Why That Bike? Rocky Mountain Slayer

Ifyou've ever cruised our Bike Check section, the largest collection of badass bike builds on the internet, you know that Vital members spare no expense when it comes to radifying their rides. Always on the hunt for a backstory, we reached out to the owners of these six sexy Slayers to find out what went into each project. From loud and proud to sneakily stealthy, these rowdy rigs have one thing in common: they're ready to go big. Which one is YOUR favorite?

406Bryan's Rocky Mountain Slayer

Age: 45

Where do you live? Anaconda, MT.

Favorite local trail to ride? S-line-Discovery Bike Park.

Why did you pick the Rocky Mountain Slayer? I've been a big fan of Rocky Mountain for years. I've always preferred 4-bar suspension over others, it seems to work best for me over more complex systems. The geometry from Rocky always just seems to fit for me as well. Plus the Slayer just looks right and the lines are beautiful. 

Is this Rocky Mountain Slayer your only bike? No, I'm a long time bike nerd and have tons of bikes, but I have only been riding my Slayer for every type of mountain biking since I got it. 

What bike did this replace / What bike were you on before this? I still have a last generation Instinct BC Edition, but my Slayer has replaced it as my main ride. 

Did you go for an off-the-shelf build or did you customize the build? Custom, the Slayer seemed perfect for a SRAM Eagle drivetrain and Rocky didn't offer an off the shelf build with that last year. So, it just seemed easier to custom build one, instead of updating an off the shelf build. 

What’s your favorite part about the bike? I love the build I chose, everything just seems to work like it's supposed to. The Bike Yoke Dropper and the MRP Ribbon Fork are the only things I was taking a chance on and both worked out great. This bike has pushed my limits beyond what I thought I would be doing on a bike. There are too many to list, the hidden bearings are pretty cool. The rear suspension works amazing, climbs so well for a long travel bike. The SRAM Eagle drivetrain is the best drivetrain I have ever used. 

What would you change on it? I plan on changing the wheels, the Bontrager wheels have been ridden hard and are showing it. They are fairly light and the hubs have been great and was thinking of just changing the rims out for the new season, but may just upgrade to a nice carbon wheel set and see how those hold up. 

How long do you plan on riding this bike? I'm hoping to ride this at least 2-3 more seasons as my go to mountain bike and may ride it 4-5 more...or until the next generation Slayer comes out. 

If you could get another new bike (any kind/type) right now, what would you get? Before the Slayer I rode 29er exclusively. I wasn't sure about going to 27.5, but don't feel it has been much of a drawback. If I was buying a new bike this year though, I would be looking at the new crop of Enduro type 29ers. It would be between the new Instinct BC Edition or the new Orbea Rallon.

View 406Bryan's bike check.


Schaefdog's Rocky Mountain Slayer

Age: 34

Where do you live? Marysville, WA.

Favorite local trail to ride? What's the first rule of fight club? I can say it is in Bellingham, WA though.

Why did you pick the Rocky Mountain Slayer? It is perfect for hucks to flat. Long travel, still pedals, and has super short chain stays. What more can a guy ask for.

Is this Rocky Mountain Slayer your only bike? Negative. Couple others (just don’t tell the girlfriend). I have a 26” Devinci Wilson carbon with all the other fancy bits. Industry 9 wheels, Boxxer World Cup, Race Face 6c bits, and that 7 speed X.0 kit. I also have an NS Soda Slope with a lowered Pike, Hadley/Mavic wheels and Profile bits. A custom Ti Davidson gravel grinder/road bike which doesn’t get ridden much because I can’t seem to fit in with those guys.

What bike did this replace / What bike were you on before this? Santa Cruz Bronson V1. Ugh. That thing was downright scary if the trail ever got even a little rowdy. But it pedaled up well. 

Did you go for an off-the-shelf build or did you customize the build? Off the shelf builds aren’t for me. I am hard on parts. Need to have confidence in my build. 

What’s your favorite part about the bike? Those smooth links. Looks like a Session!

What would you change on it? That color. They got the colors right for 2018! I should have waited a year.

How long do you plan on riding this bike? I will give the other bike companies a couple years to stop making bikes with 5 foot long wheelbases. 

