2021 Trek Slash 9.8 Review

2021 Trek Slash 9.8 Review - Thunder Mountain Bikes

The day has finally come; the new 2021 Trek Slash 9.8 is here! We’ve been curious what Trek would end up doing for the new Slash, and here’s a quick rundown. We even have a new Slash 9.8 large in stock! For rentals, we have the Slash 8, large & x large in stock and ready to rent! 

A few changes that we could have predicted: longer reach, slacker head angle, steeper seat tube angle (steeper for Trek standards, but still a degree more conservative than smaller brands), and a downtube storage compartment. The surprising change was the bump up in travel, going from 150mm / 160mm to a whopping 160mm / 170mm layout. Combined with the 29er wheels and beefy 38mm stanchion forks, this will be a beast of a bike. Compared to the previous iteration, we see this as being much more of a big hitter enduro or bike park style bike. 

Another small change that we’re happy to see is the improved range of the Knock Block. We’ve always felt the steering radius was a tad too tight on the previous Knock Block, whether it’s a tight switchback or merely putting the bike in your car. This more significant steering range could be a small, but a considerable improvement over the previous Slash. 

Knowing Trek, the OCLV carbon layup will put this bike on the lighter end for this category. We’ve always been impressed with how light our previous Slash builds have turned out. Even while being a monster truck, this should be an excellent bike to climb high up and access those long rough descents. Here in Sedona, picture riding up Schnebly Hill dirt road, all the way up to the Mogollon Rim, and bombing Munds Upper Cut to Munds Wagon all the way back to town! That would be sweet! This Slash would be the ultimate ride on a long, rough descent like this. 

What sets this bike apart from the crowd? We’re happy to see the downtube storage compartment. It’s a small detail, but it’s really convenient. Even if you’re on the chairlifts at a bike park, this would still be a considerable convenience for carrying a few extra tools and a jacket without having to wear a hip pack or strap things to your frame. Speaking of downtubes, we are glad to see additional downtube armor guards covering the entire length of the downtube. Much better solution compared to frame tape or ride wrap. 

Another detail we like about Trek is the sizing. With modern mountain bikes getting longer and longer, the gaps between sizing can be huge. Trek has maintained a M/L size, perfect for all of us in that ‘tweener height range. Take, for example, the newest Giant Reign 29er, that bike has a reach difference of about 40mm between the medium and large! Or look at the Santa Cruz Megatower, with a size large reach of 470mm, that would be equivalent to this new Trek Slash in the M/L, with the Slash large being between the Megatower large and XL. If you’re about 5’10 or above - you’ll want to look into the Slash size range. 

2021 Trek Slash 9.8 thunder mountain bikes full bike image

As usual with Trek - a great parts spec, competitive pricing, and lifetime warranty is included. Send us an email if you’re interested in getting on the list for a new Slash! 

Watch our Trek Slash 9.8 build video here!