Rocky Mountain Slayer 790 MSL Frame

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Rocky Mountain Slayer 790 MSL Frame
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Rocky Mountain Slayer 790 MSL Frame

Slayer by name, Slayer by definition

Rating: Featured Member Review
Rocky Mountain Slayer 790 MSL Frame
The Good:

The paint job, OMG! Pedals remarkably well for 165mm of travel (even better with a climb switch) Steep seat tube angle makes steep climbs feel more natural Eats up the DH like obesity if the new “Black” RIDE-4 chip makes for an incredibly adjustable bike Outstanding cable routing. Di2 compatible (if you’re into that) Maintenance free frame and is running smooth!

The Bad:

Stock Float X2 shock lacks 2-position climb switch (which makes a noticeable difference) Press-fit bottom bracket (from a mechanical standpoint) 20” seattube length of the X-Large frame is too tall for aggressive riding.

Overall Review:

By definition, the Rocky Mountain Slayer sounds nothing short of gruesome and many owners of the previous model can vouch of that. In 2017 Rocky reintroduced this horror creature with a few modern updates. I’ve been fortunate enough to have 6+ months on it. Below are my impressions on the new Rocky Mountain Slayer:

Key Specs:

148mm “Boost” Rear Axle Spacing

165mm Rear Travel

27.5" wheels (26”+ compatible)

Full carbon frame, rear triangle, and rocker link.

Integrated upper chain retention guide

2/3 lower ISCG-05 tabs for bashguard compatibility

Molded rubber swingarm and downtube protection

SmoothWall linkage

Pressfit Bottom Bracket

RIDE-4 adjustment system

Out of The Box:

Pulling the new Slayer frame out of the box, I was more excited than a Teddy Bear trapped in a honey factory. The

Overall Review:

By definition, the Rocky Mountain Slayer sounds nothing short of gruesome and many owners of the previous model can vouch of that. In 2017 Rocky reintroduced this horror creature with a few modern updates. I’ve been fortunate enough to have 6+ months on it. Below are my impressions on the new Rocky Mountain Slayer:

Key Specs:

148mm “Boost” Rear Axle Spacing

165mm Rear Travel

27.5" wheels (26”+ compatible)

Full carbon frame, rear triangle, and rocker link.

Integrated upper chain retention guide

2/3 lower ISCG-05 tabs for bashguard compatibility

Molded rubber swingarm and downtube protection

SmoothWall linkage

Pressfit Bottom Bracket

RIDE-4™ adjustment system

Out of The Box:

Pulling the new Slayer frame out of the box, I was more excited than a Teddy Bear trapped in a honey factory. The lines, the curves, the paint job easily throws the Slayer into the “sexiest frames ever made” category. I could go on all day with how impressive the frame looks but I will say it’s really something else and leave it at that.

Because many frame manufactures fail to provide information on weight, this was the first thing I recorded.

Frame only (Large), it comes in at just 5.37 lb (2,436 grams) and only 6.67 lb (3,025 grams) with the Fox Float X2.

Aside from weight, the Slayer comes with loads of features. From protective rubber around proned “I’m gonna jack up yo frame” areas such as the chainstays and downtube to integrated housing (which also houses Di2 batteries), this bike covers the majority of bases.

However, the downtube protection on the 2017 Slayer is somewhat of a joke, especially if you ride steep, loose, and rocky terrain. Having a large amount of my riding match these characteristics I molded my very own polycarbonate protective bashguard that I zip-tied in place. There was a huge learning curve for perfecting the molding process but got it down after a few ‘prototypes.

 

If you are interested in making one for your bike (Slayer or not) hit me up and I’ll give you all the info you need.

2017 guard on left, 2018 guard on right (unverified)

It appears that this guard might have been beefed up a bit for the 2018 but can’t confirm.

When running the housing through the frame, it was pretty easy until it came time to smashing the rubber plug into the lower housing cap. Even after soaking the plug in soak and loosing feeling in my finger tips, the plug was still only halfway in and for me, that was good enough. The biggest plus for the cable routing of the slayer is that it’s super clean and is routed in a way that all the cables are protected from rock impact (Pet Peeve #1: Housing that flows below the downtube.)

 

The rear triangle of the Slayer is the smoothest and cleanest “4-bar linkage” design I’ve ever seen. This is thanks to the SmoothWall Carbon frame construction that hides the bearings and allows the rear of the bike to be as slim as possible, even for boost spacing bikes. They did this because they said that many big footed riders would constantly be rubbing the inside of their shoes on the frame as they pedaled, but as a US size 12 rider, I’ve never really seen this to be an issue with other boost frames I’ve owned. Either way, you most likely won’t be rubbing your shoes on the seat or chainstays and you’ll have one of the cleanest looking frames on the market if you go with the Slayer.