If you could get another new bike (any kind/type) right now, what would you get? Definitely a Haibike so Sam and I could ride together. I love haters.

View Schaefdog's bike check.


Branham Snyder's Rocky Mountain Slayer

Age: 27

Where do you live? Bozeman, MT.

Favorite local trail to ride? Bear Canyon to New World Gulch. It's an 18-mile loop with a ~2,300ft climb and the most varied, fast, fun descent in the Bozeman area.

Why did you pick the Rocky Mountain Slayer? Every bike I'd owned before just didn't have that "oomph" when I pushed it to the limit, and as soon as the new Slayer was announced I knew it would be the perfect companion. The cherry on top is that it pedals really well because I'm pretty serious about racing Enduro. When I was looking at the Slayer I didn't own a DH bike yet, so beyond handling 40-mile XC-ish days, I needed it to take a thrashing at the Big Sky MT bike park and walk away unscathed and ready to rip lines like King Kong down in St George UT. The Ride-4 geometry adjustment is also incredibly useful; I always thought geo adjustments were for brands that couldn't get the bike to ride right, but I couldn't have been more wrong - it adds so much versatility to the bike's abilities out on the trail. The bike's capabilities and design aside, I work at a Rocky Mountain dealer, Owenhouse Cycling, and I've always had immense respect for Rocky's history and how they do business, so the Slayer was an easy choice to make.

Is this Rocky Mountain Slayer your only bike? Far from it! I'm a true bike addict. I have a Specialized P.20 BMX bike, a Deity Cryptkeeper DJ bike, a Kona Paddy Wagon fixie, a 2018 Rocky Mountain Altitude trail bike (this will soon replace the Slayer), a Rocky Mountain Maiden DH bike, and a Giant TCX cyclocross bike. I just sold two old hardtails and a cruiser because the obsession was going overboard and my garage was starting to puke because I kept overfeeding it.

What bike did this replace / What bike were you on before this? I rode a 2017 BMC Speedfox 02 Trailcrew.

Did you go for an off-the-shelf build or did you customize the build? I got the bike as a complete from Rocky (shoutout to Rob Crump), but I immediately stripped it and started from scratch. I'm a full time mechanic, so I had a buttload of fun doing all of the work myself. I'm an ambassador to NOBL Wheels, so I laced up the TR38 rims to DT Swiss 350 hubs (pro tip: use Dumonde Tech yellow on the nipple/rim interface to help during that final high-tension truing). DEITY Components is also a supporter of mine, so I stealthed out the bike in black with their beautiful new parts. I used several strips of Effetto Mariposa tape to protect the frame (stuff works like a dream!). Controversial as they may be in some circles, I love the SRAM Guide RSC brakes, so those went on. A 170mm RS Reverb rounds it out to get maximum butt-buzz when I go full endur-bro. The real custom touch, however, is the Brazilian Rosewood top-cap made by my buddy Hayden Mans as a birthday gift. The top cap will be passed on from bike to bike until the end of time.

What’s your favorite part about the bike? The custom top cap. And that it's the fastest bike I've ever ridden. Lots of good results this year on the race scene, including a few podiums and wins. And it absolutely SENDS. If you think you need a DH bike for the gnarliest trails, think again. There are only a few trails (and massive gaps) in this world I wouldn't trust this bike to handle.

What would you change on it? Add wings so that I don't have to drive to the trailhead.

How long do you plan on riding this bike? Unfortunately it has seen its final ride under my command. It's up for sale and I'm still going through withdrawals, but I'll never forget the days spent on what has been my favorite bike to date.

If you could get another new bike (any kind/type) right now, what would you get? My ridiculous bike collection covers pretty much every riding style, but if I could add to it I'd get either a "long, low, slack" hardtail or another Slayer. Just depends on the budget! If all else fails, I'll get a recumbent and see what the world looks like from down low.

Bonus content, bike in action:

A post shared by Branham Snyder (@branham.snyder) on

 

View Branham Snyder's bike check.


Will Morris's Rocky Mountain Slayer

Age: 20

Where do you live? Squamish, BC.

