Interbike 2011: Trek Slash first ride review

Extremely capable enduro downhill rig

With the Remedy being an incredibly capable bike but a little on the lighter side, Trek left a hole for a bigger travel, slacker and tougher cookie. And as nice as the Scratch was, it just didn’t cut the mustard.

The Slash is the new platform that sits in its place, aimed at the Enduro downhill style riders that need a bike that will genuinely do it all. And it does it so well that it will convince many would be Remedy buyers that jumping up 10mm in travel is what they need to do.

Not to be confused with the Remedy’s trail riding intention, the Slash is designed to be ridden balls to the wall. It’s the bike you want to be on when lined up for the Mega Avalanche; it’s the bike you want to tear down the local down hill track on; it’s the bike you want to smoke your mates and it’s the bike you definitely want to be seen on.

A nice slack 66 degree head angle keeps things stable and a really long wheelbase makes things incredibly stable. A fairly steep seat angle weights the front end for grip when climbing, doing it so well that we wonder why Trek has bothered using the Fox 36 Talas fork. We’d rather see a Float on here, which would feel nicer in the mid stroke where the Talas often feels a little dead.

Our test bike certainly did and was outclassed substantially by the incredible feeling of the rear end. We rode the XL, a long old beast, but unlike some other 160mm bikes we’ve ridden, the longer rear end keeps the bike planted in the turns, helping it to corner amazingly well.

But it’s not just down hill where the Slash excels. It climbs like a rocket thanks to the stable ride, incredibly grippy rear end and the remarkably low weight (31lb with pedals). The only negative we found is that the tyres are far too thin and lightweight for a bike that entices hard riding (we suffered three punctures during the Dirt Demo in Bootleg Canyon).

Check out Mountain Biking UK soon to see how it gets on alongside other big hitting trail guzzlers.

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