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  1. #1
    New Old Rider TrekRoland's Avatar
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    Trek Elite 9.8 vs. Fuel EX 7

    Alright - here's the deal

    I am getting back into mountain biking after losing 90 pounds. I used to ride quite a bit 8-10 years ago, and now that I am getting a bit older (I am 33) I want to get a bike that I can use to ride on the weekends on some light singletrack, maybe some road riding as well, as I am trying to get my girlfriend into it as well.

    Let me preface this by saying that I read the threads on "hard tail vs. f/s." This is not a dupe thread.

    My LBS has a great deal on a 2006 Trek Elite 9.8. I like the weight of the carbon frame and I used to ride a hard tail back when I was riding regularly. It is a ridiculously good deal - 45% off the list. I also like the feel of a f/s bike.

    Here's a few questions, that maybe a few of you can answer for me.

    1. How well does rear and front susp. lock out help pedaling efficiency (e.g. uphill?)
    2. If I am going to be riding mostly light singletrack, does it even make sense to consider the f/s bike?
    3. The components on the 9.8 are definitely superior to those on the EX 7. How much should that weigh on my decision?
    4. Not a huge deal, but the super light carbon frame means that I can take the bike on my shoulder and walk it up to my apartment. The EX 7 is definiely heavier. The weight issue is not for speed on the bike; I am more concerned with having to lug it up with me after each ride (no way am I leaving it in my building's bike room!)
    5. Buying the 9.8 would mean getting a bike that, at regular price, I would not be able to afford.
    6. Maintainance is much, much easier for the 9.8.

    and finally...

    Is anyone here NOT fond of carbon frames (vs. aluminum) and why?

    Thanks in advance for chiming in.

  2. #2
    Writin' stuff ZeCanon's Avatar
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    1) Rear suspension designs are pretty good these days and are efficient when it comes to climbing. Not as efficient as a hardtail, but good, nonetheless. For techinical climbs I have actually found that FS is faster, because my rear wheel tracks much better.
    2)Define light singletrack? You mean hardpack? then no, you don't need a FS. But there are very few places that are only hardpack, so in most cases, a FS seems to work better for people not worried about racing but simply having a good time.
    3) Yes, that should weigh in on your decision. In general, better components last longer and make your bike ride "better". A better fork, for example, can have a huge impact on ride quality.
    4) This would be last on my list of considerations.
    5) Always fun. Plus you could go sell it later for closer to what you payed for it. That's what I do with prodeal stuff, I can generally sell my bikes after a year for more than I bought them for.
    6)Why? Rear shocks tend to be very low maintenance. A fs really doesn't take much more maintenance than a hardtail.

    I'm fond of carbon frames, i'm fond of aluminum frames. They all have their place.

    So, to sum up:
    Get the 9.8 if you want a racing machine that will ride very nicely on easy terrain, but will beat you up on a lot of technical terrain. That bike is meant for speed, not comfort.
    The EX is much more versatile and will ride much better on most terrain while not being that much slower on easy, non-technical terrain.

    My recomendation? Buy both, put the parts from the EX on the 9.8 and the parts from the 9.8 on the EX. Keep the EX (with the nice 9.8 parts) and sell the 9.8 with the EX's parts. I'd keep the fork that comes with the EX on the EX though. That way you end up with a frame you'll love and components you'll love too I think the 9.8 is just too racy for a recreational rider. I think once you get really into riding again, you'll realize how much bikes have progressed and you'll want to progress beyond 'light singletrack', and the EX 7 will help you do that faster.
    Last edited by ZeCanon; 02-17-07 at 11:30 PM.
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  3. #3
    Senior Member wheelhot's Avatar
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    I agree with ZeCanon, but why cant you buy a more expensive Trek Fuel EX? How much is a trek elite 9.8? If you are not into racing and more into a regular riding, get Trek Fuel EX, it will give you more comfort. . Im in love with Trek Fuel EX 8/9

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by ZeCanon
    1)
    Get the 9.8 if you want a racing machine that will ride very nicely on easy terrain, but will beat you up on a lot of technical terrain. That bike is meant for speed, not comfort.
    You can make the 9.8 very comfortable with a gel seat and the right tires. My 9.8 is the most comfortable bike I have ever ridden. I have two sets of tires depending if I'm riding on the road or the trail.
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Last edited by jonbth; 02-18-07 at 04:54 PM.
    When all else fails, read the directions.


