Pinkbike's EWS Pro Rides - We Ride Justin Leov's Trek Remedy

Jun 15, 2015
by Paul Aston  

EWS Pro Rides


For the second round of the EWS we traversed the globe to County Wicklow, Ireland, to follow Trek World Racing's Justin Leov as he prepared to take on the world's best. After putting in a solid fourth place on home soil, the ex-downhill racing Kiwi was looking for a podium. A second place in Scotland last May proved that a good result could be in the cards for him upon returning to the Northern Hemisphere. For this chapter of Pinkbike's EWS Pro Rides, we ride the Trek Remedy that propelled Leov to multiple stage wins and his second trip to the podium.


After the podiums the crowd lifted the winning riders above them.
  A racer couldn't ask for a better podium reception than in Ireland



Frame and Cockpit

Justin Leov s Remedy 9.9 race bike.

Compared to Nico Vouilloz's comprehensive approach to setting up his race bike, Justin seems like the rider who wants to let his riding do the talking, with less focus on the bike. There's a lot to be said for that, as having a clear mind on race day may be more beneficial than a perfected bike. All the same, his Remedy 29 has a few interesting things going on.

The 180cm tall Kiwi uses a Large-sized, 19" frame with a standard carbon front triangle. Justin has been trying out some prototype carbon rear triangles (the other team members still use the production aluminum version). His swingarm/chainstay design is a one-off that is much more symmetrical than the heavily offset production pieces. This means there's no option for running a front mech, but it increases stiffness and has a cleaner line. There's no word on whether this will make it to production or not. Suspension is stock front and rear, with a 160mm FOX 36 fork at the business end and a FOX Float X shock with the EVOL air-can upgrade. This is driven by a custom rocker link that has extra space around the mount to accommodate the bigger can. Reportedly, this will see the production line next year. Also from FOX is the D.O.S.S. dropper post.

Justin Leov s Remedy 9.9 race bike.
The TFR logos must be good for your pre-race confidence.
EWS Pro Rides
FOX all around, including the three-position D.O.S.S dropper post.

Justin Leov s Remedy 9.9 race bike.
With the Di2 and a Garmin GPS computer on board, there's plenty to looks at in the cockpit.


Your handlebar looks quite narrow for a tall guy.

bigquotesI use a 750mm bar - probably a little bit narrower than my downhill days. I used to ride a 775mm, but that's down to the type of racing we do now. The narrower trees suit a smaller bar. That's matched with a 50mm stem with no spacers underneath. I try to go as low as I can at the front before the controls start hitting the top tube.


Justin mentioned he had been trying out different carbon Bontrager bars. I questioned if it was for more or less compliance.

bigquotesI've been trying out different prototype handlebars. They have all been the same shape, but we're changing the recipe of the carbon layup, trying to improve the damping, trying to take a little more of the shock out. I get some tendinitis on some long stages, so it has been good to work with Bontrager with a combination of bars and with their gloves to try and remedy that. I also like to use the Bontrager Rhythm grips, without a locking ring on the outside. That's a little personal thing - I like be able to hang my hands over the end of the grip when I ride and I don't like to have that metal sensation rubbing during a long day.



Suspension

Justin Leov s Remedy 9.9 race bike.


You have the bigger FOX 36 fork up front now.
bigquotesYeah, I had that last year, but running 150mm travel, I've now jumped up to 160mm for this year. That's a bit of change.


Is that to get the front end higher to rake it out a little, or for extra travel?
bigquotesIt's not that really. The fork just tends to work better with more travel and now with the FOX setup, you can tune it in a little more and get it sitting where you want it in the travel. I've got it to a point now where I'm happy with the ride height and have that little bit of extra travel, so it means I can push a little harder in the rougher sections.


And now you have the EVOL air can to match the fork.

bigquotesThat's been a big difference for me over the last year. I was pretty impressed when we got to try that in Rotorua - just how supple that thing is - but also how it holds you up really well in the travel. Last year was good, but that's the thing about FOX - the factory developments they bring out each year just keep on surprising me, and the EVOL is definitely another step up.


Do you have any special tune on your suspension?

bigquotesI worked with FOX in Rotorua and, y'know, we just worked on the feeling and the ride height of the bike. Other than that, nothing dramatic - it's pretty much how it comes out of the factory.


