Trek bicycle corporation is famous for its mountain bikes that can take any trail and weather conditions.
But of the Trek bikes, the Trek Top Fuel and Trek Fuel Ex may genuinely stand out.
They are burly and can bully on any trail and challenging terrain. Both are so good a rider cannot choose which of the two is better.
So it is high time for the Trek Top Fuel vs. Fuel Ex battle royale.
Features of Elite Mountain Bike
Both of them are top-of-the-line, high-end. Each is a mountain bike that can claim to be Trek bikes’ top dog.
To say that the specs are impressive is an understatement, that is, nothing really, for the specs are nothing short of impeccable.
The frames are probably the finest among trek bikes. Both are very light but very tough. They are well suited for the arduous grind in the most unforgiving terrain and rugged trails.
But the Trek Top Fuel and Trek Fuel Ex frames will never let any rider down.
Trek Top Fuel and Fuel Ex have the most excellent suspension.
Each mountain bike has the most durable components and nearly has the same wheel and tire specs, front and rear travel.
They employ the same type of brake set and have the same number of gears.
Experts, critics, and professional and casual riders love them. A passionate cross-country rider most likely will prefer Trek Top Fuel.
Trek Fuel Ex, meanwhile, is the primary “weapon of choice” by a devoted trail rider.
They are indeed the finest bikes by Trek in the market. Let us compare the two and see the similarities and significant differences between Trek Top Fuel and Fuel Ex.
Comparing Trek Top Fuel and Fuel Ex is like comparing two boxers that are evenly matched, about the same size, skillset, well-trained, and highly experienced.
Oddsmakers will be hard to choose between the two boxers, and it is the same with these two elite, high-end bikes.
The Trek Top Fuel has a frame made of aluminum alloy and a carbon fork. The new Trek Top Fuel, however, sports a carbon frame that is significantly lighter than aluminum.
Fuel Ex also sports an aluminum frame. But it has an aluminum alloy fork.
The Trek Top Fuel and Fuel Ex have Bontrager for wheel and tire components, a Bontrager alloy for rims, handlebars, stem, seat post, and seat tube. Tire sizes differ, however, with Fuel EX having 27.5″ and 29″ wheel size, while Trek Top Fuel only has 29′ wheel size.
Trek Top Fuel employs hydraulic brakes from Shimano. The new version of Fuel Ex, however, uses SRAM.
Most Trek Top Fuel employs Shimano XT for its drivetrain, even the newer models.
The latest version of Fuel EX, however, has SRAM GX Eagle. Both have the same speed of 1×12.
Trek Top Fuel Vs. Fuel Ex: Specs Compared
There is not much of a difference between Trek Top Fuel and Fuel Ex concerning most components. Both primarily employ Bontrager alloy; the wheel and tire component is of Bontrager line comp.
Before, the Fuel Ex also had Shimano, but the latest model has SRAM GX Eagle for its drivetrain. It is best to compare the two, as there lies a significant difference between them.
SRAM GX Eagle is made of carbon and is perfect for trail mountain bikes.
It allows for better suspension, lighter but as durable as aluminum, which you have with Shimano, the drivetrain component of Trek Top Fuel.
However, older versions of Fuel Ex previously had Shimano XT, almost the same, though not as high-end, as that of Shimano XTR in Top Fuel.
The Trek Top Fuel is for cross-country riding. A traditional gear made of aluminum fits perfectly well. This mountain bike does not have to deal much with so many uneven terrains and super rugged trails.
On the other hand, Fuel Ex, as a trail bike, has to deal precisely with those things.
The need for toughness in unforgiving terrain and an unexpected trail must be why Fuel EX now has SRAM GX Eagle.
SRAM is one of the best, talking about quality bike parts for trail riding. Made of carbon, it is durable but lighter than aluminum.
It can make quality shifts vital when aggressively trail riding without sacrificing poise, balance, and control. Perfect for the top trail bike, which is the Fuel Ex.
Being a cross-country mountain bike, the Trek Top Fuel does not need what SRAM GX Eagle offers. Hence, the traditional gearing provided by Shimano.
Trek Top Fuel and Trek Fuel Ex also have the same suspension technology: the Monolink, Active Breaking Pivot (ABP).
It is the elite of suspension technology. A mountain bike that has it will have better suspension.
And this is the suspension you have for both Trek bikes.
But Trek Top Fuel has a shorter suspension travel of 120mm. Fuel Ex, meanwhile, has a 140mm suspension on the front and 130mm rear travel.
Fuel EX suspension technology is perfect for a trail bike. Ideal for any trail. On the other hand, the suspension of Trek Top Fuel is an ideal fit for cross-country rides.
Durability and Performance
There is no doubt about the durability and optimum performance of Trek Top Fuel and Fuel EX.
