SLAYER! A word that you’ll immediately associate with heavy metal: fast, hard guitar riffs, headbanging and moshpits. Our first ride on the brand new Rocky Mountain Slayer did indeed shake us up and make us feel as electrified as you do after several-hours at a heavy-metal concert. The bike rocks!

The brand new Rocky Mountain Slayer Carbon 90
Rocky Mountain Slayer 90 | 29″ or 27.5″ | 170/170 mm (29″) or 180/180 mm (27.5″) Travel | € 8,600 | Weight: approx. 15.4 kg (29 “)

Rocky Mountain had one goal when they developed the new Slayer: “this bike has to be rad!” At least that’s what the Canadian brand told us at the presentation at their headquarters in North Vancouver. They wanted to create a bike to go full throttle on the toughest tracks, a bike that you can hit the craziest lines on and not have to shy away from the highest drops. A freeride bike from the good old days that also climbs well and features all the modern technology that we’ve come to expect.

Soon after starting on the Slayer project, Rocky Mountain realised that they wanted to offer this bike with 29″ as well as 27.5″ wheels
Freeride legends Wade Simmons and Thomas Vanderham can’t wait to take the new bike for a ride on their home-trails

When they started the project, Rocky Mountain only envisioned the Slayer rolling on 27.5″ wheels. But when they saw the first hard-hitting 29ers appear on the scene, the Canadian brand made some in-house prototypes and soon decided that they would offer the bike with both wheel sizes. Having said that, you can’t just change the wheel size as you like, you have to decide on a size before you buy the bike – there’s no flip-chip. However, the new Slayer does feature Rocky Mountain’s Ride4 system allowing you to adjust the geometry in four positions.

The flowing lines and the careful attention to detail such as on the clamped cable inlets are typical for Rocky Mountain
The Aluminium rear end of the new Rocky Mountain Slayer
The rear triangle is made of aluminium across the range, which should save costs and be more durable – especially if you crash
The chainstay protector with its extra cushioning is designed to effectively minimise all noise
The new Slayer features Rocky Mountain’s proven Ride4 system, allowing you to adjust the geometry in four positions
The down tube protector should please owners of pick-ups
As featured on the predecessor: the specially developed chain guide gets attached to the top of the chainstay
There is enough room in the front triangle for a water bottle: essential for the after-work ride!

Maximum reserves – the suspension of the new Rocky Mountain Slayer

The 29″ model has a whopping 170 mm travel on the front and rear while the 27.5″ bike offers an additional 10 mm on top of that. Like the previous Slayer, the new model relies on a four-bar rear linkage, but the kinematics of the bike have been revised, adjusting the anti-squat, anti-rise and leverage ratio. This should result in a bike that is more sensitive and more active – even when braking. The new Slayer has also been optimised for the use of coil shocks.

Plush, plusher, Slayer! The rear linkage is extremely sensitive and offers endless reserves.

Robust, reliable and easy to service – the frame

Besides offering the new Slayer with two different wheel sizes, Rocky Mountain are also giving their customers a choice of carbon and aluminium for the frames. However, the rear end is made of aluminium across the range, which promises to be particularly durable in case of crash or a botched landing. Rocky Mountain also paid careful attention to the bike’s longevity with its specially sealed bearings. However, should you have to replace anything, all you need a number 5 and 6 Allen key to disassemble the rear linkage. The number of parts has been reduced to make the process that much easier. On the Carbon model, the cables are routed internally through carbon sheaths inside the frame, which makes replacing/installing brake lines and shifter cables hassle-free and keeps everything nice and quiet. The aluminium models don’t have any internal guides but the cable inlets should be big enough to make the cable routing less of a headache.

Stylish and practical – the one-sided bearing mounts not only give the bike a clean look, but they also improve ease of maintenance
The cables are routed through carbon sheaths inside the frame, making installation a breeze and preventing the cables from rattling.

Long and slack, but not extreme – the geometry of the Rocky Mountain Slayer

In times when more and more companies are trying to outdo each other with ever more extreme geometries, Rocky Mountain seems a little reserved with the Slayer’s geometry, which is a long and slack but not to an extreme – we applaud them for doing so. The 475 mm reach in size L is just right for 180 cm tall riders. The head angle of 64.5 ° (neutral setting) is slack but not too much so and the chainstays are neither exaggeratedly short nor super long at 442 mm (29 “). The bottom bracket is positioned rather low considering the amount of travel available. Rocky Mountain deliberately kept the seat tube angle steep at 76.5° to position the rider centrally on the bike when going up steep climbs.

Rocky Mountain are offering the 29er in sizes M, L and XL, whereas the 27.5” model is available from S to XL.

The geometry table of the 29″ Slayer’s four settings

Size MD LG XL
Ride 4 Pos. 1 slack 2 3 neutral 4 1 slack 2 3 neutral 4 1 slack 2 3 neutral 4
Seat tube [mm] 420 445 480
Top tube [mm] 600 599 598 595 628 627 626 623 657 656 655 652
Head tube [mm] 95 110 125
Head angle 63.8° 64.1° 64.5° 64.8° 63.8° 64.1° 64.5° 64.8° 63.8° 64.1° 64.5° 64.8°
Seat angle 75.8° 76.1° 76.5° 76.8° 75.8° 76.1° 76.5° 76.8° 75.8° 76.1° 76.5° 76.8°
Chainstay [mm] 443 442 442 441 443 442 442 441 443 442 442 441
BB Drop [mm] 34 30 25 18 34 30 25 18 34 30 25 18
Wheelbase [mm] 1220 1219 1218 1215 1249 1248 1247 1244 1286 1285 1284 1281
Reach [mm] 462 466 470 473 469 471 475 478 492 496 500 503
Stack [mm] 622 619 616 614 635 632 629 627 649 646 643 641

The geometry table of the 27.5″ Slayer’s four settings

Size SM MD LG XL
Ride 4 Pos. 1 slack 2 3 neutral 4 1 slack 2 3 neutral 4 1 slack 2 3 neutral 4 1 slack 2 3 neutral 4
Seat tube [mm] 380 420 460 480
Top tube [mm] 570 573 573 572 596 597 597 596 624 623 622 621 660 659 658 658
Head tube [mm] 90 95 110 125
Head angle 63.9° 64.2° 64.5° 64.8° 63.9° 64.2° 64.5° 64.8° 63.9° 64.2° 64.5° 64.8° 63.9° 64.2° 64.5° 64.8°
Seat angle 75.4° 75.7° 76° 76.3° 75.4° 75.7° 76° 76.3° 75.4° 75.7° 76° 76.3° 75.4° 75.7° 76° 76.3°
Chainstay [mm] 431 430 430 429 431 430 430 429 431 430 430 429 431 430 430 429
BB Drop [mm] 18 14 10 6 18 14 10 6 18 14 10 6 18 14 10 6
Wheelbase [mm] 1180 1179 1178 1177 1205 1204 1203 1202 1234 1233 1232 1231 1273 1272 1271 1270
Reach [mm] 419 422 425 428 444 447 450 453 469 472 475 478 494 497 500 503
Stack [mm] 595 593 591 589 600 598 596 594 614 612 610 608 627 625 623 621

Three carbon, two aluminium and one frameset – the Slayer models

As with its predecessor, the new Rocky Mountain Slayer is available in various builds with the same two colours options for each. As a customer, you either have the choice between a striking red/black or a very discreet black/grey colour scheme. Rocky Mountain affectionately call them “heartbreaker red/the main black” or “touch of grey/”. Overall, Rocky Mountain are offering three carbon and two aluminium models and most of them in both wheel sizes. The only exception is the carbon 50 model, which is only available as a 29er.

The new 2020 Rocky Mountain Slayer is available in aluminium and carbon, with 29″ or 27.5″ wheels, and two colour schemes

Interesting to see, all but the most affordable Alu 30 model feature a Shimano drivetrain. However, only the Carbon 90 model is specced with FOX components while the rest of the models rely on RockShox for the suspension. Prices start at € 3,500 for the Slayer Alu 30 and end at € 8,600 for the perfectly specced flagship model. The € 4,200 Slayer Alu 50 with the RockShox Lyrik Select+ fork, Super Deluxe Ultimate shock and complete Shimano SLX groupset, and the identically specced C50 carbon model for € 5,300 look like the most exciting options. Alternatively, you can get the carbon frameset for € 4,200.

The flagship model comes with FOX 36 Factory suspension while all other models are specced with RockShox
The coil shock underlines the intended use of the Slayer: Freeride!
The Shimano XTR brakes deliver an impressive amount of stopping power – unfortunately, the pressure point on our test bike was inconsistent
Thanks to the short seat tube you can fit a longer dropper post
A bike as capable as this needs robust tires: good thing Rocky Mountain specced MAXXIS’ Double Down casing across the range. We’re more than happy to accept the slight weight penalty!

