Rocky Mountain Slayer SXC70 £2995

A bike with real potential but which caused us a certain amount of confusion.

BikeRadar score 4/5

This is a bike with real potential but which caused us a certain amount of confusion. The frame and fork aren't light, but they're well built, tough, reliable and great to ride. That ought to be a solid platform for Rocky Mountain to use as the start point for a truly fantastic bike.

The problem is that it wanted to make an 'all day' bike out of this, so it needed to save weight and give the Slayer a more XC feel. Hence the mid-priced cross country rims, thin tyres and long stem. The last two we managed to sort out after the first ride, and fitting a 65mm stem and Maxxis 2.35in treads gave the bike a new lease of life. But with that extra life came higher speeds and bigger hits, which the mediocre rims just couldn't handle.

At £3k for a complete bike, you don't expect too many shortcuts, but the Slayer not only came with relatively cheap rims but also the basic Juicy 5 brakes. They work fine, but at this price we'd expect Juicy 7s. If you compare the overall kit to the equivalent Kona, which is £1,300 cheaper, it's hard to see how Rocky Mountain can justify the extra cash even with the full suspension frame.

Other problems included the lack of a stopper on the seat tube, so if you aren't careful you can drop the post too low and cause real damage on compression. Few manufacturers leave tubes unstopped now. Also, with a 12-stone tester we ran the DHX 4.0 shock at 210psi. That's a lot of pressure for a relatively light rider on all mountain terrain. When a 16-stone guy takes it freeriding, the shock's going to be running at pressures close to, or possibly over, the maximum recommended level.
It's a shame to have so many niggles with a bike that actually rides so well once it's set up right. The Slayer was a really agile, exciting and confidence inspiring ride. But for this price tag we expect a little more than that.

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