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Remedy 8 First Ride Impressions

A Little Background:
I’ve been riding mountain bikes for over 20 years and I’ve seen (and ridden) a lot of bikes. Some I liked, and some I loved. I’m fairly certain that today’s bike market makes it harder and harder to actually buy a “bad bike.” As I’ve gotten older my riding styles have changed. I’m not a wannabe XC racer anymore...those days are long gone but I’m far from hanging up my cycling gear. Oddly, I’ve actually become a little more willing to take risks like jumping than I was in my past. I started riding on a full rigid and rode that for almost 10 years before finally getting a front shock...GAME CHANGER.

I waited almost another decade before going full suspension and needless to say, my mind was blown! I’m currently on my 5th full suspension bike, 6th if you count my DH rig too...and my tastes have changed over the years. Fortunately for me, the bikes available have kind of echoed my riding endeavors. I’ve never had a FS that was less than 5” travel so that tends to be my happy zone but I delved into the 6” Trail/Enduro zone with my last couple bikes. I’ve been pretty happy there for the most part, but I’m finding myself missing the climbing prowess that a well designed 5” travel bike brought with it.

I currently ride a NomadV3 and I love it...especially for the downhill...but after 2 seasons or so on it and an attempt at an all day epic that started with a substantial sustained climb I had to reluctantly admit the shortcomings of that bike. Bike park with lift assistance...check!! Shuttles all day until you can’t hold the brake levers anymore...check!!! 5+ mile sustained climb with enough gas in the tank to enjoy the downhill return...well...not so much. At least not for me anyway. There are guys that can do that without an issue, but I’m not in that club. I’m almost a decade past the 40 year old mark and any of my ride data from Strava or Garmin will definitively tell you that. That being said though, I’m not willing to be a lift access and shuttle guy only.

I still believe in earning my turns so I need a bike that will facilitate that, which brings me to the Remedy. I have my eye on a Remedy 9.8 but the rental available to me was a Remedy 8 which is essentially the same bike except without the carbon frame and wheels. I’ve included the link to the Trek page for those that want a closer look at the details. (Just click the image below.) That being said...let’s get to it. Here’s my thoughts after one ride....

This bike climbs well and not in the sense of “...climbs well for the type of bike that it is”...it climbs WELL...maybe even exceptionally well. The rear suspension is amazing with pedaling forces. No excessive bob, no harsh bumps because the rear shock eats them or smooths them significantly. As a result the back wheel stays planted when you want it planted and just provides traction and pushes you forward. It’s really good on square edged bumps or lippy climbs with ledges or moderately sized rocks or roots. Most importantly though, it’s manageable and fairly comfortable as far as climbing goes. Climbing is uncomfortable for me in general because...well because beer...but this bike actually involves a lot less suffering and grumbling on my part on the way up.

This bike also descends VERY WELL. Not in the sense of a full DH rig and not like a longer travel Enduro rig either...but it does descend very well. An Enduro or DH rig kind of swallows up bumps on the trail and makes it really easy to simply point the bike downhill and just hang on. That is far from an insult, it’s a comparison.

The Remedy on the other hand, manages and navigates the trail. It is a “tactician’s” descender...the rider who picks careful lines as opposed to rolling over everything and letting the suspension do the rest will thoroughly enjoy this bike. I know I did, because that is how I prefer to ride. It’s also a “poppy” bike. It rides high in its travel and that’s a very good thing. If you preload in preparation for a hop, it gives you great feedback as opposed to wallowing deep into its travel. That being said this bike CAN plow through if you
want to ride it that way but I don’t see that as its preferred demeanor. The Remedy rewards good riding technique and line choice with amazing, predictable, and responsive handling. The rear suspension is deceiving though too. It’s plush when in use but also poppy (as mentioned earlier) if you decide to launch a root or rock booter. I launched a root and I was actually a little half hearted about it but my minimal effort was met with a nice kick off of it and a very plush landing while gaining speed the whole time.

Back on the ground, the bike didn’t even miss a beat...just kept right on rolling. I should probably mention that the landing on the other side was a sidehill singletrack rock garden which the bike handled without a hint of distress. Honestly, I kind of overcooked the next section because of just how efficient the suspension was. Well, that and I was the first person to demo the bike and the brakes haven’t burned in yet possibly.

Sorry not sorry!