Favorite local trail to ride? There are so many amazing trails to pick from here, but if I could only ride one it would have to be Crouching Squirrel, Hidden Monkey for its mix of eye-watering speed, classic BC loam, and roots that can eat you alive.

Why did you pick the Rocky Mountain Slayer? I picked the Slayer because of its uncanny versatility. It's a BIG bike, especially since I'm on a size XL, but can happily spin up to the top of any climb, logging road or singletrack. Plus, once you find yourself at the top, there's not much else besides a full on DH rig that can keep up with it. The Slayer is also surprisingly playful and fun on more mellow trails too, popping off of natural lips and features that many bikes in this travel category would simply plow through.

Is this Rocky Mountain Slayer your only bike? I'm also whipping a 2013 Specialized Stumpy Hardtail from my days of highschool XC racing. It's fun to take it out every once in a while to scare myself and really challenge my riding ability. Riding a 110mm travel hardtail through Squamish gnar really makes you appreciate modern enduro bikes.

What bike did this replace / What bike were you on before this? Before this I had a 2016 Cannondale Jekyll. While that was a great bike for what it was, I wanted to get away from all of the proprietary components and try out something that was a bit longer and slacker.

Did you go for an off-the-shelf build or did you customize the build? I went for an off-the-shelf build because I am on a college student budget but have changed out a few key parts. I moved to a pair of 800mm bars and 50mm stem from the stock 780 / 40mm setup to get more weight on the front end in flatter turns and threw on a pair of tough casing WTB tires and a Huck Norris in the rear after destroying the EXOs that came on the bike.

What’s your favorite part about the bike? Aesthetically it would have to be the line running from the top of the headtube down to the rear axle when you look at the bike from the side. It's just such a clean design and along with the hidden pivots really makes this bike stand out from the other cookie-cutter 160-170mm carbon enduro bikes out there. In terms of ride qualities, my favorite part is the versatility I referenced above. This bike's ability to climb up anything with composure without compromising anything on the descents is really what made this bike appeal to me.

What would you change on it? I'm really interested in trying out a coil shock. That being said, I'm already having trouble balancing a decent amount of sag and smacking bottom with an air shock so a more linear coil might not be as awesome as I hope. Maybe moving to a coil for racing but keeping the air shock for hucking would be the best solution. I'm also interested in Vorsprung's air spring mod for my Lyrik. I'm having difficulty getting decent mid-stroke support while still being able to use full travel and I think their kit would help take the front end of my bike to the next level.

How long do you plan on riding this bike? Right now I have no real reason to replace this bike. I've only been riding it for 5 months at this point and every ride I just get more and more stoked on it. I'm planning to race some enduros on it later this year and will probably invest in some new parts for it (coil shock and beefier wheelset) so I'll definitely be keeping it around for a while.

If you could get another new bike (any kind/type) right now, what would you get? Right now I'm lusting over the new wave of long travel 29ers. I certainly can't justify one while the Slayer sticks around but down the road when it's no longer in my quiver I'd be super interested in a Transition Sentinel, a Guerilla Gravity Smash, or a Pole Evolink.

View Will Morris's bike check.


Matt Barker's Rocky Mountain Slayer

Age: 35

Where do you live? Hamilton, New Zealand.

Favorite local trail to ride? Kung Fu Walrus, in Rotorua. 

Why did you pick the Rocky Mountain Slayer? Good looking bike, on paper it should be a great all round bike (and it’s even better when you ride it).

Is this Rocky Mountain Slayer your only bike? No.

What bike did this replace / What bike were you on before this? 2016 Intense Tracer 275c.

Did you go for an off-the-shelf build or did you customize the build? Off the shelf bike that we modded the hell out of.

What’s your favorite part about the bike? Either the hockey mask picture on the top tube or the eleven six shock.

What would you change on it? Tough question. Cranks perhaps. 

How long do you plan on riding this bike? A couple of years.

If you could get another new bike (any kind/type) right now, what would you get? I have had to get an e-bike as I ruptured a disk in my back and riding the e-bike hurts less than anything else. 

View Matt Barker's bike check.


