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Trek trail tunes the Top Fuel

A little more travel and a substantial shift in focus

Photo by: Trek

Trek first introduced the Top Fuel in 2004 as – at the time – a World Cup-focused cross country race machine. The race bike slowly drifted into marathon XC over the years until, in 2022, it re-emerges as a 120-mm travel mini-trail bike.

There’s still XC pedigree in there but, with geometry and design changes to match the 5-mm extra travel, the new Top Fuel leans more toward fun than pure speed.

Trek Top Fuel
Payson McElveen rides teh Trek Top Fuel in Durango, Colo. Photo: M.McIntire

2022 Trek Top Fuel – What’s new?

Trek keeps the familiar shape of the Top Fuel, but with substantial changes to the frame design that make this bike quite different than its direct predecessor. The change in travel, an extra 5mm to match the front and rear at 120-mm each, is the change with the smallest impact on how the bike will feel.

Trek Top Fuel
Trek’s Mino Link adds geometry adjustment to the Top Fuel.
Trail focused geometry and more wheel sizes

The Top Fuel moves into the longer-lower-slacker generation of bikes, shifting from a 67.5 to 66-degree head tube angle, a rather substantial 1.5-degree change, as well as a steeper seat tube and longer reach (about 10mm, depending on frame size). Trek’s Mino Link allows all of this geometry to be adjusted by 0.5 degrees, dialing the changes back slightly toward a more traditional cross country design. Short, 425mm chainstays keep steering snappy.

If you want to get more into trail territory, the Top Fuel can take a 130-mm fork, though this slackens the bike by a further 0.5-degrees and raises the BB slightly.

For those on the farther ends of the size spectrum, there’s more Top Fuels. An XXL frame size and a XS join the line. The latter comes with 27.5″ wheels. Only the 9.7 model comes with the smaller wheel size option, for now.

Storage options across all models

All Top Fuel models gain internal storage compartments in the downtube. For 2022, this includes the alloy frames. While its significantly more complex to add the compartment to the aluminum frames, Trek wanted to keep the same experience across the entire range.

Frame details

There are several changes and updates to the frame as well. The Top Fuel moves to Knockblock 2.0. That means a wider, 72-degree steering range compared to the 58-degree range of the original Knockblock. The Top Fuel frame has clearance on the downtube so that, if you remove the system, your fork crown will still clear the frame. Trek still recommends you leave the system in place to protect your top tube from impact with your controls should you crash.

Trek moves to a 34.9mm seat tube, intended to fit more reliable, longer travel dropper posts. There’s fully guided internal routing through the front triangle and, now, a threaded 73mm BSA threaded bottom bracket.

Trek Top Fuel
Payson McElveen looks comfortable sending the 2022 Top Fuel of some Durango drops. Photo: M. McIntyre.

Who is the Top Fuel for?

With all the changes, the Top Fuel is no longer the race-focused bike it once was. It now sits closer to the Fuel EX, with its 130mm rear travel and a 140mm fork, than the World Cup-focused Supercaliber and it’s ultra-aggressive 60-mm rear travel and 100-mm fork.

So who is it for? Trek says it is for any rider that enjoys pedalling up as much as they enjoy riding down. The 2022 Top Fuel is still efficient and light like prior models, but a more balanced design means it won’t be as limited on the descents as a more traditional cross country race bike.

2022 Top Fuel: Pricing and builds

Trek is rolling out the Top Fuel in a wide array of aluminum and carbon fibre options. This start at the $3,450 Top Fuel 5, kitted out with Shimano Deore 12-speed drivetrain and RockShox Recon Silver RL fork. Nine models range all the way up to the carbon fibre 9.9, which comes with Shimano XTR and a Fox Factory 34 Step-Cast fork or SRAM’s wireless XX1 Eagle AXS drivetrain and RockShox Sid Ultimate. Both top end models stretch well into the five-figure price range.

At the high end, Top Fuel will also be available in Trek’s semi-custom Project One paint program.

Top Fuel 5 $3,450.00
Top Fuel 7 $4,550.00
Top Fuel 8 $4,800.00
Top Fuel AL frameset $2,900.00
Top Fuel 9.7 $5,870.00
Top Fuel 9.8 XT $8,350.00
Top Fuel 9.8 GX $9,000.00
Top Fuel 9.8 GX AXS $9,300.00
Top Fuel 9.9 XTR $12,650.00
Top Fuel 9.9 XX1 AXS $14,650.00
Top Fuel C frameset $4,600.00