 

On the Trail:

 

Climbing-

For a 165mm travel rig, the slayer pedals surprisingly well. I know this is something that pretty much every reviewer says about modern all mountain / endure bikes but it’s true for the Slayer. I feel one reason why I felt it climbed so well was thanks to the steeper “effective” seattube angle of 74 degrees. Truth be told, being a 6’ 3” rider on a large frame, my seat tube angle was slightly slacker than that but wasn’t bad at all compared to other frames out there. This bike is very capable of getting a rider up a 1500 foot climb without too much trouble.

One thing I found very interesting (and odd) was the fact that the Float X2 didn’t come with a 2 position climb switch. Realizing this, I installed this switch within a week or two of riding it. Although it isn’t completely necessary, when flipped, the climb switch definitely makes a noticeable difference in pedaling efficiency. If you own a more budget friendly build of the Slayer or have the standard float X2 shock on the 790 frame, you’re not completely out of luck. Fox have their metric shocks for aftermarket purchasing and the 230mm x 65mm Float X2 comes standard with the climb switch(Fox part #: 973-01-185).

 

Descending-

Once you catch your breath and drop your seat, this bike which seemed like a mildly tempered rig becomes a full blown hellion when pointed downhill. It smashes through rocks, roots, and XC riders without giving a rat’s ass about conserving life. 

The “take no prisoners” attitude of Slayer is derived with the aid of it’s adjustable RIDE-4 geo adjustment system. It tweeks many of the angles of the frame but the one I cared mostly about was the headtube angle. Ranging from 64.75 degrees in the slackest to 65.85 degrees in the steepest position, the Slayer offers a huge range of adjustability so you can tailor it’s handling to match your riding style or the specific trail your on simply by rotating the chip at the bottom of the shock.

 

Click here for a link for all the RIDE-4 Setup and geek out for hours!

 

Durability:

From it’s cherry popping ride til this day, the Slayer frame has been hassle free. I was concerned that the bearings found in the SmoothWall design would possibly be problematic and would require attention but I haven’t had to take apart the linkage at all. It’s been creak free which wasn’t the case for other bikes I’ve owned in the past. I have been very surprised with how maintenance free this frame has been.

 

Other information:

 

Integrated chain retention system-

As you can see, the Slayer has an integrated guide to keep your chain feeding nicely onto the front chainring. It’s super simple but does an outstanding job. Adjusting is as easy as removing spacers for every 2-tooth increase/decrease in chainring size. I mostly ran mine at 34T but did expand it to 36T a few times and it worked great (I believe you could even run a 38T ring if you wanted.)

You also get a 2/3 ISCG mount that enables you to run a bashguard if needed. Only having 2 bolts vs the full 3 bolts of the ISCG limits what bashguards you can run but the options you have are adequate enough for even the toughest hits and you’ll be pleased with the entire setup.

 

Sizing-

I’m 6’3” and decided to go with a Large because of my riding style. My Rocky Mountain rep said I could go with either a Large or an X-Large but because I love to get playful and the majority of my rides involve a shuttle of some sorts, the Large was the better option for me.

When throwing a leg over the large it felt a little on the tight side for me (with a 50mm stem). Was I able to make it work? Yes, but if it was any smaller I probably would have swapped frames for a X-Large.  

The main issue I had with sizing up was having a 20” seatpost height that comes with the X-Large. For most of my riding that wouldn’t be an issue, but throwing a reverb dropper post on top of that and that 20” quickly grows to a 25” with the saddle. For some of the big mountain lines I like to do, that’s just too damn high for comfort.

 

Tire Clearance-

Although the Slayer is a “Boosted” frame and is 26”+ compatible frame, I would say the max tire width for the rear is 2.4” unless you are constantly on top of truing and having correct dish on your rear wheel. Yes, you could put a 2.5” or even a 2.6” but then you only have millimeters of space and blasting a berm could easily flex your wheel enough to start shaving away some carbon. I really would have liked to been able to put a 2.6” width 27.5” tire on this bike but it just wasn’t realistic.

 

Bottom Bracket-

As with many frame in the industry, the Slayer comes with a Press-fit bottom bracket. Yes, this possibly makes the frame slightly lighter but lets be real, Press-fit bottom brackets are less expensive to manufacture compared to inserting an shell with threads. 

