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Trek Shock Guide

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This is for guidance only. You are responsible for verifying clearance on your frame. Mount kit measurements should be checked (especially for older frames.)

You can find Trek bolts here .

Shock mount hardware is available here .

Lower Shock Axle – 599899           Upper Shock Axle – 599898

Additional bolts are only required for Thru-Shaft to standard shock conversion.  For DRCV conversion you will need a “DRCV retrofit kit”


Push* -  Push do not offer ElevenSix for this frame 

Fast* - We are yet to confirm clearance of the Evo variant 


Trek Rail - Gen 3:

Lower Shock Axle – 5258210        Upper Shock Axle – 5258209       

Trek Rail - Gen 2:

Lower Shock Axle – 599900           Upper Shock Axle – 599898

Trek Rail - Gen 1:

Additional bolts are only required for Thru-Shaft to standard shock conversion.  

Fox X2* - In theory this shock fits, however, it is “too close for comfort” and any flex in the frame may cause the shock to collide with the frame.  We would recommend against fitting X2.

Push* - Once upon a time Push made an ElevenSix SS (side stack) with offset adjusters and a perpendicular reservoir which allowed the shock to clear the frame.  Any other generation of the ElevenSix will not fit.

Marzocchi* - We are yet to confirm whether the Marzocchi Bomber Air is compatible.

Fast* - Only the standard Fenix Enduro (not Evo) shock with a perpendicular reservoir will fit.  

Lower Shock Axle – 540755           Upper Shock Axle – 540755

RockShox Deluxe* - might not perform very well/ consistently on a long travel ebike due to lower overall oil volume

Trek Slash (2021+):

Lower Shock Axle – 5258210        Upper Shock Axle – 5258209

Trek Slash (pre-2021):


RockShox* - Standard Super Deluxe Air does not fit due to lock-out lever interference in the last 1/3 of the travel 


Coil Shocks** - this frame is not very progressive and it is much better suited for air shocks

Push* - Push do not offer ElevenSix for this frame

Ohlins Coil* - Only with transverse casting

Ohlins Air* - This shock will likely fit, however, we are yet to confirm this

Intend* - This shock will likely fit, however, we are yet to confirm this

CaneCreek* - We are not sure due to end eye design

Marzocchi Coil* - IFP reservoir will need checking for clearance!

Marzocchi Air* - Similar in design to Float X, however, it still needs checking for clearance

Fast* - Needs checking for clearance at full travel, the Evo version of the shock might not fit

Super Deluxe Thru-Shaft (C1 2021+)

The RockShox Super Deluxe Thru-Shaft shock is a proprietary shock designed explicitly for Trek Bikes and not available on any other frame manufacturer’s bikes.  The Thru-Shaft is fitted on a range of Trek frames including the Slash and the Rail.  

Most mountain bike shocks use an internal floating piston (IFP) design. The IFP sits between the oil and gas [typically nitrogen] inside the shock. When you hit a bump, the shock damper shaft displaces the oil as it moves through the shock, pushing against the IFP and compressing the gas below.  The IFP returns to its position when you are over the bump and the oil pressure is reduced. 

The idea behind the Thru-Shaft design is to remove the perceived lag created by using an IFP. Instead, the design introduces a secondary damper rod to account for the change in oil volume, and the damper shaft ‘exits’ the bottom of the shock.  

On paper, it may seem like a great idea, but the Thru-shaft design has suffered reliability issues.  A rod protruding from the shock requires an additional seal to retain the oil in the damping circuit - and in practice, another seal means another point of possible failure.  

As production of these shocks is limited to Trek Frames this product is less well supported in terms of spares and parts than another more widely available/ equivalent suspension.  This means that these shocks are generally more challenging, or sometimes even impossible to service or repair.

On balance and in our experience, the performance and maintenance issues of the Thru-Shaft outweigh the stated benefits of this suspension design.


The frame/ shock clearance varies between frames and frame model years - please refer to the compatibility tables on top of the page for per-frame & model year compatibility.   The reservoir on the Thru-Shaft shock is placed much higher, towards the upper eyelet (trunnion), and offset to one side in relation to the IFP reservoir on a standard Super Deluxe to improve the frame clearance.   See the image below for a comparison .


No, not without drastically affecting the bike’s geometry. Despite the Thru-Shaft shock using trunnion mounts, it is a 230mm eye-to-eye shock.   See the image below for a comparison .

trek slash 2021 shock hardware


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Titanium Trek Slash Shock Bolts

TREK Slash Shock Bolts

Tired of breaking the upper and lower trunnion style bolts on your 21-23 Trek Slash? Well throw in a set of these Grade 5 Titanium ones, torque them to 17Nm, and forget about them! These replace Trek Part Number W600630 size M10x1x16 upper and lower shock bolts.

These are available in 8 colors and machined to ordered so please allow up to 1-2 weeks for processing time. 

For more information on colors Click Here


trek slash 2021 shock hardware

Charger Damper Titanium Screw - Rockshox

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trek slash 2021 shock hardware

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trek slash 2021 shock hardware

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trek slash 2021 shock hardware

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trek slash 2021 shock hardware

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trek slash 2021 shock hardware

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trek slash 2021 shock hardware

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Trek Slash Review | The all-new Slash is the iron fist in a velvet glove

The not-so-minor details.

Trek Slash 9.9 X01

Trek Bicycles Australia

$11,499 AUD

- Wickedly supple and sensitive suspension - Super stable in steep and rough terrain - The playful, agile attitude - Generous frame protection - Stealthy quiet on the trail

- Downtube storage could be more generous - We'd like to see a slightly steeper seat tube angle

Dan & Ben review the 2021 Trek Slash

Trek’s flagship enduro pinner, the Slash, is receiving a major and welcome overhaul for 2021. As the spiritual successor to the Remedy 29, the current Slash was released over four years ago. In that time the enduro racing scene has changed considerably. No longer are 29in wheels looked upon with concern and disdain. Nowadays, you’ll be hard-pressed to find an EWS team that isn’t rolling on 29in wheels. As the sport has professionalised, we’re seeing athletes train harder, race times get tighter, and courses that wouldn’t be out of place at a World Cup downhill race. Unlike DH racing though, enduro racers have to back up those race runs over multiple stages, often over multiple days, with hundreds and thousands of metres of climbing between the start and finish. Oh, and they’re regularly racing those trails blind too.

Watch our video review of the 2021 Trek Slash 9.9 here!

2021 trek slash 9.9 x01

Trek Slash overview

Given the evolving demands of enduro racing, enduro bikes need to evolve too. Taking on board these changes, the new Trek Slash has had a 10mm lift in travel at both ends, and now features a 170mm fork matched to 160mm of rear wheel travel. Following requests from Trek’s EWS athletes, it also gets a bit slacker and longer as expected, which is to help it cope with the gnarlification of modern day enduro racing.

All of that is built around a brand new chassis that features in-built storage, a new Knock Block system, and a serious amount of battle armour. Along with the unique rear shock and adjustable geometry, Trek is making use of every tool in its disposal to produce what it says is the fastest and most technically proficient Slash yet.

For the past month we’ve been testing the top-end Slash 9.9 to see how all of those changes play out on the trail, and whether this newly refocussed enduro race bike is now more of a one-trick-pony. Before we get to our ride impressions though, let’s take a detailed look at what sets the Slash apart from its predecessors and its contemporaries.

2021 trek slash 9.8 x01

There’s a new custom shock

At the heart of the new Slash is a unique rear shock that Trek has co-developed alongside the gurus at RockShox. This shock is currently exclusive to Trek for 2021, and it’ll come on all of the Slash models in Australia, bar the cheapest Slash 7.

On the outside, it doesn’t look dramatically different. It’s essentially a Super Deluxe Ultimate shock, which features adjustable air pressure, air volume, rebound and compression damping. On the inside you’ll find the Trek-designed Thru-Shaft damper, along with some magic sauce the two brands have cooked up together.

2021 trek slash 9.8 x01 thru-shaft

Why Thru-Shaft?

Thru-Shaft itself isn’t a new technology in itself. Trek first introduced the Thru-Shaft damper design back in 2017, where it debuted on high-end Fuel EX, Remedy and Slash models.

In essence, Thru-Shaft eliminates the traditional Internal Floating Piston (IFP) that is found inside most rear shocks. The IFP is a sealed piston that sits at the base of the shock underneath the oil chamber. The job of the IFP is to separate the damper fluid on one side, from a small nitrogen-charged chamber on the other side.

trek thru-shaft shock damper

Why do we need an IFP in the first place? Firstly, that gas-charged chamber is necessary to accommodate fluid expansion as the oil heats up. Secondly, it’s there to handle the change in volume of the oil chamber as the shock is compressed. When the shock is compressed, the main damper shaft is introduced into the oil chamber, and the further it goes in, the more room it takes up. To compensate for that increase in volume, the IFP is able to slide and compress the nitrogen-charged chamber behind it. As the shock rebounds, the IFP then pushes back on the oil chamber.

But in Trek’s Thru-Shaft shocks, there is no IFP. Instead, the damper shaft runs all the way through the oil chamber. And during compression, the damper piston exits the shock completely – you can see the silver rod emerging from the base of the shock as it goes through the travel. Since the damper piston no longer impacts on the volume inside the oil chamber, there is no need for a traditional IFP.

