Rocky Mountain Slayer 50
AS GENERATIONS OF pollies know well, when you’re in Canberra, it helps to be armed with something lethal. With this in mind, on my last trip to the nation’s capital I packed a weapon so deadly I’m surprised they let me fly with it: the Rocky Mountain Slayer 50 – a mountain bike with murder on its mind.
If half of what I’d been told about this bike was true, the first thing it would be killing was my cynicism about how such an all-rounder would perform on quality cross-country trails.
I’d been promised that this dual-suspension bike would ride like a 100mm cross-country gazelle on the ups and a 200mm downhill beast on the way back down. Escaping the roundabouts and bongo bookshops of Canberra, I hit the hills before dawn every morning to try out the newly touched-up trails of Stromlo, and put this promise to the test.
An all-mountain machine, the 2012 Slayer 50 packs 160mm of travel up front (RockShox Lyrik RC Solo Air forks) and 165mm of bounce at the back, which certainly make it a cold-blooded killing machine across technical sections of downhill track, such as rock gardens and drop offs.
However, it’s also armed with Rocky Mountain’s super SmoothLink suspension system, which means that, even with this degree of travel (so much higher than your average all-mountain mule), the Slayer still climbs like a mountain billy goat chasing a hot nanny up a hill. Within a few hours, my cynicism was taking a beating, while my legs and lungs were loving the ride.
My riding style (not always textbook, I’m the first to admit) was also helped by the “StraightUp” geometry of the Slayer, which basically forces riders into the right pedalling position for tackling the rough stuff (even if the frame does feel slightly smaller than you’d expect when you first jump on it).
The drivetrain is all SRAM on this bike, which has a 2×10 Race Face group-set and features all Rocky Mountain’s standard touches of class, such as internal cable routing through the frame.
Having spent a year or so almost exclusively riding 29ers on longer rides and races, I’d been looking forward to throwing my leg over something a bit smaller and more feisty, and having a punch at shorter trails and more technical terrain. This was the perfect bike to scratch that itch with.
After a week of tearing it up around Stromlo and the Pines, I took it straight to the rocky and rolling routes at the You Yangs to make doubly sure that it was as good as I thought it was. And it was. The Slayer came good on all the promises I’d been made on its behalf – passing the ultimate all-mountain test with flying colours. Final verdict: the Slayer is all killer no filler.
Postscript: While I was using and abusing the 2012 model, Rocky Mountain went and released a new version. However, the only major changes to the 2013 model are an increase to 170mm of travel on the front fork and (on the top-end offering at least) it has slightly more downhill-friendly geometry on the back of the bike too.
RRP $3999 www.adventurebrands.com.au