If you were to recommend one mountain bike to an average committed South African mountain biker, what would it look like? Full-suspension for comfort and control. High-quality 29-inch wheels for roll-over efficiency. Adjustable geometry to be able to tackle most gradients with confidence. Dropper seatpost to give greater rider confidence on descents and fast corners. Then it’s likely to be this bike…
If there’s one bike that will be able to satisfy the majority of South African mountain bikers, it’s the Trek Top Fuel. Regularly lauded as a bike that blurs the lines between cross-country and trail, both by Trek and by media in their reviews, the Top Fuel offers stability, great handling, comfort and good looks. Here are nine reasons why the Trek Top Fuel is the ideal South African mountain bike.
The Top Fuel offers frame sizing to ensure you find an optimal riding position. Besides the usual sizing of S, M, L, XL and XXL, it also offers a M/L size, which caters for the high percentage of riders that find themselves on the cusp, where a M feels just too small and a L feels just too big. Or riders with unusual leg/torso/arm proportions.
The Top Fuel also has the MinoLink feature, which allows you to easily change the frame geometry to be slightly more – or less – aggressive. For South Africans, this comes in useful when you’re heading off to ride a marathon or stage race or just some new trails. The MinoLink flip will give you a slightly more relaxed geometry, which gives you more confidence on steep, fast or technical descents and drops the bottom bracket a bit more to offer you a slightly lower centre of gravity and more stability through turns and on descents.
OPTIMAL SUSPENSION DESIGN
Most full-suspension mountain bike frames usually have to compromise on suspension performance under braking forces. Not the Top Fuel. Trek’s patented Active Braking Pivot (ABP) design allows the suspension to work optimally under braking by separating the effects of braking on the action of the rear shock, which leads to greater control and a more predictable ride.
All Trek Top Fuel models come with 1×12 drivetrains, now the most popular drivetrain configuration. For South African riders, the 32-tooth chainring and 11-50 cassette offers sufficient range on most South African trails, including an uninterrupted ascent of Dorstberg at Meerendal, or the long haul to start of Bat out of Hell at Karkloof, as well and most race routes. It’s also a low-maintenance drivetrain option that makes sense whether your local trail is the dusty singletrack at Hennops or the loamy forest track at Harkerville.
With 115mm of rear-end travel and a 120mm-travel fork, the Top Fuel easily absorbs the majority of uneven terrain on trails, delivering a smoother, more efficient ride and reducing fatigue. This makes the Top Fuel ideal for ultra-distance events, like the Transbaviaans, the 36ONE and The Munga. It’s also ideal for stage races like Sani2c, Wines2Whales and the Absa Cape Epic, minimising the effects of hours in the saddle so that you can finish – with a grin.
Most South Africans ride trails that range from basic gravel to moderately challenging singletrack, where corners can go from wide and sketchy to tight and switchbacky. To ride these corners with confidence you need a bike that gives you a reasonable amount of default weight over the front wheel as well as steering-feel stability. Once you have the correct frame size, you’ll notice that the longish reach, shortish stem (60/70mm) and wide bar (750mm) combine to give you a feeling of superior control, not only in corners, but at all times. This ensures even the less-skilled riders have better management of the bike, which builds essential confidence.
Adding to the impressive control of the Top Fuel is the Bontrager Rhythm Comp dropper seatpost that comes standard on all models. It’s remotely operated which allows you to drop the saddle down by 150mm (100mm on the Small) while on the fly, giving you more room to manoeuvre the bike underneath you on tricky descents like those in Tokai and Jonkershoek and through fast turns like those at Wolwespruit and Garden Route Trail Park…
All Top Fuel models come with Bontrager wheelsets, which combine strength, precision and light weight to deliver immaculate performance on all terrain. The Boost hubs incorporate Rapid Drive fast-engagement, while the rims feature a hook bead design that adds impact strength and helps reduce the risk of pinch flats. Bontrager wheels are also warrantied for life.
Since Trek South Africa is managed directly by the Trek ‘mothership’ in the USA, there’s guaranteed support on all levels for Trek customers, which ensures peace of mind and builds brand confidence.
To see the full range of Top Fuels available in South Africa right now, head over here.
Paid partnership with Trek South Africa.