Words/photos By Chili Dog
The Trek Remedy is a staple in the history of mountain bikes. The namesake has evolved greatly over the last decade, but to the die-hard fan, one can still see the DNA. Over the years it has evolved, but much of the bike’s core principals have remained. It has always been Trek’s aggressive, all mountain ready for anything trail slayer, regardless of wheel size or head tube numbers. We’ve spent six months on the latest Remedy and are ready to report our findings.
As full-time media hacks, it isn’t often that we get to experience what actual bike ownership is like. While it may seem cool at first to have your garage be a revolving door of new bikes, sometimes it’s nice to have something that’s actually “yours” and sticks around for a while.
Normally we do our best to accelerate the wear and tear a bike will receive during its life in the shorter test periods some brands offer, but thanks to Trek’s generosity we’ve been able to ride the Remedy 9.9 since August of last year. Although tempting to rush out a review in hopes of being the first, we decided to hang onto the bike and give it a proper long-term testing.
For 2019 Trek made some notable changes to the Remedy. Tire clearance has been increased and Trek now specs the bike with 2.6” Bontrager tires. Should the 2.6 rubber not be enough, the bike has clearance for up to 2.8″ tires. Trek achieved this by removing any provisions for a front derailleur and eliminating the Full Floater suspension design that they have relied on since 2010. Trek claims that the elimination of the Full Floater system increased stiffness 5%.
Trek also made changes to the seat tube. With more riders opting for longer dropper posts, Trek increased the insertion length 10mm over the outgoing Remedy seat tubes. Trek maintained the OCLV Carbon frame making process, which is brilliantly explained by Cam McCaul in video form here. Trek also maintains their Active Braking Pivot, and RE:aktiv with Thru Shaft suspension design. Both increase the bike’s action under braking, and improve its willingness to respond to terrain on the trail. I won’t be shy when I say Trek has some of the best suspension on the market.
To firmly align the Remedy in its all-around trail bike niche, Trek also steepened the seat tube angle to 68.5 degrees. The extra degree over last year’s bike puts the rider in a better power position for climbing exertions. Adjustable geometry remains, thanks to Trek’s Mino Link flip chip. The chip offers a low and high setting with a half-degree change to the head angle. It also raises the bottom bracket height from 13.70-in to 14.01-in.
So where does that leave the Remedy in respect to geo numbers? Very balanced. Though the YouTube commenters may have convinced you that you aren’t a true 2019 bike without a 500mm reach and 60 degree head tube angle, actual trail riding says otherwise.
A size large Remedy (19.5 frame) has a 66.0-degree head angle in the high position and a 65.5-degree head angle in the low position. Reach is 46.1cm in high and 45.5cm in low. Chainstays are 43.3cm in high and 43.5cm in the low position. As trail bike geo goes, it’s right in line with a lot of our favorite bikes, providing plenty good pedaling response, but still maintaining the ability to hit aggressive lines. The 160/150mm of travel certainly helps that cause.
Our 9.9 model comes equipped with a Fox Factory 36 Float, GRIP2 damper. Out back is a Trek specific Rock Shox Deluxe RT3, RE:aktiv with Trek’s Thru Shaft 3-position damper custom tuned by Trek Suspension Lab. Our top of the line 9.9 model comes packing the heat with carbon Bontrager Line 30 wheels, and a SRAM XO1 Eagle drivetrain.
SRAM XO1 Eagle cranks also keep on the premium theme while four piston Shimano Deore XT brakes do the stopping. A host of high end Bontrager parts round out the build with a Line dropper post, Line Pro carbon bars and Line Pro stem. Trek maintains their Knock Block headset spec for 2019 as well. To make the increased tire clearance worthwhile, Trek specs 27.5×2.6 Bontrager SE4 Team Issue tires. With all that carbon, this bike tips the scales at 27.8 pounds!
Coming into this review, we were already fans of the previous generation of Remedy, however, we were curious to see how the elimination of the Full Floater suspension would impact the ride. I can say with full confidence that the 5% stiffness increase was immediately noticeable… just kidding. Jokes aside, the bike certainly doesn’t lack in stiffness.
The reason that Trek eliminated the Full Floater design was because they decided that suspension technology had advanced to the point that it was no longer necessary. We whole-heartedly agree, as I didn’t once long for the outgoing design.
