“I’ll die if I ride this thing. It is not safe.”


When Jason rolled our new (old) 2005 Trek Fuel EX 8 RWYB project bike back home from the shop, both of us sat and scratched our heads. Was it safe as is? Probably not. Was it safe to race a 3-hour Enduro race on? Definitely not. The fork was a cheap fork with only 100mm of travel that wouldn’t last an hour on a technical course.The bars looked like something you’d see on the boardwalk of a beach- an adjustable stem and 500mm wide bars. Perfect for cruising to the next margarita spot, terrible for a summer morning of steep drops to rocks and fast corners. The Shimano paddle shifters are terrible, but in the spirit of RWYB, we're gonna give them a shot. We headed to the parts bin to see what we could scrounge up to make our new acquisition a little more race ready…

First and foremost- the fork needed to be addressed. What came on the bike was a replacement from the original- a spring loaded Suntour XC 330 with 100mm of travel. For one, the bike was designed around a 130mm fork; so having something with less travel meant that the headtube angle was more steep. This translates to the bike handling poorly downhill and at high speeds. Also, a 100mm of travel means that there wouldn’t be enough squish for the type of riding and speed that Jason intended to inflict on the fork. If Jason took to the course on that fork, a number of things could happen. Worst case scenario, Jason snaps the fork in half, probably breaks a couple teeth and bones, and we delete all these blog articles off the website. With these dangers in mind, we managed to dig out a used fork out of Jason’s part bin for a replacement- a period-correct Rockshox Pike. Remarkably, this is an extremely similar fork to what would have come on the Trek originally, albeit a little more travel. With 145mm of travel, the bike would perform much closer to how it was intended. Also, an air fork instead of a spring-loaded fork allows us to tweak the feel of the fork to best suit the riding of the day. A little routine service still has to be done, but the Pike is going to be a huge improvement.

Secondly, the stem and bars had to be changed to something wider and not adjustable. This was easier, as Jason had an old Truvativ stem and Raceface bars off one of his old bikes. The swap was made and here’s what the bike looks like:


As much as want to encourage you to “run what ya brung", safety comes first. Riding must be within the limits of the bike and the rider. Man and machine must adhere to realistic limits. This is not to say you have to spend a ton of money, though! With used parts and a little bit of elbow grease, we are confident that (almost) ANY bike can be made shreddable! We drove down the street to Lockhart State Park and jumped, sent, and shredded our upgraded RWYB Bike on anything we could find!

This weekend, Jason is heading out to the racecourse for a test run, and next week we’ll let you know his thoughts and concerns leading up to race day and update you on our preparations of the bike.