trek slash review

2021 Trek Slash is a completely different beast

Redesigned enduro racer gets more capable and more convenient

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2021 Trek Slash is a completely different beast

This competition is now closed

By Seb Stott

Published: September 3, 2020 at 3:00 pm

As one of the first enduro-focused 29ers, Trek’s Slash was starting to show its age. It has enjoyed racing success under Katy Winton, Pedro Burns and Florian Nicolai, but its geometry was getting left behind by rivals such as the new Specialized Enduro .

So, as you might expect, the all-new Slash is far more up to date. It’s designed to thrive on the ever more demanding terrain seen at enduro races, with more suspension travel and longer, lower, slacker geometry.

It’s also got a steeper seat tube angle and a lighter frame, so it should climb better too. What’s more, it’s gone one up on Specialized by offering internal down tube storage in both the aluminium and carbon frames, along with a few features unique to Trek.

Trek Slash

We’ve already seen the new bike racing at the first round of the EWS in Zermatt, Switzerland, and now we can share all the details.

2021 Trek Slash geometry

Perhaps the most important update is to the Slash’s shape.

It still uses Trek’s Mino Link system, which can raise or lower the bottom bracket by 7mm while altering the head and seat angles by half a degree, and because we usually rode the old bike in its low setting, we’ll compare the new geometry in that configuration.

Trek Slash

The head angle is now 1-degree slacker, at 64.1 degrees in the low setting; the reach has increased by 15mm to 40mm size-by-size (the largest frame now has a whopping 515mm reach); the wheelbase has grown by 25mm to 50mm depending on size. Pretty much all of this growth comes from the front-centre because the rear-centre has only increased by 2mm, to 437mm.

Meanwhile, the bottom bracket drop has increased by 8mm, and now sits at 345mm in the low setting. That’s quite low for a bike with this much travel.

One particular criticism of the old Slash was the slack seat tube angle, which made it tricky to tackle steep climbs. And while the travel-adjustable fork on some models helped a little, it was almost an admission of the problem. Well, it’s now 2 degrees steeper, measuring 75.6 degrees in low and 76.1 degrees in high.

This is still a bit slacker than some of its rivals, but definitely a step in the right direction.

  • What’s the future of MTB geometry?

To complement the longer reach numbers, Trek is speccing very short 35mm stems across all sizes, along with (now almost ubiquitous) short offset forks.

Internal storage in alloy frames as well as carbon

Slash storage

While Trek certainly wasn’t the first to think of turning the down tube into a handy storage area, it’s brought the idea (which we’re big fans of) to more people.

We first saw Trek do it with the Fuel EX trail bike and Domane road bike . In the case of the Slash, both the carbon and alloy frames have the handy compartment for snacks, pumps, tools and the like, while Specialized only offers down tube storage on its pricier carbon frames.

With the cheapest Slash coming in at £2,650, Trek’s internal storage is available at a lower price point.

Trek Slash suspension

Trek has boosted the suspension travel by 10mm at each end – it now serves up 160mm in the rear and 170mm up front.

The Slash still uses Trek’s ABP (active braking point) suspension system, which works a bit like a Horst-link design, but the chainstay pivot is placed further back and is concentric with the rear axle.

Unlike a single-pivot layout, the brakes are not directly connected to the rear swingarm; this causes the suspension to sit higher in its travel under braking, where the suspension is softer.

While the layout looks similar to the old, the main pivot has been raised slightly to give the bike a bit more anti-squat, so it should pedal more efficiently.

  • Click here for more on suspension designs and the differences between them

Trek Slash

Some Slash models use Trek’s Thru-shaft shock technology, with a Thru-shaft version of the RockShox Super Deluxe shock. Thru-shaft shocks have a damper shaft that goes all the way through the damper body and out the other side. This means the shaft doesn’t displace any extra oil as it enters the damper.

This allows Trek to dispense with the dynamic internal floating piston (IFP), which compensates for the oil displaced by the shaft in most shocks. Trek claims this reduces friction so the shock changes direction faster and tracks the ground better.

However, it’s worth remembering that IFP friction is only a small component of the total friction in a shock, particularly an air shock. Also, the Thru-shaft design requires a second shaft seal where the shaft exits the damper, which inevitably adds some friction back in.

Trek insists the removal of the IFP more than makes up for this, but we’d say that any reductions in friction resulting from Thru-shaft are unlikely to be game-changing.

Trek Slash

The Slash is compatible with some non-proprietary shocks (in fact, two of the less expensive models come with regular, non-Thru-shaft shocks). However, the standard RockShox Super Deluxe won’t fit because the lockout lever hits the frame.

Trek Slash rebound

The proprietary RockShox shock has a few interesting features besides the Thru-shaft damper. There’s a lockout lever for climbing, plus a three-position dial to adjust the low-speed compression damping in the open mode. The rebound dial sits behind this and is numbered to make it easy to tell which rebound setting you’re in without counting clicks.

The shock also has a larger negative spring volume than the standard DebonAir can. This means it should be softer at the start of the stroke, but firmer after sag. Apparently this change was inspired by the RockShox MegNeg air can , but it’s not quite as extreme.

Interestingly, Trek has moved away from its RE:activ regressive damping technology, first used in 2014, in favour of shimmed valves. This change is apparently because modern enduro racing demands sensitivity over pedalling efficiency.

Knock Block 2.0 is better, and it’s optional

Trek Slash

Knock Block is Trek’s system for stopping the bars turning past a certain angle. This has two advantages: first, it prevents the brake levers hitting the top tube or the cables pulling out if the bars spin in a crash. Second, it allows Trek to design straighter (and therefore lighter) down tubes because they no longer need to curve upwards to avoid the path of the fork crown when spun round.

The Knock Block 2.0 in the new Slash is only there for the first reason, because the curved down tube on the new Slash clears the fork crown. The new Knock Block allows a greater steering angle than before – the bars can turn by 72 degrees, up from 58 degrees. This should allow for tighter turns, but we rarely found the steering lock of the old system to be a problem on the trail .

It’s also removable, so if your stunt repertoire is broader than ours you can still turn the bars as much as your cables will allow.

Big seat tube for big dropper posts

Fans of standard conformity will be disappointed by the 34.9mm diameter as well as the proprietary shock. The stouter seat tube standard is not unique to Trek, but it is less common than 30.9 and 31.6mm diameters. The idea is to increase space for dropper post internals and boost reliability and stiffness.

The seat tube insertion length has been increased too, allowing the use of longer travel dropper posts. Complete bikes are equipped with droppers from 150mm to 200mm (Medium and Medium/Large sizes get 150mm posts, Large frames get 170mm, XL frames get 200mm).

It’s a little heavier, but still light

Trek claims the 2021 carbon frameset weighs just 2,450g without the shock. It credits this low weight (for an enduro frame) to Trek’s OCLV carbon layup and the fact that the ABP suspension layout has a pivot concentric with the rear axle rather than on the chainstay, which apparently makes for a lighter overall structure.

However, with the shock and hardware the carbon frame weighs 3,180g – the previous frame was slightly lighter at 3,060g. (These are claimed weights in both cases). Trek puts that slight increase in weight down to the bigger shock, down tube storage and  34.9mm seat tube.

2021 Trek Slash models

Trek slash 7.

Trek Slash 7

  • Frame : Alpha Platinum Aluminium
  • Fork : RockShox Yari RC
  • Shock : RockShox Deluxe Select+
  • Drivetrain : SRAM NX Eagle, 11-50t
  • Brakes : SRAM Guide T
  • Price : £2,650 / €3,499 / $2,999

Trek Slash 8

Trek Slash 8

  • Fork : RockShox Lyrik RC
  • Shock : RockShox Super Deluxe Ultimate, Thru shaft three-position damper
  • Drivetrain : SRAM GX Eagle, 12-speed, 10-52t
  • Brakes : SRAM Code R
  • Price : £3,100 / €3,999 / $3,499

Trek Slash 9.7

Trek Slash 9.7

  • Frame : OCLV Mountain Carbon main frame and stays
  • Fork : Fox Rhythm 36
  • Shock : Fox DPX2, EVOL air spring, DPS damper
  • Drivetrain : SRAM NX/GX Eagle, 12-speed, 10-52t
  • Price : £5,250 / €4,799 / $5,999

Trek Slash 9.8 XT

Trek Slash 9.8 XT

  • Fork : RockShox ZEB Select+
  • Drivetrain : Shimano XT M8100, 12-speed, 10-51t
  • Brakes : Shimano SLX M7120
  • Price : £5,250 / €5,999 / $5,999

Trek Slash 9.8 GX

Trek Slash 9.8 GX

  • Brakes : SRAM G2 RSC
  • Price : £5,800 / € 5,999 / $6,599

Trek Slash 9.9 XO1

Trek Slash 9.9 XO1

  • Fork : RockShox ZEB Ultimate
  • Drivetrain : SRAM X01 Eagle, 12-speed, 10-52t
  • Brakes : SRAM Code RSC
  • Price : £7,500 / €7,999 / $8,499

Seb Stott doing a jump


Seb Stott is a former technical writer for BikeRadar. Seb's been riding mountain bikes for more than half his life, ever since getting hooked on a tiny 24Seven Crosser aged 13. He's raced downhill, enduro and cross-country, and while no athlete, still enters the occasional race. Seb studied experimental physics at university, and he's now happily using his degree experimenting with and testing different mountain bike setups, trying to work out what works best and why. You'll often find him riding the same track ten times in a day, changing just one thing to pin down the differences. Seb has also been a regular contributor to the BikeRadar Podcast and BikeRadar YouTube channel, and written for MBUK magazine and

  • Mountain Biking

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trek slash review

2021 Trek Slash

Test Location: Crested Butte, Colorado

Test Duration: 3 months

Size Tested: ML

Build Overview (Trek Slash 9.9 X01):

  • Drivetrain: SRAM X01
  • Brakes: SRAM Code RSC
  • Fork: RockShox ZEB Ultimate
  • Shock: RockShox Super Deluxe Ultimate Thru Shaft
  • Wheelset: Bontrager Line Elite 30 Carbon

Wheel Size: 29”

Travel: 160 mm rear / 170 mm front

Blister’s Measured Weight (as built, w/o pedals): 32.25 lbs / 14.63 kg

MSRP: $3,499 – $8,999 ($7,999 as tested)

  • Luke Koppa: 5’8”, 155 lbs / 173 cm, 70 kg; Ape Index +1; Inseam 31” / 79 cm
  • Dylan Wood : 5’11”, 155 lbs / 180 cm, 70 kg; Ape Index +0.5; Inseam 32” / 81 cm
  • Eric Freson : 5’10”, 165 lbs / 178 cm, 75 kg; Ape Index +1.5; Inseam 31″ / 79 cm

Blister reviews the 2021 Trek Slash

Just a couple of years ago, our reviewer Noah Bodman called the 2018 Trek Slash one of the best all-round Enduro bikes he’d ridden.

But in the world of mountain bikes, a couple of years feels more like a decade, given how quickly brands have been changing bike geometry, suspension, components, and almost everything else we use to ride. The Slash that Noah reviewed had been essentially unchanged since it was released in the 2017 model year, so many people have been eagerly waiting to see what would come next.

This September, Trek provided those people with an answer when they released the all-new, 2021 Slash.

Trek says their two main goals when redesigning the Slash were to (1) “enhance the Enduro race capability of the bike” and (2) “preserve the ultimate Trail rider experience.”

We’ve now had three reviewers on the Slash and have updated our initial review. First, we’ll dive into what Trek changed on the Slash to accomplish those two goals, how the new bike’s design compares to the rest of the crowded Enduro 29er category, and then discuss our on-trail impressions.

Aesthetically, the 2021 Slash looks very similar to the previous version, as well as many of Trek’s other bikes. It maintains most of the clean, fairly straight lines throughout the frame and still uses a similar version of Trek’s ABP, 4-bar suspension linkage. That said, there are a lot of noteworthy differences with the newest Slash that might not be obvious at first glance.

First and foremost, the 2021 Slash gives you 160 mm of rear travel and is designed around a 170 mm fork, while the previous version had 150 mm of rear travel and a 160mm-travel fork.

The Slash is still available in either a fully aluminum frame or fully carbon frame, with the two alloy builds designated with a single digit in their name (Slash 7, Slash 8) while the five carbon-frame builds are designated with decimal points (e.g., Slash 9.7, Slash 9.8, & Slash 9.9). However, while the old Slash’s geometry and some of its features differed between the alloy and carbon models, the 2021 Slash keeps pretty much all of the frame features and geometry the same, whether you opt for alloy or carbon. That’s great news for those who don’t feel like going the carbon route.

One of the most exciting new features is the frame’s integrated storage in the down tube, and the fact that it’s standard on both the carbon and alloy Slash. Similar to Specialized’s SWAT box and the down tube on the carbon Trek Fuel EX , the new Slash lets you open a little “hatch” on the down tube so you stash a tube, tool, burrito, or whatever other little items in the frame, and not on yourself.

Blister reviews the 2021 Trek Slash

That little hatch on the down tube also serves as a mounting point for a water bottle cage, and Trek says all sizes of the 2021 Slash will fit a water bottle within the front triangle. Our size ML fits a 20-oz bottle quite easily. Cables are routed internally on both the alloy and carbon 2021 Slash, and they’ve been very quiet so far.

One of the more polarizing features of several Trek bikes is their “Knock Block” system. On the old Slash, this was essentially a keyed headset that prevented the front wheel from turning past roughly 58° to either side. On that bike, the down tube ran straight from the head tube to the bottom bracket, which Trek said let them get a more ideal strength-to-weight ratio from the frame. It also meant the fork could bash into the down tube without the Knock Block system during a crash, an ultra-tight turn, or if you finally decided it was time to learn barspins.

The 2021 Slash features what Trek is calling “Knock Block 2.0.” In its stock configuration, it still prevents the wheel from turning all the way around, but you can now turn the bars 72° to either side, as opposed to 58° on the old version. The 2021 Slash’s new, slightly curvier down tube also means it has enough clearance for the fork’s crown, and given that, Trek made Knock Block 2.0 removable, and it will now work with “standard” stems that aren’t Knock Block specific. Given that there’s no longer a physical conflict with a straight down tube, Trek says the primary purpose of Knock Block 2.0 on the 2021 Slash is to help prevent wear on the top tube and cables from pulling out.

Blister reviews the 2021 Trek Slash

While it ditches the “Straight Shot” down tube of the last version, the 2021 Slash is still touted as being light and strong, with Trek claiming a stated weight of 2450 grams for the carbon frameset (we’re working on confirming which size that weight is for). Our size ML Slash 9.9 X01 weighed in at 32.25 lbs / 14.63 kg without pedals, which isn’t exceptionally lightweight for a high-end, 160/170 mm bike, but also not particularly out of the ordinary for a long-travel 29er.

One cool feature on the 2021 Slash that we don’t see on too many other bikes is its massive down tube protector. Running from the bottom bracket to just a few inches shy of the head tube, the dual-density pad should keep the down tube looking fresh for longer, particularly for people who often shuttle their bikes. And as would be expected, the new Slash also features some protection around the chainstay.

Blister reviews the 2021 Trek Slash

Speaking of the bottom bracket, the 2021 Slash comes with a BSA 73 one that’s got threads in it, rather than the press-fit BB on the old version. This should equate to less creaking and easier service. The new Slash also gets a larger, 34.9mm-diameter seat tube to accommodate the increasingly popular droppers of that diameter (including the new 34.9 mm Bontrager Line Elite spec’d on the higher-end Slash builds).

The Slash uses 110×15 mm hub spacing up front and 148x12mm out back, which is pretty standard, and Trek says the max rear tire size is 29”x2.5”. Other misc. specs include a rear brake mount that fits 180 mm rotors directly and fit up to 220 mm rotors, the ability to run chainring sizes from 28-tooth to 34-tooth, and stated dropper post insertion depths ranging from 205 mm on a size Small to 310 mm on a size Large.

Blister reviews the 2021 Trek Slash

Suspension Design & New RockShox Super Deluxe Ultimate Thru Shaft

The 2021 Slash’s overall suspension linkage is still pretty similar to the previous Slash, using a version of Trek’s 4-bar “ABP” linkage. They’ve been using this general design for years, and a few of our reviewers have particularly been fans of how active the ABP linkage tends to stay under hard braking.

Like the old version, most 2021 Slash builds come with a special version of a RockShox rear shock that features the exclusive-to-Trek “Thru Shaft” design, but again, there are some notable differences.

First, the 2021 Slash’s shocks no longer feature Trek’s special “RE:aktiv” tune, which essentially relied on speed-sensitive damping and was meant to help the shock stay firm during low-speed forces (e.g., pedaling) while opening up during bigger impacts. Trek says they made this change because they felt a shock without the RE:aktiv tune was better suited to the demands of modern, high-speed Enduro races, which are becoming more and more like multi-stage DH races.

Second, several of the 2021 Slash bikes (carbon frameset, 8 build, 9.8 builds, & 9.9 builds) come with a special version of the RockShox Super Deluxe Ultimate , rather than the special RockShox Deluxe RT3 on the old Slash.

