I am looking for a new bike and have it narrowed down to the 2017 Trek Remedy 8 or the 2017 Trek Fuel Ex 8. These are very different bikes and both have been changed alot since last year. I live in Minnesota so the trails aren’t too aggressive but I want a bike that is capable. I am only a 2 hour ride from Duluth Minnesota where the trails get steeper and more aggressive… There is also some lift service hills at Spirit mountain I want to hit. I currently ride a 2016 Fuel ex 7 and find my biggest issues are cornering and confidence(No I don’t want a plus bike). I just went on vacation to California and rented a Intense Recluse. I loved it and attributed this to having smaller wheels than I am used to. So I had my heart set on a Remedy for my next bike. Taking a closer look this was the first time I rode a dropper post and rode flats on some technical terrain(I ride clips and feel I started too early with my new bike). With the new Fuel becoming more aggressive and getting a dropper post do you think that this will be a better fit then my last fuel. I feel that the 150mm travel is too much for the majority of riding but would be do able. I want to have confidence taking drops, riding skinnys, and getting air. In short I want a bike that I am going to have fun on, I don’t care about weight or the very detailed specs. I am 5’9″ and feel that I could go 27.5 or 29, and am right in between M and L so would probably get an 18.5 from Trek.
Not sure if you are still looking, but I was in the same dilemma as you this season. I was honestly all set to drop $5k USD on a Yeti or Carbon Rocky until I demo’ed a 2017 Trek Fuel EX 8. I loved the bike, but the guys at my shop all ride Remedy’s so I was able to try one of those, as well. I ended up going with a 2018 Remedy 8, and I love it. Like you, I ride mostly less aggressive trails, but there are a few steep and rocky trails (Western Pennsylvania) and some drops around that I wanted to try. I can tell you that I am not afraid to point the Remedy down any trail I have tried yet. It is quick and nimble – does not feel like a 150mm bike (until you need it). I have no issues getting it off the ground when I want to (also from a BMX background).
That said, it is not a one-quiver bike. The Fuel does climb a bit (only a bit) better due to the steeper head tube and 29er wheels (also not interested in plus bike), but like with most 29ers you do need to pick your lines earlier. I went off the trail a couple of times because I found it hard to make quick line changes. The Fuel will plow surprisingly well over some rough terrain, but not as well as the Remedy. Also, on longer rides I do have to stop from time to time on the Remedy to give my back a break – it has a bit more aggressive riding stance than the Fuel. However, I should point out that I have terrible back and hip flexibility issues, so this is probably just an issue with my body. The climbing difference is only a big deal if you are more focused on that aspect of a bike. I would rather simply get up the hill and then be able to blast on the downhills.
I really think you will be happy with either. Both bikes have their pros and cons. If you are more interested in a bike that climbs well, descends very capably, but is geared more toward a relaxed riding position and more moderate speeds, then go with the Fuel. If you want a fast, nimble bike that likes to get rowdy going downhill, go with the Remedy. You may not see how rad the Remedy is until you really get it up to speed, so be honest with yourself about how you like to ride.
But with all that said, I agree that getting on the bikes for a demo is the best way to find which fits for you. Just trying to add my 2 cents in case you can’t get on them.