Initial thoughts on the Remedy 8 29er
On Monday I picked up my first new bike in over 10 years - a black and blue Remedy 8 29er. I've ridden it every day and put about 25 miles on it so far. Hardly enough for a review, but I thought I'd share some first impressions as these are brand spankin' new and there's very little feedback out there.
Let be clear - the short take here is that this rig is amazing. It inspires massive levels confidence on every type of terrain I threw at it. There are a few minor caveats I won't really address here because they may be tuning/assembly/break in issues, and only one real issue.
My riding has all been at a 500+ acre reserve with a 4 mile loop and perhaps another 3 or 4 miles of other trails. It's a mix of double and single track with a few old access roads. Varied terrain, trails and elevation changes gave me a good opportunity to put this bike through it's paces, though my riding skill clearly falls well short of the bike's capabilities.
In moving from my GF x-calibur, a 2003 hard tail with an 80 mm fork, there have been a few things that take getting used to. The high bottom bracket is fantastic, but it leads to a higher seating position or a shorter stroke on the crank. It's just something I'll have to get used to with this type of bike, but initially it leads to a feeling that the bike is simultaneously too big and too small at the same time. That said, it also gives you a sensation that you're sitting "in" the frame (another rider here told me the same thing). It's odd to me at first, but after a ride or two very confidence inspiring.
The overall handling is something I adore. It feels a bit clumsy at low speeds, but once velocity picks up the steering comes alive and this turns into a precision machine. Picking and sticking to a line isn't a problem for quick, flowing trails, and the chassis does a fantastic job of giving the rider feedback while channeling out roughness.
With the exception of a glaring oversight by Trek, the 3 setting CTD suspension is fantastic. The stiffest "climb" mode feels almost like a total lockout, and pedals almost as efficiently as a hard tail, but leaves some degree of travel to maintain traction. It would flawlessly. Ibid on the middle "trail" section, which is really where the suspension is happiest. It's both plush and precise, soaking up little bumps and big hits alike without transmitting much more than helpful feedback to the rider.
The descent setting is another story. The Fox Floats become Fox Bob shocks - anyone who's ever hit a pothole at 70 in an old cutlass knows what I'm talking about. It's plush and forgiving, and very comfortable, but big hits leave the bike rebounding several times before the bike can compose itself again. Fox apparently has fixed the issue with tighter damping, but this 2014 bike has Fox's 2013 setup. You can send them back to Fox for upgrades for $200 plus shipping (for both ends), but it might make sense to ask Trek when they plan to use 2014 shocks before buying. At the end of the day it's a minor complaint for me, but something more experienced, downhill oriented riders might want to investigate further.
The drive train was one of two things that forums and reviews had me cautious about, but I couldn't be happier. My only complaint is it's noisy, but that's hardly a complaint at all. It shifts smoothly, even on full torque uphill multi-gear downshifts. With 30 ratio combinations, there's some overlap, but it gives riders like me usefully broad choices depending on terrain and grade.
The second complaint I've seen out there relates to wheel and tire package. All I can say is I can't find fault at this point. Acceleration isn't terrible for a 31+ pound mountain bike, and the skins seem to have tremendous gripping power no matter what surface or grade. I guess I should throw brakes into the complaintless department as well; I'm sure after more riding I'll come up with a more balanced opinion, but for now they seem faultless.
Overall, faults and all, I'm absolutely stoked with this ride. I can ride longer and I feel better when I get off. The ride is supple, while the drivetrain and handling feel athletic to say the least. My issue with the softest suspension setting may change with more serious downhill experience, and only time will tell what Trek does with it's Fox issue. Also, this bike does not magically repel deer flies, which is kind of a bummer.
With unbridled enthusiasm,
Great review Billy. Now that you've had a few more miles on your remedy I'd like to here an update on your thoughts on the bike.
