Rocky Mountain is set to debut their all-new Slayer platform
next week, and a very black, very unlabeled version of the redesigned enduro bike was already rolling around a very wet Whistler Bike Park today. The facts and details won't land in my inbox for a few more days, but that shouldn't stop us from making some semi-educated guesses.
First off, wasn't the previous Slayer released only a couple of Crankworxs ago? That was actually in 2016 (although it was a 2017 model-year bike) and its reception was a bit lukewarm overall, with more than a few of us coming back from those early rides noting impressive efficiency and playfulness, but also more harshness than expected being passed up through the bike, especially given its 165mm of travel.
The previous Slayer when it was introduced at Crankworx 2016 (left). Rocky's Jesse Melamed aboard the Instinct earlier this year in New Zealand.
Some testers panned the bike and its high anti-squat numbers that were responsible for the less than smooth feel, but for those who wanted an enduro-ish bike with plenty of life to the pedals, it was a pretty good choice. I reviewed the previous Slayer back in 2017
and noted that while it wasn't exactly the most forgiving bike out there, its performance did give it a distinct advantage in some settings while also setting it apart from most other enduro-focused bikes.
Unfortunately for Rocky Mountain, it looks like their EWS race team were in the first camp rather than the latter: They nearly always reached for some variation of the 150mm-travel Altitude or 140mm Instinct instead of the Slayer, possibly because of that whole suspension harshness thing but hey, I don't want to put words in anyone's mouth.
The 2017 Slayer (left) had a vertical shock. The new Slayer (right) sees its shock moved to the toptube.
Given all that, I'd bet a $20 Tim Horton's gift card that the new Slayer is more active and forgiving than its predecessor. It appears to have adjustable geometry and suspension, too, with either a Ride-9 or Ride-4 setup at the rearward shock mount; the previous Slayer used the simpler Ride-4 system. The shock is horizontal now, just like on the Altitude and most of Rocky's other bikes, and the seat angle appears to be quite steep as well. Also, those sure look like 29" wheels, don't they?
The previous Slayer had a head angle between 64.75 and 65.85-degrees, and the large sported a short-in-2019 reach of 444mm in the slack setting. Expect the new bike to be more relaxed and longer, and also expect all the official details and photos to show up next week.