For a bike that was introduced less than two years ago, the Remedy 29 has already racked up an impressive race resume, thanks to the performances of Trek Factory racers Tracy Moseley and Justin Leov on the Enduro World Series circuit. The big news for 2015 is the addition of an OCLV carbon framed option, which is claimed to shed over a pound of weight off of the aluminum version. There's also a new rear shock that Trek and Fox developed in conjunction with Penske, along with the introduction of yet another axle standard. We tested the carbon framed, SRAM XX1 and Shimano XTR-equipped 9.9 model, which retails for $8,799.99 USD. There are three other less expensive versions in the line, starting with the base model, aluminum framed Remedy 8 at $3569.99.
Trek Remedy 29 9.9 Details
• Intended use: trail / all-mountain / enduro race
• Wheel size: 29"
• Rear wheel travel: 140mm
• OCLV carbon front triangle and seatstays
• Fork: RockShox Pike RCT3 140mm fork
• Shock: Fox Factory Float DCRV RE:aktiv
• Drivetrain: SRAM XX1
• Brakes: Shimano XTR Trail
• Wheels: SRAM Roam 40 w/ Boost148
• Seatpost: RockShox Reverb
• Weight: 25.8lb(size 19.5" w/o pedals
• MSRP: $8799.99 USD
Frame Design and Construction
Devoid of any sharp angles, but also not overly swoopy, the Remedy's svelte frame profile makes it look fast even when it's standing still, poised and ready to leap from the starting gate at a moment's notice. The front triangle and seat stay are constructed from Trek's OCLV (Optimum Compaction Low Void) carbon fiber, with extra reinforcement and a plastic guard in place on the down tube to help ward off rock strikes. There's a mix of external and internal cable routing - the housing for the stealth Reverb dropper post exits the seat tube to join the rear brake line that runs atop the downtube, while the rear derailleur housing is tucked away inside the frame. The frame layout leaves room for a full sized water bottle inside the front triangle, a bonus for those riders interested in shedding their hydration packs.
As you'd expect, the Remedy has the obligatory tapered head tube, ISCG 05 tabs, a 12x148mm rear thru-axle, and... Wait, what? 12x148 rear spacing? Nope, that's not a typo. Get ready for yet another standard, because by all appearances this one looks like it's here to stay, and the Remedy 29 is the first bike on the market with this new spacing.
Developed with SRAM, the initial goal behind Boost148 was to create a stiffer rear wheel, and widening the bike's rear end by three millimeters on each side turned out to be the best way to achieve
|Devoid of any sharp angles, but also not overly swoopy, the Remedy's svelte frame profile makes it look fast even when it's standing still.|
this. That extra space allows for the hub flanges to be moved outwards, in turn creating a better bracing angle (the angle between where the spokes leave the hub and where they enter the rim). According to Trek, Boost148 makes it possible to have the stiffness of a 29” wheel be on par with that of a 27.5” wheel. There's no need for a different bottom bracket shell width with Boost148, but a different crankarm spider is required in order to achieve the correct chainline, due to the fact that the rear cassette will be sitting 3mm further outboard than it would with a 12x142 setup.
The Remedy 29's carbon frame gives it a lean and sleek look. There's plenty of room for wide tires, and a guard is in place to protect the seatstay from chain slap.
In addition to the claimed increase in wheel stiffness, the additional room also makes it easier to fit wider tires, and to create chainstays with enough clearance for taller chainrings. Although it was developed for 29ers, with the rumblings about 27.5+ continuing to grow, the new standard could be a hint of things to come from Trek, since it's a way to make bikes compatible with the wide rims and tires that are poised to hit the market in the near future. As far as aftermarket wheel options go, Industry Nine, Hope, and DT Swiss have already announced plans to offer Boost148 compatible hubs, and several other manufacturers will likely be ramping up production over the next few months.
The Remedy uses Trek's Active Braking Pivot (ABP) suspension design, versions of which are used on everything from their Fuel XC race bikes all the way to their downhill race rigs. ABP uses a pivot that rotates around the rear axle, with the intention being to prevent braking forces from affecting the rear shock in any way. The shock itself isn't attached to a fixed point on the frame; instead, it's attached to the chainstay and the upper rocker link, allowing it to 'float' for what Trek says is increased sensitivity.
The rear Fox shock still contains Trek's Dual Rate Control Valve (DRCV) technology, where a secondary air chamber opens up as the shock goes through its travel to increase the amount of available air volume, but Trek has added another feature for 2015. After working closely with the suspension wizards at Penske, a company known for their work in the world of F1 racing, Trek and Fox came up with what they've dubbed RE:aktiv
. In simple terms, housed inside the shock is a spring loaded valve that allows for increased low speed compression for pedaling support and on smoother terrain, but when the shock's shaft speed increases, the valve opens up, enabling the shock to quickly and smoothly absorb the impact before the valve closes again.
Compared to a typical CTD shock, the RE:aktiv internals are intended to have a better response to impacts, even when the shock is set in the firmest Climb mode. Climb mode still creates a firm platform for efficient pedaling, but when the shaft moves at the predetermined rate, the shock quickly transitions to a fully open state until things calm down again. Geometry
|Combine a sub-26 pound weight with the increased rollover capability the bigger wheels provide, add in the traction provided by the rear suspension design, and you've got a recipe for a serious climbing machine.|
Our 19.5” bike came outfitted with a 750mm Bontrager Rhythm Pro carbon handlebar and a 70mm stem, which isn't out of the ordinary since Trek places the Remedy 29 in both their Trail and Enduro categories, but to really unlock the bike's potential on technical terrain swapping to an even wider bar and a shorter stem is highly recommended. Despite all of the trickery that's happening inside the RE:aktiv shock, the set up procedure is the same as with a traditional DCRV shock - inflate it to the recommended air pressure, cycle it at least 50% into its travel in order to fill the secondary air chamber, and then check the air pressure again and adjust as needed to achieve 30% sag. The Remedy's geometry can be adjusted by flipping the chip located at the top of each seatstay, but it remained in the slacker and lower position for the duration of the test, simply because there was never an occasion when it felt like a higher BB or steeper head angle would improve its performance. In the low setting the Remedy has a 67.5° head angle, and a 445mm chainstay length.Climbing / Handling:
Out of all of the bikes we had on hand in Sedona, Arizona, for testing, the Remedy 29 earned a spot with the best of the best when it came to climbing performance. Combine a sub-26 pound weight with the increased rollover capability the bigger wheels provide, add in the traction provided by the rear suspension design, and you've got a recipe for a serious climbing machine. There were sections of trail that I was unable to clean on any other bike except the Remedy, no matter how many times I threw myself at them. Even on tight switchbacks, those tricky uphill turns where 29ers can lose some of their climbing luster, the Remedy was still quite manageable, with a balanced and centered feel that made it easy to weight either the front or rear wheel as needed to maintain traction. The overall fit of the size 19.5 frame was well matched to my 5'11” height, with an upright and comfortable climbing and pedaling position, especially once a shorter stem was installed.
The Remedy is an active climber, and even in Climb mode the rear shock will cycle into the beginning portion of its travel during pedaling, but this movement is unnoticeable unless you're actually looking at the shock. Rather than acting like a lockout and turning the bike into a hardtail, the Climb setting provided support, but the suspension was able to stay planted on the ground, matching the contours of the trail rather than deflecting off of them. Riders who are looking for a shock that feels fully locked out in the firmest setting won't find it here, but I'd argue that on the RE:aktiv shock Climb mode is actually more useful than it typically is, since it's good for more than just smooth fireroads and paved approaches.
|There's a refined sense of brutishness to the Remedy's handling - imagine a boxer reading Shakespeare in the corner of the ring after laying his opponent to waste, or a football player flawlessly performing a complicated ballet routine and you start to get the picture. |
The Remedy's climbing abilities proved it could hold its own in the trail bike category, but it was the downhill portion of its performance was that I was most interested in. A 140mm 29er doesn't immediately seem like the type of bike that would be capable of winning EWS races, especially considering the number of 27.5” wheeled bikes with 160mm or more of travel that are also battling for that spot, so I was curious as to what tricks the Remedy had in store.
Any questions I had had about the Remedy 29's downhill capabilities slipped away the instant gravity took over, replaced by a sense of awe at just how fast this bike truly is. No matter how nasty the trail, whether it was on the chopped up chunky rocks of Sedona or the roots and mud of the Pacific Northwest, nothing seemed to rattle it. There's a refined sense of brutishness to the Remedy's handling - imagine a boxer reading Shakespeare in the corner of the ring after laying his opponent to waste, or a football player flawlessly performing a complicated ballet routine and you start to get the picture. It can be a thug when necessary, plowing straight down the fall line and gobbling up everything its path, with plenty of stability on hand thanks to its longish wheel base, but it will also leap from one side of the trail to the other at a moment's notice, whether it's to get to the sneaky lines that save time in a race, or the little bonus hips and airs that make a trail even more fun. Wheel size rarely crossed my mind during testing – there were absolutely no “if these wheels were smaller I'd be having more fun'' moments. In fact, most of the time I really couldn't imagine having any more fun than I already was. Suspension Performance:
Considering how much technology Trek has managed to pack into the Remedy's rear shock, it's impressive how little thought it requires out on the trail. It simply works, with only the occasional flip of the red CTD required depending on the terrain, and even that motion is optional - there were plenty of rides where I left it in Trail mode for an entire ride. That was my preferred shock setting for the descents as well, since it kept the bike just a tad higher in its travel than Descend mode, while still opening up fully when the going got rough. The RE:aktiv shock has a high level of small bump sensitivity, which allows the rear tire to stay glued to the ground, increasing the amount of traction provided by the big wheels even further. The opening and closing of the regressive valve is seamless, and although I occasionally heard a subtle 'tick tick' noise come from the shock when it was in Trail or Climb mode, the entire stroke was silky smooth, without any odd ramping up or sudden loss of support. Deeper in the travel the shock felt bottomless, making it feel like the Remedy had even more than 140mm of travel on tap. Heavy braking didn't have any negative affects on the suspension performance, and the rear end remained active even during slow speed maneuvers down steep choppy sections of trail. Up front, the RockShox Pike displayed the consistently high level of performance we've come to expect, and felt well matched to the rear shock.
