It is early May 2019, the Easter bunny has only just been buried, and we already have our first little taste of Christmas in the Full Sus offices, with the delivery of a top-secret (until 20h00, May 23) 2020 year-model Trek Top Fuel 9.7.
If you saw us on the trails, please forgive the way we disappeared into the distance; we would like to blame the embargo on details of the all-new XC full-susser, but it was partly that the bike is actually pretty nippy and fun, too. True story.
When Trek announced a redesign of its popular full-suspension cross-country bike, it claimed that updating the Top Fuel with longer travel and an all-new geometry would enhance its racing pedigree, but open the door to a whole lot more, too.
The Top Fuel has long been the bike of choice for speed and efficiency on demanding cross-country courses and marathon rides. The new iteration promised combine Top Fuel’s race heritage with the confident control of a longer-travel bike for a ride that handles like a snappy XC race bike, but will also rip like a trail bike. This change in design promises to pivot the Top Fuel range from being regarded as purely a thoroughbred race machine. Trek wants its racers to enjoy an all-around great time on any trail, too.
Have they succeeded? We think so, from the brief fortnight we had on the new rig. In race-mode, it sure is fast and rewards concentration and commitment with a lively ride that makes you want to re-lap the fast bits, over and again. And it’s not just us, it would appear. Earlier this year, US Marathon Mountain Bike National Champion Payson McElveen (Orange Seal Off-road) rode the new Top Fuel to a record fastest known time on the 100-mile White Rim Trail in Utah’s Canyonlands National Park, beating the previous record by nearly 15 minutes.
How did they do that?
Whereas previous Top Fuel models featured a 100mm fork and 100mm of rear travel, the new Top Fuel models have a longer 120mm fork and 115mm of rear travel, as well as an overhauled frame with a slacker head angle (67.5-68 degrees, verses 70-70.9 degrees), and more than a centimetre longer reach for confidence and control on rough descents. Each of the models features a wider handlebar and shorter stem, a dropper post, and a TwistLoc dual remote lockout that makes it easy to simultaneously lock the front and rear suspension for sprints and climbs, where we quite enjoyed the 75-degree seat angle, and the aggressive position the Top Fuel now encourages you to adopt.
The trail-bike-tech/race-bike-mentality ethos carries through the range, with the Straight Shot down tube for extra stiffness without extra weight and Knock Block frame defence preventing damage from spinning bars and fork crowns. Each new model features Mino Link adjustable geometry, Control Freak internal cable routing, and Active Braking Pivot, which keeps the suspension active even when you’re on the brakes. Together, this frame and suspension tech makes for an ultra-responsive and sure-footed ride that’s fast on race day and fun whenever you ride.
The new Top Fuel is available in four complete models with various drivetrain options. It’s also available as a frameset in either Alpha Platinum Aluminium or OCLV Mountain Carbon.
All three carbon models (Top Fuel 9.9, Top Fuel 9.8, and Top Fuel 9.7) and the carbon frameset feature full OCLV Mountain Carbon mainframes and rear triangles.
Available Top Fuel models:
Top Fuel 8 R45 999
Top Fuel 9.7 R68 999
Top Fuel 9.8 R89 999
Top Fuel 9.9 R149 999
Top Fuel 9.9 AXS (P1 Now) – TBA
Top Fuel AL Frameset R32 999
Top Fuel C Frameset R54 999
Visit the all-new Top Fuel at http://trek.bike/MY20-TopFuel