Slashing The Trail
Finish quality: The paint lines on the Slash look stunning; however, the paint itself is delicate. After only a few
rides, we had numerous paint chips all over the bike in areas
where impacts frequently occur, like the chainstays and
underside of the downtube. Additionally, last year’s Slash got
a plastic downtube guard, and the 2014 bike did not. We’ll
chalk it up to bad luck, but on our second ride, we kicked up
a “baby head” rock that left a sizeable dent in the downtube.
If you’re serious about resale value with this bike, we recommend being serious about protecting the finish with products
like Lizard Skins and 3M’s electrical sealing tape.
Pedaling: The shock’s DRCV chamber does not eliminate
the need to reach down to flip the Fox CTD lever on long
pedaling efforts. Fortunately, the CTD lever is easy to reach.
We found ourselves flipping it without even looking once we
were used to the bike.
Climbing: The Slash is no cross-country racer, but that’s
not what it was made for. This bike is designed to save
enough energy when the trail points up to rally the descent,
and that’s exactly what it delivers. We were shocked to find
out that this bike is almost 3 pounds lighter than the 26-inch
Slash from just two years ago, and that certainly doesn’t hurt
when embarking on a long climb.
Cornering: The slack 65-degree head angle makes this
bike look like a slug on paper, but it comes to life on the trail.
The slack angle provides the stability for handling even the
steepest chutes with confidence but still allows for slow-speed maneuvering. When it comes to tight switchbacks, the
Slash is up to the challenge, whether the trail is pointed up or
Descending: This is where the 27. 5 version of the Slash
TRICKS, UPGRADES OR TIPS?
proves its mettle. The original Slash was close to perfect, but
this version ups the ante. We found ourselves plowing steep
lines we had never even thought about on other bikes. In
fact, test riders even set personal-best times on long descents
they’ve been riding for years. The beauty of the Slash 27. 5 is
that it doesn’t rely on the wheel size for its descending confi-
dence. The suspension is dialed and the geometry is spot-on;
the 27. 5 wheels are just icing on the cake. The greatness of
this bike is the sum of its parts, not just one aspect.
At $5800 for an aluminum frame, this bike should come
with nothing but top-shelf components, and the Slash delivers the goods throughout, with the exception of the wheelset.
The aluminum Bontrager Rhythm Comp wheels have a slow
hub engagement and are a bit porky and sluggish-feeling.
We experimented with Bontrager’s carbon Rhythm Pro
wheels and noticed an immediate improvement. It’s a serious upgrade, but a lightweight set of wheels makes a world
of difference on this bike. If you’re trying to save grams on a
smaller budget, go for Bontrager’s tubeless tire system and go
easy on the sealant to save weight.
Our test bike came set up with a 29-inch-wide bar, 80-mil-
limeter stem and about 3 inches of headset spacers. We
didn’t like the setup from the start, but fortunately it was
easy to fix. We swapped the parts for a 60-millimeter stem, a
31.5-inch handlebar, and trimmed all but 1 inch of spacers to
lower the front end. We noticed an immediate improvement
in handling across the board.
If you ask any wrecking crewer what his favorite version
of the Slash is, he will say this one. That said, however, we
don’t recommend that riders run out and drop cash on this
bike just because it has the larger wheels. Trek’s tireless
work on their suspension designs and geometry is what has
made their bikes some of our favorites. The Slash is a seriously fun bike to ride. It was with 26-inch wheels, and it still