The different models at a glance

Carbon 90 Carbon 70 Carbon 50 Alloy 50 Alloy 30
Fork | 170/180 mm (29″/27.5″) FOX 36 Factory GRIP2 RockShox Lyrik Ultimate RockShox Lyrik Select RockShox Lyrik Select RockShox Yari RC
Schock | 170/180 mm (29″/27.5″) FOX DHX2 Factory RockShox Super Deluxe Coil Ultimate RockShox Super Deluxe Coil Ultimate RockShox Super Deluxe Coil Ultimate RockShox Super Deluxe Coil Select
Brakes | 200/200 mm Shimano XTR 4-Pods Shimano XT 4-Pods Shimano SLX 4-Pods Shimano SLX 4-Pods Shimano MT520 4-Pods
Drivetrain Shimano XTR 12-Speed Shimano XT 12-Speed Shimano SLX/XT 12-Speed Shimano SLX/XT 12-Speed SRAM SX Eagle
Wheelset | 29″/27.5″ Race Face ARC 30/DT Swiss 340 Race Face AR 30/DT Swiss 370 WTB ST i30/DT Swiss 370 WTB ST i30/DT Swiss 370 WTB ST i30/Shimano MT400
Tires | 2.5″ WT Maxxis Minion DHF 3C MaxxGrip Doubel Down/Aggressor Dual Double Down
Seatpost Race Face Turbine R OneUp Dropper Post OneUp Dropper Post Race Face Aeffect Dropper Rocky Mountain Toonie Drop
Price € 8,600 € 6,500 € 5,300 € 4,200 € 3,500

Confidence level 100 – the new Rocky Mountain Slayer on the trail

Riding the North Shore trails of Vancouver is something very special. The terrain is unlike anything you’ll encounter elsewhere in the world. Before we head down the first trail, Rocky Mountain Brand Manager Stephen tells us “do not trust anything, you are at the shore, if there might be a drop, there is a drop.” The terrain is usually steep, rough and full of holes that look for any opportunity to grab the front wheel and eject the rider over the bars.

With a rider height of 180 cm, we rode the 29″ Slayer Carbon 90 in size L. What immediately stood out to us is the extremely plush and sensitive rear suspension of the Slayer. With a weight of around 87 kg, the 475 lbs coil was perfect, giving us exactly 30% sag. On our way to the trail, we noticed how easily the Slayer manuals. As soon as we started heading downhill, the bike impressed us with the amount of traction it offers. Besides the unfamiliar terrain, the slack head angle and the 40 mm short stem made the front feel uncontrolled. We tried solving the problem by lowering the stem but we would personally have preferred a 45 mm or 50 mm model.

The Slayer masters even the toughest trails with ease!

You’re positioned very centrally on the bike and the low slung top tube gives you a good range of motion. Due to the rather moderate geometry, the bike’s handling feels very intuitive once you’ve gotten used to the short stem. As soon as the trail allows it, the Slayer motivates you to go as fast as possible. If you happen to encounter another one of those unexpected drops, you simply lift the front wheel and let the endless reserves of the suspension soak up the landing, no matter how rough it is. Having said that, the bike never feels sluggish, offering plenty of pop and always willing to get airborne. Another very positive aspect of the suspension is the enormous braking traction it generates. The powerful XTR brakes ensure optimal deceleration at all times and thanks to the robust Double Down tires we never suffered any punctures and always had a lot of grip on the occasionally super loose and soft ground.

The capability of the new Slayer’s suspension is in a class of its own!

Thanks to the steep seat tube angle, your riding position is upright and compact on the climbs. We never felt the need to push the saddle further forward – which we usually do on almost every other bike we’ve tested. The rear suspension generates a lot of traction on technical climbs and doesn’t wallow. However, on forest service roads and monotonous climbs, you’ll notice a significant amount of pedal bob on the super plush suspension – you’ll want to reach for the climb switch to calm things down.

Let it rip. The new Slayer is a beast on the trails
Helmet Specialized Ambush | Glasses Oakley Jawbreaker PRIZM Trail | Shirt Fasthouse Fastline Slash SS | Shorts iXS SEVER | Kneepads ION K Pact

Our first conclusion after a day on the Slayer


The careful attention to detail, good looks and, above all, the outstanding rear suspension convinced us of the new Rocky Mountain Slayer. Super sensitive, massive reserves and yet very defined – we were thrilled. The geometry is balanced and the spec is beyond reproach. If you’re looking for an enduro bike to tame the wildest trails, we recommend taking a closer look at the new Slayer. We can’t wait to spend more time testing it.

Tops

  • super sensitive and defined suspension
  • fun and composed handling
  • good spec on all models
  • clever details
  • comfortable climbing position

Flops

  • stem too short for some riders
  • pedal bob on the climbs

More info at: bikes.com

The new Rocky Mountain Slayer – a bike built for the roughest trails

Words: Christoph Bayer Photos: Christoph Bayer & Margus Riga

About the author

Christoph Bayer

Christoph loves to be kept on his toes – both on the bike and in his role for ENDURO. He’s known as the guy in charge of the bi-monthly magazine and masquerades as both its editor and photographer. You’ll usually find him tearing up the mountains on his bike, soaking up the flow or tackling technical, narrow trails.