Radon Slide FE 9.0 review

A bargain, if you prefer cruising to carving

Our rating 
3.5 out of 5 star rating 3.5

Our review

A light and well-specced cruiser, but it prioritises efficiency over play
Pros: Low overall weight; excellent SRAM Eagle gearing and top-quality fork (which just needs some volume spacers adding); efficient pedalling and easy speed
Cons: Numb brakes; conservative geometry and cockpit
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Longer-travel bikes from German direct-sell brand Radon have made a big impact in our tests recently, with their top-value kit and impressive ride characteristics. The mid-travel Slide FE certainly offers the former, but does it feel like a killer deal on the trail?

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Radon Slide FE 9.0 frame

The Slide frame follows the classic ‘seat tube rocker-link driving a vertically-mounted shock’ layout, with chunky pivots on the asymmetric chainstays creating a true four-bar suspension set-up.

Wide-spaced seatstays give plenty of tyre clearance even with the stock 2.6in rubber. The gear cable is routed internally, while the dropper post and rear brake lines run along the side of the down tube for easy servicing.

There’s plenty of room within the tall frame for a conventional bottle cage. In other areas, the chassis looks a little dated. All the Slide FE bikes come with single-ring SRAM Eagle drivetrains, but there’s still a front mech mount on the kinked seat tube.

The press-fit bottom bracket (BB) is the older GXP standard, not one of SRAM’s latest DUB units, and the short-stroke RockShox Monarch rear shock is imperial, rather than metric.

The Slide frame follows the classic ‘seat tube rocker-link driving a vertically-mounted shock’ layout
The Slide frame follows the classic ‘seat tube rocker-link driving a vertically-mounted shock’ layout
Mick Kirkman

Radon Slide FE 9.0 kit

The obvious kit headlines here are the GX Eagle 12-speed transmission and RockShox Pike RCT3 fork, which are outstanding for the money.

Also worth shouting about are the Sun Ringlé Duroc wheels and Schwalbe Nobby Nic ADDIX Speedgrip 2.6in tyres, which combine easy speed with high-volume float and protection.

The 35mm-diameter Race Face bar and stem add car park kudos, and their 760mm width and 60mm length suit the bike’s geometry. While the Magura brakes have plenty of power, their blunt feel reduces control.

Radon Slide FE 9.0 ride impressions

Compared with the YT Industries Jeffsy 29 AL, Whyte T-130 SR and 2019 Canyon Spectral AL 6.0, which were also on test, the Radon Slide had the lowest weight and relatively light wheels, which were shod with large but fast-rolling tyres, and felt the fastest 650b bike on smooth terrain.

SRAM’s Eagle transmissions always feel clean and efficient too (though the gears weren’t correctly set up when the bike arrived). The short-stroke rear shock is tuned to give a firm feel at the start of the stroke, and while there’s visible movement when stomping out of the saddle there’s no sensation of power loss.

Although the long rear-end presses your power into the ground, the firm suspension means you need to run low tyre pressures to get good small-bump absorption and traction.

The Slide F.E. feels fast on smooth terrain
The Slide F.E. feels fast on smooth terrain
Mick Kirkman

Compared to the other bikes mentioned above, the Slide FE is on the back foot in terms of geometry. While Radon quotes 67.6 degrees for the head angle, I measured it at an XC-steep 68.5 degrees, and that’s combined with a relatively long (by modern trail bike standards) 60mm stem.

The reach and wheelbase are short, which makes the front end feel twitchy and reduces confidence. In contrast, the long stays tend to scuff the back tyre against rocks. It’s not the easiest machine to manual or wheelie either.

Even with just 20psi in the tyres, the Radon rattles and chatters rather than flowing seamlessly. Once the shock starts moving, it blows through its travel easily, so there’s not much to push and pump against.

The fork behaves similarly, so I added volume spacers to both for a more positive feel. The fact that the rear wheel is moving 10mm less than advertised means the bike still doesn’t carry speed well over bigger blocks and drops even when tweaked, and the shock felt the most hassled and least consistent on test.

The rear end hanging up on bigger hits and flatter faces also throws your weight forward onto a front end that’s much more likely to tuck under than those on the other bikes previously mentioned. Add the uncommunicative brakes, mid-width bar and long-ish stem, and this becomes even more of an issue. I found myself tiptoeing nervously down sections I was lobbing the other bikes into without a thought.

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  • €2,399

Product Specifications

Product

Name Slide FE 9.0
Brand Radon

Available Sizes 16in 18in 20in 22in
Rear Tyre Schwalbe Nobby Nic ADDIX Speedgrip TLE 27.5x2.6in
Wheelbase (in) 47.44
Top Tube (in) 24.02
Seat Tube (in) 19.69
Chainstays (in) 17.32
Bottom Bracket Height (in) 12.8
Spoke Type 28/32x Wheelsmith, double-butted, straight-pull
Weight (kg) 13.42
Stem Race Face Æffect, 60mm
Shifters SRAM GX Eagle (1x12)
Seatpost TranzX Vario 150mm dropper
Seat Angle 74.5
Saddle Selle Italia X1
Rims SUNringlé Duroc 30, 27mm internal
Rear Wheel Weight 2510
Rear Shock RockShox Monarch RT3
Bottom Bracket SRAM GXP press-fit
Front Hub SUNringlé SRX
Brakes Magura MT Trail, 180mm rotors
Cassette SRAM XG-1275, 10-50t
Chain SRAM GX Eagle
Cranks Truvativ Descendant 7K Eagle, 32t
Fork RockShox Pike RCT3, 140mm (5.5in travel), 46mm offset
Frame Material Hydroformed aluminium alloy, 130mm (5.1in) travel
Front Tyre Schwalbe Nobby Nic ADDIX Speedgrip TLE 27.5x2.6in
Rear Hub SUNringlé SRX
Front Wheel Weight 2000
Grips/Tape Ergon GE10 Slim
Handlebar Race Face Æffect, 760mm
Head Angle 68.5
Headset Type Acros AiX
Rear Derailleur SRAM GX Eagle
Frame size tested 20in