What this blog is about

Bicycle commuting, bicycle touring, bicycle racing; bicycle ADVENTURING.
To the grocery store, up a mountain, across the country or to the finish line--
it's all an adventure.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Trek/Fisher Mountain Bike Demo

{Trek Remedy review, Trek Fuel EX review}

I got to test ride some bikes! Trek/Gary Fisher has a big truck an' trailer that drives around, toting mountain bikes for folks to try on the trail. This week happened to be a dealer-only event, but the truck also hosts public events.

I showed up an hour early so that I could take a few laps on my own mountain bike first as a "neutral" comparison. Then I tried a Remedy, a Fuel EX, a Remedy, and a Fuel EX. Yes, I rode two bikes back and forth-- because they were the only bikes in my size to ride. No 29ers, no HiFi, no Rumblefish, no Scratch, etc, etc. Wow, really?? Sure, there is a women's truck roaming around somewhere-- but I was informed by a demo guy that the only difference between the two were the stem and saddles. So why only 2 bikes in a small size? LAME.

Back to the EX and the Remedy.

In Mountain Bike Land, the spectrum, to me, looks like this:
  1. Cross-country race bikes. Light suspension, light bike, possibly hardtail or 29er. Fast. Very responsive handling, climbs incredibly, goes downhill okay.
  2. Do-it-all cross-country. A little more suspension, fairly light, quick, responsive handling but more stable than a racer, climbs, but holds it own going downhill. (*MY BIKE.)
  3. Beefy cross-country. More suspension, a fork/head tube angle that can handle rougher downhill, a bit heavier, stable handling. It can go up, but it much prefers to go down.
  4. After this, the bikes are really about going down.

My understanding of mountain bike #3 has totally changed. It used to be that these bikes were real pigs. They were pretty much "light duty downhill." You could climb on them, but you didn't really want to. 

Now-- these bikes are lighter, the suspension technology greater, and the angles tuned just right. This is the new "every person's" mountain bike. 

Is #3, without the dead weight. The bike felt super solid-- it stuck to the trail, I wasn't bouncing around. The steering was stable and generous to small mistakes, it didn't need to be micro-managed. It went down, it went up-- it was faster (lighter!) than I expected. To be fair, the REMEDY is the perfect bike for the park we were at-- Duthie Hill. Duthie is a park with trails built FOR mountain bikes (as opposed to trails built for hikers that bikes are allowed on)-- so it is super 'flowy' with all sorts of fun banking. It's Remedy territory.

Who I would recommend the Remedy to: enthusiast or first-time riders, looking for a bike that is quick but confident. You'll never shave your legs for a XC race. You hit the trail once-in-a-while or regularly. You're going to ride single track, flow park, small jumps-- Remedy it. This is the do-it-all. 

Comparable bike: the Enduro by Specialized.

If the Remedy were a sword, the EX felt like a scalpel. Or maybe a dagger. We'll let the real race bikes be scalpels. The EX could handle Duthie's flowy trails, but it was less forgiving to user-error. Rider-input had to be more exact. To be fair, the park was more suited to the Remedy than the Fuel EX. But boy, what small rollers I did climb-- I could tell that the EX really could jet uphill! 

Who I would recommend the Fuel EX to: enthusiast or first-time riders who prefer going up the mountain than down. You'd absolutely shave your legs for a XC race. When you ride your mountain bike, you're there to get a workout. You're going to ride fire road, single track, maybe some flow park. Fuel EX is a speedster with more confidence than a pure racer.

Comparable bike: Specialized Stumpjumper

I have to admit, I was a little worried that I would ride something cooler than my bike, then not like my bike anymore. Fortunately, I like my bike even more now. :)

Per my perspective-- my women's Stumpjumper (Safire) isn't quite so solid as a Remedy, but not quite so twitchy as a Fuel EX. 

For my purposes-- fire road, single track, flow park, some XC racing, endurance riding..

My Safire is goldilocks. Just right.

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