All of us at The Bike Lane understand the importance of the “demo mountain bike.” In fact, I tell people all the time that you can’t get a true sense for a mountain bike until you ride it off-road. I was about to get a huge dose of my own advise…………As I stood in line to demo this bike at TrekWorld this summer my thought was to ride this bike first, confirm it was a silly bike to make, and then get on with the more serious bikes. Funny thing about a demo day though, is once and a while it can really be an eye opening experience. As I rode the bike out of Trek’s parking lot and toward the trails that IMBA had built as a testing ground across the street, I began to realize this bike might actually be for real. Currently I ride a Fuel EX 9.5, I love this bike. It’s one of those bikes that you immediately feel comfortable on, that you can immediately ride fast. The bike has 5″ of travel, but only weights 24lbs. It’s great on the climbs and great on the downhills. The 69er is all this, and more. Everything I love about the 9.5 is present in the 69er as well as all the things I love about riding a 29er. It accelerates like a 26″ bike, but you have this big wheel up front that just devours terrain and provides tons of traction. I think I’ve found my new race bike for 2008!! Anybody interested in a slightly used Fuel EX????? I’ll even let you take it on a demo.