2016 Trek Remedy 9.8 27.5
You know that unthinkably tough line that gets you every time? Trek's Remedy 9.8 27.5 doesn't. Either roll over it or air it out, you've got the stability of a 29er with the playfulness of 26-inch hoops. This carbon ripper is stacked with a huge list of features: E2 head tube, EVO link, and a 95mm bottom bracket for the stiffest possible chassis end to end. Rocks, roots, and all other hits are demolished by 140mm of travel from a Fox 36 Float fork and Float RE:aktiv shock, along with Trek's Full Floater and 142x12mm ABP rear end keeping you in full control on and off the XT brakes. A full XT 2x11 group, carbon bar, Reverb Stealth dropper post and tubeless-ready Bonty wheels make up the specs. All fun, zero compromise, you're going to have to find a new unthinkably tough line.
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I was looking to upgrade my aluminum 5 inch travel, 26 inch bike for a while, and this bike caught my eye. I was torn between the 2017 Fuel EX 9.8 and Remedy 9.8 until this bike went on sale. Not being a huge fan of the new knock-block system anyway, I saved some serious cash and bought the 2016 model. This bike could be the best balance between technical climbing and descending out there. It charges the flats and climbs better than my Stache 29+ does, and charges down steep, rutted out, loose, rocky singletrack like a slot car. The upgrade to a carbon frame combined with the Re:active suspension is amazing. I can feel the bike floating over bumps and rocks that my other bikes seem to just plow and smack through. The frame is plenty stiff with perfect geometry and gear range to negotiate tight switchbacks, steep rock drops, all-out downhills, and steep sandy and gravelly climbs. I love the Shimano XT double setup compared to the SRAM 11spd single-ring setup on my Stache. It's nice to have the granny gear option for those occasional gut-wrenching climbs. After the second or third ride, the press-fit bottom bracket was already creaking away, which is my only complaint. The rims are pretty heavy, but seem unlikely to ever get any flat spots or come out of true. Also, the stock tires aren't bad, but they are a little too stiff and heavy for my taste. Overall, a great all-around trail bike that far exceeded my expectations. It has changed the way I ride, and I now find myself finishing my usual local trail circuit about 10-15 minutes faster than before.