All-mountain specialist ‘Rad Ross’ Schnell helped with the design of Trek’s new Slash and it paid off, with him piloting one to first place at this weekend’s inaugural Trestle All-Mountain Enduro. This wasn’t a standard production bike though – it was equipped with lashings of prototype BlackBox SRAM kit.
The 160mm-travel Slash replaces the Scratch in Trek’s 2012 lineup, with what Schnell says is a much more pedal-friendly design that can still take all-mountain abuse. “Rene Wildhaber and I provided feedback [to Trek] on what the Scratch should be, which was something that pedaled better but still had big-hit capabilities,” he told BikeRadar, shortly after stepping off the top of theTrestle Enduro podium.
“It also needed a longer top tube to allow riders to run shorter stems for better handling, and to offer geometry adjustments. The end result of the Slash is essentially a trail bike for downhillers, and the bonus is that it came in a cleaner package with internal cable routing and an integrated [RockShox Reverb] Stealth post.”
Up front, Schnell runs a 170mm-travel RockShox BlackBox Lyrik fork with 2012 internals, a DH damper and black DLC (diamond-like carbon) coated stanchions. “The stanchions make for a completely stiction-free, buttery-smooth fork,” he said. “At first I thought I’d have to add air pressure or compression damping to the fork, but I just rolled with it, and love it now. The material and process to coat the uppers would make for such a ridiculously expensive fork that it’ll never be offered to the public. It’s all part of the process to offering better things in future production lines though.”
Schnell’s 170mm rockshox blackbox lyrik with 2012 internals features dlc-coated stanchions: schnell’s 170mm rockshox blackbox lyrik with 2012 internals features dlc-coated stanchionsZach White/BikeRadar
Schnell’s 170mm-travel RockShox BlackBox Lyrik with 2012 internals features black DLC-coated stanchions
As for going with a 170mm Lyrik over a 160mm, Schnell said it was mostly to dial in the right head tube angle. “As it’s set up right now, I’m at almost exactly 65 degrees, which is perfect for this course,” he said.
Though Schnell wasn’t running one, the Slash will come stock with a Cane Creek AngleSet. Further adjustment is offered by the Mino Link found in the frame’s EVO rocker – flipping this changes the stock head angle from 66 to 66.5 degrees.
“One thing that kept coming up in our riders’ feedback on developing the Slash was different geographic regions demanding slight variations to the geometry,” Trek’s mountain bike brand manager, Michael Browne, told us. “So the adjustable Mino Link and the AngleSet were our solution.”
Balancing the RockShox front end is an extremely rare Monarch Plus rear shock. “There are only two of these in the world – mine and one on Rene’s bike,” Schnell told us. The rarity is due to both the stroke and upper shock mount being exclusive to the Slash; at time of publication, RockShox were unavailable for comment on future plans for Monarch Plus availability for the Slash. Schnell’s is set up with a RockShox mid-tune.
Schnell and rene wildhaber are the only two riders in the world that have rockshox monarch plus shocks on their slashes: schnell and rene wildhaber are the only two riders in the world that have rockshox monarch plus shocks on their slashesZach White/BikeRadar
Schnell and Rene Wildhaber are the only two riders in the world that have RockShox Monarch Plus shocks on their Slashes
Specific to the five-stage Trestle All-Mountain Enduro, Schnell switched his usual 11-36T cassette for a tighter-ratio 11-32T SRAM XX cassette and a short-cage X0 rear derailleur. “We cut the chain down to the absolute shortest it’d go, which made for nice and tight shifting all weekend,” he said.
Over the three-day event, Schnell was swapping out tires on his Easton Haven Carbon wheelset just about every time we swung by his camp in the expo, but he ultimately chose Bontrager FR3s for the majority of the races. “They roll really fast and offer great traction,” he said.
Well known for competing in almost all disciplines of mountain bike racing, it’ll be interesting to see which events Schnell chooses his new Slash for. “It handles like a full-blown downhill bike but pedals like my Remedy,” he said. Set up the way it’s seen in the photos, including pedals, computer, number plate and dirt, his size large Slash weighed in at 30lb even. That’s a few pounds heavier than his 2011 Remedy, but still an impressive real-world weight for a bike of its claimed abilities.
Complete bike specifications
Frame: 2012 Trek Slash
Rear shock: RockShox Monarch Plus
Fork: RockShox BlackBox Lyrik with 2012 internals
Headset: FSA ACB
Stem: Truvativ 60mm AKA
Handlebar: Truvativ Boobar, 780mm
Grips: ESI Silicone
Front brake: SRAM X0, 180mm rotor
Rear brake: SRAM X0, 180mm rotor
Brake levers: SRAM X0
Chain device: MRP G2 SL
Rear derailleur: SRAM X0 short cage
Shift levers: SRAM X0
Cassette: SRAM XX, 11-32T
Chain: SRAM 1091R
Crankset: SRAM X0, 175mm, w/ MRP 38T ring
Bottom bracket: Truvativ Blackbox GXP
Pedals: Shimano XTR M980
Wheelset: Easton Haven Carbon
Front tire: Bontrager FR3, 2.35in
Rear tire: Bontrager FR3, 2.35in
Saddle: Fizik Tundra, carbon rails
Seatpost: RockShox Reverb Stealth
Rider’s height: 1.83m (6ft)
Rider’s weight: 72.57kg (160lb)
Saddle height, from BB (c-t): 783mm
Seat tube length, c-t: 470mm
Seat tube length, c-c: 420mm
Tip of saddle nose to C of bars (next to stem): 530mm