Rain and snow are not his thing! Florian Nicolai was one of the hot favourites of the first 2020 EWS race in Zermatt. We took a closer look at his race bike, the brand new Trek Slash 2021.

Florian Nicolai’s race bike is a size L 2021 Trek Slash 9.9 2021 with 170/160 mm travel (f/r) and 29” wheels.

While last year Flo lost the overall EWS victory to Sam Hill on the last stage in Zermatt, he was one of the hot favourites of this year’s TRAILLOVE festival, which took place in the renowned Swiss mountain resort. His chances of winning the Swiss stage were particularly good considering that Sam decided to sit out the European races due to the travel restrictions imposed by governments in response to the COVID-19 pandemic

However, the crazy weather conditions forced organisers to postpone the start by several hours and reduce the race to just two stages. Given the extreme conditions, Flo didn’t want to take unnecessary risks with wet roots and slippery rocks. At the end of the day, he had to content himself with a rather unflattering 13th place.

Florian Nicolai | Born in 1993 | Nationality: French | Height 1.83 m | Weight 72 kg

When the Trek Slash was launched in 2016, it played a key role in shaping the 29er enduro bike category. Three weeks ago, the American brand launched its successor, the Trek Slash 9.9 2021, which has more travel, a revised geometry and a practical storage compartment under the bottle cage. We have already tested the brand-new Trek Slash 9.9 2021 for you. In this bike check, we’ll tell you the main differences between the production bike and Flo’s racing bike.

Just minutes before the start: Flo and his mechanic Andy Lund sheltering from a massive storm in the Trek pits.
By placing second in the overall rankings of the 2019 EWS, Florian secured the n.2 race-plate for this season.
Flo uses 785 mm Bontrager Line 35 handlebars with 27.5 mm rise to navigate his bike through the racing course.
A OneUp Components EDC mini tool is installed inside the steering tube and 30 mm stem.
Flo’s contact points: a pair of ODI Ruffian lock-on grips…
… and a standard, 138 mm Bontrager Arvada saddle attached to a 170 mm RockShox Reverb AXS dropper post.
In the practical in-frame storage box of the Trek Slash 2021, Florian carries a CO2 cartridge, spare inner tube and a replacement battery for the electronic groupset and dropper.
A little strip of adhesive slapper tape functions as a practical mudguard, preventing mud and dirt from clogging up the swingarm
Flo uses the LS version of Crankbrothers Mallet E pedals. With their wide 57 mm axle, they provide a generous stance width
For the race in Zermatt, Flo used a SRAM 34 t chainring 170 mm SRAM X01 Eagle DUB cranks
The massive chainstay protector, which comes as standard on the production bike, prevents the chain from hitting the chainstay
In Zermatt, Flo set up his 160 mm RockShox Super Deluxe True Shaft shock with 165 psi (11.4 bar)
Like many EWS riders, Flo runs a 170 mm RockShox ZEB Enduro fork, which has massive 38 mm stanchions. For the Zermatt race, the fork was set up with 70 psi (4.8 bar)
In the gruelling conditions of this year’s Traillove Festival, the RRP Mudguard ProGuard came in handy. Read our mudguard group test with seven different models to find out which is the right one for you. In Zermatt, Flo settled for a tire pressure of 1.6 bar at the front and 1.8 bar at the rear
The wireless SRAM AXS groupset makes the cable ports of the Trek superfluous
Up front, a SRAM CODE RSC brake with a 200 mm provides reliable deceleration
The rear end relies on the same SRAM CODE RSC brake combined with a 200 mm rotor. Unfortunately, Trek deliver their production bike with a 180 mm rotor. However, you can swap this with a bigger disc if needed (up to 220 mm).
A SRAM Eagle AXS rear-derailleur ensures fast and smooth shifting. Here at ENDURO, we’re impressed with the performance of the groupset and compiled a list with 13 reasons, why electronic components on bikes are the future.
Although SRAM offer a 10–52 t cassette with 520% gear range, Florian is happy with a smaller 10-50 SRAM Eagle X01 cassette.
Someone’s trying to hide the tire brand… However, at our photo shoot, the bike arrived with the original Bontrager G5 Team Issue tires.

Tuning tips from our ENDURO chief editor, Christoph Bayer:

  • Pick a slightly smaller frame size
  • Bigger brake rotor on the rear
  • More robust tires with a more aggressive tread pattern

Without even reading our test of the Trek Slash 9.9 2021, Flo implemented Christoph’s tuning tips

On the days before and after the race, the weather in Zermatt was awesome!

We keep our fingers crossed for Flo and wish him a successful season! Follow Florian Nicolai on his Instagram account.

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Words: Manne Schmitt Photos: Manne Schmitt / Trek Bikes

About the author

Manne Schmitt

As the proud father of Robin and Max-Philip, Manne has been there from the start and is the wise elder of the editorial team. He won his first cycling race in elementary school at a school sports day. After less successful attempts at football, he found his passion for cycling via endurance racing in 1989! The world of racing still consumes him and no one in the team knows the EWS pros better than Manne. As a former head analyst of a state agency, he knows how to do proper research and finds exclusive news that no one else has. He supports his sons in day-to-day business dealings as the authorised signatory for 41 Publishing – viva la familia!