First Ride: 2020 Rocky Mountain Slayer

Aug 13, 2019
by Mike Kazimer  

The original Slayer debuted back in 2001, the follow-up act to the Pipeline, one of the first freeride bikes ever to hit the market. It's had a few different looks over the years, but for 2020 the Slayer gets back to its freeride roots with more travel and longer, slacker geometry numbers.

Previously only available with 27.5” wheels, there's now a 170mm 29” wheeled version in the mix to accompany the 180mm 27.5” version. The first models available will have carbon front triangles and aluminum swingarms, with full aluminum frames set to arrive in November.

Rocky Mountain Slayer Details

• Wheel size: 29" or 27.5"
• Travel: 170mm (29") / 180mm (27.5")
• Carbon front triangle, aluminum swingarm or full alloy
• 63.8° - 64.8° head angle
• Chainstay length: 442mm (29") / 430mm (27.5")
• Carbon 90 price: $7,999 USD
www.bikes.com

The top tier Carbon 90 model shown here retails for $7,999 USD, built up with a Fox DHX2 coil shock, 36 Factory fork, Shimano XTR 12-speed drivetrain and 4-piston brakes, and a 2.5" Maxxis Minion DHF / Aggressor tire combo, both with Double Down casings.




2020 Rocky Mountain Slayer


Frame Details

The new Slayer's frame shape now looks closer to an Instinct or an Altitude, although the front triangle brace helps it stand apart from its siblings. The front triangle is carbon fiber, with tube-in-tube internal cable routing to make derailleur, brake, and dropper installation as easy as possible. Rocky's designers had considered keeping the brake line externally routed, but they decided to tuck it inside the chainstay to prevent any possible damage from occurring during shuttle runs - a poorly placed pedal and a bumpy road can be all it takes to mess up a brake line that runs on top of a chainstay.

Extra care was taken to keep the bearings contamination-free as long as possible, and they're all shielded in to prevent mud and grit from getting inside. Other details include water bottle compatibility, clearance for up to a 2.6” tires, and single-tool frame hardware wherever possible.

2020 Rocky Mountain Slayer
The custom WTB saddle is a nice touch.
2020 Rocky Mountain Slayer
All models are spec'd with Double Down casing tires front and rear.



Geometry

The Slayer is equipped with Rocky's Ride-4 geometry adjust feature that, you guessed it, allows for four different configurations. In the neutral setting on the 29” model the head angle is 64.5-degrees, with a 442mm chainstays and a 76.5-degree effective seat tube angle. The bike's actual seat tube angle is relatively steep as well, which is good news for taller riders.

Reach numbers range from 442mm – 503mm on the 29” model, which comes in M, L, and XL sizes. The numbers are almost identical on the 27.5” bike, but there's a small model in that wheel size, with a reach number as low as 419mm. Chainstay length on the 29er is 442mm, and it's 431mm on the 27.5” bike.

2020 Rocky Mountain Slayer

Suspension Design

The Slayer's shock orientation has been altered from the previous version – it's now mounted to a brace that connects the top and down tubes rather than being vertically oriented. Remember the purple and yellow Pipedream that Wade Simmons was on at the end of 2017? That bike was actually a sneak peek of things to come – it was a prototype used to refine the suspension design of the new Slayer.

Given that the new Slayer was going to be more downhill-oriented than ever, Rocky's engineers set out to reduce the amount of anti-squat, and to increase the amount of end-stroke progression. The previous version had anti-squat levels that were high enough to cause unwanted pedal kickback and harshness at the beginning of the shock's travel, although it did make for a very efficient feeling ride. To address that issue, the new Slayer's anti-squat now sits between 80-90%, and doesn't deviate as drastically as the bike goes through its travel.

On the leverage ratio side of things, the ratio is more linear early on in the travel, before it ramps up towards the end of the stroke for better bottom out resistance, and to make the bike coil shock compatible.

2020 Rocky Mountain Slayer


Models


2020 Rocky Mountain Slayer
Slayer Carbon 90

Carbon 90: $7,999 USD. Fox DHX2 coil shock, 36 Float Factory fork, Shimano XTR drivetrain, XTR 4-piston brakes, Race Face Next R cranks, DT Swiss 350 hubs / Race Race ARC 30 rims.

2020 Rocky Mountain Slayer
Slayer Carbon 70

Carbon 70: $5,999 USD. RockShox Super Deluxe Coil Ultimate shock, Lyrik Ultimate fork, Shimano XT drivetrain, XT 4-piston brakes, Race Face Turbine cranks, DT 370 hubs / Race Face AR 30 rims.

Carbon 50 (29” only): $4,999. RockShox Super Deluxe Coil Ultimate shock, Lyrik Select fork, Shimano SLX / XT drivetrain, SLX 4-piston brakes, DT Swiss 370 hubs / WTB i30 rims

2020 Rocky Mountain Slayer
Slayer Alloy 50

Alloy 50: $3,999 USD. RockShox Super Deluxe Coil Ultimate shock, Lyrik Select fork, Shimano SLX / XT drivetrain, SLX 4-piston brakes, DT Swiss 370 hubs / WTB i30 rims.

2020 Rocky Mountain Slayer
Slayer Alloy 30

Alloy 30: $3,299 USD. RockShox Super Deluxe Coil select shock, Yari RC, SRAM SX drivetrain, Shimano MT520 4-piston brakes, Shimano MT400 hubs / WTB i30 rims.





Rocky Mountain's headquarters are ideally situated at the base of the Vancouver's North Shore mountains, the epicenter of the freeride movement back in the late '90s and early 2000s. The trails have evolved over the last twenty years, and there might not be quite as many telephone pole high skinnies, but they're still plenty challenging, full of root-choked chutes, steep rock rolls, and perfect loamy turns if you know where to look. I was able to spend two days getting acquainted with the new Slayer on the trails it was developed on, and as an added bonus, freeride legends Wade Simmons and Thomas Vanderham joined in on the rides, something that would have made 19-year-old me positively giddy with excitement.

