LONG TERM REVIEW
Whenever I get a new bike, which happenes a lot since I own a bike store, I can’t stop talking about it. That’s because after all these years all the new bikes I still get excited to ride a brand new bike. Whatever it is.
I get these bikes and flaunt them even before riding them. It’s what you do when you sell them. Then, I ride them for awhile had form my real opinion on them.
Enter the 2017 Farely EX 9.8
So when I heard this was coming out I was pretty pumped. But was not completely sold from the get go.
I was on the fat bike bandwagon early. In 2009 when the only real production bike was the Pugsly. As the bikes evolved so did I. The bigger, fatter Moonlander. The aluminum framed 907 was the next. Then a carbon 907, then a aluminum Trek and ended up with a carbon Trek 9.8 last year.
So think back to the day you saw the first Bluto on a fat bike. A suspension fork? What the hell for? You dont need that cuz the tires are so big. So 6 years ago I was the first in our group to get a fat tire bike. And got somewhat ridiculed. Not ridiculed per say, but was told the bike was kinda stupid. But as I say, we mock what we dont understand.
Fast forward to 2014 and I get my Trek Farley 8 with a Bluto. Once again I was told that the bike was dumb. You dont need a suspension fork. The fork is a fad that will go away. You dont need it. Its a fat bike.
It was at that point I ditched any form of MTB in the summer for the full time of a fatbike. Back then I already was mounting up 29+ for the summer. But sadly the 29+ diameter would not fit in the rear of the Farely (it was only 177 width then) so I was all fat all the time. But after a while I sold the Farley and got a 29+Stashe for the summer (last year). It was a little rough on my back and I wondered if Trek would even come out with a full suspension fat bike. I would wait for it…
I was told by many to not hold my breath. Why would you make a full suspension fatbike? Thats nuts. Let’s fast forward.
Out comes the Farely EX. At the time I was on a super light 9.8 I built from scratch. Super light 45 mil rims. All carbon at about 23 pounds and some change without pedals. I rode that bike all last winter, into the spring and thru this last summer. I sold it when I got the EX in August.
But the EX comes in at 32 pounds? Holy crap that a lot more than my hardtail 9.8. Do I want to haul around all the weight all winter? The last bike I had that heavy was the Moonlander in 2010. I was a little concerned.
Ditched the dropper post and tubes. Throw on a set of 29+ wheels and tires and now Im at 29 pounds and change. Not so bad. Actually pretty good for what it is.
Here we are in current 29+ configuration. I’ll throw the 80mm Wampa wheels back on when the snow gets here.
So after a bunch of rides is the added weight worth it? Totally.
Up to the time I went all fat all the time I was on full suspension cross country rockets. Top Fuels and Superflys. Then when I ditched racing I just rode fat all summer but of course hardtail. Even full rigid back in the day. Sure… the tires helped a ton but it just was not the same on my back.
There were local trails I no longer rode with the hardtail fatbikes. Too many rocks and roots. As much as fat bike were fun they limited my summer riding a bit. Just too hard on me. Even with a Bluto on the front the hard tail was beating me up.
The EX ended that. Last Sunday’s ride was the best I’ve had on the bike. Absolutely ripping the downhills with no fear. Since I climb like crap anyway I could care less how fast I get to the top of stuff. This bike is absolutely the best bike for me that I ever had. I can’t say that enough. All the trails that I stayed off with the hard tail Im now getting Strava PR’s on.
The 120mm suspension, the trail geometry, all the carbon, the fat tires. Rip it up 12 months of the year. I should have been on the EX format years ago. I no longer even notice the additional weight. The fun meter is way up there. Maybe pegged. Im not sure what Im going to do with this bike next August when it come time to sell it. What can Trek do to top this? Or anyone for that matter.
Last nites night ride was well attended and a blast. Pretty much hung on to the group all nite. Again, fun meter was pegged. I will be riding this bike as much as I can. No exceptions.
I cant wait for the snow. Sure, all the suspension travel this bike has will maybe be a little overkill for the groomed snow trails but thats really only 3 months of the year.There are 9 other months to ride in.
One bike to rule them all. It may not be for everybody. But its perfect for me.