    Trek Fuel 90 FS
    Trek 9.8 Elite Carbon Hardtail

  5. #5
    Official Website Waterboy born2bahick's Avatar
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    Of those two, The 9.8 get's my vote.

  6. #6
    Throw the stick!!!! LowCel's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wheelhot
    but why cant you buy a more expensive Trek Fuel EX?
    Why does it matter. It is none of our business why he can't purchase a more expensive bike. Either he can't afford it or he can't justify it. Either way he has a budget that he intends to stick to. Plus if he hasn't ridden for 8 - 10 years it wouldn't make any sense to spend any more money than he already intends to spend. Either bike he goes with will be light years ahead of the bike he used to ride.

    Quote Originally Posted by TrekRoland
    1. How well does rear and front susp. lock out help pedaling efficiency (e.g. uphill?)
    2. If I am going to be riding mostly light singletrack, does it even make sense to consider the f/s bike?
    3. The components on the 9.8 are definitely superior to those on the EX 7. How much should that weigh on my decision?
    4. Not a huge deal, but the super light carbon frame means that I can take the bike on my shoulder and walk it up to my apartment. The EX 7 is definiely heavier. The weight issue is not for speed on the bike; I am more concerned with having to lug it up with me after each ride (no way am I leaving it in my building's bike room!)
    5. Buying the 9.8 would mean getting a bike that, at regular price, I would not be able to afford.
    6. Maintainance is much, much easier for the 9.8.
    1. In my opinion it helps out quite a bit when standing and pedaling. If seated and pedalling a properly set up bike will only slightly be improved with lockout.
    2. Just doing light singletrack I believe the hardtail would probably be your best bet.
    3. Better components are definitely nice, but will they be enough to justify the extra cash to you? Only you can make that decision.
    4. Since you are only going to be doing the light singletrack I still think the hardtail would be fine.
    5. This is the first bike you have had in a while. Don't spend a fortune until you are sure that you will stick with the sport.
    6. Yup.
    I may be fat but I'm slow enough to make up for it.

  7. #7
    Senior Member wheelhot's Avatar
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    Why does it matter. It is none of our business why he can't purchase a more expensive bike. Either he can't afford it or he can't justify it. Either way he has a budget that he intends to stick to. Plus if he hasn't ridden for 8 - 10 years it wouldn't make any sense to spend any more money than he already intends to spend. Either bike he goes with will be light years ahead of the bike he used to ride.
    Is a Trek Elite 9.8 same price as a Trek Fuel EX 7????

  8. #8
    New Old Rider TrekRoland's Avatar
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    Wow, thanks for all of the helpful feedback everyone. From lurking around for a few weeks, I could tell this was a knowledgeable crowd and good people as well. All of the above replies were very helpful. I am leaning towards the EX7 at this point. I am going to do a bunch of demos between now and next month, when I plan on buying my bike.

    To answer a few questions raised here...

    - I can get the Elite 9.8 for $1,800 and the EX 7 for $1,500

    - I CAN afford the Fuel EX 8 (or 9 for that matter), but I am keeping to the range that I wanted to spend for this bike ($1,500-2,000). Plus I can get a fabulous deal on the bikes I am considering.

    - I like the EX 7 because it's bike that I think is above my skill level, meaning I can grow into it.I

    - I like the idea of buying both and swapping the parts, but not sure I am up to it.

    On a personal note, a few people have e-mailed me asking me how I lost 90 pounds. Well, I basically went to a great nutritionist that didn't just tell me what to eat, but helped me change my lifestyle and create a plan that would work with having a full time career. I went from eating all junk, all the time and sitting on my ass, to eating lean meats and fish and LOTS of vegetables, fruits and nuts. It was nothing radical - no South Beach or Atkins or anything like that.

    I have always been an athlete my whole life, up to the end of college anyway (football and baseball). It was so easy to let go and just get to a ridiculously unhealthy weight (390 lbs.) I am now down under 300 and I hope to get to 235-240, which is a comfortable weight for me.

    My advice to you all out there is to get a plan that works for you, work hard and stick with it - be in it to be healthy and live a long life. And if I can share some of my knowledge, please don't hesitate to e-mail me.

  9. #9
    Senior Member wheelhot's Avatar
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    ooh, wow I never realise that Fuel EX 8 more expensive then Elite 9.8.

