On Rocky Mountain’s website, you won’t find the Slayer in the ‘trail’ or ‘enduro’ categories; instead, you’ll find it in ‘big mountain,’ right below the Maiden, where it belongs. This latest redesign has given the Slayer exactly what it needed, and while the previous model perhaps suffered from a bit of an identity crisis and strong competition from its own stablemates, the new Slayer has found itself by returning to its badass freeride roots. The big news is there’s now a 170-millimeter-travel 29-inch wheel version, an addition that could fully unleash the fury of this beast. Keep in mind, they’ve kept the 27.5 option, and also increased the travel on those bikes to 180 millimeters.
Along with the increased travel, 29-inch wheels and a coil shock, the Slayer also got the requisite 2020 geometry update. No surprises here: slacker, steeper and longer where it needs to be. It keeps Rocky’s RIDE-4 adjustment system—we could talk at length about what this does to all the numbers, but the meat and potatoes is that it gives you a degree of head angle and seat tube angle adjustment. We set ours up in position 2, which is deemed neutral, and that gave us 64.1 degrees in the head and 76.1 in the seat. Rocky also revised the kinematics to improve off-the-top sensitivity and added some progressivity to the end of the stroke.
On the spec side, solid decisions were made all around that align with the Slayer’s attitude. Maxxis tires with Double Down casings make an aggressive statement and also contribute to the 35-pound weight of our test bike. The new Shima- no XT 12-speed group performed perfectly with the four-piston brakes delivering heaps of power and vastly improved modulation over previous Shimano offerings. Also, it was nice to see a One- Up dropper in there, a staff favorite. The Slayer Carbon 70 gets the RockShox treatment with a Lyrik RC2 and a Super Deluxe Coil Ultimate. Rocky ships large Slayers with a 450-pound spring, tuned for a rider weight range of 190 to 210 pounds. Their spring rate chart is spot-on, as two testers, both weighing 175 pounds, had to switch to the 400-pound spring to hit the target sag measurement. The Slayer also utilizes size-specific shock tuning, something we’re seeing other companies experimenting with as well. Essentially, it’s based on the premise that someone short is also light and vice versa for someone tall. There’s no doubt that if you fall into the specified weight range for your frame size that it is indeed a performance benefit, but we could also see short stocky and tall skinny riders feeling left out.