Pete presented the new Trek Slash at the press introduction here with a bit of detail; to avoid too much redundancy I’m going to make this relatively snappy. Quick recap on the 2017 Trek Slash 9.9: previously shod with mid-size wheels, the latest iteration of Trek’s longest travel aggressive trail / enduro bike now wears 29″ hoops. Sporting 160mm travel front & 150mm rear, and a 65° head angle, this is one of the most aggressive 29’ers on the market. The model 9.9 that we have is the top tier spec, retailing at $9,000 USD even ($10,999 CAD). I’m giddy to check it out.
Brapping about Dave’s backyard.
Looks like a… Sporting a classic silhouette, with emphasis on stoutness. The downtube has been straightened out, and is suitably fat. Praise baby Cthulu, there’s room for a large waterbottle within that burly front triangle. Weight on my scale (with pedals) is 30.2 lbs for this 19.5” (actual BB to top of seat tube is 18.5”) frame.
For handy reference, here’s the numbers again (squint furiously or click to embiggen):
A stout Fox Factory Talus 36 up front (130 / 160mm travel). You don’t see travel adjust used a lot these days, but as a tool to reign in a lazy front end on steep climbs it makes sense. Other twiddly knobs include high & low speed compression with plenty of clicks, and rebound at the bottom of the fork – hidden inside a nifty protective cap.
Tires and wheels are all Bontrager – Trek’s house brand: an aluminum-rimmed (28mm internal width) Bontrager Line Elite 30 wheelset, shod with SE4 Team Issue tires in a 2.4 width. All are tubeless ready, though the bike ships with tubes.
The Knock Block: an internal steering stop devised to keep the fork top caps from smashing holes in the straight down tube. No X-ups for you! Cockpit is full Bontrager: Knock Block Line Pro 50mm stem grips a OCLV carbon Line Pro 35mm bar sporting a 27.5mm rise and 780mm width. All this spins on an FSA Knock Block sealed cartridge bearing headset. Cable routing and ports are tidy.
Bontrager Drop Line remote is ergo and low effort. I’m beginning to like my Reverb a little less.
This is how you make use of the real estate afforded by deleting front derailleur compatibility. That’s a stout pivot. Cranks spin on a PF92 pressfit BB.
SRAM X01 Eagle carbon cranks spin a 32T chainring. ISCG05 mounts peek out from behind. Nicely integrated carbon protection on chainstay and downtube. Well-bashed pedals not included.
A tweaker’s dream: Fox X2 shock is packed with adjustability: high & low-speed rebound, high & low-speed compression, and a two position open/climb lever, which adds a good bit of mid-stroke support, yielding a firm pedaling platform on otherwise plush suspension. Yes, this is a recalled X2, sans 250 max psi sticker, that has since been replaced. Also of note: the Full Floater linkage design has been jettisoned in favour of a fixed bottom shock mount.
The MINO link flip chip tweaks head angle by about a half degree and BB height by 10mm.
More Bontrager bits in the sitting department. A Ti-railed Evoke 3 saddle and a Drop Line 125mm dropper post.
The Eagle has landed. Sram’s monster 10-50T cassette and dangly derailleur are employed here, providing a gear range well into wall climbing territory. Check out the sweet chain link!
SRAM Guide Ultimate stoppers with 180mm rotor rear / 200mm front. Interesting addition of a rear internal brake line exit hole; can’t think of a brake that would require this routing (Shimano – Ed.). Note the refreshingly subtle acronym.
I’ve had a handful of rides on the red shreddy beast so far. First day out – coming off a 650B bike of similar numbers – I thought: this thing is big. Perhaps too big for the relatively tight North Shore trails I was riding. A couple sessions later my perspective began to shift as I acclimatized to the geometry and larger hoops. Push the front more aggressively, and it can be made to work in tighter terrain; when things get steeper, chunkier, and faster, it flat out hauls. Plush and confidence inspiring for sure. On the plough-ier end of the spectrum – definitely.
More tweakable than anticipated, it’s good fun for a bruiser bike.
Active long travel suspension and a slack head angle do not make this beast climb with xc efficiency and precision, but the wide range gearing, shock compression tweaking lever, and fork travel adjust all collude to help the Slash ascend much better than expected. Despite a slack actual seat angle, the effective position at full extension was spot on (for my somewhat average bodily proportions) for steep climbing. A surprisingly capable billy goat given bike’s primary focus, which is going down rapidly.
So – I’m continuing to dial in settings and get more attuned to the handling. I’ll flog it for a while longer on a variety of trails and return with a more detailed analysis. So far, so good.
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