Every time I ride a Rocky Mountain, I’m taken back to my first two full-suspension mountain bikes. Both were Rocky’s and both were excellent bikes with an uncanny ability to crush the downhill. After reviewing the Altitude 29er this Spring, I have now been able to ride the all-new 2011 Slayer 70 on my home turf. What do I think? The new Slayer remains true to the Rocky’s heritage and then some.

Rocky Mountain Slayer 70 Features:

  • RMB FORM Hydroformed 7005 Aluminum frame
  • Fox 36 TALAS R fork (160mm/140mm)
  • 165mm rear travel via Fox RP23 XV custom-valved rear shock
  • Rocky Mountain SmoothLink suspension design
  • Straight Up geometry for improved climbing
  • 12 x 142mm rear thru-axle for stiffness
  • Easton Haven stem and carbon riser bars (test bike had aluminum bars)
  • Handbuilt wheelset with DT Swiss EX 500 rims, DT spokes and RM sealed hubs
  • SRAM X9 9-speed shifting
  • Formula the ONE brakeset with dual 180mm rotors
  • Race Face SixC crankset
  • MSRP: $4500

2011 Rocky Mountain Slayer 70 Review

Billed as a one-bike-quiver for the gravity-inclined, the all-new Slayer 70 takes an already-superb design to a new level. With a complete re-design, the new Slayer 70 is stiffer, stronger and more capable than the previous design. While it’s not the lightest 165mm bike on the market, its 31.5 lb fighting weight (with Crank Brothers Candy pedals) is still respectable and once on the trail, those extra few pounds go completely unnoticed.

Lets talk about Rocky Mountain’s Straight Up geometry for a bit. It’s crazy to look at the frame and see the super-steep seat angle, but once you hop aboard, that tweaked geometry ends up paying off in spades. Steep and rocky climbs are no match for the Slayer as it is supremely-capable. I’ve been able to ascend up all my typical ascents in the middle-ring of the Slayer (just like my other bikes with less travel). I’m not noticing any significant difference in climbing ability and momentum — in spite of this being a much squishier bike than I typically ride. Yeah, the tires are big and heavy, but it really carries its girth well.

More on its climbing ability. The Fox TALAS 36 adjusts from 160mm to 120mm with the flip of a switch. While this wasn’t necessarily needed, it was welcomed on really steep climbs as the front wheel stayed put. Honestly though, I think the TALAS should be custom-made at 160/130 or 140 for this bike. At 120, you don’t really want to ride it on anything but long climbs, but with a 140 or 130 setting, I think you could comfortably ride it on more XC-type trails while still getting improved climbing characteristics.

I rode the Slayer on both XC terrain and grin-inducing downhill singletrack. In rolling terrain, the Slayer really remains nimble and fun. Yeah, it’s slower than thoroughbred XC machines, but it’s definitely not sluggish. When the terrain is tipped and the singletrack gets rough and fast, the Slayer is right at home. At the full 160mm of travel up front, I was able to really push this bike to the extreme and it just hooked up. Flying over jumps and railing berms, the Slayer shows its pedigree.

It can really be described as a playful bike on the down. All that fun does become limited when the terrain gets tight and twisty as the slack front-end does slow things down. I wouldn’t call the handling sloppy at slow speeds, just delayed a bit. No worry though… at speed and on more open singletrack, the Slayer settles in and carves nicely.

As mentioned, overall efficiency with the SmoothLink Suspension design is excellent with nothing but useful travel usage on both uphill climbs and downhill bombs. As advertised, pedal feedback and brake-jack are non-existent and the smoothness makes the suspension nary invisible so you can simply focus on having fun. I could see this bike at home for those with strong legs and big appetites for lift-serviced or leg-serviced technical descents. It can also easily be a one-bike-quiver for those who want a burly do-it-all steed.