For my 5'11” height I went with a size large, and 29” wheels. I kept the Ride-4 chip in the neutral position to start out with, but I'll be messing around with the different configurations in the future.

There wasn't a whole lot of climbing on the rides thanks to the use of some shuttle vehicles, but on the few shorter uphill sections we encountered the seated pedaling position felt very comfortable thanks to that steep seat tube angle. The coil shock does cycle into its travel a bit during harder pedaling efforts, but the compression lever is easy to reach for extended fire road or paved road climbs, and the lower antisquat number does allow for increased traction, something that's key during wet and slimy winter rides.

2020 Rocky Mountain Slayer

Big wheels and 170mm of travel can be a recipe for a bike that requires extra attention and effort to control, but that wasn't the case with the Slayer. It doesn't feel like a big, sprawling brute of a bike, which was a nice surprise. It felt more nimble than I expected, a trait that came in handy on some of the more awkward sections of trail we encountered. The 170mm of travel was smooth and well controlled in extended rough sections, and the fork saved me more than once when an unexpected hole suddenly appeared.

I did have a few moments where the lever feel of the XTR brakes changed mid-run. The bite point would be in one spot, and then it'd be closer or futher away from the bar the next time I pulled the lever. It's possible that it's a bleed-related issue, but it may also be related to the Servo-Wave technology, which Mike Levy detailed in his recent XT review. Even though the lever feel changed, the amount of power the brakes deliver is impressive, and it came in handy for doing quick speed checks staying in control on extended steep rock rolls.

I'll be putting more miles in on the Slayer over the course of the next few months – stay tuned for a full report later this year. And don't worry, I'll be sure to evaluate how it handles skinnies and drops to flat.


2020 Rocky Mountain Slayer
Wade Simmons, stylish as ever.







217 Comments

  • + 71
 Still prefer the look of the old one.
  • + 7
 I prefer the 2001 model personally.
  • + 25
 The old one was in the top 3 best looking bikes ever.
  • - 6
flag ratedgg13 (Aug 13, 2019 at 5:56) (Below Threshold)
 This one is fugly. And they don't seem to have even pulled an Ibis and designed a frame bag to fit in that gaping front hole.
  • + 3
 @Richt2000: I agree
  • + 0
 Yeah, I like the geometry and travel numbers but looks are throwing me off a bit.
  • - 6
flag B650wagon (Aug 13, 2019 at 12:58) (Below Threshold)
 Not diggin' the Horror vibe and the hockey mask saddle... unnecessary Bike looks pretty cool tho, old slayer was nice, I like this version even more
  • + 5
 Kazimer might be the least annoying bike media personality out there. Dude rips too
  • + 3
 if it turns out to be an amazing ride, does it matter how it looks?
  • + 2
 @ondrugs:
Nope! Unless its as bad as that Marin thingy majig
  • + 2
 @Richt2000: clean design and solid construction, what's not to like when it rides great on top of it...
  • + 36
 "It doesn't feel like a big, sprawling brute of a bike, which was a nice surprise. It felt more nimble than I expected"

keen to understand more about why. Seems like it should be a sprawler.

would be good for someone to test the 27.5 version also
  • - 2
 Antidote Dark Matter is a full on DH bike that feels like Enduro bike until you push it into proper DH territory.
  • + 19
 Don't you dare saying the name of the "you know which wheel size" ... 29er is all you should ever want and ever need !
  • + 65
 @telephunke Pointing out the nimbleness 29ers in every review has become the "climbs like an XC bike, descends like a...." of 2019.

One can assume that such claims are being equally overstated. Basic physics hasn't changed in the past 3 years, last I checked.
  • - 14
flag jorgeposada (Aug 13, 2019 at 3:53) (Below Threshold)
 2 bike releases next to eachother, both Canadian companies within an hour or 2. Who else but Pinkmire. Gigity!
  • - 13
flag lkubica (Aug 13, 2019 at 4:41) (Below Threshold)
 @ninjatarian: The only thing basic physics says about wheel size related to nimbleness is that you require more force to lean the wheel when it is rotating (the faster it rotates, the more). There are tons of other factors which relates to ability to make turns, especially frame stiffness and chainstay length AND BB drop (which in fact is related to 29inch wheels)
Funny thing, two months ago I have exchanged a 26 inch bike for a 29 inch bike and there is no clear answer which one was more nimble. 29ich bike cornes better because it is stiffer (again, nothing connected with 29inch wheels). 29inch is indeed less eager to perform minor direction changes and requires to be leaned into every turn, but this is cause by the BB drop, not by 29 inch wheel per se.
Low speed corners, tight switchbaks - both bikes did it equally well.
  • + 2
 @ninjatarian: assuming that the bike has some of the characteristics of the new instincts, than playfulness seems reasonable.