How much sag do you run?

bigquotesFor me, it's not a measurement. It's more about the feeling. I know it's roughly 20%, I guess, but that's just a guide. I mean, sometimes I have more or less.



Drivetrain

Justin Leov s Remedy 9.9 race bike.


Justin uses a Shimano XTR Di2 drivetrain, with single ring at the front and a 170mm crankset, 5mm shorter than stock, for extra pedal clearance:

bigquotesDi2, that's been really good. I've just been using that at race weekends, but I also use it a lot on my road bike. I'm really used to it now, and happy with it. Other changes from Rotorua? I've stepped up from a 32t to a 34t ring - basically because the the gradient of the liaisons here are more gentle than in Rotorua, and the stages themselves have a bit more pedalling in them, so I opted for the 34t to try and make the most of my training, to be able to put the power down without spinning out. I don't mind pushing a gear that's maybe bigger than theirs [Rene and Tracy] on the hills. I'm used to that - all my life I have pushed a bigger gear like that and I like how simple it is just with a small chain guide. Also, now with the 11 speed 32/34t up front and 40t at the rear, that's plenty for me to get up the hills.


Justin Leov s Remedy 9.9 race bike.


Where's the Di2 battery?

bigquotesThe bike was made before Di2 came about, so my mechanic, Ray has made some modifications. From the XC team they found a way to get the battery inside the frame safely without rattling. You have to take the fork out to get it in to the top tube and then use a longer bolt through the cable guide to secure it.


More electronics with the Stages power meter?

bigquotesI use the Stages power meter in the crank arm. Everything I do in my training is done with power. My coach sets powers that I train to for time, or intervals. That's super important. We gather all the data from the race as well and that feeds back to the coach to help us train for other events. That's a key part for us. On liaisons I'm looking at it a lot, if I have the time I ride to the power ranges I have trained to. Although there are exceptions, sometimes you have to push or the gradient is steep and the power goes up, I've been keeping an eye on the data over the last few days. What I did notice on the first day of training here, was most people I was riding with were riding with a much higher power than me, it was noticeable to see everyone's power drop on the second day of training. On the first day I just let them go, and on the second, we were similar. I think it's a useful tool for this game.



Finishing Touches

Justin Leov s Remedy 9.9 race bike.
Finishing touches include 3M rubber tape on the chainstays to keep everything quiet...
Justin Leov s Remedy 9.9 race bike.
... and a Marsh Guard to maintain clear vision

Justin Leov s Remedy 9.9 race bike.
66.5 degree head angle - slightly slacker than standard, due the the taller 160mm travel FOX 36.
Justin Leov s Remedy 9.9 race bike.
Respectable weight, just a fraction over 30 pounds, with pedals, number board, bottle cage and a Marsh Guard.

Justin Leov s Remedy 9.9 race bike.
Justin uses the tiny MRP 1X top guide for security, and a bash guard to ward off any logs or rocks.



Irish Improvements

Justin Leov s Remedy 9.9 race bike.
Justin used a Bontrager SE5 tire up front and an SE3 on the rear.


Have you changed many settings since you came to Ireland?

bigquotesNot really, for me pretty much it's what I've been used to for the last few seasons. I feel good on the bike and we have been working hard to make a bike that can be pretty diverse. Here it's quite similar to New Zealand in terms of trails. I've not really changed anything here, just tire pressure and a couple of clicks of low-speed compression really. The pressures in my suspension haven't changed.


Have you gone up or down with the tire pressures?

bigquotesI've gone up in tire pressure a little since New Zealand. In Rotorua, it was all those slippery roots and native forest, so I dropped the pressures to around 20psi there, and even a little bit below. For here, there's the risk of the rocks puncturing, I've had to keep that in the back of my mind. It's a little bit of a compromise. Ideally, I would like to run similar pressures to Rotorua, but the risks are too great here: 23 to 24 psi front and 25 to 26 rear. I use a Bontrager SE5 tire front and I'm using an SE3 on the rear for a little less rolling resistance.


Race Day

It was oh-so close again for Justin Leov this weekend - he took the wins on stages three and four today but Greg Callaghan was just too strong for him in the end.


You had a good day today Justin, second place.

bigquotesYeah, nice solid day on the bike. I rode really clean. No big mistakes this weekend. Really good. The bike didn't miss a beat, eh? Tires held up good and no mechanicals.


