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First Look Review
Trek Remedy 2017 Review
Cons: Significant pedal feedback, tire choice, 100mm dropper post
Bottom line: Capable trail bike that suffers on the uphill.
The Trek Remedy is an aggressive trail bike that received a facelift for the 2017 model year. We sent three testers to hammer out miles aboard this freshly redesigned bicycle to see how it fared in its natural habitat. The Trek Remedy 8 produces predictable performance, nimble handling, and capability without delivering much in the way of personality. Climbing abilities are mediocre and it relies heavily on its climb switch to reduce pedal feedback. The Remedy, with its 150mm of rear wheel travel, slots firmly into the aggressive trail or very light-enduro category. The $3,299 price tag for this aluminum framed bike is sensible given its RockShox Pike RC fork and SRAM GX 1x11 drivetrain.
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Our Analysis and Test Results
Should I Buy This Bike
The Trek Remedy aims to be a do-it-all bike and can indeed do-it-all. That said, we were not particularly impressed by its performance on any area of the trail. We think there are some better options out there in the same aggressive trail category.
The Rocky Mountain Altitude Alloy 50 offers superior climbing capabilities while also delivering more aggressive long and low geometry. The Altitude is a lively and aggressive trail bike that shines on nearly all types of terrain save for burly enduro-grade rock-strewn trails. It does everything a little better than the Remedy and even has a higher fun-factor. On top of this, the $3,399 price point sports a Shimano XT drivetrain, SLX brakes and a Fox Transfer 150mm dropper post. It's a better buy than the Trek.
The Santa Cruz Bronson is another bike worthy of consideration. It's Virtual Pivot Point (VPP) suspension system is outstanding. The Bronson possesses solid climbing abilities and has a higher threshold for blistering speed through burly terrain than the Remedy or the Altitude. The downside? The Aluminum R-Kit features some less than desirable components including a SRAM NX drivetrain, SRAM Level T brakes, and a Fox Rhythm 34 fork. The Bronson has the highest quality suspension of the three would be a great selection for those looking to upgrade parts over time.
The YT Jeffsy 29 is another bike worthy of consideration. It is difficult to go wrong at the $2599 pricepoint with a SRAM GX drivetrain, RockShox Pike and SRAM Guide brakes. The Jeffsy offers well-rounded mid-travel performance that favors flowy terrain. Climbing skills are sturdy and the wagon wheels take the edge off of rough trail surfaces. YT is one of the largest consumer direct brands. Your local bike shop will not be able to provide you with warranty support.
The Rocky Mountain Altitude provides the best blend of performance and value while the Santa Cruz Bronson offers the best suspension design. The YT Jeffsy is the most bang for your buck.
How We Tested
Three OutdoorGearLab testers spent a few days putting the redesigned Trek Remedy 8 through its paces. We powered this bike up and down our most familiar trails to obtain the essential ride characteristics of this aggressive trail rig.
The Trek Remedy has been a staple of the Trek lineup since 2006. This versatile bike has seen 26", 27.5" and 29" wheels. The newest iteration brings us back to 27.5" wheels with some reworked geometry. The Remedy sports 150mm of Active Braking Pivot (ABP) suspension and is designed around a 150mm fork. Trek partnered with RockShox to develop a custom suspension tune of the Deluxe shock specially for their bikes. This has been dubbed the RE:aktiv damper.
You guessed it, the new Remedy is longer, lower and slacker. We measured our 17.5" (medium) test bike. The head angle pairs with a 430mm reach and 435mm chainstays to produce a mid-length 1160mm wheelbase. A 66.5-degree head angle, while slacker than its predecessor, is conservative. A 76.9-degree effective seat tube angle also keeps with the Remedy's "middle of the aisle" theme. Our medium test bike weighs 31 lb 1 oz without pedals.
Trek Remedy 8 Highlights
The 2017 Trek Remedy is a sensible aggressive trail bike that performs dutifully. Unfortunately, dutifully doesn't quite cut it in 2017. Climbing abilities leave much to be desired as the Remedy relies on the shock's lockout switch to reduce pedal feedback. Steering is direct and agile thanks to reasonable geometry that avoids going too slack and long. When aimed downhill, the Remedy is confident and nimble so long as the trail doesn't get too steep or nasty.