Among the Trek bikes, they have the best drivetrains, excellent tire and wheel components, and other parts made of Bontrager alloy.
You can be sure that whatever you choose, they will both endure and can take all the punishment on the road or any trail.
Trek Top Fuel can take some trail, but this mountain bike is mainly on a single track. Trek Top Fuel need not cover a wide variety of terrain and has to deal with fewer obstacles.
As a trail bike, Fuel Ex does cover a wide variety of terrain. A rugged trail is easy picking for this mountain bike.
Trek Top Fuel can handle what most cross-country bikes face, but Fuel Ex can handle a wider variety of terrain. Trek company itself proclaimed the Fuel Ex as the quintessential trail bike.
Trek Top Fuel and Fuel Ex might be one of the market’s most expensive, high-end mountain bikes.
Older models and versions of both bikes can easily cost around two grand. However, the latest Trek Top Fuel and Fuel Ex editions hover between $7000-$8000.
Comparing the models and versions of each bike, the Trek Top Fuel is more expensive than its trail bike counterpart, Trek Top Fuel being lighter than Trek Fuel Ex.
However, the difference in prices between the same version is not that much.
For instance, the difference is only a hundred dollars for the 9.7 Version of both Trek Top Fuel and Fuel Ex.
Not significant considering both are high-end bikes, costing above $4,000.
Each mountain bike offers impressive specs, excellent road performance, and great rider comfort. Both are nearly evenly priced.
How can we then decide which bike we will choose, Trek Top Fuel or Trek Fuel Ex?
Trek Top Fuel has the better specs but only a slight edge.
The Trek Top Fuel has the most reliable drivetrain around in Shimano XT. Trek Fuel Ex changed its drivetrain to SRAM GX Eagle, which perfectly suits the trail bike, but Shimano is still better.
The aluminum frame is almost the same, but now the latest model is carbon. The Trek Top Fuel also sports a carbon fiber fork, unlike the Fuel Ex, which has an aluminum alloy.
Best for Cross Country Riding
If you are a rider who enjoys single tracks along the byways now and then, this is the mountain bike for you. Its specs, slightly better than the Fuel Ex, are specially made for cross-country rides.
The Faster of the Two
Built for cross-country riding and with specs that make it lighter than the Trek Fuel Ex, Trek Top Fuel is faster than Fuel Ex.
If you are a rider who wants speed, especially on smooth flat roads when city riding or just strolling, it is better to buy Trek Top Fuel.
Trek Top Fuel has a slight edge on specs, but Fuel EX has the better suspension. They have the same suspension technology: Monolink, Active Breaking Pivot.
The Fuel EX, however, has more extended suspension travel with 140 mm on the front and 130mm on the rear.
More extended suspension travel is ideal for a trail bike. But if you are a rider who enjoys a mountain bike with fantastic suspension, no matter the terrain, Trek Fuel EX might be your mountain bike of choice.
The Ideal Trail Bike
With all the impressive specs, excellent suspension, incredible comfort, and superb performance on any trail, Trek Fuel Ex may be one of the best.
Almost perfect, truly the ideal trail bike for those who want an engaging ride against difficult terrain and a rugged trail.
Conclusion: Trek Top Fuel vs. Fuel Ex: Which is Better?
They are top of the line, among the most high-end Trek bikes; it is pretty hard to choose which is better, considering what we have tackled here.
If we pursue the boxing analogy further, asking which mountain bike is better is like asking which is the better boxer.
In the same way, that greatness in sport always includes intangibles that you cannot measure; we can say the same thing about the two mountain bikes.
Each mountain bike is for different terrain, just like boxers have different styles. That makes them harder to compare.
Trek Top Fuel is more of a cross-country mountain bike, while Fuel Ex is primarily a trail bike.
Trek Top Fuel is undoubtedly best for single tracks, while Trek Fuel Ex is best for unforgiving trails.
To ask which is better might be asking the wrong question. Each bike is the master of its terrain.
They both have the specs: Excellent suspension, elite drivetrains of Shimano XT and SRAM GX Eagle, and components made of Bontrager alloy.
They can give any rider the best riding experience expected of them.
Even the price may not matter. Both are high-end, and the difference of a hundred or a few hundred dollars for a superb bike that can give any rider that ultimate high may not matter to a rider.
The Trek Top Fuel vs. Fuel Ex debate, ultimately, will depend on what kind of a rider one is and what he wants from his bike.
Those who want a mountain bike with the best specs and speed may do well with Trek Top Fuel.
On the other hand, Fuel Ex is a mountain bike with a more excellent suspension that can take any rugged trail and overcome obstacles.
A rider might consider Fuel Ex as the better option.