Radon is a relatively recent addition to the increasing number of German direct-buy bargains appearing on UK trails. The Radon Slide Carbon is impressively specced, lightweight and versatile — so long as you don’t push too hard.
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The full carbon frame uses a classically neutral four-bar suspension design with internal gear-cable routing for the direct-mount rear mech and Side Swing front mech, and no less than five bolted mainframe hose guides for the rear brake.
The Fox EVOL rear shock and 34 fork are Performance Elite, not just Performance models, which means they get a more sophisticated, significantly smoother and more reactive damper. They’re both very linear unless you add extra volume spacers, though, so be prepared to fettle or leave the compression dampers in middle mode to feel firm enough for aggressive pedalling and berm detonation.
Mavic XA Elite wheels are wrapped in a Schwalbe intermediate grip/speed Nobby Nic Trailstar Evo front and flat-out fast Rock Razor Pacestar Evo rear, which gives easy speed but retains a surprising amount of grip through the fluid rear end.
The carbon frame also makes it light for a twin chainring bike with a turn of speed that made me think it was a 29er in terms of speed sustain.
Ergon Ergo grips are a comfortable way to hold onto the wide 780mm bar, complemented by the RaceFace Turbine 60mm stem, although the Reverb button sits really awkwardly over the XT brakes.
The 67.5-degree steering angle is all-rounder appropriate and the 450mm reach and 1,180mm wheelbase are OK if not an obvious bonus in terms of stability and surefooted feel.
Even with the dampers tuned, more progressive fork, wheel and frame flex mean the Slide can start to feel slightly vague and unpredictable between the big bars and the trail when things get tasty.
That’s enough to keep the Radon out of the top ranks in our Trail Bike of the Year testing, but if you’re more big miles than all out in your riding tastes then it’s still well worth a look.
This article was originally published in What Mountain Bike magazine.