2018 Trek Slash 9.8

Average User Rating: (Excellent)
Views:
Create New Tag

Compare to other Bikes

Need more info? View our Trail Mountain Bikes buyer's guide.

Purpose Built Top Level Enduro Bike, But Beware of New Shock Technology

Rating: Featured Member Review
The Good:

• Descending prowess (one of the most capable 29" bikes on the planet) • Suspension kinematics • Geometry (in intended environment) • Fit (long) • Chassis stiffness • Eagle drivetrain • FOX 36 GRIP damper performs better than expected • Good candidate (long and slack) for playing with reduced offset forks (44, 42mm) • Good wheels for intended use and price point

The Bad:

• ThruShaft shock durability • Knock Block seems unnecessary • Value could be better • Seatpost leaves a lot to be desired • With pedals my bike weighs a hair under 33-pounds • Too much bike for most trail riding situations

Overall Review:

Hey Vital MTBers, Jeff Brines here! This is not a formal review like I am accustom to doing, just some thoughts on my personal bike – a 2018 Trek Slash 9.8. Yes, this is the bike I paid for and chose as my race bike going into next season (even though I'm not sure how much I'll be racing in the first place). For a guy like me the bike seemed to check most of the boxes – stiff, good suspension kinematics, fits me well (long), bottom bracket that will minimize pedal strikes even running 175mm cranks, and numbers that may prove worthy of a reduced offset fork. Fun stuff! Please don't miss the video above, as that's where most of my thoughts were Read More »

Overall Review:

Hey Vital MTBers, Jeff Brines here! This is not a formal review like I am accustom to doing, just some thoughts on my personal bike – a 2018 Trek Slash 9.8. Yes, this is the bike I paid for and chose as my race bike going into next season (even though I'm not sure how much I'll be racing in the first place). For a guy like me the bike seemed to check most of the boxes – stiff, good suspension kinematics, fits me well (long), bottom bracket that will minimize pedal strikes even running 175mm cranks, and numbers that may prove worthy of a reduced offset fork. Fun stuff! Please don't miss the video above, as that's where most of my thoughts were best articulated. Oh, and as always, post your questions in the comments area and I'll do my best to answer. Apologies if this seems abbreviated.

First Impressions: 2018 Trek Slash 9.8

Vanilla. Middle of the road. Generic. Like the others. Strikes a balance. Jack of all trades. Looking for a bike whereby these phrases apply? Cool. Look elsewhere.

Though this is merely a first look, the true colors of Trek's Slash 9.8 were not hard to come by. Right away it was clear the Slash is a bike that asks the rider to attack the trail (or better, race course). Staying forward, lowering the head and remaining in an "attack" position were absolutely essential to getting along with this bike. With a head tube angle a hair over 65-degrees, generous reach measurements, and a progressive suspension design, it was easy to feel as though I was riding the bike in the back seat, causing the front end to push and generally feeling like a handful. 

When ridden properly however, this is the most capable 29" wheeled bike I've thrown a leg over. Period.

Climbing can be a bit cumbersome, with a long wheelbase and a seat tube angle that may prove to be too relaxed depending on seat height. Oh, and the weight is anything but light, coming in at a hair under 33-pounds with SRAM Code brakes and Spank's Vibrocore bar. Still, it'll get you to the top, just don't plan on winning any KOMs along the way. Worth noting, with a higher-than-average bottom bracket and relatively good suspension kinematics I actually found myself clawing my way up technical sections of trail I am often less than perfect on. Your mileage may vary, but the traction a bike like this can put to the ground is one of those often overlooked attributes. 

For 2018 Trek introduced new shock technology in the way of ThruShaft. This IFP-less damper relies on a physical hole in the bottom of the damper as opposed to an internal floating piston. The idea here was to create a more stiction free shock, and one that responded to changes in direction better. Unfortunately, my time on this shock was short, blowing up within the first few hours of my first ride. Performance prior to the durability issues was good, but not materially better than the RockShox Super Deluxe shock I replaced it with, especially as I started pushing the bike more and more (asking for a more progressive rear end). More time will be needed on the rebuilt shock to suss out true performance differences, but as you can see in the video I was less than impressed.

The parts spec is good, but considering the money it does leave something to be desired. To add, the in-house Bontrager dropper post leaves something on the table when compared to the likes of the latest and greatest out there. 

The Knock Block in the headset/tube is one of the sillier ideas of late. Why oh why did Trek not just shape the downtube to allow for the fork to pass underneath? It's such a minimal difference I have to believe any loss in stiffness (as Trek claims) would be so immaterial even the most discerning rider would not notice. 

