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What to do with 2002 Trek Fuel 80?

Old 10-09-17, 09:17 AM
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rlk1000
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What to do with 2002 Trek Fuel 80?

I am a biking newbie but having fun with my new hobby. I've been wanting to get a second bike as a play bike. My first bike is a commuter. This second bike is for the trails. I live near mountain canyons, and there's a lot of trails I want to explore. The trails I'm going on with this bike are generally very rocky, gravely. A lot of steep climbs as well.

I wanted to find full suspension, fit for my size, and cheap enough that it would be low risk to experiment. If I hate it or don't use it much, no big deal. If I love it, then I can start investing and upgrading or trading it in for a better bike.

I picked up the perfect bike. It's a 2002 Trek Fuel 80. Very old but seems to be almost new condition. Everything on the bike appears to be original when I check with this spec.

*I tried to include link to the spec at bicycle blue book but wasn't able to* but googling "2002 Trek Fuel 80" it comes up.

Bontrager Jones AC tires, which don't have great reviews, but meeting my expectations, which right now basically are that I can ride on lots of bumpy stuff without getting a flat.

The gears and brakes aren't perfect but do the job.

Seat is comfortable for my use and everything fits, which is not easy for me to find in the used market, at 6'3.

Shocks are working above my expectation for what I paid for this bike (almost free). I see small amount of oil residue on the rear shock, but I don't think is a big concern, right?

I've now experimented for a few weeks and it's a huge pass. I love mountain biking so far. I love taking it on aggressive trails. I want to take on more challenges, as far as steep climbs up the side of the mountains here, or really bumpy, aggressive trails. I'm in for the long haul. And ready to invest to enhance the experience.

Question for y'all.

Should I invest in this bike? If so, what would you look at upgrading? Tires? I'm having issues with traction, but I don't know if it's my technique, the tires, or simply I'm taking on difficult trails. I don't like the pedals. Maybe that?

Or, is this bike simply too old and it's better I sell this bike for a profit in the used market, and then step up and buy a more expensive (maybe $500 - $800 range?) used bike that will be a better bike to start from?
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Old 10-09-17, 09:24 AM
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To be honest, I don't think there is a FS bike in the $500-$800 range that's going to be better than the Trek. At best you're going to get hydraulic brakes in that range, as far as improvements go. That's if you do get hydraulic brakes, there are still some mechanical disc brakes at that price point and I'd just as soon have good rim brakes as mechanical.
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Old 10-09-17, 09:41 AM
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Originally Posted by dksix View Post
To be honest, I don't think there is a FS bike in the $500-$800 range that's going to be better than the Trek. At best you're going to get hydraulic brakes in that range, as far as improvements go. That's if you do get hydraulic brakes, there are still some mechanical disc brakes at that price point and I'd just as soon have good rim brakes as mechanical.
Thanks. I'm talking the used market. When I watch the classifieds, there are usually deals for bikes 5-10 years old that go for $2-3K new that are in that $500-$800 range in the used market.
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Old 10-09-17, 09:45 AM
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Originally Posted by dksix View Post
To be honest, I don't think there is a FS bike in the $500-$800 range that's going to be better than the Trek.

Amen to that! I have a Fuel 90 and if I still had easy access to singletrack, I'd still be abusing it. Just can't bring myself to drive 30+ miles one way to ride.


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Old 10-09-17, 09:56 AM
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I agree with dksix, you aren't going to do any better at $500 without getting very lucky. I rode a Trek rigid MTB for years on all the trails around me, and other than extra fatigue I had just as much fun as anyone else.

When you say traction, I assume you mean while climbing, and you probably don't mean you are having trouble railing corners while bombing an enduro course. Yes, tires would probably help, they've gotten better since then. But it could be just as much learning all about mtb momentum and not losing it. Work on technique, ride with good riders.

I would keep that bike and maybe think about upgrading the gearing in the future. There are noticeable advantages to ending up with a 1x setup someday (lighter and no chain drop), but you may need a new rear wheel to handle a large rear cassette. I've done the 1x upgrade on some fairly old frames using cheap used SRAM parts (X5-X7) and buying one new front ring. Look for a newer rear shock at some point.
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Old 10-09-17, 10:09 AM
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Originally Posted by ldmataya View Post
I agree with dksix, you aren't going to do any better at $500 without getting very lucky. I rode a Trek rigid MTB for years on all the trails around me, and other than extra fatigue I had just as much fun as anyone else.

When you say traction, I assume you mean while climbing, and you probably don't mean you are having trouble railing corners while bombing an enduro course. Yes, tires would probably help, they've gotten better since then. But it could be just as much learning all about mtb momentum and not losing it. Work on technique, ride with good riders.

I would keep that bike and maybe think about upgrading the gearing in the future. There are noticeable advantages to ending up with a 1x setup someday (lighter and no chain drop), but you may need a new rear wheel to handle a large rear cassette. I've done the 1x upgrade on some fairly old frames using cheap used SRAM parts (X5-X7) and buying one new front ring. Look for a newer rear shock at some point.
Great advice, thanks. And yes, I mean slipping while I'm climbing.

