Trek Bikes Remedy 9 29  2015 Mountain Bike Review

Trek Bikes Remedy 9 29 2015

Reviews / Enduro Bikes

Trek Bikes 1,543,545

At A Glance

Every year Trek seems to add an acronym or two to the features list that describes their bikes. You could call it marketing or propriety loading, or you could call it evolution. Over the years their ABP Convert, Full Floater, E2, DRCV etc. have been hailed as the answer to problems that the average rider hasn’t really been aware of.

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The fact that the accumulation of all of the above developments have resulted in some of the most competently performing mountain bikes available today suggests that evolution is king. So what have Trek got in store for us this time? Read on as this year Trek may have just surpassed themselves!

Tech Heads

We tested the Remedy 9 29 which is the alloy version, it comes in a “love it or hate it” blue and orange; personally I hated it, but have grown to only mildly dislike it now. Some friends, however, have been quite smitten with it, so it’s obviously got that ‘Marmite effect’. The next model up comes in carbon and features a quieter black and red livery.

So apart from a ‘look at me’ colour way what have Trek tweaked for this years’ Remedy? Well this is the 29er Remedy so it now benefits from Boost148, this is a wider hub spacing. What this allows is a wider hub flange, which in turn allows for a wider spoke base, this gives a claimed 15% increase in the strength of the rear wheel.

There is a knock-on effect that means a custom crank is used to ensure the Q factor remains the same, but the chainline is stepped out by 3mm. A further knock-on is wider chainstays so larger volume tyres will fit. It’s an interesting development aimed at 29er bikes with a goal to stiffen the rear wheel.

Next up is the development of the RE:aktiv rear shock. It looks like a Fox DRCV shock and it is a Fox DRCV shock, the difference is that Trek went and got Penske involved. Penske Racing is a specialist, bespoke, high-end suspension company. They supply suspension to at least half of the Formula 1 racing teams and many other top end automotive racing teams across the globe.

The RE in the RE:aktiv is reference to the Penske regressive damper. This is a spring-loaded valve. When the valve is closed it applies low speed compression, this allows a firm pedalling platform and resists geometry changes bought about during body weight shifts etc. The shock holds up well in normal trail riding situations.

When a high pressure spike occurs a large amount of oil is allowed to flow through the shim assembly, giving instant plushness, yet as the spike continues the resistance created as the oil flows through the ports increases high speed resistance, avoiding bottoming and controlling the stroke throughout its range. In layman’s terms, you get electronic shock performance without any need for batteries.

Up front a Rock Shox Pike RC 140mm fork with custom G2 Geometry slots into the E2 headtube. Drivetrain duties are handled with aplomb by Sram X1 11-speed kit and the brakes are Shimano XT. Bontrager Expert tyres in 2.3 guise adorn the Sram 30 wheelset with the custom Boost148 rear wheel. A Rock Shox Reverb stealth is the highlight of the finishing kit. Bontrager provide 750mm wide low-rise bars, 70mm stem and an Evoke saddle.

Trek Remedy 9 29 Low Setting Actual 18

Seat tube 457mm
Effective top tube 597mm
Head tube 105mm
Chain stay 445mm
Front triangle 734mm
Wheel base 1179mm
BB height 350mm
Head angle 67.5°
Seat angle 74°
Reach 434
Stack 611

Weight w/o pedals 29.1lbs

On The Trail

Straight off the bat the Remedy 9 felt right. The riding position is comfortable, with weight distribution feeling nicely placed in the centre of the bike. There is a slight bias toward weighting the front wheel but not so much as to feel too racy or create any wrist discomfort.

Get on the pedals and the bike glides smoothly on the fast rolling Bontrager rubber, they are a summer combination but held up well throughout the test, which saw its fair share of wet conditions. There is more to this easy speed than the rubber though, this is the first signs of what the new RE:aktiv shock is all about.

The bike just feels stable. Point it up and it holds itself like a lady with a straight back, it does not sink into its travel.