Blister reviews the 2021 Trek Slash

So, what’s so “special” about these shocks? Well, the Thru Shaft design itself is exclusive to shocks on Trek bikes, and was something that Noah really liked about the old Slash’s shock. After swapping between the two, he found the Thru Shaft shock made the bike feel much smoother and more sensitive over small chatter compared to when he swapped to a regular Super Deluxe shock. (Noah already went into a lot of detail regarding Thru Shaft in his review of the old Slash , so I’d check that out if you want to get more into the weeds about how it actually works.)

While Thru Shaft itself isn’t new, the Super Deluxe Ultimate on the 2021 Slash is. Its most notable new, exclusive feature is a 3-position switch (the bright-blue knob on the shock) that’s meant to specifically change how the suspension is affected by rider input (i.e., slower-speed forces created by the rider pushing down on the bike), without affecting damping during higher-speed impacts that come up from the trail. In simpler terms, it lets riders quickly switch between three preset low-speed-compression settings.

The “0” setting is supposed to be the baseline, general-trail-riding setting that you’d use in most cases. The “–” setting decreases the amount of low-speed compression, which Trek says makes more sense on steeper and rougher trails where the rider’s weight is biased more toward the front of the bike, and not the rear. Then the “+” setting adds more low-speed compression, meant for smoother, flow-style trails where you want a more supportive platform for pushing into berms and off jumps.

Blister reviews the 2021 Trek Slash

This new 3-position switch is not a “climb” switch or a lockout lever — the Super Deluxe Ultimate Thru Shaft has a separate, 2-position lever that you can use to fully lock out or fully open the shock. The lockout lever is situated directly over the 3-position switch on the shock.

Aside from that new 3-position LSC adjustment, the Super Deluxe Ultimate Thru Shaft on the 2021 Slash also features a larger, tunable negative air spring, which is meant to make the shock more progressive and supportive near the end of its travel, without losing the small-bump and mid-stroke sensitivity supposedly offered by the Thru Shaft design. You can also add volume spacers to both the negative and positive air springs to fine-tune the shock, though the Super Deluxe Ultimate Thru Shaft comes stock without any spacers inside.

RockShox also tweaked the positioning of the dials and switches on the Super Deluxe Ultimate Thru Shaft, putting them on the left side for easier access and they also added numbers to the single rebound-adjustment dial to make it easier to know what setting you’re on.

Now, I just used a lot of words to talk specifically about the exclusive Super Deluxe Ultimate Thru Shaft shock that comes on most of the 2021 Slash builds. However, many people will be happy to know that you can still fit several other shocks on the Slash, including the 2021 Fox Float X2 , 2021 Fox DHX2, Fox DPX2, RockShox Super Deluxe Coil, and most inline shocks without piggyback reservoirs. Trek says the regular, non-Thru-Shaft Super Deluxe won’t fit due to where its lockout lever is placed. They say that the leverage ratio of the new bike is progressive enough that most coil shocks are compatible, though I’d recommend checking with them just to be sure you won’t have any clearance issues with the coil shock you’re considering.

Trek is talking a pretty big game about this new Thru Shaft shock, so we’re very curious about (1) how well it’ll live up to Trek’s various claims, (2) how useful the new 3-position LSC switch actually is, and (3) how it compares to other downhill-oriented air shocks that don’t feature Thru Shaft, but that do feature more finely adjustable compression and rebound settings.

As of publishing this First Look, the 2021 Slash is available as an alloy frameset ($2,199), carbon frameset ($3,999), or in 7 full builds ranging from the $3,499 Slash 7 to the $8,499 Slash 9.9 XTR.

For all of the carbon builds, you can also customize the color / paint of the frame through Trek’s Project One program, which adds $500 to the cost.

At $3,999, the Slash 8 in particular seems like a pretty solid deal: you get the special Thru Shaft shock, RockShox Lyrik RC fork, full SRAM GX drivetrain, and SRAM Code R brakes.

We’re testing the high-end Slash 9.9 X01 build, which leaves little to be desired for the price of $7,999.

Blister reviews the 2021 Trek Slash

Here’s the quick rundown on some of the Slash 9.9 X01 build highlights:

  • Rear Shock: RockShox Super Deluxe Ultimate Thru Shaft
  • Wheels: Bontrager Line Elite 30 carbon
  • Front Tire: Bontrager SE5 2.6”
  • Rear Tire: Bontrager SE4 2.4”
  • Dropper Post: Bontrager Line Elite 34.9
  • Handlebar: Bontrager Line Pro carbon

Geometry & Fit

Like every other new bike in recent memory, the 2021 Slash is longer, has a slacker head tube angle, and a steeper seat tube angle than its predecessor. With that said, the changes are not quite as drastic as you might expect, given some of the radical bikes released in the past year. And that seems in line with Trek’s goals of improving racing capabilities while maintaining more general trail-riding performance.

[The geometry of the new Slash, as well as the new Pivot Switchblade and now-fairly-old Rocky Mountain Instinct BC , actually kickstarted an interesting conversation around Blister pertaining to the current status and future of mtb geometry, which you can check out on our Bikes & Big Ideas podcast .]

The old Slash wasn’t the longest option in its class when it was first released, the 2021 Slash also isn’t truly pushing the limits in terms of length, and that’s something several of us are actually quite excited about.

Depending on the size of the frame, the new Slash’s reach is 15–41 mm longer than the last iteration, with a size M coming in at 450 mm, an ML coming in at 469 mm, and a size L coming in at 486 mm. Compared to, say, Commencal’s new Meta TR and Meta AM, the Slash’s reach numbers sit slightly on the more conservative side, though they’re pretty much in line with bikes like the newest Transition Sentinel and Norco Sight.

Compared to the last version, the 2021 Slash’s head angle gets slacker by a degree, sitting at 64.1° in the Low setting and 64.6° in the High setting of its “Mino Link” flip chip (the bike comes stock in the Low setting). While we’re seeing more bikes in this class with sub-64° head angles, the new Slash’s head angle seems relatively standard for Enduro bikes these days.

Blister reviews the 2021 Trek Slash

Combined with chainstays that didn’t change much (2 mm longer at 437 mm in the Low setting), all of that adds up to a longer, but not extremely long wheelbase: 1222 mm for a size M, 1243 mm for a size ML, and 1264 mm for a size L.

Just looking at the old Slash and comparing it to newer bikes, the most obvious difference in its geometry is probably its seat tube angle. With a 73.6° effective seat tube angle and 64.3° actual seat tube angle, the old Slash looks very different than the numerous bikes of today with seat tube angles approaching (or even reaching) 80°.

The 2021 Slash’s seat tube still has a significant “kink” in it, keeping its actual seat tube angle quite slack at 66.6°, but its effective angle has gotten almost 2° steeper, with Trek claiming 75.6° with the saddle height at 750 mm. That’s still notably slacker than a lot of bikes these days, and given the very slack actual angle, this may still present some issues for people who need to run very long droppers. But we’re curious to see just how noticeable that seat tube angle actually is.

All in all, the new Slash features pretty much all the geometry changes you’d make if you wanted to make a bike more stable at speed and in steep terrain, and more comfortable on steep climbs. Other brands have taken those changes even further and others have been more conservative, with the new Slash sitting roughly around the middle of the pack for a bike in this class.

As for sizing / fit, the 2021 Slash adds an “ML” size to the lineup, which will be great news to people like me and Noah, who were split between the fairly large sizing gap between the M and L sizes on the old Slash. With reach numbers ranging from 425 mm on a size S to 516 mm for a size XL, the 2021 Slash should work for a wide range of riders. Like most bikes (but increasingly, not all ), the 2021 Slash’s chainstay length is the same across all sizes, which may be something to consider for riders at the upper and lower end of the sizing spectrum, but having equal-size chainstays across all sizes is still pretty much the norm these days.

For reference, here’s the full geo chart for the 2021 Slash:

Blister reviews the 2021 Trek Slash


We received and built up the Slash 9.9 X01 on September 1st, and Luke Koppa got a few days on it before passing it off to Dylan Wood and Eric Freson, who now add their thoughts after riding it for a few months.

Geometry and Fit

Luke Koppa (5’8”, 155 lbs / 173 cm, 70 kg): At my height, I slot right around the middle of Trek’s recommended range for the size ML we’ve been testing. Unsurprisingly, the bike immediately felt comfortable to me.

I didn’t have any complaints about the Slash’s seat tube angle being too slack, though I admittedly tend to be a bit less sensitive to that than some other folks. The main thing I noticed on the uphill in terms of geometry was that the 2021 Slash does feel like a pretty long and slack bike in tight and / or steep sections. Compared to the shorter and steeper size Medium Specialized Enduro 27.5 and size Large Rocky Mountain Instinct BC I’ve been riding, the size ML Slash’s front wheel felt a bit more difficult to keep planted in steep spots and it required more physical input on my end to maneuver the bike over / around obstacles. This didn’t come as any surprise to me, and at least so far, seemed like nothing out of the ordinary for a bike with the Slash’s geometry.

Blister reviews the 2021 Trek Slash

And the good news is that, on the descent, I basically had no complaints about the geo of the Slash. It just felt nice — plenty slack in steep terrain, and once I got even just a bit of speed going, it didn’t feel excessively long or cumbersome.

Dylan Wood (5’11”, 155 lbs / 180 cm, 70 kg): The size ML Slash’s fit and geometry did not take very long to get used to, despite the fact that Trek actually recommends a size L for someone my height. At 5’11” / 180 cm, I am in the middle of the sizing range for a size L Slash, and I’m technically just outside of the recommended height range for the size ML we’ve been riding.

That said, the ML Slash’s geometry numbers are actually quite similar to the size Large Santa Cruz Megatower I’ve been spending a lot of time on, which is probably why the ML Slash has felt so familiar to me. Given that Trek technically recommends a size Large for me, it’s worth keeping in mind that the ML size I’m talking about might feel a bit shorter and snappier than a size L that many people my height may end up riding.

I agree with Luke that the Slash is indeed a pretty long bike and that length is noticeable on tight and / or steep climbs. Due to its slack front end, long wheelbase, and likely the not-super-steep seat tube angle, the Slash’s front wheel tends to wander a bit on technical climbs and is moderately difficult to keep weighted. This happens on most bikes this slack and long, though I think it might be slightly less of an issue with a steeper seat tube angle.

Dylan Wood reviews the Trek Slash for Blister in Crested Butte, Colorado.

Regarding that seat tube angle, the pedals feel a bit further forward on the Slash than I’d prefer. I do run a fairly high seat height (78 cm), which results in the seat being further back due to the “kink” in the seat tube (more so than someone like Luke with shorter legs). To help combat this, I slid the Slash’s seat all the way forward on the rails and it made a significant improvement to my pedaling position. Personally, I wish Trek would’ve made the seat tube angle steeper on the Slash, though I also don’t think it is reason enough to steer anyone away from buying a Slash. Just something to keep in mind, particularly if you climb up a lot of very steep trails and / or have very long legs (and will therefore be running a longer dropper post).

Eric Freson (5’10”, 165 lbs; Ape Index +1.5; Inseam 31″): Not a ton of new to add here!

I also got along well with the fit of the ML Slash. Like Dylan, I found myself moving the seat all the way forward on the seat rails to effectively steepen the seat tube angle a touch. But I do this on most bikes I ride, since I often find myself sizing up on frames and am typically on the smaller side for their intended sizing. Moving the seat forward gives me a slightly shorter cockpit when seated.

When it comes to the geometry, the biggest standout for me with the Slash is actually the “ML” sizing option. As someone who is often right on the line between Medium and Large frame sizes, and who wants to always feel like I have the best tool for the job, the Goldilocks “just right” option of a ML frame has a ton of appeal for me. I just like the warm fuzzy feeling I get when I think about how Trek made a size just for “me” (and every other 5’9 to 5’11 person who wants to feel cool by going up a frame size but worries about seat / body / reach positioning). The jumps between sizes on the Slash aren’t really smaller than average, but a size that’s targeted between a lot of bikes’ Medium and Large offerings is welcome for me.

To echo what the others have said, the cockpit of the Slash does feel fairly long and stretched when seated. When climbing, the front wheel would sometimes feel light and prone to wandering. In particular, climbing tight switchbacks required an extra degree of focus on body positioning to stay balanced and keep the front wheel planted.

Luke Koppa : On the uphill, the 2021 Slash’s suspension feels to me like it falls into the “great traction, not super efficient” category. There’s a noticeable amount of pedal bob, particularly when out of the saddle — not as wallow-y as the 2019 Specialized Enduro 27.5 or Stumpjumper, but not as firm as the Revel Rail. I found myself preferring to lock out the shock for the smoother sections of climbs, but when I left it open, I did appreciate the noteworthy lack of wheel slip on very loose, chunky sections. For reference, I’m 5’8”, 155 lbs / 173 cm, 70 kg and had the rear shock’s sag set around 27% and the fork’s around 16%.

I kept the shock’s 3-position LSC adjustment in the middle “0” setting during my first few rides, but I ended up using the shock’s “+” setting for most singletrack climbs since it seemed to strike a more preferable balance of pedaling support and traction. For super loose climbs where I wanted all the traction I could get, I’d leave the shock open and in the “0” setting. And for smooth road climbs, I’d just fully lock it out. Overall, I think the Slash climbs just fine for a long-travel bike, but it’s definitely not as snappy on the pedals compared to some of the best options in this travel class (e.g., Revel Rail and Ibis Ripmo).

Dylan Wood : I agree with Luke here. The Slash is an average climber for its class and should satisfy most riders who have been happy pedaling ~160mm-travel bikes in the past (i.e., those who prioritize going fast on the descent, not the uphill).

I am similarly content with the amount of traction that the Slash’s rear end provides on the way up — it feels active while pedaling over rough sections of trail. I occasionally used the lockout switch to firm up the shock, mostly on smooth roads and on some smoother singletrack. Like Luke, I also appreciated the option to switch the rear shock into the “+” LSC setting, which added a little more pedaling support without feeling like it was fully locked out and / or significantly reducing rear-wheel traction. Overall, the Slash climbed just about as I’d hoped it would, feeling basically on par with the Santa Cruz Megatower in terms of overall pedaling performance.

Eric Freson : Another vote for “average climber for its class and intended use.” I was pleased with the pedaling platform and traction available when going uphill on the Slash. The climbing position, (taking into account the somewhat-slack seat tube angle, very wide bars, and large reach), was for me the largest culprit in its average-feeling climbing prowess. The Slash just doesn’t really put me in a position over the bike to encourage me to attack the trail on the way up.

An aspect of the bike’s climbing ability that really stood out to me was just how firm the lockout feature was on the RockShox Super Deluxe Ultimate Thru Shaft shock. As someone who habitually reaches for this lever whenever I’m given the option, I frequently found it to be firmer than I was looking for on rougher, more technical climbs, and consequently could have a negative impact on available traction. It’s impressively firm, but this also meant that I found myself using it less than I might on a different bike. The pedaling efficiency of the Slash (and the ability to easily adjust the LSC settings) made this no big deal, but it was something that felt different than the norm for this class of bike.

Luke Koppa : As I think should be the case with a bike like this, I immediately started loving the Slash more and more as soon as I got to head downhill. Compared to the size Large Rocky Mountain Instinct BC and size Medium 2019 Specialized Enduro 27.5, the size ML Slash felt notably less prone to getting knocked off-line. And despite it being a totally new bike to me, I very quickly felt comfortable carrying as much, or very likely more speed on the Slash than I would have on those other bikes. The fact that the Slash is more stable is no shocker (given its longer and slacker geo), but I do think the seemingly non-existent adjustment period I had is noteworthy.

Blister reviews the 2021 Trek Slash

The standout characteristic of the Slash during my time on it was how calm and well-damped the entire bike felt while riding fast through rocky and rooty sections. Both the ZEB up front and Super Deluxe Thru Shaft out back did a great job of muting out small and medium-sized chatter. And I think some of that damped feel might also come from the Slash 9.9 X01’s carbon Bontrager rims and bar, but I can’t say for sure. The smooth, almost “deadened” ride of the Slash 9.9 X01 reminded me of a 2019 Specialized Enduro 29 I rode with an Ohlins coil shock, Roval Traverse carbon rims, CushCore inserts, and DH-casing tires.

Dylan Wood : Once I point the Slash downhill, the miles I climbed to the top all start to become worth it. Despite being a long-travel bike that was at least partially designed with racing in mind, the Slash has been a blast to ride on many different types of trails and I believe a wide variety of riders will get along with its handling and ride feel.

The Slash felt very composed while going fast through rocky sections, and it seemed like it wanted to go exactly where I was looking. The big wheels and smooth suspension let me carry plenty of speed, while its generally stable and composed ride allowed me to confidently keep off the brakes without feeling like I was on the edge of control. I agree with Luke in that the Slash felt extremely intuitive from the very first ride — it felt as natural as if I’d been on it for a month.

