Trek Slash 9 - Review

Jun 9, 2014
by Mike Levy  



''Throw the Slash down the most technical descent, fly back up. And win,'' says Trek about the enduro race inspired Slash lineup, and with 160mm of rear wheel travel and a 65° head tube angle (when in slack mode), there isn't much that should give the bike pause, at least on the way down. We suspect that the majority of potential Slash owners will be using it for simply charging hard on their home trails more often than aiming to collect stage wins at their local race series, which means that Trek's long-travel weapon has to be more well rounded than you might first assume. And with top tier suspension from FOX and SRAM's high-end X01 drivetrain, there are really no excuses when it comes to performance. The Slash's frame is aluminum rather than carbon fiber, a fact that helps to bring the bike in at $5,769.99 USD. That's a good chunk of money no matter how you look at it, but it would cost much more if its FOX suspension and 11 speed drivetrain were hung off on a carbon version. Did we mention that the complete bike weighs in at just a hair over 28lb? Carbon schmarbon, right?



Slash 9 Details

• Intended use: all-mountain / enduro
• Wheel size: 650B
• Rear wheel travel: 160mm
• Aluminum frame
• Active Braking Pivot suspension
• FOX Factory Series 34 TALAS w/CTD fork
• FOX Float DRCV w/ CTD shock
• SRAM X01 11spd drivetrain
• Weight: 28.1lb (w/o pedals)
• MSRP: $5,769.99 USD

We spent four months on the orange and black bike, managing to ride everything from local loops of epic proportions to lift-assisted big mountain laps on seriously hairball terrain, and even travelled to Whistler to put it to the test on the valley's rocky and unforgiving trails. In fact, this particular test bike has likely seen more miles, both on the ground and in the air, on more varied terrain than any machine that we've covered prior, and that immense amount of saddle time has made it as familiar to us as a close family member, quirks and all.







Trek Slash Photo by Paris Gore
  Trek uses a lot of acronyms to describe the Slash's 160mm travel suspension design, but it's all proven technology that they've been using for years now.




The Slash's Suspension Explained

• ABP Convert: Trek has been using their Active Braking Pivot for many seasons, and the Slash 9 employs their latest ABP Convert system. The design allows the dropout pivot to rotate concentrically around the axle, limiting the amount of rotation between the caliper and rotor, which Trek claims helps to keep the suspension working better regardless of if the rider is on the brakes. The 'Convert' means that the pivot hardware is easily interchangeable to allow for both 12 x 142mm axles and standard 135mm quick release rear wheels.

• Full Floater: Attaching the bike's FOX Float DRCV CTD shock to an extension off the front of the chain stays rather than a fixed position on the front triangle isn't a new concept, but it is one that Trek has used for a number of years on everything from their Session downhill bike to the short travel Fuel trail bike. Trek says that it allows the shock to ''better respond to bumps across a wide variety of terrain,'' which is a simple way of saying that the arrangement gives them more
opportunity to tune how the shock performs throughout its stroke by altering the leverage from both ends. They aren't the first to employ such a layout, but they have used it for a number of years on most of their high-end full suspension bikes.

• DRCV: Trek's proprietary rear shock technology, developed with the help of FOX. The 'DR' stands for Dual Rate, with the shock's two different air chambers providing two different rates depending on where the shock is at in its stroke. Connecting the two chambers is a plunger, or valve, that opens the airway between the two at a predetermined point in the travel. The plunger is referred to as the control valve, or the 'CV' in DRCV. The goal is to be able to have your cake and eat it too, by having a lively but firm spring to push against that is provided by the main chamber while also benefiting from the secondary chamber's ability to add a more linear and forgiving end to the stroke.



Specifications
Release Date 2014
Price $5769.99
Travel 160
Rear Shock FOX Performance Series Float w/DRCV, CTD
Fork FOX Factory Series 34 Talas w/CTD
Headset FSA NO.57E, E2, sealed bearings
Cassette SRAM XG-1195 10-42, 11 speed
Crankarms SRAM X1, 32T
Rear Derailleur SRAM X01 X-Horizon Carbon, 11 speed
Shifter Pods SRAM X01, 11 speed
Handlebar Bontrager Rhythm Pro Carbon, 31.8mm, 15mm rise
Stem Bontrager Rhythm Pro, 31.8mm, 0 degree
Grips Bontrager Rhythm, dual lock-on
Brakes Avid X0 Trail
Wheelset Bontrager Rhythm Comp Tubeless Ready
Tires Bontrager XR4 Team Issue Tubeless Ready
Seat Bontrager Evoke 3, titanium rails
Seatpost RockShox Reverb Stealth, 31.6mm
Trek Slash Photo by Paris Gore










Climbing / Acceleration: Being a 160mm travel bike would be a hard life. Not only do many riders assume that such a machine should be able to descend as if it's a dedicated downhill sled, they are sometimes guilty of thinking that they can head out for a big loop with their friends who are all on 130mm and 140mm travel bikes without any drawbacks. That isn't the case, of course, since a bike like the Slash is usually quite a bit slacker up front, has more forgiving suspension, and sports an extra few pounds around the waistline. It's the first two that count the most, though, and it's how one deals with those attributes that will determine how the bike performs on the climbs. Thankfully, Trek has built in some options that do a good job of hiding the bike's downhill leanings when it's time to point it uphill. The key to getting the Halloween themed Slash up technical pitches is to take full advantage of those options: drop the bike's 34 TALAS CTD fork down to 130mm of travel but leave it in the open 'Descend' damper setting to allow the fork to sag into its stroke (further steepening the head angle) so as to suck up all of of those momentum-stopping ridges and rocks that can slow a big bike like the Slash down on rough, steep climbs. The result is a bike that can ascend much better than one might guess after riding it around on flat ground and in full-travel mode, but only when ridden by someone who doesn't mind tinkering with the bike's dials before any substantially technical pitch. To not do so leaves you with a machine that reminds us of a dog sled team trying to push the sled rather than pull it - you're going to end up all turned around and tangled up. However, with the fork lowered and left open, and the Float DRCV CTD shock firmed up to the middle 'Trail' mode, you'll find your way around some tight switchbacks that can trouble quicker handling bikes, although you'll no doubt eventually find the bike's limits. It won't be traction that stops you, with plenty of bite from the Bontrager tires, but rather its geometry. My advice: aim to carry the momentum you have as far up the slope as possible, even staying a gear or two higher than you think might be ideal, and you'll find yourself getting up all sorts walls. Approach the same climbs with the long term commitment of a tipsy lad on the prowl in a nightclub and you won't get far, though.

