Trek impressed us this year with the Slash all mountain bike sporting 27.5 wheels and 160mm of travel. Although the bike was meant for the most demanding World Series Enduro races, we enjoyed the big sweet spot of the bike as it excelled in many types of riding conditions. The adjustable geometry with Mino Link enabled us to lower/raise the BB height and affect the head angle as well. The Fox Talas fork with 130/160mm of travel allowed the bike to tackle flattish, tight singletrack too as the 66 degree head angle could be steepened to about 68 degrees.
But we were left to wonder about the possibilities of a carbon frame, a Pike fork or those new Talas 36 forks. What if?
Well our questions have been answered as Trek showed us the five new 2015 Slash models. The 9.8 has a carbon front triangle and it weighs one lb. less than aluminum. The 9.9 has an all carbon frame for a 1.4 lb. weight savings over aluminum. Two of them are carbon and two are aluminum with the following prices:
Slash 7: Aluminum frame; $3,459.99
Slash 8: Aluminum frame; $4,199.99
Slash 9: Aluminum frame; $n/a
Slash 9.8: Carbon front triangle; $5,769.99
Slash 9.9: All carbon frame; $8,399.99
A big shift is all the models now sport a RockShox Monarch Plus DebonAir rear shock instead of the Fox DRCV shock. RockShox has made huge strides in its rear shock development and Trek felt comfortable that switching to these new shocks would improve their bike. The main improvement is the Monarch Plus has an external oil reservoir and with higher oil volume, more consistent performance can be achieved on the longest and most demanding descents. In addition, the new RockShox shocks offer excellent damping support in its sagged position. Thus even in the wide open mode, the shock is an efficient pedaler with great control throughout its travel. The spring rates of these increased air volume DebonAir cans, mimic the ones of the twin chamber Fox DRCV units as well. So the bike’s ride characteristics are maintained.
27.5 wheels mated with XR4 tires give these bikes excellent traction on a broad range of conditions. The lower three bikes sport Bontrager wheels, while the 9.9 model is spec’d with DT Spline One wheels. All the bikes use RockShox Pike forks with adjustable travel, except for the 9.9, which uses the fascinating new Fox 36 Talas fork with 130/160mm travel.
The 9.9 model features a Shimano 1×11 drivetrain. Early reports are the chain stays on very well with no chain guide.
The 9.8 model retails for $5769 and it sports a carbon front triangle and 1×11 drivetrain
The 9.8 is a looker and a decent value.
The Trek Slash 7 and 8 are 2×10 bikes with the Trek Slash 9 (not shown) offered in 1×11. The Trek Slash 7 is the one on top in blue color.
The Trek Slash 9.9 has Shimano 1×11 drivetrain and the very rare Fox 36 Talas with 130/160mm of adjustable travel.
For more information visit www.trekbikes.com.