So after my review of the Specialized Evo I got a request via email to do the same thing with the Trek trail/all mountain line up. They wanted to know what the best bike for MN and bang for their buck was? I said sure why not. I have nothing to lose here. First disclaimer here is that I have not ridden any of the 2012 line up from Trek. I have ridden the last two years EX models.
Let’s get this show on the road or trail is more relevant…? I guess yeah, lets hit the trail! First off what bikes will I be reviewing?
They are pretty comparable to most line ups, 120mm travel, 150mm travel and 160mm travel, respectably.
I would compare the Fuel EX to bikes like the Giant Trance X, Specialized Stumpjumper, Santa Cruz Blur TR, Rocky Mountain Element. This bike is a super versatile ride. It is something you can ride day in and day out. You can race some XC and be fairly competitive and even consider racing Super D races with it. It will handle most states well, MN especially, but will be lacking a bit when the shit hits the fan and the trail gets scary. You will be able to ride this bike up anything and down most anything. Please refer to the comparison chart at the bottom of the descriptions.
The Remedy is more that true do it all bike and is comparable to the Giant Reign, Specialized Stumpjumper EVO, Santa Cruz Blur LT, Norco Sight and Rocky Mountain Altitude. However straight out of the gate it has the same problem my bike has no ISCG tabs for the optional chain guide or taco bash guard. Also it is only sporting a 32mm stanchion fork. At 150mm of travel you will feel the flex when things get fast and steep. The 32mm stanchions on the EX is fine as the shorter travel means the stanchions will flex less and it is designed to be that multipurpose ride with more XC in mind. The Remedy is Treks variation of a due it all pretty well but nothing really well bike. It wouldn’t be that great at XC, travel is a bit long and not really that great at gravity riding as there are no ISCG tabs and it has a light weight fork but you could use it for all so it bridges from XC to DH. The next bike is more Treks heavy hitter of the trail bikes they have to offer.
The Trek Slash, it replaced the Scratch that had been in Treks line up for a while and was last made in 2010. I really like the Scratch air but it was built to go downhill extremely well and uphill, well it would get you there and the Scratch Coil was a full blown park bike, super plush and super agro! The plan according to Ross Schnell, one of Trek’s pro riders that were in on the design of this bike, was to combine the things he liked from the Scratch and the Remedy and make the ultimate trail weapon. I haven’t rode it so I can’t tell you for sure if they accomplished this feat but I can tell you it has got amazing reviews from just about everyone that has ridden it and it was featured in this year’s BIKE The Bible of the Bikes, where it also got good reviews. I would match this bike up with the Santa Cruz Nomad, Specialized Enduro, Rocky Mountain Slayer, Norco Range and Giant Reign X. It is sporting 160mm of travel with a 36mm stanchion fork and is slack. It has a 66 degree head tube angle and a 71.9 degree seat tube so it has me thinking it is still designed more for being pointed down then up. They may have made it a bit more pedalable then the Scratch but I’m not sure they have made it a true do it all weapon. I feel it will probably get you to the top a bit better then the Scratch and get you down a bit better then Remedy or EX but I think Trek might have fell short of their goal. Again this can’t be confirmed till a solid test ride has been done.
Seat Tube Angle
Top Tube Length
Chain Stay Length
Stand Over Height
handle bar width
Some of the cool features that Trek has added to this complete line up is the Dual Rate Control Valve or DRCV shock. This shock has a small actuator piston in it that allows you to run higher in your shock stroke, this will make it a more efficient pedaler but also get complete travel out of your suspension. How does it do this? Well it has two air chambers that are separated and controlled by a small piston. While you are pedaling, climbing and only hitting small bumps you remain in that first air chamber but as soon as your suspension is pushed in to the mid-stroke the piston is pushed upward and opens the second chamber allowing for more room for the air to expand giving your full travel and a smooth more linear stroke.
They also have a new technology that is offered on the Remedy and Slash, I would have to assume that it will be on the EX as soon as 2013, and that is the Mino Link. This link allows you to adjust the geometry of the bike by lowering the BB and slackening the head angle or visa versa. It only changes about .5 degree but that is enough to change how the bike handles and for a rider to notice.
Over all this is a good line up from Trek; however in my opinion Trek is a bit over priced compared to its competitors but has a few more bells and whistles. Are these new technologies worth the extra money? That is up to you. To answer the question asked by my reader… Drum roll please….
I would go with the Fuel EX for here in MN. It looks like a great short travel Mid West do it all bike. It pedals great and now with the slightly slacker HA it is sure to descend better than the previous year’s model. I think this bike could be run on any trail in MN and WI. You could take this bike to the Maah Daah Hey and do an epic ride with this bike and race xc with if you want. I don’t know if it is quite big enough to rip everything in the Black Hills or be used as a DH bike in MN but a good rider could tear up a Super D race on this bike for sure.
If you are more gravity driven I would jump straight to the Slash and skip the Remedy. I haven’t been keen on that bike since they dropped it from a 160mm travel bike a few years ago. The Slash would be my bike of choice from the Trek line up if I lived in the UP, Black Hills or anywhere else out west. It has all the weapons in its arsenal to kill it on the steep tech stuff and also be ridden on the everyday basis. Ross Schnell showed us what it was made of when he ran it to the podium on at the first annual Trestle All Mountain Enduro.
So there you have it, short and sweet!
Keep it real!