Review: Radon Slide Trail 10.0

Sep 16, 2019
by David Arthur  



Selling bikes direct to consumer has become hugely popular in recent years, and with big discounts on offer, it’s easy to see why. Conceived by popular German online retailer Bike Discount, Radon makes a good range of mountain bikes from XC to DH, and sitting perfectly in the middle is the Slide Trail that we’re focusing on today.

Fully updated since Pinkbike last reviewed it back in 2015, you’re looking at a 29” wheeled bike with 140mm travel matched to 150mm up front, a carbon fiber main frame and a four-bar linkage suspension layout and some high-end equipment on this top of the range model from Fox, SRAM and Schwalbe for the very reasonable price of €3,799. But there are models starting from €2,499, if your wallet doesn’t stretch that far.
Radon Slide Trail 10.0
Intended use: trail / all-mountain
Travel: 140mm / 150mm fork
Wheel size: 29"
Head angle: 65.6º
Reach: 464mm
Frame construction: Carbon front triangle, aluminum swingarm
Sizes: 16" - 22"
Weight: 32.08lb (14.551243) size 20" w/o pedals
Price: €3,799
More info: www.radon-bikes.de


Since testing this bike, the company has announced the 2020 range but the main changes are colors and prices.

bigquotesOn the descents it’s a well-balanced bike that provides predictable handling with good agility in tighter trails." David Arthur

Contents








Radon Slide Trail 10.0


Construction and Features

In a world where bikes are increasingly looking the same, the Radon Slide Trail manages to stand out. The carbon fiber front triangle has a chunky and angular design with a distinctive bulged head tube, presumably to ramp up frame stiffness. It divided opinion in everyone that clapped eyes on it, but you don’t notice it when riding.

The largely straight down tube has plenty of space for a full-size bottle cage, and out back is an aluminum swingarm and rocker linkage with a flip-chip for adjusting the head angle and bottom bracket height.

Radon Slide Trail 10.0
Shock piggyback clearance, and dirt collecting area.
Radon Slide Trail 10.0
Neat cable entry port.

Radon Slide Trail 10.0
Choose your geometry.
Radon Slide Trail 10.0
Functional frame design.

The press-fit bottom bracket will lose a few fans, but there’s neat full internal cable routing, an ISCG05 chain guard, external seat clamp and a tapered head tube. There’s also a downtube protector to ward off rocks and stones flung up by the front wheel. Naturally, there's a Boost rear end and there’s plenty of clearance for wide tires.


Geometry & Sizing

This is where a bike brand can really make the difference, and Radon’s Slide Trail has a healthy set of numbers that, while not at the extreme end of the progressive scale, are at least in the right ballpark. There are four sizes to choose from, 16" to 22”. Radon’s website has a handy size calculator, but it’s a bit basic, simply going on your crotch height. It's better to go by reach, which for me meant the size 20” - you can think of it as a large - that measured in with a 464mm reach.

radon
Geometry for a size 20" bike

I likely could have ridden the XL with its 481mm reach, but after some deliberation erred on the side of caution. Here’s the downside to buying bikes online: you can’t easily swing a leg over one in a bike shop to check to size, but many direct-sales brands are running demo days, which does help.

Other numbers of note include 435mm chainstays and a 65.6-degree head angle in its slackest setting, which steepens to 66.6-degrees if you flip the chip. The seat angle is 75.5 to 76.5-degrees, and the bottom bracket drop ranges from -25 to -11mm and the wheelbase is 1,226mm. All but the smallest size frames ship with 150mm dropper posts.


Suspension Design

Radon Slide Trail 10.0
Radon Slide Trail 10.0

Radon has played it very simple with the suspension design, employing a Horst link layout with a long rocker linkage driving the Fox shock, and the main pivot low and just above the cranks. It delivers 140mm of travel with a trunnion mounted shock, which is orientated vertically and low in the frame, providing plenty of space for the all-important water bottle. Space has been created in the down tube to clear the piggyback on the shock too, but it does then create somewhere for crud to gather.

