Monday and our meet-up with Lee and Sharon for some riding on Mt. Fromme finally came. Lee was able to hook me up with a Rocky Mountain Slayer from Different Bikes in North Van for this ride. He, unfortunately dislocated his shoulder while in Europe a couple weeks previous to our trip so was relegated to hiking and photographing my adventure making me feel like a real bike journalist.
Thanks to Dan McRorie of Different Bikes for the use of this quintessential shore bike. Rocky Mountain Slayer 70.
The Mt. Fromme riding started with ‘shore newb warm up rides down Floppy Bunny and Bob Sled, two short but oh so sweet trails near the bottom of Fromme that beginners and experts alike would enjoy. So well built, flowy fast and easily accessible.
Floppy Bunny was an old trail formerly known as Green Tunnel that was worked on sometime in the early 2000s then left to its own devices. In 2010 or so, Patrick Podolski (with the support of the North Shore Bike Shop) and in cooperation/conjunction with the NSMBA’s TAP program extensively re-worked the trail. Pat is assisted by many, many volunteers — Very much the Endor Moon speeder bike experience.
Bobsled is a re-alignment of an old trail. It was made new-school with berms, small jumps, grade-reversals and other features to make it more beginner-friendly. It’s still one of the few purpose built all skill levels trails in the North Shore.
The first thing I notice about the Slayer is the same thing I noticed when I first threw a leg over it at I-bike last year. It just feels natural. The cockpit is well set-up and despite it being a loaner I’m almost instantly comfortable on it though this medium felt a bit cramped while climbing compared to the large we rode last year. Once pointed down the trail I was perfectly content on the medium… in fact I think I would prefer it. It was easy to transition from side to side on the slalomy berms of Bob Sled and from centered to butt on the back tire when dropping in on steep rollers. Pedaling was efficient and relatively bob-free on the smooth fire road climbs. They must’ve known my weight coming in or the bike is mostly ridden by someone about my size as the suspension was pretty close to spot on. The Hans Dampf tires helped this feeling of familiarity having ridden them for the past year on my 5 spot. The bike stuck pretty well in the much dryer than normal conditions only washing a bit in the looser duff before catching and saving my face. The TALAS was about the best I’ve felt a Fox fork feel. Damping was firm and controlled, not super plush but not harsh. It worked well for this type of riding with multiple small drops and rounded rocks interconnected by relatively smooth chatter free trail.
I did notice some chainslap noise on the Rocky which is always annoying for me and I would occasionally get a bit of suspension lock-out while braking over roots and rocks if I was just entering that section and was still turning the cranks a bit while applying the brakes. Subtle, but noticeable. I should say that I had the same sensation a few times on the Chilcotin.
In summary, the Slayer is a really well rounded, well-balanced all-purpose mount. I wouldn’t have any problem having this bike in my stable.