Good Slayer 70

  • Climbs extremely-well (Straight-up Geometry in the house)
  • The TALAS isn’t necessary, but helps glue the front wheel to the ground
  • Simply gobbles up the downhill in typical Rocky fashion
  • Very stiff laterally
  • 15QR rear axle helps it track even better
  • Full component spec leaves little to be desired
  • Can very well be a one bike quiver
  • Love the Easton Haven cockpit as opposed to house-brand stuff

Bad Slayer 70

  • I’d like to see a 160/130 or 160/140 Fox TALAS… 120 is a bit much
  • A little floppy at slow speeds
  • Why no 10-speed?
  • Cable routing under the BB is a little awkward

Bottom Line: 2011 Rocky Mountain Slayer 70

With a great mix of new technology and predictable Rocky Mountain pedigree, the all-new Slayer 70 can be a quiver of one. I was able to climb with speed and efficiency that’s hard to come by in this class. And the downhill… oh yeah, it will make you smile.

More Info: Visit Bikes.com to Learn More & Locate a Dealer

About Author

A native of the Pacific Northwest, Jason quickly developed a love for the outdoors and a thing for mountains. That infatuation continues as he founded this site in 1999 -- sharing his love of road biking, mountain biking, trail running and skiing. That passion is channeled into every article or gear review he writes. Utah's Wasatch Mountains are his playground.


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  3. Hi Jason,

    I have a magura thor fork, 140 1 1/8 that i am burning to build a bike around, are you still as hot over the ibis mojo as initially indicated or do you feel there is a better full carbon 26 frame out there. Thoughts?



  4. Hi Jason,

    What do you weigh ?

    Have you ridden the Altitude 26″ bikes ?

    “Could” you put a Cane Creek angled headset on this bike and sharpen up the floppy handling ?

  5. Pingback: My Thoughts on BIKE Magazine’s Bible of Bike Tests - FeedTheHabit.com

  6. wanker….

    and i’m happy to not have to become a member of this site to tell you that…
    the talas has three adjustment clicks…. doh, use only the top two. or?
    anyway, ride up, then ride down and enjoy. And flip the reverb on high!

      • I am building up a Slayer and am considering a Float instead of the TALAS. Do you think the TALAS is necessary? I used to ride an SXC Slayer and even though I hated the feeling with the fork lowered there were situations where I wheelied out if I didn’t. With the new straight up geometry I would like to think I can get by without lowering the front end. Thoughts?

        • Hey Reed… sorry for the delay. As I stated in the review, the travel adjust is a “nice to have” feature, but isn’t absolutely necessary unless you have long, extended or extremely-steep climbs. The Float should be just dandy with the geometry of the Slayer.

  7. How do you think it compares to the 2008 slayer sxc 70 you tested in the past? I’m currently riding a 2007 sxc 70 that I love, and was thinking of getting a 2012 slayer.

    • The old Slayer vs. the new Slayer is an interesting comparison. Surprisingly, I think the new slayer climbs better and is definitely much more capable overall. Definitely not a cut on the old Slayer, but the new one with the Smoothlink suspension is really a killer machine. I had a great time on it last year and definitely think it would be a worthy upgrade.

      • Hi Jason
        How does the slayer compare to a nomad ( gen 2) climbing and descending?
        Thanks for the awesome reviews.

        • I haven’t ridden the new Nomad for comparison. The one I rode was the first-gen version and I know it has improved a ton since then. The new Slayer is quite an awesome bike that can handle serious abuse and id quite capable. it may be what you’re looking for if you can lighten it up just a hair.

  8. Hi Jason, you’ve reviewed both, so if you had to get one do-it-all bike which would it be: RM Slayer or Mojo HD?, those are the ones I’m considering right now. Thank you for the help.

      • Well I’m getting an amazing deal on a Slayer 70! what would you say are the main advantages/disadvantages between the two?. Right now I have a Classic Mojo that I love and bought in part because of your recommendation. I’d keep both bikes, it’s not a substitute for the Mojo, at least for a while.
        Thanks again Jason.

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