Bike Check: Katy Winton's Trek Slash - Finale Ligure EWS 2018

Sep 30, 2018
by Richard Cunningham  

Trek World Racing's Katy Winton finished in sixth place at the EWS final in Finale Ligure. Pinkbike's Ross Bell caught up with the Scottish shredder to talk about bikes and setups for one of the punchiest venues of the 2018 series. Winton stands five foot, two inches (158cm) and 132 pounds (60kg). "I'm a beast at the moment," she says. She rides a small-size Trek Slash with a combination of Bontrager and SRAM components. The fact that Winton chose to ride a 29er Slash is both a vote of confidence for Trek's designers and for any small-framed rider in search of a big wheel bike. PB has highlighted Winton's racing machines earlier this year, so I'll give you a slide show this time, along with some of her commentary.

Katy Winton
"It's really balanced. Trek's done a good job with the geometry. I'm not perched on the bike, which you can be if you are smaller on a 29er. You can feel like you are just sitting' on top of it."

Katy Winton
Switching from Fox to RockShox: "It's just a big change. I've had no experience with RockShox, so it's been a big learning curve for me. It's good stuff, but it's taken some time to figure it all out and to get it close to where I want it to be."

Katy Winton
Suspension setups for a smaller rider: "Yeah, that' been a problem. The've tuned my forks somewhat differently. I'm not as aggressive as the guys and I don't ride as fast, but I like my fork to hold up and be soft - I don't like it to just dive through its travel. So. it's about finding the balance, so it's not noodley but it's still soft at the bottom."

Katy Winton
Katy Winton
"My bars are 750 millimeters, my stem is a 50. I did have it without a spacer underneath it. For Finale, I have a spacer and I am happy that. My brakes are the wrong way around. They are Euro."

Katy Winton
Bontrager Team-Issue SE5 rear tire: "I's just a slightly softer compound on the 'edge knobbles' so I get better traction for the corners."
Katy Winton
"I use the G5 downhill tire on the front, which is a bit softer all over. It's also a bit wider as well. We've been struggling with the narrow tires on the wider rims. When you turned, it was just sliding. The G5 is wider, so it digs in and you get more confidence."

Katy Winton
"Did you get a picture of my brakes, with my name on them?"

Katy Winton
SRAM Eagle XO1 drivetrain.
Katy Winton
MRP chain guide, Shimano XTR pedals.

Katy Winton
Heal up fast, Jared...

Author Info:
RichardCunningham avatar

Member since Mar 23, 2011
974 articles

  • 72 0
 "Did you get a picture of my brakes with my name on them?"
"No Katy, we did not"
  • 40 0
 "Yes SRAM, we did."
  • 6 16
flag chyu (Sep 30, 2018 at 21:39) (Below Threshold)
 Soft at the top, hold up at middle, soft at bottom. What's her fork setup?
  • 60 0
 Having met Katy I can confirm she is taller than 58cm.
  • 66 0
 Having never met Katy, I'm reasonably convinced that this is correct
  • 18 0
 Weird... That doesnt look like a ReActive Thrushaft shock...
  • 3 1
  • 41 0
 Well it does have to last a whole weekend.
  • 1 0
 @panaphonic: based on early versions this is definitely fair! I wonder if it's more a performance rather than durability decision?
  • 10 0
 “We've been struggling with the narrow tires on the wider rims. When you turned, it was just sliding.”

