This bike has literally seen it all. We’ve ridden it with wreckless abandon in the demanding bike parks of the Dolomites, the loamy forests of Humboldt County and the chaparral of SoCal. Hell, we even spent a day riding Whistler Bike Park aboard the SL AMR. In each and every type of terrain, our riders were impressed with how well this bike rides.
Climbing Even with the DH-biased combination of a slack-ish head angle, long wheelbase and coil shock, the SL AMR X 9 climbed surprisingly well. There were times however, mainly on steep not-so-smooth climbs, that we were wishing we had a traditional air shock to help improve some efficiency but, for the most part, the bike climbed over everything in its path. The fact the bikes geo isn’t over-the-top aggressive meant it was ready to tackle switchback climbs and more techy maneuvers. Something some modern bikes suck at in favor of high speed DH performance. This bike blends the ability to handle both nicely.
Descending While the Ghost climbs rather well for a coil sprung big mountain shredder, descending is where the bike really shines. This bike allows us to plow over everything on the trail with the utmost confidence. The 46.89-in (1,191mm) wheelbase combined with the large wheels originally had us thinking about tight turn performance but we quickly learned it was a non-issue. The SL AMR is extremely nimble and when driven straight into bermed or rutted corners, it holds its line well. Even more, it exited turns without any fumbles and accelerated with ease. Two things that really stick out about this bike are traction and suspension performance. Thanks in big part to the Cane Creek shock and suspension design, the bike’s ability to remain composed and soak up terrain instilled confidence we haven’t found on many other trail bikes. Traction is equally impressive and we attribute that to the bike’s uncanny ability to keep the tires composed and on the ground when you want them there. If it’s play time or you need to get the bike in a new line, its light weight and lively feel make it easy to place.