    Anyway congrats on your choice. Make sure you get a 07 Fuel EX 7, it has a 5 inch of rear travel and I believe the RS Revelation is a cool fork (adjustable travel range) well not as good as a Fox TALAS but still adjustable

  10. #10
    Writin' stuff ZeCanon's Avatar
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    Glad you're leaning towards the ex7 I definitely think that bike better matches your riding style. The 9.8 is really a race frame, and should be used that way. The "right tires and seat".... well, by right tires he means huge tires (slow and heavy) that will soften up the ride and by right seat he says gel seat, which I DO NOT recommend, especially one that size. After a few hours something with that much padding will light your a$$ on fire. But then again I rode an SLR for 4 hours yesterday so I probably shouldn't talk about which saddle works for most people But nonetheless, 99% of avid cyclists will tell you that heavily padded seats are extremely uncomfortable on any extended ride. My recommendation when it comes to mtb seats is the Fizik Nisene. We get them through sponsorship and they are the most comfortable saddle I've ever used, bar none. They aren't unpadded like the slr either, they have a moderate amount of padding and an amazing shape. PM me if you're interested in picking one up for cheap (I have a few free ones from years past that weren't used much that I would sell for super cheap).

    Buying both and swapping parts would make an really sweet bike. All you would really need to change is the drivetrain (crankset, casette, chain, derailleurs, shifters) to signficantly lighten up the EX. You should be able to sell the 9.8 for near what you payed for it with the EX parts anyway.
    Velo Magazine/VeloNews.com tech guy — get in touch or hit me on the tweeter @CaleyFretz

  11. #11
    Senior Member Curtis_Elwood's Avatar
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    TrekRoland,

    First, welcome to the forums. The 9.8 sounds like a great deal, but if you're just getting back into the swing of things, you may be taking a crash or two. As much as I like carbon, it requires a bit of care. If you treat your gear really well and aren't prone to crashing a bunch, as I am, you might consider it, but aluminum may be a better choice if you're just getting back into the sport. Since it's such a great price, you might consider buying it and selling the frame on Ebay and looking for another. You should be able to get enough to buy nice aluminum frame and then would have some really nice components to go along with it. Good luck.
    Last edited by LowCel; 02-20-07 at 08:40 PM.
    2006 Marin Pine Mountain FX

  12. #12
    New Old Rider TrekRoland's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wheelhot
    ooh, wow I never realise that Fuel EX 8 more expensive then Elite 9.8.
    Didn't mean to mislead you - it's a 2006 Elite 9.8 on closeout - not a 2007!

    Again, thanks for the advice everyone.

    Roland

  13. #13
    Official Website Waterboy born2bahick's Avatar
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    Ok back to the subject at hand. I can't believe the suggestions of the EX7 over the 9.8! Wow, maybe I've become a total XC weight weenie, Or maybe it's because I've never been Impressed with Trek's Four bar design. But I honestly believe that an accomplished hardtail rider will be able to out talent the EX-7's capability. This is stricktly subjective opinion, But I do feel strongly enough about it that I'm floored by the fact that the thread is going the other way.

  14. #14
    Senior Member wheelhot's Avatar
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    If im not mistaken, Trek Full Sus is Single Pivot. Well it is possible for a hardtail to out talent a full-susser but if the terrain is too uneven, it would be really hard to out ride a full susser

  15. #15
    Writin' stuff ZeCanon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by born2bahick
    Ok back to the subject at hand. I can't believe the suggestions of the EX7 over the 9.8! Wow, maybe I've become a total XC weight weenie, Or maybe it's because I've never been Impressed with Trek's Four bar design. But I honestly believe that an accomplished hardtail rider will be able to out talent the EX-7's capability. This is stricktly subjective opinion, But I do feel strongly enough about it that I'm floored by the fact that the thread is going the other way.

    Does he sound like an accomplished hardtail rider? yeah, a good rider can beat a new rider on any bike, but that doesnt mean the new guy should get something that isn't right for him. If you honestly think the 9.8 race machine is a better bike for a guy who isn't going to race and just wants to have fun riding then you need to get your head out of the sand and realize that not everyone rides like you! Yeah, personally I'd take the 9.8 because I RACE and I have good technical skills, but even I would get the EX if I was going to stop racing and start just riding for fun on the weekends. Come on now...


