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Is "Shock and Awe" too lame a phrase to introduce the 2010 Trek Remedy 9.9? Sorry if it is, but the proprietary Fox Float DRCV RP23 rear shock used on the bike, combined with the awe-inspiring look and performance of the OCLV carbon frame are what make the $6000 Trek Remedy a game-changer in the all-mountain/trail bike market.
    Now don't worry, you can get into the Remedy 7 (with the DRCV shock) for $2600, but we're talking about the full-pull here..the XTR / X.0-kitted, full carbon 9.9 model that gets 150mm of travel, front and rear, and weighs in at a waify 26-27lbs depending on size. That's not heavy.
    The scene, Moab. The reason, getting a first ride on this bad boy. Trek lugged us media/magazine types to the red rock roller coaster land of Utah for an epic introduction to this new breed of high-tech, long-travel, do-it-all mountain bike. Two van loads of frothing bike nerds were properly set up on the bikes the night before the ride and were now ascending the classic slabbiness of Amasa Back trail on a crisp fall morning.

The Ride
    12 minutes into the ride it was clear that this bike was going to be pretty freaking fun, as the the typical shelfy and steppy terrain of Moab slickrock showed its character immediately. Wheel-high plops to flat and chainring-skimming steps were being negotiated without a second thought and I wasn't even sweating yet (and I don't take long to start sweating!). The fact the bike had 6-inches of travel had already escaped me and we were climbing. The bike was too light and too easy to ride up hill to have 150mm of travel, right?
Photo     Pedaling was efficient and second-nature...no weird suspension action or feedback. I'm usually prone to creeping up the hill and spinning as much as possible, for the sake of survival, yet I found I was in a gear or two harder than I'd normally ride uphill. A pleasant surprise that actually made climbing fun...even on flat pedals. The combination of the efficient, long-travel suspension design and the stiff carbon frame seemed to be the factor. Additionally, the Bontrager bar and stem were incredibly stiff, giving a big guy like me some added torquing power on the way up.
    The crew topped out, grabbed a bite and nibbled around on the skatepark features of the petrified sand dunes before a long, rolling, descending singletrack sprinkled with Moab's white-knuckle exposure sections. Plenty of plowing, smashing and rock blasting occured during the descent, and the bike was ready for plenty more than I could give it. Some lines were intentional, some were not. The bike didn't care. This time I had forgotten that the bike "only" had 150mm of travel. The Remedy nearly felt like it was built specifically for downhill as Moab's holes, off-camber cracks and hidden ledges tried to ruin everyone's good time without a hint of success. The Remedy prevailed...once again thanks to the bike's technology (insert broken record comment here).

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The Shock
The Fox Float DRCV RP23 uses a proprietary design found only on Trek and Gary Fisher bikes. The Remedy offers the longer travel version of the technology. The shock, cooperatively designed by Fox Racing Shox and Trek's Jose Gonzalez, uses two air chambers activated by a position-sensitive valve to control the bike's suspension. PhotoThe upper air chamber remains closed unless the internal plunger activates Dual Rate Control Valve (DRCV) as the shock gets squished.
    The design allows the smaller, more sensitive chamber to control the wheel during climbing and on smaller bumps while the secondary chamber opens up for the bigger hits and impacts of modern, aggressive trail riding.
    Typical single-chamber shocks that use a small air volume do well on climbs and small bumps, but are less compliant on big hits. Large-volume shocks have that wallowy, mushy mid-stroke feel that can reduce pedaling efficiency.
    The dual-chamber design of the DRCV shock provides a solution that works well for the wide variety of terrain and forces experienced on the trail. Considering the how well the bike tackled climbing and the aggressive, abusive descending terrain on our Amasa Back ride, I'd say the shock paired with the Full Floater suspension design live up to the hype.

