Spotted: Rocky Mountain's New Slayer Breaks Cover - Crankworx Whistler 2019

Aug 11, 2019
by Mike Levy  
Rocky Mountain 2020 Slayer Photo by Mike Levy


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.


Rocky Mountain Slayer Photo by Margus Riga
Jesse Melamed was flying thought the loose turns mid way down stage 5.
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.


Rocky Mountain Slayer Photo James Lissimore
Rocky Mountain Slayer 2020 Photo by Mike Levy
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.

Regions in Article
Whistler Mountain Bike Park


135 Comments

  • 203 1
 Not in camo or zebra color though. Not sure it's new.
  • 47 7
 #commentgold
  • 8 2
 ...
Horror Red
Hockey mask white
Satan black

Frown
  • 4 21
flag Caddz (Aug 11, 2019 at 17:51) (Below Threshold)
 Actually it is wrapped, #commentcold
  • 20 2
 slayer looks like an enduro and enduro looks like a megatower.
  • 49 6
 When I’ll get to Crankworx I’ll rent a Spec or Trek, put camo stickers all over my then cover the shock area with neoprene. Dress in black, fullface, mirror lenses on my goggles. The rest will be history, people photographing my bike, articles in media, interviews with Tippie...
  • 11 0
 theres got to be more news in the Pipeline
  • 20 2
 I don't know whether the suspension works better in that new position but purely from an aesthetic standard the old slayer was a lot better looking...
  • 1 7
flag Balgaroth (Aug 12, 2019 at 3:08) (Below Threshold)
 @landscapeben:looking session. New version is like any of the recent RM, ugly and plain. I miss the days of the RM7/9/X when Rock Mountain bikes looked sexy AF !
  • 3 1
 @landscapeben: the shock position of the old slayer also meant that clump of mass was down low in the frame which is a nice handling trait. Good enough for the current nomad, most the DH bikes in the top 10 and maybe the new specialised enduro.
  • 4 0
 @landscapeben: The old slayer was one of the best looking bikes around. Absolutely killer. (Although the paint job was borrowed from my 2002 Specialized Stumpjumper M4 Comp).

I’ll wait to see what this one looks like with paint before I pass final judgement.
  • 3 0
 @landscapeben: Agreed. Previous version was one of the sexiest bikes out there.
  • 1 1
 @B650wagon: how about Blood red, flesh white, and machete steel black
  • 29 3
 Slayer 27.5 - 180/180mm
Slayer 29 - 170/170mm.
Carbon now, aluminum in November.
Hopefully no baby blue anywhere to be found.

I actually prefer the look of the vertical shock but we'll see how this new 2020 model performs.
  • 66 1
 Same here. I thought the previous Slayer was quite the looker.
  • 1 0
 there is for sure an aluminum version this time around?
  • 18 1
 @mikelevy: That hockey mask badge is the best decal in the mountain bike world.
  • 8 0
 The previous Slayer was definitely better looking. If the STL was shorter, the STA was steeper and the reach was longer and the rest was exactly the same, it would have been perfect.
  • 1 0
 Both are big bikes, almost preordered the new slayer (bike shop employee) but chose the current model bcoz 180mm f/r is a heck of a lot of bike. Both 29 & 27 are coil only across the line. It’s focus is defs big mountain/free ride & enduro. Supposedly climbs like a goat. I’m surprised the rocky team weren’t on it for whistler EWS.
  • 3 1
 @darkmavid: I agree with you. I don't think people will be buying these new ones to pedal up. That's what the Altitude and Instinct are for. These new Slayers are bike park smashers or shuttle route Slayers.
  • 1 0
 @nickkozak: Carbon now, aluminum towards the end of the year.
  • 1 0
 @darkmavid: Too much travel is why they weren't on it.
  • 3 1
 New shock placement is more for e-compatibility I would assume?
  • 21 0
 Enduro vs Slayer head to head
  • 20 0
 Excellent idea.
  • 3 7
flag scotttherider (Aug 11, 2019 at 16:23) (Below Threshold)
 Throw the nomad and darkside into the mix!
  • 1 0
 Would love to see this too. All of my bikes the last 10+ years have either been a Slayer or an Enduro Smile
  • 4 0
 @scotttherider: The Darkside is a completely different sort of bike though, a more fair comparison would be a Rune or what ever the new Proto is
  • 3 0
 Funny how the winning bikes are seldom over 6" of travel out back.
Stumpy vs Altitude might make more sense.
  • 2 1
 @EgoLicentia: figured if it’s 180mm travel on a 27.5 as shredb4dead mentioned up top they have to have roughly a 64* or less head angle. Seems more bike park oriented as the nomad is. Isn’t the rune more enduro oriented with 160?
  • 2 0
 Enduro vs Force 29 !
  • 1 0
 @scotttherider: the Rune is more on an Enduro bike sure, however the suspension characteristics won’t be similar enough for a fair comparison between a Darkside and any other enduro bike,

