Where do test bikes go after they’ve been tested? This is a question everyone has probably pondered at some point- readers are always asking, often followed by the almost silly question, “can I have it?” Often times the test bikes go home with lucky employees, added to demo fleets, then offered for sale at a later date. And if you are in the right spot at the right time, with your script at the ready, it can be yours.
I’ve had my eye on the Trek Remedy all mountain machine since I saw it at the product launch at the 2008 Sea Otter. I remember reading Mountain Bike Action’s review on the 2008 Remedy 9 with great interest. A 6″ all mountain bike at under 30lbs out of the box sounded great after rolling several seasons on several different Enduro models from Specialized. My last Enduro, an Enduro SL, left a bad taste in my mouth. In stock form and on paper, it looked great. Until I realized that no matter how many different settings I tried, the house brand Specialized suspension was far less than what had been promised. With this model, they tried to make the bike a climber, and forgot about its all around capability. In stock form, the bike was not doing it for me. For the most part, Specialized tried to take care of me, but after replacing several cartridges in the fork, I was thoroughly over it, selling the bike and moved on to try an Intense Tracer VP on for size.
The Tracer has been a good trail bike, but it turns out the bike is exactly as it is billed: a long travel trail bike. Unlike the Enduro (non SL version) or the Remedy, which are both 6″ bikes solidly placed in the next travel category known as all mountain. I had assumed that based on the specs, angles, and travel that the Tracer VP was the Intense version of the renown Santa Cruz Nomad, which has a solid following due to its earned reputation as a serious contender for the coveted “one” bike. That bike, that if need be, could replace everyone you own, downhill, freeride, or trail rider. Or if you could only afford one bike, it would be that one. Unfortunately the Tracer (In hindsight, the Uzzi VP probably would have been a better choice for my riding style & needs, but it was unavailable at the time) didn’t live up to that- and perhaps I expected too much. As a trail bike, the Tracer is spot on. But it wasn’t actually what I had been seeking.
Which leads us to the Remedy. I spent a solid 6 months riding a Fisher Roscoe on trails up and down the west coast, and it treated me well. As a long travel trail bike, it took a solid amount of abuse. I became convinced that it’s big brother, with its extra half inch of travel could be that bike I was looking for. After riding a Remedy 7 demo in Alaska, I was amazed. It was much like a mini, trail ridable version of my Session 88FR, a bike I’ve been extremely happy with. And since then, I’ve had Remedy on the mind.
That leads us to the present. I’ve (and maybe you have too) often wondered what became of the test bikes that are sent out to magazines and various media for reviews. Turns out asking the right people at the right time can pay off. And that leads us back to the 2008 Remedy 9 tested in the pages of Mountain Bike Action. Turns out it needed a home, and she ended up being sent to me for a very sweet deal, where she will continue to be utilized as a test sled for various components.
You may have noticed I have neglected to list a model number- this is intentional, as this write up is more concerned with the Remedy platform, and what it is capable of in various incarnations, and less with what the product manager has spec’d for the frame. Let the bike geek-out begin.
The initial build:
The first thing I did was build it up. Then I stripped her down. Here’s what I kept:
- Frame & headset
- Fox 36 Float fork
- Seatpost, seatpost collar and seat
- XT front Derailleur
The bike came with a really nice set of components: X0 Shifters & rear mech, XT cranks, Bontrager All Mountain Wheels. I wanted more of a heavy duty set up for the first build; since I love the performance of the Session 88, why not try a similar set up, but more all mountain oriented? Towards that end, the 80mm stem and 26″ inch stock bar had to go. In their place were wider, 28″ RaceFace DH bars and a 50mm stem. Here’s the list of what went on her:
- 50mm Thomson X4 stem
- RF Diabolous DH handlebar, 28″
- Saint (old) brakes and crankset
- Less expensive, but equally good performing X-9 drive train
It’s a bit of a heavy build, but due to the proximity of some super fun secret DH trails, this build gives me the option of pedaling up when a shuttle isn’t available. In the future, the Saint Cranks and wheels are likely to be replaced with more light-weight all mountain worthy components, for a more trail/ all mtn oriented set up.