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Sea Otter 2015 | First Look: The Trek Fuel EX JR Kids Bike

26 inch wheels are back! Not in the way you might have expected though: US-manufacturer Trek unveiled the Fuel EX JR Kids Bike with 26 inch wheels, designed for riders between 134 and 168 cm height (53″ – 66″). Based on the same Full Floater suspension design as Trek’s successful Fuel EX, it aims to offer the same performance and look of the adult counterpart. The Trek Fuel EX JR has 90 mm front & rear travel and will be available in June.

The Trek Fuel EX JR Kids Bike will be available in June.
The Trek Fuel EX JR Kids Bike will be available in June.
At first sight, there's not much difference to Trek's successfull regular Fuel EX
At first sight, there’s not much difference to Trek’s successful regular Fuel EX

Our sport and hobby is awesome!. But let’s face it, the options to share it with our kids are limited. The majority of kids bikes out there don’t perform nearly as good as our own bikes. Low quality frames (= heavy!), mechanical rim brakes, outdated geometries and crappy suspension (if at all) – it’s just not the right package to ignite the love of biking that we all wish our kids should develop. But Trek wanted to create a bike that is capable of inspiring the next generation – the idea for the Fuel EX JR was born.

To be honest, we didn't expect a new 26" bike at Sea Otter at all.
To be honest, we didn’t expect a new 26″ bike at Sea Otter.
Shimanos proven Deore derailleur should guarantee good shifting performance.
Shimanos proven Deore derailleur should guarantee good shifting performance, the 2×10 setup offers a wide range of gears.
Hydraulic Shimano-brakes stop the bike, not the fun riding it.
Hydraulic Shimano-brakes stop the bike, not the fun riding it.
"Kids, man. They'll be the ones to take mountain biking to the next level for us. You just watch" - Gary Fisher, 2009
“Kids, man. They’ll be the ones to take mountain biking to the next level for us. You just watch” – Gary Fisher, 2009

At first sight, the new Fuel EX JR looks like a shrunk version of the regular Trek Fuel EX. It features the same Full Floater suspension system with Active Breaking Pivot Technology and the same frame design with a low center of gravity and even the same color as some of the adult models. But Trek emphasized that there’s more to it! Instead of retrofitting the existing Fuel EX-frames with smaller wheels, Trek started from scratch and designed a frame geometry for smaller riders (134 – 168 cm / 53″ – 66″). One of the main goals was to create a confidence-inspiring geometry that should facilitate access to our sport. More standover height, a lower bottom bracket and a shorter reach are the key facts of this equation.

The Fuel EX JR is equipped with X-Fusion forks & rear shock.
The Fuel EX JR is equipped an X-Fusion fork that offers 90 mm of travel.
The rear shock is from X-Fusion too and features adjustable reabound  and a two positions.
The rear shock is from X-Fusion too and features adjustable reabound and a two positions.

To achieve maximum suspension performance, Trek partnered up with X-Fusion to create a setup, that works well for the smaller, offering 90 mm of travel both in front and rear. The rear shock has two positions (open, lockout). It has a Shimano drivetrain (32×26 double chainring and a 11×36 rear cassette) and hydraulic disc brakes (also Shimano).

Gary Fisher presents the newest addition to Trek's lineup, the Fuel EX JR
Gary Fisher presents the newest addition to Trek’s lineup, the Fuel EX JR

The Trek Fuel EX JR weights 12.7 kg (28 lbs) and will be available in June. More info: trekbikes.com

Words: Aaron Steinke Photos: Robin Schmitt