And what about fluid expansion? That’s what the piggyback reservoir is for – it’s a big ol’ thermal compensator that handles the fluid expansion as the oil heats up in the shock.

2021 trek slash 9.8 x01 thru-shaft

But in Trek’s Thru-Shaft shocks, there is no IFP. Instead, the damper piston runs all the way through the oil chamber. And during compression, the damper piston exits the shock completely – you can see the silver rod emerging from the base of the shock as it goes through the travel.

The main driver for the Thru-Shaft design is all about reducing stiction and making the shock movement as slippery as possible. A normal IFP uses seals, and those seals need to slide smoothly up and down the the inside of the shock’s stanchion. Because of the high-pressure environment the IFP lives in, it’s likely to experience stick-slip during changes of direction. By removing the IFP entirely, the Thru-Shaft damper reduces stiction and this stick-slip effect, improving the damper’s sensitivity and its willingness to change direction quickly. On the trail, it simply results in a more responsive and buttery-feeling to the rear suspension – something we’ve noted on the Remedys and Fuel EXs we’ve tested in recent years, including our most recent long-term test bike .

RE:aktiv begone

While the Slash’s new shock carries over the Thru-Shaft concept, one of the big differences is that it no longer uses the RE:aktiv valve on the main damper piston. Instead you’ll find a standard shim valve on the main piston (which differs from an off-the-shelf RockShox shock), which Trek has moved to in favour of more gluey descending-oriented damping performance. While the RE:aktiv damper piston does provide excellent pedalling support, and will continue to be used on the Fuel EX, the new Slash is placing a greater priority on traction and high-speed control, and it’s claimed that a standard shim valve arrangement is the best solution for this application.

The second key difference with the custom Super Deluxe Ultimate shock is found in its damper adjustments. The rebound dial is much smaller and located on the side of the shock, and it now features numbers to assist with tuning. There’s a two-position lever that allows the rider to toggle between open and firm settings.

2021 trek slash 9.8 x01 thru-shaft

On top of the lever is a separate adjuster that allows you to tune the low-speed compression damping of the open mode. The blue cam gives you three compression settings: -1, 0 and +1. According to Trek and RockShox, this adjuster is all about fine-tuning the shock’s response to rider inputs, depending on the terrain at hand. So you can firm up the feel of the shock to provide more support for pedalling and riding smoother bikepark type trails, or soften it up for riding steep and rooty trails where you want maximum traction. Consider it as a wet/dry adjuster. Regardless of that setting though, it’s claimed that the shock’s high-speed compression circuit remains completely independent, and it’s in here where Trek and RockShox have been cooking up a little extra special sauce.

The third big difference is in the shock’s air can itself. RockShox states that stiction has been lowered for smoother performance, while the negative spring volume has been increased to create a more progressive spring curve. In fact, it’s claimed to be more progressive than the current MegNeg design, which basically eliminates any need for a MegNeg hop-up. There’s the option to tune with volume spacers too, which we’ll get onto in a bit.

2021 trek slash 9.8 x01 thru-shaft

Frame features

Aside from the custom shock, there are big changes afoot in the Slash chassis too. And when we say big we mean it literally – the Slash now takes a 34.9mm diameter seat post. This allows Trek to build a fatter, stronger and shorter seat tube, which provides greater compatibility with long-stroke dropper posts.

To go with it, Bontrager is rolling out a new 34.9mm Line Elite dropper post. The bigger diameter chassis promises increased strength and stiffness, and the post gets a whopping 200mm of travel on the longest option. Internally, the MaxFlow is said to provide faster compression and rebound for slicker performance.

2021 trek slash 9.8 x01

No Super Boost needed

Looking at all the other key mounting points on the Slash frameset, it’s clear that Trek has made a concerted effort to stay away from anything too edgy standards-wise.

While some other brands have adopted the newer Super Boost 157x12mm hub standard for their long travel 29ers, Trek is sticking with the Boost 148x12mm standard that it invented and launched back in 2014. However, by employing the wider 55mm chainline that’s now on offer from both Shimano and SRAM (which pushes the chainring out a further 3mm over a traditional Boost drivetrain), Trek’s engineers say they’ve been able to get all the necessary clearances without having to resort to Super Boost. And they’ve done it too – there’s room for a 34T chainring and a 29×2.5in tyre, even with the Slash’s impressively short 435mm chainstays.

Common sense has prevailed elsewhere too. No longer will you find a press-fit bottom bracket cups. Instead, the Slash gets a 73mm threaded BB shell, which is surrounded by ISCG 05 chainguide tabs.

2021 trek slash 9.8 x01

The dropouts utilise a SRAM UDH derailleur hanger on one side, and 180mm post-mount brake tabs on the other. For the true gravity enthusiasts, it’s worth noting that the Slash is cleared for use with up to a huge 220mm disc rotor. And while the rear shock is a custom jobby, the size isn’t – most aftermarket metric shocks will fit in its place, including coil shocks.

Secret storage

Brought over from the latest Fuel EX, the Slash now gets integrated downtube storage. What’s impressive is that you’ll get that sane downtube trap door on the alloy frames too. For the alloy Slash, the downtube is hydroformed with a depression around the storage door, before the door is then cut out of the tube. Apparently it’s a very difficult process to achieve on an alloy frame, which is probably why we haven’t seen it on any other brand.

2021 trek slash 9.8 x01

The trapdoor itself is identical between the alloy and carbon frames, and it’s the same as what you’ll find on the Fuel EX. A discreet lever opens and secures the latch, and inside the cavity is a soft tool roll that’s designed to hold a spare tube, levers and CO2. The bottle cage is included with the bike, and Trek says every frame size, including the Small, will fit a bottle without drama.

A bonus of the trapdoor design is that it provides you access to the internal gear, dropper and brake lines. The cables and hoses are zip-tied to the underside of the door, which helps to minimise vibration and noise.

2021 trek slash 9.8 x01

Knock Block 2.0

Trek has also updated its headset steering limiter system, called Knock Block 2.0. Addressing our criticism of the previous design, Trek has increased the available steering radius, so you now get 144° of rotation.

What’s interesting though, is that the Knock Block system isn’t actually necessary anymore. That’s because the downtube no longer uses the StraightShot profile of the old frame – it features curves at both ends, which means the fork crown no longer contacts the downtube during a full rotation.

We’re told that the designers decided to keep the Knock Block system as it doesn’t really impact the riding experience, and it helps to protect the brake lines, shift and dropper cables in the event of a bar-spinning crash. If it still bothers you though, the Knock Block can be removed entirely.

2021 trek slash 9.8 x01

The Slash’s geometry was no doubt due for an update, and Trek has willingly obliged. However, while the designers wanted to address the needs of Trek’s EWS racers, they also wanted to retain the comfort, balance and agility that made the previous version such a popular and accessible bike.

As such, the head angle kicks back a degree, and the reach has grown by 15-40mm depending on the frame size. The seat tube angle (both actual and effective) has increased by two degrees, which helps to shift the pilot further forward on the bike, without pushing them so far forward as to put excessive weight onto the wrists and arms.

2021 trek slash 9.8 x01 mino link

Trek is producing five frame sizes in the Slash, from Small through to X-large. All frame sizes are now built around the same stubby 35mm stem length, which aims to keep the front-end steering consistent regardless of rider height.

Also found on every frame is the familiar Mino Link, which is located in the upper seatstay pivot. The Slash comes set from the factory in the Low position, but flipping the link into the High position will lift the BB height by 7mm and steepen the head and seat angles by 0.5°. Here are lots of numbers for those who want them;

2021 trek slash geometry

Trek Slash price & specs

If you’re digging the new Slash vibe, you’ll be pleased to know that stock is available as of right now through Trek’s dealer network. In Australia, we’ll see four models come to our shores – two with carbon frames, and two with alloy frames. Additionally, you’ll be able to get a standalone frameset too – Trek Australia will be offering a Slash frameset in both carbon and alloy variants.

Read on for a closer look at each of the four complete bike options, followed by our ride impressions from testing the top-end Slash 9.9 X01.