To me, the standout quality of the Slash was the reliable traction it provided across pretty much all scenarios. Trek’s ABP rear suspension layout, the tune on the rear shock, the RockShox ZEB up front, and the Bontrager tires all combined to ensure that the wheels stayed pressed to the ground and headed in the right direction when I needed them to. Particularly in rough, steep sections and when slowing down to make a corner, the Slash felt stiff enough to be precise, but the suspension did a great job of staying active and smooth. Like Luke, I also found that the Slash did a great job of staying on line in off-camber sections, with minimal effort required to keep its wheels from getting knocked off track.

In addition to rough and steep terrain, I’ve also spent a significant amount of time on the Slash riding bike-park style trails with jumps and berms. While I am no Kade Edwards, I had no problem getting the size ML Slash into the air and throwing it sideways. The Slash was a ton of fun on machine-built jump and flow trails (particularly when using its shock’s “+” setting), and it would make a ton of sense for those who often find themselves riding lift-accessed bike park trails.

Dylan Wood reviews the Trek Slash for Blister in Crested Butte, Colorado.

One of my few complaints with the Slash is that it occasionally felt a little overwhelmed on fast g-outs and especially hard hits. I would describe the Slash as feeling pretty forgiving overall, whereas a bike like the Santa Cruz Megatower (which strikes us as more racing-oriented) felt more supportive. That said, I would be curious to try adding a volume spacer to the Slash’s rear shock to see if it could make it feel more supportive during big hits, without seriously compromising its supple feel over smaller trail chatter. In its stock form, I think the Slash 9.9 X01’s suspension setup will feel really nice to those who prioritize small-bump sensitivity, while those who instead prioritize support for big hits may want to experiment with the settings a bit.

I think the Slash is a great option for riders who will be riding a variety of terrain as well as the occasional Enduro or casual Downhill race. But for those who are purely concerned with riding as fast and hard as possible on their long-travel Trail / Enduro bike, I think there are some better (and probably less versatile) options out there. And of course, the Slash is a 160mm-travel bike, so if you ride trails that are mostly smooth and / or not very consistently steep, a shorter-travel bike would make more sense.

Eric Freson : I’d piggyback on most of what Dylan said, and his summary of the Slash captures my feelings well. A couple things that stand out to me specifically:

The Slash is a stiff bike, and feels like a precise descender. It’s also a bike that wants you to get it up to speed quickly and keep it there, rather than gaining and shedding momentum frequently (i.e., steep and sustained descents, rather than undulating ones). The bike feels very, very composed at speed, and given that, I found myself letting off the brakes and carrying speed through a lot of rough sections of trail where I might otherwise be inclined to slow down and pick my way through. Conversely, getting it up to speed, or back up to speed, was more work on the Slash than some other bikes in this category that I’ve ridden (e.g., Revel Rail 27.5 ).

It did take me a bit to dial in the sag of the Slash’s rear shock and find exactly where I wanted to leave it. The smooth and controlled damping from the RockShox Super Deluxe Ultimate Thru Shaft shock made it a bit harder to pick out when settings were really off, and so it simply took a bit more time and a bit more attention to refine my ideal sag. I wouldn’t call this a problem — bracketing suspension settings just took a bit more time than average since the range in which it felt “good” was broad. The upside is that it was easy to find a combination of settings that felt at least good , it was just a bit tougher to find settings that felt truly, 100% ideal . But with my preferred settings dialed in, I have been very impressed by both the ZEB Ultimate fork and the RockShox Super Deluxe Ultimate Thru Shaft shock.

In contrast to my feelings about the long cockpit of the Slash while climbing, I really enjoyed the ample length when taking the Slash to the air. It helped me feel like I had a ton of room to adjust my body positioning once headed skyward, and also helped to slow down the bike’s response to those same body adjustments. As someone who isn’t most at home taking off features with big lips or significant “kick,” this large margin for error and forgiving nature was noticed and appreciated.

Finally, I can relate to Dylan’s experience with the Slash and its tendency to prioritize sensitivity and traction over outright support and bottom-out resistance. The Slash is a bike that feels smooth, and it’s going to help most folks feel comfortable and in control in most normal trail situations. I think for the vast majority of riders, the balance between sensitivity and support the Slash offers is going to be very appealing. The tune of the shock helps to inspire speed, stability, and confidence over normal trail noise and obstacles in a way that is highly impressive. But if you are a “pro” level rider or particularly aggressive, you may find yourself wishing for a bit more support from the Slash and might be better off on something else, such as the Santa Cruz Megatower , Guerrilla Gravity Gnarvana , or Privateer 161 (which we’ll be reviewing soon).

RockShox Super Deluxe Ultimate Thru-Shaft Rear Shock

Luke Koppa : I spent most of my time on the Slash with its shock set on the baseline “0” LSC setting and occasionally the firmer “+” setting.

The 0 setting worked pretty well for most trails and my riding style, just as it should, given that it’s the baseline setting. The Slash is a bike that is the most fun when the trail is at least somewhat steep, and the 0 setting felt great on nearly all the trails I rode that fit that criteria.

That said, on flowier, mellower trails I’d find myself wishing for a slightly firmer, more supportive platform for getting in quick pedal strokes and pumping, and the + setting pretty much gave me that. It wasn’t some night-and-day difference, but it was definitely noticeable. I felt like the rear end wasn’t wallowing / sinking quite as much, and given that the switch is so easy to flip, I’d change it to the + setting any time I knew the trail ahead was going to be fairly smooth and not wildly steep.

Overall, I personally really like the concept and execution of the 3-position LSC switch. I’m not someone who’s constantly tinkering with my suspension and opting to shell out a bunch of extra dough so I have one or two more dials to play with. Instead, I just want to quickly find the setting(s) that work well for me on most of my rides. With the Slash’s shock, I got along well with both the 0 and + settings (I didn’t ride any trails that I felt warranted the “–” setting), and it was extremely easy to switch between them. So for me, the Slash’s shock covers just about any adjustment I could want, though I could see certain people preferring a more traditional high-end shock with more fine-tuning options.

Dylan Wood : The shock on this bike is one of the highlights of the component spec for me, and makes it stand out from other long-travel 29ers. I have been running Trek’s recommended 175 psi (generated by their suspension calculator ), and it results in 30% sag.

Dylan Wood reviews the Trek Slash for Blister in Crested Butte, Colorado.

I really enjoyed the 3-position low-speed-compression settings on the shock. When I knew what was in store on a given trail, it was very easy for me to change the settings to match the terrain. Put it in “+” for a flowy trail, “–” for steep and rough, and “0” for a little of both. This swap is so easy to make, I would do it several times on rides where the terrain changes between transitions (e.g., Hartman Rocks in Gunnison). These adjustments make for an immediate change in the feel of the bike, especially the “+” setting. When I didn’t know what was coming up, putting it right in that middle “0” setting was my go-to, and it is a great set-it-and-forget-it setting for those who would prefer not to tinker with their bike.

Of course, as Luke alluded to, certain riders may want more adjustment options. From my perspective, I think about 90% of riders could get along great with the Trek’s 3-position LSC switch for all of their riding. But particularly for racers or just those who are extremely sensitive to their suspension settings, this relative lack of adjustability could be a drawback on the Slash.

As for the other features of the shock, the numbered rebound dial is a no-brainer that I think every shock and fork should have. It gives you 10 settings to choose from, which could mean you don’t have as many settings as some other high-end shocks, but we always felt like we were able to arrive at a rebound setting that felt good to us.

Dylan Wood reviews the Trek Slash for Blister in Crested Butte, Colorado.

Overall, I think the Slash’s rear shock feels great as a whole and I have trouble finding anything I would personally change about it.

Eric Freson : I agree with everything said above. As someone who normally likes to try to set up his suspension to perform best in the aggregate, rather than fine-tune on a trail-by-trail basis, I appreciate how easy it is to make noticeable changes to the behavior of the rear suspension without needing to remember how many clicks of LSC and LSR I backed off two rides ago. It’s practical and functional — which encourages you to actually use it — and that is a hallmark of a good design in my book.

Bottom Line 

Luke Koppa & Dylan Wood : Trek seems to have done a good job of accomplishing their two main goals with the Slash. It’s a long-travel bike that feels very stable, smooth, and forgiving on rough descents — just like an Enduro race bike should. But at the same time, it’s very intuitive, pedals pretty well, and can still be lots of fun on less-extreme trails and at less-extreme speeds — just like a Trail bike should.

The new Slash is not the most efficient long-travel bike on the climbs, and very aggressive Enduro racers may prefer an even longer, slacker, and / or more supportive platform at super high speeds. And of course, those who don’t frequently ride particularly steep, rough terrain would likely be better off on a shorter-travel bike. But unlike most bikes that excel either while climbing or descending at exceptionally high speeds, the Slash is a long-travel bike that feels very comfortable in a wide variety of scenarios.

Eric Freson : The Slash will encourage many riders to push harder and go faster any time they get to point it downhill. This is a bike that thrives in steep and rough terrain, but is accessible and approachable in a way that encourages its rider to stay off the brakes and let the bike do its thing. The most aggressive riders out there might find themselves wanting a bit more support out of the suspension, but the Slash is going to be plenty of bike for most people, and is impressively forgiving and versatile — a tradeoff that will work well for a whole lot of riders out there.

3 comments on “2021 Trek Slash”

Good review. Big bike! IMO, a touch too far for rugged trail riding, but a ripping enduro machine, exactly as intended.

For now, I’ll stick with my “old” version. It’s funny how things change. When I bought that bike, most people said it was way too much for trail riding. Pure enduro race weapon only! I’ve found it to be an astounding all around rugged trail bike for chunky duty.

Thank you for this!

I was hesitant about the geometry of the M/L vs the M as I have always ridden L frames but found them too cumbersome with the M’s too unwieldy. At 5”10 210lbs I’m built more like a linebacker than a MTB’er, so the nimbleness of a M frame makes me nervous but the reach of a L makes for an uncomfortable ride.

I sprang for the Slash M/L and was a bit nervous about the immediately noticeable longer cock pit, but your characterization of the ideal rider for this bike suits me to a T!

I am definitely not a “Pro” and prioritize stability and control over support off of massive hits. This article has really made me feel I’ve made the right choice not just in bike but in sizing.

Thanks you gents!

Thank you for this, Scott! Here’s to many good rides ahead.

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trek slash review

Trek Slash Review | A totally one-of-a-kind custom bike build

The not-so-minor details.

Trek Slash 8

Trek Bicycles Australia

$3,312 AUD (frame only)

Last year saw Trek pull the wrappers off of its all-new Slash enduro bike. Featuring a redesigned chassis with in-built downtube storage, the 2021 Trek Slash received a whole suite of updates, including a brand new rear shock that was codeveloped alongside RockShox. Our two testers, Ben & Dan, were thoroughly impressed with the supple suspension and the bike’s ability to monster-truck its way through horrendously rocky and technical terrain. However, it was the Slash’s agility that was the real surprise, giving it an approachable and easy-to-manage demeanour on less gnarly singletrack. Despite its EWS-level capabilities, the Slash is a proper all-rounder.

The bike we tested prior to the official launch was the top-end Slash 9.9 X01. However, Trek offers three other models beneath it, with the Slash 7 being the cheapest option at $4,999 AUD. For those who want to build something a little different, there’s also the option to buy the Slash frameset.

And that’s exactly what Ben decided to do.

2021 trek slash 9.8 x01 holden commodore ss ute

Going Off-Script With The Trek Slash

But first, allow us to introduce you to our fellow Flow Frother.

Ben is a full-time bike shop guru, a skilled mechanic, and an appreciator of very robust IIPAs. With some three decades of riding and bike industry experience behind him, he’s also a talented and discerning rider, with an infectious enthusiasm for geeking out on new bike tech, while simultaneously being a connoisseur of fine retro collectables. Notable highlights in the shed include a Klein Mantra, Shimano Airlines groupset and a Manitou X-Vert Carbon. Not that Mick is jealous or anything.

After being thoroughly impressed with the Slash 9.9 X01, Ben heard through the grapevine that Trek Australia would be bringing in a very limited number of Slash framesets into the country. One impulse-purchase later, and a Slash 8 frame was on order.

To assemble his custom Slash, Ben’s chosen an eclectic build kit that is comprised of a variety of components that he’s been testing for Flow, along with a few parts that were purchased specifically for this bike. The build hasn’t stayed still either – a number of components have already been swapped around in search of the perfect setup, and there are a few upgrades planned for the future too.

Without further ado, let’s get stuck into the build and Ben’s impressions of this one-of-a-kind Trek Slash and some of the parts strapped to it.

2021 trek slash 8 alloy

The heart of any bike is the frame, so let’s start there Ben. Why did you go for the Slash?

Well I had been hankering after a big bike for a while after many years of riding XC and trail bikes. I used to ride and race a lot of DH in my younger days and have never quite been able to let it go! The Slash just had this great mix of playfulness and agility, whilst also being able to just steamroll through techy sections and feel very planted and confidence inspiring. It’s super fun to ride.

I opted for a frame only option as by the time I had decided to order one, only a few days after the official release, the complete bikes had already been snapped up! Lead times on the second shipment of complete bikes was far too long for my impatient nature so I sourced a frame before they all disappeared.

2021 trek slash 8 alloy

Did you choose the alloy frame specifically over the carbon option?

I never really considered the carbon option as I wanted a bike that I could be less delicate with and worry less about when tackling the extremely rocky local trails we have here. The added weight didn’t phase me, I have other bikes that are light and fast uphill, and that’s not what I bought the Slash for. The alloy Slash 8 frame (and complete bike) are perhaps the sweet spot in the Slash line up as it shares the same Rockshox Super Deluxe Ultimate Thru Shaft shock that you’ll find on the more posh carbon 9.8 and 9.9 models. This shock is a big part of why the Slash handles as well as it does, so it’s cool to see it offered on the alloy frame as quite often alloy models receive a more basic shock.

The alloy frame sells for nearly half of the carbon frame option with the same shock.

As with the carbon frames, the alloy Slash still gets the new downtube storage accessed by a trapdoor under the bottle cage, adjustable geometry via the Mino Link and generous downtube protection. Price was also a consideration. I already own a… ahem …not insignificant amount of expensive bikes so there wasn’t much scope for a full on enduro dream machine. The alloy frame sells for nearly half of the carbon frame option with the same shock. I’m never going to be at the pointy end of an enduro race so the alloy option was a bit of a no brainer.

2021 trek slash 8 alloy

That Trust fork is absolutely bonkers! Why the heck is that on there?

Ah, yes, the elephant in the room! The Shout is the second fork from the now COVID coma-induced Trust Performance. Trust was founded by three industry veterans, most notably the hugely influential Dave Weagle. Both Trust fork models, the 130mm Message and the 178mm Shout are linkage driven forks made almost entirely of carbon fibre and feature an air spring in each leg and a three-position damper unit in one leg.

Linkage driven forks are nothing new but these are perhaps the first to really benefit from the engineering flexibility of modern carbon fibre, while adding in intricately adjustable dampers and air springs.

2021 trek slash 8 alloy

I really feel the Trust forks are one of those products that, whilst not perfect, has perhaps paved the way for others to try something different.

I actually didn’t intend on building the Slash with the Trust Shout fork to begin with. I had a perfectly nice set of Lyrik Ultimates ready to go but the Trust came up for sale on the second hand market just as I was finishing the build, and I couldn’t say no! I have the shorter travel Trust Message fork on another bike and love it, so I was really keen to see how the 178mm Shout fork would feel.

I’m drawn to the more outlandish bicycle and component designs as these are what can push the envelope of what we currently ride and the way we think about bike and component design. I think that’s one of the reasons I have such a love for vintage mountain bikes. There was so much experimentation back in the day and lack of concern about what company shareholders would think. Don’t get me wrong, there were a lot of mis-steps but they have all in some way shaped the pretty amazing mountain bike and parts we ride now. I really feel the Trust forks are one of those products that, whilst not perfect, has perhaps paved the way for others to try something different.

2021 trek slash 8 alloy

You’ve since fitted a more conventional telescopic fork. How’s the performance in comparison?

Yeah I’ve now fitted a 170mm 2020 Lyrik Ultimate upgraded with the new C1 Debonair spring . It has really changed the way the bike behaves in a number of ways.

Instantly noticeable was the improvement in small bump sensitivity, particularly on very rocky, slower sections of trail, both uphill and downhill. The main weakness of the Trust fork was its climbing performance, admittedly not the designers’ biggest concern when making the fork but worth mentioning. The Trust fork tends to sit really high in its travel, raising the front of the bike and making slow, technical, rock-strewn climbs particularly tough going. The Lyrik is much plusher off the top, which naturally tends to lower the front end as you shift your weight forward. The initial suppleness also does a better job of soaking up momentum robbing rocks that can be the difference between cleaning a tech climb or not.

2021 trek slash 8 alloy

The difference between the forks when the terrain points down is interesting. I felt the Trust shines on high speed flow trails, where the stiffness and lateral rigidity of the huge carbon legs allows you to corner and carry speed in a way that makes you feel as though you could give Greg Minnaar a run for his money! The Lyrik still feels great in comparison on this type of descent but doesn’t quite give you the confidence to really let go on the corners like the Trust does.