The Awe
    Carbon seems to be the hot topic these days. It's really light, it's really stiff and when done well, carbon looks sick (the finish on the Remedy 9.9 is baller!). Though carbon may seem like some new trend in the market, Trek has been creating carbon frames using their OCLV process since 1992. They invented the Optimum Compaction, Low Void process and have been refining it for the last 18 years.
    The Remedy 9.9 uses Trek's most modern carbon refinements, packaged in a build with no expense spared. Every inch of the bike is built and spec'd for maximum strength and minimal weight, so the bike is the least of your concerns on long, adventure-filled rides or that 20 minute zip around the park at lunch.
    Trek also understands the hazards of modern riding and how debris impact can effect carbon frames. Scrutinizing impact tests in the lab reveal that the design and lay-up of the OCLV carbon is ready for massive impact without a downtube guard. Trek studied the locations of heavy debris impacts, however, and designed a light-weight piece of rubberized armor to keep rocks and sticks from your roosting front wheel at bay (see the video below).
    I'm not a svelte, pencil-thin XC kinda guy, so if anyone is going to flex and creak a carbon frame while climbing or descending, it's gonna be me. I was expecting to feel the bike stress under me a bit while climbing, but I did not notice that at all. Flex was never an issue, going up or down and at the bottom of the brutal ride, the bike still felt like it was brand new (which it should, considering the price tag).

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Any down sides?
    Have I complained yet? You readers get skeptical if there isn't a critique, so here's all I can muster in that department. The Avid Elixir CR Mag brakes faded once at the end of my ride. I stopped for second, grabbed the brake and the lever went to the bars. I let go, squeezed again and it was fine after that. This happened to a couple of other riders, too. Apparently the stock, factory bleed may have some air, so if you're worried about it, just re-bleed the brakes and they'll be fine. Aside from the one-time fade, the brakes were mint. I liked the lever feel and the delivery of power. I never felt under- or over-gunned in the brake department.

The Verdict?

    If I had 6 grand lying around, like that Geico money with the eyeballs, I would swoop the Remedy 9.9 up in a heartbeat...without a second thought. Since I don't, I would save up, go into debt or investigate the more affordable models if I was in the market for a kick ass trail bike. That whole "do it all" moniker seems kind of hokey, considering one bike can never do everything well, but the Trek Remedy seems to come as close as possible. If I was going to own one bike, and one bike only, this just might be it.
    Get on the bike and see for yourself. Trek has a boatload of dealers throughout the world and a Factory Demo program, so you'll have no excuses. -spomer

Visit www.trekbikes.com for more info

Travis Brown, railing it. Photo Craig Glaspell / Trek Bikes
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Trek Remedy 9.9 Spec, Figures and Geometry
Price: $6189
Sizes: 15.5, 17.5, 18.5, 19.5, 21.5"
Frame: OCLV Red Carbon w/ABP Race, Full Floater, E2 tapered head tube, magnesium EVO Link, oversized pivot bearings, replaceable derailleur hanger, 150mm travel
Front Suspension: Fox 32 Talas Fit RLC w/air spring, low speed compression, lockout, rebound, alloy E2 tapered steerer, 15QR, 110-130-150mm
Rear Suspension: Fox Float RP-23 with proprietary Trek DRCV, boost valve, Pro Pedal, rebound; 7.75x2.25"
Wheels: Bontrager Rhythm Pro Disc wheel system, 6 bolt, tubeless ready
Tires: Bontrager XDX, 26x2.4"
Shifters: SRAM X.0 trigger
Front Derailleur: Shimano Deore XT, Direct Mount
Rear Derailleur: SRAM X.0
Crank: Shimano XTR 44/32/22
Cassette: SRAM PG970 11-34, 9 speed
Pedals: n/a
Saddle: Bontrager Rhythm Pro
Seat Post: Crank Brothers Joplin w/remote height adjustment, 31.6mm
Handlebars: Bontrager Race Lite, 25mm rise
Stem: Bontrager Rhythm
Headset: Cane Creek Frustum SE Light Edition, E2
Brakeset: Avid Elixir CR MAG, hydraulic disc

Geometry (centimeters)
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Geometry (inches)
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Carbon Impact Study
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