Trek Slash 9.8 - Review

Oct 27, 2014
by Mike Levy  
 
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Trek's 2015 Slash 9.8 appears to be quite a formidable weapon on paper - 160mm of travel, slack angles, and a brand new carbon fiber frame that is claimed to a fair bit lighter than last year's aluminum version, a fact that helps to keep the bike's weight down to a very competitive 27lb 9oz. There's also a change from the FOX DRCV CTD shock that Trek had long used on their Slash platform, with RockShox's new Monarch Plus RC3 DebonAir bolted up in its place. In other words, our 9.8 test bike is a new animal compared to last year's offering, even if it does feature the same travel and geometry numbers, and even looks pretty much the same from a distance. And, very conveniently if I do say so myself, I spent a load of time on the aluminum framed, 2014 Slash 9 that cost the exact same amount as the $5,769.99 USD Slash 9.8 reviewed below.

The 9.8 had an interesting life while it was under me, and much like my time on last year's Slash 9, it was ridden everywhere from the Whistler Bike Park to the much rowdier valley trails that can only be accessed under one's own power, and even on a handful of fifty kilometer adventures that put a premium on efficiency and comfort. In fact, nearly every trail that was ridden on last year's bike was also hit up on the 9.8, and if there ever was a great way to see if things have gotten better, I'd have to say that this is it.



Slash 9.8 Details

• Intended use: all-mountain / enduro
• Rear wheel travel: 160mm
• Wheel size: 27.5''
• Frame material: carbon fiber
• Active Braking Pivot suspension
• SRAM X1 eleven speed drivetrain
• RockShox Pike RC 130mm/160mm
• RockShox Monarch Plus RC3 DebonAir
• Weight: 27lb 9oz
• MSRP: $5,769.99 USD






Trek Slash 9.8 Photo by Mike Kazimer
  The 2015 carbon frame is quite a bit lighter than its aluminum predecessor, but it also looks cleaner as well. Check out the sleek direct mount front derailleur attachment point - this was a rather nasty stub on the aluminum bike.


Frame Details

It was only a matter of time until Trek debuted a carbon fiber version of their 160mm travel Slash, with Rene Wildhaber doing the honours at this year's Enduro World Series round at Winter Park, Colorado. Wildhaber has long preferred the more forgiving ride of the Slash over the Remedy that the rest of the Trek team usually reaches for at an EWS race, and it looks like he'll no longer have to pay a weight penalty for that choice: Trek says that the Slash's new carbon frame is over a full pound lighter than last year's aluminum version, even with the aluminum chain stays that are found on our 9.8 test bike. Frame material aside, the bike's travel and geometry numbers remain unchanged for 2015.

With a set of ISCG chain guide mounts and a head angle that can go from 65 to 65.7 degrees, the Slash is clearly intended to be ridden hard and fast. There's also some thick frame protection to be found on the lower section of the down tube and on the stays to keep you from doing any damage while you're at it, while internal routing for the bike's stock Reverb Stealth dropper post makes for a clean appearance.

Trek Slash 9.8 Photo by Mike Kazimer
  Trek is using their proven ABP suspension design on the 160mm travel Slash 9.8.




The Slash's Suspension Explained

• ABP: Trek has using using their Active Braking Pivot design for quite a while now, and you'll also find it on the back of the Slash 9.8. The layout allows the dropout pivot to rotate concentrically around the axle, thereby limiting the amount of rotation between the caliper and rotor, something that Trek says helps to keep the suspension performing better regardless of if the rider is grabbing a handful of brakes.

• Full Floater: Bolting the Slash's Monarch Plus RC3 DebonAir shock to a short extension off the front of the chain stays instead of a fixed position on the front triangle isn't a fresh idea, but it is one that Trek has used for a number of years now across most of their full suspension range. Trek claims that it allows the shock to ''better respond to bumps across a wide variety of terrain,'' which means that the design gives them more opportunity to tune how the shock performs throughout its stroke by altering the leverage from both ends.

• RockShox Monarch Plus RC3 DebonAir: The debut of a carbon-framed Slash is certainly noteworthy, but Trek's switch from using FOX's DRCV CTD shocks to RockShox's new Monarch Plus RC3 DebonAir is probably going to have an even larger impact on how the bike performs on the trail. It comes down to increased oil volume, Trek explains, with the added damping oil allowing the shock to perform more consistently on the long, rough descents that the bike was made for. But if that's the case, why not use a Float X? Due to the spring curve that they're looking for, they say, with the new DebonAir spring design able to imitate how the dual chamber DRCV air spring behaved. Trek has been keen to note that it doesn't mean that one is better than the other, just that the Slash was designed with a very specific spring curve in mind and that the DebonAir layout suits it better.




Specifications
Release Date 2015
Price $5769.99
Travel 160mm
Rear Shock RockShox Monarch Plus RC3 DebonAir
Fork RockShox Pike RC 130mm/160mm
Headset Cane Creek IS-3, E2
Cassette SRAM XG-1180, 10-42, 11 speed
Crankarms SRAM X1 1400 X-Sync, 32T
Rear Derailleur SRAM X1
Chain SRAM PC-1130
Shifter Pods SRAM X1
Handlebar Bontrager Rhythm Pro Carbon Riser
Stem Bontrager Rhythm Pro
Grips Bontrager Rhythm, dual lock-on
Brakes Shimano XT
Wheelset Bontrager Maverick Pro Tubeless Ready
Tires Bontrager XR4 Expert
Seat Bontrager Evoke 3, hollow titanium rails
Seatpost RockShox Reverb Stealth
Trek Slash 9.8 Photo by Mike Kazimer







Climbing

Getting to the top of anything aboard the Slash was par for the course in most scenarios, but there were moments when the long-legged Trek definitely handled better than you'd expect it to given its 160mm of mistake-eating travel. I surprised myself, as well as anyone watching me, a few times by steering it up and around tricky sections that have given me more trouble on smaller bikes, which shows that pretty much anything is possible on it so long as ''anything'' doesn't require a heady jump in speed. And all things relative to other rigs of the same stature, that's one of my only real complaints with the Trek: it seems to have lost some of the eagerness of last year's machine, and 160mm bikes don't have much in the way of said eagerness to begin with, so losing even a smidge of it can't be a good thing. I'm going to go ahead and put most of the blame on the suspension that feels more active and supple compared to last year's bike, which means that it's well worth your time to drop the fork and firm up the shock. Now, I know I said the same thing about last year's Slash, but it's even more true of the new version. Boat loads of traction help the Slash's cause when it comes to scrabbling up anything that might otherwise not look doable, though, which had the bike putting in some surprisingly decent performances when faced with a wall of a climb or snakey pitch to weave up. I'm not going to say that it'd trouble any shorter travel rig in such times, and dropping the Pike RC down to 130mm and firming up the Monarch Plus RC3 shock doesn't magically turn the Slash into a Remedy, but it's a better technical climber than you might first suspect, especially compared to other 160mm bikes. Then again, its 27lb 9oz weight is quite impressive for how it's intended to be ridden, and that relatively low number doesn't exactly hurt when it comes time to gain elevation.

Trek Slash 9.8 Photo by Mike Kazimer
  While I'd like to say that I breezed up tricky climbs aboard the Slash, that wasn't the case. Then again, that's not what the bike is designed for, was it? A strong technical climber will get by on the 9.8, but a weaker one will be paying the price for the bike's substantial descending abilities.


In a lot of ways, the Slash is the opposite of most similar travel bikes when talking about ascending. I seemed to be able to ride around its slack-ish angles in technical settings, especially at slow speeds with the fork dropped, but just never felt like I had good legs when it came time to drop the hammer on a gravel road climb. Sure, maybe I didn't have the legs, but months of riding has me of the mind that the large tires and active suspension took the edge out of my efforts. Firming the shock up helps - surprise! - and this is a move that I ended up doing more often than not when it came to put in work. On that note, the Monarch Plus RC3's compression lever would hit my water bottle, which is kinda annoying. Compared to last year's Slash, the new bike feels like it has leaned even more towards all-out descending in exchange for some sacrifices in the opposite department. Having said that, it's certainly not as singleminded as GT's Sanction enduro race bike, and I'd likely prefer the Slash if the large majority of my riding included any sort of technical climbing to get to the payoff.



Downhill / Technical Riding

Any punter can hit warp speed in a straight line if they're brave enough to death grip it for a few seconds, but corners are where a rider's skill, as well as a bike's abilities, really shine through. A bike that corners easy, ie. doesn't ask you to correct mistakes or drop anchor and lose traction when traction is all you have to rely on, is a bike that makes riding well come easy. And the Slash can, ahem, slash a corner like it was put on this earth to do exactly that. Things simply always felt balanced and 'right', no matter if it was a bermed up turn or a flat sweeper that had you thinking that a low-side get-off was imminent... only it never came. I think that the best part about all this cornering praise is that I can say the same thing regardless of how I approached each turn - the bike always felt low and planted, and the confidence that came from that let me go quicker and quicker.

The grip that's on tap comes largely from the Slash's active suspension that isn't just supple on top, but able to also feel like it can absorb the tiniest of impact at any point through its stroke. This was especially true of the new Monarch Plus RC3 DebonAir shock that is impossibly frictionless, as well as the Pike RC that, as anyone who's ridden a Pike is well aware of, seems to be able to do everything you ask of it except pass you a post-ride beer and give you a back rub. It's all very active under you when both ends are left wide open, and while the result is certainly a forgiving ride, it's also one that is more 'grounded' than last year's FOX-sprung Slash when utilizing similar amounts of sag. Damper settings come into play here, and a rider could obviously tune-in more life to the bike if that's what he was looking for, but the 2015 9.8 is a more merciful machine than last year's version when both are set to their most ready states. I'd say that it's just a tiny shuffle of the feet more towards being a downhill sled than its predecessor, and much like I mentioned above, the gap between the 9.8 and the shorter travel Remedy seems larger in 2015, regardless of what a geometry sheet says - take that for what it's worth and choose wisely in regards to what you actually need.

Trek Slash 9.8 Photo by Mike Kazimer
  With a low and stable kind of ride that doesn't mind being sent straight into the worst of it, the Slash can be your monster truck if that's what you ask of it.


With a firmer grip on the ground than my right hand on a post-ride Bud Light Lime, and some of the most predictable suspension of any 160mm bike on the market, the 9.8 can hit serious speeds in the rough stuff. I felt the end of the stroke a few times on both the fork and shock during those times, but, looking back, I'd put that down to accidentally going into kamikaze-mode when I should have been thinking about giving the brake levers a firm squeeze, such is the bike's poise when faced with the worst the trails have to offer. One trail in particular, a steep mother of a line down the side of what would be called a cliff by any mountain biker's caring and worried parents, had been haunting my sleep for the past while. Is it rideable? Is it rideable by me? Am I prepared to sacrifice a perfectly good chamois to give it a go? The bad news is that I carried a roll of TP all the way out into the forest and then ended up not needing it, but the good news is that the Slash's considerable abilities played a big role in me cleaning it without trouble. The point of the story isn't that I did anything burly, but rather that the bike filled me with confidence to do stuff that I hadn't yet tried.

Trek Slash 9.8 Photo by Mike Kazimer
  The Slash feels like a close relative of Trek's even longer travel platform, which shouldn't come as to much of a surprise. Not shown: fanny pack and goggles.


I think that my one caveat about the Slash is that its little brother, the Remedy, is also so capable that a rider really has to be making things happen on the bike to have it be worth the extra travel and slacker angles, so much so that even Trek's EWS racers usually reach for the Remedy over the Slash. No one's telling you that you can't drop your kid off at school in a bright red Ferrari F40, and I'm not going to say that you you can't have an absolute blast aboard the Slash on trails that don't require such a capable bike, but both seem to be a little wasteful to me. The F40 is going to be loud and hot as you meander through town at 40kph, and the Slash is going to feel big and slow on your 'flow trail', but at least you'll have bystanders admiring your machine in both scenarios. What about the fork and shock's compression levers that can be used to firm the bike up? Sure, you can do that, just like on most of the competition, but, when left fully open, there are more animated 160mm travel bikes out there. Do you want fun-loving and perky, or would you prefer the ''I'm going over that and nothing is going to stop me'' sort of attitude? The 9.8 slots into the latter category.



Technical Report

• There's no doubt going to be some eyebrows raised about the number of Bontrager components on the 9.8, with the assumption that it should come with a more gucci build kit rather than Trek's own house brand parts. That's a bit of a shame because the Bontrager stuff, while admittedly not as flashy looking as some other aftermarket options, has never left me asking for more. And that still applies to the 9.8's parts, as the bike's new-for-2015 Bontrager Maverick Pro wheelset came out of the other side of months of testing without any damage. The wide rims give the bike's high-volume tires an even larger footprint, and I can't complain about suffering from a single flat tire during my time on them.

• The Reverb Stealth dropper post worked well and looks clean, and the Shimano XT brakes are consistent top performers, but the two of them paired together don't make for the best ergonomics. I adjusted the left-side brake perch where I needed it to be, and then had to settle with the Reverb button sitting at an odd angle that just never felt right for my thumb. This is a common complaint about this pairing and something I've moaned about many times before, which is a shame because each component works great on their own. Maybe an enterprising company could come up with some sort of aftermarket perch for the Reverb that would mate better with non-SRAM brakes?

Trek Slash 9.8 Photo by Mike Kazimer
  The 9.8's build kit might not be flashy, but there's no denying that it performed very well.


• RockShox's new Monarch Plus RC3 DebonAir is slipperier than an eel bathing in K-Y Jelly, and I'd have to say that it's the most supple and active air-sprung shock on the market right now. The good news is that creates a lot of traction and supplies plenty of forgiveness, but the other side of the coin is how some riders might find that they have to use the shock's three-position compression switch to tame its eagerness not just when you hit a bump, but also when you throw your weight around on a climb, more so than the FOX DRCV CTD shocks used on last year's Slash range. The same lever would also hit the water bottle when the shock was in its firmest mode.

• SRAM's single ring, eleven speed X1 drivetrain seems tailor made for a bike like the Slash, and although we didn't drop a chain once over the months of testing we've had on the 9.8, someone who's training for and competing in enduro races will likely still want the added security of a chain guide of some sort. Shifting was spot-on, and while the 32 tooth 'ring might feel a touch tall for some riders given the bike's angles and travel, that's a simple matter of swapping it out before leaving your local shop. My only complaint with SRAM's single ring setups is the narrow-wide upper pulley coming out of time with the chain, resulting in that rough feeling through the pedals that's so annoying. An easy fix, but I still question why the pulleys need to have the narrow-wide profile that they sport.



Pinkbike's Take:
bigquotesI spent a ton of time on last year's $5,769.99, aluminum framed Slash 9, and came away from that experience pretty damn impressed with how the bike performed. The question that has to be answered, however, is if the 2015 Slash 9.8, with a carbon frame, some less expensive components, and different suspension front and back, is a better bike at the exact same price. So, is it? The answer is unquestionably a firm 'yes' for anyone whose priorities begin and end with charging the downs, although I'd also say that it has nothing to do with the move to a carbon fiber frame, but rather down to the Monarch Plus RC3 DebonAir shock and Pike RC fork. I'd also tell anyone considering the new Slash that its all around-ness is a little more skewed towards those downs than last year's bike, although that's likely going to be a good thing for someone who has the 160mm travel bike on their short list of possible rides to get rowdy on. - Mike Levy


www.trekbikes.com


Mentions: @trek

Must Read This Week

203 Comments

  • + 101
 "Trek has been keen to note that it doesn't mean that one is better than the other, just that the Slash was designed with a very specific spring curve in mind and that the DebonAir layout suits it better."

Means

"SRAM gave us a better deal if we specced their stuff on both ends of the bike which meant higher margins and more profit for us"

See also:

"Why we put so much Bontrager stuff on this bike"
  • + 35
 Fair comment but worth noting that Bontrager in general makes really good stuff (if you can look past the Trek ownership). XR4 tires are pretty fantastic trail tires and my choice over current Maxxis and Schwalbe linups due to durability. The bars and stems are made in the same place where the rest of the components are made these days (can we really tell the difference in bars/stems??). Having owned a pair of 2014 Rythm Elites I'd wager these wheels are legit. By comparison my Specialized Enduro Expert retails at $600 more and came with crappy alloy bars, terrible tires and flimsy wheels.
  • + 25
 Bontrager actually make some pretty damn niffty stuff. The amount of R+D that goes into it all is amazing and they use a lot of feedback from the people that buy their products. Of course, its cheaper for trek to run their own brand of parts on their bikes, but they aren't just the crappy stock parts you end up replacing , like you would find on a giant or specialised. Its all good stuff. As for the rock shox thing, the monarch debonair is comparably different to the DRCV shock trek used previously, and with the whole enduro thing happening. it looks like trek has gone for the shock that performs better on the downhills and rougher trails.
  • + 25
 @wibblywobbly have you ridden the Monarch Plus Debonair? It is way better than anything fox has put out. And I know because I have ridden every shock out there on my bike. The only thing better is the CCDBA or CCDB Inline. I am a Clydedale rider & can attest to that. I applaud Trek for using more house branded parts so they could put a better more expensive rear shock on the Bike.
  • + 7
 There have also been a lot of complaints from Trek owners about the difficulty of changing shocks and having to use custom mounting hardware. I wouldn't be surprised to see a double barrel air show up on a bike like this.
  • + 4
 I think it's more along the lines of, "Our proprietary licensed and trademarked super duper DRCV shock technology is just marketing and in actual tests we found the Debonair to be a better suited shock, and it's cheaper than paying fox to make our rear shocks look different than there rest of their shocks"
  • + 11
 I'm a proud owner of a 15' Trek Slash 9.8 and am quite impressed with the Monarch Plus. But if Canecreek made a DBair that fit the Slash, I would pee my pants in excitement!
  • + 6
 @ryan83
Bontrager makes really good after market components. Bontrager spec'd products are usually sub-par materials. However, I'll take a production Bontrager rim over a Roval rim any day.
  • + 8
 wibblywobbly normally I'm as sceptical to any of these marketing tactics as you are, but why dont they fit it with avid brakes if you truly believe that SRAM is behind this bikes birth?
  • + 2
 i have a Slash 7, it has the Monarch Plus Debonain RC not RC3, i can still climb with it, and i've taken that rubber ring off the piston before and haven't event noticed it. the Debonair is a great rear shock, especially if you give it about 27-30% sag because then it will soak up every bump on the trail and still handle the big hits.
  • + 4
 Honestly I would have preferred a Fox suspension on this rig. Bontrager components are top notch these days. The price is decent compared to other carbon offererings. Nice review! I'm looking forward to demoing one very soon.
  • - 3
 It's not difficult it's very easy to swap out the shock. The aftermarket mounts are cheap.
  • + 4
 It's fascinating that an off the shelf monarch+ has a more suitable spring curve that a custom developed DRCV...
  • + 6
 @marshalolson you say that as is an off the shelf monarch is crap. the same amount of work goes into making a monarch as does a DRCV. Still needs to be tuned and made specifically for whatever type of riding its being used for. DRCV is still amazing stuff, but in this case, a monarch is more suitable. Monarchs can handle the downhills better then the up hills where as i find a DRCV to be ok at everything rather then great at some things, but lacking in other areas. They wanted an enduro bike, which is predominantly downhill, so a plusher shock that will use a lot more of its travel is what you would want. Uphills, while still considered, isn't really the main thing they are going for here. Thats just personal experience any way.
  • - 5
flag EmmettS (Oct 27, 2014 at 18:05) (Below Threshold)
 Ive ridden both the CCDB air Cs and the top end rock shox monarch plus debon air and it makes the CCDB look like a cheapo Kmart bike rear shock thats how good it is
  • + 5
 I've owned a 2013 Slash, spent time on on a 2014, and now own the same bike in the article... except mine is an XL. The suspension on the 2015 is by far a step above what the previous bikes had. The Bontrager stuff is pretty damn solid, and is a house brand of Trek... so I'm not sure why they would really spec anything else. I mean... Specialized spec's their own stuff, as do any of the other companies that have in-house parts brands.... such as Transition for instance. Add to that that Bontrager is pretty much the only brand you can buy after market and get a 30 day no questions asked satisfaction return policy, and you've got a decent little brand. Added bonus, the shock uses standard mounts now.
  • + 3
 Treks 2015 line up is awesome and I got to demo this bike, I have always owned downhill bikes and I was really surprised at how well this thing handled rocky stuff at high speeds. As awesome as it was.... I still bought the new carbon 650b session Smile
  • - 1
 #Enduro
  • + 1
 @chris199 The monarch stocked on here is truly a pretty stock Medium/Medium tune Monarch (with specific eye 2 eye and stroke lengths) with the addition of two bottomless rings which are provided with Monarch Debonair purchases... definitely not the same R&D cost to trek/rockshox as DRCV was for Trek/Fox. Ironically the bottomless rings are added to take up volume and increase the ramping of the shock to DISCOURAGE the shock from sitting at the bottom of the stroke which is what DRCV's problem was IMO. To me the only thing fascinating about DRCV is how much it screwed up the ramp curve at a portion of the travel where hard riders need the most support. DRCV and Debonair, while trying to achieve the same thing arrive at it two different ways with realistically differing outcomes.
  • + 61
 I wonder if Slash is a mountain biker
  • + 1
 It would suit his stolen top hat.
  • + 19
 He was a BMX rider back then.
  • - 35
flag Yt-shredder (Oct 27, 2014 at 8:40) (Below Threshold)
 Finn iles is riding for lapierre now
  • + 1
 that seat just doesnt fit on this bike...
  • + 1
 Call Gerald and report.
  • + 46
 "Post ride bud light lime" - AKA water with a dash of lime
  • + 19
 Butt wipe lime
  • + 1
 I would have guessed Mike was a Hienneken man.
  • + 28
 Can you make a comparison between the Slash Carbon and the Santa CruzNomad and the Norco range Carbon?
  • + 23
 Nomad: Expensive as f*ck. That's all I know....
  • + 1
 Was the 2014 carbon range ever reviewed on pb? Maybe delayed due to some recalls. .
  • + 2
 @bansaiman
Specific rear end spring curve. Did you read the article?
  • + 4
 I agree. I like the comparisons between the different models of the Slash and the Remedy. However, many people reading a review like this are considering this bike versus other options. It would be nice to hear how this bike performs relative to other comparable bikes, like the Nomad, Range, Enduro, Mach 6, Yeti SB6c, etc. I know I'd love to hear that type of comparison. Keep up the comparisons!
  • + 4
 Think I'd get the new Giant Reign Advanced 27.5 O Team before this bike.
  • + 0
 Oh yes, the I forgot the Capra ;-)


@XCMark
your words don´t help in this matter at all. I was referring to the bikes as a whole of course ;-) I don´t care a spring curve if the bike just rocks.
  • + 15
 Exept to pedal on a Straight fire road (Who does that? ) 32x10 is enough for the large majoriti of rider and in the program the bike is made for.
i rode the 2015 slash 9 (exactly the same specs than the 9.Cool down the next worldcup track in lourdes and for an enduro bike it's so impressive !
And even on xc mode (sorry) this bike is amazing.
  • - 28
flag FlowMasterO (Oct 27, 2014 at 3:49) (Below Threshold)
 Eh, looks like a session, thing is uhgly,
  • + 7
 Flowmaster, you are wrong and your comment doesn't apply to the comment you are replying to. Pull it together.

ChOu177, I agree with you on not needing the big gears, I have been happy running 27/9 (modified shimano Capreo) as my biggest gear on XC bikes for a few years now.
  • + 2
 depends on the rider. but Mike's not out of line, as 32t is where a large portion of populace is comfortable on a 26", but to get the same gear inches at the ground on a 27.5, you need a 30t, and a 28t for a 9er. That's the reason SRAM made the XX1 cranks with a smaller BCD to fit those bitty rings: to accommodate for the way gearing changes when you go up in wheel size.
  • + 2
 A large bit of population could use 32t to 36t rear on a 29er with "usual" weight rim/tyre combo, just as 34t-36t on 26er. Unfortunately large portion of that population decides to see single ring setups as nothing else but marketing plot to make you buy XX1 and prefers to use a contraption called front derailleur/granny ring and fails to recognize the advantages of gear ratios close to 1:1 like: increased uphill grip in slippry conditions, minimized pedal bob and pedalkick, largely decreased chance of hitting obstacles with cranks while pedaling, vadtly improved chain retention, and only two flaws: you need to do basic strength training, like sun salutations and single leg squats, it may take a dozen of rides to get used to lower cadence and realize that you actually CAN ride up on "SO HARD" gear as you did spinning on low one. Open mindness, Off-bike effort and patience - who dares to ask so much, from someone who just paid 3k$ for a damn offroad bicycle!
  • + 3
 @WAKIdesigns
It greatly depend on your playground and fit (and I do basic yoga training and a lot of swimming) so you cannot do such a generalization. Spend a week in the French Alps without using lift, 4 to 5 hours a day on your saddle with 2500 to 3000m D+ and you will beg for your triple back.
Even extremely fit people like Tracy Moseley runs a triple to save her legs on the climbs and pushing harder on the downs.
Without even talking of fiability of strongly crossing a narrow chain in wet conditions all day long (check the elongation of your sram 11speed chain from new to 50 hours ride).
  • + 2
 IF you can climb 3000m in 5 hours (yes the diference between 2000m in 4h and 3000m in 5, even 8 is worlds apart) , everyday to top that, then wooha, congratulations for EWS Jared. I climbed 1500m in 2,5h on one day using 32t front, 36 rear on Jekyll 275 with HansDampf on i23 wheels, on a 10-12% asphalt road. Then 1200m on similar grade gravel road on LiteVille 401 with magic mary rock razor, both in supergravity, on their w35 wheels and Pike with DPA. Same gearing, same wheel size. I passed many "Garda marathonians" on 29ers with narrow bars on day 2. In both situations, my legs and lower back were sore but my palms and my and my arse (assos pants + chamois creme for details) despite frequent standing up. So well 2000 vertical meters would make me proud, at least at my Garda-hero beating pace. On my normal rides where I live, such epicalities are replaced with max 3h rides in hilly terrain with uphills often being so steep that steeper is questionable to be rideable considering surface identical to what they show on freeride moveis from NorthShore - wet roots and wet rocks.

EWS athletes spin what the spin because they climb such altitudes while spiking their pulse for several minutes on SS stages, so they want to keep their pulse low on climbs, while majority of us enjoys singletrack and feeds our egos with camera and Gopro footage on the way down. I for instance on the day one fought for life on rockgardens paved with wet lime stone in sizes of baby head to refrigerator. So if you do climb so much so often at such pace, then I am deeply impressed and you are one of the strongest amateur mountain bikers in the world.
  • + 0
 Just to put that in perspective of somone elses climbing "achievements", TDF level blokes on training camp on Tenerife climb 2500m in 3-3,5h, twice a week on a road bike on perfect asphalt, even if steep in places. I know because I have one in my family.
  • + 1
 www.visugpx.com/?i=1378150698
Not my GPS track but typically what I'm talkin'bout.
There is nothing extraordinary doing this on a full day and taking breaks (so more or less 5h on the saddle as I wrote).
Except if you run a single 32 tooth ring of course, in which case you're a hero, and that was my point ;-)
This trail was traced for an MTB trek (randonnée) by the Club Alpin Français.
Needless to say, most of people where quite fit, and very few ran a single ring setup...
At this time (2009) my bike was a lapierre X control evo 2 130 (kind of long travel XC full sus with 130rear, 140 front), mavic crossmax ST, fat albert 2.25 front, nobby nick 2.25 rear, tubeless setup, full xtr (11-36, 22-44), thomson mpiece, fizik gobi, ritchey WCS carbon rizer and WCS 90mm stem (so 12.7kg full set).
I was in far better fit than now...
  • + 1
 hahah, honestly I was extremely sceptical of single ring, particularly because I was trying to ride only with 32t still having granny on. That just doesn't work, the same as with people who consider buying single speed and try to ride similar gearing on bike with gears. The incentive to drop the gear is just too strong and will overcome pretty much anyone who is tired enough. Lord knows devil was pushing my thumb towards the front shifter on those two rides. One gets used to cranking hard gear more than he trains to do it (even though they don't exclude each other off course), it is more in the head than in the legs. For me the positives outweigh the theoretically decreased efficiency which in case of full suspension bike could be put under "scientific scrutiny" as lighter gears bob more, because you put power over shorter distance of wheel revolution (hence also decreased grip). I can buy that for certain people granny is ok for long climbs but when it comes to technical climbs, especially in wet or loose conditions, the hard gear will always be superior, due to grip, easier pedal timing, keeping balance and power bursts on tap. I talk of 1x setups close to 1:1 gearing. If I bought a large 40-42t sprocket to the rear I'd immediately buy 38t chain ring (26" wheel) however I am reluctant to do so due to ground clearance issues. Did I mention that I have two small kids? hahaha
  • + 1
 i run 32-36 (narrow wide, sram 10s cassette ) set-up and i can do 99% hills in my area(peak distinct UK). it is all in legs and training period.
  • - 1
 ekho - in my experience - it's more in the head. A dozen of riders I know who swore by granny ring moved to 1x 32-36t and they haven't really started to train harder.
  • + 17
 Nice bike, but I'm pretty sure I would save myself $1769 and get the YT Capra pro....
  • + 21
 A Capra pro is $5150, so only $600 or so less than this, for US buyers that's not a bad proposition since the shipping and tax on a grey import YT will be quite a lot. Of course Trek bollocks it up for us by charging (wait for it) $8050 for this specific model in the UK (and $11k for the 9.9!), no wonder YT and Canyon have taken off.
  • + 6
 US buyers (everyone outside of EU) dont pay taxes in EU, so they pay for YT less in first place, but as you say they have to pay customs after they get it in US:
And Capra PRO have way better (more expensive) parts.
  • + 3
 @Fix-the-Spade , your totally right about the price, I was looking at the euro price in my sleepy monday morning state! Still, it is cheaper and WAY better specced! The Capra Comp is cheaper again and actually much closer in spec to the Trek!
  • + 2
 @fix-the-spade @kacu that all sounds great but... YT won't ship to the US. I was gonna buy a tues but no. Hopefully they will expand the market soon
  • + 2
 Indeed Flowmaster, hence the grey import bit, you need a trust worthy friend in Europe to ship the bike to, then they ship it to you. 2015 looks set to change the situation for the better.
  • + 7
 Again I ask for a Capra reveiw.
  • + 1
 I want an Andreu Lacondeguy f*cking Signature Bike YEAH! but YT dont ship :'(
  • + 1
 Apparently my spelling/typing is terrible today.
  • + 3
 @FlowMasterO i know, some guy menitoned aditional taxes in US.

Capras have problems with cracking swingarms. But so did Trek-for few years. YT said they have fixed this problems with MK2 swingarms.

Knowing this, there's no reason not to buy Capra. YT solves problems ASAP.
  • + 1
 Or just buy a Devinci Spartan carbon RC, which has the same suspension lay up (split pivot, except the full floater thing), same suspension elements and leverage ratio, same geometry, and worth 500$ less ;-)
  • + 7
 The spec of the Slash is better than that of the Spartan.
  • + 2
 If you let the mech hanger come loose it could possibly damage the rear.Yt have is updated rear end and mech hanger which totally removed the issue. I've still got the old style rear with no worries at all. It's an amazing bike!
  • + 3
 I will take the Commencal Meta V4 frame for $1,299 US please !
  • + 1
 @kacu its not taxes or anything i was ready to pay, but the representative just said they wont ship outside of the EU, which really sucks cause they have some killer deals on their website
  • + 1
 There's some crazy deals on Diamond Back frames & bikes out there as well. I believe they went direct sales in the last few years as well.
  • + 2
 @djpearce or just save the money and get the aluminum slash. slightly lower spec but considerably cheaper.

www.pinkbike.com/photo/11576693
  • + 3
 Cam Zink says January for North American YT pre-orders. It was on his instagram instagram.com/p/t0_RX4AnqF/?modal=true
  • + 1
 I would buy a Canyon Strive CF 9.0 Race or a Strive CF 8.0 for $5,965 / $5,315, a better spec in my opinion.
  • + 2
 @Lester22291 There seems to be massive differences in price between the UK and US for the Treks. To get any slash cheaper then the Capra Pro here you have to go for the Slash 7 which is certainly cheaper (£2500 / $4026) but considerably lower in spec. The Slash 8 is currently about £350 more (£3500 / $5632) than the Capra pro (£3152) and looses out (spec wise) in every way! It's pretty amazing the defferences country to country!

@FoxDaCosta The Canyon looks goooood! It's a close call between the two!
  • + 15
 "With a firmer grip on the ground than my right hand on a post-ride Bud Light Lime. . ."

Um, this comment is causing me to question your judgement.
  • + 2
 Agreed, man-up Levy and have an IPA.
  • + 1
 Much respect, I love BLL. Good choice Levy.
  • + 16
 This is probably the nicest looking 160mm bike I've ever seen. Great job Trek!
  • + 9
 There are a lot of comments pertaining to the $5770 price. This is a suggested retail price. Walk into a Trek dealer with a commitment to spend $5,000 and I can almost guarantee that they will sell it to you. I spent many years in bike retail and once you get to the $4k plus things become a lot more negotiable.
  • + 5
 Trek is very firm on their retails, if a dealer is found discounting current models they risk loosing the dealership.
  • + 12
 More excited to get a remedy now than ever.
  • + 2
 I have a 2014 Carbon remedy 9.7. Freaking love it. Awesome bike, but I think this Slash would be just as awesome, however this is a little too much bike where I live in Raleigh NC. We have more like cross country type of trails around here and the Remedy is just perfect for that.
  • + 7
 Re: Reverb remote and Shimano brakes. I've been happy running a RH Reverb remote upside down on the LH side, inboard of my XT lever. You get the same angle as the normal orientation, but having the lever underneath the bar places it closer to your thumb.
  • + 4
 I rode this supple beast along with the Remedy 9.8 for 2 days during Trek's demo tour last weekend. Couldn't agree more with Mike. Thanks for making the comparison to the Remedy too. I'm thinking a Remedy slightly slacked with a 150 fork gets the job done for most, depending on what they're looking for I suppose.
  • + 7
 Nice review. Cool bike. Can we see the Reign review as well and a Reign/Slash comparison?
  • + 7
 slash 9.8 vs Yeti SB6C would be interesting. Infact, some kind of big 160mm travel group test would be good!
  • + 3
 I'd like to attribute the increased dh performance of this bike strictly to an upgrade in the front suspension. That 2014 Fox 34 had no business being specced on a bike like this.

And I'd like to point out that Trek does have their own credit program, which really makes everything more affordable. It got me a Slash 8 instead of a Remedy 7 last year.

Hoping for a limit increase so I can get a session. Big Grin
  • + 6
 That is one sick bike right there !
  • + 2
 @mike Levy, Your Reviews are always a good read. To The Problem You mentioned Running Reverb and Shimano or non Avis Brakes. Just get The right Lever Version and Mount it under The left sied of your bar. This Works very well. The amount of adjustment is Way better and The Lever will sit in a protected area as well. It happened to be The Most ergonomic Position for my tumb to rest.
Check it out: www.pinkbike.com/photo/11576522
  • + 1
 Cannot upvote enough @x-rider and @mikelevy. I do the same on my setup and I even run a front shifter. I used Problem Solvers MisMatch adapters to clean up the bar: shifter hangs from Shimano brake perch, and the Reverb plunger tucks inboard of the shifter, out of harm's way.
  • + 4
 I was thinking Enduro Evo for my next bike but the Slash just keeps getting better. Nice job Trek.
  • + 1
 I actually loved my drcv on my 2014 slash 8. I am only at 150lbs though so that helps a bunch. I could do my rides no problem which were nice long climbs with rocky downhill that were downhill only trails. I had the chance to pound on the drcv shock strong in 2016 some what in 15 and just a few rides in 14. Recently my drcv took a dump and not holding air. I figured since I love the bike I would upgrade to the monarch plus rc3. I hop it is a strong climber and a fun playful bike everywhere else. We will see how it compares. I serviced my bike only once and not even sure what was done to the shock then if anything at all.
  • + 1
 Glad to see this review. Bontrager stuff is mostly solid - but those XR4 tires are really terrible. I can personally tell you that they don't hook up nearly as well as you would hope. I am stoked that Trek is finally offering a different option as far as rear suspension. The DRCV rear is great for trail riding, but cannot handle sustained downhill runs very well. My 2014 Slash is a great bike with a solid build and I am very happy that I will now be able to swap to the Debonair on the rear end - Good Job Trek.
  • + 1
 I owned a remedy after a zesty and thought it was spot on, needed the pro pedal though. FairPlay to trek for sticking with the same suspension design for all these years, and the abp really works. I now own a yeti sb66c which pedals way better than a trek in open on the shock but now they've changed the suspension design after three years?!
  • + 1
 Three months to the day I placed the order -- Pyros has arrived! Sweet, sweet plushy plush carbon Slashy. I have named it after Pyros, a Slovenian bear born in 1988 now living in the Pyrenees between France and Spain. He is the most dominant, virile and masculine bear in history as he is still reproducing today. Like Pyros, the Slash will f**k anything that gets in its way. Climbs, descents, hucks, trannies (especially trannies), other bikers - don't matter: Pyros will f**k them all. Pictures in my profile.
  • + 1
 i feel like i read these reviews about the "all mountain bikes" and they are all the same, the descend great but climbing is meh. Good review though, really like the look of the bike
  • + 1
 Forget cost . It's between this and a yt for me. The yt ( on paper ) is around 3lb heavier , that's significant but it can also come with 10 mm more travel. So is the extra 10 mm worth a 3lb weight gain ?
  • + 4
 So Mike, SB6C or Slash for you?
  • + 1
 Take the RH dropper post lever and mount it upside down on the LH bar... or vice versa. It puts the lever right in the sweet spot!
  • + 2
 I'm running those Bontrager bars - NICE. Good bend. Good width. Stiff yet damp. Well done for a house brand.
  • + 2
 Shimano for drivetrain and rockshox for sus that simple, now let's go ride ..
  • + 2
 Is it bad that now when I see a $5,800 bike I think "wow pretty affordable".
  • + 1
 Initially I was like hell yeh..... Saw the price and it's a hell no now especially when compared to the quality YT, Canyon and Cube are churning out for 2k cheaper Thanks
  • + 1
 Levy, you're killing me here!! We bud light buddies and yet you still ignore all my posts on pictures and here? Da fuq mang?
  • + 1
 nice bike but i have just been completely put off by the fact its a $6k dollar bike that i would have to pay $8k for in the UK!!
  • + 4
 Only 5570 $ ?
  • + 2
 In the usa, here in europe, a bit more than 8000usd
  • + 4
 Budlight Lime???
  • + 1
 A Fox fork and can would have bumped the price up by about 500 bones as well
  • + 2
 "Not shown: fanny pack and goggles." Hahaha
  • + 1
 Jeez, what the hell does the landing look like in that launch pic?!? (the last 'big' picture)
  • + 1
 The new trek looks pretty sick, might be a good option for next year's steed!
  • + 1
 It would be nice to hear some direct comparisons to similar bikes on the market in these reviews
  • + 1
 Anyone interested in a bike from the US PM me. I'll hook you up on the real and vice versa! ; p
  • + 3
 Great job Mike !
  • + 2
 oh my god, I want this bike...
  • + 2
 Did you mess with the high/low adjustable geometry at all?
  • + 3
 nice
  • + 1
 Great review, I won't be buying a slash....

