Trek Bikes Slash 9  2013 Mountain Bike Review

Trek Bikes Slash 9 2013

Reviews / Enduro Bikes

Trek Bikes 1,413,423

At A Glance

The Slash as been in the Trek line up for 2 years now, it’s proved so popular it has taken us this long to swing our leg over one! It’s an all-mountain slayer designed to perform on the downs and still cruise on the ups. Perfect for Enduro, or as a ‘one bike does it all’ machine. Having previously had a Scratch (the predecessor) on long-term test I was keen to see how the Slash had developed.

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Tech Heads

There are three versions of the Slash, the 9 is the top spec machine, but regardless of the model you chose you will still enjoy the same frame and geometry. All the bikes in the range come with an Alpha Platinum Aluminium frame which features the ABP Convert Full Floater suspension set up, plus a tapered head tube and internal cable routing. ISCG 03 mounts are fitted as standard, although both the 8 and 9 come with chain guides fitted as standard. The EVO Link is magnesium and the bike has 160mm of front and rear travel.

Suspension on the 9 is a collaboration between Fox and Trek, featuring a Fox Factory Series DRCV Kashima coated rear shock with CTD, damper and rebound tuning and a Fox Factory Series 34 Talas 160mm with CTD, Fit adjust damper E2 Tapered steerer, Kashima coating and a 15QR thru axle.

Bontrager Rhythm Elite Tubeless Ready wheels with a 15mm front and 142x12mm rear hub come with Bontrager XR3 Team Issue tubeless ready tires.

The drivetrain is an all SRAM X0 affair with a direct mount front derailleur and a 2x10 set up. A SRAM 2x chain guide with bash guide is fitted as standard.

There is a Bontrager Evoke 3 saddle with titanium rails held up by a SRAM Reverb seat post with internal cable routing. A carbon Bontrager Rhythm Pro handlebar with 15mm of rise and 9 degree sweep looks after the front end held in place with a 60mm Bontrager Rhythm Pro stem.

Stopping abilities are taken care of by the excellent Avid Custom XO hydraulic discs.

Trek Slash 9 17.5/High

Seat tube 420mm
Effective top tube 572mm
Head tube 123mm
Chain stay 434mm
Front triangle 688mm
Wheel base 1146mm
BB height 36.5mm
Head angle 66.9°
Seat angle 75.9°
Reach 401mm
Standover 772mm

Weight w/o pedals 29.13lbs

On the Trail

On my first ride I fell in love with this bike, it might have been a combination of the sun shining for the first time in weeks, and that I was in the Surrey Hills all alone, after work and riding dust for the first time in months. Equally it might have been because this was one of the most confidence inspiring bikes I have ridden in a while.

All too often you find small things that you don’t like, or would want to change to get the bike to suit you. For me personally, on the Slash that didn’t happen, it was all very Goldilocks and everything felt just right. I’ve long been a fan of the Trek suspension system and its pedalling efficiency, the Slash this year though takes it to a whole new level. With the CTD (Climb-Trail-Descent) options you can stiffen up the whole bike to almost rock like proportions and hammer up the hills like a Sherpa up Everest. Any loss of power through pedal bob completely disappears with the rear shock and front fork on Climb mode and this is the first bike where I have really appreciated the new CTD system.

As a forgetful rider I often find CTD a bit much, especially when it doesn’t make huge differences to the way the bike handles. However, on the Trek the climb function really shone through, and was stiff enough for me to not forget to switch it back to Trail. This bike isn’t about going up though, and it really shines on the more smile-inducing sections.

Plant it into the corner and it responds in a rapid manner eager to pop out and get into the next turn. On steep technical terrain you can just let go of the brakes and know that the bike will roll down most stuff with aplomb. It’s so much fun I started to wonder what all the fuss about 29ers and 650b was.

For

Fast, confident and totally sorted in terms of suspension and geometry the Slash is a fun bike to ride that will handle all manner of terrain and get you back to the top of the gnarliest downhill with ease.

Against

At just under 30lbs it is overshadowed a little by bikes offering carbon frames and similar travel options. With the carbon Session how long is it before we see the Slash in carbon I wonder?

Overall

Despite the aluminium frame, the suspension on this bike works in harmony with the geometry and technology used to produce on of the best rides I have felt all year. Surefooted and fast it inspires confidence at every turn. The back up in terms of customer service from a major brand like Trek is also of note, and you can be sure you will be well looked after.

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This review was in Issue 23 of IMB.

For more information visit Trek Bikes

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By Rou Chater
Rou Chater is the Publishing Editor of IMB Magazine; he’s a jack-of-all-trades and master of none, but his passion for bikes knows no bounds. His first mountain bike was a Trek 820, which he bought in 1990. It didn’t take him long to earn himself a trip to the hospital on it, and he’s never looked back since. These days he’s keeping it rubber side down, riding locally and overseas as much as possible.

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