I can sometimes make some pretty impulsive decisions. Like saying yes to a job via phone interview, one year after impulsively saying yes to a job in Gainesville, Florida, selling everything that didn’t fit in my Passat station wagon (another impulse purchase) and two weeks later driving 3000 miles to Corvallis, Oregon.
Or say, taking about 1.6 seconds to agree to buy a bike I had never ridden before, and selling two mountain bikes I LOVED to pay for said un-tested whip.
Luckily, my gut usually leads in me in the right direction. I love Bend, Oregon, I love my job, and I love my new bike.
In March I received my Trek Fuel EX 9.8. I was admittedly a little skeptical. Was this going to be a case of “trying to do everything but excelling at nothing?”
How could a 5″ travel bike ever be as zippy, nimble and light as my little XC race steed? Would it be a slack as my All Mountain bike for really technical rides? I had, over the last 4 years or so, become a fierce loyalist to particular tire brand, and was absolutely certain the first thing I would do was take the stock tires off and put my trusted treads on. I also really liked my XTR dual control levers ( I know, I am probably the only person in the world who liked these) and was not looking forward to having 3 levers mucking up my cockpit.
Well, somehow Trek pulls it off.
The bike is LIGHT, weighing about 25 lbs or so, thanks to a carbon frame and sweet-yet-sturdy DT Swiss tubeless wheels. It has 30 friggin’ gears! This lets you climb the steepest climb, and pedal with control down any trail. The geometry allows for nimble handling, I feel quick and smooth on the very tight and twisty Bend trails. One of the things I am enjoying most about this bike is that it is very low maintenance. Low maintenance = more Fun time!
This bike also turns it on to be a great technical singletrack machine. It likes to jump off things! The suspension and geometry have allowed me to actually catch a little more air on the whoops and jumps that used to scare me. I can’t wait to test this bike on some of the places where I would have taken my All Mountain bike. And for the record, stock tires are still on. Once I figured out an ideal tire pressure, they seem to grab corners just fine and are stable in the loose sand.
There is a lesson here in trusting your intuition. It has definitely served me well in the past, and in regards to this bike, supported by the fact that everyone at Sunnyside Sports told me I would love it. And I would pretty much jump off the London Bridge if Mike Schindler told me it was a good idea. This is the perfect mountain bike for people who LOVE to RIDE. It is efficient, it is plush, and it is easy to keep rolling. Now I just need to get in shape and get ready for a big season of epic riding around Oregon, or wherever my gut tells me to wander.