It’s tough to decide what’s the bigger news – that the Rocky Mountain Slayer has undergone a full redesign since its last iteration in 2017, or the fact that you can now get one with 29” wheels. As pioneers of freeriding, Rocky Mountain’s Slayer has existed since 2001. While we don’t hear the term ‘freeride’ much these days, the new Slayer could fall into that category… but with today’s technology it weighs less and climbs much better than older freeride bikes ever hoped to.
The new Slayers’ suspension has been refined for 2020, and they now offer more travel with 180mm on the 27.5” bikes and 170mm for the 29ers. The frames have also grown longer, their head angles are slacker, and RMB now equips all models with coil rear shocks. Furthermore, the 2020 Slayer offers a full lineup of carbon and aluminum frame options.
One cool fact about the new Slayer is that many of us saw the prototype long ago without even knowing it. Remember Wade Simmons’ custom Pipedream, the retro-looking bike Rocky built for him two years ago? Well that bike was in fact the test mule for the new Slayer’s geometry and suspension. The Pipedream’s retro theme was a great excuse to make a frame that looked radically different from what it would eventually become!
2020 Rocky Mountain Slayer frame details:
The 2020 Slayer’s most obvious design change is the brace RMB added to the front triangles on both the Smoothwall carbon and FORM aluminum models. Rocky Mountain intended to beef up the Slayer’s frame and didn’t mind adding a bit of weight, so they’re also using thicker tubing on both the carbon or alloy front and aluminum rear triangles.
The new rear triangle also benefits from a new hydroforming process and gets an extra seat stay bridge to increase stiffness out back. Tire clearance allows for up to 2.6” treads on both the 27.5” and 29” models. 29ers can run up to 34t chanrings, while the 27.5’s can accept a 36t.
The Slayer’s suspension has been refined, with the anti-squat now tuned to provide better small-bump compliance and minimize pedal kick. Further into the stroke, the Slayer’s steadily ramping slope retains mid-stroke sensitivity and better resists bottom-outs from big hits. For this bike, traction was a higher priority than pedaling efficiency, but if you check out my first ride review you’ll see it’s not a bad climber by any means.
Rocky Mountain sets up each frame size with appropriate weight coils and shock tunes, and if you’re a fan of air shocks don’t sweat – the linkage was designed to work well with them too.
Since every bike needs maintenance, RMB did a few things to make wrenching on the Slayers easier. First off, the Slayer’s pivot bearings are all shielded with washers to help keep dirt out while you ride, and water out when you’re hosing off the bike afterwards. The bearings are also bigger than previous Slayer’s, and RMB put dual bearings in the dropout pivots. RMB’s pivot hardware is all single-sided, and an allen key is all you need to remove and replace parts.
The carbon Slayer frames feature fully tubed internal cable routing, and there are dual-cable ports on both sides of the headtube so riders who run their brakes ‘moto style’ can route their cables properly. Locating the lower cable port right behind the chainstay yoke (with the cables running straight through the yoke and into the chainstays) minimizes cable movement as the suspension compresses, leaves the cables little chance to rub on the rear stays, and helps prevent potential damage from shuttling or chairlifts. The aluminum Slayers also route their cables internally, and use foam cable tubes to prevent rattling inside the frames.
The 2020 Slayer’s chainstay yoke was redesigned to minimize chain contact, and a new noise-cancelling chainstay protector has been added to keep things running quietly. Rocky also includes three downtube protectors with the Slayers, giving you the option of covering most of the down tube or just the areas you need.
For chain retention and ring protection, Rocky Mountain’s minimalist Spirit Guide and One-Up’s 2-bolt ISCG05 mounted bash guards come stock on all models. Last but not least, all size frames can carry a water bottle, even if you run a reservoir shock.
The 2020 Slayers are longer and slacker than the outgoing version, and have steeper seat masts. They all include RMB’s RIDE-4 chip, so you can fine-tune your ride to suit your riding style or local terrain. The difference in head and seat tube angles is only 1 degree moving from position 1 to 4, but the BB drop varies by 16mm on the niners and 12mm’s on the 27.5’s. Adjusting the chip also has a minimal impact on the shock rate, making it slightly more progressive as you slack out and lower the bike. The charts below show the full geo specs in all RIDE-4 positions.
2020 Slayer model lineup:
Between the carbon and aluminum bikes there are nine models of the new Slayer, so check out Rocky Mountain’s website for full build specs. Since the prices and components are identical between the 29” and 27.5” bikes, the 29ers are pictured here in all the color options. The alloy frames come in Grey or Red/Black, while the carbon frames are all Red/Black or Grey/Black.
Carbon 90: $7,999
Carbon 70: $5,999
Carbon 50: $4,999 (This model is only available as a 29er)
Alloy 50: $3,999
Alloy 30: $3,299
The Slayer will also be sold as a carbon-only frameset in either wheel size. Framesets include the frame, a Fox DHX2 Factory shock with a two-position lockout and SLS spring, and RMB’s Spirit Guide. They are available in the same two colors as the bikes shown above and sell for $3099.
The 2020 Rocky Mountain Slayer is available now in carbon, while the aluminum bikes will come in November.