The instinct is a very active and nimble bike, and I could easily believe that the Slayer is as well
  • - 4
flag WAKIdesigns (Aug 13, 2019 at 5:13) (Below Threshold)
 @lkubica: BB drop has little to do with cornering, unlike BB height. You are looking at the wheelbase no1 then relation of BB to tyre patches, then the rest. Head angle, BB drop, chainstay length etc. Bb drop can be experienced when shifting weight, considering rider actually knows what the hell he is doing. People consciously loading the front with the arms and then driving the bike through a corner using hip drive are not that common. Wheelsize on its own plays a role due to gyroscopic effect where diameter is squared in the formula, meaning gyroscopic effect increases more with the diameter than with the weight. But the weight of the wheel/ tyre still plays a role, especially since bigger tyre weighs more, so double trouble. That is why a 26” DH bike will not feel as “nimble” as 29” down country bike like Kona 111

In general, nimbleness is a wet dream of an online troll since it cannot be measured, so they can argue forever. But whenever someone here says they like playful bikes I have a strange feeling lad is throwing dead sailors of pumptrack rollers rather than sick scrubs for miles, trying to sound like a member of 50to01 group.
  • + 29
 Since when did waki go from troll to armchair engineer? still talking sh*t.
  • + 6
 @lkubica: Basic physics also says it is it takes more time and torque to accelerate a bigger wheel.
I noticed the most difference between a 29 and 26 in slow chunky rock gardens where you are pedaling squares. The 26 accelerates over the rocks much easier at super slow speeds. Got to keep the 29r moving and conserve the extra momentum or bog down.
  • + 2
 @ninjatarian: you're righ, basics physics didn't change. What changed is geo as pointed in between our posts and the tester's expectations. As you ride more long travel 29er, you get used to the pros/cons and are able to reduce the effect of the cons and maximise the pros. 29er and 27.5 bikes ride differently for sure, ones hability to ride can only improve as they go through the learning curve.
  • + 1
 @maximesl: 29 and 27 inarguably ride differently- then why is the new thing to release a 27 and 29 option of a model with essentially zero difference in geo?What numbers, if any, need to be altered when designing for the different sized wheels? I need someone smart to explain this. Waki?
  • + 11
 @zyoungson: Don't you have your Waki Filter installed?
  • - 10
flag CircusMaximus (Aug 13, 2019 at 6:46) (Below Threshold)
 @DDoc: as a 29er rider I can say that is BS. If you’re getting bogged down, it’s your legs, not the bike.
  • + 0
 @zyoungson: is there much of a difference between the two?
  • + 11
 @telephunke, I can't really narrow it down to one geometry number, but the point I was trying to make is that it was an easy bike to whip around compared to some of the other 29ers in this travel bracket. The reach isn't crazy long, and the top tube length isn't either, which likely help it strike that balance between being stable and still remaining maneuverable.

Two days of shuttling isn't enough to really pick apart all of the handling nuances, but I'll dive in deeper in a follow up article.
  • - 2
 @WAKIdesigns: waki is actually right, at least about how absolute BB height is what matters, not the relative BB drop....
  • - 3
 @hamncheez: The BB relative to wheel axle is what matters. A 29er with normal BB height rides similarly to a 27.5 with crazy low BB like Whyte fo example. At least this is my experience.
  • - 5
flag WAKIdesigns (Aug 13, 2019 at 8:49) (Below Threshold)
 @lkubica: if this was true, your wheels would need to fold at the axles when cornering. Then fork trail dimension would be irrelevant. The first and foremost is always points where forces are applied to the bicycle. Wheel patches, grips and pedals(BB)
  • - 1
 Agreed! He should have ridden the 27.5. I'm totally over everyone blathering on about 29ers. Also, he should have done some real climbing, instead of shuttling.
  • + 1
 @CircusMaximus: No, that's his whole point! 29ers ARE harder to pedal and keep moving.
  • + 1
 @mikekazimer:

look forward to it, thanks
  • + 2
 It's because of the high stack height compared to reach. I ran through my dimensions on the 29 and the 27.5 slayers. The 27.5 would have 18mm more effective reach for me than the 29er due to the lower stack height. That would make the 275 feel like a lot bigger bike even though the reach numbers are the same. Also the 29er rear centre is longer compered to wheelbase so suits a more upright riding position while keeping the weight split right. To have the same weight split on the 275 I would need to be 15mm further forward. It doesn't sound like much but we're talking a 65mm stem V 50mm stem. This gives you a totally different feeling when riding. It will be interesting to see the reviews when they come out.
  • + 1
 @MTBgeometryguru:

so what do you make of deciding between the 27.5 and 29 versions of this bike for someone who's reticent to switch to 29. I tend to be just into size mediums and the longer travel enduro 29ers I've tried in mediums (my size) feel shitty to me. Is this the bike that's going to make 29 feel decent?
  • + 3
 @telephunke: Not sure. It depends on a lot of things. I think the shift to 29ers is more to do with the fact that the Geo is better for most people. Generally speaking they have a taller stack height and longer chains stays. This doesn't suit everyone though so it depends on your own personal measurements. For me I don't suit many 29ers because my arms are really long compared to my height so I need the lower stack height of the 27.5 or really long chainstays on a 29er.
I can give you an idea if you tell me your arm span (finger tip to finger tip) and your height. The measurements I use are a bit more detailed than that but I could at least compare your current bike to a new slayer. Also what is your current bike?
  • + 2
 @mikekazimer: Dear Mike. Can you please compare it to new Spec Enduro? Any hint? Both seems to be great bikes and both rather to go down oriented. How would you compare those two?
  • + 25
 I think this will actually become one of the best looking and most functional bikes out there once everybody gets used to it. That front triangle just makes too much sense.
  • + 21
 If you have to "get used to it", we are definitely not speaking about successful bike design
  • + 2
 @pakleni: true, but it is a large departure from the previous design
  • + 8
 In a world where every company moves to vertical shock, it's nice to see one move away from it.
  • + 8
 Get used to it? It looks like a Walmart knockoff of an Enduro
  • + 2
 @ondrejaugustin: Every company except Santa Cruz, Specialized, Orbea... obviously yes, a lot of companies are doing a vertical shock setup, but there are also still a few heavy hitters who are sticking with a horizontal shock placement.
  • + 9
 @seraph: I would like someone to go for a diagonal shock setup, just for the sake of variety
  • + 6
 One drawback of this design with a coil shock is that it places a lot of weight high up in the frame.
  • - 10
flag WAKIdesigns (Aug 13, 2019 at 1:54) (Below Threshold)
 @Ttimer: compared to let’s say Nomad the center of mass of the bike will go up by less than an inch...
  • - 6
flag HCbmx666 (Aug 13, 2019 at 2:42) (Below Threshold)
 Compared to the öast slayer, this is one ugly bike! Frown
  • + 7
 @pakleni: I beg to differ. Good design will always require a slight adaptation. It‘s indeed not good, if you have to (re)learn everything from scratch, but if good bike design always felt exactly as before we would still be stuck with 130mm stems and roadie head tube angles...
  • - 3
 @jaame: 2009 Spec Big Hit. Whack a 12sp drivetrain on that bad boy and you're on your way!
  • + 1
 @FuzzyL:

