Bike Test: Rocky Mountain Slayer 70
Vernon Felton and Ryan LaBar review Rocky Mountain's Slayer 70
Rocky Mountain Slayer 70
$4,400 / bikes.com
From the Designers:
“Our goal was to create the best all-mountain/enduro bike possible. It needed to be light (sub 30 pounds) and pedal well on long climbs, yet have enough travel (6.5 inches) and burl to tackle the steepest. gnarliest descents. In short, the perfect “one bike” for all terrain.”
Tester 1: Vernon Felton
Years Riding: 22
Test Locale: Bellingham, WA
The first time aboard a new bike can be disorienting as you work out the quirks in bike fit, and adept to the change in geometry and suspension feel.
By all rights then, my initial foray on the Slayer should have been awkward. Really awkward. Like watching your parents having sex, on a movie screen, in a crowded theater packed full of scowling, Amish farmers. That kind of awkward. Why? Because I took the Slayer for its first spin on the wet, rocky trails of Vancouver’s North Shore. With its greasy roots, tight switchbacks brimming with hatchet-head rocks and the occasional drop that suddenly looms beneath your wheels, the Shore doesn’t exactly let you cozy up, find a groove and meld with a new bike.
Despite that fact, the Slayer felt perfectly at home, right from the start. Climbing? It scales steeps as well as a lightweight trail bike. Descents? The neutral-handling front end and uber-stiff frame let you bomb through seriously hacked out terrain. The Slayer was designed on the Shore and it shows. The bike excels, however, on a whole lot of very different rides, including all-day singletrack marches. My only gripe? On fast, wide-open descents, the steep seat angle makes the cockpit feel cramped.
I swapped out the stock seatpost for a Thomson with more set back and was immediately pleased by the difference, which makes me think that slackening the seat tube a degree or so would be a worthy change. That, however, is the only bone I have to pick with the Slayer.
Tester 2: Ryan LaBar
Years Riding: 13
Test Locale: Moab, Utah; Orange County, CA
While most all-mountain bikes are becoming as versatile as Swiss Army knives, the re-designed Rocky Mountain Slayer just might be the equivalent to a Leatherman tool with its climbing and descending abilities.
Perhaps the most noticeable change on the new frame is Rocky’s “Straight-up” geometry. It uses a steeper than normal, 75-degree seat tube angle, which Rocky says puts the rider in a better position while climbing and sagged into the suspension.
When the Slayer was pointed down, I’d fall out of my comfort zone well before the bike, itself, ever felt undergunned. The slack, 66.5-degree front-end and active suspension, even while braking, made the Slayer right at home on the nastiest terra firma.
Railing corners on the Slayer was second nature. With its massive-diameter downtube, tapered steerer and 36-millimeter fork, it didn’t take long to realize that this bike is stiff. Point it through a rock-strewn corner and it tracked through like a slot car.
In spite of the Slayer’s descending abilities its ascending qualities are nearly as impressive. The Slayer climbed with cross-country bike like vigor thanks to its lightweight, active suspension and steep seat angle.
To further aid in the Slayer’s versatility, I installed a dropper post, which is something every all-mountain bike should have.
The Rocky Mountain did everything I hoped it would…and better than I expected. Whether I was shuttling or spending hours climbing for my dose of down, every ride on the Slayer just seemed too short—in the best kind of way.
Rocky’s Two Cents
We’re not surprised that the seat position took some test pilots a bit of time to get used to. You can use a layback post to slacken the seat tube angle to about 73.5 degrees and lengthen the effective top tube a bit, but we still prefer the stock “Straight-up” geometry because it puts the rider in a better position for efficient power transfer to the drivetrain while climbing. The Slayer’s 75-degree (with a zero-offset post) is slacker than previous “Straight-up” designs by a degree, which we feel is the happy median for this enduro/all-mountain application. —D’Arcy O’Connor, MTB Design Manager and Jamie Stafford, Industrial Designer