Friday, 25 January 2019

Trek Top Fuel 9.9 2019 - Dissected and Analyzed

My Race Bike for 2019

At the beginning of 2018 I got hold of a used Trek Top Fuel 9.9 RSL (2017) sort of by chance. For the first part of the year I raced it in parallel with my Cube SLT (2017) and I was able to compare the two. During previous seasons I've raced a number of different full suspension top-of-the-line bikes so I've built up a good base for reference. The way that the Top Fuel stood out was that it handled roots, rocks and minor obstacles better than any other full susp that I'd ever ridden. This sort of behavior is important for me as I try to minimize my energy usage. The more that I can sit down and just spin the pedals, the more efficient I am. If I have to get off the saddle then I'm wasting energy.

Trek Top Fuel 9.9 2019
This led to me making the decision, for the first time, to race the same model in 2019. I ordered a brand new Trek Top Fuel 9.9, model 2019.

There are some differences between the 2017 and 2019 model: Rock Shox SID fork (still Fox in the rear) and Bontrager Kovee Pro 30 wheelset are the major changes.

Weight and Optimization

Now naturally I couldn't leave the bike as it was. It's fun to optimize, right?

Note that I've focused on optimizing unsprung and rotating weight.

The Wheels

Putting the wheels on the scales first produced a bit of a surprise:

Weight of Kovee Pro 30 wheelset with rim tape and tubeless valves
That's sort of heavy... But I did notice that the rim tape looked sort of massive. I needed to look into that. First I couldn't find a way to get it off but then I noticed that by peeling it gently off from the valve hole I could remove it. The original tubeless valves were not the light kind either.

World's heaviest rim tape?

Let's weigh the wheelset again:

Weight of Kovee Pro 30 wheelset without rim tape and valved
Wow! That's quite the difference! 155 grams lighter! And were below 1500 grams which is respectable for a wheelset with extremely wide rims - 30mm!!!

Let's put on some normal rim tape and light tubeless valves:

Weight of Bontrager Kovee Pro 30 with light rim tape and tubeless valves

Right around 1500 grams. That's good! Again note the extremely wide rims.

Race Wheels - Duke Lucky Jack

I will be doing most races on my Duke Lucky Jack wheelset which weighs in at 1280 grams.


Standard SRAM brake discs:

Were replaced by light Ashima ones:


Standard axles:

SRAM axles without handles:

I realize that these are no massive weight savings but I do them for two reasons:

  1. The handles are practical when removing the wheels but they can get stuck on things like rocks or roots and vegetation.
  2. They're relatively cheap!

Unoptimized stuff

Some stuff that I did NOT optimize (yet?):

Does anyone want to sponsor me with some light parts? :)


I've opted for Schwalbe Racing Ralph / Racing Ray 2.25 Snakeskin. This is a combo that's good for the kind of stages races that I will do in the mountains this year. They weigh in at just a smidgen over 600 grams. For Swedish marathons I will run lighter tires, specifically Schwalbe Thunder Burt 2.1 Snakeskin in the rear. So that will shed about 100 grams of weight.


I got my hands on the new Shimano XTR 9100 pedals. They came in at 314 grams:

Total Weight

The weight with the standard Kovee Pro wheels and wide Schwalbe tires comes in at 9.83 kg. This is race ready with Shimani XTR pedals (310 grams), bottle cage and Garmin out front mount.

With the Duke race wheels and lighter tires the weight will come to approximately:

9.5 KG

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