I agree with you. Example: I always remember that there were a few BMW’s where I was like: Nah, when the came out. But after a while they became some of the best looking ones. Z4, previous 5 series, etc.
  • + 3
 @pakleni: That's what they said about the new yetis.... Well, they are hugely successful now.
  • + 13
 Downvoted for stating the result of simple math disproving marketing BS of bike COM. Yeah you muppets. Coil shock and linkage weighs around 1kg, the whole bike is like 15kg. 7% of mass gets moved around 20cm up. 1.4cm. The center of mass of this bike is around 15mm higher than if shock was mounted right above the BB like in the latest Demo or Nomad. Good luck experiencing that Luke Skywalker. The Dweeb is strong with you,
  • + 1
 @WAKIdesigns: Since you're smart enough for maths, would you please do the same equation for just the frame? And then give us your statement what would happen to the overall feel of the bike if the same happened to every other part too?
Thanks.
  • - 2
 @WAKIdesigns: agreed, that´s why I like the Legend looking Specializeds now. Keep it low and centered
  • + 0
 @trippleacht: you mean you want to ride the frame alone? Or what would happen if we placed wheels higher? Placed sealant inside the saddle?
  • - 13
flag DDoc (Aug 13, 2019 at 5:39) (Below Threshold)
 @seraph: Yes vertical is better because the forces are moving up and down, not back and forth.
its much better to bury the forces into the ground through the crank. look at a trek all the forces are in line with the BB. same if the bike has a horizontal lower link like many of the Santa Cruz bikes, the initial forces are directed backwards and I can feel it big time especially when hitting a quick succession of sharp roots or rocks.
  • + 7
 The design mistake here is that they missed the opportunity to release it in purple and yellow. The tube configuration is pretty much the same as Wade's Pipedream. This would have been a mythological creature coming to life if released in purple/yellow. Now it's just a new gen of slayer following a really nice looking one.
  • + 12
 @DDoc: Bury forces into the ground through the crank... That is Pinkbike Engineering of the Space Age, you are on a whole new level.
  • + 0
 @FuzzyL: I hear you. Ok. I agree, but technical things aside, we all know in the second what is a beautiful bike when we see one
  • + 2
 @seraph: Intense!!
Also, Pivot, Ibis and Yeti!
  • + 6
 @WAKIdesigns: Those forces must be distributed through the Earth's core for a more supple ride...the cat's out of the bag.
  • + 1
 @krashDH85: schroeddinger s you mean?
  • + 1
 @jaame: Pole?
  • + 22
 DT Swiss 370 on a 6000€ bike, DT 350 on the top of the line build. I wonder which build would give you DT 240 or 180? 15,000/20,000 €?
  • + 31
 It's a 6,000$ bike with the new 12-speed XT shifting, new XT 4-piston brakes & top-level suspension that is still sold through a retailer network. While expensive, that is fairly mid-range/upper mid-range price point, where high end is for sure closer to 10,000$. I'd rather they "skimp" on a 370 hub that is comparable to most any other reliable hub out there but give me the XT drivetrain, brakes, and top level suspension. You're not going to get it all at this price point (in a retail setting) and I think they chose pretty wisely.
  • - 5
flag ratedgg13 (Aug 13, 2019 at 5:57) (Below Threshold)
 Good ole' Rocky. They never fail to disappoint when it comes to pricing.
  • + 13
 ...and spec’d with DD tires instead of garbage EXO.

**insert slow clap**
  • + 0
 Yes, I've noticed for a while that Rocky "saves" money by using crappy hubs, on their wheel sets. Even on the "good" build kits, they do this... too bad. At least you can upgrade the 350s.
  • + 2
 @ka-brap: I'm very picky about good engagement, whereas I don't care about 12spd. 11spd works great for me. I'd rather have 11spd and good hubs.
  • + 2
 @ka-brap: Except it's not like every other reliable hub. They all use ratchet systems, the 370 uses a much less reliable 3 pawl system.

The 350 these bikes should have is hardly an expensive option. It really shouldn't be too much to ask for on a $6000, or in my case $8000 bike.
  • + 2
 @mybaben: you can upgrade 370s from 3 pawl to a ratchet ring drive system. You need a different axle thrust washer, freehub body, the hub ring-nut, and ratchet ring kit itself and you can turn a 370 into a 18, 36, or 54 point-engagement hub using "350/240" replacement parts. The driver body seal just needs to get moved over from the hubshell to the freehub body.

Kinda spendy in parts and you need DT shop tools to do it, but it's possible. I did it on my 370 hubs with no issue.
  • + 3
 Also the damn awful Rt-66 rotors on 7000 dollar bikes! Terrible!
  • + 3
 @coffeepoop42069: Good to know, but ultimately way too much time and money for me. Cheers.
  • + 2
 @mybaben: Yeah, it only made sense for me to do because I already had a 54t ratchet kit from a different wheelset layin' around and I felt like experimenting at the shop.
  • + 1
 @coffeepoop42069: That makes sense! I would have done the same then.
  • + 10
 "I did have a few moments where the lever feel of the XTR brakes changed mid-run."

I fear the 9120's just lose it when braking during very fast sequences of bumps. It does not feel like a bleeding issue at all, levers are solid before and afterwards.

I thought this was solved and rear brake only when I bought them...
  • + 14
 Seems like Shimano is stubbornly continuing with the "wandering bite point" design that they have used for the last 6 years or so.

Every single time a new Shimano brake is released the reviews and initial impressions talk of the issue being "fixed" or "much reduced" and every single time they are wrong.
  • - 5
flag Germanmike (Aug 13, 2019 at 4:37) (Below Threshold)
 @Ttimer: I have been riding Shimano breaks for the last five years. So I have to say the older models seemed more reliable (or is it just my flattering of the good old times..?);
maybe it´s me but I never experienced these bite point problems and everytime I gave SRAM a new try - mostly, when they were installed on a new bike - I was quick to swao them within three month and be happy again
  • + 4
 @Germanmike: Glad you are liking the Shimanos. Not everyone is affected or bothered by the bitepoint issue.
I'm pretty miffed about it because i would actually like to run Shimano brakes. Levers feel great, power is fine and prices are cheap.
But i'm not willing to play the bitepoint lottery. I run the levers close to the bar, if the bitepoint wanders inwards the lever will hit the grip and i have to press into the rubber to get full power. Feels horrible and might even be dangerous.
Currently on Maguras, lets see how they hold up. Formula is looking good as well.
  • + 7
 @Germanmike: I've had the issue with XT, Saints, and SLX. Frequent bleeding does help, bit the issue comes back in a couple of weeks.

My current Codes seems much more consistent and require less maintenance.

Code bite point seems to vary a bit by altitude, but it stays consistent between runs after setting up for a location. Shimano can be all over the place on a single run.
  • + 4
 Some people in Germany recommend using Putoline HPX 2.5 instead of Shimano mineral oil, because the problem could be viscosity related. I filled my brakes with Putoline some time ago, long term experience is missing but til now I never had a changing bite point again.
  • + 12
 @jacksteel: I prefer to Brawno in mine. It's what brakes crave.
  • + 2
 @Ttimer: Not sure if this helps as I haven't run the most recent M9120/M8120. But for the XT M8000(Had probably 3 pairs before I just accepted it) and Saint M820(the saints have been far better than the XTs) in my experience the bite point only moves out and then back to normal (assuming a good bleed). I'm guessing this is due to the pistons not retracting fast enough and oil from the reservoir going into the master cylinder. Typically only happens during hard on-off-on braking, and is made worse by cold weather. Its possible that I've never achieved a perfect bleed, but I kind of doubt it at this point.

I'm willing to live with it for one major reason, the force required to use the brakes doesn't change. Every time I've tried Sram brakes, both codes and guides, my hands end up absolutely destroyed by the end of a run because of how hard you have to pull the lever to get them to slow you down.

I also run my levers pretty close to the bar, and I've never had the bite point move in (not saying its impossible, but I would hazard a guess that the cause would be a bad bleed or insufficient oil in the reservoir)

So if you're willing to re-calibrate how you think about using your brakes, you might be able to manage it.
  • + 1
 @Lotusoperandi: it's got electrolytes!
  • + 13
 cool bike, but sorry antisquat charts without mentioning the gear is pointless.
  • + 3
 Here is what i don't get. The older Scott Gambler was a fan favorite. Everyone loved that bike, from reviewers to racers to normal riders. It was just simple, predictable, and fast (esp. in the rough). However the main pivot is super high (dfp2hfrf3mn0u.cloudfront.net/270/270868_1428234_png_zoom_11.jpg) and was run without an idler pulley. Its pretty much the same height as the new GT Fury. Armchair engineering would say the anti-squat and chain growth would be too high, that it would have too much pedal kickback, and not ride well (just like pinkbike, but no one else, complained about the old slayer). But the Gambler is a classic, and still rides amazingly.
  • + 1
 @hamncheez: what are you talking about ? Gambler is single pivot suspension whereas the new Fury is virtual pivot so not the picot you are looking at in the picture.
  • - 1
 @Balgaroth: The new fury is not virtual pivot; horst links have nearly the same axle paths as a single pivot with the same main pivot location. If executed well, a Horst link has less pedal kickback because the derailleur stays more vertical and doesn't rotate forwards as much. The new Fury does have an idler pulley to push pedal kickback to near 0, but my point is that the old Gambler doesn't have a pulley, but has a main pivot in the same spot and gets along just fine without one.
  • + 3
 @hamncheez: fair enough. I always found the issue of kickback to be a non-issue in real life. I mean as long as you ride at a speed at which pedaling would end up being useless from spinning out I fail to see how a few degrees kickback would have any repercutions. Even more so if you have low POE hubs. Kickback is more a climbing XC guy issue from my experience.
  • + 1
 @Balgaroth: I agree. I pretty much only felt kickback on my single pivot DH bike if I was going down super steep, nasty stuff with my rear wheel locked up.

However, remember when Gwin broke his chain? He said the rear susension felt amazing. GCN did some back to back testing with and without a chain, and while not strictly 100% scientific, they thought that their test DH bike was faster (and posted faster times, despite a pedaly section on the course) without a chain. Chain growth (pretty much the same thing as pedal kickback) puts drag on the rear suspension, and even if we can't feel it its still hampering it enough that pros can easily tell and some (like Gee) are testing ways to disable the drivetrain during certain sections of trail.
  • + 2
 @hamncheez: could another explanation be that the lack of chain does not transfer the cluth derailleur tension to the suspension ? Might also explain why the freewheel disconnecting system didn't really took off.
  • + 2
 @Balgaroth: yes, actually thats exactly what I was talking about.

