2020 Fuel EX vs. Hightower- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    2020 Fuel EX vs. Hightower

    Considering these. Have ridden the previous incarnation of each, but not the latest.

    If you have ridden (or owned) both, impressions of them in comparison would be great. Both are plenty capable for my riding, and both should be pretty strong climbers for their segment.

    I'm aware of their specs/geometry, so mainly would like to have a more general sense of their character and fun factor in the real world. I'm in Northern California, and ride a variety of terrain, some flowy XC-type stuff, plenty of rock gardens, both technical single track and fire roads for climbs. Nothing too crazy, but a fairly wide assortment of trails.

    The new Tallboy would work well here, too.

  2. #2
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    If you are in Norcal it should doable to demo both bikes---or are you in some remote spot?
    I doubt anyone has ridden the trek yet--lots of chatter but no ride reports on these forums. You may want to give us some actual trail names and locations you ride as your description is helpful for evaluation.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by pctloper View Post
    You may want to give us some actual trail names and locations you ride as your description is helpful for evaluation.
    The vast majority of my riding is at Annadel State Park in Santa Rosa. We ride pretty much the whole park: Cobblestone, N. Burma, S. Burma, Marsh, Lawndale, Live Oak, Rough Go, and occasionally Dark Side (don't tell anyone!). Occasional rides down in Marin, and plan to take some trips soon to Santa Cruz and Downieville. And, I think we're going to Moab in early Spring, and up to Bend next year.

    I'm 59 years old, but in decent shape. Crashing hurts more as I get older, so I'm starting to dial the speed back a little. Want a bike that's reasonably capable, but that doesn't need to be pinned to enjoy it, something fun and playful at a bit less than balls out.

    Hoping to demo them, but neither Bike Peddler or the Trek Store have them available to try at the moment.

  4. #4
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    Super info-----Hopefully soon the Fuel is actually out and we get some input---I also am interested---I have eliminated the SC myself due to the ETT just not working for me (same as the ripley)----and it is pretty slack for me---
    I suspect these 2 bikes are both great and it comes down to individual preference--same as for say the 120 MM class---Pivot 429/ripley/trance/tb4---all good bikes. Note from your description of how you ride a 120MM bike may be a better choice
    From history the SC probably is a firmer climber with the Fuel being more active----and the Fuel probably more nimble from the geo-----but we need to rid the Fuel---hopefully soon.

    I am also hoping to see XT 12 speed kits in the next few months

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stolky View Post
    The vast majority of my riding is at Annadel State Park in Santa Rosa. We ride pretty much the whole park: Cobblestone, N. Burma, S. Burma, Marsh, Lawndale, Live Oak, Rough Go, and occasionally Dark Side (don't tell anyone!). Occasional rides down in Marin, and plan to take some trips soon to Santa Cruz and Downieville. And, I think we're going to Moab in early Spring, and up to Bend next year.

    I'm 59 years old, but in decent shape. Crashing hurts more as I get older, so I'm starting to dial the speed back a little. Want a bike that's reasonably capable, but that doesn't need to be pinned to enjoy it, something fun and playful at a bit less than balls out.

    Hoping to demo them, but neither Bike Peddler or the Trek Store have them available to try at the moment.
    Any update? I'm considering similar bikes.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by stoicchris View Post
    Any update? I'm considering similar bikes.
    Believe it or not, I haven't done anything. I fiddled around, then decided to wait until Spring, then the Pandemic, yada...

    Think I'm now leaning toward the downcountry end of things, so either Spur, Epic Evo, Tallboy, or possibly the coming new Stumpjumper (non-Evo).

    What are you looking at?

  7. #7
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    Those all sound like great bikes. I'm looking at something with a little more travel--Evil Offering, SB130, SC Hightower, Trek Top Fuel.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by stoicchris View Post
    Those all sound like great bikes. I'm looking at something with a little more travel--Evil Offering, SB130, SC Hightower, Trek Top Fuel.
    Have you checked out the brand new Stumpjumper Evo? It's getting great initial reviews...highly adjustable geometry, lighter, playful, looks awesome. If I were still leaning toward the bigger bike, I might be all over it.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x-6TFVMeuAI

  9. #9
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    Iíve owned the new Hightower, the new Fuel EX and the SB130, among others.

