2008 Trek Fuel EX Sneak Peek

This Saturday I’m leaving on a jet plane, headed to Sun Valley, ID to attend the official 2008 Trek/Gary Fisher mountain bike press camp. That’s where yours truly, and a cadre of cycling journos, will get their first look at (and rides on) the 2008 mountain bikes from Waterloo. In many, if not most, years companies simply refine their bikes, as part of the ongoing process of optimizing existing designs. This year, however, promises to be a bit more exciting, as Trek has given the Fuel EX line a serious makeover. I’ll be blogging all the gory details—live and direct from the press camp—but in the meantime, we managed to snap some Dirt Rag hot air balloon spy photos of the new Trek Fuel EX 9.0.

The newly redesigned 120mm-travel Fuel EX featrues carbon OCLV mainframe, Active Braking Pivot (rear pivot concentric with rear axle), Full Floater rear shock mount that allows the shock to float between to independent linkages and an updated Rocker Link dubbed EVO Link.

Traditionally, mountain bike suspension designs have located the pivot point either on the seatstays (like the previous Fuel EX) or on the chainstay (i.e. Horst link), and Trek points out that either of those locations cause the the suspension to stiffen under braking. The new Trek EX uses Trek’s ABP technology, which locates the rear pivot concentric with the rear axle. This pivot location is claimed to keep the suspension active and independent of braking, which keeps the rear tire in contact with the ground for reduced skidding and better braking control. Here’s a close up look at the ABP rear pivot on the new Fuel EX 9.0 bike:

Check out the photo below and you’ll note that the instead of mounting the bottom of the rear shock to the frame like traditional designs, the new Fuel EX’s Full Floater technology allows the shock to “float” between two independent linkages. Trek says that they tuned the linkages to produce a continuously active suspension with a bottomless feeling—and good pedaling efficiency. Also note that the rear suspension now sports an “EVO Link” Rocker Rink, which replaces the old three-piece (bolted together) design with a one piece (welded) design that is twice as stiff as last year’s Rocker Link.

I find myself wondering how all that new technology translates to “the ride?” Lucky me, I’ll be in Idaho, working hard to discover the answer to that question soon enough. Stay tuned for my reports.