It took a few years for all-mountain cross-country bikes to come into
their own. Originally, when longish-travel cross-country bikes rolled
onto the scene, they were a compromise between climbing and descending
prowess. Today, thanks to lightweight frame materials, tubeless wheels,
new gearing combinations and air-sprung suspension, they’re nearly the
best of both worlds.
Trek has two lines of bikes that can be
categorized as all-mountain: the Remedy and the Scratch Air. The Remedy
line is rooted in Trek’s cross-country family, while the Scratch bike’s
pedigree doesn’t fall far from the Session downhill rig family tree.
are six bikes in the Remedy line, ranging from the $2729 Remedy 7 to
the premium $8399 Remedy 9.9. Our Remedy 9.8 test bike shares the same
carbon frame as the 9.9, but the price is more down-to-earth at $5249.
WHO IS IT MADE FOR?
term “trail rider” really just means mountain biker, and this bike is
made for mountain bikers who enjoy pushing themselves to become better
bike handlers on each ride. The Remedy 9.8 is designed to climb like a
pure cross-country machine, yet provide extra travel for descending
WHAT IS IT MADE FROM?
The Remedy 9.8 is packed
with hidden features. The foundation is a carbon fiber frame that is
handmade in Trek’s Waterloo, Wisconsin, factory. With 6 inches of front
and rear travel, the Remedy utilizes Trek’s ABP (Active Braking Pivot)
Convert, which makes the 142x12-millimeter rear axle the rear pivot. The
ABP suspension system has a Full Floater shock mount that attaches the
shock to two moving linkage points to increase the shock’s ability to
respond to bumps. The unique dual-chamber Fox DRCV shock was designed to
perform efficiently under pedaling, yet have superb performance on
The carbon frame features Trek’s Carbon Armor
downtube protection, and both the chainstays and seat stays are made
from carbon. The Remedy 9.8 is available in five frame sizes.
WHICH COMPONENTS STAND OUT?
works closely with Fox Racing Shox for front and rear custom-tuned
suspension. The DRCV shock is a creation you’ll only find on Trek bikes,
and it offers a unique high-performance ride quality. The Fox 32 fork
has TALAS adjustable travel between 4.7 and 6 inches, a 15-millimeter
axle and a preset low-speed compression setting tuned into the design.
New to the Remedy this year are the DT Swiss M 1800 wheels and XR4 Team
2.3-inch-wide tires. The Crankbrothers Joplin dropper seatpost is a
welcome sight on a bike designed for shredding technical terrain.
Plush ride: The carbon fiber Trek Remedy 9.8 has 6 inches of front and rear travel. With oversized thru-axles on both the Fox TALAS fork and 142x12-millimeter rear hub spacing, the Remedy holds a line in technical terrain.
HOW DOES IT PERFORM?
To reach proper pedaling position (knees over toes) in the saddle, we
slammed the Bontrager saddle all the way forward. We were struck by the
narrow 26-inch-wide handlebar on a bike with 6 inches of travel,
especially after recently reviewing the 4.7-inch-travel Trek Fuel EX
9.7, which had perfectly spec’ed 27.5-inch-wide bars.
your friend, as long as you set it up properly. Use the included clip-on
fork and shock sag measuring device to get your ride dialed.
For as well as Trek’s ABP suspension performs, it relies heavily on the
low-speed compression damping of Fox’s ProPedal shock feature to
prevent the suspension from “bobbing” under pedaling forces. On
moderately technical flat terrain, we’d swap between running the shock
open and in the second of the three ProPedal settings. On fire road
sections, the ProPedal feature is helpful if you’re heading uphill. With
Shimano’s 3x10 XT drivetrain, you’re bound to find a gear ratio ideal
for your fitness level; although most riders will still spend the
majority of their time in the middle chainring.
Climbing: For a
6-inch-travel rig, the Remedy is an uphill charger. Climbing with the
Remedy’s ProPedal feature on makes a big difference in how efficiently
the bike climbs on smooth terrain. Like most regions in the U.S., our
trails range from fire road climbs to loose, rocky and technical uphill
grunts. When the terrain features become punishing, it’s a good time to
run the DRCV shock wide open for a plusher ride and improved traction.
new Bontrager XR4 tires have tank-tread-like grip on steep and loose
terrain. We never had to worry about the rear end breaking free during
all-or-nothing surges. We were able to crest the harshest of climbs in
the 32-tooth middle chainring and 36-tooth rear cog. On meandering
uphill fire roads, our best results came from utilizing the 42-tooth big
ring with the wide range of rear cassette options, with cross-chaining
no longer an issue. Only on extremely cruel uphills did we drop into our
granny gear safety net.
Although the Fox fork has a TALAS travel
adjust feature, we preferred climbing with the fork at full extension.
Simply leaning forward muted any slight front-end wandering.
With geometry that leans ever so slightly towards the traditional
trailbike end of the spectrum, the Remedy makes easy work of tight
switchback corners. The Remedy is one of the most balanced bikes we’ve
ridden when slamming corners at speed. A rider can drive the bottom
bracket, figuratively, into a harsh rut or terrain feature to change
direction at the apex of a corner, and the Remedy quickly stands to
attention, exiting in the desired line choice.
Braking: Of course,
it’s always best to brake early and ride out the terrain off the brakes
when possible. But if you’re actively pursuing terrain worthy of all 6
of the Remedy’s inches of travel, that technique is not always possible.
Trek’s ABP suspension does a standout job keeping the bike’s suspension
balanced while you are on the binders on steep and rough terrain. Every
time we ride Avid’s X0 brakes, we’re blown away by how consistent the
feel is. They’re light enough for a cross-country bike but powerful
enough for a downhill machine. It doesn’t get much better than that.
With aggressive tires, 6 inches of active suspension, and front and
rear thru-axles, the Remedy 9.8 is a taut package that holds a line on
demanding terrain. The ups and downs of Crankbrothers’ Joplin posts have
been well documented in MBA. The Joplin 4 on the Remedy worked well,
and, unlike previous samples, remained reliable. However, the posts’
side-to-side wobble was apparent from the first ride.
retention is a major issue with full-suspension bikes, especially on
longer-travel renditions. We dropped chains descending aboard the
recently reviewed Giant Reign 0 and this Remedy 9.8. The best solution
we’ve ridden was a 2x10 setup utilizing a shift guide. The jury may be
out on which gearing option is best for most people (2x10 or 3x10), but
when it comes to chain retention, the answer is obvious.
Looking good: The Remedy 9.8 features a Crankbrothers Joplin 4 dropper seatpost, Trek’s ABP suspension and Fox DRCV shock, as well as custom gold Avid X0 hydraulic disc brakes.
TRICKS, UPGRADES OR TIPS?
Bontrager XR4 tires may have a tank-tread-like grip for climbing, but
they roll about as efficiently as a tank tread, too. If your conditions
are largely loose-over-hardpack terrain, we suggest swapping the rear
tire with Bontrager’s new XR2 tire for faster-rolling rubber that still
The Remedy’s narrow 26-inch-wide handlebar makes the front
end twitchy when descending at speed. If this Remedy were to call our
garage home, we’d run Answer’s 28-inch Pro Taper Carbon bar instead.
Remedy is a perfect example of a 6-inch-travel bike that is drawing
more cross-country riders away from their short-travel machines. It
climbs remarkably well, is lightweight for the amount of travel, and
descends with nearly error-proof handling. Our current test stable
includes cross-country bikes ranging in travel from 3.9 inches to 6
inches, and for nearly every ride we find ourselves reaching for the
TREK REMEDY 9.8 SPECS:
Country of origin
Bottom bracket height
Top tube length
Head tube angle
Seat tube angle
Fox 32 TALAS FIT RL
Fox RP23 DRCV
DT Swiss M 1800 (26”)
Bontrager XR4 Expert
DT Swiss M 1800
Bontrager Race X Lite (26” wide)
Shimano XT (42/32/24)
Shimano XT 10-cog (11-36)
26 feet (per crank revolution)
4.5 feet (per crank revolution)
None (weighed w/ Shimano XTR)