Field Test: 2021 Trek Slash - Ready to Race

Dec 13, 2020
by Mike Kazimer  

PINKBIKE FIELD TEST

Trek Slash



Words by Mike Kazimer, photography by Tom Richards


The Slash was updated for 2021 with 10mm more travel, along with the expected longer, slacker geometry changes, and a few bonus frame features. It's still rolling on 29” wheels, with 160mm of rear travel and a 170mm fork. Its intended purpose hasn't changed at all - it's still meant to be an enduro race bike.

That 160mm of travel comes from Trek's ABP suspension layout, which uses a concentric pivot at the rear axle. The overall layout hasn't deviated much from the previous version, but what's new is the RockShox Super Deluxe ThruShaft shock. The shock uses Trek's ThruShaft design, where the damper shaft exits out the bottom of the shock, which means the damper valve assembly is moving through one column of oil.
Slash Details


• Travel: 160mm rear / 170mm front
• Wheel size: 29"
• Head angle: 64.1-degrees (low)
• Seat tube angle: 75.6-degrees (low)
• Reach: 486mm (lrg)
• Chainstay length: 437mm
• Sizes: S, M, ML, L (tested), XL
• Weight: 32.5 lb / 14.7 kg (as pictured)
• Price: $8,000 USD
trekbikes.com

The shock was developed specifically for Trek, but it does share some similarities with the current inline Deluxe shock, like the ability to select from three low-speed compression settings, along with an extra-firm locked out position. A turn of the dial can firm up the shock for smoother, flowier trails, or turning it the other way can be useful for slippery conditions when traction is a high priority. There's also a numbered rebound knob, one of those “Why hasn't everyone been doing this?” features that should help speed up setup.

Trek debuted their in-frame snack storage on the Fuel EX last year, and that's now been carried over to the Slash. Flipping a lever underneath the water bottle cage unlatches a panel that covers the downtube, where a tube and snacks can easily be stored. Perhaps best of all, the feature is also found on the aluminum Slash frames.

Along with the snack compartment, the Slash has a threaded bottom bracket, a 34.9mm seatpost diameter, and Knock Block 2.0. For those that aren't familiar, the Knock Block system uses a a small stop chip in the headtube and a special headset top cap and stem spacers to prevent the handlbar from being turned too far in either direction. The previous version only allowed 58-degrees of rotation in either direction, while the new one allows 72-degrees of rotation. Even better, the feature can be completely removed, since the downtube now has a slight curve in it that allows the forks crown to pass underneath without any issues.

The Slash's head tube angle has been slackened by 1-degree, and now sits at 64.1-degrees in the low geometry setting. It's possible to steepen that to 64.6-degrees via the flip chips in the seatstays, but I have a feeling most riders will stick to the slacker setting. Along with the slacker head angle, the bike's reach has grown by 20-30mm per size – the reach on a size large now measures 486mm. Speaking of sizes, there's now an ML option in the mix, which means there's a total of five sizes – S, M, ML, L, and XL.

The seat angle has been steepened to 75.6-degrees. That's slightly slacker than what we're seeing from other companies, especially when combined with the bike's relatively slack actual seat tube angle. The chainstay length remains the same across the board for all sizes, at 437mm in the low setting.

The Slash 9.9 X01 version reviewed here retails for $8,000 USD. Parts kit highlights include a RockShox Zeb Ultimate fork, SRAM X01 12-speed drivetrain, Code RSC brakes, and Bontrager Line Elite carbon wheels. That's a lot of money, but you can get an alloy version starting at $3,500 for the aluminum Slash 7.

The total weight is 32.5 lb with our Maxxis Assegai / DHR II control tires installed, making it the second lightest bike out of the 5 on hand for this test.





Climbing

Trek bumped up the anti-squat on the Trek, and for the most part I was happy leaving the shock alone while climbing, especially when it was in the middle or firmer compression setting of the 'open' position.

As it is, the Slash is a good climber, but you can notice that front center length when things get really tight; at times I felt I was a little further back than I wanted. Otherwise, the reasonable weight and good traction from the Super Deluxe shock make it relatively easy to get the climbing out of the way before the fun really begins. Sure, you won't mistake it for an extra-nimble trail bike, but doesn't turn into a cumbersome sled on mellower terrain.

In regards to sizing, the Slash has the longest top tube length out of all five bikes being reviewed, at 649mm. Yes, it also has the longest reach to go along at that, but if you look at the Norco Shore, that bike has a 480mm reach and 617mm top tube length - the seat tube angle makes a big difference in how well the longer front center is hidden while climbing. Now, I was able to achieve a pretty comfortable climbing position by sliding the seat forward in the rails, but I wouldn't have complained if the seat tube angle was a couple degrees steeper. Interestingly, that’s pretty much what I said about the Specialized Enduro last year, and the two have similar reach and top tube lengths.





Descending

I spent a lot of time on the previous Slash, and one thing's for certain – it hasn't lost anything when it comes to speed and precision. Out of all the bikes, this one felt the fastest, even if that wasn't totally reflected in the timed laps. I like bikes that make you want to go fast, the kind where it doesn't feel like there's a speed limit, and this is one of them.

Have you ever rented a car, and then somehow found yourself going 90mph because of how smooth the ride was? That's a fitting analogy for the Slash - it's stiff without being harsh, and the tune on the Super Deluxe is excellent. I didn't need to play with volume spacers at all, and the three positions are all very effective. While I used it in the fully open position most of the time, it's nice to be able to firm it up for different terrain and trails.

The chainstay length is the same across all sizes, something that's becoming less common. I wouldn't have minded the option to lengthen things, just to be able to experiment, and I'm sure taller riders than myself would appreciate the ability to fine-tune the back end length a little bit. However, that longer front / shorter back end balance is a good time in the steeps, where it gives the bike a nice blend of stability and maneuverability.
Timed Testing

The enduro and freeride bikes were all tested on a section of trail that included a mix of everything you'd expect to find on a race track. There were tight corners, a few drops, some sidehill sections that get trickier the faster you go, along with some higher speed, open corners.

Don't forget that timing is just one of many ways to judge a bike, and fast doesn't always mean it's the best for everyone.


Mike Kazimer: "I had my third fastest lap time on the Slash at 2:42, just 1.6 seconds off my fastest time."

