bike (ok not quite same but same price and almost identical compo group to the EX) - the GF HiFi Deluxe ('08 model). I've been able to fit a 2.35 Nev in the back no problem. But honestly if you do any sort of pedaling, I highly recommend against a 2.35 Nev in the back. It's like pedaling through cement. A Nev 2.1 rolls so much more efficiently, but still has tons of traction. So that could be an option for your rear tire. I've also heard good things about Continental as well - both their Mountain King and Race King tires. I now run a 2.1 Nev front and 2.1 Small Block 8 rear. Still great traction and rolls/pedals oh so much faster (feels like 10lbs was removed), yet still have about 90-95% the traction as my dual 2.35 Nev setup.

  9. #9
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Posts
    202
    Sweet setup. I'm running a 2.35/2.1 UST's combo on my ex7 and is working out well. Good to hear about the sb8 setup, a buddy is running a 2.1 nev /2.1 sb8 combo non-UST (both of us are running ghetto tubless) too and likes it. I'll probably go that route when it dries up again. I'd also like to go to the non UST version as they will drop almost a pound alone.

    Can't wait to get a bash, that grinding sound on rocks and getting stopped on logs is driving me nuts! I'm thinking of just yanking the 44 until it gets here. Courious about the J5's...my J3's didn't instill any confidence so I threw a 203 roundagon on the front and helped out a lot, now have the power of my bb7's on my wife's SL.

  10. #10
    mtbr member
    Reputation: wyrm's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Posts
    1,425
    First off this post is worthless with out pics.... but who the hell has time to take pics when they are having fun? Okay... so here is my ride impression. I have been riding this bike for about 2months now. Once again with the wife and with the guys. With the wife I do more XC rides, and with the guys I have all shuttle lifted rides. So how does it hold up?

    I will begin with the wife rides.... XC. In comparison to what I was riding.... +38lbs DH/FR bikes this bike rides like a dream. Simply it pedals. I think that partly it is because I now have a bike that is 8lbs lighter. The other part is that it has less travel. No surprise, the handling of the bike would changed going from a 100mm stem to a 60mm. The front end tends to wonder, not tracking where you want it to. But all that changes, when you point it down. I have rarely used the lock out for climbing... only when I do fireroads or pavement. One day I got lost and kept on climbing... I ended up way over the top of where I should have been with plenty of energy to keep on climbing. I have never been to that altitude before that day.

    Descending.... the guys. The truth.... this is still no DH bike. The good stuff.... it still a very good capable bike and very fun. So far I have not lost the guys by a long shot. I still am able to keep up and hold my own. I do have to go last on descents so that I don't get run down and run over. On straits I can sprint and accelerate faster than the guys. I can take tighter corners. So far the handling has been OK. It does have that responsive point and shoot front end. But, unfortunately I thought that I could get away with a standard QR but I think I will up grade to a 20mm front end. It does deflect in the rougher stuff and I can feel the front end not track as straight. Also under hard cornering I have felt and heard the front slip. The rear does very good and does follow without flexing. The only time I made the rear slip was when I did a large hip and came down hard.... the rear drops slipped and I got the tire to rub dramatically. To date I have yet to feel the suspension bottom.... interestingly I have used all my suspension according to my little oring. Very soft bottom out??? There are some things that I do have to check my self on... some drops and jumps. My other bikes may have been able to do it... but they were designed to do it. It is at those moments I choose the cheaters lines.

    Brakes---- this a a category on its own. I thought I would miss my 8" rotors.... not so... the Juicy 5's have been impressively holding their own. Is Jack a myth? Not in my book. I have felt it on plenty of other bikes: ASX, Stinky, Bottlerocket, and others. It feels like the rear end turns into a hardtail. The suspension gets very ridged and does not track very well. I have used various techniques to compensate for this. Slow dragging of the brakes over a longer stretch. Hard braking very early-- to coast later. Hard braking very late(perfered technique). Pump, pump, pump, rail.... To date all of these techniques have only made for slower exits out of turns and out of rock gardens. The only bike that provided perfect braking has been the DW link equipped bike. That bike has been the threshold for bikes. Now enter the ABP. It does what it says it does. Ideally the best technique for me has been to brake hard right before.... usually that is where the largest brake bumps are. On other bikes that would create an out of control bike. In all the situations I have run it under... it has been very true. I have purposely tried to make the rear out of control.... it has not happened.