A glance at the geometry chart suggests the new Trek Remedy should be an excellent climber. 150mm of travel paired with a 66.5-degree head angle and 76.9-degree effective seat tube angle scream efficiency when compared to longer and slacker bikes. The Remedy will certainly get you to the top of the hill, but its abilities are disappointing.
The seated pedaling position is comfortable and reasonable. Once you start to put the power down, the bike's inefficiency begins to emerge. Suspension designs have come so far in recent years that many folks prefer to pedal their bike in the "open" shock setting. This keeps your tires on the ground through rough surfaces and avoids a post-ride trip to the chiropractor. The Trek Remedy is definitely not one of those bikes to climb in the "open" setting. There is a substantial amount of seated pedal feedback and this feeling is only accelerated when standing. In the "mid" or "medium" shock setting, the pedal bob is only marginally reduced.
Once you are in a pedal rhythm, the Remedy handles quickly when ascending. The 27.5" wheels paired with reasonable running length allow you to navigate through technical sections with ease. Uphill switchbacks are manageable while a moderate 349mm bottom bracket height keeps your pedals from kissing too many rocks.
The Remedy's 31lbs of mass doesn't deplete your energy, although it becomes evident on longer grinds. Yanking on the bars to get the front end up and over rock outcroppings is easy and doesn't require too much force. We are not huge fans of the washy, less-than-aggressive, Bontrager XR4 tires. That said, the lack of rolling resistance on hardpack is a pleasant surprise. We recommend swapping these tires immediately if you encounter wet conditions with any regularity.
The Trek Remedy is a noble performer when pointed downhill. The easy steering theme persists on the descent. The Remedy shines on fast and flowy sections of trail where you can make use of its manageable length and quick handling. Slicing and dicing into berms is the major strong suit of this two-wheeler. This aggressive trail bike can certainly handle its fair share of chunk, chop and gnar.
The Trek Remedy attacks downhills with a sense of predictability and ease. This bike handles well at slow speeds, unlike many super long and slack bikes. The flip side of this direct steering is there is a certain lack of confidence on steeper terrain. That said, Trek struck a solid balance with this bike. Riders who want aggressive performance in nasty chutes will likely lean towards the burlier enduro category with the Trek Slash, the enduro/trail crossover Yeti SB5.5, or the pure enduro Santa Cruz Nomad
When coming into rough sections of trail, the Remedy is confident so long as you remember you're on a trail bike. When driven hard over rocks the ABP suspension is respectable even when forced deep into its stroke. The Bontrager XR4 are not exactly confidence inspiring but remain serviceable assuming you don't need to change directions on flat corners at speed.
The Remedy's sub-par pedal platform is even noticeable on the descent. If you are chasing your buddy down the trail or hunting a downhill Strava segment, mashing the pedals feels decisively inefficient. There is a distinct and noticeable sinking feeling when standing and hammering out of a corner or pedaling hard into a trail feature. There is little you can do to combat this feeling as riding a long downhill in the medium shock setting doesn't sound like much fun.
Respectable performance comes at a respectable price tag with the 2017 Trek Remedy 8. For $3,299 you get a stiff and reliable RockShox Pike fork, SRAM GX 1x11 drivetrain, Shimano Deore brakes and a KS dropper post. The Remedy is no-doubt ready to shralp from day one. In the same price range of the aggressive trail bike category, the Rocky Mountain Altitude Alloy 50 is a superior performer with better components.
Trek Remedy 8 Build Highlights
Bikes in the aggressive trail category are asked to wear a lot of hats. These bicycles are expected to climb like their short-travel brethren while descending like an enduro rig. The Trek Remedy performs competently without excelling on the uphills or the downhills. We think there are better options in the 150mm travel range for your hard-earned money.
— Pat Donahue
OutdoorGearLab Member Reviews
Most recent review: July 17, 2017
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