Ride number two for this test was on the Remedy 9.8. Maybe our legs were tired from the day before spent hammering the BMC Trailfox TF01, but first impressions of the Trek were that it seemed to lack zip by comparison, and the plastiky Bonty tyres felt harsh.
It also proved much more tricky to set up. The DRCV (dual rate control valve) technology couldn’t be easier to dial in, but it was more the balance of the bike we were struggling to get our heads around. We found ourselves repeatedly reaching for the three-position ProPedal lever on the RP3 shock in search for a more composed ride, and were constantly messing with the air pressure in the fork. Something we don’t remember having to do on last year’s alloy Remedy 9, equipped with a standard Fox Talas Fit fork and RP32 DRCV rear shock.
We even checked Trek’s online suspension set-up guide just too to make sure we were in the ballpark, as no amount of suspension fiddling seemed to counter the feeling of having of too much weight over the front of the bike. And, if anything, the opposite should have been true given the slacker head angle and lower BB afforded by the introduction of twin-position Mino Link. Increasing the pressure in the DRCV fork just seemed to make the beginning stroke harsher, without the increase in end-stroke ramp-up we’re used to.
In the end, swapping the stock 80mm stem for a 70mm actually proved more beneficial than all our suspension fettling but the bike still didn’t feel 100 per cent balanced. At least we now felt like we were getting somewhere, but no sooner had we started to find our way around when one of the Mino-Link pivots fell out. Luckily we noticed something was wrong before any damage was done to the carbon seatstay assembly.
With the Remedy in the work stand we figured it was as good a time as any to fit a chain device. E13’s Hemi 3 is specifically design for a triple chainsets, and after some modification (read mutilation) we finally got it to clear the Remedy’s low-lung asymmetric chain stay. Only to re-fit the XT chainset and discover that the granny ring bolts foul on the device! OK, so we ditched the granny ring. Sorted. Well, not quite, as we’d still lose the chain on the 42T ring due to the lousy chain line. Trek isn’t alone here, and for the record we’d like to see double chainsets and chain devices fitted as standard on all 140/150mm travel bikes.
Tech rant over, let’s get back to the ride. On steep, fast, rocky chutes the Trek Remedy feels like it’s the only bike we’d ever want to own. It’s confident, stable, and the linear end stroke of the DRCV fork comes into own when hanging off the back on a constant gradient descents. Dive hard onto the front, however, and it’s a different story. The fork just seems to give way too easily and the backend un-weights loosing traction. In the end we ran a 55mm stem to get more weight over the back of the bike. It made it easier to manual, the wheels were more evenly weighted when cornering and it’s the closest we got to un-locking the Remedy’s true potential. Surprisingly, the short stem was much less of a compromise on the climbs than you’d think and you could always go up a frame sized if you wanted to claw back some reach.
We definitely prefer the inherent flex of the OCLV carbon Remedy to the stiffer alloy version, but we’re not convinced that that the suspension is as well balanced as on the Remedy 9 we tested last year.
It is still a solid package with flashes of brilliance, but by introducing the DRCV fork technology Trek may have solved one problem, only to create another. But we can be 100 per cent certain of this as the geometry and rear shock have also change on the 2012 Remedy 9.8. Maybe a frame only custom build is the way to go.
MBR rating: 8
- Love: how solid the and sure-footed the Remedy feels in certain situations.
- Hate: that it’s not like that all of the time.
- HA: 66.5
- SA: 72.7
- BB: 338mm
- CS: 438mm
- FC: 718mm
- WB: 1,156mm
- DT: 660mm
Watch the Trek Remedy 9.8 in action
- Frame: OCLV mtb carbon/ alloy chainstays 150mm
- Shock: Fox Float RP3 DRCV
- Fork: Fox 32 Float RL FIT DRCV 150mm
- Wheels: Bonty Rhythm
- Tyres: Bonty XR4 Team 2.35in
- Brakes: Shimano XT 180mm
- Drivetrain: Shimnao XT, XTR r mech
- Handlebar: Bonty Race X Lite Carbon??
- Stem: Rhythm Pro 80mm
- Seatpost: RockShox Reverb Stealth
- Saddle: Bonty Evoke 3
- Weight: 12.17kg
- Sizes: 15.5, 17.5, 18.5, 19.5, 21.5in (18.5in Tested)
- Contact: trekbikes.com
Still not sold on Carbon? Well the Remedy 9 has all the same suspension technology in stiffer alloy frame for £3,200