The Fox Float DPX2 EVOL shock has a 55mm stroke and three compression settings. Up front is a 150mm Fox 36 Float Grip2 fork. After several rides of experimentation, I opted for the slacker flip chip setting. The head angle combined with the short stem and wide bar gives a good attacking stance on technical trails.

Radon says it wanted to achieve a suspension characteristic that is “Pretty responsive and playful, that likes to get in the air and is reactive so that's one reason why we fitted it the shock with a big volume-spacer. If you want to have it more plush then just get rid of the spacer and it feels more forgiving.”


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Specifications

Specifications
Release Date 2019
Price $3799
Travel 140mm
Rear Shock Fox Float DPX2 Factory, LV, EVOL, 185x55
Fork Fox 36 Float, Factory, FIT GRIP2, Kashima, Boost
Headset Acros AZX, ZS44 / ZS56
Cassette SRAM GX Eagle, XG-1275, 10-50
Crankarms SRAM X1 Eagle Carbon, Boost, DUB, 30T, 170mm
Chainguide MRP 1X, ISCG05
Bottom Bracket SRAM Pressfit DUB MTB 92mm
Rear Derailleur SRAM X01 Eagle
Chain SRAM X01 Eagle
Shifter Pods SRAM GX Eagle, 12-speed, Matchmaker
Handlebar Race Face Turbine R, 35 x 780 mm, 20mm rise
Stem Race Face Turbine R, 35 x 50
Grips SDG Slater
Brakes SRAM Guide RSC
Wheelset Newmen Evolution SL A30, 30mm, 110/148
Spokes 148
Tires Schwalbe Magic Mary/Hans Dampf, Addix-Soft, TLE, SuperG, Kevlar, 29 x 2.35"
Seat SDG FLY MTN 2, CrMo
Seatpost Fox Transfer Factory, Kashima, 31.6



Radon Slide Trail 10.0












Test Bike Setup

Getting the Radon ready to ride was fairly easy. Setting the suspension up was a matter of 180psi in the shock for about 30% sag and 65psi in the fork. By default, the shock is fitted with a large volume spacer, which can be removed to reduce the amount of end-stroke ramp up. I experimented with the spacer in and out and never really settled on which I preferred.

All the equipment on the bike is top level and the bar width and shape was spot on. The only change I made, and it was for purely personal reasons, was to swap out the grips for some Deathgrips for some waffly comfort. Oh, and the saddle eventually got swapped too - the SDG was a bit firm and flat for my arse.

Testing took both my local trails and further afield in South Wales and my local stomping ground, the Forest of Dean, on everything from flowing and loamy singletrack to steep and scary shit-your-pants rooty tracks that test the limits of what you’re prepared to ride down.

Merida Big Trail
David Arthur // Technical Editor
Age: 39
Location: Gloucestershire, UK
Height: 5'11"
Weight: 150 lbs
Industry affiliations / sponsors: None
Instagram: @davidjarthur



Radon Slide Trail 10.0

Climbing

While the Slide Trail doesn’t exactly glide effortlessly up the climbs, is very competent and will fulfill the needs of a trail rider who wants a bike that won’t be a slug on the ups. It's an efficient pedaler, with enough antisquat that even with the shock in full open mode the amount of pedal bob is kept in check. Rare were the times when I reached down to switch the shock into the middle compression setting, which is just as well because it’s a long stretch down to the shock, tucked away as it is right at the bottom of the down tube.

On very tricky ascents, the sort with jangly roots or spiky rocks where a deft application of power is required to maintain traction and balance, the suspension sits high in its travel and there’s ample bottom bracket clearance to clear rocks and stumps. The suspension moves relatively easy in the first stage of travel, but it’s not hugely supple and doesn’t provide the same traction improving aid that some bikes do, like a Specialized Stumpjumper for example. Instead, it reminds me of the YT Jeffsy, which has a similarly firm suspension feel.

This suspension trait doesn’t exactly prevent you from combatting tricky climbs where maximum traction is needed, but you do have to pick your line more carefully and work with the bike to get to the top. You can’t just point your bike at the climb, pedal and expect the suspension to take care of everything else - a bit more hustling is required. It's an efficient climbing bike first and foremost, and not that lenient on technical trails where you want fistfuls of traction.

Get onto smoother climbs, especially long fireroad grinds, and it’s a different story. The firm pedalling platform and reasonable weight combine to good effect, and the stiff frame transfers power well. The seat angle is reasonably steep, putting you into a good position for powering up steep and technical climbs, but it could be a degree or two steeper if I’m being really picky.

Radon Slide Trail 10.0

Descending

On the descents, the Slide it’s a well-balanced bike that provides predictable handling with good agility in tighter trails, although it isn’t quite as composed in the super steep stuff as longer and slacker bikes in this class. That firm and progressive suspension mean it’s not a bike that you can point at a jangle of roots and expect it to steamroller over. It’s not super active and plush like some bikes; which means it won’t soak up every trail obstacle - there’s a lot more feedback.

There were times when I wanted a bit more compliance when dealing with rough sections as the Radon can feel a bit edgy, and isn't always the most forgiving when you just want the bike to flatten the trail. It’s not a bike for cruising trails, it needs full attack mode all the time. On the flip-side, it’s a fun, playful and responsive ride. There’s plenty of pop and you can generate air from even the smallest lip. It moves around the trail with ease thanks to the geometry and stiff frame.

Radon Slide Trail 10.0

If you prefer a bike to squash everything and keep the wheels glued to the ground at all times, there might be better options. The Slide Trail, though, proved to be a playful bike with predictability but going fast does requirement 100% involvement and commitment. Where the suspension does work well is in handling bigger impacts, it’s well controlled on hard landings and takes drops with ease. It’s just not a magic carpet ride, it’s much more communicative of trail features. What it lacks in small bump absorption it makes up for with big hit capability, good mid-stroke support, and a playful manner on the descents.

Geometry is a compromise, and although the Radon isn’t pushing the limits, the numbers do make for a very good all-round trail bike rather than an enduro race bike. Where super slack bikes can be a handful on anything but the steepest tracks, the Radon is agile and nimble on mellower trails and easy to hustle through the turns. The geometry doesn’t give you Sam Hill levels of confidence to really attack steep and technical trails, but on the upside, it’s agile and easy to turn on flatter and less steep tracks.

Through rapidly twisting singletrack the Radon pinballs from apex to apex with great accuracy. The excellent Schwalbe tires provide tenacious grip in all the trail conditions I experienced, from magical loam to fruity gloop, and the Fox 36 fork is a real highlight of the package with stunning ability to manage repeated impacts at high speed, though getting full travel out of it with my light build took some tuning.










How does it compare?

Comparisons naturally conjure up another popular German direct-sales brand, Canyon. The Strive is probably the closest comparison, with 29” wheels and 150mm of rear wheel travel plus on-the-fly geometry adjustment.

If you prefer the bricks and mortar bike buying experience, then the Specialized Stumpjumper gets the same 140mm travel and 29” wheels in a smartly packaged carbon fiber frame also using a four-bar suspension design, but the geometry is a bit conservative. You’re also not going to get as highly specced bike for the same money, either.

Both bikes are big-wheeled longish travel trail bikes with modern-ish geometry to provide great handling for riders looking for a versatile all-rounder.


Radon Slide Trail 10.0

Radon Slide Trail 10.0
Radon Slide Trail 10.0


Technical Report

Fox 36 Float Grip2 fork: One of the benchmark trail and enduro forks right now, this is an impressive fork delivering silky smooth small bump sensitivity, superb repeated high-speed impact capability and solid chassis stiffness. I find getting full travel out of them takes some tuning with the dials and spacers. If you love twiddling dials the 36 has loads of them.

Schwalbe Magic Mary/Hans Dampf Addix-Soft tires: A solid tire combination with excellent traction in all conditions I encountered and rock solid durability. The German tire company’s new Addix-Soft rubber compound delivers consistent and predictable grip and rolling resistance is decent on flatter trails. Harder hitting riders would probably want the tougher Super Gravity versions.