Trek Slash review test
  Don't scoff at the bike's TALAS fork - it will come in handy if and when you need to get yourself up and around anything tight and steep.


The Slash's Float DRCV CTD shock is ultra-forgiving when left in its full-open mode, and it's noticeably more active under power than some other 160mm travel bikes, enough so that I nearly always reached for that clever little CTD switch when faced with any climb that didn't turn into a downhill after twenty or thirty seconds of working for it. Part of this is down to the quicker rebound speed that I ended up preferring for the descents, something that had the Slash bringing back childhood memories of spending too much time in the bouncy castle, but it really isn't anything that can't be tamed by flipping that blue lever. Somewhat surprisingly, rotating the bike's 'Mino Link' chips at the seat stay / rocker arm junction to steepen the Slash up by 0.5° felt like it didn't actually do much to aid climbing, but I did feel like the slightly higher bottom bracket height hindered its handling on the way down. I say slightly because the difference is just 8mm from the ground up, and it is something that admittedly may have been more in my head than in the real world. Regardless, I preferred the bike's handling and suspension action with it set to the slacker of the two settings.
bigquotesThe result of making use of the fork's TALAS dial and CTD shock is a bike that can ascend much better than one might guess after riding it around on flat ground and in full-travel mode, but only when ridden by someone who doesn't mind tinkering with the bike's dials before any substantially technical pitch. To not do so leaves you with a bike that reminds us of a dog sled team trying to push the sled rather than pull it - you're going to end up all turned around and tangled up.

How would I rate the Slash against other 160mm bikes when talking about climbing? It's a bit of a Dr. Jekyll and Mr Hyde story, with the not so friendly Hyde coming out of the shadows if you leave the bike's fork up at 160mm and its DRCV CTD shock wide open - there are better 160mm travel ascenders when you do exactly that. Flip the switches, which is almost mandatory for a rider who considers themselves to be weak technical climber, and the good doctor will show up and surprise you. The Slash is bike that depends on its tricks to get you up anything serious, but those tricks work wonders.



Downhill / Technical Riding: There's very little chance that anyone who's thinking of buying a bike like the 160mm travel Slash is doing so for its climbing abilities. Instead, they're looking at the Slash because they want to bomb the downhills, send it over gaps that would give their mother a heart attack, and come sliding through corners with complete disregard for exit speed. In other words, the typical Slash owner just wants to have more fun than Keith Richards on tour in the 80s. And I think 'ol Keith might have had even more fun on the Slash than whatever he happened to be on over the last thirty years or so, because this is one bike that is going to inspire you to paint every trail black. It seems to be equal parts stability and playfulness that convinced me to do things I might otherwise wouldn't have said yes to, and being able to lean on either one when necessary not only got me through sections of trail that had me closing my eyes and hoping for the best, it had me doing the same thing again and again. And much like the perfectly balanced sports car that saves your ass instead of taking you into the wall backwards like you might deserve for being so foolish, the Slash can keep you upright when you might otherwise get taught a lesson.

Trek Slash review test
  The Slash gobbles this sort of terrain up like shipwreck survivor who's been at sea for weeks and suddenly finds himself at Red Lobster.


How does it do it? Traction is one part of it, with the bike's rear end finding it in places where none should be, something that I'm putting down to Trek's ABP design that I've long said is able to provide more predictability during moments when you need it most, and more so than some other layouts on the market. It's something that I've talked about after riding their Remedy, Fuel, and even the short-travel Superfly FS platforms, but it's even more noticeable on the relatively long-travel Slash. No, it isn't mechanical EPO, and it won't see you going from surviving to winning in a local downhill race, but there is most definitely a sense of more control and traction on tap, especially when on the brakes or cornering on rough ground. You can get thrown if you ride above your head, no doubt about it, but, for a bike that you might have pedalled to the top of the day's run, it does a stunning job of keeping you moving forward. Keep in mind that this is from a bike that weighs in at less than 30lb, not some limo of a downhill sled, and you'll start to see just how capable the orange and black bike is on truly serious terrain. You do, however, need to be on exactly that sort of ground to get the most out if it, especially when the fork is left at full travel and the rear end left wide open, a setup that I eventually began to call "going for Brook" when I reverted to the Slash's monster trucking mode, a nod to the wild and loose style of Trek World Racing's Brook Macdonald.
bigquotesI'd tell you that you can take the 140mm travel Remedy anywhere and have fun, but you can take the 160mm Slash anywhere and push yourself to new limits while also having fun, so it just depends on what you want to get out of your ride.

Given that the Slash is a slack angled, 160mm travel bike, all of the praise above shouldn't really come as too much of a surprise. What did surprise me, however, was what happened when I consistently rode the bike with its fork dropped down to 130mm from 160mm and the CTD shock set to the 'Trail' mode. Rather than feeling unbalanced and awkward, the Slash became a somewhat mild mannered trail bike that I took on nearly every type of ride, from 50km cross-country loops to multi-hour climbs that led into the kind of descents that city folk would trade their dog for just a single run down. When set up like this the Slash could be popped, pumped, and prodded to play around just as well as any true trail bike with 20 or 30mm less travel, and I ended up preferring this stiffer setup for many of the rides I went on. If that's the case, why not just get yourself something with less travel? Well, I'd tell you that you can take the 140mm travel Remedy anywhere and have fun, but you can take the 160mm Slash anywhere and push yourself to new limits while also having fun, so it just depends on what you want to get out of your ride.

Trek Slash review test
  You want grip? You got it. The Slash finds traction when you expect it to slide, especially when on the brakes.