When the descents become more technical and rocky the Trust does not feel as composed as the Lyrik, there is definitely a lot more feedback through the bars. The Lyrik does a better job of smoothing out the trail but the Trust feels faster and as though it carries more momentum. The rearward axle path of the Trust’s initial stroke has a lot to do with this as the wheel can more quickly move out of the way of an incoming rock, minimising its effect on your forward motion. It will be interesting to go back to the Trust after some time on the Lyrik to see if it highlights any other differences.

2021 trek slash 8 alloy

Let’s talk about the Crank Brothers Synthesis Alloy wheels; how have those held up?

Yeah, I’ve been testing out the entry level Crank Brothers Synthesis Alloy Enduro wheels, which sell for a reasonable $945 AUD and weigh in at 2,130g for the pair. Like the carbon versions, these wheels are designed and built differently front and rear to provide different ride qualities.

The front rim is 31.5mm internally compared to 29.5mm for the rear, the front also has 28 spokes where the rear has 32. Crank Brothers reckons the wider rim profile better supports a wider front tyre for cornering stability whilst also rounding the tyre’s profile, which again can help in the corners. The lower spoke count theoretically reduces front wheel stiffness a touch, potentially allowing a touch more compliance through choppy corners where an overly stiff front wheel can ping off rocks and ruts and leave you feeling sketchy.

The narrower rear rim is meant to better match up with a narrower, faster rolling rear tyre. The 32 spokes provide a laterally stiffer wheel, allowing more precise tracking through the corners.

2021 trek slash 8 alloy

It’s especially noticeable on technical climbs, I found myself second guessing every pedal stroke when trying to pick a line over rocky climbs.

The wheels have held up pretty well, suffering only a minor ding to the rear rim. This is no slight on the rims though, our trails are very rocky and I’m sure any alloy rim would have sustained some damage. Overall the wheels felt fine, not too flexy, not too stiff. This could be down to the difference in stiffness Crank Brothers reckon it has designed into the wheels, but this is hard to quantify.

The major issue for me with these wheels is the sluggish engagement of the rear hub. It’s 17 degrees, which is very slow, and I reckon for a nearly a $1000 wheelset these days is unforgivable. It’s especially noticeable on technical climbs, I found myself second guessing every pedal stroke when trying to pick a line over rocky climbs.

2021 trek slash 8 alloy

On the plus side the wheels are built with readily available J-bend spokes, external nipples and easily sourced cartridge bearings meaning they will be easy to maintain and live with. However, replacement rims aren’t particularly cheap at $195 AUD each. This is definitely worth factoring in if you are a frequent rim muncher.

My overall verdict on the Synthesis Enduro alloy is that they could really benefit from a higher-engaging freehub to be competitive with other wheels out there at this price point, or they need to come down in price. Whilst the differing ride qualities built into the front and rear is a nice concept, I personally haven’t found the benefits noticeable enough on the trail to justify the price or overcome the drawbacks of the rear hub.

2021 trek slash 8 alloy

Now you’re on the carbon Bontrager Line Pro 30 wheels. How do they compare?

After riding the Synthesis wheels, I then fitted a set of Bontrager Line Pro 30s. These sell for considerably more at $1,999 AUD, but they’re also lighter at 1,881g for the set, including rim strips and valves (you can get the full tech rundown on these wheels in our separate tech feature here ).

When I swapped wheels, I kept the same tyres and overall setup for the whole bike, in order to isolate the performance differences as accurately as possible. And in comparison, they feel great, lighter and more direct on the trail. They are 250 grams lighter than the Crank Brothers wheels, which doesn’t sound like a lot but it is definitely noticeable. The carbon rims add to the feeling of directness, without feeling harsh or chattery like some carbon wheels can (like previous generation Bontrager carbon wheels).

2021 trek slash 8 alloy

The rear hub features the Rapid Drive 108 freehub mechanism, which offers 3.3 degrees of engagement. This is super fast, especially when compared to the 17 degrees on offer from the Crank Brothers wheels.

Bontrager claims that the rims found on the new Line Pro 30s are the strongest it has ever tested . We’ll have to take this with a grain of salt as testing is obviously done in house. Bontrager does back all of its carbon wheels with a lifetime warranty and a 2 year “ no questions asked ” crash replacement policy though. Damage your carbon wheels within a 2 year period and Bontrager will replace them. This is increasingly common in the carbon wheel market these days but still pretty cool to have that peace of mind when purchasing.

trek slash review

Would you recommend either wheelset over the other?

I prefer the Bontrager wheels over the Crank Brothers but they are twice the price, so it’s not a fair comparison. I personally love the direct and lively feel of a stiff carbon wheelset. These qualities worked well with the Slash’s super supple rear suspension as the wheels could handle the speed I found myself entering with into chunky rock gardens and off-camber sections.

By comparison the Crank Brothers wheels didn’t feel as positive or stiff. This could actually be a good thing though, particularly for lighter riders or those on hardtails who are looking for a bit more compliance from their wheels. I’d personally like to see a quicker-engaging freehub, but if you’re not so bothered by that, they’re a solid set of hoops for under a grand.

It’s worth mentioning the Bontrager wheelset that sits below the Line Pro 30, the Line Elite 30. These wheels are $1,499 AUD and feature the same Rapid Drive 108 hub internals and the same warranty support, but are built with slightly heavier carbon rims and J-Bend spokes. The Line Elite wheels are only 130 grams heavier, and in my mind would be worth considering when looking for an off-the-shelf wheelset.

2021 trek slash 8 alloy

What tyres are you currently using?

I’ve been running a Maxxis Minion DHF EXO 2.5in up front and a Maxxis Dissector EXO+ 2.4in on the rear, both with the 3C Maxx Terra rubber compound. The Minion DHF weighs in at 1,065 grams, but while the Dissector is meant to have a heavier duty EXO+ casing, it’s actually quite a bit lighter at 925 grams.

The Minion DHF, as we all know, is superb and provides a ton of confidence up front. The Dissector certainly rolls well for an aggressive tyre but hasn’t given me the confidence that the Minion did. The Dissector did also suffer a ride-ending pinch-flat after sustaining a big hole on the bead and through the top of the casing. I’m not hard on tyres so this was a bit disappointing. If you’re a certified tyre shredder then consider the tougher Double Down casing, particularly on the rear tyre. That’s exactly what I’ll be ordering shortly!

2021 trek slash 8 alloy maxxis minion dhf

You’ve been testing the Shimano Deore 1×12 drivetrain too. Give us the lowdown on your experience so far.

Listen up bike snobs (myself included) – Shimano Deore 12 speed is bloody amazing, seriously impressive! The shift quality is superb, particularly when shifting into harder gears as it uses the same HG+ cassette design as SLX, XT and XTR 12 speed groupsets. I ride the XTR 12 speed groupset on my XC bike and honestly the difference between this and the Deore groupset is so small. The shifter feels a touch softer and a little less positive than XTR but the actual difference in shift quality is negligible.

2021 trek slash 8 alloy shimano deore 1x12 M6100

I do miss the multiple upshift offered by XT and XTR shifters but if you’ve never ridden with this it won’t be an issue. It has not given me a mis-shift or any cause for concern since it’s been fitted to the Slash, its performance is outstanding, especially considering the cost of the entire groupset is less than the cost of a cassette from a top-tier groupset from either Shimano or SRAM.

I think in the long term I would consider upgrading the cranks and the cassette as these components are pretty heavy. Changing to XT cranks and cassette for example would save nearly 300 grams without sacrificing any strength or durability (for confirmed weights and a closer look at the full Deore M6100 groupset, check out our detailed tech feature here ).

2021 trek slash 8 alloy shimano deore 1x12 M6100

What about the Deore M6120 brakes?

The Deore four-piston brakes have been impressive with good power and modulation. Fitting and set up is simple and straightforward, and the bleed process is the same as all current Shimano models. I’ve paired them with Shimano XT Ice Tech 180mm rotors front and rear.

Modulation on Shimano’s four-piston brakes is improved over their less powerful two-piston models, and there’s a really nice power progression as you move through the lever stroke. The lever feel was consistent throughout the test, with none of the wandering bite point that some Shimano models have had a problem with.

I will say that the stock resin pads didn’t quite give the bite that and power that I was used to from sintered metal pads though. Unfortunately I couldn’t find anywhere that had stock of sintered Shimano pads to suit these Deore callipers, and it’s worth noting that the finned pads for the four-piston XT and SLX brakes are not compatible with these Deore callipers.

2021 trek slash 8 alloy shimano deore m6120

One of our main suppliers at the shop had just started doing Galfer pads and rotors so I’ve since fitted a pair of the standard compound pads, which made a big difference to braking power and firmed up the lever feel at the bite point. For anyone with Shimano brakes who’s looking for more power over the stock resin brake pads, I can highly recommend upgrading to some sintered or semi-metallic pads.

2021 trek slash 8 alloy shimano deore m6120

Tell us about the rest of your bike’s cockpit setup.

I’m running a 45mm long Bontrager stem, which clamps a 35mm One Up carbon bar with 20mm of rise. I’ve cut these down from 800mm to 780mm. Currently I’m riding the ODI Elite Flow grips and a 180mm travel OneUp dropper, which is paired to the Shimano dropper lever.

The OneUp bar is super comfortable due to its flattened, oval shape that allows some vertical flex whilst still retaining fore and aft stiffness. They are a huge improvement over the PRO Tharsis carbon bars I initially built the bike with, those things are really stiff, and I found them to be quite harsh.

The dropper has also been top-notch, though I’m not in love with the Shimano lever. It works fine, and the textured paddle is nice, though the return spring requires more thumb force every time you press the paddle, and the physical position of the paddle is too close to the grips. Some further adjustability, or just a bit more clearance between the paddle and the grip would be nice.

2021 trek slash 8 alloy oneup v2 dropper

What do you love most about it?

As I mentioned before, the bike’s ability to feel lively, and chuckable whilst still feeling planted and stable when needed, is a great quality. The rear shock and shock tune is superb as well, really smooth and supple at the top off the top, supportive in the mid stroke and ramps up nicely at the end of the travel.

I also really like the Knock Block steering limiter, which has been essential in previous generations to stop the fork crown slamming into the downtube. With the new Slash, this is no longer needed but it still prevents brakes and shifters whacking your top tube in a crash. This also allows you to run nice tidy cables and brake hoses without worrying about them getting damaged in a crash when the bars try to fully rotate. The turning radius on the Knock Block has been increased over the previous generation, it also comes with a replacement chip to allow for complete removal, if you feel like trying to channel your inner Brandon Semenuk!

2021 trek slash 8 alloy

Any other changes on the horizon?

I’d like to try and squeeze a 200-210mm travel dropper post in there if possible, just to get the saddle more out of the way on some of the really steep sections. To help minimise rock strikes I’ll probably switch to 170mm crank arms. Only the 175mm arms were available at the time of launch, and while they haven’t been a huge issue, any reduction in your pedals smacking into rocks is a plus. I’ll probably switch to a Wolf Tooth dropper remote at some stage too.

In the longer term I’d love to give the Vorsprung Secus a go on the Lyrik Ultimate. The Secus is essentially an enlarged negative air spring that actually sits outside of the fork at the base of the lower leg. It’s supposed to give your air fork a “ coil like feel” in the top 2/3rd of the travel whilst providing a more gentle ramp up at the end of the travel.

The only other more immediate change will be an Absolute Black oval chainring, as I bloody love those things. I’ve used them for years now on almost every bike I own, I find they really help smooth out power delivery on steep, loose pinches, which helps prevent a loss of traction at a critical moment. I’ve ridden them for so long that normal round rings feel a bit weird!

2021 trek slash 8 alloy

Ben’s Custom Trek Slash 8 Specs

  • Frame |  Alpha Platinum Alloy, ABP Suspension Design, 160mm Travel
  • Fork | RockShox Lyrik Ultimate, Charger RC2 Damper, 42mm Offset, 170mm Travel
  • Shock |  RockShox Super Deluxe Ultimate, Thru-Shaft 3-Position Damper, 230×62.5mm
  • Wheels | Bontrager Line Pro 30, Carbon Rims, 30mm Inner Width
  • Tyres | Maxxis Minion DHF 3C Maxx Terra 2.5WT Front & Dissector EXO+ 3C Maxx Terra 2.4WT Rear
  • Drivetrain | Shimano Deore 1×12 w/Deore 32T Crankset & 10-51T Cassette
  • Brakes | Shimano Deore 4-Piston w/180mm Rotors
  • Bar | OneUp Carbon, 35mm Diameter, 20mm Rise, 780mm Wide
  • Stem | Bontrager Line, Knock Block, 45mm Length
  • Grips | ODI Elite Flow Lock-On
  • Seatpost | OneUP Dropper, 34.9mm Diameter, 180mm Travel
  • Saddle | Bontrager Kovee Elite
  • Size Tested | Large
  • Confirmed Weight | 15.75kg (without pedals)
  • RRP | $3,312 AUD (Frame & Shock)

trek slash 8 trust shout linkage fork

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  • Main content

Should you buy it?

Which model should you get, what are your alternatives, the bottom line, the trek slash is a versatile mountain bike for beginners — it made me a stronger climber and more confident on downhills.

  • Trek's Slash mountain bikes  make it easy to confidently tackle downhills while still making climbing smooth.
  • Though it's made for downhill riding, it's versatile for a wide range of skill levels and biking styles.
  • I recently added the Slash to my lineup and liked how it allowed me to ride more advanced trail systems.

Insider Today

Mountain biking is my favorite hobby and while it's always been fun, riding Trek's new Slash line of mountain bikes reignited my passion for the sport. I ride mostly in the Lake Tahoe area, where trails are steep, rocky, and tight in the trees, so it's not your basic "ride through the neighborhood" kind of park.

And to be quite honest, I'm not a very good athlete (though I make up for it with enthusiasm). While I love active sports, I never seem to be able to keep up with my friends who mountain bike less often than I do; that is, until I got on the saddle of the Trek 9 , a bike that made me feel more confident and speedier on both uphill climbs and fast, steep downhills.

Like most premium mountain bikes, it doesn't come cheap but it does have some components and design features that really take some of the pain out of long, lung-busting rides. Here's what it's like to ride and why you don't want to buy another bike until you at least give this one a spin.

  • Drivetrain: SRAM X01 Eagle, 12 speed
  • Weight: 31.14 lbs (Medium)
  • Suspension: NEW RockShox Super Deluxe Ultimate, DebonAir spring, Thru Shaft 3-position damper
  • Hub: RapidDrive 108 rear hub (more efficiently powers your acceleration)
  • Tires: Tubeless 29-inch
  • Travel: 170mm front, 160mm rear

If you don't know the basics of how a full-suspension mountain bike works, here's the gist: Both the front and the back of the bike have a shock to absorb impacts so you can ride over rocks and rough terrain without getting bucked off the seat.

The amount of impact your bike absorbs is measured by "travel," which ranges from about 100 to 180. The higher the number, the smoother your bike rides over obstacles. Traditional thinking says that having more suspension makes climbing more difficult, but the Trek Slash is one of the few outliers.

With its rear suspension locked out, which is as simple as flipping a switch on the frame, the bike feels nearly as unforgiving as a road bike, despite its relatively high 160 millimeters of travel. All your energy goes into pedaling and moving the bike forward, rather than having some of that energy absorbed by the suspension.

If you're new to biking and have trouble on steep or long climbs, the Slash is a game-changer. None of my friends ever believed me when I sang this bike's praises on climbs until they spent a few minutes in the saddle. It totally defies the notion that more suspension equals harder climbing.

This performance is due in large part to the bike using a shock called the "ThruShaft." This allows the suspension to absorb impact quicker, which makes you more stable and smoother on downhills, especially on trails with more boulders than dirt.

Sure, it seems odd to boast about something as simple as storage on a bike loaded with features, but the Slash has a built-in storage unit in the frame — how smart is that?

It comes with a kit to hold your basic bike tools, saving you valuable space in your bike bag or pockets.

Control and balance

When I first started biking, I found myself worried about losing control on trails, either by slipping in dirt or getting tossed off balance when I stood on the pedals on downhills and in tight turns. But I've not thought of those things one time on the Slash.

If you're worried about stability, or being able to land jumps and drops, you'll appreciate how burly and solid the frame and components are. It feels like my teammate, rather than something I'm fighting to control

All bikes in the Slash line have a longer frame than most mountain bikes, which keeps your center of gravity lower. It comes with wide, 29-inch tires to increase grip and traction, which helps with both climbing and riding on snow and mud (which I did often). Wide handlebars help me stay balanced when standing, and the super-useful Active Braking Pivot (ABP) keeps the suspension active even while breaking.

If you often ride steep uphills and love charging downhills, then yes. I don't know if I've ever owned a piece of outdoor gear I recommend more than the Trek Slash.

