YES! This is the bike we’d be hoping that Trek would release and right on time they’ve answered our prayers. Yesterday, Trek revealed that they would be adding another suite of 27.5-wheeled bikes to their range, with the trail-ripping Fuel series now available in mid-sized hoops. Flow followers may remember that we reviewed the Fuel EX 29 about 12 months ago; it was a weapon of a bike, but big wheels aren’t everyone’s cup of tea and we’re happy to see a more playful version of this bike back in the stable.
The 120mm-travel Fuel 27.5 continues to be constructed around the same frame architecture as we’ve seen over the past few years from Trek, and they’ve gone all-in with a complete line of bikes, including three aluminium framed bikes and two carbon models. The range-topping 9.9 is not shown here, but will feature a Shimano XTR 1×11 drivetrain.
Frame geometry for all models is listed below:
But it’s not just the introduction of a new wheel size for the Fuel – Trek, already a leading innovator when it comes to mountain bike shock and suspension technologies, have partnered up with high-end automotive suspension company Penske Racing Shocks and FOX, to develop an all new damper. Called the Re:aktiv damper, it’s all about delivering better pedalling/climbing efficiency with a more seamless transition to bump absorption than other systems have been able to achieve.
In Trek’s own words: “Regressive damping had been utilized in Formula One racing and then moved over to Indy Car and NASCAR with much success. It provides a much firmer hold in straights and corners for incredible support, but when it hits a sudden obstacle, like the square angles encountered on technical trails, the shock’s hold instantly gives way to a plush, controlled progression. In short, the shock was smart enough to get out of its own way… fast. The result of the mountain bike application of this concept is RE:aktiv, which delivers on the unrealized potential of an inertia valve. And to date, regressive damping had never been used in mountain biking.”
“The unique thing about Penske and Trek is that we’ve really only scratched the surface,” said Penske Racing Shocks Director of Research and Development Bill Gartner. “Regressive technology helped with one compromise that was there in mountain biking but there’s a whole other world of technologies that may apply. Not only from Formula One but all the markets we work with.”
We’re very excited about this bike’s imminent arrival. As soon as they land in the country, you can bet a kidney on the fact we’ll have one in our grubby mitts to review!