Anything that you would have changed in hindsight?

bigquotesNo. I was happy with the settings. It's always a compromise with the tires. Sometimes you want good rolling and more grip. In the afternoon, I was tempted to go for more grip, but I was happy with how it was rolling. No regrets.






Riding Justin's Race Bike

I had been racing a 27.5" wheeled Trek Slash at the EWS to get a feel for the trails and to draw comparison against Justin's Remedy. Just like Nico's bike in the previous article, Justin's Remedy felt more efficient, even when compared to my brand new Slash. I guess that may be part of having a good mechanic behind you.

The wheels spun effortlessly, like Nico's bike. Maybe there's a seal or two missing and light grease or oil, instead of the standard bearing lubricant. The breakaway on the suspension was extremely light and again, the mechanic may have some little tricks up his sleeve that he wasn't letting on. Cutting a lip or two away from suspension seals isn't uncommon at the highest level, and downhill racers have been known to bore out fork bushings to make suspension even more supple in the past.

The suspension didn't feel extreme in any way, with ample progression and bottom out resistance, rebound was middle of the road - a big bunnyhop would see it compress, rebound slightly past the sag point once, and then settle. The roll-over of the bigger wheels was instantly clear - every little root and rock seems to absorb a little less of your speed than when riding the smaller wheels. Adding to this roll-over effect, the bigger wheels mean more rotational weight and less deflection,

The bike holds its line through chunky rock without an issue, never getting bogged down or snagged. Turning and steering accuracy was good. Specifically, the stiff wheels helped maintain direction, and the custom carbon rear end and pinch-bolted front axle surely played a role in that. Grip at the front end was sufficient, but the bike was surprisingly sketchy at the rear with the low profile, 2.3" Bontrager SE3 tire, especially under braking. (I think there may have been more than 26psi in the rear for safety on race day.) Overall, Justin's Remedy was super quiet all around, and had solid tuned feel.

Squid. XOXO
Slaying my standard 27.5" wheel Trek Slash. The roll-over of the bigger wheels of Justin's Remedy 29 was instantly clear - every little root and rock seems to absorb a little less of your speed than when riding the smaller wheels.







MENTIONS: @trek @shimano @foxracingshox


91 Comments

  • + 67
 What makes Justins bike so fast ? ummm Justin ? Pretty sure if I rode it it would be a fair bit slower
  • + 12
 Yes but when EWS races are won by seconds you need every advantage possible. Another thing to note is that these guys can do over 50km in practice in the days leading up to the races. If a rider can save energy before the event that they have no time to recover from that is a big advantage.
  • - 13
flag bigburd (Jun 15, 2015 at 12:43) (Below Threshold)
 Thanks for the news
  • + 20
 dude ....and if you were in a sci-fi flick and raced a clone of yourself on a less capable bike you'd totally win.
  • + 38
 News flash - 29ers have better rollover. Seriously, though - for super tight/twisty courses, I can see how enduro racers would want the smaller wheels/shorter wheelbases, but mostly, I'm surprised they don't go for 29ers more. Yes, they have incredible skill and can make smaller wheels go superfast through the gnarly stuff - but from my (decidedly not anywhere near even amateur racer level - I purely ride recreationally) perspective, I'm surprised that most enduro racers seem to find that they make up for what they'd lose on the rooty/rocky stuff just by being a little more maneuverable in the twisties. What am I missing? Same goes for DH, actually - looking at the videos from Leongang - would a 29er DH bike with a reasonable short rear triangle be that uncompetitive for speed there? I totally get why people ride smaller wheels when they're out for fun, those bikes being more playful and flickable, but if it's just about time down the mountain, I would think the big wheels might, at least for some courses, be an advantage.

Also surprised he's using DI2 on a 1x setup. Seems like the big advantage for DI2 is to make 2x setups seamless and smooth/fast shifting. Rear derailleurs are pretty damn smooth and fast, though - and there's a simplicity issue. Is this because his sponsor wants to demonstrate that DI2 can hack it in a rough environment and be reliable enough for racing, or is he really getting an advantage with it?

34x40 as his climbing gear on a 29er - holy shit, these guys are incredibly fit.
  • + 10
 i have to agree with all you have said. With the speeds these guys rip at and how technical the trails i do not get why more are not on 29ers.

