Trek vs. Specialized! Not since Hulk Hogan battled Andre the Giant has there been a better match-ups of larger-than-life juggernauts. And the Fuel EX and Stumpjumper are arguably each brand's flagship.
Both bikes have crept up in travel over the years, but the Stumpjumper took a big step in this iteration, bringing it up to 135 millimeters in the rear and 150 up front. The Fuel EX is still a relatively conservative 130/130, but their ace-in-the-hole is their rear shock's RE:aktiv and Thru Shaft technologies.
Each bike also has a different approach to geometry. The matched-travel Fuel EX has 40 millimeters lower stack than the Stumpjumper, but a much longer cockpit. That was consistent with its XC roots and made it a better sprinter uphill, and Trek's RE:aktiv valving meant you could ride it in the shock's firmer medium setting without compromising small-bump sensitivity. The Specialized, on the other hand, had an advantage on longer, seated climbs.
It also had the advantage of a 150-millimeter travel fork. Riders more focused on the descents likely won't be bothered by the less aggressive climbing position, while the Trek is designed to be more of an all-rounder.
And we go more in-depth on each bike in their own roundtable videos and write-ups, so make sure you check them out too.