All Trek’s bikes have one thing in common: you’ll feel right at home on them after just a few turns of the cranks. The Trek Fuel EX 8 29 is no exception. Read on to find out how it performs on the trail.

For an overview of the test fleet head to the group test: Good times guaranteed! 7 trail bikes under € 3,000 in Review

Trek Fuel EX 8 29 XT review
Trek Fuel EX 8 29 XT | 140/140 mm (front/rear) | 14.06 kg | € 2,999

Wow! The frame of the Trek Fuel EX 8 29 is a jaw-dropping looker, trust us. With its oversized down tube, sophisticated lines, and premium black/grey colour scheme, it looks really high-end, despite being specced with Shimano MT 500 brakes and a FOX 34 Rhythm fork. For € 2,999 Trek offers the Fuel EX with either a Shimano 2x or a SRAM GX Eagle drivetrain. They gave us the 2x version for our group test, but if we had to choose, we would definitely go for the Eagle. As is typical for Trek, a lot of the components on the bike are from their in-house brand, Bontrager.

The frame of the Trek Fuel EX 8 29 is a jaw-dropping looker, trust us.
Helmet Giro Montaro | Shirt ION Tee LS Seek Amp | Shorts ION Bikeshorts Traze Amp | Glasses Smith Attack Max | Hip Bag EVOC HIP PACK RACE 3l

Unfortunately, the bars are a bit narrow at 750 mm, but aside from that there was nothing to complain about. Because of delivery issues with Bontrager tyres, our Fuel EX came with Schwalbe Nobby Nics. Like all full-suspension Trek models, the down tube of Fuel EX is straight: this provides increased stiffness but it also gets in the way of the fork, which is why Trek utilizes their so-called Knock Block headset to stop the fork spinning and hitting the down tube. This limits the steering angle to less than 90°, but you won’t notice it on the trail–it only gets annoying once you start trying to load the bike into a car.

  The Fuel EX is the VW Golf in this comparison: reliable and down to earth!

When you get on the bike, you’ll get that typical Trek feeling, where everything just seems to fit. The only thing you need to do before you head out on the trail is to push the saddle forward. Once that is done, you’ll be sat nicely to transfer the power in your quads and glutes directly to the cranks. The specially developed FOX shock with RE:aktiv thru-shaft technology responds very sensitively, even in Trail mode, and offers a lot of traction going uphill. And as easily as the Fuel EX goes up, so it’ll go back down. The geometry is very balanced through corners, always remaining easy to control. Despite the large wheels, it’s quick and snappy in changing direction. On flat, flowing trails we recommend riding with the shock in Trail mode, which will have the suspension of the Fuel EX offer more support and feedback without becoming harsh. If you leave the shock open, the bike feels like it offers much more travel than the specified 130 mm, but it will also sap some of your energy when trying to pump through rollers and it’ll wallow a bit in compressions. When things get steep and demanding, the Fuel EX will confidently stay on course, although we would have preferred a more capable fork with at least 140 mm of travel.

And as easily as the Trek Fuel EX goes up, so it'll go back down.

Trek Fuel EX 8 29 XT in detail

Fork Fox 34 Rythm 130 mm
Rear shock Fox Float Performance Re:Aktiv 130 mm
Brakes Shimano MT500
Drivetrain Shimano XT/SLX
Seatpost Bontrager Drop Line 150 mm
Stem Bontrager Line 60 mm
Handlebar Bontrager Line 750 mm
Tires Schwalbe Nobby Nic
Wheels Bontrager Line Comp 30
Weight 14.06 kg
Price € 2,999

The entry-level Shimano brakes convinced us with sufficient power and good modulation
Usually, the Fuel EX comes with Bontrager tyres. But as they’re currently experiencing delivery problems, Trek put on some easy-rolling Schwalbe Nobby Nic instead. If you like to hit the trails hard, you’ll want more grip and puncture protection.
The rear suspension of the Fuel EX impresses with its supreme sensitivity. When climbing and riding on flowing trails, it works best in Trail mode.
The FOX 34 Rhythm works best when the compression lever is closed by approx. one third. It will wallow less and help minimise brake-induced diving.
Super short
The Fuel EX’s head tube is very short, resulting in a high tower of spacers.

Geometry of the Trek Fuel EX 8 29 XT

Top tube 543 mm 578 mm 595 mm 610 mm 610 mm 671 mm
Head tube 100 mm 100 mm 100 mm 100 mm 120 mm 145 mm
Head angle 67.7° 67.7° 67.7° 67.7° 67.7° 67.7°
Seat angle 74.7° 74.7° 74.7° 74.7° 74.7° 74.7°
Chainstay 432 mm 432 mm 432 mm 432 mm 432 mm 432 mm
BB Drop 39 mm 39 mm 39 mm 39 mm 39 mm 39 mm
Wheelbase 1141 mm 1172 mm 1204 mm 1235 mm
Reach 399 mm 433 mm 450 mm 465 mm 487 mm 487 mm
Stack 604 mm 603 mm 603 mm 603 mm 612 mm 644 mm
The Trek Fuel EX 8 29 is a great all-rounder.

  Upgrade tip: larger brake rotors / wider handlebars


The Trek Fuel EX 8 29 is a great all-rounder. It climbs with aplomb and is brilliant fun going downhill. It’s a bike made for long rides and adventures into the unknown. Unfortunately, the fork limits the potential of the bike – a 140 mm version would have been a better choice.


+ good all-rounder
+ potent rear end
+ balanced handling


– seat tube angle too slack
– fork limits the bike
– handlebars too narrow


For more information head to:

The test fleet

For an overview of the test fleet head to the group test: Good times guaranteed! 7 trail bikes under € 3,000 in Review

All bikes in test: Canyon Spectral CF 8.0 | Ghost SLAMR X 5.9 AL | Giant Trance 1.5 LTD | ROSE ROOT MILLER 2 | Whyte T-130 S | YT JEFFSY 29 AL Comp

This article is from ENDURO issue #033

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