Technical Report

• The Slash's DRCV shock and its proprietary mounting configuration are a turn-off for some, and while Slash owners won't be able to swap it out for a different shock, I don't see why they would ever want to. The shock's design allows for extreme sensitivity at the upper end of its stroke where one notices such things, and it isn't hard to believe how that's the sort of thing that helps in low-traction situations. One thing is for sure in my mind: it does a great job of erasing much of the small but high-speed chop that air shocks very often struggle with.

• Handlebars are as personal as it gets, but Bontrager Rhythm Pro Carbon bar does look at bit odd at first sight. It's nearly flat, and the bar's shape is a little different than what a standard riser looks like from above, but your grips do end up exactly where they belong. Trek is likely going to take some heat due to spec'ing their own house-brand Bontrager parts on the Slash, and that's too bad - the stuff is good, and I'd run much of it on any of my personal bikes, the Rhythm Pro Carbon bar included.

Trek Slash review test
  The bike can be pushed hard with its fork lowered and shock set up firm, enough so that we spent a lot of time riding it like that on our home trails.


• Another test bike, another SRAM eleven-speed drivetrain. What can I say that I haven't said before? The bike's gearing range, with its 32 tooth 'ring, felt wide enough for everything from the steep, short climbs that make you wince when you see them, to high-speed singletrack that will have you wishing you had some goggles on. The key, as always I always say with any of SRAM's single 'ring setups, is to simply choose the chain ring size that works for you. Unfortunately, I did experience the annoying issue of the derailleur's upper X-Sync pulley wheel coming out of time with the chain, meaning the its alternating narrow and wide teeth became aligned with the wide and narrow sections of the chain. It results in a rough feeling through the pedals, and requires you to manually re-set the pulley wheel's position.

• There's plenty of power on tap from the Avid X0 Trail four piston brakes, and their easy to use reach and contact point adjustments are very effective. That said, during the first month of use they made noises that resembled a large bird fighting for its life. The bird eventually must have died because they stopped screeching after awhile, leaving us with quiet brakes that offered loads of power and modulation. Could they have been contaminated from day one? Maybe, but power and feel were never an issue.

• The Bontrager XR4 Team Issue tires are much like the bike that they come spec'd on: confidence inspiring enough to roll into anything without worry, but relatively light so as not to have you feeling like you're trying to climb a fatbike up your local mountain. I'd almost say that the XR4s are all around badasses, but they do tend to float across muddy trail rather than find any sort of sharp bite. You can't ever have it all, can you?


Pinkbike's take:
bigquotesThe Slash is going to be a lot of bike for most riders, and it might feel like overkill unless you have some properly serious terrain in your backyard. Having said that, finding yourself under-biked and on a burly trail can be a scary proposition, and there certainly aren't many trails around where that would happen if you were on the Slash. This is where I'd usually go on about the bike maybe not being for you unless you fit that cliched ''downhiller on a trail bike" mold that also includes dismounting for most climbs or wearing knee pads on a four hour cross-country ride, but the 160mm Slash is different in that it's almost two bikes in one. Of course, having to rely on changing the bike's suspension to get the most out of it on less demanding terrain isn't ideal, but the differences between the long-legged Slash and the Slash that's been shot by a shrinking ray gun are so drastic that it's really a tale of two bikes, and a less aggressive rider could ride it in the latter mode the majority of the time until they felt they needed some extra margin for error under them.- Mike Levy


www.trekbikes.com


157 Comments

  • 43 12
 Nice review mike. But you kept quiet about the fox forks. On the slash 7 you get a pike but for a $2.000 more you get the 2014 (not so good ?) Fox talas . This surely is a big mistake by trek ...no ?
  • 33 30
 Don't F with the Fox
  • 44 9
 @ crag222 it's the lower end pike not the top end one. Don't be fooled!
  • 40 9
 i agree..after many experiences with this brand and not really liking RS that much, still i have to say: no more Fox for me, RS any day...Fox are overpriced and overrated pieces of over-engineered stuff that simply dont work, and when it goes wrong you cant maintain it yourself...i know many people like and love Fox and have great experience with the brand, i dont intend to "bash" on Fox now, its just that they never worked for me..ever...
  • 3 2
 Anyone know the difference between a pike that comes with the slash 7 and the pike RCT3? and if it is possible to make internal conversion in that pike?
  • 6 9
 pretty sure the more expensive pike is a dual position pike with 140 and 160mm travel settings, and it comes it white. dont qoute me but thats what i was thinkin last time i looked. i could be totally wrong
  • 7 1
 the RCT3 is the version you buy online or at a dealer, the RCT3 has a LSC fine tunig on top of the LSC to 'Lock-out'. The version of Pike that comes stock with a bike doesn't have that feature, just a Simple LSC to lockout

stock version pike, www.fibica.com/images/50206228/6.jpg

RCT3, static.bike-components.de/cache/Rock-Shox-Pike-RCT3-Solo-Air-Federgabel-Modell-201-3adbb26ccbc91bd125ed35e2ca5865f0.jpeg
  • 44 12
 Believe it or not, lots of people still ride (and love) fox products.
  • 8 4
 Agreed moefosho. I've owned my last bit of RS suspension. Not once have I had an issue with a Fox product, the RS stuff I've owned has not had that same issue free service. Everyone has different experiences.
  • 4 1
 I agree, that was a great review. Makes me want to ride one.
  • 18 6
 I have to agree with you, why is everyone crapping on fox these days I've owned nearly every model of 36 since it came out. I've not owned a CTD fork so maybe that's why I still think fox is great, my advice to anyone who is hating fox, try an rc2, and by the way I'm sick of hearing about how great the pike is, like rock shox never made any crappy forks, my experience with my older pike and my lyric was that they were both leaking within a month, the lyric lost all it's travel and the mission control knob actually lost all it's detents. Guess how many problems I've had with fox, none I still have a 36 talas from 2007 that is going strong. I have also worked on both forks and the rockshox are no easier to service, the only difference is that to work on fox you need proper tools like shaft clamps. My sympathy if you got burned by CTD, but don't rule out a great product because of a bad batch, and don't assume that by next year your pikes will be working perfectly.
  • 16 2
 Havent heard too many complaints about a Zokes 55. Just sayin.....
  • 5 0
 laerz to be honest you can say the same thing about any fork or suspension company. Some people have good experiences, some people have bad. Not one company can say they have a perfect record.
  • 4 4
 "a lot of bike", "overkill", "under bike"....an experienced rider buying a bike will know what bike he needs, but good luck to a beginner rider will be sold on this bike by a Salesman.
  • 2 1
 I do agree with that for sure, and by that standard I feel that fox still make good suspension I wasn't really trying to say rock shox are no good i was just saying exactly what you did not every company is perfect, also just want to say I loved my old pike even if it did leak.
  • 5 1
 I have a set of 2010 55's and a set of 2012 66's both awesome I even rode the 55 all winter and it's still going strong
  • 4 1
 I've got the 2014 55 v2 and also a 2014 Pike Rc. The 55 is in a league of its own. Admittedly it's 700grams heavier than the pike, but the pike is now for sale. Yes the pike is fantastic at above 20 or 25mph but that fact is my local terrain rarely lets me sustain much over that speed.
  • 9 1
 my fox float 32's are straight shitting over my 98 rst mozo pro's
  • 1 0
 Touche.
  • 3 4
 The Pike may be the fork that everyone's getting excited for at the moment, but without the Talas travel adjustment you won't get the 'dual personalities' that Mike loves so much in the review. A 2015 model specced with the new Fox 36 Talas might be the bomb!
  • 2 4
 The pike is available with dual position air spring, which drops travel to 130mm with the flip of a switch. I have this feature on my lyrik rc2l and it has worked great since day one. Rct3 has lsc adjustments similar to fox's CTD adjust. The pike I looked at on the 29 enduros had like 6 or 8 clicks of lsc then the floodgate lockout. I'd prefer a pike just because of 35mm stanchions, however fox just updated the 36 float to 27.5 and 29 so they're a contender again for all mountain forks. I rode a 29 fox 34 with 140mm travel and 15mm axle for a few rides and really thought it was so flexible that I would have bought a pike if it was my bike, but Fox 36 are available with 20mm axle with no quick release. Now it's even harder to say one is better based on numbers alone.
  • 2 2
 I think that new fox36 kick's some Pike ass!
  • 1 0
 RatHunter83. you dont hear much about zokes anymore. they have some sweet stuff out now that is very sexy and very tempting. if i ever blow my fox i may consider a zoke replacement
  • 3 0
 Cant be happier with my 888. And the 55 is gaining the same reputation. New stuff is dead sexy. Really like the 350 single crown.
  • 1 0
 I would really consider the 350. I just wonder if any company is building with marzocchi forks. My old kona stinky is fun with a 66 air up front and a basic zocchi coil in the rear.
  • 3 0
 As someone who replaced a Talas 36 for a Pike Dual Position I have to say the people sticking up for their old 36's have no clue what they are talking about.. The Pike Dual Position blows the fox talas out of the water on every level....fox better hope their new 36 is as good as they say
  • 2 0
 yep Fox make good rear shocks but their forks are a lot of money for alot of hassle
  • 1 0
 I recently bought a trek slash 7 with the new pike and I must say it is the best feeling fork I've ever owned, even if its considered the lower end model of the pikes. I couldn't justify spending almost 1,000 more for a fox fork and a couple of minor components. Plus, the slash 7 black and white frame color scheme looks 10 times better than the slash 8's.
  • 13 1
 I'm on a 2012 Slash 8 and love it, though beware the limitations of the DRCV rear shock... I'm over 6ft and weigh in at 98kg before Camelbak and gear, and regularly bottom out the shock despite higher than recommended pressures and a Push Industries volume tuning kit - the dual chamber design is not as effective as they intended in slowing the blow-through. Because of the proprietary upper mount, you can't swap in another shock without some serious custom hardware machining. It's a shame, because from the sounds of the reviews, something like a Cane Creek DB Air would suit it perfectly.

That flaw aside, Mike's review is spot-on - leave it in long travel and this bike is an absolute demon on the downhills, like a mini-DH ride; drop the Talas fork and Propedal/CTD the shock, and you've got a not too overweight trailbike that climbs with reasonable manners. My regular rides are from bottom to top and back down again - for me it's the perfect quiver-killer.
  • 5 1
 Maybe it's a 2012 thing ? Same bike like yours, snapped chainstay due to excessive bottom out (had to run 10% SAG due to that but still cracked). New chainstay arrived last month (improved version), also biggest PUSH Volume Reducer. Now I run 50psi less, 25% and have less bottom out (almost none).

Also, my bike creaks like hell. After full service, 3 rides and it creaks like hell (pedaling and braking especially). Even when it was new, it creaked after the 2-3 ride.

But the bike feels so good on the ups and downs, but because of the creaks and not so good support from Trek (they did warranty the chainstay in 40 days but they don't answer e-mails and they have not so good dealers) probably won't be buying a Trek anymore in the future Frown
  • 3 0
 Your frame creaks when you hit the breaks??
  • 2 0
 After having a slash 7 for a few months I have to join in as well with my opinion on the DRCV. Not enough end stroke resistance and if you try to increase pressure to stop the bottoming, the great supple beginning stroke becomes choppy. Just curious what size reducer did you try in the shock?

Ive seen several conversions to better shocks. One requiring the shock bolts to be cut to length (some extra thread hanging off) to make the bolt not stick out of the rocker arm. The other did not require any cutting. I understand the whole issue of having to search high and low for a solution, its bullshit. Theres a good thread on mtbr as well as a blog by unclesombody on how to convert the shock although im sure you have already seen them.

With the proprietary shock stuff aside this bike is so capable. Climbs fast, suspension is lively and fun, and it's at its best when you point it down.
  • 5 0
 Vuco - your creaking may be the fault of the bike builder as much as the bike itself. Improper facing and greasing, etc can cause creaks.
  • 2 0
 I have a 2012 Slash 9 and had similar issues. Long story short, I sent the shock to Push for a factory tune. It's a night and day difference. It made a great bike f'ing awesome. Stable pedal platform but super plush without the harsh bottoming out. I did debate going with a new shock entirely but I'm glad I did this instead. Here's my full review if you're interested. www.downhillcolorado.com/#!blog/c1ofj
  • 1 0
 All Full Floater Treks have had this problem with blowing through the travel since its inception, DRCV or not. I've had two Remedy's and both had to be Push'd to get proper compression performance. It's not isolated to the DRCV.
  • 1 0
 Test rode a Slash recently with a PUSH'd DRCV shock. Same experience as above. Set up with proper sag, it wallowed and blew through it's travel. Even in "climb" mode. Without the option to change to a non-proprietary shock, the Slash was off of the table. Too bad. Stiff frame and good geometry were big plusses. The shock was a deal breaker.
  • 1 0
 Are you big guys changing the compression tune to firm on the shock? I had a Remedy 7 with the DRCV shock and blew straight through it as well (100kg rider). Never got around to changing the shock tune before I sold it (bottoming out was the least of the problems with that bike), and now your stories are making me think changing the compression tune would have been wasted money anyway.
  • 1 0
 Had a creak on my Trek, couldn't find the source for a few rides. Then, took off the spacers under the stem, lightly greased the fork steerer and creaking gone.
  • 1 0
 I own a Trek Fuel Ex 8 with the same DRCV fork/shock. I experience the same problem with the shock, but I have the opposite problem with my fork. I don't think I've ever got full travel, even on drops and big hits from rocks. I run it with average pressure for my height/weight, but my fork still has about a half inch left of travel at the end of every ride. Anybody else experience this?
  • 1 0
 I've got the same problem with my fuel, but I think it's cause I'm really light. Just upgraded to air and it's gotten better, but I only use full travel when hitting huge jumps and drops.
  • 1 0
 I've had these issues when riding the bike really hard and fast but the "Push Industries volume tuning kit" solved the problem for me. Now there is more than enough progression. But I'm 80-85kg - so though the spring rate should behave equally there might be too little compression damping with your weight.
  • 7 0
 Mike, The 2014 Slash will have a Monarch Plus DebonAir shock as an aftermarket option (probably fits older Slash also).

This is one example:
r2-bike.com/ROCK-SHOX-Rear-Shock-Monarch-Plus-RC3-DebonAir-2015-with-specially-Tune-from-325-g
  • 2 0
 This would be great for all Slash owners!!!
  • 1 0
 Additionally, looks like trek/penske/fox have a new re:active shock coming.
m.vitalmtb.com/features/Formula-1-Meets-Mountain-Biking-in-Treks-New-RE-activ-Suspension,732

I'd like to see the slash as frame only and/or build it how u want it deal as u can other treks.
  • 7 0
 I read this article with the wild anticipation of a boy opening his 1st copy of Pentouse, I enjoyed reading about this new bike in the same way that a dog likes chewing on a chicken bone. As wide eyed as a lemur at a fruit packaging plant, I viewed the great photography included in the article. Now I am as satisfied as Mike Levy at an Asian undergarment store.
  • 9 0
 I'd like to hear about why trek is using such slack seat angles. 67 compared to most at 73-74.
  • 1 0
 Someone please answer this man.
  • 1 1
 I'd guess it's so when you drop the seat on a steep downhill it's well out of the way. My Knolly Chilcotin has a similar seat tube angle for this reason.
  • 6 0
 That's because the seat tube has a kink, and those 67 refer to the upper part of the seat tube only.
If you draw a straight line from the BB to the top of the saddle (at average pedaling height) it is 73. So nothing unusual there.
  • 1 0
 Hmm, well a slacker seat tube will position the seat further back in all its range.
When slammed, and going over the steeps, I want my seat actually forward, away from my mid section in order to stay low/back.
When acsending steeps, I want my ass ahead of the bb.
  • 1 1
 Yup, this. I searched the comments to find somebody else that had noticed; these are horrible angles.
  • 4 0
 @dutchflick is right, its an actual vs effective deal. That wfo-9er review touched in this (that I just read).
  • 8 1
 A lot of people have some kind of a grudge against trek for whatever reason, but i have been riding trek bikes since i was a kid and they always seem to ride really good.
  • 6 3
 I have a ex8, ex9, session 88, madone and got my girl a 3700, lush, madone and we love them. Saving for the slash9. Trek bikes are the best and they stand by the product.
  • 4 2
 My Trek Session 7 was the worst bike I've ever owned. I won't dig into it, but it was just a crappy bike from new. I am still bitter about it (obviously haha)....you can bet I will never buy Trek again!
  • 1 1
 well that is the cheapest session they made and didn't they stop making them in 2007? Im talking about how they ride in general, not the crappy parts they put on their lowest end dh bike.
  • 3 0
 You are right, because it was their cheapest FR/DH type bike at the time it deserves a pass (HA!). Anyways, a $3k bike shouldn't have crappy parts on it like you stated

Trust me when I say the frame was the worst part of the bike - and that was the same frame as their higher end Session 77.
  • 1 0
 With Trek there is a distinctive line between before and after the full floater, ABP system. Before, like your session 7, is crap. After is divine.
  • 7 0
 The Rockshox Monarch Plus will be available in SLASH SPECIFIC mounts come July 2014. Everyone rejoice!
  • 3 0
 I own a 2014 Slash 7 and the more I ride it the more Im impressed. It climbs spritely and descends anything, and the Pike and DRCV shock work great. Im always surprised how poppy and playful the bike is, but also its ability to point and shoot. I keep the bike in trail mode 95% of the time and never use the DRCV lockout. I never adjust the pike. during the first 3 weeks of ownership the DRCV Shock blewout, so my local bike shop had fox re-build it and now the shock works even better. Also to note, trek has Trek Care Plus plan for $360 and will replace anything free of charge and free labor for 3 years if anything on the bike breaks or wears out excluding tires, grips, and brake pads. For me being a 210 pounds and hard on bikes becuase of my aggressive riding style, it is the perfect bike. Also to note, I was very interested in the YT Capra, but they currently dont ship in the US.
  • 3 0
 "Did we mention that the complete bike weighs in at just a hair over 28lb? Carbon schmarbon, right?" I did a demo with this bike and i can attest to that, but it leaves me wondering if it will snap like a twig on a descently sized drop.
  • 5 2
 I dont know about you guys, but the trek slash is one of the sickest rides available. How to describe it? Well my riding style is fast low and burly. I shoot first answer questions later. Something about the abp or whatever its called but the best way to describe thiss rig is nimble, responsive, and as fast as you can handle. It pops off lips, rips through dips and sticks to the ground like a fat woman in a fat suit, hooked up to a quantum jet pack fueled on nothibg but liquid nitrogen. I swear and all three on my testicals, since i grew a third one riding this rig, that that this bike will make you smile more hard than five memebers of the swedish ski team high o qualudes and GHB.
  • 14 8
 am I the only one that doesn't like non-symmetrical rear parts?
  • 7 0
 All in the name of good design and swingarm rigidity.
  • 12 0
 It's not like it's something you would notice while you're riding the bike.
  • 7 2
 The eye want's something too tho Wink
  • 6 1
 Oh god I didn't notice until you pointed it out.
  • 3 11
flag choppertank3e (Jun 9, 2014 at 4:28) (Below Threshold)
 It's just another way to make your symmetrical frame look dated. I think the roadies started it. When you have no new suspension and your last bike was carbon too how do you make a bike look newer? Asymmetrical stays. My bike has them and I get less tyre clearance on one side which sucks.
  • 3 7
flag endurocat (Jun 9, 2014 at 6:44) (Below Threshold)
 @choppertank3e You are correct ,the chainstays don't work. Drive side suffers under braking and creates a bow like effect which in time leads to failure . Earlier models broke quite easily .
  • 2 6
flag sanderwouters (Jun 9, 2014 at 7:08) (Below Threshold)
 ^True
  • 5 0
 Lolwut. All this is absolutely stupid^. It's not like you're missing one side of the chainstay lmao. Both of the stays are still welded in place to give that support. The point of having asymmetrical CS or swingarm is to give the swingarm a better structural rigidity due to a wider support band of materials, or, due to some design constraints, maybe even weight, given that the pivots and such are strong. If a swingarm is breaking in the first place, symmetrical or not, that's just on the fault of the Mfr./Brand and not the concept of an asymmetrical swingarm which in the right ways can definitely improve the design. Not to mention asymmetrical swingarm could mean a new-gen SC Blur-like swingarm or this Trek Slash/SC Heckler. They're not all the same.

Tire clearance is a very wrong way to describe a lower chainstay on the drive-side vs. NDS, if you really need that clearance, your derailleur and chain-ring would already be scraped off by the time you really get to the swingarm, and that's not even considering sag which would only push up the swingarm higher.

Who needs logic anyways?
  • 2 0
 + to Spicy-Mike. Design constraints!
Chainstay which is on the left (drive-side) is bent to create room for a front derailleur (it can't fit between tire and derailleur when suspension is in full travel, so it goes lower), also (as a bonus) that makes chainstay more equidistant from chain itself (top and bottom) so reduces slap. On the right side this arm is straight to minimize weight. I have very similar design on my 110 travel XC bike with Horst link.
  • 5 1
 28.1lbs and a alu frame...Trek have done a good job considering most bikes of this type are over 30lbs unless made of plastic
  • 7 15
flag b45her (Jun 9, 2014 at 2:34) (Below Threshold)
 part of the reason you see so many pics of trek's with the chainstays snapped clean in half. . .
  • 1 0
 Is it 6069 al? That's what gt uses fury/sanction which are pretty light as well.
  • 2 0
 @Mike Levy, I'm going to be in Whistler for a few months next week and I'm looking for a bike to replace the Remedy 9.8 I'm leaving here in NZ. I'm bringing my Session, but don't want to give up the option of doing some serious Enduro-style downhills on the lift as well as doing some massive trail miles. Which would you get (or any other not badly priced) options?
  • 1 0
 Hey NickB01!
I spent two weeks in Whistler on a 160mm bike (2011 Spesh Enduro Evo) and it was brilliant! and a day later I put an extra 5psi in the tires and did a 100km trail ride with some xc guys.
Of 'course a DH or XC bike would have been 'better' in each situation but I was extremely happy with my 'one bike to do it all'.

I wouldn't like a carbon Remedy at Whistler. It would be perfect for anything outside the park, but I would hire a DH bike when riding Whistler. (or pick up a cheap second hand DH bike).

Have a great trip!!!!
  • 4 1
 Nice review! It's interesting to me that T-Mo and Justin Leov both seem to race on Remedy 29er's when the slash is so clearly capable and enduro-worthy. Pinkbike has reviewed both, it would make an interesting comparison.
  • 1 0
 They race on both, depending on the course.
  • 1 0
 What EWS races did Tracy use a Slash? (Or Justin for that matter.) I know Wildhaber and Schnell have used it.
  • 1 0
 T-Mo rode last year in France when my memories are right
  • 1 0
 "I will be using the Remedy 29 and Slash 650b for enduro and the Supefly for XC racing..." From her blog. I'm sure she'll use it on slower, steeper, more techical courses.
  • 3 0
 Nothing against Trek, but that price seems pretty steep for aluminum. If I was going to drop that amount of money I'd be getting a carbon frame. Which there are plenty of options around that price point.
  • 7 1
 So many euphemisms
  • 2 0
 It's the Family Guy episode of bike reviews.
  • 1 0
 Props for the Rolling Stones reference Smile Although I think they had even more fun in the 60's.
  • 7 3
 Imagine if someone designed a bike that you didn't need to flick a switch every time the trail pointed upwards. Oh wait...
  • 6 1
 Yup.. Too bad kona dont make Coilair anymore Frown
  • 2 0
 28lbs, 160mm, aluminum frame, dropper post... Without using carbon wheels, that weight seems almost too light. It will be very interesting to see how the durability holds up for this bike over time.
  • 1 0
 I'm not sure on the eye to eye length of the DRCV shock on the slash, but it is possible to fit a non DRCV shock to trek fuels & remedy. just use an aftermarket considerably longer bolt to replace the DRCV specific upper bolts.

oh & killer bike, I'd like one
  • 1 0
 just remember all you mountain bikers, we are no longer mountain biking we are enduroing. i will see you all out for an enduro at the local enduro trails. enduroing really. last i checked it was actual mountain biking. either way all the new bikes actually rip it up they are making some amazing up down machines these days
  • 1 0
 I own the slash9 and the main use for me is enduro and downhill racing. If you have the right attitude it can rip and smash any trail you will find out there. Great pedal efficiency and smooth traction. The only part I changed is the talas fork to Bos Deville160. Now its a mini Dh bike on 13kgs!!!
  • 1 0
 I own this bike and have a couple things to say about it. I worked at a downhill park for five years and I've ridden alot of bikes. This thing is sweet. Climbs like a beast and downhills like a DH bike. I have had zero problems with the fork and I ride atleast three times a week. The rear shock on the other hand has blown out once, the bolt holding the rear shock snapped and I bent the chain stays and ovalized the eye for the shock. I also severely bent the cranks. None of these things were done in crashes. I wouldn't say its the toughest bike around but definitely one of the most versatile and fun. Just my two cents.
  • 1 0
 I know this is way late, but i just got the opportunity to spend a day riding a Slash 8 at a somewhat local lift assisted park, and oh my gosh, that was heaven on two wheels. Thank you so much Trek for making such an awesome bike to spend 10 hours of my day riding.
  • 1 0
 I just gave my slash 9 the rock shox treatment. A Pike. What a difference. It tracks much better. Just a lot easier to put the front wheel where you want it. And my hands don't get as tired as they did with the Fox. It's lighter, better and cheaper then the Fox. Sombody is in trouble.
  • 5 1
 That is one beautiful bike.
  • 2 0
 I have a 2012 slash 9, love the bike except for my chain stay has cracked twice on me. Hopefully they have fixed this problem with the newer slash's!
  • 1 0
 Mate did the same, and he understandably wasn't very happy about it, but got warrantied with no dramas.
  • 3 2
 @ the end of the day its still a bike without enough travel from less than adequate dampers. Like the high pivot. Step into right direction: it's a 2005 freeride bike on cart wheels.
  • 1 0
 Just started riding my 2014 Slash 8 at Northstar. Couldn't be happier! First time ever there ( 1 year riding too) my Slash carried me all the way through the entire lower portion of Dog Bone unscathed.
  • 6 2
 Slash is the best!
  • 8 7
 Almost $6000.00 for an Aluminum frame ?
No thanks . You can purchase a specialized enduro comp with 3500.00 and comes with a pike fork.
  • 2 0
 How much does the Enduro Comp weigh? And how does it climb? Debating between Remedy, Slash and Enduro for my next rig.
  • 2 2
 i didnt like the enduro. it felt weird for me. the slash fits me nicely i love it. comparing a 26" entry level enduro to the high specked slash 27.5 is not right at all. the enduro comp is parted similar to the entry level slash 7 and priced similar. the entry level enduro lacks in parts. for another 800$ you can get the slash 8 which is parted very nicely. you get a 450$ dropper post and not to mention the breaks, drive train, and suspension upgrades. i payed 4500$ with tax and pedals for the slash 8 probably no deals due to having to order it and it being the last one available in my size. there is a rider on youtube who got his slash 8 on sale for under 4000$. you can not get that from any enduro model unless you know the lbs very well and they have them in stock and need to move the bikes. the 6600$ enduro comes with the same pike the entry level enduro comp and slash 7 come with and no travel adjust for the climbs.
i was not sold on the cheap feel of the enduro comp. i didnt like the feel of the geometry and my ridding position. the riding position is just a personal preference.
if you have a big bike at home like a dh or free ride bike go with the remedy i have seen big things done on that. dont just get the enduro put some seat time in on that you may like it. dont get the slash if you dont need the big bike feel and capability. i may not need the slash but for my aggressive riding and my dont care attitude about climbing bigger bikes i went for it. i could have got away with the remedy since i have an old dh bike sitting just for those random big mountain days.
  • 3 1
 @badnewcastle. I've got the 2014 comp enduro. After owning for 8 months i wish id bought the frame only. Im 90kg, The rims are crass. The rear hub shared it's pawls. I didn't like the stock brakes or gears so switched to xt and zee. The stem is to long., the bars and grips were not to my taste. I didn't even get on with the stock pike rc, so i swapped to a 55 which is 5x better.
  • 1 1
 Oh yeah, and its under 28lbs stock.
  • 2 1
 @yahamawarrior - I was lucky enough to get my Slash 8 for $4051 USD during Trek's Christmas/New Year holiday sale... plus the lbs knocked a few more dollars off to make it that price. They even ordered the bike in and at that price.

I own the 8, and two friends own the 9. We're all super happy with the purchase. We all ride fairly aggressively (the other two a bit more than me) and fairly aggressive trails and these bikes will handle all you can throw at a trail. The lock out on the fork and shock in climb mode make this bike very climbable even with it's slack head tube angle. And when you point the bike down, all the effort it took to get up on this bike makes it more than worth it!
  • 1 1
 that sexy 9 sure was fun . i know my 8 wont rip the trails like the 9 does. that orange and black makes the bike ride so much better than the black and grey 8. its all about the color. seriously i am going to use that line on one of my friends. i told him i wanted the other fork because of color and he railed me and said just shut the hell up and ride. i am curious about the weight of the 8 compared to the 9. also curious if after a few real trail rides and proper setup of the suspension if i will want the push industries volume reducer for the shock. i am wondering what upgrades i will be doing in the future due to my riding mistakes or part failures. i have seen a slash 8 owner upgrade the bike to 1x11 keeping stock cranks and using minimal parts to do the upgrade. i have been in contact with a slash 8 owner on youtube. he is a big 240lbs xl rider he has road his bike on some stupid stuff like loading dock drops picnic table drops and some actual trail drops. that large rider destroyed the rear tire on a bad drop, bent the raceface crank arms and put the front wheel out of true. over all he still loves the bike. i dont think any of us are going to ride urban assault on our trail bikes so we should love our bikes ability's just fine. i picked up my slash 8 today my only upgrade was a thomson stem and raceface atlas bars from my old bike.
  • 1 1
 my price was like 4199$ the orignal cost was 4299$ i had the trek demo 100 off card the shop threw in a set of pedals for 60 $ i upgraded and payed 45$ extra for pedals. then add in tax and i was like around 4500$ maybe a bit less
  • 1 2
 I know 2 guys who have a Slash 8 & 9 and really love them both. And one of them actually has won some local races on it but changed the Fox to a BOS. I also had a Fuel and I really like Treks but I have decided not to buy another (or any other company) until they stop using proprietary parts.
  • 2 0
 This reviews great and all, but a lil late! These things are sold out. I'd imagine the next batch will be carbon.
  • 1 0
 I have a 2013 slash 8; that thing's a shred beast no doubt about it. And it gets up to the top pretty well too... Love the bike.
  • 2 0
 I love my Trek Scratch as I see it as perfect for me with a 180mm fork. Wondering if this will match it?
  • 2 0
 One of the best reviews I have read in along time, intresting, full of usefull information and funny, nice one Mike
  • 2 0
 Nice review! I know Pinkbike doesn't do them, but I would love to see a Slash vs Nomad article.
  • 2 0
 Six grand and the first thing you have to do is sending the suspension in for tune up..?? Ridiculous!! :evil
  • 1 0
 I got my Slash 7 650B to 28.75lbs so far with these upgrades: Renthal carbon bar & stem, 1x10 with 42t, tubeless with stans tape. Love this bike!
  • 5 2
 Thats one sweet ride!
  • 3 1
 Your Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde analogy appears to be back to front.
  • 3 0
 Dang magic potion. Fixed.
  • 3 1
 Looks like it's about time to retire my Remedy..
  • 2 0
 When you reviewing your knolly warden?
  • 2 0
 that looks like a weapon to murder enduro trails
  • 2 0
 Went to order one but none in stock in the UK. So waiting for the 2015.
  • 2 0
 next production run there will be 4 models to choose from . the rep told me there will be one higher specked bike coming in the line up. he didnt say much due to him probably not being allowed to say much, but who knows maybe better pricing on the slash 9 and maybe a carbon model to come, and maybe that rockshox monarch rear option. i almost bought a cheap used trail bike to get me by until the next product run of the slashes, but i ended up buying the last slash 15.5 from trek all they had was the slash 8 in my size left. they are selling very nicely.
  • 2 1
 Which one of you sweet, loving, and giving people are gonna buy me this bike?
  • 3 0
 None are available, otherwise I'm sure many here would buy one for you.
  • 1 1
 you are a crazy rider. ask us to buy you a sold out bike. they may have them in some shops some where. the problem is its a big bike that some shops dont want to carry, they stop with the remedy and cant justify having a slash on hand. trek may have a few sizes left in some models. i was told trek was all sold out of all 7's i bought the last 15.5 of any of the bikes trek had. maybe there are a few 9's out there and a few more 8's good luck. maybe you should just wait for the next production run. i am told nothing is to change except for a higher specked model to come so 4 choices next go around. maybe the monarch rear option and the top line pike, maybe carbon fiber. maybe a monkey to pedal up hills for you so you can relax and just enjoy the dh who knows.
  • 1 0
 so 28.1lbs. I wonder how much i will have to swap out to get close to that weight. My 8 is at 32.xx
  • 2 2
 get a yt like ads72 said, so much more bang for your your buck i have a wicked pro and wouldnt swap it for any trek!
  • 3 0
 Not much of an option for those of us in the Colonies.
  • 3 0
 true m8, i heard there as rare as rocking horse shit over there!!
  • 1 0
 there was a woman rocking a yt wicked on the opening day at whistler. that bike looked sexy and looked like it was bigger than it actually was. i sure would love some seat time on a yt. those sob's for being a kick ass smaller company, do we fault them for their short comings i think not. we just shake our fist at them as we run after them barking like a dog getting yanked back on a short chain. one day they will make it big enough to support riders faster and better. every damn time i post something on a forum some sob reminds me of the yt. they always say the yt kills it get one or something like that and i get so frustrated. i just hope all the riders that can easily support yt do so. that way they can grow and make it more accessible to the rest of the world. for now my slash 8 should rip it just fine, and we will see what the future may hold.
  • 2 0
 nice post bud, i am seeing more and more of them everytime i am out riding so it does show that they are starting to make it big time, i know im in the uk but everyone starts somewhere i guess. hope ya get ya chance to own one soon as they are as good as people say!! and yes your trek slash will tear ass. peace!!
  • 2 1
 Hey that sort of looks like a session
  • 1 0
 just a shame you can't find one to buy in england!
  • 1 0
 blahahahaah "FULL FLOATER"
  • 1 0
 i just hope the "FULL FLOATER" isnt a double flush or even worse a clog in the toilet. i am hopping mine holds up
  • 1 0
 Great article Mike - It had me laughing & drooling! Smile
  • 1 0
 NICE LOOKING BIKE THAT I WOULD NEVER BUY!!!!
  • 6 6
 I've got a yt Capra its better and cheaper.
  • 7 0
 Right. Thanks.
  • 3 1
 Has Pink bike reviewed the Capra yet?
  • 5 2
 Unfortunately not, I'm waiting for this review like for 2nd Jesus.
  • 2 0
 You called?
  • 1 0
 yt makes some sweet bikes. but getting them here in the US is such a pain. the wait time is not good. the customer support when things are needed would suck. yes yt probably has great customer support but the wait time kills us. in the future if they make it here to the US that maybe an option to upgrade my bikes to one of theirs. they are sponsoring an american rider and showing us they want to be over here.
  • 3 3
 26!!!
  • 3 3
 Cable routing sucks
  • 2 3
 Amazing not single mention on wheel size or lack of carbon frame.
  • 2 1
 with a ride as good as this bike offers, a carbon frame is not needed
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