The brand new Fuel EXe from Trek claims to balance the line between an acoustic mountain bike and a full e-bike, claiming to have developed the world's most invisible assist. It gets a motor designed by TQ, a 360Wh battery, and is said to weigh just 18.4kg. Here's everything you need to know.
With the Fuel EXe, Trek wanted to make an e-mountain bike for themselves, gracing it with a ground-up design. The brand also aimed to remove the divide between electric and traditional bikes, working with TQ to create a motor with a refined assist while combining everything we love about regular bikes.
You'll be forgiven for not having heard of TQ before but you'll find that brand's tech in the moon rover, and robots that perform surgery. How that translates into mountain biking is hard to see but the motor found in the Fuel EXe utilises TQ's harmionic pin ring transmission which is said to be lighter, quieter, and smaller than other drive units on the market.
This little motor also comes with a range of other benefits, as Trek claims that it's more reliable with fewer moving parts and it employs a flex spline, making it quiet.
Then, the drive system is combined with a top-tube integrated display which contains four screens. Here you can find data on the bike's battery life, your ride time, average speed, rider power, and motor power. This is all scrollable using a two-button remote located on the handlebar.
As for the battery, it's a 360Wh unit on this bike that Trek says weighs in at 1,835g and offers two to five hours of range. It's bolted in, but can easily be removed from the downtube without having to faff with the motor.
If that range doesn't suit you, the Fuel EXe can be kitted with a 160Wh range extender that takes the place of a water bottle in the bottle cage without needing extra mounts or hardware straps as there's a strap already built-in. This extender increases the range by 40%, it's said and comes with a very short cable so it shouldn't get snagged. The range extender can then charge the bike or a spare battery.
While the new bike is certainly exciting, Trek has also developed the Trek Central app which allows riders to tune the level of assistance from the motor, monitor the bike's range, and offer up navigation along with suspension and tyre pressure recommendations. As the bike is cleverly equipped with Quarq's TyreWix and AirWix tech, you'll also find pressure monitoring here.
Trek has gone all-out with this bike, even taking it to an Anechoic Chamber to test how loud the drive system is. On a tonality range of 0.0 t.u HMS (being barely perceivable) up to 0.6 t.u HMS (being mega distracting). According to testing, the Fuel EXe sits just above 0.1. For reference, other e-mountain bikes read at 0.4 in the range, we're told.
The Fuel EXe is a trail bike through and through, donning 150mm of suspension at the front at 140mm at the rear while rolling on 29" wheels. Trek says that the bike's geometry is tuned for stability on the steeps, at speed while balanced for an efficient pedalling position. With the bike in its low position, it benefits from a 64.8° head tube angle, a 76.8° effective seat tube angle and a large frame receiving a 482.3mm reach.
As expected of a bike from Trek, this one rocks the geometry by adjusting Mino Link which steepens those angles by 0.4° while stretching the reach by 5mm and raising the bottom bracket by 7mm.
While prices are yet to be revealed, the Fuel EXe line-up features six models with the base level build coming kitted with a RockShox 35 Gold RL fork, a Deluxe Select+ shock, a Shimano Deore drivetrain with 4-pot brakes and Bontrager XR5 tyres. At the top of the range is the EXe 9.9 XX1 AXS (pictured) which gets all of the bells and whistles, including a RockShox Lyrik Ultimate and a Super Deluxe shock, Bontrager's carbon wheels, wireless shifting from SRAM and SRAM Code RSC brakes.
Finally, the bike comes in four sizes from small up to extra large.
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