2019 Trek Slash 9.8 Review – The Enduro Natural

Rating
/10

There’s no doubt that it’s the way you ride a trail, that keeps you addicted to the sport of mountain biking. The adrenaline rush, the flowy feel; are all aspects that keep you grinning as an Enduro rider.  So what happens when you ride an Enduro bike that’s born for the curves of single-track, and full on downhill charges?! The 2019 Trek Slash exhibits a natural bond between dirt and bike, which makes it the ultimate trail sweeper!

We got our hands on the 2019 Slash 9.8 model. It’s a leader in its field of riding, ranking as Trek’s top Enduro bike model, in their range for 2019. In fact, outside of Trek, it’s difficult to find another bike that can slay the trail and take a hit, like the Slash does. The 160mm fork travel, and 4-piston brakes motivate rider confidence, which we all know leads to speed.

Play it Cool

May we just add, that the two-tone colour effect that Trek have used on the Slash 9.8 frameset looks super cool! It’s a special Miami to Volt Fade, that we couldn’t take our eyes off! But make no mistake, colouring is not the only awesome thing about this frame. Lightweight and ultra-stiff OCLV Mountain carbon fibre cover this bike from head to toe. Then there’s Trek’s Knock Block and Carbon Armour features, that keep the frame from unwanted dings and damages.

What’s in it for the rider? The Slash comes with a Mino Link on the rear suspension, rocker arm. Enduro riders will particularly like this, as they can use the Mino Link to flip between slacker bike geometry or more upright handling. The rear suspension itself has 150mm of travel. And to keep all that travel evenly controlled, is Trek’s RE:aktiv technology. It enables the RockShox Deluxe RT3 rear shock to respond faster to the changes of the terrain.

Behold, 4-piston brakes!

There’s always a certain remarkable power behind an immense force. In this case, that power comes from SRAM’s Guide RS hydraulic, 4-piston brakes. With a feathery touch on the brake levers, you get locked-in, firm stopping force. Since the brake callipers have twice as many pistons operating, it only makes sense that you get twice as much brake power. Though the brake set did add slightly more weight to the bike, we found that for an Enduro bike like the Slash, it’s definitely a must have.

Specs:

Frame

OCLV Mountain Carbon main frame and seatstay, alloy 1x-specific chainstay, ABP, Boost148, Knock Block, EVO link, tapered head tube, Mino Link, Control Freak internal routing, Carbon Armor, ISCG 05, G2 Geometry, 150 mm travel

Front suspension

Fox Performance 36 Float, GRIP adjustable damper, tapered steerer, Boost110, G2 Geometry w/51 mm offset, 160 mm travel

Rear suspension

RockShox Deluxe RT3, RE:aktiv with Thru Shaft 3-position damper, tuned by Trek Suspension Lab, 230×57.5 mmWheels

Wheels

Bontrager Line Carbon 30, Tubeless Ready, 54T Rapid Drive, Boost110 front, Boost148 rear, tubeless strips included, valves sold separately

Tyres

Bontrager SE4 Team Issue, Tubeless Ready, Core Strength sidewalls, aramid bead, 29×2.40˝Drivetrain

Shifters

SRAM GX Eagle, 12-speed

Rear derailleur

SRAM GX Eagle, Roller Bearing Clutch

Crank

Truvativ Descendant 7k Eagle DUB, 32T Direct Mount

Bottom bracket

SRAM DUB Press Fit, 92 mm

Cassette

SRAM XG-1275 Eagle, 10-50, 12-speed

Chain

SRAM GX Eagle

Pedals

Not includedComponents

Saddle

Bontrager Arvada, austenite rails

Seatpost

Bontrager Line, internal routing, 31.6 mm, 15.5: 100 mm, 17.5 & 18.5: 125 mm, 19.5 & 21.5: 150 mm

Handlebar

Bontrager Line Pro, OCLV Carbon, 35 mm, 27.5 mm rise, 780 mm width

Grips

Bontrager XR Trail Elite, alloy lock-on

Stem

Bontrager Line Pro, Knock Block, 35 mm clamp, 0-degree

Head set

Knock Block Integrated, sealed cartridge bearing, 1-1/8˝ top, 1.5˝ bottom

Brake set

SRAM Guide RS hydraulic disc

Other

MRP Chain guide & Chain-ring guard

Bike Weight: 14.06 kg

Geometry:

The Trek Slash holds its speciality in endure riding with its geometry. A super slack head angle of 65-degrees, creates handling that really isn’t that snappy. However, the magic is worked when you hit steep parts of the track, and can lean back with enough confidence on the handlebars. The seat angle works in the same way, making sure you have enough room to adjust easily on the bike according to the terrain.  

The Ride:

Our rides with the 2019 Trek Slash can only be described as a downpour of golden pace! In some instances, you really have to hang on for dear life. But that’s a good thing! The relent or let it be slowed by trail obstacles, thanks to that 160mm long travel, Fox Performance 36 Float. The same can be said about the back shock. While it does have 10mm less travel, RockShox have added an extra air chamber to it. Allowing the shock to absorb pretty much anything.

The Slash 9.8 proved to be a sturdy steed. It’s much less, beefy, carbon frame build gave the bike that point-shoot vibe. The frame has clearly been stiffened, and that stiffness can be felt when cornering the bike. No limp noodle notion, only a solid ride. Speaking of corners, we were enthralled with Bontrager Line Carbon 30 wheelset equipped on this bike. They were solid, nimble to direct, and carried 29×2.4-inch rubber on them. The combo provided superb responsiveness, and major grip on loose, single-track, corners.

Sure the Slash 9.8 seems like an absolute dream. However, there some things that made us frown a little. Apart from the bike not being lightning fast on climbs, the drivetrain just didn’t quite suit the bike. It seemed a little clustered down there, as the GX Eagle gear system wasn’t exactly light. Then the MRP chain-ring guard was good and all, but seemed to make everything look complicated. The dropper post was also not up to scratch in our books, as it got stuck in one seating position on multiple occasions. Though these are things that can easily be fixed, you must remember that you’re paying top dollar for this bike. So having to fiddle around with it after you’ve bought it shouldn’t be on the itinerary.

Verdict:

Despite a few minor changes we’d make, the 2019 Trek Slash 9.8 was an absolute trail natural. You could kick up hectic dust storms and still get away with it aboard the Slash. It’s an Enduro bike that provides mountains of bicycle bliss, no matter how you look at it.

Price: R 94,999.00

2019 Trek Slash 9.8 Review – Enduro Natural

Joel Meintjes

Joel Meintjes

Joel's goal is to help you become an expert in the field of cycling. He has helped many riders decide on buying new bikes and coached a handful of young aspiring riders. He's been on the bike and on the roll since 2013, and has gained bucket's full of knowledge from his tinkering with bicycles.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *