Review: Rocky Mountain Slayer

The Slayer ushers in a new era of all-mountain bikes, taking riders farther than ever

This is the most capable all-mountain bike Rocky Mountain has ever made. But the Canadian company didn't just create something that rides well, it designed a masterpiece that is both aesthetically refined and technologically advanced. The Slayer's full-carbon frame has all the bells and whistles, plus: Boost 148 spacing, internal cable routing with Shimano Di2 compatibility, full-complement Enduro Max pivot bearings and locking-collet main pivot, metric shock sizing and 180-millimeter post brake mounts. Plus, there's the shock eyelet bearings to boost suspension sensitivity, and the sexy hidden seatstay and chainstay pivot hardware.

The 770 MSL build relies on the ultra-sensitive yet supportive RockShox Super Deluxe shock to control its 165 millimeters of rear-wheel travel, while a 170-mil Lyrik RC3 superbly suspends the front end. Moving up to the flagship build gives the rider the Kashima sliders and extra adjustments that come on Fox's Float X2 Factory shock and 36 Fit HSC/LSC Factory fork. Testers appreciated how simple the RockShox setup was for how flawlessly it performed. The suspension delivered near coil-shock-level small-bump sensitivity, while also providing support for big hits. Plus, each frame size (small-XL) gets its own shock tune. The combination of the bike's geometry and its 27.5-inch wheels makes it controllable and predictable–for such a big bike, it's surprisingly coordinated and graceful. With a slack 64.75-65.85 headtube angle (adjustable via Rocky's Ride4 geometry chips), stubby 425-430-millimeter rear end and low-slung bottom bracket, it's no surprise that the Slayer slays the steepest, rowdiest mountain descents riders can find.


Check out the rest of the Long Travel class


Rocky Mountain Slayer
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But to reach the epic descents this bike begs to take on, there's often a lot of climbing involved. Rocky knows this, so it boosted the Slayer's anti-squat properties, and made sure it had a steep (73.75-74.85-degree) seat angle to put riders in an optimum climbing position. That full-carbon frame can't hurt either. As a result, the Slayer earned top scores among all testers in this department. The only question left for the designers, according to one tester, is, "Does the hockey mask on the toptube ever give you nightmares?"

MSRP: $5,800

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Q&A with Brian Park, Content Marketing Manager – Rocky Mountain Bikes

So, does it … give you nightmares?
Nope, we love hockey, eh.

Last year we didn't have a single 29er in our All Mountain category, while this year the majority of Long Travel bikes in the test are wagon wheelers. In short, the pool of truly great long travel 29ers is growing. Rocky must have very good reasons for not swimming with the others–what are they?
We wanted to keep the Slayer in the 165mm+ travel realm, and felt that 27.5 wide-trail tires were the right choice to keep it fast, aggressive, and agile. Long-travel 29ers are awesome, but very different from what we designed the Slayer to be. Stay tuned.

The Slayer is compatible with 26-plus. Have you guys spent much time on one set up that way?
Yeah, 26+ tires work really well for slippery and loose conditions. They have a lot of the same characteristics as 27.5+ tires, but are lighter and easier to throw around. Until the recent snowpocalypse here in North Vancouver, a couple of the guys here have been running them over the winter.

How'd you come up with the idea for the hidden chainstay and seatstay pivot hardware? It creates such a clean, unobstructed line, but does the design serve more than an aesthetic purpose?
After we’d validated the performance gains that Boost spacing and hubs promised, we put a lot of effort into ways to slim our rear triangles down. Stiffer wheels and rear triangles are great, but not if you’re clipping your heels all over the place. The new Slayer actually has more heel clearance than the previous generation of the 142-spaced Slayer. The single-sided pivots were what we came up with to keep the back end slim, and that allowed us to keep pivots hidden. Form followed function, but we’re really happy with the way the bike’s lines came together.

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