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TGR Tested: Rocky Mountain Slayer C90 29

TGR Tested: Rocky Mountain Slayer C90 29 2020-09-13Leave a comment

electrical bike TGR Examined: Rocky Mountain Slayer C90 29

Is the Rocky Mountain Slayer greater than only a downhill bike in disguise? Max Ritter picture.

What’s extra enjoyable? A motorcycle that has no velocity restrict however is a little bit of a slug at gradual speeds, or a motorbike that’s mild and nimble however will get scary when going quick? Fact be instructed, it absolutely relies upon. It is dependent upon numerous issues – your means stage, your native trails, and easily what you like. Once I first hopped aboard the Rocky Mountain Slayer 29, probably the most fast factor I seen was the sheer measurement of the bike. It’s merely large. 29-inch wheels, 170mm of rear journey courtesy of a coil shock, a 63-degree head angle and one of many longest wheelbases I’ve ever ridden make this a formidable machine to swing a leg over. Rocky Mountain payments it as a freeride bike, and it most actually is, however after using it on all types of terrain for the previous two months, what shocked me probably the most was the bike’s versatility. Yeah, I do know it’s a cliché to say that in a motorbike evaluate; however hear me out. It’s not a DH bike, but additionally not an XC bike or perhaps a path bike, and it by no means will likely be, however the fact is that the Slayer is succesful of an entire lot greater than you may assume.

From the get-go, it was apparent the Slayer would descend like a bat out of hell – and extra on how good the bike handles gravity later – however what really bought me was how efficient it’s a big-mountain journey bike. I dwell within the Tetons, and with COVID-19 making shuttling and even bike park laps a bit of untenable, discovering massive lengthy journey rides within the mountains turned a little bit of a behavior this summer time. My using companions and I’d take a look at the map and discover methods to piece collectively 3000-foot descents means out within the woods, seeing how lengthy we may spend within the saddle directly. Notable native rides have been within the Huge Gap mountains of Idaho, on the Continental Divide close to Huge Sky, and pedaling laps on our residence trails of Teton Go. The bike additionally joined me on a socially-distanced highway journey by the Pacific Northwest the place I bought the instantly evaluate it to each one other enduro bike and a downhill bike. Ultimately, the Slayer turned my go-to bike for the kind of using I love to do most: utilizing my very own energy to get to the highest of actually lengthy technical descents.

RELATED: Rocky Mountain Drops the 2021 Altitude

The Tech

Rocky Mountain has been making the Slayer since 2001 and the current version (it came on the market late last year) is the seventh iteration of the design. Check here for our thoughts on the previous Slayer. It’s always been an aggressive bike, but never really fully slotted into one “category,” whether that was all-mountain, enduro, or even downhill. The new Slayer is the first to run 29-inch wheels, though a 27.5-inch version is also available that features a slightly different frame to accommodate the smaller wheels. The frame’s front triangle is carbon, with an alloy rear triangle, and features Rocky Mountain’s Ride-4 geometry adjust system that allows the rider to play with geometry angles. It adjusts the head angle from a ludicrously slack 63.2 to a more conservative 64.8 degrees, with two other options in between.
Click here for full geo numbers. On a enjoyable observe, the body is designed to be suitable with 200mm dual-crown forks, and we’ve seen a handful of execs arrange their bikes on this means.

Geo numbers within the slackest setting – why would you not run these on a motorbike like this? Rocky Mountain picture.

I examined the 29-inch C90 model in measurement L, full with a number of the nicest and most acceptable elements available on the market. The inventory C90 construct comes with a 170mm Fox Float 36 fork, a coil-sprung Fox DHX2 shock, a Fox Switch dropper publish, alloy Race Face ARC 30 wheels with Maxxis double-down tires back and front, carbon Race Face SixC handlebars and Subsequent R cranks, a Shimano XTR 12-speed drivetrain, and Shimano XTR Path 4-piston brakes.

The C90 comes dripping in high-end gravity pleasant elements. Max Ritter picture.

I ended up swapping the Fox Float 36 to a 
180mm RockShox Zeb Ultimate to additional beef up the bike. Vital? In all probability not, however with a motorbike like this, it appeared to make sense. Nearly all of the manufacturing unit elements are a sensible spec, with super-plush suspension, extraordinarily highly effective brakes, a wide-range drivetrain, and light-weight elements the place they matter most. Carbon wheels are tempting on any bike, however the Race Face ARC 30 wheels have held up properly, are pleasantly compliant, and super-stiff carbon wheels would probably take away from the comfy experience – plus carbon rims are an costly pastime relating to gravity using. My solely gripes with the body are the press-fit backside bracket, which tends to creak when it will get dusty, and the specialised rear shock {hardware}, which makes swapping the coil tough.