Overall if you are looking for the most capable 29" wheeled enduro race bike on the planet, designed for the rigors of EWS racing or similar, this bike should be on a short list. Especially if you have a bit of budget to get past a few of the component woes. 

I'd go as far to say on pure downhill performance, this is a 5-star chassis and one of the most capable enduro race bikes in the world. When taking into account its value and durability woes (which Trek is addressing admirably) I'm bumping things down to 4-stars. 



Rate review: +5 Up Down
Vital MTB member jeff.brines
4240 jeff.brines http://p.vitalmtb.com/photos/users/4240/avatar/c50_149187_936024901533_10205078_50991835_3734911_n.jpg?1321466271 http://www.vitalmtb.com/community/jeff-brines,4240/all 08/29/10 13 4 http://www.vitalmtb.com/community/jeff-brines,4240/setup 11 242 448 15 2

Specifications

Product Trek Slash 9.8
Model Year 2018
Riding Type Trail
Rider Unisex
Sizes and Geometry
15.5 in., 17.5 in., 19.5 in., 21.5 in. View Geometry
Size 15.5 in. 17.5 in. 19.5 in. 21.5 in.
Top Tube Length 590mm 605mm 635mm 661mm
Head Tube Angle 65.6° 65.6° 65.6° 65.6°
Head Tube Length 100mm 100mm 110mm 125mm
Seat Tube Angle 74.1° 74.1° 74.1° 74.1°
Seat Tube Length 394mm 419mm 468mm 522mm
Bottom Bracket Height 352mm 352mm 352mm 352mm
Chainstay Length 433mm 433mm 433mm 433mm
Wheelbase 1171mm 1186mm 1219mm 1247mm
Standover 793mm 784mm 778mm 776mm
Reach 416mm 431mm 459mm 481mm
Stack 608mm 608mm 618mm 631mm
* Additional Info All specifications listed are for "High" geometry position.
Frame Material Carbon Fiber
Frame Material Details OCLV Mountain Carbon main frame and seatstays, alloy chainstays, Carbon Armor
Rear Travel 150mm
Rear Shock RockShox Deluxe RT3, RE:aktiv with Thru Shaft 3-position damper, tuned by Trek Suspension Lab, 230mm x 57.5mm
Fork FOX Performance 36 Float, GRIP 3-position damper, E2 tapered steerer, Boost110, G2 Geometry, 51mm offse
Fork Travel 160mm
Head Tube Diameter Tapered, 1.125" top, 1.5" bottom
Headset Knock Block Integrated, sealed cartridge bearing
Handlebar Bontrager Line Pro, OCLV Carbon, 35mm clamp, 27.5mm rise, 780mm width
Stem Bontrager Line Pro, Knock Block, 35mm clamp, 0° rise, 50mm length
Grips Bontrager Rhythm, dual lock-on
Brakes SRAM Guide RS hydraulic disc
Brake Levers SRAM Guide RS hydraulic
Drivetrain 1x
Shifters SRAM GX Eagle, 12-speed
Front Derailleur N/A
Rear Derailleur SRAM GX Eagle, Roller Bearing Clutch
ISCG Tabs ISCG05
Chainguide N/A
Cranks SRAM Descendant 7k Eagle
Chainrings SRAM Descendant 7k Eagle, 32 tooth, Direct Mount, X-Sync
Bottom Bracket PF92
Pedals N/A
Chain SRAM GX Eagle
Cassette SRAM GX Eagle, 10-50 tooth, 12-speed
Wheel Size 29"
Rims Bontrager Line Elite 30, Tubeless Ready (tubeless strips included, valves sold separately)
Hubs Bontrager Line Elite 30, 108T Rapid Drive, Boost110 front, Boost148 rear
Spokes
Tires Bontrager SE4 Team Issue, Tubeless Ready, Core Strength sidewalls, aramid bead, 29" x 2.40"
Saddle Bontrager Evoke 2, chromoly rails
Seatpost Bontrager Drop Line, internal routing
15.5": 100mm travel, 17.5": 125mm travel, 19.5" and 21.5": 150mm travel
Seatpost Diameter 31.6mm
Seatpost Clamp Standard single bolt
Rear Dropout / Hub Dimensions 148x12mm Boost
Max. Tire Size
Bottle Cage Mounts Yes (single)
Colors Trek Black/Roarange
Warranty 3 years frame and swing arm, 1 year paint and decals
Weight 31 lb 11.2 oz (14380 g)
Miscellaneous EVO link suspension
ABP (Active Braking Pivot)
Straight Shot frame design
Knock Block frame defense
Mino Link adjustable geometry
Control Freak internal cable routing
1x-specific stays
Price $5,499.99
More Info

www.trekbikes.com