Wider bars and a shorter stem would make the Remedy even more race ready, and it'd be nice to have that dropper post lever located on the underside of the bar. Boost148 isn't a proprietary standard, so expect to see various manufacturers offering hubs with the new spacing in the near future.
• SRAM XX1 drivetrain: Part of the reason for the 9.9's steep price is the inclusion of a full XX1 drivetrain. The X1 drivetrain that the next model down is equipped with works well, but XX1 works even better. Shifting feels smoother and less 'clunky' than it does with X1, and that sensation lasted throughout the test period despite exposing the bike to a winter's worth of mud and grit.
• Shimano XTR Trail brakes Shimano's XTR brakes continue to impress with their excellent performance and ergonomics – the dimples on the lever blade for extra grip are a nice touch – and the set on the Remedy didn't disappoint. The one change I'd like to see is for them to come equipped with metallic instead of resin pads. On wet days the performance of the resin pads greatly diminishes compared to the metallic version.
• Bontrager XR3 Team tires: Bontrager's XR3 tires were impressive, especially considering how low profile their tread pattern is – they have far more grip than expected, even in wet, slick conditions. Our test bike came with the XR3 in the front and rear, but the actual spec should have included an XR4 , which would have satisfied my request for a slightly meatier tire in the front.
• SRAM Roam 40 wheels: It seems counterintuitive to develop a new hub standard that's claimed to increase wheel stiffness, and then lace it up to rims with an internal width of only 21mm. Bontrager's XR3 and XR4 tires work especially well with wide rims due to their rounder profile – it'd be great to see the Remedy spec'd with wheels that allowed them to perform to their fullest potential. A bearing on the drive side of the rear wheel also developed play and needed to be replaced much sooner than expected. As far as actual wheel stiffness goes, I can't say that I noticed any drastic increase. The bike does track very well in corners, but the rear end didn't feel any stiffer than other 29ers I've spent time on recently.
The Remedy's performance both climbing and descending makes it one of the best do-it-all bikes currently on the market. Pinkbike's Take:
|At first glance it'd be easy to call the Remedy 'just another big wheeled trail bike,' but that would be like saying the Porsche 918 is 'just a car' - neither sentiment could be further from the truth. The fact that the Remedy 29's climbing performance is almost as outstanding as its downhill prowess is what truly makes it such an incredible bike, and I'm not one to use the word 'incredible' lightly. I'd still like to see wider bars and wider rims, but otherwise there's nothing else to nitpick about the parts spec, which is how it should be considering the price. The 12x148 rear spacing will certainly raise some eyebrows, as any new 'standard' is apt to do, but it does appear to have traction, and a number of other companies are poised to hop on board, which will make it easier to find aftermarket replacement parts if necessary down the road.|
This is a bike that truly blurs the line between categories - it climbs as well as any trail bike out there, and its downhill performance places it in the top tier of the all-mountain category. In short, this is one extremely impressive ride, capable of tackling anything that's thrown its way, whether that's a mellow lap on a ribbon of swoopy singletrack, or navigating through the hairiest stages at an Enduro World Series race. - Mike Kazimer
About the ReviewerStats: Age: 32 • Height: 5'11” • Inseam: 33" • Weight: 150lb • Industry affiliations / sponsors: None Twenty years deep into a mountain biking addiction that began as a way to escape the suburban sprawl of Connecticut, Mike Kazimer is most at home way out in the woods, carving his way down steep, technical trails. The decade he spent as a bike mechanic helped create a solid technical background to draw from when reviewing products, and his current location in the Pacific Northwest allows for easy access to the wettest, muddiest conditions imaginable.
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