    So what would I improve? The fork is the first. I would suggest a 20mm axle. A Pike would do the trick. Currently I am running clips... your preference. I wish I could run flats with the guys and clips with the wife. Wider bar... this one is just a tad under. I may be missing out on the Bigger aircan (XV), but I have not noticed it yet. Rear tire... when I can afford one... The Jones XR really are terrible tires. They are terrible in mud. They do not brake very well. And on walls they slip. They do drift.... but getting the drift back under control is a no go. Shorter cranks... probably a 170mm. The 175's are just a tad long and tend to find the rocks. The nicest up grade would be an adjustable seatpost... a CB Joplin, Gravity Dropper, or a KS i950. The more post droppage the better. Everything else is just weight savings.

    So my final verdict.... this has been one of the funnest bikes I have owned to date. On the budget I had it has done it all... literally.
    Bikeless Rider

  11. #11
    mtbr member
    Reputation: V.P.'s Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Posts
    1,704
    good read, You still need to post some action pics tho' ; )

    Pics or it didn't happen

  12. #12
    mtbr member
    Reputation: wyrm's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Posts
    1,425
    So this is the latest update.... I convinced my wife to make some "necessary upgrades" to my Fuel. Like I mentioned before the Fox was lacking. It was not doing anything I wanted it to do. The final kicker was this post- Link. I felt cheated and at a loss. So I upgraded my fork to a RockShox Revelation with Maxle lite. It is at the 140mm travel setting and has a poploc.

    To match the Maxle I had to get a Rhythm Comp 20mm front wheel.

    I also upgraded my headset... the old one was popping, creakin' and makin' all kinds of noise... did I mention that I hate loose cartridge bearings in places it suppose to be solid? Well I do... and the headset is one of those places. The headset I put in was the CrankBros OpiumC.

    Currently the bike weighs in at 31.05lbs. I gained a pound from my last set up... but to be expected when you go to 20mm.

    Ride report... Solid. The whole front end is more responsive. I can charge rock gardens and have the front end not get all noodly on me. I love the poploc so far... much more easy on the lock out. More to come when I get some good action pics.
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Bikeless Rider

  13. #13
    mtbr member
    Reputation: wyrm's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Posts
    1,425
    Let me tell you about some changes I made. The rear Fox shock blew on me. I called them and they told me that it would be 6-8wks for a warranty. While I bemoaned myself Dave from SRAM Technical University (STU) gave me a call... he wanted me to Demo a Monarch. Wow!!!! Great timing. So I made the switch.

    Then one day Mark from Hayes drops by the shop... he know the manager there. Minding my own business he offers to send out some demo brakes. Viola!!!! New Stroker Grams. Pay attention to the rotor and brk pads. The rotor brk surface has a different finish... gray. The actual finish is not smooth... it reminds me of ceramic rims in texture(if anyone can remember those days). Everywhere else is painted black on the rotor. Supposedly it is to reduce brk squeal. The pads are also not the sinister or semi-metallic compounds.

    More to come soon.... the actual ride of the bike also will be included. Stay tuned till next time.
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Bikeless Rider

  14. #14
    LCW
    LCW is offline
    mtbr member
    Reputation: LCW's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Posts
    4,307

    Good job!

    Nice burly build-up dude!! Sick in fact! I'm going the other direction with my bike (the EXs sister bike - GF HiFi) - XC weight weenie (Besides, I wouldn't have faith in GF's frame to take as much of a beating )... but I can see adding something like this to the quiver down the road if/when I move closer to some more burly terrain...

  15. #15
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Posts
    117
    Anyone on 2.5 Nevegals up front of 2008 EX8? I scored one wondering if I should put it on.

  16. #16
    mtbr member
    Reputation: wyrm's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Posts
    1,425
    So I am here to review the shock. An important thing to remember... I have a DH back ground. So I rocked the Fox till July of this year... almost a year put into the shock. I put in plenty of hours... in lots of places. As mentioned it pooped on me and I was sad. There is an inner lip that holds the seals in the air can body, it had a contusion. Interestingly it held air. When I learned of this I continued to ride because I did not have the money or time to send the shock in. Then RockShox gave me a call... and gave me the offer. Why not? The reason I made the switch essentially was because it was offered to me for free.

    Set up-- The shock I got was a Monarch 3.3 (M3.3) with a standard air can. Set up was essentially the same. Initially I set it up with 25% sag. I found that I was only getting 80% travel out of the shock. So I began to reduce the air slowly. I think I am some where between 28-30% sag now. It definitely sags down into the travel much more, but I am getting all the travel.

    RP2 Impression-- The Fox RP2 (RP2) had two compression settings to fiddle with: locked and unlocked. The M3.3 has three: locked, plat-formed, and unlocked. On the RP2 the two settings were distinct; when locked out the bike was supposed to have a blow off for large hits. I could never gauge how big of a hit I needed to blow it off. At times when I forgot to flip it to full open the bike would feel very stiff and not as responsive in the rear on fast bumpy sections. On the other hand it was very distinct and hooked up to the trail for the most part when open.

