The performance has come on in leaps and bounds
We’ve been impressed by the sensitivity of Trek’s RE:aktiv dampers from RockShox and Fox, but the Trek Remedy brings sensitivity to another level.
Need to know
- Trek’s race-ready enduro bike with 27.5in wheels
- New Thru-Shaft shock designed improves small bump sensitivity
- A 160mm travel RockShox Lyrik suspension fork is married to the 150mm ABP rear suspension
- OCLV carbon front end comes in five sizes
Trek Remedy 9.8
A lot has changed in mountain biking in the last five years. 26in wheels have been replaced by 27.5in on everything other than dirt jump bikes, and the days of the front derailleur are finally numbered.
The Trek Remedy has evolved in tandem with these developments, and then some. But at what cost do all of these incremental improvements come? Other than some redundant parts and a lot of late nights for bike engineers, it’s riders who seem to have benefited the most.
When we tested the Remedy 9.8 back in 2013 it cost £4,300. Five years on and the latest version is only £200 more, and it’s a vastly improved bike. That’s impressive, given that everything else seems to be getting much more expensive. Yes, the carbon seat stays have been replaced by alloy ones, but that’s a good thing in terms of reliability.
By far the biggest change though is in geometry. Size for size, the latest version has a 30mm longer wheelbase and given that the chain stay length is also 5mm shorter than the old 26in Remedy, that means the front end has actually increased by 35mm.
Looking back at the 2013 Remedy 9.8 we tested and the 80mm stem stands out like a sore thumb. Interestingly, the latest version sees the stem length reduced by 30mm to 50mm, almost the exact same amount by which front end has grown. So the fit of both bikes is actually very similar, even if the ride quality and handing are worlds apart.
Another big change, and one that’s across the board, is that stout 35mm forks are supplanting spindly 32mm units. This alone has transformed the handling of longer travel bikes and the latest Remedy gets the top-end RockShox Lyrik RCT3 with 160mm travel.
In the last ten years Trek has placed an increased emphasis on bespoke shocks and the new Remedy is no exception. It features Trek’s unique Thru Shaft technology, which does away with the high-pressure internal floating piston (IFP) that’s found in most modern single tube dampers.
At the launch in Switzerland, Trek had its Thru Shaft design mounted on a hand dyno side-by-side with its regular RE:aktiv damper and it required noticeably less force to get it moving, it also lacked the spring effect inherent with IFP backed designs.
We’ve been impressed by the sensitivity and control of Trek’s RE:aktiv dampers from RockShox and Fox, but this brings sensitivity to another level. As for whether or not the extra complexity of the Thru Shaft design impacts reliability remains to be seen. One things for sure though, no one is going back to the way things were, even if it was only five years ago.
Spotlight on Trek’s Thru Shaft shock technology
If you’re old enough to remember the RockShox Judy fork, you’ll know that through-shaft dampers aren’t a new design. You’ll also remember that the through-shaft damper cartridge in the Judy would blow all too frequently. The problem was, that even though the through-shaft damper had no oil displacement, as the shaft volume is constant, the oil in the damper would still heat up and expand, causing the cartridge pop. Trek accounts for the thermal expansion of the oil inside the damper by using a small, but separate chamber with an internal floating piston.
It’s a complex design so if you think Trek got rid of the conventional shock layout to save money, think again. Also because the damper shaft passes all of the way through the shock body, the effective length of the shock remains unchanged as the suspension compresses, so Trek has had to employ a yoke at the bottom of the shock to accommodate the Thru Shaft design. Obviously Trek believes that the extra complexity is worth the performance gains, but we just hope it’s reliable.