the Darkside is a park/freeride bike it would be better tested against things like the Furious, or similar, while it is a bike and can be pointed up hill it isn’t one that’s going to make that an easy job.
  • 1 0
 @EgoLicentia: yeah I often push mine up hill. Be it with the diamond or the emerald on the front. Legs aren’t quite what they used to be.
  • 1 0
 @EgoLicentia: judging by the first ride sounds like it would be better compared to the darkside then the rune.
  • 12 0
 My bet is less of a trail bike than the last one - looks that way to me anyways.

My 2018 Slayer is an amazing climber and descends like you'd expect it to. It is however harsh at the top of the stroke and your settings, including tire pressure, need to be dialed or else it will rattle you in the rough. I suspect that that harshness has been dialed out - which will likely make it a lesser trail bike than prior gen.

But that also makes sense - there was too much overlap between Slayer/Altitude and even Instinct. I think that Rocky is moving Slayer toward Park bike and away from Enduro...we will find out soon!
  • 17 1
 The last slayer was one of the sexiest bikes.
  • 5 0
 Yeah that bike was a looker in person. Rocky did well with that last line.
  • 8 0
 It does mean the entire line of bikes from RMB share a common suspension design. Everything from the Element to the Slayer now use the same suspension design. Probably makes tuning a lot easier across the board. I have a 2018 Slayer and I love it. I can go on really long trail adventures and also feel comfortable at the bike park. I think issue with 2017-2019s is that it was originally supposed to be an enduro bike but race bikes moved on to 29ers pretty quickly. The only bike that suited was the Instinct BC and the Slayer was left out of racing. I don't think that's a bad thing. There are a ton of folks who aren't trying to shave seconds but just have fun. I think the existing Slayer suits them well.
  • 3 0
 Agreed. There has been a niche of riders looking for between 6 and 7 inches of travel since the Kona stinky days. Freeride ain't dead.
  • 1 0
 Yeah this new Slayer frame looks a bit like the Instinct frame but with that extra support beam.
  • 3 0
 @Svinyard: I think its based on Wade Simmons Pipedream.
  • 1 0
 @mlangestrom: All the bikes share the same suspension layout now. They all use a linkage near the seat tube / top tube. I'm sure they have the model built and just solve the math for how much travel they want. The outgoing Maiden and Slayer were the only two outliers. It definitely makes sense for a small company, but the Slayer definitely had it's own personality.
  • 9 0
 Hmmmmm......finally doing a production run of Wade Simmons' Pipe Dream.......
  • 1 0
 I hope so
  • 1 0
 Haha! You're totally right!
  • 10 0
 Specialized: No more X-wing!
Rocky Mountain: Hold my beer....
  • 6 0
 So basically it just joins the bandwagon to get the sheeple sales: 29, lots of cushy travel, super progressive geo... I kid. (Or do I?) Wink Looks like people wanted that and hence used the Instinct BC for 29 (even though the suspension & geo was trail bike?) and sort of abandoned the Slayer, so I guess it's smart of Rocky to solve that. I did like the fact that Rocky was a bit different. But new bikes are good, and besides, increase used supply. Razz All that said, the previous/current Slayer was/is easily one of the best looking bikes around. Drool
Can't wait to hear more.
  • 5 0
 Looking around, it seems like the current slayer is pretty popular on Rocky's home turf, the North Shore. Elsewhere, not so much, probably because it doesn't fit the "enduro race" template that the weekend warriors "need".
  • 7 1
 "They nearly always reached for some variation of the 150mm-travel Altitude or 140mm Instinct instead of the Slayer"

They ride BC Instincts, which are 155/160 not the 140 version.
  • 4 3
 Jesse rides the 140mm rear end sometime iirc. His fork is 170mm 36 tho.
  • 1 2
 @Svinyard: he rides 160mm up front and Remi rides 170mm
  • 3 1
 @jaydawg69: not the last time I chatted with him. He rides a couple different setups at least I'm sure.
  • 1 0
 @Svinyard: Jesse switches between 140mm and 155mm depending on course.
  • 2 0
 @gnarnaimo: yup. Ride9 pos3 on the 140mm iirc.
  • 9 1
 No need to drag Tim Horton into this saga
  • 4 0
 I did like the other Salyer when I had it. Yet the #'s on the new Slayer should impress everyone. Well hopefully everyone.
My Rocky Rep was telling me that they did improve things on the bike in key areas and that the Rocky team listened to riders concerns and riders ideas too.
I cannot wait until it lands in our hands in a couple weeks, hopefully sooner.
  • 5 0
 Careful. Those reps will say anything to get you in bed.
  • 7 3
 Think any bike in this category (Super Enduro, Park Bike, etc.) should have these three minimum requirements..
Otherwise they are just redundant, bit longer travel options

Travel: 180mm 27.5 170mm-180mm 29r
Air and Coil compatible
STA: 76-77
Dual Crown compatible/covered by warranty
  • 11 0
 So you want bike companies to eliminate two bikes from their money making lineup? So we as customers can buy one bike to truly do it all?

Hahaha.... Ahahahahaha... you must be new.
  • 3 0
 @TheBearDen: YT covers a dual crown if I’m not mistaken on the Capra.
  • 2 0
 @TheBearDen: Nicolai: Hold my beer! How about the G1??
  • 13 0
 Seems like the winningest enduro bike are all shorter travel. 2018 hill and rude were on 6" travel frames. The article points out the 150mm altitude is the Enduro bike of choice for the rocky mountain factory team. The trek remedy won a whole bunch a couple years back. Are we sure freeride bikes should really be labeled Enduro? Seems like the best enduros are all AM rigs...
  • 2 0
 @TheBearDen: I believe the Maiden is going away.
  • 1 0
 @MikeyMT: This. No more Maiden.
  • 4 1
 @taletotell:
The enduro team actually all ride Instinct BC Edition.
But yeah, your point is valid - same as the Santa Cruz guys are/were all riding the hightower/hightower LT and not the Nomad.
  • 1 1
 @TheBearDen: Certainly not..I just meant produce these "one bikes" as additions to redundant fleets such as the...
5010, Bronson, Hightower, Megatower, Nomad and the Megamad..whoops, jumped ahead to the Spring catalog.
  • 6 0
 Plain true reviews are told as soon as the next model is out. Pathetic!
  • 5 0
 Head to head VS the new 165 let’s go.
  • 3 0
 Agree! The big travel trail bikes, including the rarely heard of commencal 165 bike, need a comparison.
  • 4 0
 @Ron-C: Yeah throw the Clash in there and why not the Nomad 4 to see how it stacks up? The battle of the Super Enduro 27.5ers
  • 5 0
 I don't see waterbottle bosses :/
  • 1 0
 The images on the site show bottle mounts on the downtube.
  • 1 0
 @cheetamike: this was posted before those images came out. Look at that prototype and tell me do you see waterbottle bosses?
  • 4 0
 sweet, hoping for you current slayer owners to sell your 17' so I can grab it!!
  • 3 0
 So who was riding it when it was spotted? How do you know it was a Rocky? Has anybody heard if it is going to come with the coil vs. air shock? Inquiring minds want to know!
  • 2 0
 The Jacob Jewett I would imagine, he is a sponsor rocky rider who uses marzochi suspension?
  • 5 0
 Old slayer looks way better
  • 3 0
 So the new Specialized looks like a Santa Cruz and the new Rocky Mountain looks like a Specialized. What is even happening anymore.
  • 3 2
 This is half question and half comment so please correct me if I’m wrong.
Earlier in the year RM decided to change their sizing guide to make longer and slacker fits accross the board this is unstead of re-designing the geo to be more modern. Now with the new color schemes released they have added new specs which include off set forks...seems to me that RM is struggling to stay on “trend”?
This new slayer looks burly and that rear shock looks a little tight all tucked up in the top tube. Is this just me or is RM struggling a little?
  • 2 2
 Yes I agree and all would be well except their seat tubes are long. If I wanted to upsize to an XL (for 480mm reach) I’s have to contend with a 20.5” seat tube! 2012 called - they want their 100mm droppers back !!!!
  • 2 2
 @Richt2000: Yet us tall people actually need seat tube lengths that long, if its any lower than that no one who is actually tall will be able to get a pole long enough.
  • 2 1
 @smuggly:
Exactly - cant size up with RM.
There are 220mm droppers now mind
  • 2 2
 @Richt2000: I'm a taller guy on an XL and have a 210mm OneUp. It fits fine with a little extra to spare. Rocky does well with these. Ryan Palmer built a Large Instinct up with a 200mm Fall Line dropper a couple years ago too and it worked great slammed. Rocky handles longer dropper WAAAY better than most because it doesnt have a kinked seat tube which is a flaw for a taller guy due to a number of reasons.
  • 3 1
 @Svinyard:
Agree - straight steep seat tubes are my prefernce too. Intense are another brand who get this works for tall / long inseam riders.