Read reviews of the Zerode Taniwha- everyone says it has amazing grip on the DH since there is essentially no drag on the rear from the lack of a derailleur, but it does have a chain tensioner that is clutch-less so it drags on the rear suspension much, much less. Some pros run the XC version of the older XTR rear derailleur with a short cage on their DH bikes because it doesn't have a clutch.
  • + 1
 @hamncheez: there is no such thing as a "mainpivot" on an horstlink bike. a horstlinkbike also has a virtual pivot, the difference is mainly the length of the lower link, which is (in the case of a horstlink bike) the chainstays. as with all virtual pivot bikes you calculate the pivot by looking at where the links would meet. In the case of most modern horstlinkbikes this is somewhere above and forward of the chainring. take for instance the new slayer and enduro: the slayers pivot at 0% sag sits somewhere in the bulb of the downtube. the enduros pivot at 0% sag sits way forward somewhere in the frontwheel. long story short, the layout of a horstlinkbike is neither allways the same nor usually the one of a singlepivot. (and in case of the fury the pivot at 0% sits somewhere on top of the "T" of GT on the downtube -thats alot higher the on the gambler)

it is true though that the actual path of the rearwheel is always some sort of arc and not sometimes an s-shaped curve, like santa cruz said back then. ( but as you can see in the enduro review the shape of the arc can be tuned with a vpp/ horst -bike; specialized did just that)
  • + 9
 So chuffed to see 27.5 option with with 430 chainstays.
Should ‘slay’ and be nimble at the same time. Good on some brands not going back to 2010 lenght chainstays and keeping things nimble for those who like to get over the front.
  • + 11
 Black Alloy version 27.5 wheels with 180mm of travel and 63.8 HA + playing “Angel of death” song....
  • + 6
 I think I have a new (pipe)dream bike! Take the Alloy 50 in 27.5" and throw a DVO Onyx SC fork and Jade Coil shock on it and you're golden!
  • + 4
 Wouldn‘t you rather be green with that suspension choice? Sorry, I‘ll see myself out.
  • + 2
 @FuzzyL: that must make more sens in German...
  • + 4
 @unrooted: nope, in my comment I said "throw DVO on and you're golden" referring to being all good, and as DVO uses green for their adjustment knobs, he was making a joke about the suspension being green and not gold
  • + 4
 Riders can have the ant-squat argument all day long but I think the reality is that this bike isn't for riders that really like the outgoing Slayer. This looks like a great bike but I'll keep enjoying my '18 Slayer for several more years.
  • + 6
 It makes me cringe that companies are still releasing 6-8k bikes with those junk wheels.
  • + 2
 Cough cough Santa Cruz v10
  • + 2
 @freeridejerk888: Seriously! Anyone who's ridden those wheels know's how soft they are. And for a downhill bike? Ridiculous.
  • + 1
 Try 9600 with trash wheels @THolmz:
  • + 1
 @THolmz: Seems on purpose these days as many peeps replace their wheelsets. Not me, I'd like to see durable wheels and hubs spec'd
  • + 3
 Too bad that they shuttled all the previews up for testing - I would like impressions on how the new bike climbs relative to the 2018.

Seems that it might be less pedally but Im reading between the lines. The 2018 is a very pedally bike - climbs awesome - eliminating the harshness at the top of the stroke may or may not make this less of a climber? Reports are of pedal bob but how bad?

Id love a head to head comparison of the 27.5 versus last year even though if I was buying one today my money is on the 29r., Long live the Slayer - simply wicked bikes!
  • + 5
 370 hubs on a bike that costs six grand is downright insulting.

This is the second article about a bike that has turned in to “the truth about Shimano”
  • + 2
 Yes, I've noticed that for a while with Rocky. They "save" money by using crappy hubs! It's a bummer because hubs are important to me, when considering a new ride...
  • + 3
 @mybaben: I wouldn‘t call 370s „crappy“. And if their main concern was saving money on the hubs, I‘d expect them to skip DT Swiss altogether.
  • + 1
 @FuzzyL: You're right, that's fair. DT Swiss doesn't make anything that's crappy. I should have said they have poor engagement and you can't upgrade them, like the ratchet style hubs.
  • + 6
 They didn't even mention the fact that they can take a 200mm dual crown fork!
  • + 2
 I saw that, too. ...the possibilities....
  • + 4
 Love the look of the new frame. But did they raise the shock position so they can release a Powerplay Slayer in the future? rideemtb.com/2019/08/13/2020-rocky-mountain-slayer-powerplay-ebike-rumors-surface
  • + 5
 Could be, but I think it's primarily to bring the design in line with the rest. The current Slayer is a bit of an oddball with very different tube structures and suspension layout compared to the newest bikes, yet the first to have the single-sided pivots and taking small details from the 2013-2018 generation designs.
  • - 3
 @aerik: That's true, but still quite like the idea of a big travel Slayer Powerplay, perhaps with a dual crown Wink
  • + 0
 @aerik: on the other end the previous Slayer was stitting nicely with the Maiden in the more Gravity side of RM bike, allowing to easily differenciate their AM/XC lines to the DH/Freeride range.
  • + 2
 @Balgaroth: But the Maiden is dead in the water. They don't even offer complete builds, which tells you how popular it is. They will for sure need to do something fresh there soon. I'm sure they will go the Scott route and want to have a consistent design language across their full suspension range.
  • + 3
 Did you mean PowerSlay? Big Grin

I'll see myself out.
  • + 1
 @ka-brap: which for a DH bike would be even more terrible looking reminding of Bottlerockets and more recently a few entry level freeride bikes, I doubt this is where RM should head considering the pedigree they have for FR/DH bikes. You can't design a high-end gravity bike with your shock up at the top tube in 2019 that is just not possible as you can't even use the arguments like "water bottle" or "climb switch" to justify a rubbish mass location choice.
  • + 6
 I love this time of year...new bikes galore. I want all of them!
  • + 2
 I love this trend back to longer travel numbers from some BC brands. This looks awesome!

