Trek Fuel EX 9.9

Dream

    Photo: Photograph by Shana Novak

The problem with 30-pound trail bikes is that riders on more sprightly cross-country rigs drop you on climbs like a flatlander in loafers. Not so with the bantam-weight, full-carbon EX 9.9. It hangs with the weight weenies on the way up and drops them on the descents. "I'd love to get this bike out on the steeps of Crested Butte," drooled one tester. A laterally stiff front provides precise handling on rough terrain, but the truly impressive tech resides in the rear: A unique pivot on the axle keeps the five inches of rear travel active under braking, so the rear end doesn't bounce off the ground when the terrain turns dicey. $7,150; 24.5 lbs (17.5"); trekbikes.com

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