With 160/150mm of travel, the numbers would actually put this bike more in the Enduro category. In fact, the Trek Slash has the same travel as the Remedy, however, the Remedy’s 27.5” wheels and slightly different geometry make it a much different bike.
With such a low weight and balanced geometry, it’s no surprise that the Trek Remedy impressed us with its power transfer and climbing ability. One area where it exceeded ahead of bikes like the Canyon Strive however, is in bump roll-over and sensitivity while climbing. Some bikes with less effective suspension designs tend to get hung up on square edges or rocks, robbing your forward inertia. The Remedy simply floats over them. It isn’t quite to the level climbing sensitivity that Naild suspended bikes like the Marin Mount Vision or Polygon Square One have, but it’s still ahead of most of the competition. Any bike can climb a fire road well with a locked out shock, but climbing technical, rocky trails is where great bikes are separated from the good.
We also found the riding position encouraged long days in the saddle. The 74.7-degree effective seat tube angle puts the rider in an effective position to transfer power without falling off the back of the bike and losing traction at the front. The Bontrager Arvada saddle was also quite cozy on the rump.
It wouldn’t be a Loam Wolf bike review if we didn’t send a bike through bike park hell, and the poor Remedy has gotten more than its fair share, surviving the rugged tech of Mammoth Mountain, the flow of Sky Park and the endless jumps of Snow Summit. After two months of bike park duty, the rear shock began to weep worrisome amounts of internal fluids. After a quick email to Trek, a new shock arrived and has been trouble free since.
While we thought the suspension did a good job going up, it’s especially impressive going down. The Remedy gobbles whatever is in front of it, but will still happily pop up and over a trail obstacle at a moment’s notice. The ultra low weight contributed to that feeling as well. While the 2.6 tires did an amazing job in the soft, kitty litter soil of Mammoth, we found them to be a bit much on our home single track and on the bike park jump trails. We’d probably move down to 2.5” rubber for most of our riding, but that choice is entirely terrain dependent. We can say that regardless of tire spec, the Remedy’s geometry encourages the nailing of corners and the boosting of jumps. I did have to get used to the sensation of the Knock Block however when doing whips and tables. If it were up to me, I’d ditch that feature.
The Wolf’s Last Word
It isn’t often that we get to spend this long with a bike, and after spending this much time with my Remedy it really reminded me of the love a person grows for their bike. The Trek Remedy has won us over with its impressive ability to do absolutely everything. As a stand-alone do it all bike, the Remedy is hard to beat, and it manages to do all that without any fancy travel adjusters or levers. Instead it relies on good design, and top of the line suspension performance.
The best part is that it presents a solid value. While the 9.9’s $7,349 price may give some a shock, it actually isn’t a bad value compared to similarly spec’d bikes from other brands. Step down to the 9.8 model and you get practically the same performance for just $5,499. Suffice to say we like this bike a lot, and see it as one of our top picks for the trail bike category in 2019.
We just received our 2019 Trek Slash 9.9 rest rig and we’re excited to see how the Remedy’s big brother stacks up. Head over to our Patreon to watch the exclusive unboxing video.
Weight: 27.8 lbs
Frame: OCLV Mountain Carbon; 150mm
Fork: Fox 36 Factory Float Grip, 160mm
Shock: Rock Shox Deluxe RT3, RE:aktiv with Thru Shaft 3-position damper, tuned by Trek Suspension Lab
Brakes: Shimano Deore XT
Handlebar: Bontrager Line Pro, OCLV Carbon, 35mm, 27.5mm rise, 780mm width
Headset: Bontrager Knock Block Integrated
Saddle: Bontrager Arvada
Seatpost: Bontrager Line; 150mm
Shifter: SRAM X01 Eagle; 12s
Stem: Bontrager Line Pro
Hubs: Bontrager Line 30 54T
Rims: Bontrager Line Carbon 30
Tires: Bontrager SE4 Team Issue; 27.5×2.6
Bottom Bracket: SRAM DUB PF; 41x92mm
Cassette: SRAM XG-1275; 10-50t
Cranks: SRAM X01 Eagle DUB; 32t
Derailleur: SRAM X01; 12s
All Around Shredder
2.6 Tire Spec
We Can’t Keep It
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