It pedals uphill with ease, a sort of calmness; efficient yet active. It is not the ruthless efficiency of some VPP designs, nor the open, active feel of some others. The position is such that only very minor shifts in weight are required and when it comes time to clamber up and over steps or rooty sections the rear wheel tracks the ground with subtlety.

It is on what I refer to as ‘trails’ that the Trek Remedy 9 29 impressed the most. Those trails that have a bit of everything; flow, drops, ups and downs, roots, rocks…you get the picture. On these sections the bike really does give confidence. Get on the gas and the bike is stiff and reactive, keep the hammer down over choppy ground and the bike seems to take the top off the bumps, feedback is clear but not harsh.

Hit a series of corners and it grips hard, the rear staying composed, tight and then getting just light enough on the exit to make flicking the bike over for the next one a dream. Hit a big root bed at Mach 5 and the RE:aktiv shock responds in an instant, opening the shock and then controlling the stroke, off the root bed and it is back to a stable hard pedalling platform again.

The shock has the usual Fox CTD settings, the Climb and Trail modes make use of the RE:aktiv damper whilst the Descend mode leaves the shock wide open. In the past we always found ourselves fiddling with the knob or worse still forgetting we had left it in the Climb mode halfway down a hill.

If you leave this shock in Trail mode it just does all the work for you. You can ride around all day and not feel like you are missing out. In fact in the Descend mode the shock loses some of it’s lively feel and almost deadens the bike. Trek and the team at Penske have really worked wonders here, it’s active suspension without the need for you to twist levers to get the most out of it.

It’s not every mile you ride that can be filled with features though, many if not most miles are on tracks and paths. Here the Remedy really is a mileage muncher, calmly swallowing up the distance yet always happy to play on any little ledges or lips that may present themselves.

Heading downhill is a similar story; the balanced position and superbly controlled suspension make the Remedy 9 an accomplished and eager performer. Stable enough to give confidence yet agile enough to be fun, the Trek was never intimidated and proved itself capable of taking on some proper features, including drops of around 8 feet, landings were extremely well controlled.

For

The ride - it is taut yet comfortable, calm yet capable, and always composed.

Flow is in this bikes DNA, it just rolls so beautifully through corners and over any terrain, always keeping you informed but never hitting the panic button.

This bike is super-efficient; it’s not just pedalling efficient, it climbs so well, rolls so fast and carries momentum with such aplomb it almost feels like cheating!

Against

Propriety parts, as Trek continue to develop their bikes they are introducing more custom fit parts. This is great on the one hand as it moves technology forwards, but early adopters will be limited for choice for replacements while the component manufacturers catch up.

Overall

So have Trek continued their quest to perfect the mountain bike or are Boost148 and RE:aktiv shocks something of a gimmick?

Firstly, Boost148, the introduction of wider rear hubs for long travel 29ers makes good sense and Trek have made a bold move by making a start with the introduction of Boost148.

It is fair to say that the rear end on the Trek Remedy 9 29 was certainly stiff; it was more a stiffness that we did not think about though, rather than flexibility that we noticed, it’s a good balance between feel and response.

Secondly, RE:aktiv, simply put; superb!

The DRCV shock has always impressed, but the addition of the RE:aktiv damper has really pushed the boundary of what a shock can do.

The Remedy rode fantastically, the levels of control exhibited by the RE:aktiv shock were in fact shocking!

Add to this the excellent Pike up front, a solid spec list and the benefit of years of evolution in terms of geometry, and yes, all those acronyms, and you get one very capable machine.

The Remedy 29 is one of the easiest, most stable and confidence-inspiring bikes on the planet…period.

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This review was in Issue 34 of IMB.

For more information visit Trek Bikes

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By Rou Chater
Rou Chater is the Publishing Editor of IMB Magazine; he’s a jack-of-all-trades and master of none, but his passion for bikes knows no bounds. His first mountain bike was a Trek 820, which he bought in 1990. It didn’t take him long to earn himself a trip to the hospital on it, and he’s never looked back since. These days he’s keeping it rubber side down, riding locally and overseas as much as possible.

Tried this? What did you think?