I dont like the kinks or a slack actual seat tube with the BB tucked underneath like santa cruz.
  • 2 0
 @Richt2000: not sure why you got downvoted. I agree, the seat tube length on the xl's is north of 500mm so sizing up is not really an option on current models, which is too bad.
  • 3 0
 @KennyWatson: I didn't downvote him but for my XL Instinct STL is very nice with room to spare. The bike was intentionally built to not be super long to handle the tight-jank that is BC North Shore riding...not but a super long sled built for straight line stability. I get why people today might want a longer bike, especially the BC edition. Regardless, Saying the STL is a flaw because a shorter guy is trying to upsize to ride a longer bike (like an SB150), is perhaps not entirely fair. I'm 200lbs and 6-4 and don't want a shorter STL. It's not that hard to crack a seat tube when droppers/posts get long and there is a ton of leverage on a short STL for XL rider. Just my opinion at least.
  • 1 0
 sure i´m no engineer, but i think vertical shock mount makes a hell of a lot better handling bike, as the forces of the shock are driven to the BB, and also makes it for a lower center of gravity.. now the frame looks more "spacey" (i don´t know how to say it) but the previous slayer looked slimmer, or less taller.. i think the previous one was beautiful 3
  • 1 0
 I was on a 2017 Slayer when I crashed and shattered my elbow. Now I have a 10" plate and 11 screws in my arm. Nothing against the Slayer (it's a sweet bike), it just brings back bad memories!
  • 4 0
 I think it looks good!
  • 4 0
 Looks killer to me....
  • 3 1
 Not a huge fan of top tube shock placement but still very interesting as the slayer is somewhat of a legend in MTB.
  • 1 0
 Thought the shock brace would bother me, but I’m digging the frame design. If there’s an AL version, and, ya know, if it rides well, then...
  • 1 0
 In two years the reach for a size large will probably jump from 444mm to I'm guessing 480mm. Almost 2 full sizes lol. Crazy times.
  • 1 0
 Looks like 469 in slack 478 in steep for the Large
  • 2 0
 Reference to Tim Hortons, *goes back up to see who the author is, Mike Levy, checks out.
  • 2 0
 I still want to see a SLAYER edition. Or at least have it come in blood red and call it Raining Blood red!
  • 3 1
 Looks interesting! Glad to see bikes.com pushing it as usual!
  • 2 0
 WOOOOWWW....(adds a crossbrace)
  • 3 0
 Yeti asx is back.
  • 1 0
 It looks like a very strong design with plenty of room for a water bottle.
  • 2 0
 Carbon Linkage Plates???

Come on !!
  • 4 2
 #lookslikeamojo
  • 1 0
 Doesn't look like a zebra
  • 2 1
 Hoping they spec marzo! Would love a pair of Z1s!!
  • 2 0
 They are super cheap aftermarket
  • 1 0
 Yeah I have a Instinct BC edition with 170 Bomber Z1 this Slayer thing is pretty much unnecessary
  • 1 0
 @Victoriamike: Your BB drop is about 16mm on the BC /w 170mm where as most bikes at this point are around 34 to 24 it seems. I know that's all just paper/numbers but I was wondering if you notice or have any issue with a BB that high? Any pros/cons that are actually noticeable assuming you've jumped on some other similar bikes. fwiw I'm on a custom mini-BC Instinct with 150mm 36/140mm DPX2 and am just curious.
  • 1 0
 @Svinyard: it took a bit to get used to as my last bike was a scraping the BB on the ground Giant Reign. I do enjoy it a lot now that I have grown accustomed to it as I live in a very rocky, technical area and like a bit more clearance.
  • 1 0
 I was hoping for a Ride 27 adjustment front and rear.
  • 2 1
 Damn, wishing they had kept the shape of the old slayer
  • 1 0
 That thing looks more like an enduro than the new enduro.
  • 1 0
 RM EWS team switching to the Slayer now?
  • 1 0
 Looks good but first thought a breeding program from spesh & ibis
  • 2 1
 Bike Park Reaper
  • 1 0
 Me want.
  • 1 0
 This looks dope!
  • 2 1
 Looks like a nomad 3 .
  • 1 0
 Water bottle mount?
  • 1 0
 Santa Cruz Voltage
  • 1 0
 Looks like bottle rocket
  • 1 0
 Bomber suspension!!
  • 1 0
 I like it tup
  • 1 3
 Btw the rocky mountain Enduro team ran the 155 version of the instinct not the 140 version notes above
  • 3 0
 At the first few rounds Jesse rode the bike in 140 to be able to utilize the ride 9 position chip. In the bc edition, the shock is locked in 1 position with a longer stroke shock.
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