    Itís hard to imagine given Iíve never had strong experiences with Trek, that the EX is by far my favorite of those and Iím still currently on it.
    Just like a raindrop, I was born to fall.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Blatant View Post
    Itís hard to imagine given Iíve never had strong experiences with Trek, that the EX is by far my favorite of those and Iím still currently on it.
    Interesting, I was close to pulling the trigger on a new Fuel EX but a second hand Fugitive came up for the right price so I took that instead. Have you changed the rear shock or still on the reaktiv?

  11. #11
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    Iím running an MRP Hazzard coil.
    Just like a raindrop, I was born to fall.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by David R View Post
    Interesting, I was close to pulling the trigger on a new Fuel EX but a second hand Fugitive came up for the right price so I took that instead. Have you changed the rear shock or still on the reaktiv?
    I'm interested in your setup as well. What size fork are you running?

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stolky View Post
    Have you checked out the brand new Stumpjumper Evo? It's getting great initial reviews...highly adjustable geometry, lighter, playful, looks awesome. If I were still leaning toward the bigger bike, I might be all over it.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x-6TFVMeuAI

    I had a demo ride on the Stumpy Evo yesterday. It's a great bike. Feels pretty burley with a lot of traction. I'd be interested to see how the 2021 stumpjumper (non-evo) compares.

    I think I'd keep my sb100 if I got the Evo. I was hoping to replace the sb100 with something with more travel but similar pedaling efficiency. I'm not sure if that bike exists.

  14. #14
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    I ended up just buying the 2021 Trance 29 Advance 1. Iím Really liking it so far !!

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Trance_Rider View Post
    I ended up just buying the 2021 Trance 29 Advance 1. Iím Really liking it so far !!
    The Trance X is definitely on my list. Did you consider/try any other bikes?

  16. #16
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    I was thinking hard about the Fuel EX 8 XT. I went to buy it on a Monday and they were closed so I went to the other shop and bought the Trance 29 not X

    im sure I would be happy with either one. The Trance was crazy expensive compared to the Fuel EX 8

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by stoicchris View Post
    Those all sound like great bikes. I'm looking at something with a little more travel--Evil Offering, SB130, SC Hightower, Trek Top Fuel.
    Trek Top Fuel is going to have way less travel, this is basically a XC Race Bike.
    TREK EX9 27.5

    NINER MCR 9 (Moondust)

    GIANT REVOLT ADVANCED 1

  18. #18
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    2020 Trek Fuel EX 9.8 GX vs Ripley V4

    This appears to be the thread I'm looking for. Here's my saga / conundrum:

    When I started seriously thinking about a new bike (after a lengthy COVID layoff), I was not really looking at the Trek. I have a retrofitted Gary Fisher and the wife has a Fuel 9.8 which she loves, but I wanted to look at something different (yes, she usually gets the nicer bike). For about the same money there are a lot of bougie bikes out there, but I narrowed it down to the Ripley V4, Trail 429, SB130. After much internet sleuthing, the Ripley won on paper for me. I tried to find a demo, and that's when reality came crashing down. I checked in Moab and Hurricane while passing through... no bueno. I'm currently in SoCal for the holidays and found a new-in-box Fuel EX 9.8 which I have an appointment to see the day after Thanksgiving. I'm 5'10 and the Internets say I should fit the MediumLarge, but I have long arms and I'm worried about it being too tight.

    [get to the question already!] So, I've been quoted just under $5K for this brand new bike (friend deal). Assuming its a perfect fit, would it be a mistake? Should I wait however long it takes to find a Ripley as suggested by many posts here? I just don't want to miss an opportunity to get a solid bike if the Ripley love is just anti-Trek bias.

    Our riding - We stay off the double blacks - generally stick to the blue/black (ledgy or flowy). Love Klondike Bluffs, Mag 7, Chisholm/Navajo Rocks, Bar M(North 40/Deadman), Falcon flow, All the Hurricane mesa riding + Guac, Everything in Park City/SLC area, Bend, blah blah blah. We like it all... more than cross country, but not crazy downhill.

    I'm very interested in any decision made, epiphanies had, conclusions reached!

    </end mind dump>

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