Cross-country mountain bikes have slowly changed over the seasons, with riders expecting more out of their machines. More challenging courses, longer race distances and the desire for a smoother ride has boosted the need for a slightly more limo-like ride. Enter the Top Fuel 9.7 for 2021!
The concept of short-distance, non-technical mountain bike races has frankly gotten a bit tired. Riders want to race the course more than race other riders bar-to-bar. More demanding race courses mean hardtails and short-travel full-suspension machines might be in over their heads. As more riders plan to stay in the saddle for over two hours, the bike needs to be up to the task. "Marathon" events are more prevalent, leading riders to seek longer-travel trail bikes instead of nimble hardtails. Is there a "compromise bike" that does everything well? The Top Fuel 9.7 is exactly that bike. Cross-country mountain bikes need to be lightweight, and the Top Fuel 9.7 starts with the right "backbone": An OCLV Mountain carbon fiber main frame with OCLV Mountain carbon fiber rear stays. Light weight, incredible torsional strength and rugged construction all make for a brilliant chassis to build a bike around. A tapered head tube anchors the fork, adding an extra dash of handling precision, while a press-fit PF92 bottom bracket ensures flex-free power delivery. That totally straight (and ultra strong!) down tube might be concerning to longtime off-road riders, but not to worry. The Top Fuel 9.7 won't get a dent in the down tube from the fork crown in the event of a crash, thanks to an integrated steering limiter called Knock Block. A keyed headset component keeps the fork from spinning too far, resulting in a damaged frame. Control Freak internal routing manages cables and brake hosing, keeping the Top Fuel 9.7 rattle-free and looking clean. Out back, Trek's exclusive Active Braking Pivot (or ABP) rear suspension geometry isolates pedaling force from suspension movement, espcially during hard braking. No energy is lost, and every bump is handled. Period. The upper rocker link that connects to the rear shock is made from magnesium, keeping weight very low and also eliminating lateral binding on the shock for faster bump response. The reverseable Mino Link pivot points at the top of the rear seat stays allow the rider to change the bike's geometry slightly. Upright and nimble? Lower and slacker? It only takes one tool on the trail side to change the bike's personality.
The rear suspension boasts 115mm of travel (and not the usual 90-100mm), offering the rider a more forgiving feel over technical trails and down rocky descents. The air-adjustable Fox Performance Float shock can be shut off with a bar-mounted TwistLock lever, bringing a more road-like feel on pavement and hardpan. Up front, an air-adjustable RockShox Reba RL suspension fork features 120mm of travel, helping to keep the Top Fuel 9.7 where you point it in rock gardens and root "fun houses". The fork is also connected to the same TwistLoc lockout lever, making that operation simple.
The drivetrain of XC racing machines need to offer a wider gearing range on longer, more challenging courses. The 12-speed single-ring drivetrain of the Top Fuel 9.7 brings a massive range to the party with a 10-50T SRAM cassette. A SRAM NX Eagle shifter and NX Eagle derailleur adds lightning-fast operation to every gear change, even under hard pedaling loads. A SRAM NX Eagle alloy crankset and 32T SRAM single chainring keeps things simple and light while helping to deliver power without wasteful flex.
The rolling stock of the Top Fuel 9.7 needed to be light as well as durable. Bontrager's alloy Kovee Comp 23 wheels and Team Issue XR3 29x2.40" tires are tubeless-ready, offering a light feel and grippy traction for effortless maneuvering in tight singletrack. Shimano hydraulic disc brakes boast excellent stopping power and lever feedback in all conditions, rain or shine (or mud).
Here's something you don't usually see on a cross-country mountain bike: A dropper post. Bontrager equips the Top Fuel 9.7 with a Line Dropper seatpost, complete with bar-mounted remote lever. A Bontrager Montrose Comp saddle, alloy Rhythm Comp stem, and alloy Comp handlebar finish off this race-ready rig.
|Frame||OCLV Mountain Carbon main frame & stays, tapered head tube, Knock Block, Control Freak internal routing, Carbon Armor, magnesium rocker link, Mino Link, ABP, 115mm travel|
|Fork||RockShox Reba RL, Solo Air spring, Motion Control damper, TwistLoc remote, tapered steerer, 46mm offset, Maxle Stealth, 120mm travel|
|Headset||Knock Block Integrated, cartridge bearing, 1-1/8" top, 1.5" bottom|
|Rear Shock||Fox Performance Float, 2-postion DPS damper, TwistLoc remote, tuned by Trek Suspension Lab, 190x45mm|
|Rims/Wheels||Bontrager Kovee Comp 23, Tubeless Ready, 6-bolt|
|Tires||Bontrager XR3 Team Issue, Tubeless Ready, Inner Strength sidewall, aramid bead, 120tpi, 29x2.40"|
|Crankset||SRAM NX Eagle, DUB, Boost|
|Chainrings||32T steel ring|
|Bottom Bracket||SRAM DUB, 92mm, PressFit|
|Chain||SRAM NX Eagle, 12 speed|
|Rear Derailleur||SRAM NX Eagle|
|Cassette/Rear Cogs||SRAM PG-1230 Eagle, 11-50T, 12 speed|
|Shifters||SRAM NX Eagle, 12 speed|
|Handlebars||Bontrager Comp, alloy, 31.8mm, 15mm rise|
|Stem||Bontrager Rhythm Comp, Knock Block, 31.8mm, 0 degree|
|Brake Levers||Shimano hydraulic MT501 lever|
|Brakes||Shimano hydraulic disc, MT500 caliper|
|Saddle||Bontrager Montrose Comp, steel rails|
|Seat Post||Bontrager Line Dropper, internal routing, 31.6mm|
* Subject to change without notice.