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  • Writer's pictureMo Awesome

Rocky Mountain Slayer First Ride. I Wanted To Hate This Bike...

Rocky Mountain slayer c70

77.5 degrees. That is the seat angle on the Rocky Mountain Slayer that just came in for testing in the neutral setting. As I write this first ride impression article, I want you to remember that number. It’s a number that, similar to the number 33 and the Egyptian pyramids, will stick with me for a long time. Later in this article I'll elaborate more, but I just wanted to set that up early. 

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Recently Rocky Mountain Bicycles sent in their Slayer C70 in for testing. Admittedly, when they asked me what I wanted to try out first, the Slayer was the first thing out of my mouth. I then regretted my answer immediately after looking at the bike more on paper, quickly realizing how much bike it was and how far out Whistler Bike Park opening day seemed to be. I tried to follow up with a “the XC Rocky Mountain Element looks pretty rad” but it was too late, the Slayer was already on its way. 

I wanted to hate this bike when it showed up. I’m in a weird head space with bikes currently. Testing wise, 140mm 29ers have consumed my thoughts as I work on a buyers guide, and almost similar to a method actor who tries to recreate the emotions of a part they are playing, I feel like I am trying to become one with the 140mm enduro bike. I have been studying head angles, bb drops, chainstay lengths, suspension designs, seat angles, reach, and every other small little detail that in my head leads to the ultimate enduro bike. 

Afterall, 140mm of travel is all you need right? Just enough travel to get yourself out of trouble and more than enough travel to put down some of the most efficient speeds on the wildest terrain. The word “efficient” is permanently etched into my brain at this point, so when a 180mm Freeride 29er shows up, my reality is shattered. 

So what is the Rocky Mountain Slayer? Well, on paper it would appear to be the opposite of efficient. It's a 180mm freeride 29er with a 63 degree head angle in the neutral position but goes down to 62.5 degrees slack in the slack. Rocky Utilizes a Ride 4 position system on this bike, allowing you to adjust the geo 4 different ways as well as a 2 position chainstay adjustment. The bike itself came with a Fox DHX2 coil shock, Fox 38, Raceface alloy wheels with double down Maxxis tires, and cushcore pre-installed. It also has alloy handlebars. All of this once again on paper would seem to be very “inefficient”. But we will ride whatever shows up at our door here at Awesome MTB. 

After unboxing and building the bike up, I woke up early the other morning and met up with a buddy of mine for some dawn patrol local laps on some of the steepest trails we have in the area. I knew I would need a serious challenge for how much travel the bike had and wanted to make sure I had trails ready to really put the Slayer through the paces. The original plan was to cruise up at a mellow pace to get in some steep downhills. However, some morning coffee and a bit of nerves had me putting the pace down early while climbing and this is where a lot of the confusion would start to take place. 

The Slayer pedals way better than a bike with this much travel should. Instantly I felt more comfortable in and out of the saddle climbing than I do on most XC bikes. This is an insane statement but if you look at most XC bikes geometry charts, seat angles are in the 75 degree range. As a rider who is 6’2 with a very high saddle height, this puts me behind the BB while pedaling leading to a very inefficient power transfer feel on steeper climbs, something that I stress to anyone that will listen. The Slayer’s 77.5 degree seat angle puts me right on top of the bottom bracket, allowing me to feel like my energy output is going directly into the pedals and pushing me forward.

The first downhill of the day came up and we chose one that was filled with tight, steep rock slabs and lots of aggressive bottom outs. Going into this downhill, I didn't know what to expect. In my mind, the bike was going to feel so overbearing that tight corners would feel more impossible than me successfully bleeding my own SRAM brakes. But unlike my mechanical skills, the Slayer put an enormous smile on my face as soon as we hit the first slab. The bike has an aggressive nature to it that makes you feel like you have brought your own personal body guard on your ride. The Slayer obviously soaks up compression hits at the bottom of slabs with ease, however it was the bike's control coming into sections that truly impressed me. I didn't feel like I was on a downhill bike when I was crawling into sections of the trail, but rather the bike had a very precise feel to it.

After another climb, we made it to our second downhill of the day. This one was an impromptu call for one of the more aggressive trails in the area. Filled with even bigger slabs and a need for intense line choice control, my nerves were definitely on edge. However once again, the Slayer worked with me rather than against me as I made my way down the trail. Don’t get me wrong, I could feel the bike wanting more as I let off the brakes on big hits, but it wouldn't fight me when I tried reigning it back in, something that my Yeti SB140 seems to do. The Slayer had me feeling like it wanted me to be in control, but also wanted me not to forget how much potential the bike had. 

The following downhill was high speed and filled with big chunks. The Slayer ate all of it and started showing me more of its personality, and to be honest it was slightly terrifying. The amount of control the bike has at high speeds through chunky lines made me question just what could I not roll over?

The next climb was a big one and one that most people opt to skip. With an intense grade, this near vertical fire road pushes the limits of what can be climbed. Going into it I jokingly told my buddy, “if I clean this, i'm going to make the Slayer my daily ride”. This was a joke as there was no universe that I thought the Slayer would clean it. Well that day, there was a glitch in the matrix and I cleaned the entire climb. This is where I truly felt I was entirely wrong on what this bike was supposed to be. You see, on the steepest sections of the climb where traction was also minimal, the Slayer’s 77.5 degree seat angle had me only focusing on pedaling. There was no awkward body shift on my end to try and maintain traction. The bike has one of the most comfortable pedaling positions I have felt yet on a test bike. And with the shock locked out, the only thing I felt was limiting my experience on the climb and causing my heart rate to shoot through the roof was how much bike weight I was lugging around.

We finished our ride with another steep freeride style trail and the bike made lines that normally would make me question my health insurance coverage feel as if they were just another trail of the day. However, even as I made my way down with ease back to the car, all I could think about was that climb and how a freeride 29er would have the most comfortable pedaling position up it. What is the potential of this bike? What does a 32lb Slayer look like and is the universe ready for that?

This is where I want to talk about the Egyptian pyramids. A while ago, after I was done surfing one day, I was changing back at my car and a questionable looking character came up to me and struck a conversation. I couldn't tell if they were drunk or under the influence of something, but he just stood there talking to me about the most interesting topics. He mentioned how we as the state of California breed sharks off the coast, and they escape from time to time. He also mentioned a few other conspiracy theories about what is going on in the world that I don’t really remember well. But the one thing that is still etched in my mind is that he asked me if I liked Laguna Beach. When I told him yes and that Laguna is one of my favorite places in the world, he asked me if I knew why that is? He then proceeded to explain to me that Laguna Beach is on the same angle as the Egyptian Pyramids, 33 degrees. That is why it possesses a special energy, similar to the energy that is possessed by the pyramids. 

Now keep in mind, I have never been to Egypt and I also have never fact checked this man. I have simply gone about my life as normal and everytime I ride Laguna Beach, I think about the number 33 and attribute any good feeling I have riding there to that angle. I have a feeling everytime I ride a mountain bike and take it on a climb, I'm going to do the same things with 77.5. 

Stay tuned for more Rocky Mountain Slayer testing. 

-Mo Awesome 


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