The 2022 Trek Top Fuel is a pure downcountry shredder with 120mm travel front and rear (up from 115mm rear), slacker angles and all-day capabilities.
The brand’s Top Fuel model has shifted in intention over the years; from the pure XC race thoroughbred released in 2005 to the longer-travel, heavier-duty machine created in 2019. “The downcountry/XC-trail category is evolving,” says Trek, and the new 2022 Top Fuel meets those requirements.
If you enjoy riding fast uphill and want to ride all day on longer loops, downcountry bikes are for you. Indeed, Trek says that the new Top Fuel is “for riders who enjoy pedalling up as much as they enjoy going down.”
What’s new for the 2022 Trek Top Fuel?
Trek says it was looking to “keep the pedalling efficiency but make it way more capable, not limited like a traditional XC bike” with the Top Fuel.
To achieve this, Trek has taken the pivot position from the previous Top Fuel and moved it forwards, tuning the anti-squat curve to make it flatter and keep characteristics more consistent throughout the travel.
- Extra reading: The ultimate guide to mountain bike rear suspension systems
One of the most obvious changes is Trek’s in-frame storage, the manufacturer’s answer to Specialized’s SWAT box.
Trek says it “adds weight but it’s important for bikes in this category”. These stash areas give riders the ability to store items previously carried on their body, in the bike. This increases stability of the bike and rider, and lowers their centre of gravity.
Trek has gone to great lengths to bring this feature to all bikes in the range, including the aluminium models as well as the carbon bikes. It’s something customers buying aluminium Specialized bikes, such as the Stumpjumper Comp Alloy, are unable to enjoy.
Trek’s contentious Knock Block steering-lock limiter allowed bikes fitted with it to have a straight down tube to enhance stiffness and prevent damage from fork top caps striking the down tube or low-slung brake levers hitting the top tube.
The 2022 Top Fuel features Knock Block 2.0, which has been redesigned to be less extreme and allow an increased steering angle from 58 to 72 degrees.
Top Fuel frames have been designed with more down tube clearance for fork top caps, doing away with the previously straight stiffness-promoting down tube found on Knock Block 1.0 bikes.
If both fork top caps clear the down tube and the brake levers clear the top tube, Trek says it’s possible for riders to remove the Knock Block 2.0 completely with minimal fuss.
Wheelsize is 29in except for the XS, which comes with 27.5-inch wheels (and in the 9.8 spec only). All complete bikes come with 2.4in wide Bontrager tyres, but the frames will take up to a 2.5in, so mud clearance should be ample for UK riding.
2022 Trek Top Fuel geometry
The new Top Fuel has more progressive geometry when compared to previous versions, boasting a 76-degree seat-tube angle, 1.5 degrees steeper than the previous model, moving the rider’s weight forward to improve climbing when seated.
Mirroring the seat-tube angle, the head angle has been slackened by 1.5 degrees to 66 degrees to improve stability when descending.
These changes alone would decrease cockpit room for the rider, so to reduce this Trek has grown the reach by 10mm in each size, with the ‘L’ measuring 480mm.
Chainstays remain the same length, which maintains the 2019 bike’s playful nature and should make lifting the front wheel a breeze.
The bike is available in six sizes: XS (9.8 only), S, M, ML, L, XL and XXL.
Trek’s trusty Mino Link is found on the Top Fuel, albeit moved to the lower shock mount (allowing a trunnion-mount shock to be used). Remove just one bolt and the chip can be flipped to steepen head and seat angles by 0.5 degrees and raise the bottom-bracket height by 7mm.
Trek Top Fuel geometry – 120mm fork
|Seat angle (degrees)||76||76.4||76||76.4||76||76.4||76||76.4||76||76.4||76||76.4||76||76.4|
|Head angle (degrees)||66||66.4||66||66.4||66||66.4||66||66.4||66||66.4||66||66.4||66||66.4|
|Top tube (mm)||539||538.1||568.5||567.5||598.5||597.4||614.6||613.6||630.7||629.7||654.2||653.1||676.4||675.3|
|Head tube (mm)||95||95||100||100||100||100||105||105||110||110||125||125||135||135|
|Fork offset (mm)||44||44||44||44||44||44||44||44||44||44||44||44||44||44|
|Bottom bracket drop (mm)||20||15.2||36||30.8||36||30.7||36||30.7||36||30.6||36||30.6||36||30.5|
|Bottom bracket height (mm)||335.5||340.3||337.5||342.7||337.5||342.8||337.5||342.8||337.5||342.9||337.5||342.9||337.5||343|
Trek Top Fuel geometry – 130mm fork
|Seat angle (degrees)||75.5||75.9||75.5||75.9||75.5||75.9||75.5||75.9||75.6||75.9||75.6||75.9||75.6||75.9|
|Head angle (degrees)||65.5||65.9||65.5||65.9||65.5||65.9||65.5||65.9||65.6||65.9||65.6||65.9||65.6||65.9|
|Top tube (mm)||540.1||539.2||569.7||568.6||599.7||598.6||615.8||614.8||632||630.9||655.4||654.3||677.7||676.6|
|Head tube (mm)||95||95||100||100||100||100||105||105||110||110||125||125||135||135|
|Fork offset (mm)||44||44||43||43||43||43||43||43||43||43||43||43||43||43|
|Bottom bracket drop (mm)||16.5||11.7||32.4||27.2||32.5||27.2||32.6||27.2||32.6||27.2||32.7||27.2||32.7||27.2|
|Bottom bracket height (mm)||339||343.8||341.1||346.3||341||346.3||340.9||346.3||340.9||346.3||340.8||346.3||340.8||346.3|
Maintenance and durability for the new downcountry bike
Trek hasn’t forgotten the mechanics out there, who will be ecstatic to hear that, although the Top Fuel has internally-routed cables, the manufacturer has fitted full-length internal sheathing throughout the bike.