2021 trek slask 9.9 x01

2021 Trek Slash 9.9 X01

  • Frame | OCLV Mountain Carbon Fibre, ABP Suspension Design, 160mm Travel
  • Fork | RockShox ZEB Ultimate, Charger 2.1 RC2 Damper, 44mm Offset, 170mm Travel
  • Shock | RockShox Super Deluxe Ultimate, Thru-Shaft 3-Position Damper, 230×62.5mm
  • Wheels | Bontrager Line Elite 30, OCLV Carbon Rims, 30mm Inner Rim Width
  • Tyres | Bontrager SE5 29×2.6in Front & SE4 2.4in Rear
  • Drivetrain | SRAM X01 Eagle 1×12 w/X01 30T Carbon Crankset & 10-52T GX Eagle Cassette
  • Brakes | SRAM Code RSC 4-Piston w/200mm Rotors
  • Bar | Bontrager Line Pro, OCLV Carbon, 35mm Diameter, 27.5mm Rise, 820mm Wide
  • Stem | Bontrager Line Pro, Knock Block, 35mm Length
  • Seatpost | Bontrager Line Elite Dropper, 34.9mm Diameter, Travel: 100mm (S), 150mm (M/ML), 170mm (L), 200mm (XL)
  • Available Sizes | S, M, ML, L, XL
  • RRP | $11,499 AUD

2021 trek slash 9.8 xt

2021 Trek Slash 9.8 XT

  • Fork | RockShox ZEB Select+, Charger 2.1 RC Damper, 44mm Offset, 170mm Travel
  • Drivetrain | Shimano Deore XT 1×12 w/XT 30T Crankset & 10-51T Cassette
  • Brakes | Shimano Deore XT 4-Piston w/203mm Rotors
  • RRP | $8,999 AUD

2021 trek slash 8 gx

2021 Trek Slash 8

  • Frame | Alpha Platinum Alloy, ABP Suspension Design, 160mm Travel
  • Fork | RockShox Lyrik RC, Charger 2 Damper, 42mm Offset, 170mm Travel
  • Wheels | Bontrager Line Comp 30, Alloy Rims, 30mm Inner Rim Width
  • Tyres | Bontrager XR5 29×2.6in Front & XR4 2.4in Rear
  • Drivetrain | SRAM GX Eagle 1×12 w/Descendent 6K Eagle 30T Crankset & 10-52T Cassette
  • Brakes | SRAM Code R 4-Piston w/200mm Rotors
  • Bar | Bontrager Line, Alloy, 35mm Diameter, 27.5mm Rise, 820mm Wide
  • Stem | Bontrager Line, Knock Block, 35mm Length
  • Seatpost | TranzX Dropper, 34.9mm Diameter, Travel: 100mm (S), 150mm (M/ML), 170mm (L), 200mm (XL)
  • RRP | $6,299 AUD

2021 trek slash 7 nx

2021 Trek Slash 7

  • Fork | RockShox Yari RC, Motion Control RC Damper, 42mm Offset, 170mm Travel
  • Shock | RockShox Deluxe Select+, 230×62.5mm
  • Drivetrain | SRAM NX Eagle 1×12 w/Descendent 6K Eagle 30T Crankset & 11-50T Cassette
  • Brakes | SRAM Guide T 4-Piston w/200mm Rotors
  • RRP | $5,299 AUD

2021 trek slash 9.8 x01

Testing the 2021 Trek Slash 9.9 X01

With its metallic orange paint job, the Slash 9.9 X01 bares a resemblance to the distinctive Tiger Mica colour of Holden’s VU Commodore SS ute. We’d say the finish is just a tad classier here though, and indeed the Slash impressed as soon as it was pulled out of the box. It wasn’t too much of a strain to do so either – this big travel 29er tips the scales at a respectable 14.56kg.

That’s with the tyres setup tubeless, and we’ve gotta give props to Trek for the fact that the bike arrives genuinely tubeless ready – TLR strips and valves are pre-installed, and two bottles of sealant are included. Just remove the valve cores, squirt in the sealant, inflate and away you go. Nice!

2021 trek slash 9.8 x01 holden commodore ss ute

Being the poshest model that comes to Australia, the Slash 9.9 X01 comes decked out with plenty of high-end toys including the new RockShox ZEB Ultimate fork, SRAM X01 Eagle shifting, powerful Code RSC disc brakes, and a 170mm travel dropper post on our Large test bike. There’s plenty of carbon to be found too – the crank arms, handlebars and rims are all made of plastic-fantastic.

Speaking of, both the front triangle and back end are crafted from Trek’s OCLV Mountain carbon fibre, with a magnesium rocker link being the only main metal component of the frame. It leads to an impressively low weight – including the rear shock and hardware, Trek says you’re looking at just 3.12kg for a carbon Slash frame. It’s quite a bit lighter than the alloy version, which is claimed to weigh 4.32kg.

Fit & sizing

We chose a Large size Slash to suit our 181-183cm tall testers. Dan; an accomplished enduro racer who currently rides a Specialized Stumpjumper EVO Carbon in the S3 size. And Ben; a downhiller reborn as an XC/trail pinner who rides a Large-size Trek Top Fuel.

2021 trek slash 9.8 x01

Two different perspectives from two different testers. Dan; an accomplished enduro racer who currently rides a Specialized Stumpjumper EVO Carbon in the S3 size, and Ben; a downhiller reborn as an XC/trail pinner who rides a Large-size Trek Top Fuel.

Both riders were quickly at home with the Slash and its healthy 486mm reach, despite the very short 35mm stem. However, the huge 820mm ape-hangers didn’t last long and were soon chopped down to a more tree-friendly 780mm.

The saddle was also slid as far forward on the rails as it could go. With the saddle height set at 770mm, the seat angle measures out pretty close to the claimed 75.7° (in the Low geometry position). Sliding the saddle forward for our long-legged testers helped steepen it closer to 78°.

There were few complaints in the fit department – the Bontrager Arvada saddle is excellent, and the lock-on grips are nice and tactile, without being offensively so. They do use dual locking clamps, and while the outer collar is smoothly tapered, you can still feel it underneath your gloves if you run your hands wide on the bars. That said, the metal ends have proven to be much more durable than single-locking grips that have rubber ends.

2021 trek slash 9.8 x01

Setting up the Slash

Kudos to Trek for its brilliant suspension setup calculator, which provides a reliable baseline for getting the fork and shock setup for your weight. Combined with the anodised sag gradients on the ZEB fork and Super Deluxe shock, setting up the Slash is made that much easier. We followed the recommendations for our 80kg testers, and both the pressures and rebound settings were pretty much spot on. For reference, Trek recommends 30% sag on the shock and 15% for the fork when sitting stationary on the bike.

There is further tuneability to be had with volume spacers. The ZEB comes with a single Bottomless Token inside, and that suited us fine. The rear shock comes with zero tokens inside, and that also worked well. However, you can add one volume spacer to the shock’s negative spring to make it more linear. Conversely, you can add up to three volume spacers in the shock’s positive spring if you want more progression. That’s probably something only the heaviest of riders will investigate, since the Slash has quite a progressive spring rate to begin with – we never experienced a harsh bottom-out with the stock settings.

2021 trek slash 9.8 x01 zeb ultimate fork

Does it get any smoother than this?

Easily the standout attribute of the new Slash is just how plush and controlled the suspension is. We were expecting that from the ZEB Ultimate, as we’ve already tested it separately . It’s a banging fork, with superb suppleness, huge torsional rigidity and steering accuracy that makes it an excellent match for the Slash’s capabilities. It’s the rear suspension that really blew us away though, with a level of off-the-top sensitivity that sees the shock ease into its travel the moment you push down on the saddle.

2021 trek slash 9.8 x01

That activity plays out all the way through the travel too. Trek says the Thru-Shaft damper design eliminates the ‘nose’ of a standard IFP design, and we can believe them. So little force is required to get the shock moving, and it changes direction seamlessly, offering faster reactivity under both compression and extension. Whether it’s copping a square-edge rock at speed, cornering over off-camber washboard bumps on a fast fireroad descent, or skimming across more granular terrain on a loose traverse, the back end maintains a high level of contact with the terrain, boosting grip and confidence levels.

Previous Thru-Shaft shocks have proven to be slippery performers, but now that Trek has ditched the RE:aktiv valve in favour of a more conventional shim stack valve, it’s taken that damping performance to a new level. It’s bloody impressive stuff.

Thanks to the extremely active and supple suspension performance, the Slash is hugely stable in rough terrain. Sure the geometry is dialled, but it’s the suspension on this bike that really encourages you to push hard in technical terrain, knowing the bike will stay composed and stable. It’s a fine example of a bike that rides well beyond the numbers in a geometry chart.

2021 trek slash 9.8 x01

It’s not just a monster truck

From first impressions, our testers initially thought the Slash would be more of a point-and-plow kind of bike. Sure, you can totally ride this way with confidence and let it steamroll down the trail. But where it surprised most was its inherently playful nature. The short chainstays definitely contribute in this regard, and while the shock is extremely sensitive, your feet don’t get lost in a gooey pile of over-damped syrup. That’s the new air spring at play, which delivers fantastically usable mid-stroke support. That responsive attitude encourages you to get creative, try different lines and gap sections of trail.

It’s also a really fun bike to slide around and let the rear hang out when things get loose, giving it a character that is often lost in long travel enduro race bikes. We found the Slash very composed in the air, with the generous travel and progressive end-stroke providing a cosseting return to earth. You can get away with a lot of mistakes while riding this bike, and have an absolute riot doing so.

2021 trek slash 9.8 x01

But where it surprised most was its inherently playful nature. The short chainstays definitely contribute in this regard, and while the shock is extremely sensitive, your feet don’t get lost in a gooey pile of over-damped syrup. That’s the new air spring at play, which delivers fantastically usable mid-stroke support. That responsive attitude encourages you to get creative, try different lines and gap sections of trail.

2021 trek slash 9.8 x01

Given how big and slack it is, we were also really impressed with the Slash’s climbing ability, particularly when things got rough and technical. The buttery shock performance keeps the rear tyre digging for traction, and the low-slung top tube gives you room to manoeuvre. Add in the low gearing from the 30T chainring and 52T sprocket out back, and there’s some serious grunt on offer for muscling your way up choppy ledges, roots and blown-out moto ruts.

