SLASH 9. 8
Carbon version of an enduro favorite
The Slash has long been dubbed by Trek as “King of the Mountain,” and for good reason. The bike has been the long-travel machine for both enduro racers and gravity riders
looking for the ultimate do-it-all racer. Developed largely at its
SoCal suspension R&D facility and through Trek’s partnerships
with world-class riders Rene Wildhaber, Ross Schnell and Brook
Macdonald, the bike is now in its third iteration. When you’re
building and refining bikes for these guys, you’d better come to the
trailhead with something great—or it’s back to the drawing board.
WHO IS IT MADE FOR?
The Slash is designed to fit between the cross-country and
downhill segments as either a burly all-mountain shredder or
enduro racer. It’s made for the rider who craves the exhilaration
of a long-travel bike but doesn’t want to throw efficient pedaling
out the window. Replacing the Scratch, which was designed for
the abuses of bigger hits and bike-park riding, the Slash is a more
pedal-friendly platform that can still handle aggressive trail riding.
WHAT IS IT MADE FROM?
The new Slash’s features and geometry are nearly identical to
those of the previous-generation aluminum Slash 9 but take it a
step further, building the front triangle and seatstay from carbon
(the chainstay is still aluminum). The Slash features the ABP
(Active Braking Pivot) suspension design with a full-floater shock
(the shock’s bottom mount attaches to the swingarm), which Trek
offers on all its suspension bikes and, in our opinion, singlehand-edly cemented Trek’s reputation as a true mountain bike brand.
The bike also features a tapered E2 head tube, internal shifter
cable routing, Reverb Stealth adjustable-seatpost hose routing
(internal), a one-piece alloy EVO Link rocker, Mino Link adjustable
geometry, and 6. 3 inches of travel front and rear.
WHICH COMPONENTS STAND OUT?
The Bontrager components on the Slash are markedly better
than the fresh-off-the-boat house-brand parts from some companies. In fact, the Bontrager XR4s are among our favorites for a
fast-rolling yet grippy and aggressive tire, and the Rhythm Pro carbon handlebar looks much more like a bolt-on aftermarket upgrade
than a stock part.
HOW DID IT PERFORM?
Moving out: Trek’s sizing is a bit strange. Trek claims this is a
19.5-inch frame when the seat tube measurement is actually 18. 5
inches on the nose. In fact, Trek’s website has one column for
Cornering prowess: The low bottom bracket
and slack head angle deliver a confident yet
nimble feel that our test riders simply loved,
whether the bike was laid over in a high-speed
corner or tiptoeing through a tight switchback.