So why not stick with narrower rims? Is this a case of we want to sell people wide rims so need our pros on them?
  • 5 0
 I was thinking exactly this
  • 13 3
 What does she mean that her brakes are the wrong way around. Right hand - rear brake, Left hand - front brake, seems perfectly normal.
  • 73 6
 It is normal. For all you guys who run your brakes the wrong way round Wink
  • 5 2
 Not if you're from the UK
  • 8 37
flag RedRedRe (Sep 30, 2018 at 16:24) (Below Threshold)
 The uk/japan/oceania way or running the brakes moto style is antiquated in my opinion. Only reason motorcycles have the front brake on the right is because the clutch has to be on the other other side as you cant pull the clutch while operating the trottle at the same time. Strong hand should handle the rear brakes that is usually pulled harder.
  • 41 9
 @RedRedRe: Maybe the strong hand should handle the front brake as it does most of the braking?
  • 36 1
 In case anyone is wondering, the different brake configurations were explained to me as a kid. The reason that was explained to me is that in Left Hand Drive countries (who drive on the right side of the road) the back brake is on the right, so that you can signal to oncoming traffic your intention to turn left with your left hand and still have your right hand on the back brake. Back brake is less dangerous, as if you slam on the back brake while you only have one hand on the bars, you won’t be pitched over the bars. This is reversed for Right Hand Drive countries.
  • 13 1
 @RedRedRe: It's all about hand signals when cycling on the road. Where cars drive on the left-hand side of the road (NZ, AUS, UK, Japan), all hand signals are done with your right hand (just like the drivers in those countries), that leaves your left hand on the back brake, you don't really want to be holding the front brake rolling into an intersection. That is why people from those countries run their brakes "Moto".
  • 5 18
flag RedRedRe (Sep 30, 2018 at 20:42) (Below Threshold)
 @markmcm: you sound like a pretty good rider if you grab the front more than the rear...
  • 3 0
 @blanc: @konaworld: thanks for explaining
  • 2 1
 @konaworld: and if you ride motocross!
  • 8 3
 @RedRedRe: It is basic physics. Front brake = good for slowing/stopping. Back brake = good for skidding. Same rule whether it is a bike, a motorbike or a car as the weight is front loaded under braking.
  • 3 12
flag ka-brap (Oct 1, 2018 at 0:17) (Below Threshold)
 @markmcm: Slowing, yes. Stopping, no. If you lock up the front wheel, that's a death sentence. If you lock up the rear wheel, you can skid which is often very beneficial in certain situations. Balanced braking seems to be the ticket and if you are ever going to grab a complete handful of lever, it should never be the front only but it can be the rear only.
  • 1 0
 Not if you are used to ride Motorcycles as well (despite being Euro)
  • 4 2
 @RedRedRe: @RedRedRe: IMO the rear brake does not get pulled harder. During normal riding it takes very little lever force to lock up the rear wheel as the wheel naturally unweights when braking, reducing grip on that wheel. BMX/trials style tyre taps are the only situation I can think of where you would need to grab a good hand-full of rear brake, as these maneuvers focus all your weight and momentum through the back wheel.

The front brake on the other hand, normally requires a reasonably hard pull to lock the wheel. This is because the weight of the bike/rider naturally pushes through the front wheel when braking, meaning the tyre gets better grip. So while I don't think that hand strength is a big concern when using modern brakes, if it got to the point where I did need to choose my lever position based on which hand was stronger, it would seem sensible to put the front brake in my strong hand.

The same goes for fine motor control. Your dominant hand should have better motor control, and it would seem sensible to use this hand for the front brake, where having the control to brake just enough to slow down without locking the wheel is very important. Lock the front wheel at high speed and you will likely crash. Lock the rear wheel at high speed and you'll do a cool skid.

To be fair though, I think both hands are usually strong and dexterous enough that it doesn't really matter which you use for which brake. Whatever you are used to is fine.

But front/right is better. Wink
  • 1 0
 So you guys who don't like what I'm saying are wearing through front brake pads faster than rears? Curious question, not snarky.
  • 4 1
 @ka-brap: Nope I wear rears faster. As you say, this does kinda go against the idea that the front brake gets pulled harder. However I've always assumed that the rears wear faster cos:

a) while the front brake gets used much harder and does the majority of the work in any hard deceleration, the rear brake gets used more often, for small speed checks/bike attitude adjustment etc. and on steeper trails is often dragged gently for long durations, causing a lot of heat build up and accelerated wear. Not very hard work for the hand, but a bit abusive to the brake pads.

b) your rear wheel gets a lot more dirt and shit thrown at it than the front, so the brake pads get worn faster by the resulting grinding paste on them.
  • 2 1
 @gabriel-mission9: Much of what I was alluding to in my post is what you are saying in a)- that the rear brake gets used much more frequently. But I still can't think of myself using the front brake more than the rear on a steep decent. That's not to say that I use the rear more, just both more equally. I'd be really interested to see the data on that if I were to hook up sensors to my bike...