The active suspension does mean you’re best to stay in a seated position on smoother climbs though. Stand up to mash the pedals, and Bob will join the party. There’s always the lockout lever, but our testers only ever used it on the road or the smoothest of fireroad climbs – it’s too firm for actual trail riding, and it’s low down enough that it’s a pain to regularly switch back and fourth between smooth and rough sections.

You can tighten things up by flipping the low-speed compression dial into the firmer +1 position though. And because the shock is so supple, it’s possible to run slightly higher pressures to lift the ride height, without sacrificing that much small-bump sensitivity. Flipping the Mino Link into the High position will also help with climbing performance by steepening the effective seat tube angle, while getting you a bit more pedal clearance too.

2021 trek slash 9.8 x01

So stealthy, so quiet!

Modern bikes are getting very good at dampening out noise, but there’s always something that ruins the serenity. Rattly brake pads, a flappy cable, a creaky bearing. Not the Slash though – our test bike developed no play, and no noise all throughout the test period. Just blissful, quiet performance with the sound of tyres rumbling through the forest.

On that note, we love how well thought out the protection on this bike is. The gear cable is shielded underneath a thick chainstay guard, which is textured to dampen chain slap. There’s another strip of rubber on the inside of the drive-side seatstay to eliminate chain contact, and Trek has even put a metal plate below the disc calliper to prevent the rotor from scratching the paint. Brilliant!

2021 trek slash 9.8 x01

This bike is seriously quiet, thanks to carefully managed cabling and a plethora of body armour designed to dampen chain slap and rock strikes.

Those who ride on trails with lots of loose rock will know the importance of downtube protection. It only takes one rock kicked up by the front wheel to lay a crack in a lovingly engineered carbon downtube – we know, it’s happened to us enough times on other bikes. On the Slash, the underside of the downtube is almost entirely covered by two thick, rubber-lined armour plates. As well as giving greater rock strike protection, the extended coverage is also useful for hoisting your bike over the back of a tailgate on shuttle day. The big plastic armour plates are screwed into the frame, so it’s possible to replace them, or remove them if you desperately want to show off more of the Commodore SS paint job.

2021 trek slash 9.8 x01

As well as giving greater rock strike protection, the extended coverage is also useful for hoisting your bike over the back of a tailgate on shuttle day.

The MRP chainguide with its lower bash plate is another handy addition, and the scratches and dings it’s collected from many trail missions attest to its worth. As for the Knock Block? Our testers never noticed it was there, so we’d be happy to leave it in place. It does mean you could trim the cables and brake line to be quite short to neaten up the cockpit, without fear of them being ripped out in the event of a crash.

2021 trek slash 9.8 x01

What could be improved?

Despite Trek’s talk of keeping things balanced and approachable on the Slash, we do think the designers could have gone a lick steeper on the seat tube angle. We’re also not talking about going vertical – an extra degree would do nicely. The Slash is slightly steeper than the Fuel EX (75.6° vs 75°), but because the Slash has more travel and a more active suspension design, the dynamic seat angle is more affected on the climbs as the shock sinks into its travel.

Yes, a steeper seat angle pushes more weight onto your hands. And yes, it’s generally less comfortable for rolling along on more intermediate terrain. But a bike of this travel is generally going to be ridden on bigger and steeper terrain, where horizontal bimbling is less of a consideration.

That being said, the Bontrager Arvada saddle has a usefully long clamping area on its rails, and our testers were able to get into a comfortable position with the saddle slammed all the way forward. The top tube length is quite long on this bike, so the cockpit never felt too cramped even with the saddle in that position.

The takeaway point? The seat angle ain’t a dealbreaker – there’s adjustment there, so use it if you want to get your hips further the cranks. And if you really want to prioritise climbing performance, then you can always flip the Mino Link into the High geometry position.

2021 trek slash 9.8 x01

The Slash is the third Trek we’ve tested with downtube storage, and thankfully this one didn’t have the rattling issues of the last bike . It’s fundamentally a great idea, and the included tool roll is a nice touch – just make sure you use a lightweight inner tube, as a standard tube won’t leave you any room to fit tyre levers or CO2.

On that note, the width of the trapdoor is quite a bit narrower than a Specialized SWAT door (40mm vs 52mm). That 12mm difference makes it quite a bit trickier to fit bulkier items and XL burritos, so it takes a bit more thought and creativity for packing your haul.

While we’re throwing ideas into the wishing well, it’d be great to see the Slash 9.9 come with Bontrager’s new BITS tool system inside the fork steerer tube. That way you could more easily ditch the backpack, knowing that you’ve got all the basic tools and spares with you, hidden in the bike.

2021 trek slash 9.8 x01

Component highs & lows

Overall the Slash 9.9 X01 has impressed us with a great overall package. The suspension, brakes, drivetrain, wheel and tyre combo all support its nature of being a hard-charging bike.

The rear shock is super impressive, being really smooth and supple with no discernible stiction. This translates to amazing small bump response. Coupled with the equally smooth new RockShox ZEB, once set up the bike feels stupendously plush and balanced. When air-sprung forks and shocks are this good, we’re not sure why you would choose heavier, and less adjustable coil suspension.

The Bontrager Line Elite 30 wheels were also a standout. These have recently been redesigned with a new carbon rim profile that’s said to be almost twice as strong as its predecessor. And we’re happy to report that they’ve withstood many jarring interactions with square edge rocks, and are still in one piece. Weighing in at 2,071g, they’re a couple hundred grams more than the Line Pro 30 wheels we have on test separately , but they do get more readily available J-bend spokes, and they still feature the super buzzy Rapid Drive 108 hubs. They also get that 2-year crash replacement deal , if you do manage to toast a rim.

2021 trek slash 9.8 x01

The Bontrager Line Elite 30 wheels are a standout, and the SE5/SE4 tyre combo have been equally impressive, with great grip and decent rolling resistance.

The Bontrager SE5/SE4 tyre combo was equally impressive, with great grip and decent rolling resistance. The rear tyre does look a bit minimal and comes in quite light on the scales at just 919g (the front tyre is 1,059g), but it held up really well in some chunky terrain, suffering a single tiny cut in the sidewall that was easily sealed with a plug. If this were our bike, we’d be putting an insert into the rear tyre anyway.

The Line Elite dropper post seems marginally quicker in action compared to Bontrager’s previous droppers, but it’s still a ways off the light and smooth action of a Fox Transfer or BikeYoke Divine. The lever shape is good though, and overall it’s performed without hassle. We’ll be interested to see how it fares after a full season of abuse.

2021 trek slash 9.8 x01

Flow’s Verdict

The new Trek Slash is one mighty impressive bike. It packs a load of punch, with the big chassis, newly slackened geometry and burly parts spec working up a thirst for high-speed drama. Its punch is delivered inside a velvety smooth glove though, thanks to the outrageously plush suspension that brings comfort, poise and control to the most chundery of trails. Paired to the superb ZEB up front, this bike just oozes confidence.

As descending really steep and gnarly shit has become the raison d’être for the modern enduro bike though, we were worried that Trek would turn the Slash into a pro-only machine. Our doubts proved unfounded though, and that is indeed the biggest surprise of this bike.

Yes it’s a 29er with 170/160mm of travel and a 64° head angle, and it’ll absolutely steamroll the trail if you let it. But it isn’t a tank. It’s comfortable, reasonably efficient, and it actually climbs technical stuff well. We’d have no qualms taking it on bigger all-day missions.

It’s also playful, chuckable and willing to get airborne. And it’s this all-round competence makes the Slash much more versatile than we expected. We had a blast riding this bike, even when the many of our rides might not have warranted such a big travel bike. But when there are so few downsides, we kept asking ourselves; why wouldn’t you want that extra travel?

2021 trek slash 9.8 x01

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trek slash 2021 shock hardware

2021 Trek Slash

Test Location: Crested Butte, Colorado

Test Duration: 3 months

Size Tested: ML

Build Overview (Trek Slash 9.9 X01):

  • Drivetrain: SRAM X01
  • Brakes: SRAM Code RSC
  • Fork: RockShox ZEB Ultimate
  • Shock: RockShox Super Deluxe Ultimate Thru Shaft
  • Wheelset: Bontrager Line Elite 30 Carbon

Wheel Size: 29”

Travel: 160 mm rear / 170 mm front

Blister’s Measured Weight (as built, w/o pedals): 32.25 lbs / 14.63 kg

MSRP: $3,499 – $8,999 ($7,999 as tested)

  • Luke Koppa: 5’8”, 155 lbs / 173 cm, 70 kg; Ape Index +1; Inseam 31” / 79 cm
  • Dylan Wood : 5’11”, 155 lbs / 180 cm, 70 kg; Ape Index +0.5; Inseam 32” / 81 cm
  • Eric Freson : 5’10”, 165 lbs / 178 cm, 75 kg; Ape Index +1.5; Inseam 31″ / 79 cm

Blister reviews the 2021 Trek Slash

Just a couple of years ago, our reviewer Noah Bodman called the 2018 Trek Slash one of the best all-round Enduro bikes he’d ridden.

But in the world of mountain bikes, a couple of years feels more like a decade, given how quickly brands have been changing bike geometry, suspension, components, and almost everything else we use to ride. The Slash that Noah reviewed had been essentially unchanged since it was released in the 2017 model year, so many people have been eagerly waiting to see what would come next.