That's sort of the theme with this bike – it's stiff and fast, but it's also really great at jumping and slapping through corners. Overall, the Slash would make a great race bike, or an all-rounder for someone who's focused on rowdier trails and is looking for a precise speed machine.




Pros

+ Light and stiff frame – encourages you to go fast
+ Great shock tune
+ In-frame storage
+ Wide range of available frame size options

Cons

- Seat tube angle could still be a bit steeper
- Shorter cranks and an even longer dropper post would have been nice to see




The 2020 Pinkbike Field Test was made possible with support from Dainese apparel & protection, Sierra Nevada refreshments, and Smith eyewear and helmets. Thanks also to Maxxis, Garmin, Freelap, and Toyota Pacific.





286 Comments

  • 194 12
 If i hear “snacks in the down tube” one more time im gunna burn this place to the ground.
  • 154 3
 Snacks in the down tube.
  • 51 2
 Snack in the down tube
  • 18 1
 @ybsurf: hahaha thanks guys (or gals)
  • 3 1
 Tbh why would you keep a snack in it it’ll end up being mushy
  • 5 0
 @Ooofff: ya, a bologna sandwich or a samosa would be gross after a day of winter riding. Better off keeping it in the car
  • 154 3
 Maybe I'll start calling it a tube and treat terrarium. How's that?
  • 14 0
 @mikekazimer: id prefer powerball fuselage. Sounds smart and engineery. Another good review btw. Thanks
  • 3 0
 What do Dehydrated Tim bits sound like rattling around in the downtube.?
  • 3 0
 @kungfupanda: He said hear not read ! Wink
  • 5 0
 A hanky in the downtube in case you have a case of the sniffles...
  • 12 1
 @mikekazimer: the bacon station has a nice ring to it
  • 5 0
 Beers in the downtube?
  • 3 0
 @boozed: this i could do!
  • 9 0
 @boozed: I bet it’s water proof aswell you could poor you beer in it and then use a straw to drink it out your frame
  • 8 0
 Shenanigan's?
  • 7 0
 Junk in the trunk
  • 21 1
 Trek Stash Smile
  • 20 1
 ganja garage
  • 2 0
 Tools In Tube System i'll see myself out
  • 2 0
 @Ooofff: Put in a downie and pull billies outta da stem.
  • 2 0
 @AntN: What????
  • 2 0
 @mikekazimer: burrito box.
  • 1 0
 @AntN: what do you mean by downie
  • 1 0
 @Ooofff: Turning the open space into a Bong.
  • 1 0
 clown’s pocket?
  • 3 0
 Since they can't call it SWAT, how about Stuff Hidden In There box, you know, SHIT box for short
  • 1 0
 I thought it was decided that this was: Trek Inside Tool Storage (TITS)
  • 1 0
 @mikekazimer: Weed and Feed Hot Box...
  • 2 0
 @Highlander406: Transition already has that trademark for their Tubes Inside Tubes System for internal cable routing.
  • 1 0
 @Highlander406: I would love to ride a tits bike
  • 130 1
 Just to echo a comment I saw on a recent bike review, if companies are going to name their models after a Shimano or SRAM group but then not ship the bike with a complete group, it would be cool for the people working on the journalism side to use language like 'mixed GX-X01 drivetrain' instead of just following along and calling it the X01 bike.
  • 34 0
 That seems like a good idea. Just out of interest I looked, and this bike comes with full X01 except for the GX chain and GX cassette. It's totally false advertising to call this an X01 bike. Personally I am fine with GX, but not when I paid for X01
  • 7 52
flag Xlr8n (Dec 12, 2020 at 18:50) (Below Threshold)
 @DAN-ROCKS: Anyone who buys a bike simply because of "X0" in the name deserves to get burned if they end up finding they get a GX cassette. How could you not read the specs?
  • 66 0
 Regardless of what they call it, it's pathetic to have a GX cassette on an $8000 bike. If it's a $5000 bike, fine, put a GX on it. But for 8 grand it better have an X01 or XTR cassette.
  • 31 0
 @Xlr8n: you're missing the point here.
  • 5 20
flag mm732 (Dec 12, 2020 at 22:57) (Below Threshold)
 This is a glorified press release though. "Pros: great shock tune!" uhh where was that in the ride review?
  • 16 1
 @mm732: the beginning, the middle, and the end.
  • 9 0
 Or just name it based on the cassette instead of the dérailleur. Then maybe we'd get the full deore with an xtr cassette spec.
  • 16 1
 @mm732, I specifically mention the tune at the 8:48 mark in the video.
  • 3 30
flag mm732 (Dec 13, 2020 at 17:34) (Below Threshold)
 @mikekazimer: aint got time for no video. just wanna hear (read) some technical detail. maybe i'm not the target market here idk.
  • 30 0
 @mm732: you complained about it not being in the ride review and didn’t watch the ride review.

Nice
  • 3 0
 @Solorider13: He aint got no time! He just wanna hear someone read the technology shit to him! Maybe even shout it at him?! @mikekazimer should do a few reviews the way Billy Mays would've. And only have the review visible between 2-4AM.
  • 90 9
 So...they include a knock block headset, but it's not needed cause the fork can rotate freely with the new headtube design...?

What purpose would that serve besides giving former Slash owners an at-home feeling on the new bike?
  • 17 0
 specially with sponsored trek nibblers socials riding B spins an whips......
  • 11 2
 was thinking the same thing. why add complexity/proprietary design for no reason?
  • 67 5
 @twonsarelli: because trek
  • 59 4
 @twonsarelli: to not butthurt the engineers who thought knockblock was a revolutionary idea
  • 6 4
 The idea is that you can replace the forks and not have to worry about it..
  • 87 7
 The knock block is for protecting your cable/hoses in a crash assuming you have them setup to look tidy and not for doing bar spins...
  • 116 2
 It can stop your brake lines from being pulled out in a crash, and keep your levers from contacting the top tube. Honestly, though, I've been riding the old knock block for over 3 years, and it is the number 1 thing that the interwebz hates with a passion that is so totally not a thing on the actual trail. Unless you're doing bar spins.
  • 62 2
 I know I will get a lot of hate for this and it really hurt to say it, but I am totally used to it now and I find the knock block quite usefull. It saved my frame from getting damaged by the bars ( as I have my stem setted very low) a few time on crashes and it has never bothered me for loading the bike in my car or on tight turn on my local alpine singletracks.
That said, I totally understand people who hate it or find it useless.
  • 10 0
 The brake lever / top tube interface, maybe?
  • 4 0
 @pinhead907:
Right on. I guess I’ve never experienced that before but I can imagine it. Glad it works for you
  • 5 2
 @pinhead907: depends where you ride. Knock lock sucks for back country switchbacks. No difference on actual bike trails for sure though.
  • 12 12
 @riccardoleumann: fork*

