For 2011, Trek’s Fuel EX trail-oriented mountain bike gets an all carbon fiber frame, meaning the stays and entire rear triangle are now fiberlicious.
According to Trek’s engineers, this took a lot of work to make them strong enough for the longer-travel abuse while still keeping the general dimensions necessary for their floating rear triangle design.
The frame material is Trek’s new OCLV Mountain, a stronger version of their proprietary carbon process, and it’s reinforced at the seatstays and downtube where the frame sees higher stresses and loads or is more likely to see an impact. The downtube also gets a Carbon Armor shield to keep rocks, logs and other things you don’t want to hit from damaging the frame.
Hit ‘more’ for photos and add’l info…
Trek’s not the only one to use carbon fiber technology that resists cracking and spreading upon impact, which they say is the case with the Fuel EX’s frame thanks to the new OCLV Mountain. It was designed with rock strikes in mind and is made to be more impact resistant than their standard OCLV. The Carbon Armor polymer shield provides aesthetic protection as well as actual damage protection.
At the bottom bracket, the new Fuel EX gets Press-Fit bearings to help widen the stance a bit and provide a stiffer BB area.
The basic frame design carries over, with ABP (Active Braking Pivot) helping to control or eliminate brake-induced suspension activity by placing the rear pivot inline with the axle. However, for 2011, the Fuel EX gets a new ABP Convert, which comes set up as 142x12mm Maxle Lite set up, but can be converted to run a more traditional 135mm axle. All of the necessary conversion parts will come with the bike.
The Full Floater suspension design keeps the shock floating between the lower pivot (chainstays) and the upper rocker arm, which in our review of the Top Fuel proved to be a very supple feeling suspension.
The new carbon stays not only drop weight, but they add an eye-pleasing, subtle curve to the frame.
The Fuel EX bikes continue on with the Trek/Fox developed DRCV shock that uses a dual chamber air system to improve big hit cushioning. (Scroll to the bottom of this post for detailed tech info on the DRCV shock)
It also uses Fox’s Boost Valve technology, and for 2o11 the shocks (as well as the forks) get slightly revamped damping tuning that Trek says improves sensitivity.
The other big news is the addition of a Fuel EX 9.7, which adds a third carbon model to the line up. Below that, several alloy versions will also be offered.