I’m questioning the choice of rims though. ARC and AR 30s on enduro/freeride bikes...? I just got a Norco Range C1 and the ARC 30s lasted all of 4 rides before the rear suffered a tubeless voiding dent. WITH a Huck Norris and over 30 PSI of pressure all stacked up against my colossal 155lbs... didn’t even notice the impact that did it. Just went to grab the bike after scouting a line and the tire was flat... Raceface and their OEM brands need to rethink spec choice like this.
  • + 2
 I like it but they are moving away from it being an enduro rig so that turns me off of it.... Is it just me or is this a carbon 29 Pipedream ?
Ether way don't think I will be trading in my 2017 Slayer for it anytime soon the 17-19 seemed more well rounded in my opinion, I might have to go for an altitude or an instinct bc when I retire the slayer.
  • + 3
 funny, all loved the pipedream, now here comes the slayer alloy -which is very close to beeing the same bike besides tubeshapes and all cry : fugly like the last slayer better etc. -again: funny
  • + 2
 It's funny how reviewers grab whatever feature seems more fashionable at the time to make it responsible for whatever positive feature they want to mention. For example anti-squat. It used to be that higher anti-squat gave better traction, now it's low anti-squat. Neither affirmation is plainly true, but in a general sense it's much more correct to say that higher anti-squat gives more traction. A high anti-squat will defnitely give the most traction in smooth terrain. An anti-squat that is not as high (near 100%) will be more neutral traction-wise in smooth terrain but does allow the rear suspension to work better while pedalling over rough terrain, which might result in extra traction (or not, it depends). Bikes with a below 100% anti-squat as this one seems to be don't really offer advantages pedalling over rough terrain, against a near 100% anti-squat bike. On the opposite. They are sucking the energy out of the pedalling force, and compressing the shock, which lowers the compression force against the ground.
  • + 4
 Geo looks dialled, about time we saw some long travel bikes again over 150- 160mm bikes
  • + 5
 You could say that with 180/180mm of Travel that Freeride Bikes are back.
  • + 4
 Looks like a burly instinct/altitude. Would give my 2018 capra and left nut for this thing. Never met a RM that didnt slay.
  • + 4
 Takeaway from this is that Shimano brakes are still a failure. Shame, they need to get their act together.
  • + 4
 FINALLY!!! Rocky drops a bike worthy of the name ‘Slayer’!
Looks like a destroyer!
  • + 1
 I like it but they are moving away from it being an enduro rig so that turns me off of it.... Is it just me or is this a carbon 29 Pipedream ?
Ether way don't think I will be trading in my 2017 Slayer for it anytime soon the 17-19 seemed more well rounded in my opinion, I might have to go for an altitude or an instinct when I retire the slayer.
  • + 0
 Something is majorly wrong with those reach numbers. A 5mm step between m and l? I don‘t think so. And then look at WB and ETT.
PB, could you please ask for correct numbers there? Not that this is important when you release a new bike, RM...unbelievable...
  • + 0
 I checked RMs website and looks like PB got the M wrong. Should be 444mm in slack, 447 in pos 2, and 450 in pos 3. They did get the 453 right in pos 4 though. WB actually ranges from 1205mm to 1202mm from pos 1 to 4, not 1220mm to 1215mm, and ETT ranges 598mm to 596mm, so not terribly off the 600mm to 595mm they have shown here
  • + 3
 Wade’s pipe dream: I would give my left testicle for that bike... ridiculously sexy
  • + 2
 Best named bike model and logo in the business Bike looks good, I understand they want brand continuity but that old Slayer looked so good as well.
  • + 2
 I liked the sneak peak bike outfitted with Bomber suspension, it's a shame they didn't continue that on the production bikes .... SRAM must sell their groupos for cheap!
  • + 1
 Damn these bigs keep getting bigger(applies to the last couple release enduro, yeti, etc). Feeling like I am under gunned. ?Then again my local trails to don't demand this travel.
  • + 3
 This bike is a straight shooter with middle management written all over it.
  • + 3
 Finally a 29er versin. Bike looks dope.
  • + 3
 This is way more capable than I'll ever be....what a beast!!
  • + 3
 why no Marzocchi spec'd model?
  • + 2
 Does this bike make any sense for the Rocky Mountain EWS team or will they stick wirh the Instinct?
  • + 1
 I doubt it makes sense for Enduro racing. I would call it... retired Enduro racers bike
  • + 5
 Enduro racers seem to prefer the 150-160mm frames. I think this is very much in the 'park-bike' category
  • + 4
 @WAKIdesigns: more a Instagram YouTube ex racers bike getting some love off fans
  • + 3
 Slayer. Still the best bike name in the game.
  • + 3
 Can't wait to buy one in 2024 when I can afford one! Hahaha
  • + 2
 Soooo, the new Slayer looks like an old Enduro and the new Enduro looks like an old Slayer, huuummmm
  • + 1
 Exactly what I need... just buy the 29” version, change fork to 200mm single crown and both wheels 27,5. Fully climbable DH bike.
  • + 1
 It is good that Rocky Mountain has moved away from the bushing pivots to bearings. Bushings wear quickly and can squeak more.
  • - 1
 Amazing how it was “spotted” by you guys AFTER you had done the first ride! It must take longer than a day to do a first ride article. Or was it a case of, the first ride was done in secret by one reviewer, and while he was typing up the review another reviewer spotted the bike in the wild?
  • + 38
 When a brand invites us to a launch, we send an editor, who is siloed off from the rest of the team on that product and we respect a brand's embargo date in regards to the information that editor has. That's controversial to some, but the alternative would be that we wouldn't have ride impressions or reviews ready to go at launch on new bikes. BUT, if a new bike is spotted in public, especially at a major event, of course the rest of my team is tasked with digging into it and sharing the photos. That's our job.
  • - 35
flag jaame (Aug 13, 2019 at 0:54) (Below Threshold)
 @brianpark: come on! When was that bike “spotted”? Has the photo got a date stamp on it? I bet it was spotted three months ago!
  • + 11
 @jaame: Just play the game, you sound like a 9yr old giving evidence why he doesnt believe in santa claus.
  • - 6
flag jaame (Aug 13, 2019 at 6:04) (Below Threshold)
 @zyoungson: I just think it’s funny how close they post the “spy shot” that was emailed over from the company and the first ride article.
I get it they want to sell bikes. Pink bike needs to get page views. But come on, when they post “spotted” and first ride two days apart, some credibility is lost!
  • + 3
 @jaame: 'Spotted' happens at a public event. 'First ride' is clearly a media only thing. They have press embargo to provide fair play for media sites and line up with a companies release date. cant believe people are moaning about this on the spesh enduro page aswell its like you are a bit slow or something?
  • + 3
 @brianpark: I think the problem is that Pinkbike users are confusing Pinkbike Editors with journalists.
  • + 2
 @jaame: you can see the metadata here, I think. www.pinkbike.com/photo/17591465
  • - 1
 @zyoungson: Not at all. One is not complaining. One is drawing attention to the ridiculousness of it all. And it is ridiculous. Two days apart. It’s a joke!
  • + 2
 @jaame: maybe try more fiber in your diet
  • + 1
 I like it!!! 170mm 29er puts the biggest smile on my face tup I’d love to demo one of these next spring!!!
  • + 1
 Only one water bottle mount inside the frame? I scoff in your general direction.
  • + 1
 Aluminum rear triangle for that price? I don't know...great looking bike though
  • + 1
 Amazing. Just "spotted" and "spy" shots taken two days ago and now it's ridden and reviewed.
  • + 0
 Not looking at replacing my 2017 Orange Alpine 6, but I won a free demo with Zero Bikes a couple of months back, so I'll probably give the 27.5 version of the Slayer a bash.
  • + 1
 Why all the black bikes. Give me that black/red one, but with white instead of black.
  • + 2
 Looks like I just found my new bike!
  • + 2
 What no slow motion suspension squat video....useless
  • + 2
 I'd go yeti sb165 instead
  • + 4
 I'd go Alloy 30, and with the $4,370 saved I'd buy a month in Morzine and still have change for spare parts and a new wheelset if required.
  • - 2
 @rojo-1: who says just because I buy the yeti I can't also do a month in morzine as well.
  • + 1
 A sound decision.
  • + 2
 @Riwajc: Congratulations on your abundance! Smile
  • + 2
 Not a pipe dream, it's a wet dream
  • + 2
 Good stuff - we need a comparison with the new Enduro though! Please Big Grin
  • + 2
 anything about frame only Options? alloy in a perfect world.....
  • + 1
 I simply Love this bike. I Love all new bikes. And I want to change them every season Smile
  • + 1
 like the look of the old one much better, geo looks great on paper, +1 for frame protection on the whole downtube.
  • + 1
 And only waiting for new Nukeproof 290 to compare.
  • + 0
 "Let's show this graph that no one will pay attention to, but will make it looked like we considered all this stuff".
  • + 1
 I can’t fathom why but I just keep seeing a Cannondale
  • + 2
 FREERIDE IS BACK!
  • + 1
 Take note Santa Cruz, time to make the Nomad 180mm
  • + 1
 Slayer new awesome frame)
  • + 1
 Does anybody on the Pinkbike team like shimano brakes?
  • + 11
 what is there to like about a moving bite point?
  • + 7
 @f00bar: heightened senses
  • + 1
 Looks rad! Well done Rocky.
  • + 0
 Makes the Altidude geo look very dated. Lets hope it goes much longer for 2021.
  • + 1
 Less talking more riding, I think people can read on here.
  • + 1
 Dear Mike Kazimer