It rewrites the rules when it comes to big-suspension bikes and it feels like being in control of a roller coaster on the downhill and cruising on a stationary bike on the uphill. I can't imagine any trail where this bike wouldn't be the best option.

Serious mountain bikers are going to want the Slash with the lighter and more durable carbon frames, the most affordable of which is the Slash 9.7, starting at $4,800. It's well in line with the starting price point for carbon-frame bikes from other brands, too. But if you're new to biking and don't mind a little extra weight, the aluminum-frame Slash bikes are a steal. The Slash 8 comes in at $4,200 and is similar to the higher-end models. Buyers could also opt for the Slash 7 at a cool $3,700, though it doesn't have the useful ThruShaft shock. I'd advise buyers to spring for the 8 over the 7 if possible. If you have the budget, the Slash 9.9 XO1 is the most fun bike I've ever ridden – I literally found myself saying "woo hoo" out loud on the trails. It's a hell of a ripper but won't overwhelm intermediate riders.

Suzie Dundas/Insider

If you're fine spending a few thousand, Yeti Cycles, out of Colorado, makes great bikes. The Yeti SB165 is comparable in suspension, features, and specs. It has smaller (27.5-inch) tires, which can be a little easier to turn and accelerate than a 29-inch tire. It'll set you back $9,300 for the highest-end model.

If you just need an entry-level full suspension, the Stumpjumper Alloy from Specialized is a tried-and-true starter bike at $2,400 new. While you never want to over-extend yourself cost-wise, remember that you'll want a better bike as you become a better biker; you may find yourself wanting to replace your bike in two years if you buy a model with beginner specs.

The Slash's 29-inch tires give it extra grip on loose or slippery surfaces. Suzie Dundas/Insider

The Slash is designed to tackle fast, gnarly downhills, but it's so well-built that it still outperforms so many other bikes on cross-country and uphill rides. You don't have to take the Slash off massive cliff jumps to appreciate its features, although you certainly can.

I have no doubt that beginners will be spoiled once they pedal a few miles in a Slash saddle, too. This line from Trek is likely to become the go-to bike for both pros and people willing to spend a little extra to make mountain biking easier and more fun. I'm thrilled to have the Slash in my mountain bike arsenal.  

  • Top-of-the-line everything makes it feel like this bike is your partner on rides, giving and taking in response to your movement.
  • A high-tech suspension helps riders feel confident on the downhills while making climbing unexpectedly smooth for an enduro bike.
  • Other great features include super-grippy tires, a stable dropper post for punchy climbing and drops, one-handed shifting with 12 gears for climbing and downhilling, and high-end parts that seem more than durable enough for drops, climbs, and crashes.
  • No full-suspension mountain bike is cheap, but this one will set you back $10,000 for the highest-end model (though aluminum-frame bikes start around $3,500.)
  • The frame is large and burly – you might want to size down if you're between sizes.
  • Maintenance is required. If you're going to spend this much, be willing to take it to a bike shop seasonally to maintain peak performance.
  • It may be overkill for the most casual riders, who may be better suited to a hard-tail (front suspension only) bike.

Sign up for Insider Reviews' weekly newsletter for more buying advice and great deals. You can purchase logo and accolade licensing to this story here . Disclosure: Written and researched by the Insider Reviews team. We highlight products and services you might find interesting. If you buy them, we may get a small share of the revenue from the sale from our partners. We may receive products free of charge from manufacturers to test. This does not drive our decision as to whether or not a product is featured or recommended. We operate independently from our advertising team. We welcome your feedback. Email us at [email protected] .

trek slash review

Trek Slash 9.8 XT review

Alan Muldoon

  • Alan Muldoon
  • April 22, 2022

Yes, the Trek Slash 9.8 XT is a great choice for enduro, but its capable, lively ride makes it a great do-it-all choice for the one bike quiver

Trek Slash test winner

Trek Slash test winner Credit: Roo Fowler

Product Overview

Overall rating:, trek slash 9.8.

  • Fast, fun and efficient. Tight, reactive ride. Progressive geometry. Versatile, composed. A do-it-all bike
  • XL would benefit from a steeper seat angle


Price as reviewed:.

The Trek Slash 9.8 XT is an enduro bike with progressive geometry and 29er wheels and 170/160mm of travel, and offers a performance that seriously impressive. Good enough to make it on our list of the best enduro mountain bikes ? Absolutely. It’s good enough to score a  10 out of 10; a rare feat.

Trek Slash 9.8 XT need to know:

  • Mino Link geometry adjustment allows for a 27.5in Mullet setup
  • KnockBlock 2.0 offers an increases the steering angle from 58º to 72º and can be removed if needed
  • A bash guard on the MRP chain guide helps protects the 30t XT chainring
  • RockShox Super Deluxe Ultimate shock sports ThruShaft technology to control the 160mm travel

Man riding Trek Slash 9.8 mountain bike in a forest

mbr bike test editor putting the Trek Slash 9.8 through its paces

We took the Trek Slash 9.9 XO1 for a first ride when it launched last year, and while the 2022 bike looks remarkably similar, right down to the frame colour of the bike we featured last time, there are several differences. The main one being that the XT equipped bike is £1,500 cheaper and there are changes to the specification that reflect its lower price.

You get a full Shimano XT drivetrain and 4-piston XT brakes, rather than SRAM XO1. You also get a RockShox Zeb Select+ fork rather than the Ultimate, while the Bontrager Line Carbon 30 wheels switch to the alloy version. Downgrades? Yes, but none that should detract from the underlying ride quality of the Slash.

trek slash review

A full Shimano XT drivetrain including cranks

The most important thing is that the OCLV carbon frame remains unchanged, so you still benefit from all of the advances in the frame geometry and suspension that Trek introduced last year. Updates that saw the addition of downtube storage, the head tube angle getting slacker, the seat tube steeper and the reach longer. Trek also made the suspension more progressive, and increased rear travel by 10mm to 160mm. All positive changes then.

Trek Slash 9.8 suspension

Trek has always been a big proponent of proprietary suspension components. As such, the RockShox Super Deluxe Ultimate shock on the Slash 9.8 XT features Trek’s ThruShaft technology and it’s the exact same shock that comes on the flagship model. This design eliminates the need for a high pressure IFP (internal floating piston) and in simple terms, this allows for lower breakaway resistance and improved sensitivity. And because the damper shaft passes straight through the shock body, it needs an extender mount and a small hole in the frame to accept the ThruShaft at bottom out.

trek slash review

This might be a cheaper bike but the RockShox Super Deluxe Ultimate shock is the exact same shock that comes on the flagship model

Sounds complex? Well it is, but thankfully setting up the suspension on the Slash is as easy as 1, 2, 3. Sag gradients make it simple to dial in the correct air pressure, and in the open setting the shock has three low-compression settings for fine tuning the response to pedal inputs or the style of terrain you’re riding. Also if you ever want to fit an aftermarket shock, that’s still possible as the Slash uses a 230×62.5mm metric shock size, you’ll just need different lower mounting hardware.

Setting up the suspension on the Slash is as easy as 1, 2, 3

Up front the 170mm travel RockShox Zeb Select+ lacks the high speed compression adjuster found on the Ultimate, but you still have the low-speed compression and rebound to fine tune the ride. The burly 38mm chassis definitely adds stiffness and a real sense of security, something that heavier or harder charging riders will really appreciate.

Trek Slash 9.8 components

Sometimes it’s the little things that make a big difference. Like Trek swapping one of the 10mm headset spacers for two 5mm spacers so you can fine tune the height of the handlebar. It also fitted 170mm crankarms to improve pedal clearance, not that the Slash needs them as we had no issues with pedal strikes with the 175mm cranks on last year’s bike.

trek slash review

The Mino link

So if the low geometry setting is really the default mode, what’s the high setting on the Mino Link for? It should provide just enough clearance to run a 27.5in rear wheel if needed, especially with the 170mm cranks.

trek slash review

Rapid Drive 108 freehub on the Bontrager Line 30 wheelset

And while we’re on the subject of wheels, the Rapid Drive 108 freehub on the Bontrager Line 30 wheelset offers a 3.33º engagement angle, which is almost 7 times faster than the rear hub on the Specialized Stumpy Evo.

trek slash review

The removable Switch lever on the rear axle

Trek has missed a trick with it’s removable 6mm Switch lever on the rear axle though. Yes, it also fits the fork axle but if Trek used a stepped design like Scott has, it could probably add a 5mm allen key and a T25 to the same tool. Why is this important? Well, Trek has the smallest cutaway in the downtube for storage so you can’t pack as much stuff into the frame.

Trek Slash 9.8 performance

The Trek Slash is a deceptive bike. And if it weren’t for the burly RockShox Zeb fork, you’d never guess by looking at the compact carbon frame that it’s a big travel rig designed to tackle the toughest enduro race stages. However, the numbers don’t lie. With the size L Slash sporting a 63.5º head angle and a 1,272mm wheelbase, it has a footprint that guarantees a stable grounding even on unstable terrain.

Man riding Trek Slash 9.8 mountain bike in a forest

Don’t let the number fool you, this bike is incredibly capable

And while the 29in wheels can certainly truck over rough terrain with the best of them, make no mistake, the Slash is no monster truck. If anything, it’s tight, reactive ride belies its generous travel. And nowhere is that more apparent than when you stomp on the pedals. This bike simply motors.

It feels more solid than the Stumpy or Jam too, something that will definitely favour heavier riders. At a hair over 15kg with our Maxxis control tyres fitted, you don’t even pay a weight penalty for the extra travel or solidity.

The balanced geometry and low standover allows you to get into all sorts of shapes on the Slash, which makes it easy to stay on top of the bike. Basically you always feel like you’re piloting the Slash, never a passenger. Yes, the downtube storage isn’t as generous as on the Stumpy, but with an extra tool pouch you could easily crame more stuff into the undercarriage.

trek slash review

Downtube storage includes two small bags for organising and stowing essentials

Our only real criticism of the Slash then, is that there’s quite a bit of chain noise. So if you have the legs to push a 32t chainring this would provide some extra clearance between the upper run of the chain and the chainstay. Failing that, you could stick with the stock 30t chainring as add additional rubber protection to key areas of the stays.

  • Best enduro mountain bikes ridden and rated
  • Best mountain bike: The ultimate trail, XC and enduro bikes tried and tested

For an enduro bike with progressive geometry, the Trek Slash 9.8 XT is incredibly versatile. Get on the gas and it responds with a sense of urgency that’s usually reserved for shorter travel bikes. Land deep of a drop, or jump, however, and the rear suspension graces you with a featherlight landing. Cool and composed in every situation the Trek Slash is not the outright plushed bike we’ve ever tested, but the suspension response is always proportional and measured, so you never feel under or over-biked. It’s what makes the Slash the ideal choice for anyone looking for that one do-it-all ride.

Gear-obsessed editors choose every product we review. We may earn commission if you buy from a link. How we test gear.

Trek Slash

Carve Up the Trails with Trek’s Long Travel and Lively Slash 8

This 150/160mm aluminum 29er features trail handling and enduro travel.

The Takeaway: With less-aggressive geometry than many of its competitors, the Slash is a big-travel bike for trail riders

  • Trek's proprietary shock offers superb rear-suspension performance.
  • Shorter reach and wheelbase than many enduro 29ers
  • Great parts featuring SRAM Eagle with 10-50 cassette

Price : $3,679

Trek built the Slash to be the mountain bike for the rider who wants a bigger bike but isn’t afraid of a long climb, or an epic day of trail riding.

An efficient climber, especially with SRAM’s GX Eagle drivetrain, allows you to lay the power down all day. It’s for big mountain days, crushing rock filled descents and popping off the lips of jumps all while climbing back to the top with a smile on your face. Even when the trail is flatter, the Slash is still efficient on the pedals. In the flowy sections of trail, the Slash begs to carve corners and play on trailside features.

.css-f79ry9{text-align:center;font-family:Charter,Charter-robotoFallback,Charter-localFallback,Georgia,Times,Serif;font-size:1.1875rem;line-height:1.6;}.css-f79ry9 strong{font-family:Charter,Charter-weightbold-robotoFallback,Charter-weightbold-localFallback,Georgia,Times,Serif;font-weight:bold;}.css-f79ry9 em{font-style:italic;font-family:Charter,Charter-styleitalic-robotoFallback,Charter-styleitalic-localFallback,Georgia,Times,Serif;} —The Slash's Five Coolest Features—

Trek Slash

Frame Saver

Trek's Knock Block system prevents the bar and fork from spinning around and damaging the frame.

Trek Slash

Smooth Shock

Trek's regressive Reaktiv thru-shaft damper is extremely supple.

Trek Slash

Up and Down

The reversible Mino Link lets the rider fine tune the Slash's geometry.

Trek Slash

Razzle Dazzle

The harlequin stickers appear to change color.

Trek Slash

Handy Guides

Sag markings on the fork and shock make setting up the suspension easier.

The Slash 8 is the base model, so it didn’t have the corner exit snap of a lighter bike, but that was more from the wheels than the frame. You can feel that it begs to be sprinted out of each corner. The RE:aktiv with Thru Shaft works faster than a normal so a little bit of setup time is required to get the balance right. One that suspension gets settled, turning the Slash loose in the rough becomes easy. It strikes a natural balance between precision and forgivness in the rough, falling naturally towards the precision side, with its efficiency, but will pull you through if you go full reckless.

Trek Slash

The Slash Aluminum Family

The Slash 8 is the only aluminum model in the lineup, and the cheapest at $3,680. The 9.7, 9.8, and 9.9 are all made of carbon, and are priced from $4,730 to $7,500. The Slash 9.7 moves to the carbon frame, but goes to NX Eagle for the shifting. The Slash 9.8 runs the SRAM GX Eagle drivetrain, but moves to a Fox Performance 36 Float fork and Bontrager Line Carbon 30 to the wheelset. The top of the line Slash 9.9 features the same carbon hoops, Fox Factory 36 Float with GRIP2, X01 Eagle drivetrain, and Shimano Deore XT 4-piston brakes.

The Slash's Tech


Like many full suspension bikes, the Slash 8 has adjustable geometry to help riders fine-tune a bike's geometry to their preferences. The Mino Link allows for head angle adjustments of ½ degree and 10mm of bottom bracket height. I tried both settings before settling on the low: the Slash behaved and climbed well enough that I couldn’t justify keeping the bike in the high setting.

Trek Slash

One thing the aluminum Slash has that its more expensive carbon siblings don't is an 18.5" size between the 17.5" and 19.5". This gives medium-height riders the option to size up for a bit more reach and a longer wheelbase, or size down for a more compact, quicker-handling bike.

Text, Line, Font, Pattern, Number,

Modern bikes are always pushing longer, lower and slacker. The Slash is a bit long in the tooth these days, and so the geometry looks conservative today, even though it wasn't when it launched. The Mino Link allows for head angle adjustment from 65.1 to 65.6 degrees. With a 51mm offset and 160mm fork, the front end is a little quicker than many of its competitors. The reach for the 17.5 and the 18.5 are 431mm and 446mm respectively, which, for a 29er enduro bike, is on the short side of current trends.

The Trek's product manager didn't cut any corners on the rear suspension, equipping the Slash 8 with a RockShox Deluxe RT3, RE:aktiv with Thru Shaft. The RockShox Yari RC on the front brings value-minded performance with just compression and rebound adjustment.

Trek Slash

The SRAM GX Eagle is proven to be a reliable performer. Trek brings everything else in house with their Bontranger brand with including the dropper post. One piece to keep in mind, is the “Knock Block” headset, with restricts the fork from turning too far, or spinning backward and hitting the frame, similar to how a downhill fork with bump stops functions.

The Competition

Land vehicle, Bicycle, Bicycle wheel, Bicycle part, Vehicle, Bicycle tire, Bicycle frame, Spoke, Mountain bike, Bicycle fork,

Ride Impressions

Trek’s Slash 8 is built to be a mountain bike. This sounds obvious, but it’s well rounded enough to handle everything well, but leans towards the aggressive trail and enduro end of the spectrum, but is comfortable on normal trail riding.

The Slash's handling was intuitive, and I was able to jump right into riding my favorite trails with no adjustment period.

The Slash is efficient, although I did find myself reaching for the little blue cheater lever for climbing on occasion. Climbing steep sections, the front end did occasionally wander. That's not surprising for a 150/160mm 29er, and the Slash is easier to manage on slow and steep climbs than many of its competitors, partially because of its more-conservative geometry.

Trek Slash

Still, I had no problem getting rowdy on the Slash 8. It was ready to carve and pop off lips on the flow trails and was one of the easiest bikes I’ve been on to pull out a big whip over a hip. That efficiency combined with the lively feel of the RE:aktiv shock take away from the planted feeling out of many bikes with this amount of travel, but the Slash 8 never feels unsettled. When the rider drops their heels and sinks into attack mode, it will just eat up anything you put in its way. It does a great job balancing the fine line between precision and forgiveness when pinning it though the most technical sections.

