By John Stevenson, BikeRadar.com
Trek Bicycles unveiled the 2009 version of its Fuel EX line of trail mountain bikes in Durango, Colorado, with an all-new full-carbon bike headlining a revamped range that Trek says is lighter and stiffer than its predecessors. Trek mountain bike product manager John Riley explained that the new carbon bike sprung from an effort to meld the stiffness of previous aluminum Fuel EXes with the light weight of the 2008 carbon bike - and to beat the weight of previous versions.
Aimed at general mountain biking and in particular endurance racing, the top-of-the-line 2009 Fuel EX 9.9 has a claimed weight of 10.66kg (23.5lb), on a 2.2kg (4.96lb) frame (with shock).
Several new technologies have helped get the bike under 24lb such as the 'net moulding' technique borrowed from the new Madone that directly integrates bearing seats for the suspension pivots and 95mm-wide BB95 bottom bracket shell.
Net moulding saves weight by eliminating aluminium hard points but the BB95 design also allows for a larger down tube, stiffening the frame against lateral and torsional flex. At the front end, Trek's E2 head tube with 1 1/2in lower bearing also provides more space for a big down tube. The practical upshot is a 28 percent stiffer frame on Trek's axle to axle test, Riley said.
Top-end Fuels also get an OCLV moulded carbon link instead of the previous Fuel's magnesium unit which saves 35g. The total upshot is that the 2008 carbon frame weighed 2450g; the 2009 is down to 2,238g.
Read the complete review and stay tuned for an upcoming review of the all-new Top Fuel cross-country racer.