How would you compare Slayer to new Enduro? Any hint?
  • + 2
 where's the SWAT BOX?
  • + 1
 Top of the line model only 8k? Dentists won't be buying.
  • + 1
 Size medium geo chart is f’d. Somebody fix!
  • + 2
 Is the BB threaded?
  • + 2
 Nope. The Rocky site states press-fit. I don't like it.
  • + 0
 I wonder if the alloy version will have a threaded bottom bracket?
  • + 0
 the alu models looks down right lame - not sure why rockys can make pretty bikes with plastic but rarely with metal.
  • + 3
 This is definitely a thing. Look at the Green and Orange Instinct BC...and then the Alloy BC that is the color of an unhealthy bowel movement. I like and ride RM but am thankful it's a carbon bike. Need to step up their paint game for sure, its embarrassing
  • + 1
 In what way(s) is the CF frame better looking than the aluminum one? Honest question. From what I can see, save for the shape of the TT/DT brace, they look very similar. In silhouette anyway.
  • + 1
 @incubus: Probably a lower C of G, and maybe tuned dampning.
  • + 1
 Hi spez, Damn, i thought that was you.
  • + 0
 Nice bike.
But all I want to know is why isn't the latest Kirt Vories video on the front page?!
  • + 2
 WHERE IS WADE??????
  • + 0
 Looks similar to Fezzari La Sal
  • + 0
 Looks worse then the previous model....
  • + 1
 Yeti ASR-7?
  • - 1
 The shock stroke is all wrong, it's gonna rip through bushings or bearings in a couple of months.
  • + 1
 The seat is cool!
  • + 0
 Has a Spesh Enduro type of feel.
  • + 0
 Meh
  • - 3
 It looks a little like the less attractive sister to the Ibis HD4. Not as curvy or pretty but still nice. Definitely not as good looking as the last Slayer. Not even close.
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