With smooth suspension, great parts, and balanced handling, the Slash is more trail bike than enduro race bike. So if you prefer a trail bike with more travel, the Slash 8 is a great bike.

equipment Slash 8

Slash 8

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2021 Trek Slash 9.8 Review

2021 Trek Slash 9.8 Review - Thunder Mountain Bikes

The day has finally come; the new 2021 Trek Slash 9.8 is here! We’ve been curious what Trek would end up doing for the new Slash, and here’s a quick rundown. We even have a new Slash 9.8 large in stock! For rentals, we have the Slash 8, large & x large in stock and ready to rent!  

A few changes that we could have predicted: longer reach, slacker head angle, steeper seat tube angle (steeper for Trek standards, but still a degree more conservative than smaller brands), and a downtube storage compartment. The surprising change was the bump up in travel, going from 150mm / 160mm to a whopping 160mm / 170mm layout. Combined with the 29er wheels and beefy 38mm stanchion forks, this will be a beast of a bike. Compared to the previous iteration, we see this as being much more of a big hitter enduro or bike park style bike. 

Another small change that we’re happy to see is the improved range of the Knock Block. We’ve always felt the steering radius was a tad too tight on the previous Knock Block, whether it’s a tight switchback or merely putting the bike in your car. This more significant steering range could be a small, but a considerable improvement over the previous Slash. 

Knowing Trek, the OCLV carbon layup will put this bike on the lighter end for this category. We’ve always been impressed with how light our previous Slash builds have turned out. Even while being a monster truck, this should be an excellent bike to climb high up and access those long rough descents. Here in Sedona, picture riding up Schnebly Hill dirt road, all the way up to the Mogollon Rim, and bombing Munds Upper Cut to Munds Wagon all the way back to town! That would be sweet! This Slash would be the ultimate ride on a long, rough descent like this. 

What sets this bike apart from the crowd? We’re happy to see the downtube storage compartment. It’s a small detail, but it’s really convenient. Even if you’re on the chairlifts at a bike park, this would still be a considerable convenience for carrying a few extra tools and a jacket without having to wear a hip pack or strap things to your frame. Speaking of downtubes, we are glad to see additional downtube armor guards covering the entire length of the downtube. Much better solution compared to frame tape or ride wrap. 

Another detail we like about Trek is the sizing. With modern mountain bikes getting longer and longer, the gaps between sizing can be huge. Trek has maintained a M/L size, perfect for all of us in that ‘tweener height range. Take, for example, the newest Giant Reign 29er, that bike has a reach difference of about 40mm between the medium and large! Or look at the Santa Cruz Megatower, with a size large reach of 470mm, that would be equivalent to this new Trek Slash in the M/L, with the Slash large being between the Megatower large and XL. If you’re about 5’10 or above - you’ll want to look into the Slash size range. 

2021 Trek Slash 9.8 thunder mountain bikes full bike image

As usual with Trek - a great parts spec, competitive pricing, and lifetime warranty is included. Send us an email if you’re interested in getting on the list for a new Slash! 

Watch our Trek Slash 9.8 build video here !

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Trek Slash Gen 6

trek slash review

Trek Slash Gen 6 Bike Review

Words and Photos by Spencer Astra

The all-new Trek Slash is beefed up in celebration of its sixth iteration.

This fresh design features an oversized, 19-tooth idler pulley and a high-pivot rear suspension configuration for the first time in the model’s lineage. Travel has been increased to 170 millimeters, pushing it further into the all-out, winch-and-plummet ethos that so many enduro bikes seem to be gravitating to. Our 9.9 version was spec’d with Bontrager’s RSL integrated handlebar and stem, a SRAM T-Type XO drivetrain, and the all-new RockShox Vivid Ultimate rear shock.

The previous Slash was an impressive bike. It was impressively light for an enduro bike and was surprisingly efficient to pedal around all day. The new Slash Gen 6 leans more heavily toward the chairlift and shuttle culture side of the mountain bike world with some extra heft and additional pulleys in the drivetrain. However, with the oversized pulley and lighter casing tires, I found the Slash to climb the most efficiently of any high-pivot bike I’ve reviewed thus far. I attribute this mostly to the large, 19-tooth upper idler.

Bike Geometry & Specs

Model: Slash Gen 6 Price: $9,399.99 Wheel Size: 29"/27.5" Rear Travel: 170mm Fork: 170mm Wheelbase: 1277mm Chainstay: 434.2mm Reach: 488mm Head Tube Angle: 63.3

trek slash review

Further, the Slash has a flat anti-squat curve. That is to say, the bike rides squish-free when hammering out of the pedals. Speaking to Trek's product marketing manager, Ross Rushin, about this she said, "Having just the right amount of anti-squat in the system makes this long-travel bike pedal more like a short-travel bike, but don’t worry, there’s nothing short-feeling about it on the way back down." So, the seated position of the bike is fantastic despite having a shorter chainstay length of around 434 millimeters on our size Large mixed-wheel model. The bike keeps your weight firmly between the wheels while climbing steep grades. Despite the (tolerable) extra drag on the climb, you can at least remain well-balanced and comfortable.

Of course, a bike like this isn’t intended for those looking for the utmost in climbing efficiency.  The altered rear axle path that effectively elongates a high-pivot bike’s wheelbase when the rear suspension is compressed is where the chunk-eating magic comes from. The Slash certainly delivers in this regard. Even with a 27.5-inch rear wheel, the Slash provided a surprisingly smooth ride on the roughest trails during the summer dry season. This stout Trek feels most at home when mobbing straight into technical, chunky terrain at high speed. On the first few rides, I felt slightly unsettled by the bike. At first, I thought the feeling might be a potential side effect of the changing wheelbase of the bike. But, after slowing down the rebound on the fluttery Vivid Ultimate, I felt much readier to be on the attack while riding. The Slash does retain an agile quality that I really enjoy, and I was surprised at its ability to tackle slow speed and flat, technical terrain—as well as tight corners—with gusto.

trek slash review

"The steeper and chunkier the better, going up or down."—Ross Rushin: Product Marketing Manager at Trek Bikes

The spec of our 9.9 XO build performed flawlessly. The SRAM X0 Eagle AXS T-Type drivetrain is slow to shift but feels very secure under load, and the Pod shifter is an excellent ergonomic solution to wireless shifting. The new Code Silver Stealth brakes provide a much more discernible bite point and good overall power than the previous version. The new Vivid Ultimate felt nice and very active—the suspension’s ability to track at high speed was predictable and smooth. I never felt any noticeable bottom-outs, even when running the Vivid’s sag at 40 percent.

trek slash review

The new Slash is a bold step in a new direction. It is definitely not a bike I would take on a 6,000-foot backcountry loop with my fit friends, but it adds even more ability to charge through fast, straight-line chunk than the already-capable previous version. This ultra-high capability suspension also serves to reduce arm fatigue during huge descents. The new Slash is a standout option for riders looking for a high-pivot setup.

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trek slash review

ENDURO Mountainbike Magazine

New 2024 Trek Slash 9.9 XO AXS first ride review – A new evolutionary stage of high pivot bikes?

trek slash review

The new 2024 Trek Slash is right on trend: high pivot rear suspension, mullet wheel set-up, generous amounts of travel and plenty of adjustment options. Furthermore, it combines both familiar and newly developed features that are meant to simplify your riding experience. After six weeks of testing on both sides of the pond, we were able to gather countless impressions, both good and not so good.

trek slash review

The Slash has been an integral part of Trek’s portfolio for over 10 years, and is now entering its 6th generation. The most significant innovation is the new rear suspension, which relies on a high pivot design and generates a very generous amount of travel, bringing the Slash in line with the latest generation of enduro bikes. Up until now, Trek have only used the high pivot system on their downhill bike, the Session, which nevertheless allowed them to gather lots of practical experience with the system and use their World Cup riders’ feedback to develop the new enduro rig. The new Slash generates 170 mm of travel both front and rear, and rolls out of the factory sporting a mullet. An interchangeable shock mount, however, allows you to convert it to a full 29er. As usual, Trek are releasing both an alloy and a carbon version of the new Slash, both of which are available in several different spec variants. We’ve already put the new Trek Slash 9.9 XO AXS 2024 through the wringer over a 6 month period, dipping its tires both into Canadian and European soil to gather some exciting insights.

trek slash review

The detail solutions of the new 2024 Trek Slash

The predecessor of the 2024 Trek Slash already came with a practical storage compartment integrated into the down tube, which Trek has updated for the latest Slash iteration. The opening is much bigger, making it easier to reach all the trail essentials you store inside it. Moreover, the edges of the compartment are still framed with a plastic liner, preventing you from cutting your fingers or damaging the contents when you pull them out of the compartment. The alloy frame has a storage compartment too and all models come standard with a small pouch for all your trail essentials, which can be easily pulled out of the frame using the bright red Cordura tab. The closure system relies on a simple lever that disappears under the bottle cage when engaged, and is easy to operate even while wearing gloves. The cables of the new Slash are routed internally and only reappear briefly at the transition from the main frame and swingarm. The cable ports are in a rather unusual position, sitting prominently on the front of the head tube – this look takes some getting used to! In combination with a wireless drivetrain, Trek close the cable ports with small rubber plugs.

trek slash review

There’s an additional tool mount underneath the top tube, which allows you to carry a spare inner tube or a tool strap, for example. In typical Trek fashion, the new Session comes standard with an integrated Bontrager BITS mini tool in the steerer tube, which includes all of the basic tools required for essential trailside repairs. That said, removing the tool from the steerer tube requires strong fingers and, as usual, the lever of the closing mechanism rattles on the trail. Trek also hide a 6 mm Allen key in the rear thru-axle.

trek slash review

For model year 2024, Trek provided the Slash with several protective features, all of which are meant to preserve the bike’s value. Amongst them is the generously sized integrated mudguard, which is bolted directly to the seat stay and is meant to protect the seat tube from stray rocks. Unfortunately, this has to be removed if you want to swap the 27.5” rear wheel for a bigger 29″ rear wheel. Furthermore, the down tube comes standard with a pair of dual-density TPU plates, which allow you to replace the inner section if it gets damaged. In addition, the frame comes with an additional protective layer under the final finish. Trek also redeveloped the chainstay protector from the ground up, raising both the inner and outer edges to prevent chain slap more effectively – and this really works, ensuring a quiet ride on the trail.

trek slash review

The high-pivot rear suspension of the new 2024 Trek Slash

While the new 2024 Trek Slash 2024 still relies on the same linkage-driven single pivot rear suspension, it combines it with a high pivot point design. This positions the main pivot point well above the chainring, allowing the rear wheel to swing up and backwards during an impact. This rearward axle path can help to make the suspension feel smoother over square-edged hits, ironing out roots and rocks more efficiently. However, the system also has its drawbacks: as the axle moves rearwards through the travel, the distance between the cassette and chainring grows, resulting in wheelbase and chainstay growth. This pulls the chain backwards, manifesting in high levels of pedal kickback and resulting in an imbalanced weight distribution of the rider on the bike throughout the travel. To counteract this, a chain idler pulley is fitted on the seat tube, which helps minimise pedal kickback and also gives high-pivot bikes their characteristic look. This also allows the engineers to fine tune the bike’s anti-squat and anti-rise levels independently simply by moving the position of the idler pulley. The unusually big 19T idler pulley is meant to mitigate the negative effect that the high pivot system has on pedalling efficiency, because the bigger pulley has a wider radius. Furthermore, Trek use a small chain guide to prevent the chain from falling off the idler.

trek slash review

The new 2024 Slash also features an additional pulley below the chainstay, which isn’t that common with high pivot bikes. This special pulley also includes an MRP bash guard and can be retrofitted to other high pivot bikes. Its job is to prevent the chain from stretching under the chainstay and thus to stop it from pulling on the rear derailleur. That said, even with the biggest XL frame, the chain runs at a sharp angle in the lowest gears, as the distance between the rear derailleur cage and the idler pulley is very small. While this didn’t cause us any problems on the trail, we’re not sure how good this is, both for pedalling efficiency and the chain’s service life. Speaking of the chain, with all frame sizes up to L, you’ll get away with a conventional 126-link chain. The new Slash in XL, however, requires 128 links, meaning that you need two chains.

trek slash review

The new 2024 Slash still relies on Trek’s proprietary Active Breaking Pivot or ABP technology, which can be found on most of their full suspension bikes and is designed to keep the rear suspension active even under heavy braking, helping to maintain traction.

The spec of our test bike – The Trek 2024 Slash 9.9 XO AXS

Our Trek Slash test bike comes equipped with Rockshox Ultimate suspension consisting of a 170 mm ZEB Charger 3.0 fork with independently adjustable low- and high-speed compression damping, and a brand- new Vivid Ultimate air shock , which offers externally adjustable compression and rebound settings as well as a climb switch. Unlike the Super Deluxe, the new Vivid relies on a high-volume air chamber and Rockshox’s new proprietary Touchdown damper. Unlike the rest of the Trek range, the Slash doesn’t use a Thru Shaft damper, which comes standard with most of their full-suspension bikes and is developed specifically for Trek.

trek slash review

As the name extension suggests, the 2024 Trek Slash 9.9 XO AXS employs a new electronic SRAM X0 Eagle Transmission drivetrain. The rear derailleur mounts directly to the thru-axle and worked flawlessly throughout our test. SRAM also supply the wireless, electronic Reverb AXS dropper post, but this only offers a meagre 170 mm of travel, which is far too little for a modern enduro bike. However, there isn’t a longer-travel version of the Reverb AXS dropper, so we recommend swapping the standard dropper for a cable-operated model if needed. Given the seat tube’s generous insertion depth, you could even push a 240 mm OneUp Components V2 dropper post all the way into the frame of a Slash in size L. Needless to say, the brand-new drivetrain is complemented with SRAM’s four-piston Code Stealth Silver brakes, which, just like the old RSC model, feature tool-free lever reach and bite point adjustments as well as SRAM’s proprietary SwingLink lever for optimal modulation. Compared to the Stealth Ultimate flagship model, the Silver variant only forgoes the carbon levers, tipping the scales at just 8 g more. Due to the new design, the brake lines run parallel and close to the handlebars, which ensures a cleaner look but can cause the cables to rattle – this can be easily fixed with a couple of additional clamps or zip ties ;) The brakes are paired with 200 mm rotors front and rear, which suit the Slash’s character and field of application rather well! For more oomph, you can can upgrade to 220 mm rotors both front and rear, because both the frame and fork are approved for it.

trek slash review

For the rest of the spec, Trek rely on their in-house component brand Bontrager, including a Bontrager Line Pro 30 carbon wheelset, which didn’t survive the testing sessions unscathed, with several spokes snapping after just 3 weeks of deployment. In addition, the rims are paired with flimsy, puncture-prone tires, which force you to run higher air pressure to avoid burping and snake bites. We recommend upgrading the standard Bontrager SE6 and SE5 tires for more robust tires before you start riding. In this test, we swapped to tires with a tougher DH casing after just a few laps. For the cockpit, Trek rely on an 820 mm Bontrager RSL one-piece handlebar/stem unit, which might look fancy but doesn’t allow for fine tuning except for the stem height, which can be changed using spacers. On top of that, the handlebars are very stiff and get even stiffer if you shorten them, like we did! With such a potent enduro bike, an adjustable cockpit makes more sense because it allows you to adapt the front end ergonomics to your anatomy. With the standard spec, our 2024 Trek Slash 9.9 XO AXS test bike in size L tips the scales at 15.7 kg.

trek slash review

Trek Slash 9.9 X0 AXS 2024


Fork RockShox ZEB Ultimate 170 mm Rear Shock RockShox Vivid Ultimate 170 mm Seatpost RockShox Reverb AXS 170 mm Brakes SRAM CODE Silver 200/200 mm Drivetrain SRAM Eagle Transmission X0 1x12 Stem Bontrager RSL 35 mm Handlebar Bontrager RSL 820 mm Wheelset Bontrager Line Pro 30 29"/27.5" Tires Bontrager SE6 Team Issue/ Bontrager SE5 Team Issue 2.5"/2.4"

Technical Data

Size S M M/L L XL

Specific Features

storage compartment Flip Chip Toolmount

More spec variants of the 2024 Trek Slash

As already mentioned, the new 2024 Trek Slash is available both with an alloy and carbon frame. That said, none of the alloy versions comes with a high-end spec, meaning that you have to order the frame kit if you want to combine an aluminium frame with top-tier suspension, for example. Prices for complete builds range between € 4,499 and € 12,499, and the bikes should be already available from all official Trek dealers. The American manufacturer also lets you test ride their bikes in one of their “Test-a-Trek Centres”. Starting today, you can test the new Slash in Lenzerheide, Saalbach and Sölden.

trek slash review

The alloy version of the new Slash is available in two spec variants. The entry-level Slash 8 XT model comes equipped with a FOX 36 Rhythm fork and a hybrid Shimano XT/SLX drivetrain. Shimano also supply the four-piston Deore M6100 brakes. The Slash 9 GX relies on higher quality RockShox Select+ suspension and SRAM’s new electronic GX Transmission drivetrain, with matching SRAM Code Bronze four-piston brakes. The Slash 9.8 GX combines the same identical spec with a carbon frame.