I ride smaller wheels and have spent loads of time on 29ers. I prefer the smaller wheels for just the enjoyment of the ride over the bigger wheels, but i cannot dispute the efficiency of the bigger hoops. And if I were racing and separated by mere seconds on a balls out run from the next guy in the standings I'd reach for any advantage i could get and that would be bigger wheels. Especially if i was in the 5'10" and up range.

I would think in all but courses with crazy tight corners (of which there are few to none, i would guess) the 29er had the advantage.
  • + 6
 so di2 can be programmed to shift how you want. hold button for 3 seconds shift 4 gears, hold down, sweep through all gears. light tap, on gear. instantly, without hiccup for cable biding and while having better grip (control) on your bars. easier to route a wire than a cable as well.
  • + 5
 Di2 on full suspension bikes that would otherwise use full length cable housings, is a good idea.
  • + 9
 Food for thought. Curtis Keene's best result came on a 27.5 enduro vs his 29 that he swore by when he switched form 26.
  • + 18
 More food for thought, he's done shit-all since!
  • + 18
 I like good bikes, that I put my leg over and I feel like I rode them my whole life. Ones that encourge me do nothing else but to look ahead, where I want to put my wheels and they take me there with minute movements of my hips. I like wide and high cockpit with stem length that feels right for that particular bike. Then I like 5.10 shoes on either thin flat pedals or time clipless pedals. Then I like fork setup relatively hard with nice low speed compression action. Then I like rear supension that has a good balance between eating bumps and rewarding my terrain pumping efforts. I also like light yet knobby tyres, even if I am off for a long ride with lots of climbing. Somewhere later comes the wheel size...
  • + 1
 'Same goes for DH, actually - looking at the videos from Leongang - would a 29er DH bike with a reasonable short rear triangle be that uncompetitive for speed there?'

I've thought this, @g-42. I think as materials and geometry improve we may well see it. But to play Devils advocate, bearing in mind I worship no particular wheelsize, if 29 was the best thing for enduro, wouldn't they all be on it? Believe me, I want it to be black and white that 29s are best for covering ground. And as people keep mentioning height, at six four it makes no odds to me. But something in my head tells me unless you make 'courses for 29s' they won't 'shine'. Dh, enduro or otherwise.
  • + 10
 The question is whether a bike good for most people must resemble a race bike. Many 29ers are a true joy to ride, if riding one puts a bigger smile on your face, even if you are as short (and cute) as Emily Batty, than riding it's 650 version then why the F do we have to make people feel inferior for not riding what is fastest, by celebrating this idiotic "ride what pros ride or you are missing out" culture? A culture driven by no1 marketing fallacy, because in reality it is founded on loose ground of deep personal preferences of unique racers (cockpit setup, tyre pressures, compression tunes) mixed with what sponsors wish them to ride? I think that is what 27,5+ is about, and I say it without praising it in any way.

To me that pro-bike chatter/ culture is holding development of the sport back by keeping too many people off the fun by riding shit, with XC at the helm. Why on Earth, entry level bikes, that is those under 500$, resemble XC racing bikes, which are freaking worthless pieces of handling crap?! Every bike designer knows that people new to the sport appreciate easily and light rolling bikes, and that is made 90% by light wheels and tyres, not XC geometry. Why aren't most sub 500$ hardtails look a lot more like Production Privee Shan? Even if there is a crappy 140mm, 2,5kg fork up front, it is still better than 2,1kg 100mm fork. Why aren't those bikes longer with slacker and longer geos (and I am not a fan of 64 head angles for average Joes) with 750 bars and 50ish stems, putting grips around the height of the saddle at full extension? Such bike is even more comfortable to sit on than pseudo XC pish giving you lower back and neck pains. Why aren't those cheap tyres having better tread patterns, let's say similar to Hans Dampf? All that with no difference in price what so ever.
  • + 3
 @AznKiDrew CK's second home is Whistler. It makes sense that he ripped one there but overall you have to say that he did better on a 29-er.