This September, Trek provided those people with an answer when they released the all-new, 2021 Slash.

Trek says their two main goals when redesigning the Slash were to (1) “enhance the Enduro race capability of the bike” and (2) “preserve the ultimate Trail rider experience.”

We’ve now had three reviewers on the Slash and have updated our initial review. First, we’ll dive into what Trek changed on the Slash to accomplish those two goals, how the new bike’s design compares to the rest of the crowded Enduro 29er category, and then discuss our on-trail impressions.

Aesthetically, the 2021 Slash looks very similar to the previous version, as well as many of Trek’s other bikes. It maintains most of the clean, fairly straight lines throughout the frame and still uses a similar version of Trek’s ABP, 4-bar suspension linkage. That said, there are a lot of noteworthy differences with the newest Slash that might not be obvious at first glance.

First and foremost, the 2021 Slash gives you 160 mm of rear travel and is designed around a 170 mm fork, while the previous version had 150 mm of rear travel and a 160mm-travel fork.

The Slash is still available in either a fully aluminum frame or fully carbon frame, with the two alloy builds designated with a single digit in their name (Slash 7, Slash 8) while the five carbon-frame builds are designated with decimal points (e.g., Slash 9.7, Slash 9.8, & Slash 9.9). However, while the old Slash’s geometry and some of its features differed between the alloy and carbon models, the 2021 Slash keeps pretty much all of the frame features and geometry the same, whether you opt for alloy or carbon. That’s great news for those who don’t feel like going the carbon route.

One of the most exciting new features is the frame’s integrated storage in the down tube, and the fact that it’s standard on both the carbon and alloy Slash. Similar to Specialized’s SWAT box and the down tube on the carbon Trek Fuel EX , the new Slash lets you open a little “hatch” on the down tube so you stash a tube, tool, burrito, or whatever other little items in the frame, and not on yourself.

Blister reviews the 2021 Trek Slash

That little hatch on the down tube also serves as a mounting point for a water bottle cage, and Trek says all sizes of the 2021 Slash will fit a water bottle within the front triangle. Our size ML fits a 20-oz bottle quite easily. Cables are routed internally on both the alloy and carbon 2021 Slash, and they’ve been very quiet so far.

One of the more polarizing features of several Trek bikes is their “Knock Block” system. On the old Slash, this was essentially a keyed headset that prevented the front wheel from turning past roughly 58° to either side. On that bike, the down tube ran straight from the head tube to the bottom bracket, which Trek said let them get a more ideal strength-to-weight ratio from the frame. It also meant the fork could bash into the down tube without the Knock Block system during a crash, an ultra-tight turn, or if you finally decided it was time to learn barspins.

The 2021 Slash features what Trek is calling “Knock Block 2.0.” In its stock configuration, it still prevents the wheel from turning all the way around, but you can now turn the bars 72° to either side, as opposed to 58° on the old version. The 2021 Slash’s new, slightly curvier down tube also means it has enough clearance for the fork’s crown, and given that, Trek made Knock Block 2.0 removable, and it will now work with “standard” stems that aren’t Knock Block specific. Given that there’s no longer a physical conflict with a straight down tube, Trek says the primary purpose of Knock Block 2.0 on the 2021 Slash is to help prevent wear on the top tube and cables from pulling out.

Blister reviews the 2021 Trek Slash

While it ditches the “Straight Shot” down tube of the last version, the 2021 Slash is still touted as being light and strong, with Trek claiming a stated weight of 2450 grams for the carbon frameset (we’re working on confirming which size that weight is for). Our size ML Slash 9.9 X01 weighed in at 32.25 lbs / 14.63 kg without pedals, which isn’t exceptionally lightweight for a high-end, 160/170 mm bike, but also not particularly out of the ordinary for a long-travel 29er.

One cool feature on the 2021 Slash that we don’t see on too many other bikes is its massive down tube protector. Running from the bottom bracket to just a few inches shy of the head tube, the dual-density pad should keep the down tube looking fresh for longer, particularly for people who often shuttle their bikes. And as would be expected, the new Slash also features some protection around the chainstay.

Blister reviews the 2021 Trek Slash

Speaking of the bottom bracket, the 2021 Slash comes with a BSA 73 one that’s got threads in it, rather than the press-fit BB on the old version. This should equate to less creaking and easier service. The new Slash also gets a larger, 34.9mm-diameter seat tube to accommodate the increasingly popular droppers of that diameter (including the new 34.9 mm Bontrager Line Elite spec’d on the higher-end Slash builds).

The Slash uses 110×15 mm hub spacing up front and 148x12mm out back, which is pretty standard, and Trek says the max rear tire size is 29”x2.5”. Other misc. specs include a rear brake mount that fits 180 mm rotors directly and fit up to 220 mm rotors, the ability to run chainring sizes from 28-tooth to 34-tooth, and stated dropper post insertion depths ranging from 205 mm on a size Small to 310 mm on a size Large.

Blister reviews the 2021 Trek Slash

Suspension Design & New RockShox Super Deluxe Ultimate Thru Shaft

The 2021 Slash’s overall suspension linkage is still pretty similar to the previous Slash, using a version of Trek’s 4-bar “ABP” linkage. They’ve been using this general design for years, and a few of our reviewers have particularly been fans of how active the ABP linkage tends to stay under hard braking.

Like the old version, most 2021 Slash builds come with a special version of a RockShox rear shock that features the exclusive-to-Trek “Thru Shaft” design, but again, there are some notable differences.

First, the 2021 Slash’s shocks no longer feature Trek’s special “RE:aktiv” tune, which essentially relied on speed-sensitive damping and was meant to help the shock stay firm during low-speed forces (e.g., pedaling) while opening up during bigger impacts. Trek says they made this change because they felt a shock without the RE:aktiv tune was better suited to the demands of modern, high-speed Enduro races, which are becoming more and more like multi-stage DH races.

Second, several of the 2021 Slash bikes (carbon frameset, 8 build, 9.8 builds, & 9.9 builds) come with a special version of the RockShox Super Deluxe Ultimate , rather than the special RockShox Deluxe RT3 on the old Slash.

Blister reviews the 2021 Trek Slash

So, what’s so “special” about these shocks? Well, the Thru Shaft design itself is exclusive to shocks on Trek bikes, and was something that Noah really liked about the old Slash’s shock. After swapping between the two, he found the Thru Shaft shock made the bike feel much smoother and more sensitive over small chatter compared to when he swapped to a regular Super Deluxe shock. (Noah already went into a lot of detail regarding Thru Shaft in his review of the old Slash , so I’d check that out if you want to get more into the weeds about how it actually works.)

While Thru Shaft itself isn’t new, the Super Deluxe Ultimate on the 2021 Slash is. Its most notable new, exclusive feature is a 3-position switch (the bright-blue knob on the shock) that’s meant to specifically change how the suspension is affected by rider input (i.e., slower-speed forces created by the rider pushing down on the bike), without affecting damping during higher-speed impacts that come up from the trail. In simpler terms, it lets riders quickly switch between three preset low-speed-compression settings.

The “0” setting is supposed to be the baseline, general-trail-riding setting that you’d use in most cases. The “–” setting decreases the amount of low-speed compression, which Trek says makes more sense on steeper and rougher trails where the rider’s weight is biased more toward the front of the bike, and not the rear. Then the “+” setting adds more low-speed compression, meant for smoother, flow-style trails where you want a more supportive platform for pushing into berms and off jumps.

Blister reviews the 2021 Trek Slash

This new 3-position switch is not a “climb” switch or a lockout lever — the Super Deluxe Ultimate Thru Shaft has a separate, 2-position lever that you can use to fully lock out or fully open the shock. The lockout lever is situated directly over the 3-position switch on the shock.

Aside from that new 3-position LSC adjustment, the Super Deluxe Ultimate Thru Shaft on the 2021 Slash also features a larger, tunable negative air spring, which is meant to make the shock more progressive and supportive near the end of its travel, without losing the small-bump and mid-stroke sensitivity supposedly offered by the Thru Shaft design. You can also add volume spacers to both the negative and positive air springs to fine-tune the shock, though the Super Deluxe Ultimate Thru Shaft comes stock without any spacers inside.

RockShox also tweaked the positioning of the dials and switches on the Super Deluxe Ultimate Thru Shaft, putting them on the left side for easier access and they also added numbers to the single rebound-adjustment dial to make it easier to know what setting you’re on.

Now, I just used a lot of words to talk specifically about the exclusive Super Deluxe Ultimate Thru Shaft shock that comes on most of the 2021 Slash builds. However, many people will be happy to know that you can still fit several other shocks on the Slash, including the 2021 Fox Float X2 , 2021 Fox DHX2, Fox DPX2, RockShox Super Deluxe Coil, and most inline shocks without piggyback reservoirs. Trek says the regular, non-Thru-Shaft Super Deluxe won’t fit due to where its lockout lever is placed. They say that the leverage ratio of the new bike is progressive enough that most coil shocks are compatible, though I’d recommend checking with them just to be sure you won’t have any clearance issues with the coil shock you’re considering.