Gravity Driving

So yeah, the Slayer descends very well. That shouldn’t be a shock given its geometry numbers, part spec, and Rocky Mountain’s experience within the freeride world. From seems alone, it seems like a single-crown downhill bike with a 12-speed drivetrain, and in some methods, that’s actually true. Nevertheless, let’s discuss a number of the nuances on the way it truly rides within the gravity realm, as a result of that’s the place it will get attention-grabbing. The Slayer has this type of “candy spot” of rider place you possibly can hand around in and it’ll do absolutely anything you need it to. That candy spot is far bigger than on different bikes I’ve ridden, which form of shocked me at first, and it interprets to bigger, extra pronounced rider inputs being essential to get the bike to show, soar, or modify a line. At first, it led to the bike feeling a bit of gradual to reply, however in all honesty, I spotted it simply makes all different bikes I’ve ridden really feel actually twitchy. If you end up going quicker than you ever have on a mountain bike, stability, traction and a bit of little bit of “sluggishness” are literally very nice – the bike doesn’t even really feel prefer it’s going quick, so that you simply wish to keep off the brakes even longer and let gravity maintain on for only a bit extra.

Gapping rocks on chunky trails? No downside. Katie Lozancich picture.

Within the phrases of a good friend who hopped aboard the bike for a couple of laps, “using the Slayer is like being in a automobile chase with that loopy man within the passenger seat telling you to run pink lights, put the pedal to the metallic, and utterly ignore all the foundations of the highway – as a result of you already know you’ll get away with it.” In different phrases, don’t fear an excessive amount of about line selection – simply go quick and the Slayer’s bought your again, you’ll be shocked of what this bike will allow you to do.

The one caveat to all that stability and go-fast-ness is it comes at a value in actually steep, windy terrain. The one time the bike didn’t excel whereas descending was on puckeringly steep Bellingham-style gnar the place slow-speed precision and the power to vary course on a dime was vital. The bike’s sheer size mixed with the 29-inch rear wheel made it tough to maneuver by actually technical terrain like that discovered on some trails within the PNW. Certain, it’s potential, however it could take a greater rider than me to make it work.

Journey Driving

We all know the Slayer descends properly. As an alternative of dedicating this portion of the evaluate to “does it climb properly,” let’s discuss a extra real-world situation. There’s higher bikes on the market in case you’re seeking to hunt uphill Strava occasions. However, again to these enormous gnarly descents which are nowhere close to a shuttle highway or chairlift – the Slayer may simply be the proper bike for that kind of using.

It’s fairly comfy to pedal for lengthy distances because of a comparatively relaxed seated climbing place. On technical uphill bits, the bike is surprisingly nimble, and let’s not neglect that 29-inch wheels are way more adept at merely rolling over stuff. Moreover, the DHX2 coil supplies that very same unparalleled traction on the climbs, which means you possibly can sit and spin over unfastened rocks, chunky roots, and different non-grippy surfaces and make it up. I discovered myself utilizing the lockout swap incessantly to stop pedal bob, explicit on fireplace highway climbs, however that’s a contented tradeoff for a way properly that shock performs in any other case. Lastly, the 32-tooth entrance chainring mixed with a 51-tooth cog out again provides you the granniest of granny gears. On these lengthy journey missions, I discovered myself hike-a-biking far lower than I really feel like I’d have on one other bike, shocking myself almost each time I went out with what I used to be making it up with out dabbing. Even with the super-slack head angle, it’s simple to maneuver up and over relentless roots and ledges, round tight uphill switchbacks, and responds to out-of-the-saddle sprinting. In contrast to many different bikes with such geo numbers, I hardly ever discovered the entrance wheel wandering.

In fact, the most effective a part of having a motorbike like this that may grasp on lengthy rides is pointing it downhill. Excessive speeds, railing berms, and hitting jumps on shuttle trails and the bike park are one factor, however it’s uncommon you’ll discover these on a backcountry experience. There, it’s usually about slow-speed tech and cautious line selection. The Slayer has a reasonably easy reply to that: don’t fear an excessive amount of about line selection or fastidiously choosing your means down stuff. The monster-truck wheels and suspension mixed with the pinnacle angle will allow you to get artistic in that division, it doesn’t matter what the velocity. “Is that this actually a good suggestion?” changed into “let’s discover out.”

One of the best of getting a motorbike like this that may pedal up absolutely anything is how enjoyable it is going to be on the best way again down. Katie Lozancich picture.

The Last Verdict

Many people most likely don’t dwell in areas the place large human-powered descents are a factor. The Slayer most likely isn’t the most effective bike for you then. Nevertheless, in case you dwell in a spot with some rowdy using and also you’re on the lookout for one bike to do all of it, particularly if “all” means “all of the descending,” the Slayer can grasp. It’s an exceptional bike park bike, it’s a race-winning enduro bike, it’s a more-than-capable big-mountain journey bike. Actually, it’s a
mountain bike within the truest sense of the phrase that lets you play with gravity not like another machine I’ve ridden.

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