That’s right, no fishing around with bent spokes or magnets when it’s time to refresh the outer cables.
Interestingly, Trek has chosen to rid itself of press-fit bottom bracket issues for this bike and return to the venerable old 73mm-width threaded shell.
While not commenting on the reason for this shift, many feel that the threaded BB is less prone to creaking, and it’s hard to argue with the ease of replacing a threaded ‘Euro’ BB when compared to its plasticky cousin.
The seat-tube diameter has expanded to the new 34.9mm standard, allowing the next generation of longer dropper posts to be fitted.
The reasoning behind yet another new standard is actually pretty sound: a broader chassis will boost stiffness and spread side loading more effectively. This should help posts retain stiffness when extended and increase strength.
According to Trek, the related stiffness improvement in the frame itself (because of the larger-diameter tube and increased surface area at junctions) is “slight”.
Trek is also pleased to extol the burlier nature of the new Top Fuel, by approving that an upgrade to a longer-travel fork of 130mm will be allowed within its warranty.
Fitting one would slacken the head angle and seat-tube angle by 0.5 degrees and raise the BB by 3mm.
2022 Trek Top Fuel specifications and price
Both the aluminium and carbon versions of the new Top Fuel are available as a frameset.
2022 Trek Top Fuel 5
The 5 has a RockShox Recon fork and X-Fusion shock, with Bontrager wheels and components, Shimano’s MT200 brakes, MT512 crank and Deore 12-speed making up the remainder of the groupset.
2022 Trek Top Fuel 7
The 7 gets RockShox’s stiffer 35 fork, a Fox DPS shock and similar Bontrager kit, but upgraded Line Comp 30 wheels.
It also sees the Shimano 12spd shifter upgraded to SLX, the mech to XT and the crank to Deore, but the chain and cassette are the same Deore as the 5.
2022 Trek Top Fuel 8
The highest-spec aluminium Top Fuel 8 has RockShox’s lighter SID fork and Deluxe Ultimate shock over the 7.
The 8 gets the same Bonty Line Comp 30 wheels, Shimano XT mech and Deore cranks as the 7, but cassette and chain are upgraded to SLX and the shifter to XT.
The 8’s bar and stem are Bontrager Line and Elite items and the brakes are now XT trail 4 pots. They all come with Trans-X dropper posts.
2022 Trek Top Fuel 9
Complete carbon bikes are the budget 9.7, the 9.8 and all-singing 9.9. The 9.7 is specced with Fox Rhythm 34 fork and DPS shock, Bontrager Line Elite wheels and dropper post, and GX 12-speed groupset.
The 9.8 and 9.9 are both offered with either SRAM or Shimano build options, depending on buyer preference.
The 9.8 has RockShox’s SID Select+ fork and Deluxe Ultimate RCT shock and Bontrager Line Elite wheels, combined with either XT, GX, or electronic Bluetooth GX AXS drivetrain.
The 9.9 sports either Shimano’s flagship XTR (combined with Fox’s Factory 34SC fork and DPS shock) or SRAM’s electronic XX1 AXS (which comes with RockShox’s SID Ultimate fork and Deluxe Ultimate shock).
If you want to stand out, Trek’s Project One paintshop is at your disposal, to create a one-off paintjob for your Top Fuel.
What are the alternatives to Trek’s 2022 Top Fuel?
This is a seriously competitive market segment as riders realise that more travel isn’t always better, and manufactures are scrambling to modify their XC race platforms for more ubiquitous use.
Stiff competition will come from the Scott Spark Tuned, which has a 130mm fork and 120mm rear travel. Available at multiple price points and packing impressively progressive geometry, along with that funky hidden shock, this bike is guaranteed to turn heads.
2022 Trek Top Fuel prices
- Top Fuel 5: £2,600 / $3,449.99 / €2,499
- Top Fuel 7: £3,100 / $4,549.99 / €3,299
- Top Fuel 8: £3,750 / $4,799.99 / €3,999
- Top Fuel AL (frame only): £2,250 / $2,899.99 / €2,299
- Top Fuel 9.7: £6,000 / $5,869.99 / €4,999
- Top Fuel 9.8 XT: £6,000 / $6,499.99 / €6,499
- Top Fuel 9.8 XT (Project One): £6,550 / $6,999.99 / €7,099
- Top Fuel 9.8 GX (Project One): £6,550 / $6,999.99 / €7,099
- Top Fuel 9.8 GX AXS (Project One): £7,100 / $7,499.99 / €7,799
- Top Fuel 9.9 XTR (Project One): £9,200 / $9.499.99 / €9,999
- Top Fuel 9.9 XX1 AXS (Project One): £11,100 / $10,999.99 / €11,999
- Top Fuel C (frame only): £3,750 / $4,599.99 / €3,999