Newmen Evolution SL A30 wheels: These are high-quality German wheels with a 30mm internal width aluminum rim laced to their own hubs with Sapim spokes and are a reasonable weight on the scales. They are plenty strong enough for hard riders, deliver quick engagement, and the lateral stiffness is good for a snappy ride.

SDG Fly saddle: I found this saddle good for short rides, and the long wide nose is great for climbs, but it was too firm on longer rides so I eventually swapped it for one I get on better with. Of course, saddles are an item of personal preference and it's often better to go with what you know.


Radon Slide Trail 10.0


Is this the bike for you?

This is a trail bike that favours descending. If you value a great component list and like a playful and engaging bike, you’ll get on with the Radon. If you’re expecting a magic carpet ride, this ain’t the bike for you. It's most at home on tight and twisty trails, but if pure descending is your focus it might leave you wanting a bit on the downhills.



Pros

+ Amazing value for money
+ Top-end components
+ Space for water bottle
Cons

- Very progressive suspension
- Divisive looks
- Geometry not the most progressive



Pinkbike's Take
bigquotesIf you’re after good bang for your buck, and are in the market for a well equipped and capable trail bike, the Radon Slide Trail is worth a closer look. It’s an efficient pedalling bike with a lot of pop and playfulness on the descents, although the progressive suspension won’t be everyone’s cup of tea. It comes down to your riding style and how you like your bike to behave. It seems Radon is making steady improvements on its bikes with a distinctive appearance, good suspension, reasonably modern geometry and a killer parts package that puts many brands to shame..  David Arthur








59 Comments

  • 136 0
 All nice and good but it seems that the author has a hard time understanding the meaning of comparaison. Giving a list of similar bikes is not it, telling us how the Radon behaves compared to that list of similar bikes is IT !
  • 15 0
 Came here to post this!
  • 9 0
 And it also has 148 spokes... Go figure!
  • 3 0
 @Jamestyrrell: thats a one strong wheel!
  • 4 0
 This. You can find deals on 2019 Trek Remedy/Slash 9.8's for not much more. I'd be interested to see a comparison.
  • 4 0
 Looks like a canyon
  • 25 1
 I've been riding it for about 6 months now. Zero complaints. It's a bit more descending capable than the review states, it handles the Maribor WC track very well.
  • 12 22
flag honda50r (Sep 16, 2019 at 10:03) (Below Threshold)
 Assuming it is your only bike, you are probably bias. Especially after spending the $$
  • 14 0
 @honda50r: Assuming you don't have the bike, you are not biased, but you don't know how it rides..
So what is the more useful information?
  • 2 0
 @likehell: More useful information would be riding one for yourself and gathering an informed opinion Smile Can only know how a bike feels to you by riding it, not reading someone else's review.
  • 1 0
 @VPS13: Absolutely!

Next best is a review from someone you know (riding style, riding terrain, previous bikes) to compare and get a hint.

But I also think you can get most bikes to match with most riders if you take time to adjust, balance and tune..
  • 17 0
 "In a world where bikes are increasingly looking the same, the Radon Slide Trail manages to stand out."

