Trek Remedy 9.8 29 Review
The Trek Remedy 9.8 29 is the jar of marmite of the bike world, and – as ever – the 29er wheels continue to divide opinion in the enduro scene. But with riders from teams like Trek or BMC managing to prove time and time again just how fast you can ride them, we’ve put the Remedy 29 to the test to find out whether it can hack it as we drag it out for daily post-work rides.
Designed to live up to its name, the Remedy is Trek’s solution to an all-round enduro bike built to conquer any situation. Trek claim to have created a mountain bike for mountain bikers, one that will score full marks when it comes to performance and versatility. Or at least, that’s what the website says.
The glance at the geometry reveals how this versatility is achieved: with a 1,151 mm wheelbase (frame height 18.5″, low geometry) the Remedy avoids being too long, which lends the bike its playful and agile nature despite the 435 mm chainstay and 417 mm reach. The 67.5° head angle and the low bottom bracket render it stable and predictable. What’s more, Trek has equipped the Remedy with the Mino Link adjustable geometry. If you’re after an improved climb or a more agile bike without having to forsake any travel, the geometry can easily be switched into a steeper position.
Aside from the geometry, the actual frame deserves a closer look. The stunning production of the shiny carbon top tube with a metal flake finish renders the Remedy with an aesthetic more suited to a hot rod than a mountain bike. Under the paintwork, there’s a revised carbon version of the Remedy frame, which weighs 400g less than the aluminium frame. The Remedy’s rear end is still made of aluminium, which piques our interest even further. Trek’s patented Full Floater technology explains how the rear shock has pivots on both sides. This results in more responsiveness and a better reaction to a wider range of impacts – as well as ensuring the 140 mm of travel feels far more generous. Moreover, the frame comes with the new Boost standard and is compatible with Shimano’s electronic Di2 shifting.
While the frame is already electronic shifting compatible, it features the tried and tested mechanical SRAM X1 drivetrain with a 32-tooth chainring and aluminium cranks. For suspension, the Remedy relies on the RockShox PIKE forks and FOX FLOAT Performance rear shock, including the DRCV air chamber that was designed exclusively for Trek. The Roam 30 wheels also hail from Shimano, as do the XT brakes. Not forgetting comfort, the RockShox Reverb dropper post offers 125 mm of much-appreciated adjustment.
The bike features many parts courtesy of Trek’s own Bontrager, which are high quality but affordable, ensuring that the price tag doesn’t go above 5,000 € – admittedly still far from a bargain.
On the trails
The frame and the choice of parts size up well and strike us as well selected for its purpose as a trail and racing bike. But naturally, this further piques our interest as to how the Remedy is going to live up to these assumptions.
On climbs the bike gleefully plays its 29er joker card, reliably overcoming everything the trail throws at it. The rear takes on a calmer nature by switching on the low-speed damping compression on the FOX FLOAT shock, even if you’re still low in the sag. Together with the steep 67.5° seat angle (tested, slack geometry position) and the well-considered reach, the riding position is exceptionally comfortable and effective.
On downhills the Remedy immediately surprised us with its exceptional handling, giving us the satisfying feeling as if we were taking the corners on rails. You often need some time to get used to a bike with bigger wheels but this wasn’t at all necessary in this case. Playful and agile in virtually any situation, it was just a case of raising the stem with a few spacers to ensure that the front wheel has enough pressure on it. The Bontrager tyre combination only offers limited grip, but the reliable Shimano XT brakes have enough power. While the FOX FLOAT shock goes through its travel quickly, the RockShox PIKE at the front remained higher in its travel. To ensure both the front and the rear work in harmony, we recommend having the shock in the middle trail mode, and air volume spacers could be of use.
On steep and techy terrain, the 29″ wheels glide comfortably over big bumps, and in fast sections, the Remedy shows no sign of twitchiness. The riding position (test frame height: 18.5″) for a rider of 183cm is really stable, and a shorter stem would boost this confidence even further.
When it comes to rigidity, the Remedy’s frame gives no rise for complaint, although the SRAM RISE 30 wheels couldn’t match their owner. In general, the spoke tension was too low, which is particularly problematic when you’re riding full gas on a 29er. During our testing these got looser and looser, resulting in the front wheel kicking out so far in a burm that the tyre just wouldn’t get through the crown of the forks – by this time it was too late to true them.
It’s not easy to design a decent 29er enduro bike, but Trek haven’t half done a bad job with the Remedy 29. Uniting some remarkably contrasting characteristics, the bike is well suited for post-work rides and hardcore enduro races without the need for any alterations. With its stunning carbon frame and finish, it’s a shame that certain parts don’t quite live up to the standard you’d expect from a bike in this price range. Overlooking the issue with the wheels, we enjoyed the responsive ride, adding further fuel to our in-house oversize wheel debate.
For more information head to: trekbikes.com/remedy29
Note: The Remedy 29 is currently only available on the US-website.
Words: Daniel Schlicke Pictures: Christoph Bayer