I'm a large guy and LOVE my Enduro 29. It certainly makes me faster but I still likely have the most fun on my 26 DJ bike. The major drawback IMHO to a 29 as a DH bike is that big rear wheel buzzes your ass when you hang off the back either in the air or the steeps. It's pretty much the only thing about riding a niner that I don't like. For the rest the differences are too small for a mortal like me to notice.
  • + 3
 I think we'll see this in the future. Mitch Ropelato raced an Enduro 29 last year at world champs and qualified 2nd!! Too bad he crashed in the first corner on race day...
  • + 3
 CK made a rod for his own back by stating in one of his promos that he couldn't see anyone winning EWS on a 26 (then Graves does it) and then by raving about his 29r, maybe he's right about the 29r, since Leov gets the best from his and Ropelato rocks up when it suits him and blows 99% (not a scientific calc.) of the field away with a smile on his face, but given Graves results on a 26 before switching to 650b, Leov and Ropelato on 29 then Keene not getting anywhere on any wheel size, unless it's a familiar track with few surprises to a local, then clearly it's less about wheel size and more about the rider. So CK 'Pick a wheel size and...just try harder'.

In any case with the industry pushing plus sizes based on little or no research to back up their theory that there's a market for 28, 29+ (it worked for 650b so why not?), or the reality that it's the gift that keeps on giving spawning more and more new standards, I'd say 29 won't be such a polarising topic for much longer.
  • - 1
 I ride single track on a specialized epic 29er. I say about 95% of the guys that ride this trail are on 26 or 27.5. Handsdown the 29 absolutely flies on the straights. Out of corners is the ONLY place where the 29 suffers. If you stick on a 26er around a corner, he will carry more speed and get on the pedals faster and will build a small fast gap, however it only takes a few pedal strokes on the 29 to once again cathup and rub tires with the 26 in front once you get the momentum back. I've never been passed by a smaller wheel, because noone can maintain pace on the straights to even get close to me into the corners. The larger wheel is also more efficient for uphill and downhill. IF I rode super technical tracks, I would definitely go 26/27.5, I'm talking like left, right, left, right no straights type track. My epic on the rode is capable of keeping up with 6.5kg road bikes, they seriously just fly.
  • + 1
 The simple fact is that it is the riders input that does a whole world of difference because it decides at what velocity and angle, wheel hits the obstacle. Wheel alone rolls easier only on things where rider does not do anything, in most cases gravel and small roots/rocks. The bigger the obstacle the less it matters because more rider input is needed. The role of suspension and geometry cannot be underestimated. Remedy 26" rolls better over obstacles than Superfly and so what? As to acceleration and playfulness of 26er it is The same. Yes, 26er accelerates better when person riding it can corner well, pedals out of corners and pumps terrain, which is rare by average. Playfulness is the dumbest argument for most peole's mouths because if you can "play" then you'll do it even on a Fatbike. Furthermore, no wheelsize can hinder development of skills. 26er is easier to pop a wheelie on but 29er makes it easier to hold it there. If you have the right bunnyhopping technique then 29er poses no bigger problem to tackle trail features. What it is worse at compared to 26er is bunnyhop high jump contests. It's all good enjoy the ride Big Grin
  • + 1
 Horses for courses or is it that just you and your mates are of the same standard and wheel size doesn't really make a difference? Are the bikes the same otherwise? All epics 120mm travel? More likely rider input based on the confidence of knowing what they're capable of on their current bike. As long as you love it...
  • + 2
 Anyone seen Ratboy riding 26 as last of the Mahicans last year for almost all season and beating them all??
Also Fabian Barel named it perfectly in this interview... btw.. .not how Steve is instantly changing the subject when he is talking about it...
Press opinion is bought... follow the money Wink
mpora.com/videos/AAdg2fpwveo8 Also a nice view on GWins win of last weekend Wink

Just look at 26 vs 27,5 and see the real difference is close to 1/26th ... that is like 3.8% difference... you will not notice that unless you are a pro...
If 26 vs 29 ... well there is a noticeable difference... 3 inch... 3/26th is 11.5 %... carrying speed... easier over bumps... but slower braking, slower speed making..
Also mass wants to go straight when in movement... not around the corner... it is easier to ride a corner with speed on a 26 in stead of a 29... just because of that physical rule...
  • + 1
 Hmm - I think we all agree that it's the rider, not the bike. But among the top ten or fifteen EWS riders, or DH WC riders, the skill and fitness standards are awfuly tight. This is the cream of the sport, having risen to the top with lots of talent combined with lots of work. But for some courses, you'd think that there's an advantage to racing a 29er to favor rollover over flickability. So for any racer in that top echelon, assuming their sponsor has a 29er that are suitable (not true of all of them, but there are some big bike makers with some awfully enduro 29ers), why would they not race that bike on that course? They all travel with multiple bikes and mechanics to support them, and given the cost of the whole enterprise, if adding a couple 29ers to the quiver might make the difference, I'd assume that's not going to break the bank. I could see how the time needed to dial in another bike would erase some of the potential advantage, so that's probably more what's going on here - they're optimizing their choice of bike for the season/series, rather than one race.
  • + 1
 One of the reasons I can imagine not to change wheelsize between races 26vs29 is that is will respond a lot different and you have to get used to that again... When racing on a same bike all season, the bike becomes one with you... all advantage and disadvantage you know and feel and know how to compensate or use... I think that part will be this main reason... If you come to the pro level.. all is measured... if the differences were so big that it can cost you a race... they would change for sure... I am sure all is tested and proved for them...
  • + 0
 In short g-42... I think we agree! Razz
  • + 2
 I've had all three wheel sizes at the same time on similar bikes (Enduro 29, Pivot M6 and Ibis HDR). I wanted to see which one was faster for me personally so I put my own money into it and ignored the marketing BS. The result was that they all felt VERY different. The E29 was a steamroller that did not like to go side to side. In addition when it got steep it did not have anywhere near the precision in corners of the other two. The HDR on the other hand felt very sketchy like it wanted to throw you on the ground at any second when riding it next to the other bikes. The HD/R had been my primary bike for two years and I thought I would be a 26 for life kind of guy so the results surprised me. The 275 was truly the Goldilocks size combining the best of worlds. While the E29 felt locked into lines and made it difficult to change them if you wanted to, the Mach 6 retained the ability to switch it up while still retaining the stability that the HDR lacked.

For me there is no way I would want to ride a 29 DH bike. In the steeps the bikes simply have too much flex and you lose a lot of the precision that is required. I can understand why people like 29 Enduro bikes, but they are not for me.
  • + 1
 what category would a 26er with a 34x32 fit in?
  • + 2
 salespunk, those ride characteristics have still little to do with wheelsize. Try Jekyll 275, Process 168 and Stumpy 29. Jekyll is a freaking cow, dumb stubborn donkey that goes where it wants, Process feels like a Hulk one gene away from DH bike, yet as if by magic it can become nimble if you drag it by the horns a bit, while Stumpy 29 feels small and nimble for most of the time, despite being huge. I've alfeady heard 3 opinions that Stumpy is a tiny bit lesser descender than E29 when things get really rough and fast, but it outrides it in every other aspect,mainly in fun factor
  • + 33
 When you gonna ride Gwin's No-Chainer?
  • + 14
 I hear that it pedals very efficiently.
  • + 20
 I hear his drive train is completely silent. really cutting edge stuff
  • + 5
 gotta pay extra for that.
  • + 5
 apparently they've completely eliminated chain slap too
  • + 1
 Fabian also says that pedals are only there to place your feet... Wink

mpora.com/videos/AAdg2fpwveo8
  • + 22
 Given the choice, would you race Justin's bike, or the Slash?
  • + 3
 Absolutely love the fact ten people liked your question... but nobody answered it! Not sure why. I'll have a go, don't know much of the slash but I'd race Justins bike.
  • + 1
 Justin's bike is slack and low. The Slash be slacker and lower and smaller. I'll feel faster on the Slash so for the first race I'd pick the Slash. Then I'd see my times and be baffled because I felt so fast on the Slash yet was faster on Justin's bike (in training runs!). Since it's Justin's bike and not mine, I sell the Slash and buy a bike like Justin's to race on since it's faster.

in the case that the Slash turned out to be faster for me, then the Slash. Trek should put a guy with a tophat slinging a glitter Les Paul as the head badge for those and just "Trek" on the downtube, no other lettering. Watch sales go up.
  • + 8
 Does this indicate that Trek will move towards a none-proprietary i2i for the rear shocks? Current available rear shocks: RS monarch plus debonair and Factory Series Float, DRCV, RE:aktiv. Please give consumers more options and sales will increase, because the rear shock is the weakness in my opinion. Great write-up!!!!
  • + 2
 Rock Shock now offers an RT3 to fit Remedy's and It's the single best thing I have ever bolted to mine. Massive upgrade.
  • + 1
 @DARKSTAR63 Correct, I meant RS Monarch Plus RC3. I have a RC3 on my slash now, but would also like to try fox X2, CCDB CS, etc offerings on the bike in the near future. More options are better for the consumer even if at a slightly higher price point...I'll keep hoping Trek notices that advantages to offering out to of the box flexibility.
  • + 2
 Oh yea, I agree, I was just concurring. The proprietary shock holds back this platform big time.
  • + 1
 Where are they getting the float X on the Slash in the last image? Is it a new 2015 rocker (i2i) or did Fox make that custom for the racers only? Pretty bummed that the racers have it and it's not being released to the public...I'd be so happy if Trek made the deal happen with fox (this might open the door to running the X2's). Just a few thoughts.
  • + 1
 I'm a bit out of the loop here, but wouldn't it make more sense to run the longer travel on the rear wheel instead of the front? I mean, more weight and force come onto the rear wheel (I think) when riding. Motocross bikes run more travel on the rear too, don't they? So many bikes that are sold have more travel on the front than rear.
I'd love to learn a thing or two on this topic...
  • + 2
 Historically for mtb it's normal to have a front travel bias if there is a bias. Back in the day hardtails represented the easiest way to look at suspension bias, and still do really I think. Old hardtails had 50-80mm of travel, now they have up to 160mm sometimes more. Lets say the bias in question is 100mm. You'd put a 100mm fork on a hardtail, why doesn't anyone put a rigid fork on 100mm suspension frame? This is coming from someone whose first proper dh bike came with an 80mm judy dh and 5.5inches of rear travel. I have seen the odd person running a 180 fox 36 on 200+mm dh frames but not usually more than that and I'd say front bias is still waaaaay more common. Maybe it's because with push bikes ultimately the traction of the front wheel is the biggest imperative? whereas mx is a slightly different ballgame most of the time, despite being 2wheeled, where the rear end is more important. Maybe that's nonsense.
  • + 1
 Ha thanks man! I guess looking at the old days and hard tails it makes sense. Maybe next time when there's some ask me anything action going on with a wise suspension dude we can also ask that question again...
  • + 1
 you might not want to bolt up anything else once you've ridden a properly tuned RE:Aktiv shock...!!!
  • + 1
 The Reaktiv shock does work very well on the Remedy. I have a 9.8 Remedy and a 9.8 carbon slash with the monarch. I have no desire to ride the Remedy with the Monarch and it is an excellent shock on the slash.. Id say the mid stroke support with the Reaktiv might be better than the monarch plus.
  • + 1
 I didn't even have a Reaktiv on my Remedy ('11 model year) and I can say mid stroke bob was minimal with the DRCV. It really does work well, unless you push the bike hard, then you are blowing through travel and bottoming left and right. I found I was forced to run less sag than I would otherwise prefer to counter this. The Monarch is ace when it comes to ramping up- it is more active though. Its active yet controlled nature is my favorite part about the Monarch. I would say this helps find traction everywhere, including climbing. So at the end of the day the DRCV was more efficient but left a lot to be desired when riding the bike anywhere near its potential. With the Monarch I can always use the flood gate and in the mid position to reduce bob while still having some activity from the shock. With both a Slash and Remedy to ride sure, I wouldn't bother swapping out your Reactiv either, but if you are on a Remedy and have to choose the best option I would say go with a RS. Again, I have not ridden the new Reaktiv versions so I really couldn't say which is better, just offering some thoughts on my set up.
  • + 11
 It's got a chain. Not interested.
  • + 6
 "Slaying my standard 27.5" wheel Trek Slash.” I know Paul Aston races etc etc, and that he’d easily out-ride me, but I kind of think that it’s a bit of a claim to write that about yourself.

