2021 TREK SLASH
FORWARD THINKING SLASH WITH NEW SHOCK TECHNOLOGY
The bike and brand that introduced long travel 29 to the
market, is ready to set the Enduro benchmark, again.
The latest Trek Slash throws fuel on the fire of awesome Trek mountain bikes. There was a time when Trek Bicycles was best known for building a ton of family bikes and a few high end roadie machines for the likes of Lance and his crew. Their mountain bikes were truly lackluster. They were what you would expect from a brand that was designing their product in the midwest, a place that is completely absent of any mountains with real elevation to speak of. That all changed about a decade ago when Trek got sick of being “Your dad’s bike brand,” and invested in a new R&D facility in the mountains near Santa Clarita, Southern California. Soon after that facility was built, Trek began work on developing their Active Braking Pivot suspension design, and a new exciting line of mountain bikes came to the trails.
Long before Trek began building a bike called the Slash, riders have been fascinated with the notion of building a bike with the capabilities of a downhill sled and a cross country climber in one. It should be something that feels burly, yet fast. It should be efficient enough to handle steep and long climbs, without making so many durability compromises that it falls apart when you drop down the backside.
Trek has long been fascinated with these types of machines. We’ve seen several of their Sessions built with anorexic build kits over the years. While those lightweight DH machines were cool bikes to show and talk about, the Slash that has been Trek’s workhorse as an aggressive trailbike and enduro race podium contender. The new Slash looks to build on this pedigree with a new version that’s bigger and badder than ever.
The new Slash gets a 10-millimeter bump in travel from last year’s version, now sporting 160mm in the rear, and 170mm in the front. Geometry changes follow the “longer, lower, slacker” line of thinking, but still not so far as to call it “extreme.” The frame has Trek’s updated Knock Block 2.0 headset system to protect the top tube and cables in a crash, but the fork crown does clear the downtube, so Knock Block is removable on this year’s Slash. When asked why they went this way, Trek simply said that the feature is polarizing on whether the protection is worth limiting steering range. So they leave it up to the rider. Our hack test riders can’t turn that tight so we left ours in and they never complained. Other nice features include internal frame storage for every model, including the alloy ones. A new and larger 34.9mm diameter seat tube accommodates more robust dropper posts. The BSA 73mm threaded bottom bracket is easier to service and less creaky than press fit versions. A full-length downtube guard provides added protection, especially for shuttling.
Geometry changes include:
- Head tube gets 0.6 degrees slacker (high: 64.6, low: 64.1)
- Seat tube angle gets almost 2 degrees steeper (high: 76.1, low: 75.6)
- Reach gets longer by 20-30mm depending on size
THE UPCOMING TEST
For 2021, Trek has leaned heavily on development input from their race team to make this bike as fast and capable as possible. They also took feedback from real riders who may or may not care about the “raceabiltiy” of the bike, but instead want something that will help them have more fun and tackle trails they want to ride more confidently. The new Slash comes to the table with a new forward-thinking geometry and a bump in suspension travel. Trek designed some very smart, sharp and unique features that will hopefully set it apart from the stack of ultra-capable enduro race bikes available today. While there are no enduro races on our calendar this year as of now, you can rest assured this bike will be racing down any trail we can find on it.
While we’d love to have more to share form our time on the bike, we just didn’t have enough time to give the bike a proper thrashing on a wide variety of trails. As of now, it’s safe to say that we’ve been having a blast on this well-rounded machine and can’t wait to keep reaching for PR’s and KOM’s on our local test tracks. Trek appears to have taken an already awesome bike and given it just a little bit more awesome, which translates to a lot of fun on the trail.
Stay tuned to for a longer term review coming in the near future.
Visit Trekbikes.com for more info.