2016 FUEL EX 9.9 - Burly enough for a 'trail' bike or better for XC racing?- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    2016 FUEL EX 9.9 - Burly enough for a 'trail' bike or better for XC racing?

    The time has come to add a new bike to the stable.

    I have a 2016 Fuel EX 9.9 (factory build w/XTR, DT Swiss XMC 1200, Fox 34 converted to 130mm, etc) set-up for XC with RaRa 2.25" tires that is my do-it-all MTB but like an all-season tire it doesn't really excel and any one thing. The 2016 model is the more XCish variant before Trek make the bike more aggressive in 2017 or 2018 with slacker angles.

    At the time PB said "It's hard to think of a rider who wouldn't have fun on the Fuel EX. This is a bike that could easily toe the line at a local XC race one day and take on a rugged backcountry loop the next without missing a beat. Its trail manners are impeccable, a shining example of how a modern trail bike should behave."

    Mine is a size 21.5" and I ride it in the High geometry setting which gives me:

    HTA 69.4
    STA 67.7
    Stack 620mm
    Reach 478mm

    To get a good fit I need to run a 70mm stem and the saddle way forward on the Reverb post. The 70mm stem feels a bit long on steep DH stuff and the slack STA isn't idea for saddle positioning.

    My plan is to enter XC races at a semi-competitive level but on casual days I also love bombing down rough and challenging trails soooooooooooooo the two options in front of me are:

    A - Turn my Fuel into an XC race bike and buy a bigger trail bike like an SB130, Hightower or Genius 900.

    B - Turn my Fuel into a more burly trail bike and buy a lighter, faster XC race bike like a Blur, Top Fuel or Spark RC 900.

    Which plan makes more sense?

  2. #2
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    Reputation: mikesee's Avatar
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    Option A for sure.

  3. #3
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    2016 FUEL EX 9.9 - Burly enough for a 'trail' bike or better for XC racing?

    Option A

    But can you put a Stepcast 34 on it? You have one of the best endurance XC bikes in your stable.


    You have the seat forward because you have leaned the STA backwards. And you have shortened the reach by going to the 130.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by FJSnoozer View Post
    Option A

    But can you put a Stepcast 34 on it? You have one of the best endurance XC bikes in your stable.


    You have the seat forward because you have leaned the STA backwards. And you have shortened the reach by going to the 130.
    Thanks for the replies Two votes for turning my Fuel in an XC race rig.

    Re the Step Cast 34, are you recommending this change for the ~200g weight saving? I would still use a Q/R axle so it might only save ~150g over my Float Factory 34 130mm but I would lose 10mm of travel. That said maybe the bike would handle better as an XC rig and 120 F/R ?

  5. #5
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    More bikes is always better, but demo the bikes you're considering on the steep rough trails you're talking about. The '16 Fuel is a great versatile bike and will go down those same trails. A bike that's a little longer and slacker will just make it a little easier.
    Do the math.

  6. #6
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    Geometry says "A".

  7. #7
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    A.

    Then if you decide to become "really" competitive, sell the Trek, and buy a dedicated (light) XC bike

  8. #8
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    Option A.

    The 2016 FEX is the best and fastest 100 mile race bike I ever owned.

    Looking forward to its modernized resurrection in the form of the 2020 Top Fuel!
    Whining is not a strategy.

  9. #9
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    A

    Even 4 years later, I have not found a better all arounder (I have 2). I race my lightest (23.1 .lbs) XC

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by kosmo View Post
    Option A.

    The 2016 FEX is the best and fastest 100 mile race bike I ever owned.

    Looking forward to its modernized resurrection in the form of the 2020 Top Fuel!
    Totally...
    Do the math.

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