Full-suspension and fat tires are still a pretty rare pairing. The argument is that the big, mondo tires rolling single digit air pressures provide all the suspension you need.
The flip side to that argument is that full suspension allows some control to the cushion, thanks to a fork and shock's damping qualities.
Trek Farley EX 9.8 highlights
- OCLV Mountain carbon frame, aluminum stays
- 120mm rear travel with ABP and Full Floater suspension
- Fox Float RE:aktiv rear shock
- RockShox Bluto RL, 120mm
- Bontrager Wampa Carbon 80 SL rims, tubeless ready
- 150x15 front, 197x12 rear hubs
- Bontrager Hodag 27.5x3.8in tires
- SRAM X01 rear derailleur, X1 shifter
- Race Face Next carbon cranks, 30T narrow/wide ring
- SRAM Guide hydraulic discs
- Weighs 14.06kg / 31lbs, size 19.5in
As you can see from the highlights list above, the Farley EX 9.8 is pretty dialed stock. The nearly all-black build with little red pops of color make it a very attractive bike in my eyes.
There's a country mile of standover thanks to the swoopy top tube and Trek's designers have done a commendable job at keeping the rear suspension tidy and flowing smoothly from the front end to the back.
With fat bikes looking like this, it's easy to say that the days of hobbled together mystery machines is over.
Blurring the lines
In addition to this being one of only a few full-sus fat bikes, the Farley EX is also in the rare camp of having 27.5-inch wheeled fattys.
This makes me wonder if the Farley will feel more like a mountain bike with playful manners and less plodding.
It also leaves me questioning if the lack of footprint will leave it wanting when traction and floatation are paramount.
Trek Farley EX 9.8 pricing and availability
Trek makes two versions: the alloy Farley EX 8 model comes with a modest spec at $3,499, while the carbon 9.8 version, which I have in on test, retails for $5,499. They are available now from Trek dealers and at trekbikes.com.