Backround: I ride DH because I can only afford one bike, and DH is my favorite type of mountain biking. I like pushing it hard and riding aggressively and doing jumps and rocks. I like adrenalin rushes and high risk tech speed stuff.
But, I really enjoy trail bikes, and the more tame side of mountain bikes - I like the feeling of burning in my legs from a big hill climb, I like conquering a tech climb, and I like the feeling of getting bounced down a trail on a trail bike, not just the mushy mashy plow of a DH bike.
first bike, and the one I was most excited about (by far )
I had pretty high expectations for this bike. I rode a 2009 remedy 9 for a while and considered it the best "AM do everything bike in existence." You could literally do anything on it - a big drop, a jump trail, or a 20mile xc ride. It didn't matter, it could do it all and excel.
I was slightly apprehensive about the DCRV, because literally the only complaint I had about the older remedy was that it bottomed out a little bit too easily. I was also a little bit apprehensive of the 150mm 32 on the front - the 160mm 36 with independent compression adjustments was a real high point of the old remedy I felt.
Sadly, I would say my fears were pretty much 100% confirmed. I bottomed it out at granite bay in CA (think flat, sandy, buffed as a paved road, 6-7 fist sized rocks per 10 miles). It had its high points, in that it definitely felt stiffer and deflected less then the old one, and there was a lot less trail noise/vibration, but the heart of what made the remedy good, those huge, massive, grapefruit sized cohones, were ruthlessly removed and a neutered bike remains.
Its not a "bad" bike, per se, but it doesn't give you the pedaling prowess you would hope for from a shorter travel bikes, nor the confidence and control of a greater travel bike. Several bikes in this class do both - the specialized enduro jumps to mind, as do offerings from knolly, giant, santa cruz, and many others. Its great for riding slowly over a fist sized rock, but for any aggressive rider, plan on getting aftermarket shock tuning.
I think this bike could regain its cohones, and get bigger ones still, with the help of an angleset headset to slack it out a little bit, a 160mm talas or 2step lyric to drop the front end on climbs, and a pushed shock (not DCRV). However, buying a bicycle that costs in the 5K-8K range and immediately needing to pull the shock, and fork, buy new ones, send one off for custom tuning, and get a 300 dollar headset seems pretty retarded to me, especially when there are so many other bikes that do a good job. Trek needs to pull their heads out of their asses on this bike, and realize that 60 year old doctors who want to hit the trail and are going to ride once or twice is not a good market segment to pidgeon hole themselves into if they want to actually attract mountain bikers. Pretty disappointed on this bike.
3/5 stars, still a great bike, but lots and lots of room for improvement, and certainly not something worth buying with so many other great bikes on the market. Trek needs to work on this one, starting with their component choices and ride quality goals. A few good notes: bike was fycking light, tires were great (first bontrager tires I've thought were good in any way, shape, or form), cockpit felt right on. it was still something I could have fun on, but it just lacked the zest and and excitement of the old ones, where it should be much better.
Fuel EX 9.9
I rode this one back to back with the remedy. I liked this alot more. There was nothing the remedy could do that this one couldn't. This one bounced a little bit more through the rocks I could find, and the back wheel was more friendly with sliding and drifting rather then staying planted like the remedy, but it had the advantage of not diving and wollowing in the travel, and felt much more tight and controlled. It accelerated like a rocket, and held speed really really well.
Climbing was great. I felt literally no bob, and it felt like it was holding speed as efficiently as my road bike. You give a few pedal strokes, and relax, and it just keeps going and going and going. Geometry was dead on for climbing. I couldn't get the rear wheel to spin, the front felt planted, and tight techy corners were a breeze. shifting balance points was easy, but there really wasn't a lot of need for it. It did everything a well designed and good geometry bike should, and nothing that it shouldn't. Really really liked it.
Concerning descending, I've ridden trail bikes I felt like got hung up really easily,or felt overly harsh come bumpy or steep or fast sections, but this one had a very predictable attitude and never did anything surprising - it felt great. It didn't blow my mind anywhere, but it felt like any great trail bike should. It tracked well, it was tight enough that in tight corners it never felt overwhelmed, I never felt the need to drift the back wheel out to make a corner (which I did on the remedy, and definitely do on my session), but it never felt overwhelmed in what high speed sections I could find. It used all of its travel as efficiently as possible, not blowing through it, and never feeling harsh. It manualed fairly well, and drops were pretty easy despite it being an XL, but the cockpit didn't feel overly short or anything (6'2" with a long ass reach, and I'm usually more comfortable sizing down - my session is a medium). Overall I was very impressed with its descending abilities as a trail bike. It blew away everything I've ridden so far. I loved it.
Only complaint was that it was a tad bumpy - through the tight rock gardens I could find, you definitely didn't get a bottomless feel, but it was still pretty fantastic.
I give the Fuel ex9.9 a 5/5. Absolutely fantastic. Best trail bike I had ever ridden.
Fisher Rumblefish II
Absolutely blew my mind. It had the snappiness of the fuel in the tight stuff, it had the "plow" abilities that the remedy should have had, it climbed like a rocket, it tracked in corners where either the remedy or fuel would have started sliding. Basically, it did everything the fuel did, but better, and it did everything the remedy SHOULD have done, but better. The only thing I don't think I'd be confidant about is using it as a really aggressive bike - I probably wouldn't want to jump it, for several reasons - frame geo just wasn't there on it, and it shares the same frame as the hifi, which is an aluminum xc race bike. The rumblefish II is the most ultimate trail bike I've ever ridden. The first 29er I've ever ridden that didn't feel sluggish and sh1tty, and cornered well too (and I like sitting deep in my travel and 26 wheels for corners.) This was definitely the surprise, and highlight of my day. It was an absolute treat. It was also the first fisher I've ever ridden that didn't feel uncomfortably steep and awkward. It just felt comfortable, fast, and in control.
5/5. Might try and save up the dollars to get one.
Scratch air 9 and scratch 9: Fun, geo felt dialed, climbed really really well for 7 inch bikes, but you could definitely tell that they were 35-40 lb 7 inch travel bikes, and I've never seen much purpose of these bikes. Either get a DH bike, or get a trail bike, but this "pedalable DH bike" has never made sense to me. Maybe it has to do with the trails I've ridden. Not alot of bob, but definitely still had a big bike feel. Trail wasn't rocky, steep, fast enough, or jumpy enough to really get a feel for them, other then the geo felt dialed and they pedaled well.
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