The flagship Slash 9.9 XX model comes equipped with electronic RockShox Flight Attendant suspension, electronic SRAM XX Transmission drivetrain and wireless RockShox Reverb seatpost. The rest of the spec consists exclusively of top-tier components and plenty of carbon bling. However, all the fancy components come at a price – an eye watering € 12,499! However, Trek have released a total of 5 carbon variants, offering a suitable option for all sorts of wallets.

trek slash review

The geometry of the new 2024 Trek Slash

The new Trek Slash 2024 will be available in 5 sizes, S to XL, and there’s also an intermediate size called M/L. All models in size S feature a curved top tube and 27.5″ wheels front and rear. From size M onwards, the new Slash rolls on a mixed wheel setup with a 29″ wheel at the front and smaller 27.5″ wheel at the rear. However, from size M upwards you can also use a 29″ rear wheel using a different shock mount, but this has to be bought separately and isn’t included in the frameset. The optional shock mount comes with a flip chip that allows you to change the progression of the rear suspension from 20% to 25%, which is intended for coil shock conversions.

trek slash review

Trek deliver the new Slash with three different headset cups, which allow you to change the head angle by up to 1.5°. Of course, by altering the head angle you’ll also change the reach, bottom bracket height and stack height. The new Slash comes standard in the neutral setting. When swapping the cups, however, the lower one has to be installed with a bearing press, meaning that you can’t just quickly swap cups on the trailside. In the neutral setting, the Slash has a 63.3° head angle, which can be changed to either 62.6° or 64.1°. In addition, Trek forgo their usual Knock Block with the new Slash, which means that you don’t have a steering stop limiter.

The position of the bottom bracket allows engineers to achieve different chainstay lengths by using the same rear end, whereby sizes M/L and L share the same values. Simply put, all frame sizes share the same identical swingarm but rely on a slightly different bottom bracket position to allow for the size-specific effective chainstay length. The advantage of this system is that you can easily replace the rear end in case of damage.In size L, the Slash combines 488 mm reach with a short 435 mm seat tube, which offers a generous insertion depth for long-travel dropper posts. The seat tube is short across all sizes, ensuring sufficient freedom of movement on the trail.

The geometry of the new 2024 Trek Slash in the neutral setting

The new 2024 Trek Slash 9.9 XO AXS on the trail

For this review, we were able to ride the new Trek Slash 9.9 XO AXS 2024 in both size L and XL. We tested the bike over the course of several weeks, putting it through the wringer on the legendary trails of Whistler, Squamish and Della Creek, both on bike park trails and natural trails – and also managed to squeeze in a few laps with freeride legend Andrew Shandro. We also rode the new Slash (in size L) on our home trails around Stuttgart and on some techy Alpine gnar in Switzerland. Testing the new Slash in different frame sizes and countless locations gave us the opportunity to gather plenty of impressions.

trek slash review

Needless to say, an aggressive enduro bike won’t earn you any uphill KOMs, and yet the new 2024 Trek Slash 2024 gets you to the trailhead without too much effort. The rear suspension only bobs slightly and generates plenty of traction on technical climbs, meaning that you can easily make your way to the top of the mountain without reaching for the Vivid’s climb switch. On steeper climbs, the front wheel remains planted on the ground, ensuring excellent steering precision. While on the first test laps the bike was totally quiet, with the idler pulley working discreetly in the background, this changed after a few days, with an increasingly loud rattling noise accompanying us on every climb.

trek slash review

When gravity takes over, the first thing you’ll notice is the high front end and deeply integrated riding position. This inspires huge amounts of confidence, even on the gruellingly steep Canadian trails. The Slash makes you feel at ease from the get-go, encouraging you to keep your fingers off the brakes after just a few corners. If you do brake – which is inevitable from time to time – the rear suspension generates tons of traction without stiffening up excessively if you hit a large bump while decelerating. The wheelbase of the Slash grows noticeably less than with other high pivot bikes, remaining agile and playful even when fully compressed. Overall, the rear suspension provides plenty of support, allowing you to pop off ledges and kickers while at the same time offering enough reserves to cope with botched landings.

trek slash review

The new Slash has direct handling and reacts to steering input quickly and precisely. During this test, we swapped the original wheels and handlebars for alloy models, which helped mitigate the very direct ride feeling, ensuring more forgiving handling in slippery conditions. Even in open corners, the Trek sticks to the chosen line with great composure and doesn’t require you to actively weight the front wheel – and that’s despite the high front end! As a result, you’re always in a central riding position, which conveys huge amounts of confidence in all situations. Overall, the Trek makes you feel as if you had more travel on tap and at the same time is just as agile and playful as bikes with less travel. Trek also seem to have successfully addressed the typical drawbacks of high pivot bikes, like the sluggish handling and unbalanced suspension performance, which can result from the growing wheelbase.

trek slash review

Who should take a closer look at the new 2024 Trek Slash?

The new Trek Slash is aimed at trail rippers, enduro racers, park rats and anyone who likes to get rowdy on gnarly trails. Provided you perform a few basic upgrades, like more robust tires and a tuneable cockpit, the new Slash offers a pretty sweet overall package – we’re pretty chuffed with it ourselves. Even on slower, narrower trails, it’s refreshingly nimble, while the excellent suspension allows you to generate speed by pumping through flow trails, which isn’t always a given with high pivot bikes. In our humble opinion, the Trek Slash 2024 is the next evolutionary stage of high pivot bikes, bringing all the advantages of a high pivot suspension design while at the same time eliminating most of its drawbacks.

trek slash review

Our conclusions about the new 2024 Trek Slash

The new Trek Slash 2024 offers agile, balanced handling and combines it with all the positive traits of a high pivot suspension design, ensuring excellent composure and a plush ride. If you like to open the taps on gnarly enduro trails, we recommend upgrading a few components. This will allow you to boost the Slash’s trail performance enormously with relatively little effort and at a reasonable price. The new Slash slaps a huge smile on your face, whether you’re going for a quick post-work ride on your home trails, racing enduro in the Alps or lapping park tracks – and also makes a great companion for the occasional flowing trail.

trek slash review

  • Integrated, confidence inspiring riding position
  • Combines excellent composure and agility
  • Potent suspension provides plenty of pop and reserves
  • Practical features like the integrated storage compartment and mini-tool

trek slash review

  • Spec has some blemishes
  • Idler pulley grinds lightly when pedalling uphill

For more info, visit Trek’s website.

trek slash review

Did you enjoy this article? If so, we would be stoked if you decide to support us with a monthly contribution. By becoming a supporter of ENDURO, you will help secure a sustainable future for high-quality mountain bike journalism. Click here to learn more .

Words: Peter Walker Photos: Sterling Lorence, Peter Walker

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About the author.

trek slash review

Peter Walker

As deputy editor-in-chief, Peter is as much a man of action as he is of words. This expert, screw-driver-flexing two wheeled-whizz has many envy-inducing characteristics, including a background in motocross, several EWS race plates to his name, and more than 150 recorded days at Whistler Bike Park. However complex the bike and however steep the trail, he’s probably already nailed it, twice. Oh, and he can do it all on skinny tyres too. When it comes to guiding consumers, Peter cut his teeth at Vancouver’s oldest bike shop and now puts pen to paper on the daily translating this know-how into our editorial plan. When not tearing up Stuttgart’s local trails while testing bikes, he loves nothing more than loading up his self-renovated VW T5 and hitting the road. The fact that he’s a trained paramedic gives his colleagues reassurance out on the trails. So far we haven’t had to call him by his alias ‘Sani Peter’, so here’s hoping he keeps it right side up for the rest of his time here!

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First Ride: 2024 Trek Slash


Cool Features


Upping the game.

Words by Drew Rohde | Action Photos by Dusten Ryen Edited by Brian Niles/Treeline Cinematics


Redesigned from the ground up and looking nothing like the outgoing Trek Slash, you could almost say the sixth generation, 2024 Trek Slash looks almost like….a Session. There we said it. The new Trek Slash features a high pivot suspension design with a double-pulley design for both pedaling and downhill performance perks. The 2024 Slash also gets more travel, more aggressive and more adjustable geometry, the ability to run different-sized wheels, and some frame durability enhancements to boot. We were lucky enough to get some early rides on the Gen 6 Trek Slash in Whistler during Crankworx, and have been sneaking it on the chairlift at our local bike park since then. Let’s Dissect some of the many finer details found on Trek’s latest high-pivot, aggressive mountain bike offering.

DISSECTED DISCLAIMER | As with all of our Dissected Features ,  this is not intended to be a long term review or endorsement of a product but is instead a chance for our viewers and readers to get a deep dive look into some of the newest tech and products in the mountain bike space. We thank Trek Bicycles for the opportunity to create this feature and offering a more in-depth look into the production and changes of the latest generation Slash.


With the Top Fuel getting bumped into the Trail category and the Trek Fuel EX also getting the longer, slacker and more aggressive treatment, Trek Bicycles stepped back to take a hard look at what the next generation Slash should be.

Boasting 170mm of travel front and rear, the Slash’s intentions have certainly risen to what it seems riders and the industry are demanding. Bigger travel bikes that can pedal and are equipped with DH-bike geometry seem to be more commonplace these days and Trek wasn’t about to let their flagship Enduro Race Bike fall behind. We’d actually say that Trek has actually made the new Slash even more versatile than the outgoing, 29er Slash, which was very much a race-focused machine.

By allowing riders to run either a 27.5” (OE Spec) or 29” rear wheel, and being able to use up to a 190mm fork up front, Trek’s new Slash can be the ultimate race rig or the freeride, big-hitting park rat’s dream machine.

Size medium bikes and up come with a mixed wheel setup, whereas size small Slashes will come with 27.5” front and rear, just like our friend Casey Brown’s bike, seen here. Watching a rider of her height pop, shred and climb some techy, wet and root-littered trails north of Whistler was a fun experience, and her excitement about having more control over the bike thanks to the smaller wheels was evident. Also exciting for riders is the roughly 80mm increase in dropper post insertion. This means that size medium bikes can run a 200mm dropper. Longer droppers for everyone!

GEOMETRY | Trek Bicycles will be offering the Slash in five sizes from Small to XL, with a Med/Large midway through the range. Coming in with a half-degree slacker head tube angle in the nominal position, the Slash sits at 63.3 degrees with the mixed-wheel configuration. Sold separately are headset cups for those who want to take advantage of the ability to add or subtract a full degree from that head tube angle number. There is also a changeable lower shock mount that changes BB height for smaller adjustments and to offset the change from swapping wheel sizes. Not geometry related but also adjustable is the compression ratio, which goes from 20% to 25%.

Along with the slackening of the headtube angle and adding to the bike’s adjustability, the new 2024 Slash will have a 77-degree seat tube angle, 351mm BB height, 27mm BB drop, size specific chainstays achieved by shifting bottom bracket position in the front triangle and an overall wheelbase of 1,277.7mm for the size large mixed wheel configuration.


By now most of you have probably heard or experienced the claimed benefits, and maybe even the downsides, of high pivot mountain bikes. With Trek acknowledging the downhill bias of the new Slash, calling it a 70/30 bike, engineers and athletes still wanted – no, needed – a bike that would climb well. Trek has worked a couple of angles to help offset the high pivot’s climbing woes by adding an oversized 19-tooth upper idler to help reduce pedal kickback as well as help manage Trek’s very high and flat anti-squat curve. On average the new Slash has more anti-squat than the Top Fuel, Trek’s XC pinner, which should provide lots of support in the suspension for those finish line sprints or quick cranks before a big gap.

Behind the chainring you’ll notice something some other high pivot bikes don’t have, a lower idler. We talked with the Trek Slash engineer about that down below in our interview and in the video, so check that out to learn all about why they added this second pulley, but the benefits were definitely felt and seen on the trail.

Other Key Feature Bullet Points

  • The improved internal storage compartment features a bigger opening, easier to reach latch and channels to eliminate most catch point issues, like cables.
  • An attention grabbing chainstay guard has a unique shape that was painstakingly studied. It doesn’t just dampen impacts and noise, it also prevents the chain from whipping, which is good for just about everything. We can attest it works and keeps the chain tight, quiet, and working smoothly.
  • Trek wanted to improve the impact resistance of the Slash and have added an impact-resistant, impregnated film under the paint. Along with this extra layer of protection, dual-density downtube guards are replaceable and designed to be removed to inspect the frame behind the protectors.
  • A very slick and functional rear fender works to keep debris and mud from collecting in the rear end of the bike. Trek says the fender will not work with 29” rear wheels but after some inspection, we think it’d work alright with some 29’er tires that aren’t too voluminous or caked in thick mud.

Trek will offer two aluminum models, an entry-level Slash 8 with XT components and Fox Rhythm suspension. There will also be a higher-spec’d Slash 9 GX AXS with RockShox Zeb Select + and Vivid Select + suspension, a worthy consideration for alloy shredders. Also available will be an aluminum and carbon fiber frame set.

Carbon models will begin with the 9.8 GX AXS and Zeb/Vivid Select + components. From there riders will work up the normal Trek ladder with 9.8 XT, 9.0 X0 AXS, 9.9 XTR and 9.9 XX AXS builds.


TREK SLASH 8 Frame: Alpha Platinum Aluminum | 170mm Fork: Fox Rhythm 36 | 170mm Shock: Fox Performance Float X Drivetrain: Shimano XT MSRP: $4,399.99

TREK SLASH 9 Frame: Alpha Platinum Aluminum | 170mm Fork: RockShox ZEB Select+ | 170mm Shock: RockShox Vivid Select+ Drivetrain: SRAM GX Eagle AXS MSRP: $5,799.99

TREK SLASH 9.8 XT Frame: OCLV Mountain Carbon | 170mm Fork: RockShox ZEB Select+ | 170mm Shock: RockShox Vivid Select+ Drivetrain: Shimano XT MSRP: $7,399.99

TREK SLASH 9.8 GX AXS Frame: OCLV Mountain Carbon | 170mm Fork: RockShox ZEB Select+ | 170mm Shock: RockShox Vivid Select+ Drivetrain: SRAM GX Eagle AXS MSRP: $7,999.99

TREK SLASH 9.9 X0 AXS Frame: OCLV Mountain Carbon | 170mm Fork: RockShox ZEB Ultimate | 170mm Shock: RockShox Vivid Ultimate Drivetrain: SRAM X0 Eagle AXS MSRP: $9,399.99

TREK SLASH 9.9 XTR Frame: OCLV Mountain Carbon | 170mm Fork: RockShox ZEB Ultimate | 170mm Shock: RockShox Vivid Ultimate Drivetrain: Shimano XTR MSRP: $9,599.99

TREK SLASH 9.9 XX AXS Frame: OCLV Mountain Carbon | 170mm Fork: RockShox ZEB Ultimate Flight Attendant | 170mm Shock: RockShox Vivid Ultimate Drivetrain: SRAM XX Eagle AXS MSRP: $11,499.99

MATT YERKE Trek Slash Engineer

While out on our ride we had the opportunity to ask Matt Yerke, Trek’s Slash engineer, way too many questions about bikes, tech, and other two-wheeled nerdery. Here are a few highlights pertaining to the new Slash.


Matt Yerke (MY): Well, we knew the Slash was a fan and race team favorite, but we wanted to take some DNA from another race-winning race bike, the Session, and make it even more capable. Of course, pedaling is important for our enduro racers, so we had to make sure it could still get up the hill well.


MY: We give the bike a high anti-squat and a very flat curve, which normally means a lot of pedal kickback, but thanks to the idler we don’t have to worry about that kickback.


MY: We tested it and found that it’s only about 3 Watts of power.



MY: The more you articulate or bend the links in a chain, the more power you lose. So, a larger wheel means less power loss.


MY: Well, you can see how high it is, that’s a visual queue that things are different here. We worked with SRAM because they have a total amount of chain growth that is acceptable to keep the derailleur within spec. That’s important to maintain shifting performance as it keeps the upper pulley wheel closer to the cassette. A biproduct of that is that when you push on the suspension you’ll notice that the bottom of the derailleur cage does not move forward. This means the suspension is not feeling the impacts of the derailleur clutch pulling against the suspension movement.



MY: Absolutely, Loris has had it on his Session, and he has noticed some improvements and increased smoothness from the suspension.


Obviously, there is a ton of technology, features and yes, marketing to digest when it comes to the new Trek Slash. We can’t wait to review the Trek Slash thoroughly but for now, we’ll have to just share our initial thoughts after a few very solid days riding in British Columbia and at Mt. Bachelor Bike Park.

First things first, getting up the hill. This is probably the one area I’m most uncertain about on the new Slash and think we need to do more testing and tuning on. I’ve found myself striking BB a little bit more often than I thought, and perhaps I’m just out of shape and spinning too easy of a gear, which results in more chances for my crank arm to be in striking distance. Aside from pedal strikes, the bike pedals better than some 170mm high pivot bikes on the market, but there’s no mistaking that it’s still a 170mm big mountain descender with a 63.5-degree head angle. Chances are, climbs aren’t what you live for if you’ve made it this far anyway. If you’re like us, you enjoy climbing as a bit of a tortuous challenge and being part of the experience, but really, it’s the downhills that you live for. And if that’s the case, the Slash will be a kindred spirit.