And seriously.... bud light lime???
  • + 1
 it is nice looking bike ... so is cube, and canyon
  • + 1
 when is mike gonna stop contradicting himself...
  • + 1
 Get rid of the front mech nub and it's done.
  • - 1
 27lbs 9oz...prove it. Lets see it hanging off a park scale. With pedals. Or is Pink bike a corporate suck up and will print anything a manufacturer tells them.
  • + 0
 I'm at a loss as to why the pedals are missing in some of these photos...
  • + 1
 Bike companies sell bike without pedals so you can choose clips or flat pedals of your own to put on, just so they dont give you pedals you otherwise might not want.
  • + 1
 You had me till utilizing.
  • + 1
 Any one know the weight or mass on this frame?
  • + 0
 Too many cold beer similes and metaphors and one too many mentions of a water bottle...get over it.
  • + 1
 if you turned that shock upside down would it work the same ? ...
  • - 3
 In my opinion, it would work better, but I don't know if there is enough space for it this way.
  • + 8
 It might work better but you'd need arms like an orangutan to reach the compression lever.
  • + 6
 The shock is a pressurized and sealed device, it works exactly the same right way up, upside down and laid flat, it's not like the oil can move to the other end.
  • + 7
 Seal head is better lubricated air can upwards though.
  • + 0
 mmm a few good points so far ...
  • + 1
 Plus unsprung weight...
  • + 1
 No matter what is inside the shock or where all the switches are. The lower eye moves less so there should be the heavier end of the shock.
  • + 0
 It'd be nice if trek actually had any available, otherwise I wouldn't have bought a slash 8...
  • + 1
 Orders placed today arrive in February. My August order still isn't here. Painful wait. Couple weeks.
  • + 1
 I wonder if this can be purchased as a frame-only option.
  • + 1
 I just want mine here now!
  • + 1
 2 week delay on mine - 1st in line at one of the warehouses, too. 17.5". Hopefully see it within a couple weeks.
  • + 1
 18.5s are in February right now so I got a while
  • + 1
 Mine arrived at the shop today - picking up tomorrow. Order placed in August.
  • + 1
 It looks like a s... ...upreme operator
  • + 2
 Looks like a Patrol.
  • + 0
 Finally ... A bike that dorsnt look line a Session !!
  • + 1
 Like
  • + 1
 oops
  • + 1
 Can't wait to get one!
  • + 6
 Do not forget to change those tires before the first rain comes.
  • + 3
 Bought the 8, two rides later, switched both tires to 3C's
  • - 1
 Thanks for the review. Mike, any idea if the Slash frame is more burly then the Remedy?
  • + 1
 me likey
  • - 3
 Quick fix for the chain coming out of sync on the upper jockey wheel of the derailleur: File down the wide teeth so they're the same as the narrow ones. Voila!
  • + 9
 So my $1400 drivetrain... needs me to file down parts...
  • + 1
 Or just buy shimano and never worry about your drivetrain again
  • - 3
 It's nice to see somewhat of a freeride bike in what is usually a market only for all mountain/enduro riders.
  • + 13
 what you on about?
  • + 1
 Probably he is about the bike's long travel and slack geo while staying still a all mountain climber.
  • + 4
 It's just like any other trail bike though?? So I don't know what "freeride" has to do with it.
  • - 3
 It is not my point, it is jessemerks'. I only read the article and associated terms and descriptions to answer you. Freeride meaning more travel. Back in the days there were the following cathegories of bikes according to gradually decreasing travel: dh, fr, enduro, am, xc. Now there is term like trailbike. Enduro is almost everything, so it gets all confusing.
  • + 1
 well why did you answer then if its not your point lol?
  • + 1
 I thought I had understood it the way I explained and this way provide help. Sorry for commenting too much. I just haven't ridden enough this month.
  • - 4
flag bettyswollox (Oct 27, 2014 at 6:01) (Below Threshold)
 ^^^^duhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh
  • + 3
 Back in the day.. there was no enduro
  • + 3
 Yeah. I was riding my long travel bike on XC trails way before the EWS invented Enduro
  • + 0
 If we are talking about that much back in the days, there were only xc and dh bikes. Most dh parts were custom made or very rare and very incompatible. Each make had own standards. XC was the most popular and only some new, suspended XC bikes started all the types of trailbikes. Even earlier than this there was only Gary The Fisher, John Tomac and some other pioneers, but RC is the person, who should know much more about it.
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