Singular. One fork. Two legs.
  • 15 13
 @Bungalow-bikes: oh, is that the bullshit excuse Trek gives now? The only reason for KnockBlock in the first place was a designer inventing a "feature" to compensate for the pathetic claim of "straight shot, ultra stiff downtube isn't possible without knockblock," which, of course, is bullshit.
  • 15 5
 Trek is way too proud to give up on their "innovation" just like that. Next version they'll remove it and claim that they've made it lighter and stiffer and faster.
  • 18 0
 @bulletbassman: I rode quite a few “French trails” so silly switchbacks galore with a knock block headset and not once been bothered by it. Granted I love a good nose turn...
  • 18 11
 I find the knock block actually helps on switchbacks. I feel like I can go around tight switchbacks faster and with more confidence knowing that I can't overdo it and push the front wheel. The more you turn your bar the higher your chance of breaking traction and pushing out of the corner. The radius it gives you is plenty and it keeps that front wheel rolling. I've ridden it since it was introduced and have never had it stop me from making it around a corner or caused a crash. Before knock block I can certainly remember crashes where I over steered and the wheel broke loose or completely jack knifed and sent me tumbling. Maybe it could limit you on a super slow techy uphill switchbacks but it's never been an issue for me. It completely eliminates a certain type of crash and helps maintain traction at the front wheel by keeping it rolling. I have a hard time seeing where all the hate comes from. Before, it could break in a crash then the fork could dent your down tube which was probably not super common but sucked. Seems like that's a non issue now.
  • 3 0
 How much force can the knock block withstand? I ask this because I had some crashes where the wheel ended perpendicular to the frame after hitting some obstacle like a trail side stump and I was sent flaying OTB.
Would this kind of impact brake the frame, or the knock block, or both?
  • 4 0
 @Mesmomesmo: that be your stem rotating a bit on steerer tube. Pretty common unless direct mount or a super beefy single crown stem
  • 8 0
 Considering the gouge in my top tube (P153CR) from my brake lever, I'd consider it purposeful bit of proprietary engineering.
  • 2 0
 They say its so cables dont get yanked out in the event of a crash.
  • 1 0
 Nice tidy cables
  • 15 0
 You guys better watch out. The last time I talked crap about knock block my very next ride I had a little nothing crash and ripped my derailleur cable out. The universe is watching.
  • 1 13
flag getsomesy (Dec 12, 2020 at 11:39) (Below Threshold)
 @bulletbassman: Sounds like you could use some improvement on your switchback skills. I grew up riding lots of very tight switchbacks and it’s almost always better to round out the corner with unorthidox line choice, drift or brake hard into a nose manual pivot turn.
  • 21 4
 @Mesmomesmo: One of our local girls broke the Knock Block tab on her Slash in a crash and the fork crown impacted the down tube and gouged it. It's not covered by warranty because it is crash damage so she's had to get a different frame that was designed for mountain biking off-road where crashes can occur.
  • 11 0
 @rickybobby18: No engineer ever thought that. Knock block was a bandaid to deal with the drawback of the “straight shot“ frame design which was done purely and exclusively for optical reasons.
  • 13 1
 @SnowshoeRider4Life: douche*

Singular. One bag. Two legs.
  • 9 2
 @mph51: I love how triggered people get when their spelling is corrected. Like have some humility, accept the knowledge and move on. Be glad you can now get an actual job because you can spell correctly now.
  • 4 2
 Knock block ensures the bars don't over-rotate is you have a bad crash, thus ripping the gear and brake lines out in the process. So...unless you're an avid thrower of x-ups I'd say this is a pretty decent preventative measure.
  • 1 0
 @Louisd2000: Yes more effective.
  • 2 0
 @mph51: well played...lol
  • 1 0
 @jurassicrider:
Same Not had issues with mine on corners etc.

It makes the bike stand up perfect against the inside of my
Van (as bars can’t just bloody a spin around, when you think it’s not gonna move once tied down bloody tight and feels solid).

So I like it.
  • 2 0
 @jaycubzz: Well that's a contradictory statement ain't it!
  • 1 1
 @Neale78: Nope, it really isn't. Thanks though!
  • 2 0
 Of course you can't see why it is. You're clearly not as smart as you think you are.
  • 1 2
 @Neale78: Triggered
  • 1 0
 Zzzzzzzzz.
  • 57 2
 I would be glad if reviewers would mention that it is a pain in the ass to have those proprietary shocks that simply don‘t hold up. Had a 2020 Slash and that thru shaft shock lastet for 5 weeks. Sent it in and I should wait for seven weeks in the middle of the season. Bought a brand new one (as they also had proprietary mounts on the 2020 model) which held up 4 weeks. A friends thru shaft has not lastet a full season too. I wouldn‘t bother if they had a simple „no questions asked, we know our shocks can‘t take that abuse“ replacement policy but they don‘t seem to care. I sold it after half a season even tough I liked how it rode. This kind of information would be very useful for your readers.
  • 6 3
 Not all models come with the thru shaft shock
  • 15 6
 @savmeister: all models of the Slash come with a Thru-Shaft damper... I work at a shop and have sent in 5 shocks in 3 weeks time...
  • 1 0
 @edfw: What is the issue that you commonly see with the thru shaft?
  • 9 1
 @edfw, I don't think that's the case - for 2021 it's only the higher end models that have the SuperDeluxe Thru Shaft shock. Others come with a Fox DPX2, or a RockShox Deluxe Select+.
  • 23 1
 After killing 3 of them in as many months RS promised me a revised unit but wouldn't replace it with a normal shock and Trek wouldn't give me a deal on an X2 even though the '17s came with X2s so the tune and hardware was all there. I bought the X2 with my own cash and kept their $hit-shock as a backup. Sucks to have to do that on a $3500 frame! Looks like their new bike is better but still has issues, I'm done with Trek. IMO, they need to re-asses what it takes to be competitive these days.
  • 3 0
 @edfw: i bet you wouldnt like to bet a weeks wages on that!! 9.7 comes with a fox dpx2
  • 14 1
 @davec113: biggest hint the team don’t use thru shaft it’s all you need to know
  • 2 0
 @enduroFactory: I noticed that! I also noticed at one point every single Trek team rider posted pics of their bikes with the thru-shaft $hit-shock and then next week they were all back on other shocks. Lol...
  • 5 1
 Every single local enduro racer who is remotely serious has dumped the stock shock for an X2. Not sure why Trek invests the effort in developing the reaktiv or thru shaft when there is an existing option that works better.
  • 8 0
 @ReformedRoadie: That's what makes them Trek. 'We're gonna be different even if it hurts.'
  • 5 0
 @pinhead907: Jose gonzalez, treks suspension designer, still hasn't gotten the hint. I think they look down on consumers more than some other brands.
  • 1 0
 Yeah totally agree, I had the original slash and worked well with the normal super deluxe, then broke that frame, got a warranty and that came with the thrushaft reaktiv shock. It was utter bollocks, a megneg improved it massively but even so......
  • 1 0
 @dirtrider121: been on the previous Slash since day1 & Fox X2(Ferrari red 9.9) over the that time it’s been awesome. Found it performed better with less ramp more psi
  • 2 0
 The RockShox Thru Shaft shocks are way too soft for heavyer riders.
Everyone above 90 kg will feel the shock going to fast through its travel, even with 275 psi charged.
I rode the X2 (4 volume spacers and 275 psi) for one season. Way better in my opinion, but still a little bit soft.
Switched to a Super Deluxe Coil with a 650 coil last week. Need more time to figure out which one is better for me =)
  • 1 0
 @mikekazimer: yeah you‘re right, sorry about that! Got mixed up with all the models!
Also @bigogoat: most commen issue is that the nitrogen gets mixed with the oil, don‘t ask me why they would even need to use a piggy back since, it‘s a thru-shaft?
  • 1 0
 @edfw: The oil expands when it heats up so you need something so it doesn't blow open