Anyway, I’m really enjoying these articles, especially with such a solid input from the rider themselves rather than third party conjecture.
  • + 1
 Did they edit this? I just read it, and it said "racing" rather than "slaying."
  • + 1
 look at the caption to the last photo.
  • + 2
 The way I read that, he's complimenting the big wheels, not himself.
  • + 4
 Ah, yes, there it is. Agree with @barcolounger though, it sounds more like he's commenting on how the big wheels made him faster than he was on his 650b.
  • + 5
 I wouldn't mind hearing more comparisons between the Slash and Remedy. Rene usually rides the Slash, but for the last two rounds I saw he was on the Remedy.
  • + 1
 Especially since this remedy weighs 30lbs... An al slash can easily weigh just 28!
And carbon slashs...they're like unicorns. Who has actually seen one other than ews race?
  • + 1
 @jrocksdh I have a 2014 slash 9 AL but have noticed a few 2015 9.8 and 9.9 floating around AZ and CA. Not many though...seems like CA market is dominated by all other manufacturers?
  • + 6
 Is Trek ditching the RE:Aktiv shock after one season? The knocking on the shock is quite annoying.
  • + 7
 Yes it was so full of F1 technology that Bernie Ecclestone called.
  • + 1
 "F1 technology" that they touted, but they decided to put a picture of an Indy car in all their ads.
  • + 2
 The knocking is annoying, but its just that. Annoying sounding. The shock actually works pretty damn well and I was seriously skeptical coming off an inline to the remedy 9.8. The Pedal mode particularly works great, I don't feel the need to try another shock on the remedy for the most part.
  • + 3
 This is a great article. The motocross publications have this theme nailed: testing the pros' bikes, giving an insider's look at them, and a solid write up afterwards. I'm glad to see this same theme coming through in some (albeit very few) mountain bike publications/outlets as pro bike tests have been nearly absent in the past. Great job PinkBike. Ride the bikes the rest of us mortals never will and tell us all about it! Keep up the good journalism.
  • + 5
 The big 'Trek Factory Racing' decal lets people know you're just better than them.
  • + 5
 still one of the nicest bikes out there although it looks like a session.
  • + 6
 Looks like a session
  • + 1
 Agreed. Looks like a session
  • + 2
 I was pretty sure I find this comment here. Legend!
  • + 2
 There we go, that's what I came for.
  • + 5
 Anyone stunned by his sub 20psi tire pressure?
  • + 2
 Definitely. I live in Arizona and we run pretty high pressures to not pinch..around 25-30 if not higher. I typically run 30psi for xc and 25 for dh. sub-20 would feel sluggish for me.
  • + 1
 nope
  • + 2
 Not at all. Running 20/22 on my 22mm rims with 2.2's, sometimes lower if it's sandy.
  • + 3
 i put chain around neck make pedal faster go round and round eat many cookies haiku is fun
  • + 1
 they keep going on about slacker head angle because of the extra 10mm travel at the front, but doesn't the new 36 have a shorter axle to crown ratio, making it about the same???
  • + 0
 Nice ride. I love how Trek pivots the back on the rear axle. That's the right way. Don't like that unnecessary Xmember support whatsit on 'ere from TT to ST. Just put a clean bend in & f*ck off with all the extra stupid lookin' tubes huh?
  • + 1
 How is he not burping tires,i've heard good things about Bontrager tubeless.But 20 PSI?They must have a better bead lock than Stan's rims.
  • + 3
 Fox, why u no put kashima on dropper?
  • + 4
 It would put Kashima coating all the way into the marketing bs black hole, instead of just part of the way as it is now. But guessing its because a dropper post isn't required to make the little millimeter back-and-forth adjustments that a shock tube is.
  • + 14
 But matching.
  • + 1
 i asked a FOX guy about this at a demo day this weekend and he just stared at me. He figures it's due for an update in 2017 but wasn't optimistic about new colors.
  • + 1
 Maybe he was butthurt coz in that moment he realised.. 'Shit.. Everyone knows it's just a colour'.
  • + 1
 he did say something about it adding to the cost... uh... ?????
  • + 1
 "good stiff carbon wheels" those rhythm elite wheels pictured are not carbon. Glad they're stiff, though!
  • + 1
 Why do all the endro riders featured thus far run the stems slammed? Am I missing something I should be trying here?!
  • + 1
 Want want want want want! Gotta be one of the coolest bikes, in any discipline.
  • + 1
 The chain ring in the picture looks much better than the XTR's fat, hollow one.
  • + 1
 5' 10" is tall? Always forget how small pro cyclists are.
  • + 2
 Sick. Want.
  • + 0
 Looks like a session...
  • + 0
 looks like Kona Coiler, or Giant Reign, Or Ellsworth, or specialized pitch, or Rocky Mountain Attitude, or norco range, ect, ect, ect, ect.

I wonder why? maybe because this shock layout works pretty well or something?

I know you're joking, I'm just sick of it.
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