Dirtworks911's Rocky Mountain Slayer

Age: 29

Where do you live? St. George, Utah

Favorite local trail to ride? Barrel, AMA, Zen, and Grafton, and Flying Monkey.

Why did you pick the Rocky Mountain Slayer? I chose the Slayer because of the 165mm/170mm travel combo and the slack headtube angle (65ish). The paint job and frame profile was just the icing on the cake and arguably one of the best looking frames out. Being 6' 2", I went with a large because the seattube of the XL was a little too tall for my style of riding (20" ouch...) and was a lil bit on the tight side. 

Is this Rocky Mountain Slayer your only bike? Although I've owned quite a few bikes, I only own one bike at a time (mostly to keep the wife happy). I'm always looking for the most aggressive bike I can get my hands on while being able to pedal it up the hill too. Anyways, back to the question, yes, this is my only bike. 

What bike did this replace / What bike were you on before this? The Slayer replaced a 2016 Scott Genius LT (quite possibly the most awkward long travel single crown bike I've ever owned). I was glad to get on the Slayer because it got me back on track with decently designed frames. I had a Nomad 3 before the Genius LT and the Slayer matched much of the same specs of the Nomad 3 but added so much more to it (longer, slacker, and generally more burly).

Did you go for an off-the-shelf build or did you customize the build? As with other bikes I've owned in the past, I got the Slayer as a frame and shock only and hand picked the other components. Certain things I was very particular about such as the Project 321 hubs and Hope V4 brakes. I went out of my way to get black stanchions on the 36 as they weren't available directly through Fox by buying an OEM fork off an ad and doing a swap-a-roo of the stanchions. Really wanting to get a black shock body for the Float X2, I had to forfeit that idea because I simply couldn't find one. One thing I thought was strange was that the Float X2 didn't come with a 2 position switch. I ended up installing one and it made a huge difference for long climbs. For a $3000 for the frame, I feel that should have come standard. I ended up swapping the black 36 for a kashima one later on which ended up looking even better in my opinion. I also made my own custom decals for the fork, cranks, and wheels.

What’s your favorite part about the bike? First, I love how versatile the bike is. Thanks to their Ride-4 chip, I was able to adjust the head tube angle from 64.75 to 65.85 and several points in between. I know this doesn't sound too fancy and that the majority of riders wouldn't even mess with it but I adjusted it quite often and it changes the bike from a loyal tracking trail machine to a 'send it like you have comprehensive health insurance' freeride bike with a simple flip of a chip. Second, the Slayer pedals sooo well thanks to the steep seattube angle. Lastly, I loved how the bike ate up everything I threw at it. From big mountain lines to 12'+ drops and 35'+ kickers. It ate up everything I threw at it better than any single crown bike I've ever owned (Sorry Nomad 3.) To be brutally honest, I don't feel Rocky has promoted the Slayer as much as it deserves. It's a beast.

What would you change on it? I would throw a threaded bottom bracket on it quicker than a Aaron Gwin runs through a rock garden on race day. I still don't get why riders haven't forced this to be norm yet. I'd also throw a Float X2 with a climb switch on it as standard because it needs it. Lastly, I'd lower the seattube length a full inch (especially for the XL size). 20" is just too tall if you ride steep and gnarly stuff. I was seriously considering cutting the seat tube on an XL instead of going with a large. Outside of those things, I wouldn't change a dang thing.

How long do you plan on riding this bike? I was planning on riding this bike until the next year's came out or changed my mind about wheel sizes. I'm using the word "was" as past tense because I am now riding a long travel 29er. Looking back on all the 27.5" bikes I've owned and ridden, the Slayer has been my favorite and rang true to my style or riding.

If you could get another new bike (any kind/type) right now, what would you get? I'd get a 29er with: short chainstays, VPP frame design, 160mm rear travel, 170mm front travel, with adjustable headtube angle from 66.5 - 65 degrees, 18.5" to 19" seattube length (for XL), threaded bottom bracket, steep seattube angle for climbing, brake and derailleur housing routed above the bb (not below), and that has the biggest possible downtube bashguard for raw big mountain shredding. Last time I checked no one was making that yet.. :(

View Dirtworks911's bike check.


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