First Look: 2018 Trek Slash 9.7

by
November 21, 2017

Long travel 29ers are quite the thing at the moment aren’t they?

Thanks to some key success on both the Enduro World Series and in the Downhill World Cup, big wheelers are clearly hot property right now. Of course many of us have long known the benefits of 29in wheels, but due to them having originally been marketed towards the spandex-wearing, XC racing set, it’s taken some time for that perception to change. Modern geometry has certainly helped, as have advancements in 29in suspension and wheel technology, which have all paved the way for some very good mountain bikes that just so happen to be rolling on wagon wheels. For a look at three excellent examples, check out our recent Modern Geometry 29er Group Test feature.

Trek Bikes has been riding the 29er wave thanks to Gary Fisher’s assistance, and the Slash is the brand’s latest offering that’s designed to be a purpose-built enduro race machine. First unveiled in 29er form in June of last year (remember that super-hot firetruck red launch model?), the Slash range has expanded for 2018, and is now available in 9.9, 9.8 and 9.7 models. Here we take you through the entry-point into the range; the Slash 9.7, which James Vincent will be punishing on some burly Cumbrian singletrack to see how it handles.

trek slash 29er enduro bontrager
The Trek Slash was rolled out last year, but the range has expanded for 2018.

Slash is designed from the ground up to conquer the gnarliest enduros, in a 29″-optimised package that makes this bike the undisputed king of the mountain. Slash is built to dominate the most demanding mountain and ride with big 29″ wheels on an aggressively capable yet lightweight carbon frame. Throw Slash down the most technical descent and fly back up.” – From Trek Bikes.

trek slash 29er enduro bontrager
This bad boy has 29in wheels, a 160mm travel fork and 150mm of travel out back.

Trek Slash 9.7 Features

  • Long travel 29er enduro bike
  • OCLV Mountain carbon fibre mainframe with alloy stays
  • Knock Block headset
  • ABP suspension design
  • Custom RockShox Deluxe RT3 Thru Shaft shock with RE:aktiv damper
  • 150mm rear travel
  • Designed for 160mm travel forks
  • 65.6° head angle
  • 74.1° seat tube angle
  • 433mm chainstay length
  • BB92 bottom bracket shell
  • ISCG 05 chainguide tabs
  • Mino Link adjustable geometry
  • Boost 148x12mm thru-axle
  • Available sizes: Small, Medium, Large, & X-Large
trek slash 29er enduro bontrager
The 9.7 kicks off the 2018 Slash range at £3800.

In terms of travel and intent, the Slash kind of takes off where the old Remedy 29er (forever rest in peace) left off. The Slash steps things up with 150mm of rear travel, a 160mm travel fork, and a new frame design that puts an emphasis on strength and rigidity with its straight down tube and single pivot suspension design.

trek slash 9.7
There’s routing options for an external dropper post, while the Control Freak system locks down cables inside the downtube to prevent rattling.

As with all Slash models, the mainframe is made from OCLV Mountain carbon fibre, though to bring the price down, the Slash 9.7 uses an alloy sub frame. Along with a carefully chosen build kit, Trek has been able to bring the Slash RRP down below £4k, while still rolling with a 1×11 drivetrain, a RockShox Yari fork and the new Thru Shaft rear shock technology.

trek slash 29er enduro bontrager
Trek’s own OCLV Mountain carbon fibre blend is used for the mainframe.
trek slash 29er enduro bontrager
Probably not native to Calderdale.
trek slash 29er enduro bontrager
The Slash 9.7 gets beefy Truvativ Descendent cranks and the latest Eagle chainring design.
trek slash 29er enduro bontrager
1×11 SRAM NX shifting offers range at a bargain price.
trek slash 29er enduro bontrager
Alloy stays with integrated rubber armouring.
trek slash 29er enduro bontrager
Of note is the omission of the Full Floater linkage – the Slash skips it in favour of maximum strength and stiffness.
trek slash 29er enduro bontrager
The RockShox Yari uses a similar design to the Lyrik, but with a cheaper Motion Control damper.
trek slash 29er enduro bontrager
Bontrager finishing kit all round, including the 50mm stem.
trek slash 29er enduro bontrager
To facilitate the straight down tube, a Knock Block headset prevents over rotation of the bars/fork crown.
trek slash 29er enduro bontrager
SRAM Guide R brakes lay down the power with tool-free adjustable levers…
trek slash 29er enduro bontrager
…and four-piston callipers.
trek slash 29er enduro bontrager
Bontrager’s own Drop Line seatpost features on the Slash 9.7, though the seals have been updated for 2018, and it’s now also available with 150mm of drop.

So what do you folks think of the 2018 Trek Slash? Are you digging what this long travel 29er is laying down? Or are you more of a 27.5 Remedy person? Let us know what you reckon in the comments section below!

For further information on the 2018 Slash models, head to the Trek website. Otherwise, hold tight for James’ full review of the Slash 9.7 as he tries to find its limits on and off the racetrack.

trek slash 29er enduro bontrager
With its raked-out geometry and clever suspension, is the Slash an EWS-worthy contender?

2018 Trek Slash 9.7 Specifications

  • Frame // OCLV Mountain Carbon Fibre Mainframe w/Alloy Stays, 150mm Travel
  • Fork // RockShox Yari RC, G2 Geometry, 160mm Travel
  • Shock // RockShox Deluxe RT3, RE:aktiv with Thru Shaft, Trunnion Mount
  • Hubs // Bontrager Line Comp 30, 110x15mm Front & 148x12mm Rear
  • Rims // Bontrager Line Comp 30, 29mm Internal Rim Width, 28h, Tubeless Ready
  • Tyres // Bontrager SE4 Team Issue 29×2.4in Front & Rear
  • Chainset // SRAM Descendant 6k Eagle, 32T Direct Mount X-Sync 2 Chainring
  • Rear Mech // SRAM NX, 11-Speed
  • Shifter // SRAM NX, 11-Speed
  • Cassette // SRAM PG-1130, 11-42t, 11-speed
  • Brakes // SRAM Guide R, 180mm Front & Rear
  • Stem // Bontrager Line, Knock Block, 35mm Diameter, 50mm Long
  • Bars // Bontrager Line, 35mm Diameter, 27.5mm Rise, 780mm Wide
  • Grips // Bontrager Rhythm Dual Lock-On
  • Seatpost // Bontrager Drop Line, 31.6mm Diameter, 100mm Travel (15.5in), 125mm Travel (17.5in & 18.5in), 150mm Travel (19.5in & 21.5in)
  • Saddle // Bontrager Evoke 2, Cromoly Rails
  • Size Tested // 19.5in
  • Sizes available // 15.5in, 17.5in, 18.5in, 19.5in and 21.5in
  • RRP // £3800

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First Look