The Trek Fuel EX 8.0 XT is the most expensive bike in the group test and still gets our Best Buy. What have Trek done to justify this award?

Click here for an overview of the the best trail bike under € 3,200 € in review

Trek Fuel EX 8 XT | 140/130 mm (f/r)
14.18 kg in size L | € 3,199 | Manfacturer’s website

The Trek Fuel EX is an absolute classic in the mountain bike scene. The latest, completely revised model was released last year. As is so often the case, the super expensive carbon model attracted most of the attention during the launch. Unjustly so, because the more affordable aluminium version is also a real highlight in Trek’s portfolio. The Fuel EX 8.0 XT costs € 3,199, which still is a lot of money, especially since other bikes in this group test cost almost a third less. However, there is nothing to complain about with the spec and you’ll benefit from the extensive network of Trek dealers.

The 29er features a complete Shimano XT groupset, FOX suspension providing 130 mm travel at the rear and 140 mm up front and a 150 mm dropper post (in size L). As usual, a lot of the components are supplied by Trek’s in-house brand Bontrager. The ergonomics of the cockpit and saddle are excellent while the wheels and tires offer good acceleration and grip. The 2.6″ wide tires are best ridden with a bit less pressure for added grip and comfort. Trek rely on budget Shimano brakes but thanks to the large rotors and single-finger levers, they deliver more stopping power than the four-piston calliper on the Canyon or SCOTT.

Less is more
With the 2.6″ wide Bontrager tires we recommend reducing the pressure by approximately 0.1 bar compared to a 2.4″ model. That way, you can exploit the tires’ full potential, with added grip and comfort.
We’re harping on
No, we don’t think we’ll ever warm up to the Knock Block. It limits the steering angle so the fork doesn’t damage the down tube. It doesn’t have an impact while riding but it’s a nuisance when trying to get the bike into the boot of your car.
Defined yet plush
The rear suspension of the Fuel EX offers enough mid-stroke support while effectively absorbing impacts and not bobbing on the climbs – that’s how it’s done.

Trek Fuel EX 8 XT

€ 3,199


Fork FOX 34 Rhythm 140 mm
Rear Shock FOX Float EVOL Performace 130 mm
Seatpost Bontrager Line Dropper 150 mm
Brakes Shimano M6000 203/180 mm
Drivetrain Shimano XT 30 (10-51)
Stem Bontrager Line 50 mm
Handlebar Bontrager Line 780 mm
Wheelset Bontrager Line Comp 30 29
Tires Bontrager XR4 Team Issue 2.6"

Technical Data

Weight 14.18 kg

Specific Features

We never needed to adjust the geometry via the Mino Link on the rear triangle and would always leave it in the low setting.
Room for improvement
The brakes on the Fuel EX work reliably but they don’t quite live up to the potential of the bike. An SLX model with four-piston callipers would be ideal.

The geometry of the Trek Fuel EX 8.0

If you look at the geometry, you can see that the Fuel EX has been updated recently. The trail bike features modern geometry with a long reach (470 mm in size L), a slack 65° head angle and a bottom bracket drop of 34 mm. Our only concern is the slack seat tube angle of 75°. However, in comparison to the previous model, the kink in the seat tube is less pronounced, so that the effective angle doesn’t slacken as much when you extend the seat post.

Size XS S M L XL
Seat tube 400 mm 400 mm 445 mm 480 mm 520 mm
Top tube 559 mm 581 mm 603 mm 626 mm 654 mm
Head tube 90 mm 100 mm 100 mm 112 mm 143 mm
Head angle 67.0° 67.0° 67.5° 67.5° 67.5°
Seat angle 74.5° 74.5° 74.5° 74.5° 74.5°
Chainstay 430 mm 430 mm 440 mm 440 mm 440 mm
Wheelbase 1,122 mm 1,146 mm 1,166 mm 1,190 mm 1,222 mm
Reach 398 mm 418 mm 433 mm 453 mm 473 mm
Stack 579 mm 589 mm 612 mm 623 mm 651 mm
Helmet Sweet Protection Traiblazer | Glasses Sweet Protection Ronin
Jersey Sweet Protection Hunter | Shorts SCOTT Trail Pant

Once you get on the Fuel EX, everything feels very familiar. Trek manage to weave their unique DNA into their bikes better than most other brands. The riding position is upright and very comfortable, so it might be worth pushing the saddle forward slightly if you feel the need, but isn’t a must as with other bikes. This is also due to the very efficient rear suspension, which hardly bobs or wallows, ensuring that every pedal stroke propels you forward. Step on the pedals and the Fuel EX sprints forward despite the wide tires, allowing you to have fun even on flat trails. On technical climbs, the bike delivers plenty of traction. However, you’ll have to shift your weight forward ever so slightly so as not to lose control of the front wheel.

Ready for anything! With the Fuel EX you can rest assured that you’ve always got the right bike for the job!

Going downhill, you feel securely integrated with the Fuel EX thanks to the 780 mm wide riser handlebar, the low bottom bracket and the long reach. This instils you with the confidence to stay off the brakes and send it. The suspension underlines this feeling. It performs well and effectively absorbs all kinds of impacts without feeling undefined or spongy. The Fuel EX feels poppy and also easy to get airborne. Once in the air, it feels very stable and confident. Despite its capability in rough terrain, it never feels sluggish on flat trails or like you’re hauling around too much bike. Thanks to the supportive suspension, you can easily generate speed off rollers and dips and the weight distribution between the wheels is spot on. As such, the Trek is a lot of fun to ride, even through switchbacks and tight sections. Through open corners, the front wheel never feels like it’ll wash out. The handling of the Fuel EX makes it easy for anyone to have fun on simple trails but it doesn’t hold you back in demanding terrain either.

How does the Fuel EX compare to the competition?

The Trek Fuel EX is the most versatile bike in this group test. It climbs well, but it doesn’t feel as efficient as the YT IZZO or MERIDA. Here, the focus is more on comfort than maximum propulsion. The Fuel Ex is a little less direct on the descents, though much more versatile. At a point where the IZZO would be nudging you to slow down, the Trek will happily send it. As a result, the Trek is also suitable for rougher or more demanding trails and is the most versatile bike on test.

Tuning tips: narrower and more robust tires

Riding Characteristics



  1. sluggish
  2. efficient


  1. cumbersome
  2. playful


  1. nervous
  2. confident


  1. demanding
  2. balanced


  1. harsh
  2. plush

Fun Factor

  1. planted
  2. poppy

Value for money

  1. terrible
  2. very good

Intended Use










For this group test, it’s the versatility of the Trek Fuel EX 8.0 that secures it our Best Buy. If you’re looking for a bike with which to have fun on flat, flowing trails, that climbs efficiently yet doesn’t mind veering off into rough terrain, this is the bike for you. In search of the elusive one-bike quiver? Then check out the Fuel EX!


  • performs on every kind of trail
  • fantastic spec
  • a great balance of composure and agility


  • expensive
  • seat tube angle could be steeper

You can find out more about at

The test field

Click here for an overview of the the best trail bike under € 3,200 € in review

All bikes in test: Canyon Neuron AL 7.0 (Click for review) | FOCUS JAM 6.8 NINE (Click for review) | GIANT Trance 29 1 (Click for review) | MERIDA ONE-TWENTY 9.700 (Click for review) | ROSE GROUND CONTROL 3 (Click for review) | SCOTT Genius 950 (Click for review) | Specialized Stumpjumper ST COMP (Click for review) | Trek Fuel EX 8 XT | YT IZZO COMP (Click for review)

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