Trek’s Slash has been completely reworked around the 650b wheel size this year, offering more aggressive, race-ready geometry as well as a significant reduction in weight. We tested the priciest of the three Slashes available.
Frame and equipment: flexible friend
Even with the introduction of bigger wheels, Trek has opted to slacken the Slash’s head angle to 65 degrees (when in the low setting) and stretch the effective top tube to 600mm (on our 18.5in test bike), bolstering stability when the speeds creep up. The bottom bracket has been dropped to a more corner carving-friendly 350mm too. There’s also the option to tweak the geometry slightly via the Mino Link flippable chip, located at the rear of the one-piece magnesium EVO Link. This alters the bottom bracket height by 8mm and the head angle by 0.6 degrees.
xxxxx: Russell Burton
Fox Float CTD shock with DRCV technology
The Slash continues to use Trek’s patented ABP (Active Braking Pivot), Full Floater suspension system and DRCV (Dual Rate Control Valve) rear shock technology.
The top-flight Slash is equipped with a mix of SRAM XX1 and X01 11-speed kit, giving a wide enough range of gears to tackle just about any climb or descent. The RockShox Reverb dropper post remote integrates neatly with the Avid X0 Trail brakes for a clean, clutter-free handlebar.
Ride and handling: room for manoeuvres
The reduction in weight and active rear end help make the Slash feel playful and sprightly on the trail – it rides a lot lighter than its 13.6kg weight would suggest. The roomy cockpit – even with a stubby 50mm stem – gives plenty of breathing room on the climbs too.
Point the Slash into rough, chattery terrain – especially when the speed picks up – and it rips. That supple back end smooths out the trail impressively, and the slack head angle and lengthier front centre give confidence when you start really moving. Slinging the bike through fast corners does get you thinking about the suspension balance though.
The slash has been redesigned around 650b wheels for 2014: Russell Burton
The Slash is confident and fun on the trail
To make the Fox 34 fork feel supportive enough, we had to run a reasonably high spring pressure. This meant it didn’t match the plush, active feel of the rear (with the DRCV shock in ‘descend’ mode), leaving us working the bar harder to stay on line and making it difficult for more aggressive riders to load the bike through the turns.
Flicking the shock into ‘trail’ mode helps balance the suspension, and it’s where we spent the majority of our time. It does make us wonder how the Slash 9 would behave with a tuned, plusher fork plugged in. Still, there’s no denying that the changes made to the Slash help bolster confidence and fun on the trail.