Return of the Rockies
The iconic peaks of the Rocky Mountains embody a particular wildness, a disdain for the manicured and curated experiences of the modern world. Rocky Mountain Bicycles’ namesake mountain range holds a special place in our heart. We knew this year that we were overdue for a return to our roots - our bedrock.
"Growing up in Edmonton, the Rockies represented the epitome of rugged, large scale terrain,'' says Thomas Vanderham. ''My trips to the Rockies have been few and far between since I left the prairies, so the opportunity to spend time in Fernie on the new Slayer was one I looked forward to all year. It did not disappoint - panoramic views, huge descents, impeccable trail building, and a tight-knit mountain bike community.''
This was my first time riding with Florian Nicolai, and it's easy to see what makes him one of the top EWS racers in the world. He's got natural speed and an eye for ultra creative lines on the trail. We had an incredible time, and I hope that my next trip back to the Rockies isn't too far away.
Elk Valley locals tell a story about William Fernie, who asked a Ktunaxa chief about the black coal rocks hanging on the necklace of the chief’s daughter. The chief showed him the source of the coal on the condition that Mr. Fernie married his daughter, but the prospector backed out of the agreement. The chief then cursed the entire valley, and it would suffer a series of fires, floods, and mining disasters at the turn of the century.
The supposed curse was lifted by Chief Ambrose Gravelle of the Ktunaxa Nation on August 15th, 1964. However, if you look at Mount Hosmer on summer evenings, you can sometimes make out a shadow of the chief’s daughter standing beside the ''ghost rider'' on his horse.
"I was in a window seat, jetting west across the mountains of British Columbia. I stared out at the grandeur of sun tinted snowy crags and knew that what separated my adopted home in Edmonton from the native soil of Vancouver was a massive rock formation called the Rocky Mountains. I thought about naming our new company after these peaks." - Grayson Bain, one of the original founders of Rocky Mountain Bicycles, 1981.
The jagged summits of the Three Sisters peaks that overlook the Elk Valley are massive beds of sloping marine limestone, called the Palliser Formation. Most mountains are younger than what they’re built on, but Fernie’s craggy peaks are literally upside down. 360 million years ago the area that would become the Elk Valley was much further south, close to the equator, and the Pacific Ocean was only 80km to the west.
Dinosaurs roamed the land and earthquakes shook as the tectonic plates smashed into each other, fracturing massive pieces of stone along huge thrust faults. 180 million years ago, the old limestone sea floor was pushed upwards along those thrust faults and over the younger stone - turning the mountains upside down.
''I was excited to have the opportunity to work on this project. The first day I couldn’t believe I was riding with Thomas Vanderham - he’s a legend to me, and I love watching his signature style and whips,'' EWS racer Florian Nicolaï said of his time with the Canadian freeride icon. ''This was also the first time I rode the finished product of the Slayer, but it only took me one run to get used to it. It surprised me how good it is for different trails and terrain.''
The trails in the Rockies are so different from France, or anywhere else I've ridden on the Enduro World Series. The day we rode in the alpine was special. Riding raw freeride trails with Thomas right behind gave me a little pressure, but the views were beautiful and it was so much fun. It was an amazing experience, and I hope to return one day soon!
The scale of the Rockies is sobering. From geological upheavals to megatons of rock carving the landscape as glaciers advanced and retreated, the forces that have shaped these mountains are almost unimaginable. This place has a unique way of making humans feel insignificant and reminding us that today’s landscape is just an impermanent snapshot in the earth’s geological history. It’s an honour to explore this terrain, its stone and loam, on two wheels.
The Slayer is Back!
- Intended Use: Enduro / All Mountain
- Front Travel: 170mm
- Rear Travel: 165mm
- Wheel Size: 27.5”
Designed to lay waste to the world’s roughest trails, the Slayer is back as an all-carbon weapon. From the most aggressive Enduro World Series tracks to bike park laps and big mountain lines, its downhill-bike capability and pedaling responsiveness are matched with an uncanny ability to find and hold speed in rugged terrain. All killer, no filler.
“I’m super fired up that the Slayer is back. A few things really stood out to me through the development process—it pedals incredibly well, carries a ton of speed, and that extra bit of travel is awesome when you really want to rally! I see myself spending a ton of time on this bike." — Thomas Vanderham
- Full Smoothwall™ carbon frame
- Ride-4™ adjustability chip for precise geometry adjustments
- All sizes fit one water bottle inside the front triangle
- Future-proofed to run Di2 and a dropper post concurrently
- Max type Enduro cartridge bearing pivots with simplified hardware, Pipelock™ rocker link pivot
- Shock-eyelet bearings for small-bump sensitivity
- Single-sided chainstay and seatstay pivots for a narrower rear triangle—eliminates heel rub, even with Boost spacing
- Metric shock, 230x65
- 1x specific
- Clearance for up to 27.5x2.5 “wide trail” tires, and compatible with 26+ tires (26x3.0)
- Full-length internal dropper post and lockout routing. Internal brake routing in the front triangle, internal tube-in-tube shift routing
- Oversized downtube ports for ease of cable routing
- New derailleur hanger design reduces hardware complexity
- Lightweight bolt-on axle saves 35g compared to a traditional Boost axle
- PressFit BB92 bottom bracket, ZS44 | ZS56 headset
- Post-mount 180mm rear brake
- Max chainring size is 36t
- Sizing: S/M/L/XL
Our four-bar Smoothlink™ suspension has been tuned to eat up rough terrain and square-edged hits. We also increased the anti-squat values to make sure the bike pedals efficiently—whether you’re sprinting for a transfer stage or grinding towards a backcountry descent.
The Slayer features shock-mount bearings for incredible small-bump suppleness. Predictable, efficient, and capable, its rate curve provides good support at sag and a moderate ramp towards the end-stroke.
When we decided to bring the Slayer back, we knew it needed the crush-everything-in-its-path attitude of the previous generation while keeping the agility and efficiency that made it a favourite among aggressive trail riders. The updated geometry retains a fairly steep seat-tube angle, while the reach has been extended and the head-tube angle has been slackened.
We kept the BB drop neutral and the rear centre quite short to improve cornering, and shortened the seat-tube lengths to make room for the next generation of longer dropper posts.
Our Ride-4™ adjustability system was chosen for the Slayer in order to provide precise geometry adjustments while leaving the suspension curve virtually unaffected. The head-tube and seat-tube angles can be changed by just over a degree, and the bottom-bracket can be raised or lowered by 7.5mm. This allows racers to adapt their geometry from track-to-track while keeping shock tuning predictable and simple.
Size Specific Tune
Size Specific Tune ensures that riders of all sizes get the right balance of small-bump compliance, mid-stroke support, and end-stroke progressiveness. Our design team does custom shock tunes based on real world field testing, and adjusts each tune for every specific frame size, from S to XL.