On the older fox ones they have a tiny coil spring IFP inside the upper shaft. IMO a much better design but have you seen any problems with the fox ones?
  • 1 0
 @coolmann: I weight 225 and am running the new slash with thru shaft and have had no issues with bottoming out. The tune feels perfect for that bike. Riding in Arizona with plenty of chunk and running one volume spacer in the positive side, no harsh bottom outs and tons of support climbing. Running 255psi
  • 39 0
 Here's looking forward to 2024 when I can afford the 2021 Slash
  • 27 1
 For real though, the used bike market is going to be awesome in a few years when all these slacc bikes are for sale.
  • 3 2
 I'll put you on the waiting list for a "lightly used" "mechanic owned" one. List is already piling up, price is firm.
  • 37 1
 A numbered rebound dial. Just let that sink in. Innovation of the year. A numbered rebound dial.
  • 9 0
 It's 2020 - don't expect too much.
  • 38 5
 Officer... i spot a really slack seat angle
  • 2 1
 Same seat tube flaws as the previous model, bravo
  • 8 1
 ‘Effective’ seat tube angles are a scam
  • 6 0
 @auzb: the best thing was, how they explained that the new slash, hasnt such a slack seat tube angle.... yeah yeah yeah, thats why every one slammed the saddle forward... pictures telling more than numbers...
  • 24 1
 Mike & Mike are doing great with these reviews; absolutely spot on guys! I'm 2 months on a Slash and I'm in complete agreement. It's fast, it's very playful (far more than the previous version), the 175mm cranks are a dumb spec, and if you aren't winning races on it you can't blame the bike. 1.6 seconds between the top 3 bikes? Man, bikes are great now!
  • 11 1
 170mm cranks on kid sized bikes, even though SRAM makes a 155mm 1x crank. The bike industry knows how to cut corners for no reason.
  • 6 0
 @fruitsd79: especially when it is the same forging just with the holes 5mm further up so you still hit the ends of the crank.
  • 3 16
flag DavidGuerra (Dec 12, 2020 at 14:00) (Below Threshold)
 @ReformedRoadie: Folks don't hit cranks though. I mean yeah, there are a few hits at the ends of my cranks, but usually the hits are at the end of the pedals from pedalling at an angle.
  • 7 7
 I hate shorter cranks than 175mm (I am 5'11" 180cm). Shorter cranks are ok for downhill but when you start pedalling up you need correct cranks for your height otherwise you are overstressing your knees. So sooner or later you are going to damage them.
  • 7 0
 @DavidGuerra: the end of my cracks would say otherwise
  • 1 4
 @Kyanw: You could just trim 5mm at the end of the cranks, if you fit the mentioned situation.
  • 4 0
 @IluvRIDING: I think you’re in the minority for wanting 175’s. From my understanding of biometrics, 175’s fit people with a 35” and greater inseam. That usually means people that are 6’2” and up.
  • 1 0
 @Kyanw: I'm also on my second or third set of crank boots in three years or so, but I don't think that's the real problem. Your BB is too low or your cranks too big when you fear pedalling because of it, not from these accidents with rocks that can always happen.
  • 1 1
 @garrettstories: Well on road bikes you are right, for my height all manufacturers and most fit systems specify 172.5mm cranks (however I still prefer 175 on road, especially for climbing, even though it's a small difference). For mountain bikes 172.5 cranks don't even exist. And also on MTB you generally optimize for climbing, also you get much higher torque peaks than you will usually get on road (in technical sections RPM can be 0). And high torque means more force through your knees. So 175 are spot on for me. I don't know what length you would recommend for me but 170 cranks are absolutely horrible for climbing anything steep (compared to 175), I have tried it before.

Long story short: Short cranks for DH bikes, biometricly ideal cranks for anything thats meant to climb.
  • 1 0
 @IluvRIDING: Man, you've done your homework! I'm on 170's and I'm a touch taller than you. But to each their own!.
  • 2 0
 @IluvRIDING: not sure how you can decide the appropriate crank length for another rider, even at the same height as yourself.
  • 2 0
 @ReformedRoadie: That's what manufacturers do. For each size option they have to pick a crankarm length.
  • 26 5
 It's wild that the aluminum Slash 7 at $4500 CAD weighs 33.25lbs with tubes (according to their website) while this big money option is 31.14lbs (on the website, with sealant). Just over 2 lbs difference is pretty small for double the money.