These posts are encouraging me. I love the bike. But when I google and read old threads, I don't get warm fuzzies that this is a bike that I should invest in. This is making me feel better.
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Old 10-09-17, 10:52 AM
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Any recommendations for new tires on this bike, based on the info I give about the trails? Honestly, outside of the traction on climbing, I've been thrilled about the tires so far, mainly in avoiding flats with the punishment I've given it. But maybe that's an expectation I should have for all mountain bike tires.
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Old 10-09-17, 11:55 AM
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Originally Posted by rlk1000 View Post
Thanks. I'm talking the used market. When I watch the classifieds, there are usually deals for bikes 5-10 years old that go for $2-3K new that are in that $500-$800 range in the used market.
I wasn't considering used market and would have to agree you could very well find a very well equipped bike in that range. I don't have a great selection of used locally but do often see some enticing deals within a couple of hours drive from me. Generally speaking, what from what I see on CL, I'd expect a mid to high end SF to sale more in the $800-$1K range than the under $800 but if I was patient I'm sure I'd find one in a matter of months.
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Old 10-09-17, 12:00 PM
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Originally Posted by rlk1000 View Post
Any recommendations for new tires on this bike, based on the info I give about the trails? Honestly, outside of the traction on climbing, I've been thrilled about the tires so far, mainly in avoiding flats with the punishment I've given it. But maybe that's an expectation I should have for all mountain bike tires.
Lowering tire pressure really helps traction on softer surfaces but throwing rocks in to that mix I don't know.
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Old 10-09-17, 01:43 PM
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Originally Posted by dksix View Post
Lowering tire pressure really helps traction on softer surfaces but throwing rocks in to that mix I don't know.
The rocks and the small gravely type rocks are the main culprit.
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Old 10-09-17, 01:59 PM
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Originally Posted by rlk1000 View Post
The rocks and the small gravely type rocks are the main culprit.
I have only had a proper MTB this season and I've only used one tire. I have Continental Trail King tires that do really well but have very flexy sidewalls so if I was going to make a recommendation I'd say those aren't the tires for rocks but may be wrong.
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Old 10-09-17, 05:00 PM
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Originally Posted by dksix View Post
I have only had a proper MTB this season and I've only used one tire. I have Continental Trail King tires that do really well but have very flexy sidewalls so if I was going to make a recommendation I'd say those aren't the tires for rocks but may be wrong.

I run Maxxis Ardents and/or Ikons on my Yeti.

Just depends if you are riding rocks, slop, singletrack etc.

The Trail Kings sidewalls are going to get cut and you'll be walking if you ride them long enough.

P.S. Don't be afraid to toss $$$ at the Maxxis tires. They are worth it.
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Old 10-09-17, 05:17 PM
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Originally Posted by gomango View Post
I run Maxxis Ardents and/or Ikons on my Yeti.

Just depends if you are riding rocks, slop, singletrack etc.

The Trail Kings sidewalls are going to get cut and you'll be walking if you ride them long enough.

P.S. Don't be afraid to toss $$$ at the Maxxis tires. They are worth it.
I just realized getting the link for the post I was writing (below) that the tires are Race Kings, not Trail Kings. I put a set of HD tubes in them, realized how thin the sidewalls are when I had the tires off the rims.

I built up the bike from parts after buying a never completed project bike from the flipper that sold me my Simoncini. It (a 29'er frame) came rolling on a set of 17.5's that had tires Maxxis tires but I never rode them. The Trail Kings came as part of a bundle that I bought from Bikes Direct for $180 shipped Free Ship 48 Save Up to 60% Off 29er MTB Wheelset PROMO SALE Mavic Aluminum Rim Disc Brake Wheelset, Shimano Disc Hub Mountain Bike Wheelsets Plus FREE Pro Level Continental Race King 29er Tires
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Old 10-10-17, 08:32 AM
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Well ----- i wouldn't really "invest" in a 15 year old MTB -- that is, i wouldn't upgrade the bike at all

That said, if it fits your needs, and you enjoy riding it, - i would not hesitate to do things like keep fresh tires on it, keep the shock and fork maintained, and other maintenance type things that any MTB is going to need if its ridden long enough (chains, cassettes, chainrings, cables, grips etc ) As well, finding a comfortable saddle is a no brainer , and that's an investment that you can take from bike to bike

So basically id keep it running but wouldn't spend any more than is necessary - for instance if you need to dial in the fit, a $20 stem from the bike shop parts bin will serve as good a purpose as a $150 Renthal, -- stuff like that, but good tires to me are essential for a MTB
if your tires are original they may be so old that traction is compromised and a fresh set would make a world of difference

I am not of the mindset that just because a bike is a little older that it is obsolete -- 2002 really wasn't that long ago in the grand scheme of things,

Last edited by DMC707; 10-10-17 at 08:36 AM.
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