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2017 Trek Top Fuel 9.8 SL with Sram Eagle drivetrain | by Adam D. Ince
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2017 Trek Top Fuel 9.8 SL with Sram Eagle drivetrain

A funny thing happened when I went to my local Jax Bicycle Center in Murrieta, California for a couple of inner tubes - this thing ended up on the bike rack on the back of my car!

 

Actually, I drove away with a 17.5" Top Fuel, but I realized after only a couple of rides that it was a little too small. Thanks to Jax Bicycle's generous return policy, I was able to exchange it for this 18.5" Top Fuel.

 

It came with an 11-speed Sram drivetrain with an XG-1175 10-42t cassette, and the 42-tooth low just wasn't low enough. After a few weeks, my ankles started bothering me. I considered switching to a smaller chainring in the front and/or installing an e*thirteen 9-46t cassette, but ended up switching everything to Sram's Eagle system with an XG-1299 (XX1) 10-50t cassette. As of the time of this posting, I have 3,200 miles with the Eagle system, and it has been absolutely flawless!

 

My only complaints about the whole bike center around the suspension lockout. My first complaint is that the rear shock doesn't really lock. The lever firms the rear shock up a lot, but it doesn't lock it the way it locks the fork. My other complaint is that it takes way too much force to push the lockout lever. I injured my left thumb as a result of a hard fall, and was considering flipping the lockout lever and moving it to the already busy right side along with the shifter. Then I saw Scott's TwinLoc lever. Although TwinLoc is designed to work with a proprietary Fox shock with three modes of operation, descend, traction control, and lockout, it works fine with the fork and shock that came with the Top Fuel, which only have locked and unlocked modes. The only drawback is that it takes two button presses to lock and two button presses to unlock. But the lock lever takes so much less force to operate that it's a reasonable compromise even now that my thumb has finally healed.

 

In a word, I ***LOVE*** this bike!

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Taken on June 4, 2017