Experts say the Trek Fuel EX 8 is a great all-around mountain bike for riders who tackle a variety of terrain. The aluminum-framed bike has suspension over both the front and rear wheels, and reviewers say nearly 5 inches of travel provide a plush ride that excels at climbing and descending. The Avid Elixir 5 hydraulic disc brakes have powerful stopping power, and the stiff frame makes for responsive and confidence-inspiring handling. Reviewers also rave about the suspension, saying it feels consistent no matter what the terrain. There are a few drawbacks -- one reviewer says the relatively conservative geometry may not appeal to aggressive riders. A few reviewers also report that the tires need more grip to effectively navigate technical turns or muddy trails. The bike comes in five frame sizes; a women's version, the Trek Fuel EX 8 WSD (MSRP: $2,470), is also available. If you frequently ride very rugged trails, the Yeti 575 (MSRP: $3,100) all-mountain bike offers more travel to absorb the impact from rough and rocky terrain.
The best review of the Trek Fuel EX 8 comes from BikeRadar.com, a British site that publishes reviews from a variety of cycling magazines. Bike magazine also has a solid test-based review. Both sources test the latest 2011 model. Mountain Bike Action and Men's Journal examine last year's model. There are also hundreds of user reviews available at MTBR.com and Buzzillions.com, although many of these refer to previous model years.
The Trek Fuel EX 8 earns a 4-star rating (out of 5) from BikeRadar.com. Guy Kesteven calls it a "great all-around trail bike" thanks to a lightweight frame, excellent suspension and solid brakes and shifters.
Review: Trek Fuel EX8 Review, Guy Kesteven, April 13, 2011
2. Bike magazine
Bike magazine says the Trek Fuel EX 8 lives up to its reputation as a capable climber and descender. Vernon Felton also thinks the bike is a good value, with a solid selection of components for the price.
Review: Trek Fuel EX 8, Vernon Felton, Dec. 2010
3. Mountain Bike Action
Mountain Bike Action gives the Trek Fuel EX 8 lower ratings than other reviewers. Compared to the other four trail bikes in this shoot-out, editors think the Trek Fuel EX 8 needs a better selection of components.
Review: Shootout: Cannondale vs. Giant vs. Specialized vs. KHS vs. Trek, Editors of Mountain Bike Action, Oct. 2010
4. Men's Journal
Men's Journal names the Trek Fuel EX 8 the best starter bike for serious riders. Although editors think the frame could be lighter (compared to its competitors), the suspension gets high marks for consistency and responsiveness.
Review: Everywhere Bikes, Doug Schnitzpahn, Sept. 28, 2010
More than 130 riders review the Trek Fuel EX 8 at MTBR.com, where it earns nearly 4.6 stars (out of 5). Owners praise the plush suspension, confidence-inspiring brakes and responsive handling. Recent reviews indicate that the stock tires still underperform.
Review: Trek Fuel EX 8, Contributors to MTBR.com
The Trek Fuel EX 8 also gets high marks from more than 50 owners at Buzzillions.com, where it enjoys a 4.5-star rating. Reviewers say this bike has excellent handling on a variety of terrain. It is also comfortable to ride.
Review: Trek Fuel EX 8, Contributors to Buzzillions.com
More than 20 riders comment on the Trek Fuel EX 8 at SingleTracks.com, but only a few of the reviews are recent. Among the recent feedback, owners are impressed with the bike's performance on both climbs and descents. However, the tires still attract complaints.
Review: Trek Fuel EX 8 Reviews, Contributors to SingleTracks.com