Trek is talking a pretty big game about this new Thru Shaft shock, so we’re very curious about (1) how well it’ll live up to Trek’s various claims, (2) how useful the new 3-position LSC switch actually is, and (3) how it compares to other downhill-oriented air shocks that don’t feature Thru Shaft, but that do feature more finely adjustable compression and rebound settings.

As of publishing this First Look, the 2021 Slash is available as an alloy frameset ($2,199), carbon frameset ($3,999), or in 7 full builds ranging from the $3,499 Slash 7 to the $8,499 Slash 9.9 XTR.

For all of the carbon builds, you can also customize the color / paint of the frame through Trek’s Project One program, which adds $500 to the cost.

At $3,999, the Slash 8 in particular seems like a pretty solid deal: you get the special Thru Shaft shock, RockShox Lyrik RC fork, full SRAM GX drivetrain, and SRAM Code R brakes.

We’re testing the high-end Slash 9.9 X01 build, which leaves little to be desired for the price of $7,999.

Blister reviews the 2021 Trek Slash

Here’s the quick rundown on some of the Slash 9.9 X01 build highlights:

  • Rear Shock: RockShox Super Deluxe Ultimate Thru Shaft
  • Wheels: Bontrager Line Elite 30 carbon
  • Front Tire: Bontrager SE5 2.6”
  • Rear Tire: Bontrager SE4 2.4”
  • Dropper Post: Bontrager Line Elite 34.9
  • Handlebar: Bontrager Line Pro carbon

Geometry & Fit

Like every other new bike in recent memory, the 2021 Slash is longer, has a slacker head tube angle, and a steeper seat tube angle than its predecessor. With that said, the changes are not quite as drastic as you might expect, given some of the radical bikes released in the past year. And that seems in line with Trek’s goals of improving racing capabilities while maintaining more general trail-riding performance.

[The geometry of the new Slash, as well as the new Pivot Switchblade and now-fairly-old Rocky Mountain Instinct BC , actually kickstarted an interesting conversation around Blister pertaining to the current status and future of mtb geometry, which you can check out on our Bikes & Big Ideas podcast .]

The old Slash wasn’t the longest option in its class when it was first released, the 2021 Slash also isn’t truly pushing the limits in terms of length, and that’s something several of us are actually quite excited about.

Depending on the size of the frame, the new Slash’s reach is 15–41 mm longer than the last iteration, with a size M coming in at 450 mm, an ML coming in at 469 mm, and a size L coming in at 486 mm. Compared to, say, Commencal’s new Meta TR and Meta AM, the Slash’s reach numbers sit slightly on the more conservative side, though they’re pretty much in line with bikes like the newest Transition Sentinel and Norco Sight.

Compared to the last version, the 2021 Slash’s head angle gets slacker by a degree, sitting at 64.1° in the Low setting and 64.6° in the High setting of its “Mino Link” flip chip (the bike comes stock in the Low setting). While we’re seeing more bikes in this class with sub-64° head angles, the new Slash’s head angle seems relatively standard for Enduro bikes these days.

Blister reviews the 2021 Trek Slash

Combined with chainstays that didn’t change much (2 mm longer at 437 mm in the Low setting), all of that adds up to a longer, but not extremely long wheelbase: 1222 mm for a size M, 1243 mm for a size ML, and 1264 mm for a size L.

Just looking at the old Slash and comparing it to newer bikes, the most obvious difference in its geometry is probably its seat tube angle. With a 73.6° effective seat tube angle and 64.3° actual seat tube angle, the old Slash looks very different than the numerous bikes of today with seat tube angles approaching (or even reaching) 80°.

The 2021 Slash’s seat tube still has a significant “kink” in it, keeping its actual seat tube angle quite slack at 66.6°, but its effective angle has gotten almost 2° steeper, with Trek claiming 75.6° with the saddle height at 750 mm. That’s still notably slacker than a lot of bikes these days, and given the very slack actual angle, this may still present some issues for people who need to run very long droppers. But we’re curious to see just how noticeable that seat tube angle actually is.

All in all, the new Slash features pretty much all the geometry changes you’d make if you wanted to make a bike more stable at speed and in steep terrain, and more comfortable on steep climbs. Other brands have taken those changes even further and others have been more conservative, with the new Slash sitting roughly around the middle of the pack for a bike in this class.

As for sizing / fit, the 2021 Slash adds an “ML” size to the lineup, which will be great news to people like me and Noah, who were split between the fairly large sizing gap between the M and L sizes on the old Slash. With reach numbers ranging from 425 mm on a size S to 516 mm for a size XL, the 2021 Slash should work for a wide range of riders. Like most bikes (but increasingly, not all ), the 2021 Slash’s chainstay length is the same across all sizes, which may be something to consider for riders at the upper and lower end of the sizing spectrum, but having equal-size chainstays across all sizes is still pretty much the norm these days.

For reference, here’s the full geo chart for the 2021 Slash:

Blister reviews the 2021 Trek Slash


We received and built up the Slash 9.9 X01 on September 1st, and Luke Koppa got a few days on it before passing it off to Dylan Wood and Eric Freson, who now add their thoughts after riding it for a few months.

Geometry and Fit

Luke Koppa (5’8”, 155 lbs / 173 cm, 70 kg): At my height, I slot right around the middle of Trek’s recommended range for the size ML we’ve been testing. Unsurprisingly, the bike immediately felt comfortable to me.

I didn’t have any complaints about the Slash’s seat tube angle being too slack, though I admittedly tend to be a bit less sensitive to that than some other folks. The main thing I noticed on the uphill in terms of geometry was that the 2021 Slash does feel like a pretty long and slack bike in tight and / or steep sections. Compared to the shorter and steeper size Medium Specialized Enduro 27.5 and size Large Rocky Mountain Instinct BC I’ve been riding, the size ML Slash’s front wheel felt a bit more difficult to keep planted in steep spots and it required more physical input on my end to maneuver the bike over / around obstacles. This didn’t come as any surprise to me, and at least so far, seemed like nothing out of the ordinary for a bike with the Slash’s geometry.

Blister reviews the 2021 Trek Slash

And the good news is that, on the descent, I basically had no complaints about the geo of the Slash. It just felt nice — plenty slack in steep terrain, and once I got even just a bit of speed going, it didn’t feel excessively long or cumbersome.

Dylan Wood (5’11”, 155 lbs / 180 cm, 70 kg): The size ML Slash’s fit and geometry did not take very long to get used to, despite the fact that Trek actually recommends a size L for someone my height. At 5’11” / 180 cm, I am in the middle of the sizing range for a size L Slash, and I’m technically just outside of the recommended height range for the size ML we’ve been riding.

That said, the ML Slash’s geometry numbers are actually quite similar to the size Large Santa Cruz Megatower I’ve been spending a lot of time on, which is probably why the ML Slash has felt so familiar to me. Given that Trek technically recommends a size Large for me, it’s worth keeping in mind that the ML size I’m talking about might feel a bit shorter and snappier than a size L that many people my height may end up riding.

I agree with Luke that the Slash is indeed a pretty long bike and that length is noticeable on tight and / or steep climbs. Due to its slack front end, long wheelbase, and likely the not-super-steep seat tube angle, the Slash’s front wheel tends to wander a bit on technical climbs and is moderately difficult to keep weighted. This happens on most bikes this slack and long, though I think it might be slightly less of an issue with a steeper seat tube angle.

Dylan Wood reviews the Trek Slash for Blister in Crested Butte, Colorado.

Regarding that seat tube angle, the pedals feel a bit further forward on the Slash than I’d prefer. I do run a fairly high seat height (78 cm), which results in the seat being further back due to the “kink” in the seat tube (more so than someone like Luke with shorter legs). To help combat this, I slid the Slash’s seat all the way forward on the rails and it made a significant improvement to my pedaling position. Personally, I wish Trek would’ve made the seat tube angle steeper on the Slash, though I also don’t think it is reason enough to steer anyone away from buying a Slash. Just something to keep in mind, particularly if you climb up a lot of very steep trails and / or have very long legs (and will therefore be running a longer dropper post).

Eric Freson (5’10”, 165 lbs; Ape Index +1.5; Inseam 31″): Not a ton of new to add here!

I also got along well with the fit of the ML Slash. Like Dylan, I found myself moving the seat all the way forward on the seat rails to effectively steepen the seat tube angle a touch. But I do this on most bikes I ride, since I often find myself sizing up on frames and am typically on the smaller side for their intended sizing. Moving the seat forward gives me a slightly shorter cockpit when seated.

When it comes to the geometry, the biggest standout for me with the Slash is actually the “ML” sizing option. As someone who is often right on the line between Medium and Large frame sizes, and who wants to always feel like I have the best tool for the job, the Goldilocks “just right” option of a ML frame has a ton of appeal for me. I just like the warm fuzzy feeling I get when I think about how Trek made a size just for “me” (and every other 5’9 to 5’11 person who wants to feel cool by going up a frame size but worries about seat / body / reach positioning). The jumps between sizes on the Slash aren’t really smaller than average, but a size that’s targeted between a lot of bikes’ Medium and Large offerings is welcome for me.

To echo what the others have said, the cockpit of the Slash does feel fairly long and stretched when seated. When climbing, the front wheel would sometimes feel light and prone to wandering. In particular, climbing tight switchbacks required an extra degree of focus on body positioning to stay balanced and keep the front wheel planted.

