Trek Remedy 9.7 - review

We’ve been riding Trek’s Remedy 9.7 for a while, giving us the opportunity to get under the skin of the carbon cloaked superbike.

To quickly recap, the 9.7 is the latest addition to the carbon range of Remedy bikes, bringing the platform down to a more affordable level by using the same OCLV carbon frame with a more down to earth specification.

Suspension sets the Remedy apart

The heart of the Trek Remedy is the long-stroke Fox RP23 DRCV (Dual Rate Valve Control) shock. In essence it’s a standard Fox RP2 shock that has been turbocharged with a secondary air chamber atop the shock that is activated by a plunger part way through the travel.

The result is an air shock that feels unlike any air shock we’ve ever ridden, with a much more linear feel. Claims that is closely resembles a coil over shock are spot on, it really lets you exploit the full 150mm of travel on tap. The shock also has a custom rebound tune to allow it to better handle its return stroke from large impacts.

Nothing fazes the suspension. Small ripples are not even noticed by the very active suspension setup and mid to big hits are handled with a big bike authority. Pedalling with the ProPedal switched on is composed and well handled, and switched off it’s startlingly fast down rough, rocky sweeping trails. Air shocks have come a long way in the last 10 years.

Beefed up carbon frame

The Remedy has been in the range for a few years but more recently the designers repurposed the bike into a true all-mountain bike, less of a cut down Session and more a supercharged Fuel EX. It proved a good move. So around this shock Trek have produced a stunning looking bike (a nod of recognition to whoever was charged with the decal design, it’s a cool looking bike, everyone in the office agrees).

Carbon fibre layup is an area Trek has spent the best part of two decades perfecting, and it shows in the Remedy. The burly frame is intended to be durable, so OCLV Mountain, a tougher grade of carbon, is used in the construction. Further reinforcing is seen on the underside of the downtube with the fitting of a protective shield preventing rock strikes from causing damage.

Trek’s Full Floater suspension layout sees the shock orientated vertically and sandwiched between the one-piece magnesium Evo rocker linkage and the aluminium chainstays, which ensures great small bump sensitivity. The suspension is supremely plush and offers huge levels of grip and traction.

Braking forces have been removed from the equation too with the ABP (Active Braking Pivot) Convert system, which places the rear pivot on the axle. This removes any negative effects braking forces might have on the suspension. This really shows when dropping into heavy downhill braking zones, the suspension remains fully active with improved traction giving greater control.

Trek’s sizing is spot on, with a 17.5, 18.in and 19.5 making it easy to get the right size. At 5’11″ we often struggle to choose between a medium or large, it’s good to see Trek answering our sizing dilemma.

The parts make the bike

£4000 is a lot of money, and it’s clear a lot of that has gone into the frame. But the parts package isn’t a let down. The Fox 32 Talas FIT RLC fork, with 150mm travel (adjustable down to 120mm) is a highlight. Some have raised concerns that the Remedy needs a Fox 36, but we just don’t agree, the Fox 32 150mm is a perfect fit for the frame. Its internals have been fettled with a custom valve to better match the bike.

With its tapered steerer tube and bolt-thru 15mm axle it’s incredibly stiff and you have to be going some to notice it flexing. Out of the box it was buttery smooth with a well controlled feel through its full stroke

Elsewhere it’s a predominately SRAM X.9/X.7 affair with a SRAM Carbon triple chainset and 12-36t 10-speed cassette. No issues here and none with the impressive Avid Elixir R disc brakes, powerful and well modulated braking throughout the test. All good stuff and given no problems during the test period.

Aside from the excellent tubeless compatible DT Swiss M1800 32-hole wheels, Bontrager supply most of the finishing components. No problems with the Evoke saddle, squishy and comfortable, and the short stem. But the Race Lite Low Riser stem and Bontrager XR3 Team tyres were the weakest link, and subsequently swapped out at the first available opportunity.

Performance on the trail

First ride on my favourite local trails and I was hitting all the downs with a load more speed, hooking into rougher corners that previously caused me concern on my regular steed with little hesitation, boosting over ramps like I was Sam Hill. I’m not riding anything like Sam of course, but the Remedy gives you so much confidence in the rough stuff and with its sorted handling that you’ll ride with twice the verve and vigour that you did before.

The 68 degree head angle is a touch steeper than other bikes in this category, we’d like to see Trek take a degree off, but it does at least keep the handling alert. And it’s only when we get deep into corners and rock gardens, hanging off the back of the bike that it gets a bit sketchy. The long wheelbase ensures good stability when you’re tracking through fast corners, and it carries great speed through rooty and rocky corners.

The frame is incredibly stiff, noticeable through the corners where it tracks brilliantly. There’s next to no flex or squirm. Its performance is fast and agile over rough trails. It’s perfect for true all-mountain hacking across the landscape riding, where the geometry ensures it pedals sharply with quick and responsive handling.

The Remedy flies up climbs, and in these situations the Pro Pedal lever makes a real difference. With it switched to the on position the shock noticeably firms up and, in combination with the Fox forks dialled down from 150mm to 120mm travel, the Remedy is transformed into a cross-country killer. We actually find ourselves riding up certain trails than we would on a considerably lighter hardtail, so composed is the bike and stable the suspension.

Why is it worth paying for a carbon frame? For one there’s the weight: there’s no denying a well built carbon frame will be lighter on the scales. But there’s another consideration: stiffness. The frame is so taut that power transfer is incredible, acceleration out of corners and through switchbacks on another level. Aluminium can not match this level of performance. Get on the pedals out of a corner and the Remedy literally leaps forward.

Somehow all this adds up to a bike that manages to be equally composed going up technical climbs as it is blasting down rock gardens and off steep drops, and this makes it the perfect all-round UK trail bike for ripping everywhere from trail centres to the proper epic all-day jaunts.

Verdict

Everytime I put the Remedy on the car rack after a ride, I couldn’t help thinking how much fun I’d had. There aren’t many bikes out there can rival the Remedy’s grin-inducing capability. It’s a fast confidence boosting platform.

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