Trek Fuel EX 9.9 Project One: Why this Build?

Frameset picked, the build decisions commenced.

I knew I wanted a 1×11 drivetrain, based on positive 1x experience on the Beargrease and Superfish.  Comparing experiences I’ve had with SRAM and Shimano, my preference was for Shimano…and with their new 1x design (and an intriguing chainring tooth profile), that decision made itself.

Brakes were similarly easy.  I have no doubt that Shimano XTR brakes are the best hydraulic brakes on the market, bar none.

Trek’s new Reaktiv technology, coupled with the DRCV technology that I already know and love, made picking a shock easy.

In looking at forks, it became a question of going with a tried and true Fox traditional fork, or going to the Rockshox RS-1.  I haven’t had a chance to ride an RS-1 yet, so this was a blind decision, but I relied on recommendations from a lot of people who had ridden it, and who said that it was the best, most buttery fork they’ve ever used.  Game on.

I’ve had a few chances to ride dropper posts, and for actual trail riding, I appreciate the benefits that they offer.  I think they’re a worthwhile upgrade, and worth the weight sacrifice.  My own experience with a dropper post on one of my bikes was with an early Crank Brothers dropper that did not work out the best…but the Generation 2 Reverb is very well reviewed, so I decided to give it a shot.  That the Fuel allows stealth routing made it all the better.

In saddles, I went for my tried and true Ergon SM3–one of the most comfortable saddles I’ve ever had the pleasure of riding.

For wheels and bars, I’ve written enough about ENVE that people who are regulars here know my affinity for their products.  They’re simply the best.

I’ve seen how good the FR3 tires seal up tubeless, and also appreciated riding them at Brown County, so they’re the first tires going on this bike.  I’ll be looking forward to seeing how they hold up.

All told, even with bigger, more aggressive tires, a dropper seatpost, an 11 speed drivetrain and various other doodads, the Fuel comes in at just about exactly the 24 pound weight of the Spearfish.  The same weight, and a shockingly efficient suspension, for a much more capable bike.


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