I think that's a bit of a stretch. Looks like any other 4 bar. Has the author seen a Polygon Xquarone?
  • 9 4
 It stands out by messing up the aesthetic with that stupid head tube angle...
  • 11 0
 Radon is my favorite brand in terms of value for money, and also cusotmer service - they are excellent. I've had 4 of their bikes over the years and they never let me down. I had the previous version of this bike, but sold it last year... I still wish I hadn't as I've definitely missed it. I replaced it with a 27.5 YT Capra for the extra DH ability for bikeparks, but in honesty the Slide did a great job on the steeps and as an all round bike! I'll definitely buy another in the future.
  • 13 0
 Sounds like you need to slap a coil on it
  • 10 1
 Radon probably has the best bang for your buck out there. And hey if you don't like the frame just sell it and keep the parts Big Grin
  • 7 1
 It's hard to please every progressive out there. Philosophical question arises: how progressive is too progressive and if you really can get too progressive in this crazy world?
  • 1 0
 Apparently we have found the limits. Take note of this leverage curve for future comparisons! (Lol)
  • 2 0
 Tester is 150lbs so take too progressive with grain of salt.
  • 1 0
 @kanasasa: ^thiss
  • 5 0
 According to all the last reviews of the new Trail/All Mountain bikes with +-140 mm and big wheels, they all climb well and are not sluggish. I'm a bit sceptical about that.. I think I could say that about my 5010 which is lighter and stiffer, I'm not sure I would say the same for this Radon, the Hightower or the Process 134.
Maybe Pinkbike should adobt a reference frame so that we can compare all these bikes, like a scale
  • 1 0
 Session as the reference bike of course
  • 7 0
 Is the faint praise of this review just an attempt to through a direct to consumer brand under the bus?
  • 5 0
 Young Clement Charles made a 23th place in the EWS with that bike and won the last Maxiavalanche. So i think its also ok for a EWS racer...
  • 5 1
 I really like the look of that bike. The only thing i don't like is the steerer tube is so fat, makes that 36 looks like a 32!
  • 14 1
 Don't worry it's in anticipation of the soon to come 1.8" steerer tubes !
  • 2 0
 I prefer the look of Jab frame because it's consistent in its stealth bomber design and it looks sleek. This feels like they got scared so they're going back to neutral seat tube- top tube connection and everything is rounder and fatter.
  • 1 1
 I think you put your finger on it. Looking back at it if this bike had some bulky and angular chain and seat-stays to match it's front triangle it would look so much better. The skinny tubes making-up the back end just doesn't match the front, it's a shame really as it could have looked good.
  • 1 0
 Every time i watch video of a bike being compressed and cycled through the travel,, they all look the same basically. Along with that, it would be better if they remove air from the forx in order for the bike to settle as if it were being ridden.
You would get a better idea of how the rear end looks in relation to the frame being evenly compressed, rendering a seat angle that is not exaggerated; but helping how the design works and looks during the movement.
  • 2 1
 I wonder if the author cared to swap some volume spacers as Radon specifically advised to do so if the bike feels too rough. If so, did it change the ride for the better or worse?
  • 6 0
 "I experimented with the spacer in and out and never really settled on which I preferred."
  • 1 0
 @mikaeljc: oh, must have missed that part. sorry
  • 2 1
 Seems like pretty decent value for the money. But a 32lb, half carbon trail bike with a horst link rear-end just doesn't have any "wow" factor IMO if that's what you're looking for.
  • 1 0
 Well you can always spend twice as much tot a wow factor Wink
  • 3 0
 Good to know exactly how much it weighs to the nearest milligram! These reviews really are getting precise, wow.
  • 2 0
 Yes, also, it's 14.551243 'somethings'. It might also 15 dictionaries with the last one missing everything after the letter 'm'...
  • 1 0
 Really interested in this bike (particularly the new 9.0 model), but the progressive rear suspension seams to be the biggest negative point in all the reviews i've read...I would be really curious to test one.
  • 3 0
 Geometry is in the database for all your comparison needs...
geometrygeeks.bike/bike/radon-slide-trail-2019
  • 2 0
 I think they use the same knackered tape measure as cube 20 inch ain’t 455mm
  • 2 0
 Never thought Radon bikes was so affordable! good job radon!
  • 1 1
 32 pounds seems like quite a lot for this bike. I'm thinking they overbuilt it to avoid warranty claims; but carbon is more about stiffness than weight either way.
  • 1 0
 Is radon bikes coming from the same factory than cube? is it from the same owners??
  • 1 2
 So 32.5 lbs with pedals, but already has carbon cranks, light-ish tires, light wheelset...so that's heavy is all I'm saying. My Mach 6 is under 30 with pedals and I could still lose a pound with better components.
  • 1 0
 Congratulations!
  • 1 0
 This bike misses the mark for Downcountry but it could be a good all-around bike.
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