Why did I choose slash? Part of my decision was down to the company behind the scenes at Trek. My experience with Trek’s support and Trek’s ethos as a company immediately attracted me to their range of bikes. However, the Slash was a decision that took some time, in-between weighing up the benefits of other bikes such as Remedy and the Whyte S-150. The reason I chose the Slash specifically was due to its geometry, which lead it to be an extremely stable platform for both ascending and, most importantly, descending.
Trek’s Slash 9.7 is a half carbon beast of an enduro bike; It climbs like a cross country bike but yet descends like a full downhill bike. It’s slack geometry and short chain stays make it easy to handle in the most technical of descents, despite its large 29” wheels.
This year the Slash 9.7 has been specked with 2.4 and 2.6-inch-wide tyres. These tyre sizes mean that the Slash grips to loose dry shale as well as been able to cut through the wet muddy conditions we are used to in the UK.
Within the first week of owning the slash I took it to Coed-y-Breninin, Wales. What can I say? Fast is an understatement. Coming from a hard tail background the Slash blew me away, sometimes you just get lost and forget how much faster you can go. Coming from 27.5-inch wheels I was a bit daunted by the idea of the larger wheels, but the Slash handled the terrain better than my old 27.5” bike and held strong, even on tightest of switchbacks.
An area where Slash is special is in its frame composition. The Slash is constructed with Trek’s OCLV Mountain Carbon; a tough, yet light, material supported with Treks downtube carbon armour for added protection. This frame material choice makes the Slash extremely lightweight and allows a stiff riding platform.
Adjustable geometry in a bike is always a fantastic feature. The ability to adapt the bike to your ride allows freedom for both climbing and descending. When on a long uphill ride switching the mino link to its high position, changing the head angle and raising the bottom bracket to reduce risk of pedal strikes makes the bike climb like a dream. If you find yourself going to an uplift day or a bike park, then set Mino link to its low position where the bike slackens out and becomes an extremely stable yet playful platform for descending.
When it comes to efficiency and comfort the Slash outperforms. With a mixture of 160mm and 150mm of travel and the 29-inch wheels it both descends and ascends like a dream. However, what makes the Slash better than the rest? Trek’s RE:aktiv thru shaft shock, that’s what? What originally sounded like a gimmick is now, in my opinion, a key feature, especially when it comes to stress free riding. Just flick the rear shock into one setting to ascend and descend and the RE:aktiv will do the rest. The RE:aktiv shock automatically senses any annoying pedal bob and closes its valves, which leads to a more efficient ride. On the other hand, when needed, the RE:aktiv will open its valves giving access to the plush 150mm of travel from the rear shock.
The Slash 9.7 comes with a fantastic group set for the price; with a mix of NX and GX eagle gearset and Guide R brakes, the 9.7 is an amazing platform to build on and progress. The flawless shifting of the GX 12 speed derailleur and a compromise of a 11-50 tooth NX 12 speed cassette makes a great pair for the price and the stopping power of the dual pot Guide R brakes is greatly appreciated on the trail. This permits later braking, allowing you to carry more speed and giving you confidence on the more technical trail sections. However, great braking performance means nothing unless the bike can keep traction. Trek have beaten this struggle with the introduction of ABP (Active Braking Pivot), which allows the rear end of the bike to track the ground and you can really feel it. Even with the back end fully locked up, the rear of the bike is still able to go through all its 150mm of its travel without any resistance.
In conclusion, the Slash is unlike anything I have ever ridden. It is stable yet twitchy and can make the most technical of climbs a treat. The RE:aktiv shock allows great pedalling performance while taking the grunt out of the uphill. I would highly recommend the Slash 9.7 or Slash as a platform to build upon.