Less expensive doesn’t mean more durable either. It doesn’t take much for the bottom bracket to get marred during an overhaul and then you are out a $3,000+ frame. I would have really liked to see Rocky man up and throw a threaded bottom bracket shell in the Slayer.

 

Pros and Cons:

Pros-

The paint job, OMG!

Pedals remarkably well for 165mm of travel (even better with a climb switch)

Steep seat tube angle makes steep climbs feel more natural

Eats up the DH like obesity if the new “Black”

RIDE-4 chip makes for an incredibly adjustable bike

Outstanding cable routing.

Di2 compatible (if you’re into that)

Maintenance free frame and is running smooth!

Cons-

Stock Float X2 shock lacks 2-position climb switch (which makes a noticeable difference)

Press-fit bottom bracket (from a mechanical standpoint)

20” seattube length of the X-Large frame is too tall for aggressive riding.

 

Bottom Line:

Rocky Mountain did a ton of research when designing the new Slayer. It pedals very well for as of an aggressive bike as it is. A climb switch isn’t necessary but certainly helps for making it hyperly efficient. Pointing the frame downward and you’ll realize there isn’t much this bike can’t handle. In short, I backed out of things before my bike did. When nit-picking, there are only a few things I wasn’t completely sold on the frame but that list is a lot smaller than other frames in it’s category. Minus 0.5 star for Press-fit BB, minus 0.25 star for long seattube for X-Large frame, and minus 0.25 stars for not coming with a climb switch as standard. Bonus 0.5 stars for the amazing paint job.

Specifications

Product Rocky Mountain Slayer 790 MSL Frame
Riding Type Enduro / All-Mountain
Rider Unisex
Sizes and Geometry
S, M, L, XL View Geometry
Size S M L XL
Top Tube Length 574mm - 577mm 599mm - 602mm 624mm - 627mm 654mm - 657mm
Head Tube Angle 65.85°, 64.75° 65.85°, 64.75° 65.85°, 64.75° 65.85°, 64.75°
Head Tube Length 110mm 125mm 140mm 155mm
Seat Tube Angle 74.85° - 73.75° 74.85° - 73.75° 74.85° - 73.75° 74.85° - 73.75°
Seat Tube Length 394mm 432mm 471mm 509mm
Bottom Bracket Height 0mm - 15mm Drop 0mm - 15mm Drop 0mm - 15mm Drop 0mm - 15mm Drop
Chainstay Length 425mm - 430mm 425mm - 430mm 425mm - 430mm 425mm - 430mm
Wheelbase 1153mm - 1157mm 1181mm - 1185mm 1208mm - 1212mm 1240mm - 1245mm
Standover 821mm 821mm 821mm 821mm
Reach 413mm - 401mm 434mm - 422mm 455mm - 444mm 482mm - 470mm
Stack 596mm - 604mm 609mm - 617mm 623mm - 631mm 636mm - 645mm
* Additional Info RIDE-4 Adjustable Geometry
Wheel Size 27.5" (650b)
Frame Material Carbon Fiber
Frame Material Details SMOOTHWALL Carbon C13 Frame. Full Sealed Cartridge Bearings. Internal Cable Routing.
Rear Travel 165mm
Rear Shock FOX Float X2 EVOL Factory
Head Tube Diameter Tapered
Bottom Bracket Press Fit
Rear Dropout / Hub Dimensions Boost 148mm
Front Derailleur Size
Seatpost Diameter 30.9mm
Max Tire Size
ISCG Tabs ISCG 05 with Rocky Mountain Spirit Guide
Bottle Cage Mounts Yes
Colors Yellow/Black, Red/Black
Warranty 5 Years - Limited
Weight
Miscellaneous The RIDE-4 adjustment system allows riders to quickly fine-tune their geometry with a pair of Allen keys. Four configurations are possible thanks to one rotating chip. We tuned the Slayer’s RIDE-4 system to adjust geometry while affecting the suspension curve as little as possible. This allows for subtle geometry changes with minimal effect on your shock tune.

Pipelock collets expand radially and lock into the frame, creating the widest and most rigid pivot stance possible. Using Pipelock collets allows us to lower our front triangle pivot-weights while maximizing lateral stiffness.

Smoothlink suspension features a controlled end-stroke and a rate-curve that feels more capable than the travel would suggest. This four-bar suspension design philosophy is centered on ride characteristics; each bike platform we develop balances variables like anti-squat, axle path, chain growth, rate curve, anti-rise, etc. to achieve the legendary Rocky Mountain ride feel.
Price $3,199
More Info

​Rocky Mountain website

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