The big money bikes are sexy, but there are a lot of great budget options out there which is great to see. Looking forward to field tests once bike availability gets back to normal and the values can be kept in line.

It does make me wonder if one of the companies involved in the field test had slotted in one of their lower end models with a decent spec, could they could have come out as the sleeper winner based on value and solid midrange components?
  • 25 4
 We all know the best value in most things is near the base spec of a model.
  • 7 2
 I too would prefer more real world tests, But the marketing guys wouldn't want to risk getting chewed out over component selection on pleb spec bikes.
  • 5 0
 I think it's somewhat impressive that the mid range alloy model of a 170)160mm bike only weighs 33 lbs with tubes. If the carbon was much lighter (under 30 lbs) I'd be a bit worried.
  • 15 6
 There's a vastly bigger difference between carbon and aluminium than just outright weight...
  • 2 0
 @Afterschoolsports: PB did do the value bike field test, where every bike had SX or NX (it was before Deore was released), and probably the fanciest fork was a Marzocchi Z2 which costs $US500.
  • 4 1
 I think trek does a good job with aluminum. A buddy has a previous gen alloy fuel with GX and rhythm fork, 31 lbs with pedals in a XL. 31lbs doesn't sound like the lightest but its pretty good considering the previous meta TR (same travel as the fuel) weighted like 34lbs and commencal only does aluminum.
  • 2 0
 Norco won last year with the C2 optic. Not exactly cheap at $4500 usd but not their top model either.
  • 3 0
 The Trek site lists the weight as a size medium, without pedals. Add another pound to compare it to PinkBike’s weight. But, yes, you pay a lot to drop a little weight.
  • 2 0
 @AdamKos: the numbers in my comment were both Trek Website numbers.
  • 6 0
 @PAmtbiker: I did say more but the fact it was pre deore 12x says a lot. Honestly reviews of commodity stuff are far more interesting than rolls royce bikes decked out in kashima and axs.
  • 4 13
flag aaronfpeet (Dec 12, 2020 at 8:26) (Below Threshold)
 @Afterschoolsports: Markup on base models is actually higher than on top tier ones. If you buy a $1000 bike, your shop pays $500 and if you buy a $10,000 your shop pays $7500. So disappointingly, there’s more value in the pricier bikes.
  • 11 1
 @aaronfpeet: I’ve worked at a Trek store and saw invoice and Ninja (employee discount) pricing and I’m sorry to tell you your math is way off. The margins are steep and similar across the board. For Trek anyways.
  • 3 0
 @BenTheSwabian: that would be another great test. Same spec bikes but one carbon, one aluminum.
  • 4 1
 I built up a Slash alu frame with high end but all alu build. Fox 38. 27.5 rear wheel with cushcore xc in the rear only. It weights over 36lbs. I'm not sure how the 7 can only be 33 lbs.
  • 1 3
 @BenTheSwabian: These aren't gravel bikes, they aren't really engineering flex and shit into the frames of these enduro bikes.
  • 3 1
 yes because weight = performance. There are no other factors
  • 3 0
 It's one of the reasons i was very impressed by Propain's set up for being able to customise the build.

On most brands' build tiers, as you go up a spec level, almost everything on the bike changes with it - which should be expected if the price is jumping significantly with it. But do you really need (or want to pay for) high-spec *everything* when upgrading?

I assume most people's main point of concern on which spec to pick (aside from money) is suspension, drivetrain or brakes.

I'd wager a lot more people would be more than happy the lower-level spec options if they can change the few bits that they are particular about (e.g. going base spec but changing the drivetrain from SX/NX to GX for a relatively small price increase, rather than paying a huge price increase to get 'the GX build' which also comes with a bunch of other upgrades you woulld otherwise be happy to live without).
  • 7 2
 Slash 8 is best deal in mtb from a major brand possibly
  • 3 0
 Buy the best spec alloy model. It almost always has the best value.
  • 2 2
 @jeremy3220: This light weight is why Trek aluminum bikes get little dents in the down tube from shuttling. Their aluminum is too thin. I’ll go a tad heavier with some durability.
  • 3 1
 I get what you're saying about that 2 lbs difference for the price, but i think 31.14 lbs is good for a 170/160 mm enduro bike. too light isn't better in my mind.
  • 1 1
 @PAmtbiker: we have that marsochi and tbh it ain’t great the rebound is viper slow and you can’t adjust it Frown
  • 1 0
 All models come tubeless
  • 1 0
 That new Marin Alpine Trail Carbon 2 says hello
  • 1 1
 @BenTheSwabian: NSMB did a back to back test of the same bike in Alu and carbon. The result doesn’t really agree with your statement. The differences were small, and the testers couldn’t agree on a favorite.
nsmb.com/articles/duelling-knolly-wardens-final-verdicts
  • 12 0
 The more expensive bike has notably heavier suspension components.

The more expensive bike has a beefier stanchioned Zeb vs. the Yari on the base model. Usually you'd expect to drop some weight when going high end vs. base fork, but here the Zeb is ~200 g heavier, so the bike has to make that up in other parts.

Then the Slash 7 has a non piggyback Deluxe+, while the more expensive bike here has a Super Deluxe, so another 100g.

The more expensive bike also comes with 60 vs 120 tpi tires with Bontragers' tougher casing, while the cheaper bike comes with the opposite. I'm not sure how much the weight difference is, but the more expensive bike's tires are heavier and stronger, so I imagine that wheel and tire weight is similar across both bikes, even though the wheels are lighter on the expensive bike.

So instead of saving weight on the premium suspension and wheels/tires, you've gained 2/3 of a pound, so they have to drop approximately 3lbs from the frame and drivetrain.
  • 4 0
 @Ttimer: They only just tested one single bike and from a boutique manufacturer at that. Those extremely vague "results" aren't applicable to anything. You certainly can't extrapolate that carbon and aluminium are equal - because theyre not. Looking at relevant material properties, carbon is the objectively superior material. Lots of designs that are achieveable with carbon are impossible to do with alu.
  • 1 0
 @tgrummon: Uhm no. Practically all modern frames are strategically tuned for a desired amount of flex in key areas, even enduro bikes.
  • 2 1
 @BenTheSwabian: From a purely material science POV you are right. The question is if there is any major benefit to carbon for use in bike frames (except weight).
You could make a refrigerator or an oil can out of carbon and it would still be the vastly superior material. But would it be sensible?
  • 2 0
 @shredb4dead: you think they get dented on the downtube with the large rubber pad protection running down them ?
  • 1 0
 My 2019 9.8 is 30.5 with tires and sealant. It’s nice when a new model drops and I don’t have want-itis!
  • 1 0
 @Honda750: agreed !!
  • 1 0
 @bulletbassman: have to disagree here. Have you looked at the stumpy evo comp? Seems a much better deal to me.
  • 1 0
 @doublej-cville: I’d say that’s more preference then a better deal.