Luke Koppa : On the uphill, the 2021 Slash’s suspension feels to me like it falls into the “great traction, not super efficient” category. There’s a noticeable amount of pedal bob, particularly when out of the saddle — not as wallow-y as the 2019 Specialized Enduro 27.5 or Stumpjumper, but not as firm as the Revel Rail. I found myself preferring to lock out the shock for the smoother sections of climbs, but when I left it open, I did appreciate the noteworthy lack of wheel slip on very loose, chunky sections. For reference, I’m 5’8”, 155 lbs / 173 cm, 70 kg and had the rear shock’s sag set around 27% and the fork’s around 16%.

I kept the shock’s 3-position LSC adjustment in the middle “0” setting during my first few rides, but I ended up using the shock’s “+” setting for most singletrack climbs since it seemed to strike a more preferable balance of pedaling support and traction. For super loose climbs where I wanted all the traction I could get, I’d leave the shock open and in the “0” setting. And for smooth road climbs, I’d just fully lock it out. Overall, I think the Slash climbs just fine for a long-travel bike, but it’s definitely not as snappy on the pedals compared to some of the best options in this travel class (e.g., Revel Rail and Ibis Ripmo).

Dylan Wood : I agree with Luke here. The Slash is an average climber for its class and should satisfy most riders who have been happy pedaling ~160mm-travel bikes in the past (i.e., those who prioritize going fast on the descent, not the uphill).

I am similarly content with the amount of traction that the Slash’s rear end provides on the way up — it feels active while pedaling over rough sections of trail. I occasionally used the lockout switch to firm up the shock, mostly on smooth roads and on some smoother singletrack. Like Luke, I also appreciated the option to switch the rear shock into the “+” LSC setting, which added a little more pedaling support without feeling like it was fully locked out and / or significantly reducing rear-wheel traction. Overall, the Slash climbed just about as I’d hoped it would, feeling basically on par with the Santa Cruz Megatower in terms of overall pedaling performance.

Eric Freson : Another vote for “average climber for its class and intended use.” I was pleased with the pedaling platform and traction available when going uphill on the Slash. The climbing position, (taking into account the somewhat-slack seat tube angle, very wide bars, and large reach), was for me the largest culprit in its average-feeling climbing prowess. The Slash just doesn’t really put me in a position over the bike to encourage me to attack the trail on the way up.

An aspect of the bike’s climbing ability that really stood out to me was just how firm the lockout feature was on the RockShox Super Deluxe Ultimate Thru Shaft shock. As someone who habitually reaches for this lever whenever I’m given the option, I frequently found it to be firmer than I was looking for on rougher, more technical climbs, and consequently could have a negative impact on available traction. It’s impressively firm, but this also meant that I found myself using it less than I might on a different bike. The pedaling efficiency of the Slash (and the ability to easily adjust the LSC settings) made this no big deal, but it was something that felt different than the norm for this class of bike.

Luke Koppa : As I think should be the case with a bike like this, I immediately started loving the Slash more and more as soon as I got to head downhill. Compared to the size Large Rocky Mountain Instinct BC and size Medium 2019 Specialized Enduro 27.5, the size ML Slash felt notably less prone to getting knocked off-line. And despite it being a totally new bike to me, I very quickly felt comfortable carrying as much, or very likely more speed on the Slash than I would have on those other bikes. The fact that the Slash is more stable is no shocker (given its longer and slacker geo), but I do think the seemingly non-existent adjustment period I had is noteworthy.

Blister reviews the 2021 Trek Slash

The standout characteristic of the Slash during my time on it was how calm and well-damped the entire bike felt while riding fast through rocky and rooty sections. Both the ZEB up front and Super Deluxe Thru Shaft out back did a great job of muting out small and medium-sized chatter. And I think some of that damped feel might also come from the Slash 9.9 X01’s carbon Bontrager rims and bar, but I can’t say for sure. The smooth, almost “deadened” ride of the Slash 9.9 X01 reminded me of a 2019 Specialized Enduro 29 I rode with an Ohlins coil shock, Roval Traverse carbon rims, CushCore inserts, and DH-casing tires.

Dylan Wood : Once I point the Slash downhill, the miles I climbed to the top all start to become worth it. Despite being a long-travel bike that was at least partially designed with racing in mind, the Slash has been a blast to ride on many different types of trails and I believe a wide variety of riders will get along with its handling and ride feel.

The Slash felt very composed while going fast through rocky sections, and it seemed like it wanted to go exactly where I was looking. The big wheels and smooth suspension let me carry plenty of speed, while its generally stable and composed ride allowed me to confidently keep off the brakes without feeling like I was on the edge of control. I agree with Luke in that the Slash felt extremely intuitive from the very first ride — it felt as natural as if I’d been on it for a month.

To me, the standout quality of the Slash was the reliable traction it provided across pretty much all scenarios. Trek’s ABP rear suspension layout, the tune on the rear shock, the RockShox ZEB up front, and the Bontrager tires all combined to ensure that the wheels stayed pressed to the ground and headed in the right direction when I needed them to. Particularly in rough, steep sections and when slowing down to make a corner, the Slash felt stiff enough to be precise, but the suspension did a great job of staying active and smooth. Like Luke, I also found that the Slash did a great job of staying on line in off-camber sections, with minimal effort required to keep its wheels from getting knocked off track.

In addition to rough and steep terrain, I’ve also spent a significant amount of time on the Slash riding bike-park style trails with jumps and berms. While I am no Kade Edwards, I had no problem getting the size ML Slash into the air and throwing it sideways. The Slash was a ton of fun on machine-built jump and flow trails (particularly when using its shock’s “+” setting), and it would make a ton of sense for those who often find themselves riding lift-accessed bike park trails.

Dylan Wood reviews the Trek Slash for Blister in Crested Butte, Colorado.

One of my few complaints with the Slash is that it occasionally felt a little overwhelmed on fast g-outs and especially hard hits. I would describe the Slash as feeling pretty forgiving overall, whereas a bike like the Santa Cruz Megatower (which strikes us as more racing-oriented) felt more supportive. That said, I would be curious to try adding a volume spacer to the Slash’s rear shock to see if it could make it feel more supportive during big hits, without seriously compromising its supple feel over smaller trail chatter. In its stock form, I think the Slash 9.9 X01’s suspension setup will feel really nice to those who prioritize small-bump sensitivity, while those who instead prioritize support for big hits may want to experiment with the settings a bit.

I think the Slash is a great option for riders who will be riding a variety of terrain as well as the occasional Enduro or casual Downhill race. But for those who are purely concerned with riding as fast and hard as possible on their long-travel Trail / Enduro bike, I think there are some better (and probably less versatile) options out there. And of course, the Slash is a 160mm-travel bike, so if you ride trails that are mostly smooth and / or not very consistently steep, a shorter-travel bike would make more sense.

Eric Freson : I’d piggyback on most of what Dylan said, and his summary of the Slash captures my feelings well. A couple things that stand out to me specifically:

The Slash is a stiff bike, and feels like a precise descender. It’s also a bike that wants you to get it up to speed quickly and keep it there, rather than gaining and shedding momentum frequently (i.e., steep and sustained descents, rather than undulating ones). The bike feels very, very composed at speed, and given that, I found myself letting off the brakes and carrying speed through a lot of rough sections of trail where I might otherwise be inclined to slow down and pick my way through. Conversely, getting it up to speed, or back up to speed, was more work on the Slash than some other bikes in this category that I’ve ridden (e.g., Revel Rail 27.5 ).

It did take me a bit to dial in the sag of the Slash’s rear shock and find exactly where I wanted to leave it. The smooth and controlled damping from the RockShox Super Deluxe Ultimate Thru Shaft shock made it a bit harder to pick out when settings were really off, and so it simply took a bit more time and a bit more attention to refine my ideal sag. I wouldn’t call this a problem — bracketing suspension settings just took a bit more time than average since the range in which it felt “good” was broad. The upside is that it was easy to find a combination of settings that felt at least good , it was just a bit tougher to find settings that felt truly, 100% ideal . But with my preferred settings dialed in, I have been very impressed by both the ZEB Ultimate fork and the RockShox Super Deluxe Ultimate Thru Shaft shock.

In contrast to my feelings about the long cockpit of the Slash while climbing, I really enjoyed the ample length when taking the Slash to the air. It helped me feel like I had a ton of room to adjust my body positioning once headed skyward, and also helped to slow down the bike’s response to those same body adjustments. As someone who isn’t most at home taking off features with big lips or significant “kick,” this large margin for error and forgiving nature was noticed and appreciated.

Finally, I can relate to Dylan’s experience with the Slash and its tendency to prioritize sensitivity and traction over outright support and bottom-out resistance. The Slash is a bike that feels smooth, and it’s going to help most folks feel comfortable and in control in most normal trail situations. I think for the vast majority of riders, the balance between sensitivity and support the Slash offers is going to be very appealing. The tune of the shock helps to inspire speed, stability, and confidence over normal trail noise and obstacles in a way that is highly impressive. But if you are a “pro” level rider or particularly aggressive, you may find yourself wishing for a bit more support from the Slash and might be better off on something else, such as the Santa Cruz Megatower , Guerrilla Gravity Gnarvana , or Privateer 161 (which we’ll be reviewing soon).

