PINKBIKE FIELD TEST
Trek Remedy 9.9
"This is one of the few 150mm bikes that I'd be happy to do huge days on."
Words by Mike Levy, photography by Trevor Lyden
Trek's Remedy platform was first introduced way back in 2008, and since then it's been their ready-for-anything all-mountain machine with enough travel to get you out of trouble, but not enough to keep you from wanting to pedal it thousands of feet up into the alpine. That rings true for the latest version, too, and while the 2019 Remedy sure looks similar to its predecessors, it sports some noteworthy changes in the geometry and suspension departments.
The Remedy's rear wheel travel still sits at 150mm, with 160mm on tap up front from a Fox Factory 36 Float fork with the impressive GRIP2 damper. It's also rolling on 27.5'' hoops and high-volume 2.6'' rubber, making it one of the few rigs in the Field Test that isn't on big wheels. There's even enough room for a 2.8'' wide tire on the back of the Remedy, but those who prefer 29ers should look at the enduro-focused Slash.
Remedy 9.9 Details
Wheel size: 27.5''
Frame construction: carbon fiber
Head angle: 65.5 / 66-degrees
Chainstay length: 435mm
Sizes: 15.5, 17.5, 18.5, 19.5, 21.5''
Weight: 29.1 lb (13.2 kg)
Price: $6,999 USD
More info: www.trekbikes.com
Trek’s 'Knock Block' headset has a built-in stop to keep the fork from spinning around and hitting the downtube, a downtube that’s in the way because they say that frame rigidity is increased if it runs straight from the headtube to the bottom bracket. Another detail is the Mino Link pivot hardware that joins the rocker link and seatstays; you can rotate the hardware to change the head angle by half a degree and the bottom bracket height by 7mm.
On to the numbers. Compared to the previous version, the new Remedy gets half a notch taken off the head-tube angle to sit at 65.5-degrees in the slackest setting, and a 1-degree steeper seat angle.
At the back end, Trek has stuck with their Active Braking Pivot suspension. The rear pivot rotates concentrically around the axle, with them saying that it’s designed to “keep the rear suspension working while braking.” But while ABP is still around, the shock’s lower mount is no longer on an extension off the front of the chainstays. Instead, it’s bolted to the front triangle and not floating. The reasoning comes back to rigidity, again, with this layout said to offer improved numbers over the Full Floater that they've touted since 2008.Climbing
Pretty much all of these enduro-ish type things pedal well enough to satisfy most people's needs, but do they really
feel like a proper trail bike on the ascents? Hell no, but the 2019 Remedy comes close. Despite that praise, it isn't because of its ho-hum pedaling manners that are topped by plenty of other bikes of similar travel. I even hit the pedal-assist crutch lever a few times, something that kills a tiny piece of me everytime I do it.
But while the efficiency is average-ish, the Remedy's climbing manners are, in general, very impressive. A lot of other 150mm bikes are heavily skewed towards the descent, but the blacked-out Trek delivers easy-to-live-with handling on the most technical of climbs. By that, I mean that the climbs are noticeably easier when aboard the Remedy than when riding the other 150mm-ish bikes in the test stable.
Relatively speaking, it's easy to get the Remedy around the tightest of switchbacks, and it was rare to run out of real estate or be forced to dab. All of the traction is there, too, with the 2.6'' wide Bontrager SE4 tires impressing in the ultra-loose late-summer conditions to the wet roots and slick dirt that came later in the Field Test. It's not exactly a dainty gazelle at a smidge over 29 pounds, but the apparently Air Wolf-themed Trek feels pretty quick. In fact, if it were possible, I might guess that I was aboard a trail bike in a blind test. Descending
Look elsewhere if you want an enduro rig that's eager to turn descents into Mexican-style boxing matches; the Remedy is far more of a tactician's bike than other 150mm-travel machines. Sure, with that much suspension you're going to get a hall pass on a lot of terrain, no matter what, but the Trek definitely responds best to a rider who knows the benefits of being smooth and choosing the best lines. The flip-side is that it's lacking that 'Get outta my way' presence that the new Bronson or SB150 have, although neither of those can match the Remedy in the agility department.
The Remedy's suspension feels a lot like past versions, with it leaning more towards an active ride instead of firming up from chain loads. This can be a good thing when it comes to traction, of course. There are deeper feeling 150mm layouts and shock combos, no doubt about that, but Trek seems to have worked-in more support that helps keep the bike up in its travel.
And speaking of handling, the Remedy really underlines the gap between an enduro bike and what I'd call an all-mountain bike. The SB150 is certainly the former, and I'd argue that the new Bronson leans more towards that side of the fence as well. While the Remedy is still a very, very capable bike, a less daring rider descending nasty, scary trails will go faster when he's aboard the big Yeti or a Slash. It's only on the roughest or steepest sections where those two will pull ahead, and I suspect that the Remedy closes the gap anytime things are nearer to horizontal, especially for the more average among us.
The Remedy ain't for the Four Loko slamming, Pit Viper wearing endur-bro who rides and acts like every day on the bike is an enduro race and fancies himself too fast to bother using a damn landing. No, the Remedy is a thinking rider's 150mm-travel bike that's happy on rowdy trails and that you'll be happy to be on during an all-day epic. I can't say that about many other 150mm-travel bikes.