I just know that I: 1). burn through rear brake pads far more frequently than fronts (even when it's been dry for months and crap isn't thrown all over my rotors), 2). losing front wheel traction in a steep, downhill corner is not where you want to be, 3). you never lock up the front wheel (and I ride off the back more than I lean over the front, at least for DH). It's just hard for me to fathom that I use the front brake more/harder to stop my bike than the rear.
  • 1 1
 @blanc: no disservice to the sensible explanation but f*ck that
  • 12 0
 That Garmin mount integrated to the Knock Block, tho. Tell me more.
  • 2 0
 Yes I need to know more!!!!
  • 2 0
 Why doesn't trek sell that?
  • 4 0
 This came up before, it's a custom hack by her mechanic. Cool toy.
  • 8 0
 Pro tip...
1. Buy K-edge fixed Garmin stem mount.
2. Cut off the ring / spacer section with hacksaw
3. Drill hole / countersink
4. Bolt on using existing Knock Block hardware (it's long enough). Use small piece of 3M VHB to prevent rotation.
(This will work fine with Edge 520 + or similar. Not long enough for bigger units)
  • 2 0
 I thought Knock Block was code for the team chaperone... No?
  • 6 0
 Interesting discovery when tuning a RE:aktiv with Thru Shaft shock with a ShockWiz -

it scores no lower than high 80s no matter which tuning setting you select and mid to high 90s or 100 in many of the settings you'd really want to use. So it either works EXACTLY as advertised or its good at tricking the ShockWiz
  • 8 0
 Why isn't Trek's EWS team using the RE:Aktiv shocks?
  • 41 3
 because they kinda suck
  • 12 0
 probably because they are bad
  • 4 3
 @sam264: or because for extreme temperatures that the oil in race shocks reach it's better to have a proper piggyback
  • 24 1
 Because the riders don't want to carry 3 spare shocks with them. ????
  • 15 0
 The same reason I took the one off my Slash... Inconsistant behaviour in rough technical terrain. It constantly wants to stand up in the rough section pitching the bike forward when things are steep and tech. Only time that thing feels good and effective is on flatter xc trails or fast flow trails which well, isnt really why a lot of people bought a Slash....
  • 3 0
 I broke my reactive shock twice in two months and gave up and got a Float X2.
  • 3 0
 @sam264: kinda is an understatement
  • 5 1
 I have reaktiv thrushaft with no problems, i consider myself a heavy rider. It seems a pretty good shock with no fade on longer decents, very responsive and for weekend warrior an easy setup is great for me.
  • 3 0
 @gasworks I'm of the same opinion. At 83kg (190lbs) this shock performs very well. Just need the right about of sag set like any rear shock. The fact the maintenance (no IFP) should be easier for weekend warriors like us to service at home.

It is weird the EWS team is not using one. All rider preference anyways.
  • 1 0
 Same with me, had one in my remedy 9.8 2018 and even 3 weeks bikepark holiday did not scare it. Now I have a slash with a thrushaft rs deluxe and it seems to work good to. Does not keep me from wishing for a DB Air for the bike, the deluxe just looks wrong too me even if it performes.
  • 1 0
 @jmeisenh: i found the trek tuning tips to be way off on the website, for me at 82kg recommend air pressure was over 200psi which was way too harsh so i added an extra volume spacer and now runing at around 170 and it feels pretty good, im using all travel nearly every ride and no bottom out feeling which i concider a result.
  • 5 0
 People are actually on the comments section arguing about which side each brake lever should be on.
  • 2 0
 no mention of seatposts, a problem she and I have both had on trek slashes, seatposts with decent (150mm) travel often can't be inserted far enough into the frame for us shortarses. dealbreaker for me when looking at new bikes to buy.

these the real problems in the world I tell ye
  • 3 1
 OMG!!!! How dare you call that a bike check! You didn't tell us how many links in the chain, how heavy the water bottle cage is, or what Pantone of blue that frame is!

I'm disappointed PB, if I had to pay for this content, you better believe I'd be cancelling my subscription. You need to up your game in my opinion or Vital might start getting more than 4 comments on its content.

PS: Love you really keep up the good work ????
  • 9 5
 Is anyone else bored of seeing the term '29er' in almost every article these days.
  • 15 0
 Yep we need a new wheelsize to cry and moan about.
  • 5 0
 Nice bike!!!
  • 3 1
 Damn that seat angle is slack AF!
  • 2 0
 I like that colour combo. Really makes it pop! But why no thru shaft Eek
  • 2 4
 Sounds to me it is shitty for her to adapt to RockShox.For my experience Fox forks are benchmark. I have never found that kind of suppleness at RockShox
  • 3 6
 in 26" she would have had a really nice looking bike.... 29er are so ugly in small....
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