Are you by some crazy coincidence in collegeville or just another cville ????
  • 1 0
 @bulletbassman: different cville. On the bikes, I think the carbon and slx swings it in the stumps favor...I would take either though to be fair.
  • 1 0
 @Andykmn: Me too
  • 21 1
 IMO chainstay length should be adjustable or kept reasonable. I've had a couple bikes with ~445 stays now and would only get one again if I was purely using the bike for racing. Yeah they make the bike easier to balance cornering but feel far less fun and active and lower speeds and harder to manual. I'm afraid with reviews like these in a couple years all XL trail bikes are going to come with 450mm stays. Hopefully I'm wrong and we end up something in between the razor short stays of a few years ago and settle on 430-440mm depending on intentions.

- 6'5" guy who doesn't want cadillac handling
  • 9 27
flag getsomesy (Dec 12, 2020 at 11:51) (Below Threshold)
 Im 510 and i ride 463 chainstays and 440 reach. I can manual, slow drop and bunny hop 30” logs; but my bike rips n drifts corners woth composure. which is quite “playful” feeling. If yo ur 6’5” and have trouble manualing a 450 chainstay, its cause you suck.
  • 4 0
 @getsomesy: what bike are you riding with that geo?
  • 2 0
 @haen: medium banshee titan with long dropouts setup mullet
  • 19 0
 ML should be called extra medium.
  • 21 2
 Looks like a session
  • 4 0
 I was looking for this comment. Someone had to say it at least once. PB tradition. Lol.
  • 16 2
 Feels fast, but the Rocky Mountain is Fast. Hmmm
  • 12 2
 Trek fixed a lot of issues with the previous Slash... reach was too short, it wasn't plush or forgiving, HA could have been a little slacker, SA is too slack, proprietary $hit-shock, not enough ST insertion for long droppers, no DT storage, no guides for internal cable/hose routing. But they didn't fix them all and didn't make CS longer to match longer reach. Sorry, but more is expected these days when all bikes are amazing and you're a top brand that should have the resources to dot those i's and cross those t's. I got a Spec Enduro last year and it's far superior to the previous Slash and I don't think the new Slash even caught up let alone leap-frogged the Enduro. It's gotta be tough when your brand new bike is already ready to see some revisions...
  • 3 0
 Not sure if you've seen the following review, but these guys gave were impressed with the Slash. One of the tester has an Enduro as his personal bike and makes some comparisons to the Enduro at the end. Granted they are just doing bike park laps, so maybe the Enduro is a better all around bike. Also it looks like the chain stay length on the Enduro is the same length between all sizes as well.

www.youtube.com/watch?v=-JpazTiddYE
  • 3 6
 To me the most unforgivable aspect is the same chainstays across all models. Come-on trek get with it
  • 1 4
 @charmingbob: Yeah, no. I didn't buy an enduro bike to ride bike park flow trails. Not that I don't enjoy them, but it's just not what the bike is primarily intended for. Enduro does have same CS length across sizes but it's a good compromise, imo, while the Slash CS is too short for L and XL sizes.
  • 2 0
 Tfw this guy thinks no down tube storage is a specific issue
  • 10 0
 Shout out to Trek for their M/L frame sizes for us 5'10" folks forever stuck between medium and large. Also, happy to see a not so steep seat angle. Us flatlanders who have to pedal on the flats sometimes and also have lot of uppy downy stuff, but still want to huck our bikes off things are out there. Pedaling flatter sections on extremely steep seat angles suuuuucks!!
  • 1 0
 Yeah I love how the most average height guys have the “pleasure” of picking the bike that’s too short to too long usually.
  • 11 0
 I like the way that bike looks.
  • 10 1
 5,199 CAD for the Trek Slash Frame or 3,699 for the Specialized Enduro Frame that doesn't come with Knock Block, hmmm....
  • 7 2
 2200 for a complete Mega delivered to my house.
  • 6 0
 @mikekazimer Here's some useless information for you: A friend worked in R&D for Trek about 10 years ago and keyed me in on a couple of subversive things they implemented that not many people picked up on. Most notably is the naming of the "Mino Link." It's a reference to "Flipping the Minnow" which is an old-timey euphamism for female masturbation.

*The More You Know*
  • 5 0
 I rode a 2019 slash for a while and was not impressed with the thru shaft. It felt sticky and the compression felt over damped. I also had a remedy at that time and the deluxe that came on the remedy was better. The new shock on this bike is waaaayyy better. The tune felt perfect. Very sensitive but also takes big hits well. Its so sensitive that I can run quite a bit less sag than I'm used to on this bike.
  • 1 0
 This shock on the bike he reviewed is completely difference design. I know a lot of serious riders who are digging on this new shock but hated all previous incarnations of ReActiv and Thru-shaft.
  • 1 0
 @btjenki: ReActive is the issue and lack of decent negative air chamber. Pull the valve and throw on a MegNeg for a completely different shock.