    ps TrekRoland could you post up a build list for the two bikes? It would be much easier to compare. For example, if the 9.8 comes with a Sid you would need to swap that out first thing due to your size. It flexes like a noodle under my 140lb frame...
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  16. #16
    Official Website Waterboy born2bahick's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ZeCanon
    Does he sound like an accomplished hardtail rider? yeah, a good rider can beat a new rider on any bike, but that doesnt mean the new guy should get something that isn't right for him. If you honestly think the 9.8 race machine is a better bike for a guy who isn't going to race and just wants to have fun riding then you need to get your head out of the sand and realize that not everyone rides like you! Yeah, personally I'd take the 9.8 because I RACE and I have good technical skills, but even I would get the EX if I was going to stop racing and start just riding for fun on the weekends. Come on now...
    Heh Heh, I didn't think that would slide by without some challenging. But As I said it's my opinion. I honestly use race machines as casual riders. Some on this forum would say if I tried "ten inches in the rear" I would look at things differently. I still believe the 9.8 to be the better buy and the better value of those two bikes. The OP said he used to ride "quite a bit". Admittedly I don't really know what that means.

  17. #17
    Writin' stuff ZeCanon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by born2bahick
    Heh Heh, I didn't think that would slide by without some challenging. But As I said it's my opinion. I honestly use race machines as casual riders. Some on this forum would say if I tried "ten inches in the rear" I would look at things differently. I still believe the 9.8 to be the better buy and the better value of those two bikes. The OP said he used to ride "quite a bit". Admittedly I don't really know what that means.

    not ten inches, 4 (or so? i forget what the EX's are). Yeah, the 9.8 is a better 'value' because of the huge discount, but that doesn't matter if it's not the right bike. People have there preferences, of course. I have buddies that don't race but still ride rigids... not the most comfortable thing in the world but if this guy is just getting back into cycling the EX will work far better for him, no ifs ands or buts about it.
    Velo Magazine/VeloNews.com tech guy — get in touch or hit me on the tweeter @CaleyFretz

  18. #18
    Old School Rad mtnbiker66's Avatar
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    Gosh, I love this place.
    Like a circus monkey on a stolen Harley......

  19. #19
    Throw the stick!!!! LowCel's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mtnbiker66
    Gosh, I love this place.
    It's non-stop entertainment!
    I may be fat but I'm slow enough to make up for it.

  20. #20
    Lost in the Black Hills mx_599's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TrekRoland
    Alright - here's the deal

    I am getting back into mountain biking after losing 90 pounds.
    congratulations! that is something to be tremendously proud of. best of luck riding again!

  21. #21
    Hazardous Taerom's Avatar
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    Wow, it's like a friggin soap opera in here!

    To the OP, Although that's an awesome deal on the Elite 9.8, I think you may be more comfortable on a full suspension. Try them out and see which is more comfortable, and have fun on your new bike!

  22. #22
    Throw the stick!!!! LowCel's Avatar
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    Okay, did a clean up. I was going to delete it but I believe there is some decent information in this thread. I deleted some posts that were not offensive, however they were replying to an offensive / insulting post. Also did a small edit on Curtis's post.
    I may be fat but I'm slow enough to make up for it.

  23. #23
    Writin' stuff ZeCanon's Avatar
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    First off, thanks mod for deleting the crap on the second page. sorry some of it was mine, I dont' like being insulted or having people I've been corresponding with for a long time insulted. My apologies for my overly hot head.


    anyway

    I want to get a bike that I can use to ride on the weekends on some light singletrack, maybe some road riding as well, as I am trying to get my girlfriend into it as well.
    How do you define light singletrack? How much road riding? What aspect of the sport do you want the GF to get into?
    I'm just rethinking my 9.8 recommendation if you aren't going to be doing anything that needs suspension, especially if you plan on riding on the road a bunch. I'm not converted yet, just debating with myself
    Velo Magazine/VeloNews.com tech guy — get in touch or hit me on the tweeter @CaleyFretz

  24. #24
    Loved by m0ds Pete_Fagerlin1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LowCel
    Okay, did a clean up. I was going to delete it but I believe there is some decent information in this thread. I deleted some posts that were not offensive, however they were replying to an offensive / insulting post. Also did a small edit on Curtis's post.
    Non-stop entertainment for sure!

  25. #25
    sarcasm meter: jerk mode santiago's Avatar
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    This sucks. First the Baby Jesus thread gets deleted (the funniest thread in a long time) and now this?

    Edit: By "sucks" I mean it in the negative way.

    Edit2: You know like "This blows!"

    Edit3: I wonder why "sucks" and "blows" are considered negative?
    First Class Jerk

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