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Originally intended as a pure-bred racing steed, Trek’s Top Fuel has been a cross-country racer’s bike since its inception. For 2020, though, the Top Fuel is perhaps best described as the love child between Trek’s Fuel EX trail bike and the company’s Procaliber hardtail, offering the typical XC rider a little more capability.
With a longer, slacker geometry and an increase in overall suspension, Trek has also increased the rear travel from 100mm to 115mm, and the front suspension from 100mm to 120mm. The Top Fuel also includes a directional 13-degree stem so you can slam it for when you’re riding a little bit more XC, or flip it when you’re trail riding, giving you 47mm of total adjustment.
Referred to by Trek as a “down-country rig,” the Top Fuel will still feature the Mino Link adjustable geometry, but now in a new location: integrated into the upper shock mounting bolt. Compared to the previous Top Fuel, the seat tube angle steepens from 74 degrees to 75, while the head tube angle slackens from 70/70.9 to 67.5/68, positioning you just a little further back on the bike. This is definitely for a rider who likes the downs as much as the ups. And perhaps, this is the first step towards a new dedicated XC race platform from Trek.
Trek has replaced its “Full Floater” lower shock pivot for a fixed version, an update that apparently improves frame stiffness (and surely helps with weight reduction). Additionally, the Top Fuel moves to a “Straight Shot” downtube that’s stiffer and lighter, and then incorporates the Knock Block headset system from its trail bikes – a technology that stops the fork crown and brake levers from contacting the frame. The Top Fuel retains Active Braking Pivot (ABP), which keeps the suspension active while braking.
The Top Fuel is offered in four complete model builds, and also as a frameset in Alpha Platinum Aluminum 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. Trek’s Top Fuel will come in a variety of models throughout different markets. The top-tier Top Fuel 9.9 AXS costs US$9,999/CA$12,999/EU9,999/AU$10,999.
All 2020 Top Fuel frame sizes will use 29” wheels. All models are fitted out with both dropper posts and remote suspension lock-outs.
The new Top Fuel fits into a growing trend in mountain biking. With cross country courses forever becoming more technically demanding, and trail bikes trending toward enduro bikes, the modern cross country dual suspension effectively fills the gap where trail bikes used to be. The Yeti SB100, Pivot Mach 4 SL, Santa Cruz Blur and Specialized Epic Evo are other examples of similarly trail-capable cross country bikes.
For a more in-depth look, check out Daniel Sapp’s First Ride on the 2020 Top Fuel over on Pinkbike.