In 2001 Rocky Mountain’s Slayer debuted as one of the early freeride MTBs, and 22 years later this new model stays true to its origins. It is strong, slack, and has plenty of travel for thrashing gnarly descents, yet the new Slayer can still comfortably climb for its downhill reward.
At first glance, you won’t notice any radical changes to the new Slayer, but there are several significant updates: The frames are longer and slacker and most notably the smaller sizes (S/M) now come equipped with a mixed wheel setup. There are also a few new features including in-frame storage, and a chainstay flip-chip to offer more ride customization.
2023 Rocky Mountain Slayer: Frame and Suspension
The new Slayer offers SMOOTHWALL carbon and FORM aluminum frame options, and they’re built tough for freeriding and bike park shredding. RMB says the aluminum frames are now built using a new hydroforming process which produces a very strong frame. One more update is all the carbon-framed models now come with carbon chainstays and seatstays. RMB has also re-configured its lower pivot to provide more stiffness in the Slayer’s rear end.
Rocky Mountain’s Smoothlink four-bar suspension platform offers 180mm of rear travel, regardless of which wheel size is out back – Unlike the previous model, RMB has produced two different rocker links for the new Slayer which keep its travel the same regardless of rear wheel size. All models come with coil shocks, and the frames are intended for a 180mm or 200mm fork. 180mm single crown forks come stock on all models except the Alloy 30 Park, which has a 200mm RockShox Boxxer.
The Slayer’s suspension is tuned to provide efficient pedaling across a wide range of gears while maintaining a supple enough ride to ensure good traction. As for descending, RMB actually reduced the progressiveness of the Slayer and went a bit more linear overall. This was done to maintain a more consistent suspension feel at any point in the travel, but RMB says they’ve preserved ample big-hit resistance.
To provide RMB’s intended ride characteristics, they’ve equipped the Slayer with a controlled end-stroke and taken a balanced approach to anti-squat, anti-rise, chain growth, and axle path. Rocky is also an advocate for size-specific tuning; a custom shock tune for each frame size means all riders can enjoy consistent characteristics like small bump compliance, mid-stroke support, and end-stroke ramp-up.
As noted above, the new Slayer’s larger frame sizes (L and XL) roll on 29” wheels, but the small and medium frames will come with a mixed wheel setup. That said, you’re not stuck with RMB’s stock configuration regardless of frame size: All sizes are now capable of running a full 29er setup or mixed wheels (where the previous small frames could not run a 29” rear wheel). The only catch is you’re intended to swap out the rocker link, which optimizes the frame geometry for the different wheel sizes. 27.5” and 29” rocker links will be available for the new Slayers as of today.
Further revisions to the Slayer frames include their redesigned chainstay yoke and protectors, which aim to ensure a quiet ride. Also, all carbon frames now include RMB’s PenaltyBox down tube storage compartment with a rattle-free magnetic cover. The PenaltyBox-equipped models come with two storage bags to hold tubes, tools, etc. safely and quietly inside the frame.
RMB’s Ride 4 geometry and suspension adjustment chip carries over from the previous model, but the Slayer now gets Rocky’s flip-chip at the rear axle, allowing for +/- 10mm chainstay length adjustments.
With simplified maintenance in mind, the Slayer frame features shielded sealed bearings, long-lasting pivots, and single-tool hardware for easy maintenance. It also offers internally guided cable routing which allows you to run your brakes on either side.
As for other fitments, the Slayer’s axles are Boost 148x12mm rear and 110x15mm front, it uses a press fit BB92 bottom bracket with 2-bolt ISCG tabs, and all models come with a OneUp Components Top Guide and Bash Guard. All frame sizes can carry a water bottle.
Built for high-speed stability the new Slayer has an increased reach, longer chainstays, and a steeper seat mast. You may notice there aren’t separate figures for the Slayer’s geometry, despite there being MX and 29” options. As with rear travel, the new rocker links equalize the frame’s geometry with either setup. That said there is still a range of geo configurations with the Ride 4 chip and chainstay flip-chip. Check out the chart below to crunch all the numbers.
For a quick summary here are some key angles and measurements: Head tubes can now be as slack as 62.5°, and as ‘slightly less slack’ as 63.3°. Seat mast angles vary by frame size but range from 77° to 77.8°. The Slayer’s reach has been increased and is now 450-458mm on medium frames and 474-484mm on larges. Chainstay lengths have also grown and are the same across all frame sizes, now varying from 438mm to 450mm depending on your Ride 4 and chainstay chip positions.
There are six models of the new Slayer available plus a frameset option, so check out Rocky Mountain’s website for complete build specs. One nice touch to note is all carbon models come with CushCore XC tire inserts front and rear. Stock dropper post lengths are 125mm for small frames, 150mm for medium, 175mm for large, and 200mm for XL.
There are two frame color options between the various models. The Carbon 90 and carbon frameset are available only in RMB’s long-winded music-referencing colorway Smoke on the Water/Black Dog/One Bourbon, One Scotch, One Beer. Carbon 70 and 50 models come in the above option or Another Brick in the Wall/Winds of Change/Black Dog.
The Alloy 50 is available in both colorways, while the Alloy 30 comes in Smoke on the Water/Black Dog/One Bourbon, One Scotch, One beer, and the Alloy 30 Park in Another Brick in the Wall/Winds of Change/Black Dog.
Carbon 90 – $10,299
Carbon 70 – $7799
Carbon 50 – $6299
Alloy 50 – $4999
Alloy 30 – $3799
Alloy 30 Park – $4599
Carbon frameset – $4199
The Slayer carbon frameset includes a Fox DHX2 Factory rear shock with SLS spring, OneUp Components’ top chain guide and bash guard, and a rear axle.