Pushing Your Downhill Limits
A 26-pound carbon bike built with Sram XX components may not seem like the customary description of a long-travel trail bike, but if you’re looking for an efficient, versatile 150 mm travel bike, Trek’s Remedy 9.9 fits that description to a T. Weighing less than many shorter travel bikes, at a scant 26 pounds, the Remedy offers a do-it-all feel that gives added confidence for almost any type of rider. Whether the trail points up toward an open rocky scree field or is headed down a ripping technical descent, the Remedy will keep you smiling.
Utilizing Trek’s brand-new-for-2011 OCLV (optimum compaction, low void) Mountain Carbon—a highly refined mountain bike-specific carbon that took Trek 19 years to develop—engineers are able to make the frame more durable in places of high stress while saving weight where less material is needed. The frame also features a layer of armor in areas most prone to rock impacts, thus protecting your investment from its intended use. OCLV Mountain Carbon is tested to withstand a 150-gram rock collision at 38 mph. With its robust construction, the frame offers unexpected resilience for a sub 5.5-pound frame (including rear shock, bottom bracket, rear axle and headset).
At the heart of the bike’s trail performance is Trek’s Full Floater suspension design paired with Trek’s ABP (active braking pivot) system. Full Floater refers to Trek’s two moving shock mounts: one at the upper rocker arm and one at the chainstay. This allows Treks engineers to accurately control the lever ratio during the stroke of the shock. As the shock compresses, the lower mount swings outward, keeping the angle of the shock and the leverage ratio more consistent. ABP places the rear pivot in line with the wheel axle, essentially creating a floating brake that will not affect suspension travel. The combined effect is a predictable, bottomless feel to the suspension and a rear wheel that tracks better through bumps even with firm rear braking.
It sports a proprietary Fox Float RP23 with a dual rate control valve (DRCV), which utilizes two air chambers activated by a position-sensitive valve. The upper of the two air chambers remains closed until the internal plunger activates the DRCV. This technology allows the smaller more sensitive chamber to control travel on climbs and slow, smaller bumps while the larger secondary chamber only opens to larger impacts, creating a comfortable yet efficient ride with minimal suspension bob while powering uphill. It works fantastically but still requires use of the pro-pedal platform valve to reduce bob while climbing.
Climbing with the Remedy was efficient though forgiving. The activeness of the suspension favored technical ascents with short jaunts of steep grade. On smoother, more extended gravel road and pavement climbs, the 150 mm of travel was much more evident and made powering out of the saddle less appealing. As long as you’re not trying to keep up with your buds on their XC bikes, the payback on the descent is well worth the extra output required to get the Remedy to the top. Climbing on the Remedy 9.9 was also aided by the custom-tuned Fox Talas with 150 mm and 120 mm settings as well as a full lockout. Overall, the bike climbed well on all trail ascents, but as the trail became more technical, the better the Remedy performed.
Once the trail pointed down, the Remedy stepped up to the plate big time: A quick drop of the crankbrothers’ Joplin post, a flip of the travel adjust on the Fox Talas and the Remedy morphs in to a ripping trail machine.
The harder I pushed the Remedy, the more it delivered. I must admit that each section of loose rocks I flew through left me a little more skittish than if on an aluminum bike. Trek puts a ton of development and testing into their frames, probably way more abuse than I could give it, but mentally it is harder to thrash an $8,500 carbon bike. After several attempts at destroying it with no success, I got over it.
Once the new bike anxiety wore off, I was able to give the bike a little more of what it was designed for and the Remedy asked for more. Trek’s Full Floater suspension design ate up rock gardens with subtle silence although the 32 mm stanchion Fox Talas left something to be desired up front. Lateral flex in the front end was easily traced to the fork. Although a great fork, the Talas is minimalist in the shadow of the Remedy.
Along with weight reduction, carbon also aids in providing a quiet ride on rowdy, full-throttle descents; the bike remained quiet and graceful through even the most technical terrain.
With a full XX component group, DT Swiss Tricon wheels, and custom Fox suspension on the front and rear, the Remedy 9.9 is decked out. Sticker shock may dampen the excitement you get with the Remedy 9.9 but, not to fear, it will soon wear off and enjoyment will be plentiful. If $8,500 is a bit steep for your budget, the carbon Remedy is also offered in two lower-priced builds ($5,460 and $4,620) as well as three aluminum versions.
By putting a sizeable amount of R&D and real-world testing into their bikes, Trek continues to gain strides with lighter, more efficient and more durable trail bikes. Though the Remedy isn’t the most efficient 150 mm travel bike for climbing, its lightweight frame and build still make for a very versatile bike. And once the Remedy is pointed downhill, the bike comes alive and rides more like a 170 mm travel bike. The Remedy will keep you pushing your limits with confidence.
TREK's Jose Gonzalez Explains the ABP pivot…