    M3.3 Impression-- The compression settings for the M3.3 were good for the most part. In the full open setting it was very plush all the way through the travel at either fast or slow speeds. As mentioned this may be due to me wanting to get full travel all the time and lowering the air pressure. Interestingly I still have yet to feel a harsh bottom out. I honestly have bottomed on both shocks according to the o-ring. More importantly I have done hits, jibs, drops, transfers and such that would easily have bottomed the shock… can you say Full Floater? The middle setting… I don’t know what to think of this setting. Is it there? If so, when? I have yet to feel a significant difference in this setting. Let me explain by telling you my experiences with the third… lock out. In lock out the shock suspension becomes less active. Under acceleration up hill the bike still has some bob when out of the saddle. Best put, the bob is a slower and more wallowy than it is sluggish (sluggish= old single pivot bikes, no platform). In the saddle the bike does still react to hits while climbing and does its job for the most part. I have mixed feeling about this. When the bike gets going fast and rough the response is different. It tends to takes hits big and small pretty well. Only when I really get cookin’ does it begin to feel like the RP2 and not hook up as well. It resists squatting into the travel very well… which is a plus and a minus. The plus when I get railing and want the rear end to track like a hard tail. A minus when I start pumping and popping through corners, jumps, rhythms, and such. Overall the lockout setting is pretty good when you forget to flip the compression over to full open when needed. So back to the middle setting… the reason I don’t feel it is because it really doesn’t feel one way or another… it tends to pick and choose its moment to be one or the other... hummm…..?

    Final impression—The shock is great. One thing I would change is the compression settings on it. I think that I could have used a different tune. One with more compression where I can feel more distinctly the different settings. I think that when it comes time to service the shock I will do a full service: air seals, new oil, and perhaps different shims and air can. I think that I can benefit from a bigger air can because I tend to ride the bike like a DH’er and would prefer the more linear feel. The shock overall rides slightly better than the Fox in most settings. With a different tune it will definitely be better.

    I swear…. Pics will be had. I am going to Gooseberry, UT this weekend, after Interbike. And I will then also review the brakes…. Hayes Stroker Grams. Cheers.
    Bikeless Rider

  17. #17
    LCW
    LCW is offline
    mtbr member
    Reputation: LCW's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Posts
    4,307
    very nice write-up... keep us posted

  18. #18
    mtbr member
    Reputation: wyrm's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Posts
    1,425
    Went to Gooseberry.... and no riding pics. I got sick the day before and started the day hung-over from Nyquil. Got about half way thru the ride and I was dehydrated, sick and ready to pop. The trail was fun for the first 1hr, after that I went into survival mode for 2hrs. Seriously I nearly died.

    That's me on the right... for proof's sake.
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Bikeless Rider

  19. #19
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Posts
    24
    Im also going for a similiar setup on my 09 EX8
    so far ive upgraded the front rotor to a 203mm G3, and since i bought the 19.5, the rear was already a 185. I loved the brakes, until the rear caliper self destructed at the end of a long downhill. So, i took it back to my LBS( not even the one where i bought the bike, but the shop is owned by the same person and is closer to my house, and they do my lifetime tuneups and warranty stuff and whatnot), and they gave Sram a call and left a messag. In the meantime, my dad and i had a ride that day, and we thought it was just a blown O-ring in the caliper and it was supposed to be ready, and when we found out it was destroyed, we just bought a juicy 7 that was on sale so i could ride. The juicy sevens were great and i was just gonna sell the warranted juicy 5 that came on my bike and put a juicy seven on the front too, but wheni got back to the bike shop, they said that sram was out of juicy fives, so instead they were sending me Elixir R's front and rear, HOOORAY. But when they finally arrived they were two fronts, and a rear cable, so back to the shop. i have them installed but due to a knee injury i have yet to ride them.
    The next thing i changed were tires, Kenda 2.10 small block eight in the rear, and a Kenda 2.10 nevegal up front ( works great here in northen california)
    Also had to ditch those Bontrager grips
    I havent had any trouble with the fork, but am looking into a new wheelset, (crossmax st, Easton Havoc am, hopes pro 2 laced to dt 5.1d's, or aprebuilt dt 340 hub to 5.1d's) not that there is anything wrong with the rythms, just looking for something burlier and lighter, and i figure if i am going to upgrade the wheelset, might as well convert to 15gr or a 20mm.
    But within a week or two im going to be putting on an XT crank, gamut p30, and possibly xt shifters and fr deraillure with gore ride on cables.
    ill upload pictures when mybike gets back from the shop(cables shortened) and the upgradeshave been made.
    But overall this bike is agreat climber and descender, and is very versatile.

Members who have read this thread: 0

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •