Back in 2017, the Trek Slash took home the Mountain Bike of the Year title during the annual Pinkbike awards. At the time, it was one of the slackest 29ers on the market, and it helped usher in the next generation of big-wheeled enduro bikes. In the years since, mountain bike geometry has undergone a significant transformation, which meant it was time for the Slash to get a revamp in order to keep up with the other contenders in this category.
The result doesn't look dramatically different from the original, but the bike now has 160mm of rear travel (10mm more than before), longer and slacker geometry numbers, in-frame storage on both carbon and aluminum models, and a threaded bottom bracket. There's also an updated, removable Knock Block that allows for a greater range of handlebar motion, eliminating a complaint some riders had about the previous version.
• Wheelsize: 29"
• Carbon or aluminum frame options
• Travel: 160mm (r) / 170mm (f)
• 64.1 or 64.6-degree head angle
• 486mm reach (size L)
• 437mm chainstays
• Weight: 32.3 lb / 14.7 kg (large 9.9 X01)
• Claimed frame weight: 2450 grams
• Price range: $3,500 - $8,500
• Frame only: $2,200 (alloy), $4,000 USD (carbon)
In total, there are seven complete builds available, two with aluminum frames and the rest in carbon. Prices start at $3,500 for the aluminum Slash 7, and go all the way up to $8,500 USD for the 9.9 XTR model.
The orange 9.9 X01 version that's pictured in this article retails for $8,000, with parts kit highlights that include a RockShox Zeb Ultimate fork, SRAM X01 12-speed drivetrain, Code RSC brakes, and Bontrager Line Elite carbon wheels. Want to spend even more? Trek offers their Project One program for certain models, which allows riders to customize the parts kit and select from a huge range of custom paint options. The full range overview can be viewed here
A whole lot, it turns out. The frame shape may be familiar, but there's a decent-sized list of updates and tweaks that were applied to the Slash.Knock Block 2.0
Trek's Knock Block system emerged when they debuted their 'Straight Shot' downtube. That straight downtube supposedly allowed for extra frame stiffness, but it also meant that the crown of the fork would smack the frame it the handlebar was turned too far, which is where Knock Block came in - a small stop chip in the headtube and a special headset top cap and stem spacers prevented the bars from turning more than 58-degrees in either direction. That wasn't an issue for some riders, but others weren't happy with the range of motion, especially on tighter switchbacks.
On the new Slash, there's 72-degrees of possible handlebar rotation, and, perhaps best of all, the Knock Block system can be completely removed. The downtube now has a slight curve in it, and the top of the fork can pass underneath without any issues. In-Frame Storage
Trek's in-frame storage solution first showed up on the Fuel EX, and now it's made its way onto the Slash as well. While Specialized deserves the credit for kicking off this trend, I'm all for it – I wouldn't mind if every bike company headed down the secret compartment path. Trek's system uses a lever that sits to the right of the water bottle cage. Flip the lever and the plastic panel can be removed, granting access to a tool roll that can be used to store a tube, CO2, and tire levers.
The in-frame storage is also found on the alloy Slash models, which means that riders at all budget levels can benefit from the ability to fill their bikes with gummy bears and small burritos. Threaded Bottom Bracket / 34.9mm Seat Tube
Adios, BB92, hello, BSA 73. To be fair, I didn't have any issues with the pressfit bottom bracket on the previous Slash, but the switch back to a threaded bottom bracket is one that's in line with what we're seeing from multiple companies. It seems to be a case of 'if it ain't broke, don't fix it' – threaded bottom brackets are less prone to creaking, and it's easier to remove and reinstall a threaded BB vs. trying to knock out a pressfit one without completely mangling it.
The Slash also has a 34.9mm seat tube diameter, and Bontrager has released a new 34.9mm version of their Line Elite dropper post that's available with up to 200mm of drop. At 5'11” I didn't have enough room to run that 200mm post without running into the kink in the bike's seat tube (the size large is spec'd with the 170mm version), but I was able to fit a 210mm OneUp dropper, which has a shorter insertion length, without any trouble. New RockShox SuperDeluxe ThruShaft
It wouldn't be a Trek without some sort of proprietary shock technology now, would it? But wait, before you start pounding on the keyboard, keep in mind that the Slash frame is compatible with a Fox Float X2 air and coil, DPX2, Super Deluxe coil, and most inline shocks.
It's the RockShox Super Deluxe Ultimate ThruShaft that's only available on the Slash, at least for now. It shares some similarities with the inline Deluxe shock, like the ability to select from three low-speed compression settings. A turn of the dial can firm up the shock for smoother, flowier trails, or turning it the other way can be useful for slippery conditions when traction is a high priority. There's also a numbered rebound knob, one of those “Why hasn't everyone been doing this?” features that should help speed up setup.
The shock uses Trek's ThruShaft design, where the damper shaft exits out the bottom of the shock, which means the damper valve assembly is moving through one column of oil. Most shocks rely on a pressurized internal floating piston to deal with the displaced oil when the shock is compressed, but with ThruShaft the shock's IFP (they refer to it as a 'thermal compensator') isn't as dynamic - it's only activated only when the oil volume increases or decreases as a result of temperature change, rather than moving every single time the shock is compressed.
The shock has a new air can, which borrows elements from RockShox's MegNeg air can, like an increased negative air spring volume. Both the negative and positive air spring can be adjusted with volume spacers – the stock setup doesn't have any spacers installed, but it's possible to add in one negative spacer or up to three positive spacers to fine-tune the feel.Geometry Updates
The Slash's head tube angle has been slackened by 1-degree, and now sits at 64.1-degrees in the low geometry setting. It's possible to steepen that to 64.6-degrees via the flip chips in the seatstays, but I have a feeling most riders will stick to the slacker setting.
Along with the slacker head angle, the bike's reach has grown by 20-30mm per size – the reach on a size large now measures 486mm. Speaking of sizes, there's now an ML option in the mix, which means there's a total of five sizes – S, M, ML, L, and XL.
The seat angle has been steepened to 75.6-degrees. That's slightly slacker than what we're seeing from other companies, especially when combined with the bike's relatively slack actual seat tube angle.
The chainstay length remains the same across the board, at 437mm in the low setting. Ride Impressions
Trek still hasn't fully embraced the steep seat-tube angle movement, and although the Slash's new numbers are a step in the right direction, the bike's 649mm top tube length gives it a very roomy feel during seated climbs. Yes, you can slide the seat forward in the rails, which is exactly what I did, but a steeper seat angle would have allowed me to keep the seat in the center, with room to move it forward or back to fine-tune the fit.
The good news is that the Slash pedals well, and the three position switch makes it easy to select your preferred amount of support. There's a full lockout, too, but I never felt the need to flip that lever. The weight's reasonable, considering we're talking about a 160 / 170mm enduro bike, and I didn't hesitate to take it out for long days of pedaling. I was a little surprised to see 175mm cranks as the stock spec - I'd rather have the extra ground clearance that comes from 170mm cranks, especially on a bike that's designed for racing.
It's on the descents that the Slash has taken a big step forward, and that's saying something considering the previous version was certainly no slouch. The 486mm reach felt familiar when descending, in line with a large Norco Sight or Commencal Meta, or an S4 Specialized Enduro, all bikes I've spent a significant amount of time aboard. The Slash has a big-bike feel that makes it easier to charge into an unfamiliar trail, while retaining enough maneuverability to prevent it from feeling like overkill on mellower trails.
It's the shock that I've been most impressed by so far – the tune feels exactly right for the bike, with a very good blend of sensitivity to smooth out the chattery bits, and support for handling bigger impacts, even without any volume spacers installed. The three compression settings make a noticeable difference, which makes it a quick process to adjust the bike to the day's conditions.
I'll be doing some head-to-head comparisons over the next few months to see how the Slash stacks up, along with putting in a bunch more miles on this orange machine – keep an eye out for a more in-depth review later this year.
I tend to run my seat fairly level, with maybe a couple degrees of downward tilt.
I'm probably swimming against the stream here but I don't like super steep seat tubes. Every one I've tried has made my knees and back sore. I was thinking about the Revel Rascal as my next bike partly because it doesn't have a crazy steep STA.
I'd be pretty pissed off if I had average to long legs at 5'10-11" and had to push the saddle all the way forward on the rails. If you can't keep a saddle in the middle portion of the rails, you can feel odd ball flex in different climbing scenarios.
I just wish they’d list seat height at the stated effective SA, that’s the real data point people need, especially riders on the taller end of a size.
Banshee has something like this but with angles for various saddle heights, haven't seen anyone else.
This guy was showing off too?
Also why wouldn't you set your saddle for the steep uphill ?
Is it because you seat on the way down ?
Yea agreed. I’m all legs and short torso.
A slack actual seat angle puts me over the casette when pedalling, kills my knees and back and it wanders like a dog on steep stuff.
This bike isn't even on my radar but the comments have made me read all the various reviews. Bottom line is the STA does get mentioned, seems like reviewers wouldn't mind a degree steeper but it doesn't hold the bike back. It rolls a high dexterity saving throw because it's light for a full on enduro race capable-bike this big with a Zeb on the front. (Cue the 'my RM Slayer with a coil is only 27 brah' comments)
Of course, YMMV.
The complete bike with SLX also cost less than the Slash frame....
I accidentally and mistakenly bought a bike with both these geo failings before I knew better and never hated a bike as much. Never again.
Same size rear just says "we couldn't be bothered making it fit everyone properly".
Thankfully other brands get it.
Kazimer is wasting reach with those headset spacers, but it's not his bike.
I just bought my Slash 8, with the comments above I was already sorry.
size M / L, my height is 1.78. Your comments made me less worried and happier: D hahaha
I live in Brazil, and I have little information about the bike.
Yes this bike is enduroAF but w/ a 170 fork my RAF hta is 64.5 and I've got a proper sta too. No doubt the Slash will win on the dh and it sounds like their rear suspension is pretty dialed on this.
This is about the update I expected from Trek. Almost there, but not quite.... and then there's that abysmal sta. Someone at Trek is asleep at the wheel. And gtfo with that frame only price. Asinine.
There are no in house production made frames for any model, P1 or otherwise.
However, this is the same for most of the big brands these days. Not necessarily a bad thing as long as you have good quality control over your product.
All engineering, design and testing in house by Trek at least.
For everyone else looking for a 160mm 29er, you can save 5 bucks off of the aluminum Slash, and get a made in the USA carbon Guerilla Gravity Gnarvana. Probably a better bike even if it was the same cost, but a half the price it's a no-brainer.
Okay, and that R&D, "engineering" (Knob blocker and straight shot are not something you should pay money for), and testing justifies the absurd price tag? Note that the GG has the same requirements, domestic manufacturing, and yet costs 50% less. The difference is Trek's enormous markup.
Nothing wrong with Giant's aluminum frames, and I'm sure there's nothing wrong with this one either. But I can buy a complete Reign aluminum build for 3k, which implies the frame is substantially less than the 2.2k trek wants for the slash. The quality isn't the issue, it's the absurb markup.
Truth. The Giant Reign has better kinematics and a steeper STA and costs a few thousand bucks less. And comes with a better warranty.
That Giant Reign in 26 and 27,5 works really well,it is a very good bike. But not high end materials or tech.
I don't really care for the way their bikes perform and find maestro to be okay at everything and good at nothing, but the actual quality of their frame construction is best in class.
There may be business structure differences, but it is apples to apples for the consumer. What is it about the Slash that possibly justifies an ~85% premium of the comparable (and arguably superior) product? Why should I, Joe Schmoe consumer looking for a frame for my next build, consider the slash for even a moment with that absurd price tag? Personally I do not see any reason to, which bums me out because I always prefer frame-up builds, and companies seem to be doing their best to make that not economically viable.
And I thought it was worth mentioning that as you stated, "Trek's ridicolous markup" is not actually their markup, as they are not selling the frame at that price.
Errr... if you think a frame-up build is "notoriously expensive" then you're doing it wrong. Stop buying components at MSRP and you very quickly discover you can get a bike for cheaper than a full build, all the while avoiding all of the stupid little things product managers do to cut corners on you.
RE markup- ever read a dealer contract? Your LBS cannot drop the price on that new release frame just because they like you, they are required to maintain minimum pricing for a set time, and that requirement comes from the manufacturer or they will lose their status as a dealer. So yes, it is Trek's markup, they are the one who sets it and the one who enforces it.
I prefer frame up but there is no question that with most brands a full build comes to maybe a grand less than all of the components at msrp, assuming you're okay with dt 370 hubs and generic brakes.
So crazy hydroforming thin wall tubes are good to some bikes,but not for a burly bike IMO.
Big brands made cheap aluminum bikes for the lower end range,you can´t compare a Giant frame with a Litleville or Nikolai.
20 years ago hydroforming could be a thing but now,not so much I think.
Like all Trek’s it’s 85% of the way there but between the seat angle, the lack of value (at MSRP which only suckers pay) and the proprietary parts it has something glaring that will keep plenty of people from buying it.
Straight shot downtube BS marketing, shot themselves in the ass with that one
1. An interview or round table with major brand product managers on how frameset prices are determined. There’s a fat margin in there someplace, so where does it go.
2. A short how-to on proper photography for bicycles, new, old, for vanity or for sale. This is for the mouth breathers who post for-sale ads of a dirty bike, leaning against the garage wall, non-drive side presented, zoomed in on the handlebars.
Potentially more legit reason: when it's sold well under MSRP, the clueless customer thinks they got a good deal and can tell their friends about it. There's a watch company that does this, posts super high MSRPs for garish, trashy junk watches that sell for less than half that.
It's usually the sales team that has their clients (shops) asking for "game changing" USPs they feel would make their job of selling bikes easier. And engineering teams gotta engineer, so somethings they engineer the engineering engineeringly.
@twozerosix product line management usually sets prices based on the total cost of a project, over the expected sales period of the product, at the margin they've set for themselves. Frames will be a literal fraction of their sales and a large percentage of them get sold at significantly below MSRP, so it could be as simple as "we are the most premium, so lets price above other premium brands' frames" or even "we don't have enough frames to satisfy the demand in year one, so we're pricing high to cool sales and match demand to dollars."
This is all a fancy way of saying that frames are $4K because people pay $4K for frames.
Done properly, Marketing should be the voice of the customer in the organisation to understand and determine what they want and what's important in the purchase decision / process.
Done poorly, they add proprietary aspects and unnecessary elements in an attempt to differentiate and show innovation. It seldom lasts which is why we end up with Knock Block, Re:aktiv, DRCV, Straight Shot.
I've had 3 Treks recently and still own one but I tire of their attempts to be smart where they don't need to.
Not even close Trek, see top comment.
- Reach was on the short side, so I up-sized to a large to make up for it and had to run a shorter dropper post with seat
slammed all the way forward
- re Activ thru-shaft shock was less than stellar, so I swapped it with a Fox X2
- Press fit bottom bracket, so I replaced those wimpy bearings on the regular since I decided to run a 30mm crank
- Thin carbon down tube w/ less than adequate protection, so I ran a carbon down tube guard to prevent hole from rock
- The necessity to run the knock block system w/ proprietary stem was a pain, so I bought one of those knock block
steerer tube collars.
I'm not so sure the 2021 Slash has improved the following:
- STA still pretty damn slack, and it still looks like not much available seat post insertion to run longer dropper posts
- I don't know if the paint durability has improved. You could just look at the 2018 model flat red paint and it would chip
- Trek probably still holds the hard line policy on considering any warranty for the inevitable rock-strike damage to that
thin carbon down tube. I know several riders that incurred a hole in the down tube and were denied warranty.
