Trek Remedy 8 review
The Trek Remedy 8 started life as a full-on mountain-tamer but, with changes elsewhere in the range, it has morphed into a lighter-weight, trail-orientated, 150mm-travel all-rounder for 2013.
The Trek Remedy 8 frame comes in five sizes for the perfect fit. Its oversized, hydroformed aluminium tubes and one-piece Evo rocker link make for a supremely stiff chassis, whatever your shape or weight. Flippable Mino Link chips in the seatstays allow for tuning of the geometry — the head angle can be adjusted by 0.5° and BB height by 10mm (we rode the low/slack setting). The frame also gets Trek’s ABP Convert rear dropouts, where the 135mm rear hub and extra-long quick-release can be converted to a 142x12mm set-up.
Both the Fox 32 Float Evolution fork and CTD rear shock are equipped with Trek’s exclusive DRCV (Dual Rate Control Valve) suspension technology, whereby the air spring is made of not one but two separate air chambers. In the first part of the suspension, the bike effectively rides like a shorter-travel design on a lower-volume spring with more ramp-up, and when you hit a big bump, a plunger inside opens up the second air-chamber, enabling a larger volume overall, which feels more linear and bottomless. The transition is seamless.
Bontrager’s Duster rims are wide, light and robust. The Trek Remedy 8 endured, in addition to our UK testing, a week on the popular DH tracks around Malaga, in Spain, during which the wheels remained perfectly true and retained good spoke tension.
The drivetrain is one area where the Trek displays some evidence of penny-pinching. The Shimano M552 triple chainset is basic but effective; thanks to the latest-generation XT Shadow Plus rear mech, we didn’t have any issues with chain stability. Shifting was also noticeably lighter than on the SRAM-equipped bikes.
Trek’s own-brand bar and stem are nicely finished, even if the 80mm stem is a little long for our liking. Being the only bike on test without a dropper post, the Trek Remedy 8 is at a serious disadvantage, but it does at least have the latest ‘stealth’ dropper post cable-routing.
Trek’s DRCV technology inside the Fox fork defines the ride quality of the Remedy. We’re not fans of the lack of support inherent to this system, as it means that the bike dives at the front and feels unstable and unbalanced in lots of situations, even when just cranking hard.
This is a huge shame, as the frame geometry, riding position and stiffness are otherwise excellent. The Active Braking Pivot system offers noticeable tracking advantages when the rear wheel is locked, and DRCV technology at the rear provides ample grip and pedals well without any bad habits. DRCV aside, though, the Trek Remedy 8 feels a little sluggish and less urgent on rolling trails compared to the Stumpy Evo or the Canyon Nerve AL+ 9.0, despite only weighing 300g or so more overall — and that’s without a dropper post.
While testing in Malaga, we swapped the stock fork for a 160mm Fox 36 Float, and the transformation in balance and control was immediate, even on super-rough enduro and DH trails. The bottomless-feeling rear DRCV shock came alive, and the Remedy displayed an ability at speeds few other 150mm bikes can match.
Unfortunately, Trek doesn’t offer the bike in this guise; presumably the extra weight, cost and attitude wouldn’t fit the current ‘XC bike with muscle’ template.
Trek’s Remedy 8 lies somewhere between a confidence-inspiring trail bike and the hard-hitting all-mountain machine it was originally designed to be.
The DRCV system works superbly on rear shocks, but not on front forks, and this causes an imbalance that defines the bike. Granted, it’s the cheapest bike on test, but there are obvious weaknesses in the componentry, such as the budget Shimano triple chainset and the lack of a dropper post. Unfortunately, the overall package simply doesn’t milk all the potential of Trek’s excellent frame and innovative rear suspension.
MBR rating: 7
Frame Alpha platinum aluminium
Suspension Fox Evolution Float CTD DRCV, Fox Evolution 32 Float with DRCV CTD
Wheels Bontrager Duster, XR3 Expert tyres 2.35in
Drivetrain Shimano M552 3×10-speed, SLX shifters and front mech, XT Shadow Plus rear mech
Brakes Shimano SLX, 180mm rotors
Sizes: 15.5, 17.5, 18.5, 19.5, 21.5in
Weight 13.2kg (29.1lb)
Size tested 18.5in
Head angle 67.3°
Seat angle 74.1°
BB height 350mm
Front centre 718mm
Down tube 665mm