Trek have just released the latest Top Fuel. More travel, more capability - and a bunch more features for this short travel trail ripper.
Photos: Nick Waygood
For 2022 the new Trek Top Fuel takes its feet out of the cross country camp and firmly plants them in the trail bike camp! In 2004 the Top Fuel was a pure and dedicated cross-country race bike. Updates in 2015 saw it lead the charge for cross-country, notably being piloted by riders like Dan McConnell, Brendan Johnston and Zoe Cuthbert. In 2019 it developed into a more capable bike with light trail applications, bumping up from a 100mm platform to 115mm with a 120mm fork. Now with 2022 around the corner we see the Top Fuel move over into the ever popular and growing short travel trail bike market.
Along the way, there have been several geometry changes to the Top Fuel. In the past these have included the standard head angle, seat tube and bottom bracket changes while also getting progressively more reach in the top tube.
So, it comes as no surprise that Trek have applied the longer, lower slacker term, while developing the new top fuel.
Some of the 2022 highlights include an increase in rear travel to 120mm from 115mm and the compatibility of a 130mm travel fork, although 120mm is stock. We also see the modernisation of shock mounting going to a trunnion mounted shock. Our test bike had a RockShox Deluxe Ultimate shock while there are other models in the range that come with Fox DPS shocks. Trek also approves some models of rear shock that feature a piggyback from top brands like RockShox and Fox.
Trek are calling the geometry on the Top Fuel progressive trail, while it may only seem like a minor change to angles (in the low MinoLink setting), the head angle goes from 67.5 to 66 degrees and a two degree change in seat tube angle going to 76 degrees. If you were to go down a little bit more aggressive path and install a 130mm travel fork you would see some changes to the head angle and seat tube alike with the head angle going out to 65.5 degrees and see tube going to 75.6 degrees.
On average there is a 10mm increase in reach across the range, for example in 2021 a large Top Fuel had a 470mm reach but now has a 480mm reach. Something to note is the old Top Fuel often shipped with around an 80mm stem and the new one that we tested came with a 45mm stem on a size large bike.
A standard feature we are starting to see on bikes these days is integrated frame storage of some kind. Trek use this on their road and gravel bikes not just exclusively on their mountain bikes so, it comes as no surprise to see any new model of bike Trek are releasing such as the Top Fuel, come with frame storage hidden underneath the bottle cage.
As a small segue from frame storage, Trek are now using a full tube in tube system for internal cable routing, this is great, in fact it's refreshing to know that you can replace the cable on a dropper post and it's just going to come out the other end and without having to get some sort of magnet system to make sure the cable comes out first time. The only place that you'll notice this is when you poke your head inside frame storage (head will not fit in frame storage) you can see some little tubes running along the inside of the frame.
Another update is in frame protection, with the older Knock Block giving you 58 degrees of turning while Knock Block 2.0, just like that featured on the Slash, provides 72 degrees of turning making it a much more shuttle friendly bike when throwing it over a tailgate. This really does show that this bike is meant for much more than climbing up hills all day.
A common sight on all Trek full suspension mountain bikes is the MinoLink. Traditionally you see them featured on the top of the seat stays and for 2022 we see it move to the lower shock mount, still offering an adjustment in bottom bracket height and head angle, just in a new easier to use place. The new MinoLink offers about 5mm of change to the bottom bracket height, 0.4 degrees for the head and seat tube angle and a tiny 1.1mm change in the chain stay length.
Trek have also increased the seat tube diameter to 34.9mm just like the Slash, allowing for longer dropper post inserts and bigger dropper post bodies which in turn should lead to more reliable dropper posts. Trek have also moved to a threaded bottom bracket, another change seen on the Slash in 2021.
Catch Ben's full review on our YouTube channel.
The 2022 Trek Top Fuel range
Top Fuel 5 - $3,499.99
Top Fuel 8 - $5,299.99
Top Fuel 9.7 - $6,299.99
Top Fuel 9.8 XT - $8,299.99
Top Fuel 9.8 XT P1 - $9,899.99
Top Fuel 9.8 GX P1 - $9,899.99
Top Fuel 9.8 GX AXS P1 - $14,199.99
Top Fuel 9.9 XTR P1 - $10,899.99
Top Fuel 9.9 XX1 AXS P1 - $15,199.99