I agree that standard, the ReActive shock sucked, poor activation and blew through travel with lack of mid support but modified, it polishes up well (thinking of turds with those last words). ))
  • 7 0
 Not sure adjustable chainstays are possible with an ABP/split pivot style design.
  • 1 27
flag Afterschoolsports (Dec 12, 2020 at 7:54) (Below Threshold)
 Think about a chainstay. Think real hard about it. Are you there yet?
  • 7 1
 @Afterschoolsports: making separate chain stays for each frame, a bit more money for extra molds.. Making it adjustable with the ABP hardware wouldn't be so easy. They could use something like the Stranglehold on the Stache but moving the axle would alter the rest of the geometry..
  • 4 0
 Agrred that adjustable chainstays wouldn’t be possible. But he mentioned varying ca lengths through the sizes. That would definitely be nice. But adjustable length would definitely be ideal!
  • 8 3
 @tlchlct, true, it'd be a lot more difficult to add in adjustability. At the very least I think size specific chainstays would be a good move - we're seeing a lot more companies go that route.
  • 3 13
flag Afterschoolsports (Dec 12, 2020 at 11:12) (Below Threshold)
 Seriously? You move the adjustment to the other end of the chainstay and leave the axel pivot as it is. Not difficult in the slightest.
  • 1 5
flag Ttimer (Dec 12, 2020 at 12:58) (Below Threshold)
 Who cares? ABP is just a marketing gimmick, Treks engineers are good, they could just design a bike with the same characteristics as a four bar or single pivot.
  • 7 0
 @Afterschoolsports: so, when you change that length, what about the seat stay that is connected to the rear pivot? Going to definitely effect the rest of the numbers.. Kaz is right that size specific rear ends would be a better way to go..
  • 1 2
 @lumpy873: you put one on the seatstay too and claim to offer even more adjustability. It's really not as big a deal as you guys are making it. Moving the adjustments closer to the centre of mass makes more sense too.
  • 1 0
 @Ttimer: is that why salsa and BH license it from dave weagle?
  • 4 0
 GX pinned cassette and house brand hubs/dropper on an $8k bike !?

Does anyone else find that insulting?

I'm not against giving folks the option to spend big bucks for premium bikes... but [I'm addressing you, product managers] please don't try to sneak cheap mid-spec parts onto top of the line builds.
_

Rant over. Pretty nice bike overall.
  • 1 0
 The house brand hubs are actually pretty good. My 2019 Bontrager Line dropper was garbage, but this new Line Pro on my 2021 is really nice. Massive improvement.
  • 2 0
 @iliveonnitro: I agree, the Bontrager hubs are solid, way better then Stans Neo hub anyway.
  • 1 0
 House brand carbon wheels and bars too. Like my 2019 9.8 house brand carbon wheels and hubs though. Dropper, too short (150mm XL frame) and a bit lazy on return. The bars were too stiff, grips shredded my paws and seat - not kind to my rear.
  • 8 1
 Seat tube length could be steeper ? Can you english my bru
  • 3 4
 Don't call me bru, china.
  • 11 5
 Tired of hearing seat angles aren’t steep enough.
Enough already with the grim donut wishes....
  • 5 4
 Buddy already has to warranty his new Alu Slash. Frame completely cracking apart/thru downtube ahead of the lower shock mount. Loved the bike otherwise. Perhaps they'll address the issues with these large delivery delays?
  • 1 0
 Well, here we go..That's what i'm afraid of..
  • 4 3
 I sat in one yesterday at a shop. I’m supposed to ride a large frame. But the weight was so far back that I’d go with a M/L and a longer stem. Then the weight is more evenly distributed to both wheels and I think it be a totally fun bike!
  • 4 1
 I'm not sure what it is. Maybe the proportion of frame tubing to fork stanchion diameter is just right. But I am sexually thrilled by this bike.
  • 3 0
 I would think that ABP suspension would make it difficult to do adjustable drop out lengths but different lengths for frame sizes could work
  • 4 1
 Ok, so how about a comparison between this and the Stumpjumper Evo? Tempted with both these bikes. Anyone had the chance to try both????????
  • 4 0
 Same here. The new Stumpy Evo and the Slash are both high on my list.
  • 5 1
 This man is untrustworthy, shorts on an enduro bike "review". Obvz doesn't have a clue. It looks like a session
  • 2 1
 If i'm crashing so hard my bike is cartwheeling and the knockblock is saving frame damage...Im more worried about my neck. If a frame cost 3500, and a wishy washy gx build with a few xo parts run 8000 I'm thinkin save a bit by riding the few year old with xx1/xtr carbon 240s and get a better truck.
  • 1 0
 Very happy with mine so far. I bought the carbon frame kit and built it up from there. To me clearly the best bike I ever rode! Very versatile and confidence inspiring. However, I see lot of complaints in the pinkbike forum about the alu version which seems to have quality issues..
  • 8 8
 Trek bumped up the anti-squat on the Trek, and for the most part I was happy leaving the shock alone while climbing, especially in the middle or firmer compression setting.

Leaving the shock alone is generally accepted as leaving it in it's most open(least compression resistance) position.
  • 9 0
 I'm glad Trek didn't bump up the anti-squat on the Norco. That would've been awkward.
  • 3 3
 My SuperCaliber also has that dial on the Fox shock so you don’t have to count clicks. It’s crazy that it took Trek telling Rockshox and Fox to add this. They couldn’t figure that out on their own? Oh well. Hopefully they add it to all shocks, not just Trek shocks.
  • 3 1
 “you won't mix it for an extra-nimble trail bike”...there seems to be a few typos in this article. Should this say “mistake”?
  • 4 1
 they almost got it, except for the seat post internal length and angle. So close.
  • 13 11
 Trek Slash= 76.1 degree STA but its ok to slide the seat forward and deal with it on the climbs

