Trek Farley EX 9.8: fat with full suspension

Carbon and more carbon for this 27.5in fatty

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's full-suspension Farley EX 9.8 fat bike adds another twist to the conundrum, 27.5-inch wheels

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

Bontrager's Hodag 27.5x3.8 tires have a big footprint bolstered with small, fast-rolling knobs
Bontrager's Hodag 27.5x3.8 tires have a big footprint bolstered with small, fast-rolling knobs

Dialed chassis

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. 

The front triangle is Trek's OCLV carbon, the rear is the company's Alpha aluminum
The front triangle is Trek's OCLV carbon, the rear is the company's Alpha aluminum

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. 

Along with the bigger hoops there are slightly narrower tires, Bontrager's Hodags at 3.8-inches. 

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. 

The 80mm Bonty Wampa rims are tubeless ready and oh yeah they're carbon too
The 80mm Bonty Wampa rims are tubeless ready and oh yeah they're carbon too

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.

Russell Eich

Tech Writer, US
Russell fell head over heels in love with bikes in the '90s, and has been involved in the bike industry ever since. Between wrenching in bike shops, guiding professionally, and writing about bikes, Russell has honed an appreciation for what works, gained knowledge of what doesn't, and can barely contain his enthusiasm for what comes next. His two-wheeled passion continues in the Rocky Mountains high above Boulder, Colorado.
  • Discipline: Mountain, road, cyclocross
  • Preferred Terrain: High altitudes, forgotten singletracks, bike parks, roads without cars
  • Current Bikes: Custom Meriwether steel hardtail, Specialized S-Works Enduro 29, Kona Jake the Snake, Trek 69er, and a bunch more
  • Dream Bike: Yeti SB5c, Intense Tracer 275C, Black Cat custom road
  • Beer of Choice: Gin + Tonic
  • Location: Rollinsville, CO, USA

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