- The 2018 carbon model ISCG mount was a weak point, not sure if this area has been beefed up.
FTR, this bike looks like a winner. The relatively slack seat angle and lighter frame will make it a more well rounded option for those who want to use it as a mountain bike, not just a winch and plummet race machine. The moderate wheelbase will make it easier to maneuver on tighter trails. Good job Trek.
But if you had a size "large" with 480 mm of reach and 72-deg STA, the effective top tube length would be out of control.
Not sure what happens in the rest of the world but here new season bikes are super expensive, then at end of summer they are a couple of grand cheaper which is when it makes sense to buy them. Pro tip; you don't need instant gratification. Do all you people moaning about the price of a just-released enduro bike also moan about how long it takes to have a wank?
We need a show like that for trail builders and senders!!
Life is too short to have XC bikes, Enduro bikes or DH bikes(achtung, trigger spotted!). As always, the most fun one cand find is in-between.
(Now really, for most of the trail riding and overmountain trips, a burly trail 130-150mm is enough; and for bikeparks or trail heads that need to be peddal at, a big 180mm bike is better than either a full enduro(more capable) or a full DH(you can't pedal it up the hill and it takes the fun out of 95% of the riding trails out there..); basically, the best combo is:
1. Gravel bike, for xc duties
2. Burly trail bike, for trail/epic rides duties
3. Biiig 180mm bike for serious gravity trails
That said: looks like a session
Mondraker Superfoxy was beaten down for seat tube angles (75,5 effective / 70,5 actual) and this one is ok with ~67 actual STA?
Keep your shit together PinkBike.
Because fitting 1-14 or more on a little dial means tiny and mostly useless printing. This has like 8 clicks? And a pressure range of probably like 150 to 300. So 1 click per 20ish PSI? That's a pretty big gap between clicks, when people obsess over like 5 psi.
What is the obsession with making setup faster? Most people aren't getting new bikes every other week, setup is not a frequent thing for the vast majority of riders. Hell, RockShox and you also tell us that less dials is better because then you can just set it and forget it. So how does faster setup help there, when it's only supposed to happen once? Does saving 3 seconds to count click really make a significant difference on something that happens so infrequently? Save the machining and printing costs and make the shocks less expensive.
Second, it’s nice to be able to fiddle with knobs for different trails (I do +4 clicks LSC for jumps, for example. And if I had HSC I’d add a bunch there too). But currently there are no numbers and if I don’t remember when I last adjusted my shock, I have to fully close it and then start counting. It’s a minor pita
Either that or the adjustment range is smaller, and the rider running close the minimum pressure or the rider running close to the maximum pressure will run out of clicks and still not get the correct damping for their pressure.
If you just want to add 4 clicks, just add 4 clicks, go back 4 clicks when you're done doing whatever needed 4 more clicks. I hope you don't need printed numbers just to count to 4.
But the point is sometimes I change it and then the next ride I don’t remember if I changed it back. So I leave it. Or I change it back when I had already done that. And then think I’m having an off day until I recount all the click from zero.
It’s just a minor inconvenience. Not a big deal ever. But why not print the numbers? Sure it’s probably a couple of dollars on the price of the shock by the time it gets to the consumer but that’s worth it to me. And it’s definitely nice for shops etc with demo fleets to help with setup, or at demo days etc.
Lots of pros, very few cons imo
If you forget you changed it or can't f*cking count to 8, that's on you. If someone can't get the ideal setting because the clicks aren't fine enough, that's on RS, and it's a f*cking stupid trade-off
Spesh enduro or trek slash which is your money going on if I’m the market for a spesh or trek
I don't think all bikes need to be crazy long and slack, and there are obviously limits, but I wouldn't be doing my job if I didn't mention how a bike's geometry compares to others in the category.
But this is an enduro sled meant to sit and winch up hill, then go balls to the wall down hill.
Horses for courses.
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