Evil Wreckoning= 77 degree STA is a deal breaker
  • 14 2
 The Wreckoning has a 75.7 degree seat tube angle with a 170mm fork, and has even shorter chainstays than the Slash, which affects where your weight is over the rear wheel while climbing. Both bikes would benefit from a steeper seat tube angle.
  • 3 2
 @mikekazimer: That’s in X-Low. With a Zeb and the frame set at L its 76.3. Stick a Lyrik on at 170 and it’ll be steeper still....
  • 1 0
 @philstone: same with a Zeb on the Trek Slash....
  • 3 2
 @4thflowkage: pinkbike never accounts for actual offset and thus actual angle at a given seat height between brands. Dont take them literally.
  • 3 0
 Trek has been quiet past few years while other brands producing new designs
  • 2 4
 @4thflowkage: they're still looking for the next big swingarm design to copy and outspend its designer in patent suits.
  • 1 1
 Cool, Pinkbike testing a bike that will be available in August 2021 according to Trek, sweet, will they rebadge as 2022 model year? Who in their right mind will wait that long for a slash? Apparently du to parts supply shortage(at least here in Europe)
  • 3 3
 What we need is a test on the difference between riding with a small backpack compared to no back pack and everything in the stash box.
Why we suddenly need water cage , swat/stash box’s and overpriced tools in bars and axles, folk being sucked in to spend spend spend !
Backpack never been a problem in 25 yrs riding
  • 5 0
 depends on the riding you're doing, but packs definitely have their negatives. hot, higher COG, harder to manage the shifting weight, and just less comfortable. its like sleeping naked after wearing pj's your whole life
  • 1 1
 @etownrider3: hear your thoughts
But tbh guys load their packs with crap items.
Pack smart and the weight has little or no effect.
That’s why I recommend a test to expose how little these compartments and tools on bikes don’t matter.
More convenient but not necessarily better.
  • 1 1
 i aleays go withat least 8kg backpack. by now i dont feel it anymore. just a matter of getting used to
  • 2 0
 @Korbi777: all that weight now has to be supported by your legs and arms during every compression, you can't convince me that doesn't have a negative effect on your riding. as i said before though, depends on the riding i guess
  • 1 0
 @etownrider3: i‘m sure it affects the riding. but if youre always with backpack, you get used to it and dont notice it anymore. i do all kinds of riding except downhill and its alright.
  • 3 0
 Sounds like you might prefer the M/L size?
  • 3 0
 Mike and Mike insist on larges in every single review, even when the mediums would fit better.
  • 3 1
 @DHackk, possibly - for my height I could realistically make either size work. @jwdenver, we typically go with the size the manufacturer recommends, and in most cases, at 5'11", that ends up being a size large for me.
  • 1 0
 @mikekazimer What traits do you prefer about 40mm stem? You mention in many reviews that you switched the bike to a 40mm stem as it's what you prefer.
  • 4 1
 The length? It’s what I’ve found works well for me, and by keeping a consistent length on most bikes I’m able to focus on other aspects of the ride. At the end of the day it’s a matter of personal preference; 40mm is the length that puts my hands where I want them in relation to the front axle on this bike.
  • 10 1
 @mikekazimer: "...length that puts my hands where I want them in relation to the front axle." But doesn't that relation depend on the head angle and the fork length? You seem to like the 40mm stem on every bike even though they have a different amount of front suspension / head angle.
  • 2 0
 @hro: Stem length is the only variable that effects the arcs your grips/hands travel with a given handlebar. The shorter the stem, the more the grips turn (like a steering wheel), rather than swing side to side like they do with longer stems. I like a 35-40 and 50 for xc/trail, regardless of bike. Theres really no correlation between head angle/fork travel and stem length that I can think of.
  • 3 1
 @hro: this. Pinkbike with more bro science comin at ya
  • 1 0
 Bike feels too long out of the box... so you put a longer stem on. hm...
  • 1 0
 Love the field tests.... but would be awesome to see a "reviewers option" where you get 7k to build a bike with all your personal preferred frame and components.
  • 2 0
 waited 95 days so far for this bike.... I hope it arribes on time.. seems to be worth it 4 sure from this review
  • 3 0
 Sweet Bell X-1 tattoo
  • 1 0
 Thanks. I like it too.
  • 1 0
 I'm never sure whether to watch the article or read the video first. How do you eat yours?
  • 3 0
 I actually run the video through a speech-to-text app...
  • 2 1
 I'm confused by some of these builders who are still making aggro trail bikes with slack-ish STAs. IT'S 2020 bros!!!
  • 2 2
 no one: ....

Me: my rebound knob goes to 11.

No one: couldn't you make 6 faster?

Me:......... but 11 is 5 faster than six....
  • 2 1
 No idea which way I’ll go new Slash to replace my previous Slash or Evil Wreckoning...
  • 1 0
 How does it slash through those tight, technical berms @mikekazimer?
  • 1 0
 Well it’s a’boot time... thanks enjoyed the review &great content
  • 1 0
 What brand/mode of shorts is the rider wearing I’m the action shots?
  • 2 0
 I'd slash that ride.
  • 2 0
 Riveting stuff
  • 1 0
 Trimmed the bars... so you're not giving the whole bike back? Wink Razz
  • 1 0
 This really is a sexy looking bike.
  • 3 4
 Can take out the knock block??....I'm in all day. Knock block was a stupid idea, it interferes with my tables and whips.
  • 9 0
 I feel like most people winning crankworx whip offs are riding dual crown forks with way less range of motion.
  • 1 0
 @KRad2000: now that I think about it, that is true, but I like to turn my bare more than I need to
  • 1 0
 I had the old and now have the new. Old knock got in the way on X ups and whips, new one doesn't (at least for me). Pretty unobtrusive now.
  • 1 0
 @photodog: curious how can it not get in the way when doing an X up? I guess it's barspin-friendly as well then? Wink
  • 2 0
 @madcow-krakow: haha, I must have been tired when I wrote that! Not X up, that's like doing an x up with a dual crown lol! In fairness, my "x" up's don't go past 90 degrees so... I meant bar turns. Good catch!

Old version made even bar turns really awkward as it would hit the block and twist the bike back. New version takes a lot more effort to hit the block.
  • 2 0
 @photodog: hmmm sounds like it might make doing tabletops easier, maybe I'll finally learn how to do them ???? (I've ordered a 9.8XT).
  • 1 1
 Hi Mike. How wide handlebar did you ride on test?
Thanks
  • 2 4
 The language around the seat angle on this review seems very different from the seat angle on the most recent evil ridden by PB
  • 1 0
 Trek got less 'blunt' treatment for sending two bikes--one to Mike K. for words and one to moustache guy for video. Both stas are too slack for taller fellows. At least Evil's sizing guide tells me I can ride a Medium, and the top tube length won't aggravate the problem
  • 1 1
 @ceecee: they’re definitely both too slack, but the evil got the “what the shit guys” for have a slack actual angle, while trek got the “maybe could be steeper uwu” even though both the effective and actual seat angle are slack.
  • 2 1
 Looks like a Donut.
  • 1 1
 Why was the process x not included in this testing format?
  • 1 1
 Eh
  • 2 2
 hate the knock block
  • 2 0
 do you ride one?
  • 1 1
 @CrawfordMTB: tried helping a friend with one. it felt strange not being able to turn the bars more and you are stuck with their headset and stem unless you buy more trek parts to get rid of it
  • 2 0
 @jarrod801: ya work. at a trek dealer so could be biasis but when I first rode it I felt wtf is this...first day came in too fast on the road gap hit a tree.....bars were turned when I hit it knock block saved me from getting smacked in the gut and my cables ripped out. Been on it since march now and I think I can count twice maybe were I hit my knock block in tight corners climbing. It is mint for throwing fat tables too ....not for everyone but you. get used to it
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