Our favourite 140mm carbon travel companion is going strong, and together we've seen some of the best trails in the country. Living the glam life as a test sled for shiny new product reviews, and the chosen steed for carrying us on Flow Nation destination film trips, the Trek Remedy 9.8 27.5 is lapping up all the attention from the camera these last few months.
The Remedy comes in two wheels sizes, we went for the 27.5 one, it sits in between the 120mm travel Fuel EX and 160mm travel Slash. A real all-rounder with a buttery smooth rear suspension and relaxed geometry, it’s the type of bike that strikes a good balance between long and short travel. Perfect for travelling in search of new trails, not afraid of the rougher trails, and still efficient enough to keep up with the cross country bandits.
Coincidentally it’s the same bike that National Enduro Champion Chris Panozzo rides, although his goes much faster. Check out his unique build and setup here: Panozzo bike check.
We’ve been tinkering and modifying the Remedy from its stock spec, with a current weight of 12.6kg let’s take a look at what’s been going on under the hood of the ‘Pine Lime Express’.
The FOX Float 36 fork with its beefy legs is an uncommon sight at only 140mm travel, typically we’d see this travel category dominated by the FOX 34, with the 36 found on 160-180mm travel bikes. Not a bad thong at all though, it’s one of the stiffest steering front ends around, you really can put your weight over the forks and push them so, so, so hard.
The fork’s sensitivity isn’t the greatest though, especially when the rear suspension is smoother than butter melted on a silk tablecloth. A known trade for bigger diameter legs is increased surface area which often translates to more stiction, and being a non-Kashima level the fork on this bike does feel a little wooden when compared to the FOX 34 we reviewed recently.
We’ve fitted two air reducers in the spring side to add progressiveness to the stroke, the little plastic spacers are easily fitted but not supplied with the bike, we sourced them from FOX and popped them in to tune to our liking.
Anyone who’s spent time on the Trek suspension bikes that use the Full Floater linkage system will agree, it’s one of the most sensitive and supple designs out there. After many years of Trek’s tight relationship with FOX they’ve been able to achieve the desired air spring that makes these bikes really tick without the need for their now superseded DRCV (Dual Rate Control Valve) rear shocks, the new large volume EVOL air cans on 2016 FOX Float rear shocks is exceptional.
The Remedy’s rear suspension is a system that certainly does require you to use the blue lever on the shock to your benefit, not in a bad way at all, it’s just so plush if you leave it open for anything but the descents it feels a little soft underneath you. To it’s credit, Trek’s proprietary RE:aktiv rear shock damper works so well in ‘trail mode’ that we spend most of our time in that middle setting, it’s still more sensitive to small impacts than your regular rear shock thanks to their unique damping system.
Shimano XTR and Di2:
The Remedy was lucky enough to be chosen for the ongoing review of Shimano’s super XTR Di2 electronic shifting and M9020 groupset. With the wheels and brakes also badged with the three letters that spell ‘oooooh, fancy’, the Trail series of XTR with its powerful brakes and wider rim wheels have been ridden hard.
There’s no doubt we’ll see more electronics in the future of mountain biking, Shimano are bound to trickle down the technology to lower price points like on the road cycling domain with Dura Ace and Ultegra, and SRAM mustn’t be far off with a mountain bike version of their wireless road cycling drivetrain, Red E-Tap. Electronics enable things to happen at speeds that are unachievable with hand, and wires can travel places gear cables cannot.
The shifting on this bike is exceptional, super precise and never have we needed to tune the gears, the battery lasts for months and on those trails where you are shifting gears under load nothing compares to the precision and consistency of XTR Di2.
While the Remedy doesn’t have any specific integration for the Di2 wires like some of the latest high end cross country bikes (Trek Top Fuel, Pivot Mach 4 etc) it’s turned out quite nicely. By using a couple of the rubber grommets and plugs that are supplied with the Trek road bikes specced with Di2 Ultegra or Dura Ace we’ve been able to make it look neat and secure.
One long wire travels from the rear derailleur through the chainstay and pops into view under the rear shock, then its back into the down tube where it exits alongside the rear brake and Reverb line before connecting to the computer. The battery is inside the fork steerer, made possible by the Pro Tharsis Di2 bar and stem.
PRO Tharsis Trail Di2 cockpit:
Nothing is neater than Di2 with internal wiring, and with Shimano’s component line working so close with Shimano on the dedicated cockpit, the result is the cleanest bike possible.
The Tharsis bar and stem take the Di2 to the next level, providing internal routing of the wire in through the bar and the battery inside the fork’s steer tube.
The bars were trimmed down from a whopping 800mm wide to 760mm.
Schwalbe have successfully produced a very effective dual air chamber system for your wheels, in an effort to increase traction while reducing wheel damage and risk of flat tyres.
While it added 420g to the existing tubeless setup we had already, it’s been a super interesting test of an impressive product. We’ve been running between 10-14psi in the outer chamber and 75 in the inner chamber with great results.
We talk about Procore a lot, discussing its strengths and weaknesses, what bike it suits and what type of rider it will appeal to most. We’ll be delivering our conclusion soon!
Read our initial impressions and installation log here: Schwalbe Procore.
Absolute Black Oval Chainring:
With an in depth review coming to Flow shortly, we’ve fitted Absolute Black Oval rings to both our Trek Fuel EX 9.8 27.5 and the Remedy.
It’s odd to ride at first, with a slightly lumpy feeling pedal stroke that is quickly forgotten about during the ride, but with more oval rings becoming popular, the benefits in the theory were worth exploring.
The chainring uses a narrow/wide tooth profile, and it’s all very secure, no dropped chains at all. But the XTR cranks don’t exactly match the black chainring so it’d better be worth it, or it won’t be on for long.
The word from Oval is: “Our Oval chainrings work because a rider does not produce power evenly through a pedal stroke; they maximise the part of the stroke where power is produced and minimise resistance where it isn’t. Oval rings make the spin cycle a lot smoother and are easier on legs while climbing. Believe it (or not), but a round chainring doesn’t transfer torque to your rear wheel as smoothly as an Oval one. You will actually feel your stroke to be more “round” with an Oval shape than with a round chainring.” – Oval.
Ergon GE1 Slim Grips:
Left and right specific, and angled towards the edge to give your hands the best position for wider handlebars, the GE1 Slim Grip from Ergon is a real favourite here.
And the colours match.
Stay tuned for more sightings of this great bike on Australia’s latest and greatest trails for many more months to come.