I agree excellent review, cant wait for the update
Originally Posted by SmittyPDX
In case you guys were still wondering, I left a fairly comprehensive review for the bike under MTBR's review listing for the bike. I've got 2 months and ~250 miles on mine, so I've gotten to know it pretty well. Basically I came to the same conclusions as the OP here for almost every point. I know reviews are pretty slim for the bike, but hopefully I can calm your fears. It's one confidence inspiring bike!
Initial thoughts on the Remedy 8 29er
Is there anyone whose fork works like charm? I have big problems to run d-mode because it goes through the travel way too easy...
Mine works great now that I have 2014 FIT internals in it. The stock tune was utter crap though.
I wish had more time to post here... I guess the good news is that I get rides in most every day.
I've put 250 or so miles on this rig since I got it; maybe a bit more. I love it, and my impressions about nearly everything have grown fonder. I've really gotten used to the bike and I've put it through it's paces on nearly everything - a few days of lift serviced downhill, a couple days of grueling AM/enduro (maybe not what some of you folks call enduro, but gimme a break... I'm fat), and a ton of trail riding right by my house. Some XC/fire road stuff too, and frankly this bike is phenominal in almost all respects. A few additional thoughts.
*When I initially picked the bike up, the shift linkage was imprecise, and there were a few dead zones in some gears. This was apparently due to tune; when I took the bike in for it's 30 day service it came back perfect. The gearset is often mentioned as a shortcoming, and while I guess it still isn't as precise as it could be I'm happy with it. If I did upgrade it would not be to a 1x or 2x front; I really prefer having three ratios, and I honestly use them regularly, particularly on mixed trails.
*I also see people complain about the brakes. I love them. I must not ride as hard as some folks either, becuse I ride every day and the pads are fine. That said, I may switch them out at the end of the season anyway as I'll have the bike for a full season in 2014.
*A dropper post should be an option on this bike. I never really got the point until I started riding technical trail/AM. The BB is usefully high, but it also means your stroke is miniscule if you're riding in a low/downhill position. If you try going downhill with the post in a high/uphill postion expect some spooky moments. I often stop, adjust and go instead, and I'll likely add a dropper in the off season.
*Like I said, I'm fat. If you aren't, the bike may seem heavy.
*The Mino link geometry is a cool idea, and there's definitely a noticable difference if we're talking about using the tighter postion on gnarly, rocky, rooty technical stuff and the looser position bombing downhill. That said, I find that the tighter setting is the best compromise all around. Also, note that this ins't an "on the fly" switch; it requires a hex key and 10 minutes with the bike on it's back (as well as 4 easy to lose peices if you're ever inclined to do it trail side).
*This bike is ridiculously nimble for a 29er, but it's still a 29er, and the handlebars are ridiculously (though usefully) wide. Plan your entries and exits in switchbacks accordingly, lest your knuckles greet the broad side of a tree.
*Finally, the suspension is fine, but it simply isn't worthy of this bike. I played around with the rebound out back a bit and that's made it more compliant, but descent is still mostly useless, and up front descent just feels goofy. I ride mostly in trail mode with a little climb for flattish uphills. Upgradeability of the suspension sucks too; you can upgrade the front to remote but you need to use the hideous 2013 spec lever, which looks like it was designed in the 1930's. Fox has a sexy, sleek new lever for 2014 but it doesn't work on the 2013 forks. The rear shock cannot be converted to remote at all (unless you want to go the DIY route). Technically you can't even swap out the rear shock, but several folks have and have posted directions. I'm not sure what I'll do there, but I'll certainly be upgrading the fork, and I'll prob go with the kashima upgrade while I'm at it.
I really hope this review isn't coming off as super negative; I really do love this bike. If it weren't for a couple boners on Trek and Fox's part I'd marry the damn thing. It's just so much better than I am on every terrain. It rarely loses composure, handles like a chanp and delivers reliable feedback to the rider. Also, while it may seem that I hate the suspension, I will say that having a climb setting rather than a total lockout is brilliant. This thing feels almost as stiff as my hardtail, but maintains traction so much better.
That's all for now. More some day.
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