3 weeks on the 2019 Trek Remedy 9.8
Today is April 3, 2019 and it appears that the snow has finally receded from the majority of Spokane’s trails. We had a relatively dry winter all the way through December, then got some snow in January, but then February was “snowpocalypse.” As a result, my riding season has gotten off to a slow start...but it HAS started.
So let’s get down to business. I took delivery on my new Remedy back in February but the trails didn’t dry out enough to ride until about 3 weeks ago. I now have 7 trail rides under my belt on her and I’d say that’s enough to make an initial review. For the first time ever I went with the more vibrant color scheme rather than the subdued version which means I opted for the Miami Green vs the Matte Gravel. The latter of the two choices was just too unremarkably blah for me so for once, I went loud. I regret nothing. Incidentally though, the finish was damaged by the rack I bought for my road trip vehicle and I’m pretty pissed about that. Lesson learned...get a platform/wheel dish rack and NOT a hanging rack that contacts the frame if you have high dollar bikes. Anyway…
I’ll cover the following things in this review: Sizing and Fit, Climbing, Descending, and Cornering.
SIZING & FIT
First and foremost do NOT rely on just the numbers on the tech sheet when getting this bike sized to you...especially if you’re coming off of an Enduro type bike with the current trend of long and slack geometry. I almost made the mistake of buying an 18.5 in frame because on paper it closely mimicked the numbers of my size large Nomad 3. I went to demo a Remedy 8 and they didn’t have an 18.5 available but they did have a 19.5 so I took that...and it was PERFECT. So the take-away here: If you have the opportunity to do so, go actually get on one of these first...even if it’s just to ride around the block. Ideally, demo one on your local trail...but *foot stomp* do not buy the size that looks right on paper...go ride the bike.
I’m not going to mince words here...this bike is a great climber! It’s a 150mm travel bike but it climbs like a short travel soft tail bike. The rear suspension does not wallow in it’s travel on the way up. In actuality it rides relatively high in it’s travel and stays firm and active on the way up. Yes...I did use the words “firm” and “active” in the same sentence to describe the climbing characteristics...because that’s exactly what it does. It’s firm in the sense of very little pedal induced feedback (pogo) but active in the sense that it still reacts to input even under pedal load while climbing. It’s something that has to be experienced to be fully understood. In a word though, “amazing.”
WOW! Yeah...I’m just gonna lead with that. Here’s what this bike is NOT. It is NOT a point and shoot brawler that you just plow through shit on...but it COULD if you wanted to. You’d be wasting it’s true nature though by doing that and other bikes are better suited for that. This bike is NOT a slow steering super slack DH rig either. This bike IS a “skilled” descender. By “skilled” I mean that this is the kind of bike that you pick your lines on and then rip those lines with an ear to ear grin. This bike is for the rider who understands body English and braking theory and uses them extensively when they ride. It loves to fly whether that be off a sculpted jump or just a well placed root or rock. It is a very nimble, agile, and lightfooted descender. It could brawl if you want to ride it that way, but I feel pretty confident in saying that you’ll be faster on it if you don’t ride it that way. A more accurate description might be comparing a broadsword to a katana...the Remedy is the katana.
Ok, I was very pleasantly surprised by how this bike corners. Trek didn’t follow the current trend of ever increasing reach measurements and slacker headtube angles. They went “conservative” with their geometry and as a result, this bike is a very precise, controlled, and predictable ride in the corners. You don’t have to move forward of the CG of the bike in order to corner aggressively on this bike. You can stay dead center, turn your hips, lean the bike if you want as well...and you’re turning. You can even trail a little behind center of the bike if that suits your riding style and it will still do what you want. While much of this is probably due to the geometry of the bike, I’m fairly certain that the 2.6 tires are also a big part of why this bike corners so well. It is probably the most surefooted yet aggressive cornering bike that I’ve ever ridden. I’ve been in several corners where I thought I was about to lose it from too much or too aggressive of a lean and the tires didn’t even scratch at me...just kept biting all the way through. The ABP suspension pivot around the rear axle is awesome as well. On other bikes, if I drag a little brake in the corner to control my line in the corner, the bike wants to either stinkbug or standup...or both. On the Remedy, nothing changes...it keeps the same manners through the turn with the brakes on or off.
I love this bike! It is early season for me right now so I’m still slow and my climbing performances have not been impressive by any means, but, this bike definitely has characteristics that will probably allow me to climb faster and more efficiently this season and every season to come. I LOVE everything about how this bike handles...it just feels “RIGHT.” It climbs well, it descends well, it corners well...hell...it even jumps well. I can’t ask for more!