Vid – Trek Slash

Trek Slash: Key points
By Seb Kemp

-Built with Ross Schnell and Rene Wildehaber in mind.
-Megavalanche meat mashing machine.
-160mm travel front and rear.
-DCRV on front and rear shocks now.
-Fox Shox 36 Talas
-Mino Link provides -/+.5º head angle adjustment, raises/lowers BB height and marginally changes shock feel.
-Stealth Reverb and internal routing for front mech.
-Sram/MRP X2 guide.

Replacing the Scratch in 2012 is the Slash. Although it is has 160mm travel like the Scratch, the Slash is a longer, more stable platform for “enduro racing” (Super-D is dead don’t you know) and big mountain riding (not the Garret Buehler style big mountain hucking but the colossal descents that are found in mountainous areas), rather than a quasi freeride bike.

All this confusion in semantics may give you headaches but it is just a symptom of riders and manufacturers figuring out exactly what we need. Previously it was thought a shorter, stouter bike was required for those not willing to lug a full downhill bike around but who still needed to turn the cranks a little bit. It turns out that what these people needed was a very pedal-friendly bike that still had table manners when it was served up a deep dish of rocky, rooty trail food. Hence the advent of the Slash which is a burly bruiser that still feels light on the trail (reportedly Slashes come out of the box at 31lbs which is nothing to stick your nose up at).

However, I don’t think the Slash is anything new and although it shuts the door on the Scratch, it is actually more like another bike Trek once had in their line-up. The original Remedy was a 160mm aluminum thrasher that defined the category at the time but was then neutered in subsequent years when Trek steepened it, placed smaller forks on it and took the travel down to 150mm. Although I shouldn’t compare the two (I’ll probably get given the silent treatment by someone at Trek for doing so) there are similarities between the original Remedy and this new Slash, all be it with plenty of tasty modern innovations.

The Slash is designed to be a long haul monster truck that can be pedaled to access terrain that only a chairlift, helicopter, shuttle vehicle or a 19 pound XC machine can access. However, it is going to be a lot more fun to ride down than that wafer bike. It is also designed to be on the start line and podium of enduro races, like the Megavalanche or Trestle All-Mountain race. It was obviously well designed because Rene Wildehaber took third at this years Mega on a Slash and Ross Schnell won the inaugural Trestle race on his too.

The Slash comes with DRCV (Dual Rate Control Valve) which adds a secondary air chamber to the main air spring, activated by plunger when you hit a certain point in the travel. The Remedy and Fuel EX bikes have had DRCV equipped rear shocks for two years now and Trek say they’ve come up with something which increases control in the same way for the front end, leading to a more balanced ride.

The Mino Link also appears on the Slash. It is a small plate at the seatstay/rocker link pivot which can be flipped to add/remove 0.5 degree to the frame’s angles, raises/lowers the bottom bracket height and as a consequence tweaks the rear shock feel, too. Although it looks like an easy to make adjustment that could be done on the trail, the 0.5 degree difference is going to be too insignificant for most riders to feel – but does allow a nice touch for riders to set this bike up exactly as they wish. However, I imagine it will be a set and forget adjustment.

We had a short spin on the Slash at this years Outdoor Demo to get a feel for it, but certainly not long enough of a ride to make any informed opinion of the bike. So if you are looking for a one thousand word synopsis of how it dealt with square edge bumps, anti-squat, how it climbed while seated and a detailed report on the characteristics of dynamic geometry then look elsewhere. Our ride was short and sweet, just long enough to get a first impression of it. What we gathered from this short ride was that we really would like to put this bike on a longer test cycle.

Also worth pointing out is that Trek have made vital changes to the Remedy, which this year gets slackened by a full degree and comes with ISCG tabs. The Slash and Remedy will suit a lot of riders so it will be interesting to see where the pros and cons of each are, beyond just that one is lighter and the other has more travel. Hopefully we can bring you a more in-depth test later this year.

Are you a Slasher or did the Scratch get your itch? Or perhaps neither is the Remedy for your riding? Which is it going to be…

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