Dropping into some wet and slippery BC terrain as a dust and loose-rock loving desert rat can be very unnerving, yet the Slash quickly eased my mind as the quiet thudding of the bike ate up each root and rock slab with aplomb. In fact the only sketchy part about the ride was the Bontrager tires, which we’ll save for another day. The Trek Slash quickly stood out to me amidst the 40 or so bikes I’ve ridden in 2023.

I really like bikes that have a supple and sensitive feel off the top, which reduces fatigue by quieting chatter. A calmer bike and body help keep me feeling confident and in control. The Slash and the new Vivid shock are a true power couple and required almost zero tuning to get me to a happy spot. I value bikes that can be set up quickly and allow me to push hard without needing to fuss around with tons of different settings, air pressures and reducers. Props to Trek on nailing a great tune for most riders.

The 488mm reach was a bit outside my desired zone at 5’11, as I like 480mm to 485mm (max) on non-electrified bikes. This resulted in a couple of scenarios where I felt the front end wanting to go over the edge of a tight berm or forcing me to use more Body English on tight switchback climbs, which was undoubtedly accentuated by that raked-out head tube. However, for the most part I felt right at home on the bike and really enjoyed it on everything from high-speed DH tracks to slower, technical BC black diamond trails.

While we make a point of remaining as neutral and factual as possible in our Dissected features as they are made with support and cooperation from the brands launching new products, I do feel pretty comfortable saying that the new Trek Slash ranks very high on my list of bikes ridden in the last two years. If climbing takes a back seat to downhill capabilities – fun, charging hard and going big – you may not want to wait until we’ve logged enough miles for our long-term review to pull the trigger.










Mountain Bike Action Magazine


This is the enduro bike other enduro bikes are scared of.


There has been a Slash in Trek’s arsenal for just over ten years, and it has undergone five generations of upgrades coming into the end of the 2023 season. Trek didn’t just upgrade the Gen 6 Slash, however; they completely reimagined it. It goes without saying that the new Slash is longer and slacker than the previous generation, but Trek had a few other things up its sleeve, all hinted at in the last few years of bike releases. We saw the high-pivot come into form on the Session in the 2022 model year, and earlier this year the release of the Fuel EX showcased Trek’s interest in engineering diversely adjustable bikes.

trek slash review

Just by looking at the two generations side by side, you can see how the engineers at Trek fully redesigned the Gen 6. It no longer has a low-slung sports car look, but is poised more like a gorilla that is ready to pound the trail into submission. The only thing that is really similar between the two bikes is the internal storage and Trek’s continued use of the ABP (Active Braking Pivot) suspension design.


trek slash review

As it has a high-pivot suspension design, you might say Trek is jumping on the suspension progression bandwagon. They have a ready response to that accusation, however, and it’s not what you might think. They’re saying it helps with pedaling efficiency more than anything else, though it does have other benefits as well. They’re claiming they were able to achieve an over 100% anti-squat value over the entire suspension stroke as you pedal, meaning this bike is an even more efficient pedaler than their most recent Top Fuel. It’s hard to dispute the graphs, but we’re going to be testing for ourselves whether this is true or not.

trek slash review

Aside from enhancing the pedaling characteristics of the bike, the high-pivot system is also supposed to help with keeping momentum moving forward on the trail. They’re saying the rearward axle path moves with the bumps without hanging up on them and robbing speed. With this system comes two idler pulleys with the upper one being an oversized 19-tooth pully that is supposed to help eliminate pedal kickback and help determine the anti-squat values. The lower pulley is there to mitigate chain growth beneath the chainstay and prevent major tugging on the derailleur; this, they say, helps with a smoother drivetrain performance and means the suspension isn’t fighting against the derailleur’s clutch.

trek slash review

The ABV (Active Braking Pivot) is carried over from Trek’s previous models and is used on all of their full suspension models aside from the Supercaliber, which we talked about a few weeks ago. They say this technology helps keep the suspension active when it’s needed most and gives Trek the ability to tune the anti-rise and anti-squat properties independently. With all of this new technology, Trek decided to up the Slash’s rear suspension travel from 160mm to 170mm. They’ve also added a flip chip to adjust the suspension’s progression at the base of the shock itself and have done away with the Mino Link.

trek slash review

We’ve talked a lot about suspension, but that’s not the only thing that has been improved upon. With the Slash Gen 6, Trek has decided to offer it only as a mixed-wheel setup on sizes medium and up, with the option later to throw on a 29” rear wheel if desired; size small is full 27.5” only. Along with that change-up, they decided to give it a slacker 64.5-degree head angle, a steeper 77-degree seat-tube angle, size-specific chainstays, and an increase in dropper insertion by around 80mm, depending on the frame size. With separately purchased angle adjust cups, you can make it 1-degree steeper or slacker when desired.

trek slash review

They’ve also taken a few more steps to protect the frame itself, like putting replaceable dual-density downtube guards to protect from rocks and tailgates, adding an impact-resistant film under the paint for added protection of the carbon fiber, and throwing on a rear fender to protect the suspension linkage and other parts of the frame; this, however, can only be used with a 27.5” rear wheel. They’ve also made updates to the internal storage, like making the opening bigger and the latch easier to reach.


trek slash review

Being that we spent most of our few days on this bike at the lift-assisted bike park of Brian Head, Utah, we don’t have many climbing miles on it. But, based on what climbing we have done, we can say this bike feels pretty good when the trail points up. It had plenty of traction to get up some steep loose punches and was comfortable and efficient enough to hold a decent average speed with minimal effort. So far, we haven’t felt the need for the climbing switch, but we’ll be experimenting more as we continue to test the Gen 6 Slash.

trek slash review

Our first experience piloting the Gen 6 Slash down a mountain was in Brian Head, Utah, after a particularly long-lasting and aggressive monsoon storm, which meant the trails were sloppy and muddy and the rocks as slippery as ice. The bike performed beautifully on this terrain, remaining poised and stable through the slick corners and rock sections. We were able to carry speed effortlessly through each section with the support of the suspension allowing us to pump rather than pedal to keep us going. Corner grip was a non-issue even on the slickest corners where we were sure we’d slide right up the berm; and even when we did slide, it was controlled and predictable. The bike was very easy to turn and went where directed with enthusiasm and plenty of grip.

trek slash review

Smashing through rock sections, the bike felt light on its feet and ready to respond to subtle direction changes, all while feeling stable and unwavering when thrown an unexpected curveball. Even under heavy braking on the steepest sections the bike was alive, and we were in control with no scary sliding or unnecessary wheel lockups; this allowed us to look ahead with more confidence to scope the next obstacle.


trek slash review

There are a few things that made their presence known that need to be addressed. The Fork developed a clunk in the rebound stroke that made it hard to hold onto during longer descents, but we feel this is more of a RockShox problem than a Trek problem. We also experienced some frustration with the rear brake caliper, but again, not a Trek problem. The only thing we weren’t sure of on the bike was the flex we experienced in the rear end of the bike. This isn’t something we disliked particularly, but it has caused a little concern and is something we’ll be keeping an eye on as the test continues.

trek slash review


Trek starts with the Slash 8 which is the aluminum version at $4,400 and then goes full carbon with the Slash 9 GX AXS T-Type priced at $5,800. Our test build was the Slash 9.9 XO AXS T-Type priced at $9,400 in the medium/large size. Trek also offers various models with Shimano drivetrains—one with XT and the other with XTR. Their highest-priced build goes for $11,500: the Slash 9.9 XX AXS T-Type. All build options are offered in sizes small, medium, medium/large, large, and extra large.


trek slash review




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Patrick Stewart's First Star Trek Meeting Went As Badly As You Can Imagine

Star Trek: The Next Generation Patrick Stewart

In the late 1980s, just prior to when Patrick Stewart was alerted to the existence of "Star Trek," the actor was at a crossroads. He had been touring England with a production of "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?" and it wasn't going terribly well. He was already 46, he hadn't really found what he considered to be a major breakout role, and he was starting to consider that he simply wasn't ever going to do better than he already had. Middle age brought about the usual malaise, and Stewart seemingly felt idle. 

Stewart recalled this time in his new autobiography "Making It So: A Memoir." He recalled taking a job in Los Angeles wherein he would merely read lines of Shakespeare to accompany a series of public lectures at UCLA's Royce Hall. Stewart wasn't giving the lectures. That would be a friend and confidant of Stewart's named David Rodes. Stewart said that his pay for the Shakespeare gig was to be a mere $100 and a dinner at the local T.G.I. Fridays. He wasn't doing it for the money but for an excuse to visit L.A. and to get away from the "Virginia Woolf" production. 

It seems that the UCLA gig caught the attention of an American TV producer, as Stewart received a call from his American agent the following morning. Evidently, a man named Robert Justman happened to be in attendance at Royce Hall and was taken by Stewart's talents. Justman, Trekkies may know, was a supervising producer on both "Star Trek" and "Star Trek: The Next Generation." Justman said that Stewart should talk to a man named Gene Roddenberry about an upcoming TV project. 

Stewart, it seems, didn't know who Gene Roddenberry was. The subsequent meeting with him, then, was brief and awkward. 

Who the heck is Jean Roddanburry?

Stewart, a classically trained actor, had a very loose grasp on popular culture. He admits that he thought the musician Sting played the double bass for a policeman's band . He vaguely recalled "Star Trek" passing through his consciousness as a young man, as relatives of his would occasionally be watching it in rooms he would only briefly pass through. Indeed, he recalled the title to be "Star Track" or "Star Walk" or something like that. When Stewart's American agent said he should meet with Gene Roddenberry, he assumed it was spelled Jean Roddanburry. And he knew nothing about Jean Roddanburry.

His agent explained patiently what "Star Trek" was. Stewart wrote: 

"[A]s if speaking to a small child, [my agent, Steve Dontanville] connected the dots for me. Paramount Pictures, the famous Hollywood studio, was creating an all-new version of 'Star Trek' to be called 'Star Trek: The Next Generation,' its action taking place nearly a hundred years after the adventures of William Shatner's Captain Kirk and Leonard Nimoy's Spock, with a whole new cast of characters. [...] I was to report to [Roddenberry's] home at eleven a.m. that very morning, which gave me just enough time to collect my bearings, brush my teeth, and go." 

Thus ill-prepared, Stewart drove over to Roddenberry's house so that he could meet with the show's creator and a few producers. Not only was Stewart ignorant of what he was expected to do or say at this meeting, but he wasn't entirely impressed with the date '70s decor in Roddenberry's home. 

The meeting went very poorly.

The awful green carpet

This wasn't an audition, mind you. It was a mere introduction. It seems that casting for "Star Trek: The Next Generation" was in its very early stages, and Roddenberry had a very clear idea as to what he wanted the role of Jean-Luc Picard to be ... and Stewart most decidedly wasn't it. He remembered the drive:

"I drove my rental car to a house somewhere in the Hollywood Hills. It was a single-story, 1950s-era house, very ordinary-looking, even in need of some TLC. When I knocked on the door, it was opened by a smiling, silver-haired man who introduced himself as Robert Justman. As I stood on the welcome mat, he told me how much he had liked the Royce Hall event and the many parts I played in it. Then he led me into the house."

Children of the '70s and '80s can likely picture what Stewart described next. Many of us played on thick shag carpeting as children, and the musty smell of the material, even when well-maintained was pervasive and unique. An odiferous sense-memory wafts off of the page as Stewart wrote: 

"I noticed that throughout the structure — in the hallway, the living room, and every other space I glimpsed — the floors were covered in thick shag-pile carpet in a nauseating shade of green. Waiting for me in the living room were two other men. One of them, tall and burly, struggled to get out of his armchair to shake my hand. He introduced himself to me as Gene Roddenberry."

Roddenberry had green shag carpeting in his home. I suppose there's no accounting for taste.

In and Out, a California tradition

The meeting was quick, strange, and bad. Stewart was essentially rejected before he had a chance to say much. He recalls being happy to have gotten out of there. He wrote:

"It was all very awkward. A few pleasantries were exchanged among us, but I was not invited to sit down. Indeed, it was a matter of mere minutes before Roddenberry called the conversation to a halt, turning to me abruptly and saying, 'Thanks for coming.' Clearly, the meeting was over. Robert Justman escorted me to the door and again warmly shook my hand. He was lovely, but the whole experience had felt very uncomfortable and I was relieved to get out." 

Stewart's name never dropped off of casting lists, even though Roddenberry clearly hated him for the part of Captain Picard. It was later revealed to the actor that Roddenberry was quoted as saying "Patrick Stewart's name should never, ever be mentioned in my presence again!" Yikes. Stewart left the meeting, contemplating becoming a championship squash player instead of an actor. It took him months of consideration to think that pursuing TV or film in America might be a good move for his career. "What about Hollywood?" he asked himself. 

The first impression was a bad one, but Stewart would go on to play Jean-Luc Picard in seven seasons of "Star Trek: The Next Generation," in four "Star Trek" feature films, and in three seasons of "Star Trek: Picard."  For a moment, it seemed that Stewart would forever associate "Star Trek" with green shag carpets and an awkward meeting with some bloke in a run-down Hollywood home.


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    1. rjmogul (Oct 30, 2023 at 13:23) not surprising because the others are far from conventional, the Slash is much more closer to conventional than any of the other in this test. 15 10. alexsin ...

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    The Slash 8 rides a good 85 percent as well as the 9.9 RSL we tested during our 2017 Bible of Bike Tests, at less than half the price. Actually, it climbs better than that bike did, has just as much off-the-top sensitivity but a more supportive mid-stroke, thanks to Trek switching shock spec from a Fox Float X2 to the more trail-appropriate RE ...

  18. Bike Review

    Trek Slash Gen 6 Bike Review. Words and Photos by Spencer Astra. The all-new Trek Slash is beefed up in celebration of its sixth iteration. This fresh design features an oversized, 19-tooth idler pulley and a high-pivot rear suspension configuration for the first time in the model's lineage. Travel has been increased to 170 millimeters ...

  19. Trek Slash 9.7 Review

    Wow, what a beauty! The frame of the Trek Slash 9.7 is stunning! The design, paired with the matte black and beige paint job almost brings us to our knees. The bike features Trek's distinctive straight shot down tube for more stiffness. And of course, there's the Knock Block to prevent the fork from damaging that down tube.

  20. New 2024 Trek Slash 9.9 XO AXS first ride review

    For this review, we were able to ride the new Trek Slash 9.9 XO AXS 2024 in both size L and XL. We tested the bike over the course of several weeks, putting it through the wringer on the legendary trails of Whistler, Squamish and Della Creek, both on bike park trails and natural trails - and also managed to squeeze in a few laps with freeride ...

  21. First Ride: 2024 Trek Slash

    Carbon frame, RockShox Zeb Select+ fork and Vivid S+ shock, GX T-Type drivetrain, SRAM Code Bronze brakes, Bontrager Line 30 carbon wheels. Slash 9.8 XT // $7,400 USD, 9,600 CAD. Carbon frame ...

  22. Dissected: Trek Slash Gen 6

    MEET THE NEW TREK SLASH. With the Top Fuel getting bumped into the Trail category and the Trek Fuel EX also getting the longer, slacker and more aggressive treatment, Trek Bicycles stepped back to take a hard look at what the next generation Slash should be.. Boasting 170mm of travel front and rear, the Slash's intentions have certainly risen to what it seems riders and the industry are ...

  23. Slash: The ultimate long travel enduro bike

    Slash Gen 5. Slash Gen 5 is a long-travel 29er built for wild terrain. It packs in 160mm of rear and 170mm of front suspension, a lighter build, and traditional suspension design. 1. 160mm/170mm travel. 2. 29˝ front and rear wheels.

  24. Trek Slash Gen 6 First-ride Review

    With the Slash Gen 6, Trek has decided to offer it only as a mixed-wheel setup on sizes medium and up, with the option later to throw on a 29" rear wheel if desired; size small is full 27.5" only. Along with that change-up, they decided to give it a slacker 64.5-degree head angle, a steeper 77-degree seat-tube angle, size-specific ...

  25. Slash 9

    Accessories. Trek fork & shock sag meter, Bontrager shock pump, chain guide. Bike and frame weights are based off pre-production painted frames at time of publication. Weights may vary in final production. Discover your next great ride with Slash 9. See the bike and visit your local Trek retailer. Shop now!

  26. Legacy automakers fall behind on EVs, urge to slash clean ...

    Legacy automakers fall behind on EVs and urge to slash clean air laws rather than try to catch up. In a disappointing move that could result in billions of euros in health and environmental costs ...

  27. Patrick Stewart's First Star Trek Meeting Went As Badly As You ...

    For a moment, it seemed that Stewart would forever associate "Star Trek" with green shag carpets and an awkward meeting with some bloke in a run-down Hollywood home. It's hard to imagine anyone ...