Trek is one of those companies that possess all of the resources that keep fellow big brands like Specialized and Giant atop their game year after year. We've heard the tired-old complaints that Trek places more emphasis on its road-bike division but can't agree with nay-sayers, especially after spending some time in the saddle of the Remedy 8.
The Trek Remedy 8 is a trail bike by nature but if you want to really want to be technical, this is a model that fits the "all mountain" designation established a few years ago. It boasts close to 6-inches of suspension travel front and rear, aluminum construction, Trek's Full-Floater suspension linkage and Active Braking Pivot (APB) technology.
For $3,360, you can pick up a 2012 Trek Remedy 8 exactly like ours, which consists of 5.9 inches of suspension travel via a Fox 32 TALAS RL fork and Fox Float RP2 DRCV shock. A Shimano SLX 30-speed drivetrain meets up with a Bontrager Low Rise handlebar. Bontrager Duster 26" wheels mate to Bontrager hubs and come wrapped in Bontrager XR4 EXP 2.35" rubber. Braking comes in the form of Avid Elixir 5s. All told our medium sized test sled weighed in a tad under 30-pounds (29.9) running Xpedo M-Force 4 pedals (not included).
Climbing into the Remedy 8's saddle reveals a decidedly trail-friendly geometry: The reach to the bars isn't overly exaggerated, nor is the stretch to the pedals even when seated. The low-rise bars place a tad bit more rider weight over the front wheel than on most all-mountain deigns, but there is definitely no mistaking this for an XC rig either.
Set-up is a bit on intricate-side but nothing to be intimidated over. The fork sag is set up using air pressure as per the instruction sheet's recommendations and the shock, though fairly intimidating looking; is actually pretty standard as well. This particular Fox shock is actually specific to Trek and the DRCV acronym in its namesake stands for Dual-Rate Control Valve. Aside from looking a little goofy, all this really means is that the shock contains two separate air chambers. The smaller chamber is charged with the task of picking up trail clutter. Reach the limitations of the first chamber and the second (larger) one comes into play so as to keep the shock from bottoming on big hits.
Put your weight down on a pedal of the Trek Remedy 8 and prepare to forget that there's close to 6-inches of squish between you and the ground. This bike likes to power up to speed from a dead stop; a trait we attribute to the Full-Floater design coupled to a well-valved shock. For those who don't already know, Full Floater refers to Trek's configuration that mounts the shock essentially to itself rather than to the frame with the top mounting to a magnesium rocker connected to the seatstays and the bottom meeting up with a lip on the chainstays.
Handling is pretty consistent throughout the gear-ranges with no real surprises to report. The tires seemed to work better in loose conditions and displayed a tendency to want to washout when the speeds really increased. The tragedy here is that the Full Floater linkage and dual-chamber Fox shock are actually up to the task of handling some seriously high-speed descents, fearing a front-end washout is a terrible reason to have to keep your speed in check.
The bike's a pretty solid climber as well; again the firm rear end coupled to suspension that remains perfectly active even under a heavy load and what results is a bike that snakes its way up hills with steady confidence. 30-pounds is no longer featherweight territory but this is a bike that hides its heft quite well.
Odds and Ends
Braking is quite impressive on the Remedy 8 and whether scrubbing off speed or coming to an emergency stop, we were quite unable to find the limitations of the Avid Elixirs. The Shimano SLX component group is a good, workman-quality spec. The Trek is a stable flyer as well and can certainly be pressed into moderate bike-park thrashing. The Fox 32 TALAS with its smooth dial-turning travel adjust can really change the personality of the bike on the fly. The back end is always ready for whatever conditions you throw at it.
The Trek Remedy 8 is a bit of a jack-of-all-trades mountain bike that neither excels nor fails in any one area. In stock trim it can be pressed into a wide variety of riding styles and terrains and the build quality is impressive. $3,360 isn't exactly chump change in this tough economic clime but if you can swing it, the Remedy 8 makes for an all-star technical descended and pedals quite well to boot.