I like the 27.5 wheel size for this very reason...cornering...and this bike does that very well (noticing a trend forming with that description). Again...good technique applies and it is rewarded by graceful carves or snappy whips if that was your intent. The stock 780mm bars were perfect for me and I found myself thoroughly enjoying throwing my hips into turns and the bike responding exactly as I wanted it to. The short rear end on this bike also definitely helps handling in the corners too. I’m not a fan of 29 inch wheels but I don’t have much time on them either. The little time I do have leads me to believe that they are DEFINITELY faster and roll very well, but they feel “tall” to me and I don’t feel I can get the same amount of lean out of them.

This is the only negative thing I have to note. The bike felt a little sluggish on the roll-y or flat and pedal-y sections of trail. I don’t think there’s anything to fault the bike for in this except that the frame I demoed was Aluminum and I may have gotten too used to the resilient lively feel of carbon that my Nomad offers. Aluminum feels almost “dead” in comparison and once you’ve ridden a full carbon rig, going back to alloy might be a less than satisfying endeavor.

If my speculation on this proves true and the carbon rig that I will probably get proves snappier I feel that I must recommend this to potential buyers: If you have never ridden a full carbon fiber framed mountain bike and your current budget will not allow you to afford one...DON’T DEMO A CARBON FIBER BIKE. It will ruin you. That being said, the tires on this bike were 2.6s and I usually ride a 2.5/2.4 setup. Looking at the tires next to each other though, it didn’t lead me to chalk the difference up to rolling resistance, so I’m still thinking it was the frame material.

So this part actually is hard to explain because it caught me very much off guard and I can’t explain it. I saw several other reviews that indicated that the cockpit felt short on the Remedy. I looked at the Trek sizing and assumed that an 18.5” frame would best fit me based on the specs on my current bike that I tried to mimic but when I rented the demo all they had was the 17.5 and 19.5. My current bike has a reach of 17.23 inches which is a full inch longer than my previous NomadV2 and that was a great upgrade in terms of sizing. So the reach on the 19.5 Remedy is 17.91” or 18.14” depending on which position the MINO link is in.

At the time of this writing, I’m not sure which position the link was in but either way, the reach is longer than my current bike which is a large. I’m 5’9” but I have unusually long arms and a long inseam for my height so bike fit can be problematic for me and the best way to truly fit a bike for me is to get on it and pedal it. I obviously went with the 19.5 but I tried the 17.5 just to confirm...uh yeah, no...clown car much??? WAY too small. The 17.5 was DEFINITELY not the right fit but I assumed that the 19.5 was going to be on the slightly large side...and I assumed wrong. The 19.5” fit me PERFECTLY. That being said, this bike made me realize that the reach on my Nomad might even be a tad too short for me! At least for the climbs anyway... The seatpost was a tad bit too low for me but I forgot my Allen wrenches on this ride (they were in the seat bag on my own bike) so I could not raise it. The seat was also all the way forward on the rails and about pointed up about 1 degree which I would have leveled and centered. All that being said, I was still able to comfortably ride and thoroughly enjoy this bike.

Plain and simple, I LOVED this bike. I love my current bike too but for different reasons. I love it for the point and shoot nature of it when it’s time to go down, but it’s a chubby climber. By that, I mean that it’s like me...it climbs because it HAS TO, not because it’s great at it or because it enjoys it. It’s actually not a bad climber...but it’s a handful...especially for long sustained climbs. The Remedy on the other hand climbs well because it CAN and I’d even go so far to say that the sensation that I got when climbing on it is that it almost felt like it WANTED to. Did it make ME a better climber? No...who are we kidding...training does that. Did it allow me to “climb better” though? Yes...yes it did. I was comfortable, and it was exceptionally efficient...especially in the bumpy stuff. It soothes out chatter very well going down AND going up. That is the reason I’m in the market for a bike like the Remedy.

Don’t get the wrong impression though the Remedy is all about the party coming down too. I felt VERY in control on the downhill and I also felt that if I was having a day that I wanted to charge a bit harder, the bike would have welcomed it without a second thought but where the Remedy really shines is that it will get me to the top comfortably and efficiently before the party starts...which is EXACTLY what I’m looking for in my next bike.

Huge thanks to Chris at the Trek bicycle store in Coeur d’ Alene, Idaho for setting me up with
the rental and talking bikes with me. I think I may have found my next ride!!!