Editor’s Note: Once again, Mtbr welcomes longtime forum member Kent Robertson to the front page. Kent — or KRob — has been riding and evaluating bikes for two decades. This year, he and testing partner Ben Slabaugh headed to Moab, Utah, for the annual Outerbike consumer demo event where they rode as many bikes as possible. These posts are first ride impressions only — not full reviews. However, they stand by their opinions, and feel like they are good at feeling out the true identity, strengths, weaknesses, and soul of any given bike. For each session, they attempted to get set-up and suspension as dialed as possible. Test rides usually last 30-60 minutes. All bikes are then rated on a scale of 1-5 for visual impression/looks, climbing ability, descending, cornering, general agility, fit, and an intangible factor. Lowest possible score is 7. Highest is 35.
The Rocky Mountain Slayer is back with a full carbon frame, 27.5 wheels, and 165mm of enduro crushing travel. The Slayer was the first of three full on, long travel enduro/all-mountain bikes we rode. Unfortunately, we weren’t able to take it on the kind of steep, fast, gnarly trails that would really make it shine, but it had all the right numbers to make it work in the roughest terrain.
We were, however able to get a reasonably good impression of its strengths on our ride. The very tame trails that access the Deadman’s loop, which is the most technical trail at the Brand Tails showed that the Slayer was a pretty good pedaler. For a big bike it cruised along the buff XC Lazy trail with relative efficiency, and was able to keep up speed without feeling too sluggish on the flats.
Never been to Outerbike? Find out what this consumer demo event is all about.
As I turned up the rocky Deadman’s loop I discovered it also climbed pretty well. The horst type Smoothlink rear suspension eased over square edges without sagging too much into its travel but there was enough squat that combined with a relatively low bottom bracket, pedal strikes were common.
Despite its slack head angle the climbing position felt natural and it was easy to get forward to weight the front end due to the steep 75-degree seat angle. I liked how it gathered traction on loose scrambles and worked its way around switchbacks with little floppiness or drama. There was no hiding the fact that it was a big bike, though.
Once pointed downhill, descending was smooth and fairly controlled but noisy. I checked the lock on the clutch derailleur and it was only partially on causing the chain to slap quite a bit. Once locked on it quieted down but then got noisy again a mile or two down the trail. Not sure if the problem was with the derailleur or the bike, but it was annoying. I’d forgotten how I hate noisy bikes since most are pretty quiet lately.
The Fox X2 shock worked well on this platform and absorbed everything in its path with a nice controlled plushness. I couldn’t help but keep feeling like the Slayer was just beginning to really unwind when I’d get to the bottom of the short descents in the Bar M area. I’d love to take it on some longer, steeper runs. I think this is great addition to the full on enduro category and is built to take on everything up to and including lift served runs and all day big mountain climbs.
Outerbike Test Session Score: 31 out of 35.
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