RockShox Super Deluxe Ultimate Thru-Shaft Rear Shock

Luke Koppa : I spent most of my time on the Slash with its shock set on the baseline “0” LSC setting and occasionally the firmer “+” setting.

The 0 setting worked pretty well for most trails and my riding style, just as it should, given that it’s the baseline setting. The Slash is a bike that is the most fun when the trail is at least somewhat steep, and the 0 setting felt great on nearly all the trails I rode that fit that criteria.

That said, on flowier, mellower trails I’d find myself wishing for a slightly firmer, more supportive platform for getting in quick pedal strokes and pumping, and the + setting pretty much gave me that. It wasn’t some night-and-day difference, but it was definitely noticeable. I felt like the rear end wasn’t wallowing / sinking quite as much, and given that the switch is so easy to flip, I’d change it to the + setting any time I knew the trail ahead was going to be fairly smooth and not wildly steep.

Overall, I personally really like the concept and execution of the 3-position LSC switch. I’m not someone who’s constantly tinkering with my suspension and opting to shell out a bunch of extra dough so I have one or two more dials to play with. Instead, I just want to quickly find the setting(s) that work well for me on most of my rides. With the Slash’s shock, I got along well with both the 0 and + settings (I didn’t ride any trails that I felt warranted the “–” setting), and it was extremely easy to switch between them. So for me, the Slash’s shock covers just about any adjustment I could want, though I could see certain people preferring a more traditional high-end shock with more fine-tuning options.

Dylan Wood : The shock on this bike is one of the highlights of the component spec for me, and makes it stand out from other long-travel 29ers. I have been running Trek’s recommended 175 psi (generated by their suspension calculator ), and it results in 30% sag.

Dylan Wood reviews the Trek Slash for Blister in Crested Butte, Colorado.

I really enjoyed the 3-position low-speed-compression settings on the shock. When I knew what was in store on a given trail, it was very easy for me to change the settings to match the terrain. Put it in “+” for a flowy trail, “–” for steep and rough, and “0” for a little of both. This swap is so easy to make, I would do it several times on rides where the terrain changes between transitions (e.g., Hartman Rocks in Gunnison). These adjustments make for an immediate change in the feel of the bike, especially the “+” setting. When I didn’t know what was coming up, putting it right in that middle “0” setting was my go-to, and it is a great set-it-and-forget-it setting for those who would prefer not to tinker with their bike.

Of course, as Luke alluded to, certain riders may want more adjustment options. From my perspective, I think about 90% of riders could get along great with the Trek’s 3-position LSC switch for all of their riding. But particularly for racers or just those who are extremely sensitive to their suspension settings, this relative lack of adjustability could be a drawback on the Slash.

As for the other features of the shock, the numbered rebound dial is a no-brainer that I think every shock and fork should have. It gives you 10 settings to choose from, which could mean you don’t have as many settings as some other high-end shocks, but we always felt like we were able to arrive at a rebound setting that felt good to us.

Dylan Wood reviews the Trek Slash for Blister in Crested Butte, Colorado.

Overall, I think the Slash’s rear shock feels great as a whole and I have trouble finding anything I would personally change about it.

Eric Freson : I agree with everything said above. As someone who normally likes to try to set up his suspension to perform best in the aggregate, rather than fine-tune on a trail-by-trail basis, I appreciate how easy it is to make noticeable changes to the behavior of the rear suspension without needing to remember how many clicks of LSC and LSR I backed off two rides ago. It’s practical and functional — which encourages you to actually use it — and that is a hallmark of a good design in my book.

Bottom Line 

Luke Koppa & Dylan Wood : Trek seems to have done a good job of accomplishing their two main goals with the Slash. It’s a long-travel bike that feels very stable, smooth, and forgiving on rough descents — just like an Enduro race bike should. But at the same time, it’s very intuitive, pedals pretty well, and can still be lots of fun on less-extreme trails and at less-extreme speeds — just like a Trail bike should.

The new Slash is not the most efficient long-travel bike on the climbs, and very aggressive Enduro racers may prefer an even longer, slacker, and / or more supportive platform at super high speeds. And of course, those who don’t frequently ride particularly steep, rough terrain would likely be better off on a shorter-travel bike. But unlike most bikes that excel either while climbing or descending at exceptionally high speeds, the Slash is a long-travel bike that feels very comfortable in a wide variety of scenarios.

Eric Freson : The Slash will encourage many riders to push harder and go faster any time they get to point it downhill. This is a bike that thrives in steep and rough terrain, but is accessible and approachable in a way that encourages its rider to stay off the brakes and let the bike do its thing. The most aggressive riders out there might find themselves wanting a bit more support out of the suspension, but the Slash is going to be plenty of bike for most people, and is impressively forgiving and versatile — a tradeoff that will work well for a whole lot of riders out there.

3 comments on “2021 Trek Slash”

Good review. Big bike! IMO, a touch too far for rugged trail riding, but a ripping enduro machine, exactly as intended.

For now, I’ll stick with my “old” version. It’s funny how things change. When I bought that bike, most people said it was way too much for trail riding. Pure enduro race weapon only! I’ve found it to be an astounding all around rugged trail bike for chunky duty.

Thank you for this!

I was hesitant about the geometry of the M/L vs the M as I have always ridden L frames but found them too cumbersome with the M’s too unwieldy. At 5”10 210lbs I’m built more like a linebacker than a MTB’er, so the nimbleness of a M frame makes me nervous but the reach of a L makes for an uncomfortable ride.

I sprang for the Slash M/L and was a bit nervous about the immediately noticeable longer cock pit, but your characterization of the ideal rider for this bike suits me to a T!

I am definitely not a “Pro” and prioritize stability and control over support off of massive hits. This article has really made me feel I’ve made the right choice not just in bike but in sizing.

Thanks you gents!

Thank you for this, Scott! Here’s to many good rides ahead.

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trek slash 2021 shock hardware

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    Looking for a new rear shock but can't figure out the size of your bikes darn'd shock mount hardware? So were we... so we slowly compiled this database full of popular shock information * that our customers have been searching for!

Can't find your bike? Take a look at video that explains how to measure your shock the old-fashioned way!


Guerrilla gravity, rocky mountain, specialized.

*carbon version is incompatible with Bomber CR.

There are 2 different sizes for Trek's Trunnion-to-Pin Adapter use to convert from Trek's proprietary trunnion shocks to a normal shock. The links below bring you to those adapters, and the bike compatibility is listed in each drop-down menu:

Trek Rear Shock Trunnion-to-Pin 16mm Head Hardware

Trek Rear Shock Trunnion-to-Pin 18.5mm Head Hardware

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*this database is a constant work in progress and is subject to change at any time.

Still have questions? Feel free to reach out to us at [email protected] or 360-306-8827 for further assistance.

SHOP Shock Mounting Hardware

Shock hardware faq, can you install one brand of mounting hardware into a different brand of shock.

In almost every case, yes you can install mounting hardware from one brand into a different brand of shock. Eyelet sizing in rear shocks is pretty standardized these days, and almost every brand uses an eyelet with an inner diameter of 15mm and width of 12.7mm (1/2"). If you have a modern shock, with an approximate model year of 2017 and newer, you can bet that the eyelet is going to be that standard 15mm x 12.7mm eyelet size. This is absolutely true with all modern RockShox and Fox shocks. However, brands like Cane Creek and Ohlins have done some different eyelet sizes in recent years previous to ~2017, so we recommend that you measure those eyelets with calipers to double check. And if your shock is older and dates back to the mid 2000's or older, we recommend measuring your eyelets no matter what to confirm your eyelet sizes.

Can you install Fox mounting hardware into a RockShox shock?

Yes. You just need to press out the metal DU bushings from the RockShox shock eyelets and then install the white plastic IGUS bushings by simply pushing them in with your thumb.

Can you install RockShox mounting hardware into a Fox shock?

Yes. You just need to remove the white plastic IGUS bushings from the Fox shock eyelets and then press in the metal DU bushing that is included in the RockShox mounting hardware.

Can you install RockShox mounting hardware into a Marzocchi shock?

Yes. You just need to remove the white plastic IGUS bushings from the Marzocchi shock eyelets and then press in the metal DU bushing that is included in the RockShox mounting hardware.

How to install RockShox mounting hardware into a shock from another brand such as Fox, DVO, Ohlins, etc.

You can install modern RockShox mounting hardware into a modern shock from any other brand such as Fox, Marzocchi, DVO, Ohlins, etc, as long as both shocks have the same eyelet size, you just have to fully remove any hardware to get the eyelets "naked". If the RockShox hardware is modern, and the shock you are installing it into is modern and newer than 2017, then it will fit without any issue. If your new shock has white plastic bushings installed into the eyelet, those are known as IGUS bushings. Those are commonly used in Fox, Marzocchi, DVO and Ohlins shocks, and is the inner-most piece of mounting hardware for those brands. However, RockShox mounting hardware uses metal DU bushings as the inner most part of the hardware. You will need to remove the plastic IGUS bushings from your shock to get the eyelet "naked", meaning there is absolutely no hardware installed into the shock's eyelet. You can remove that hardware with a small flathead screwdriver in between the center of the bushings, and using leverage on the handle to pop them out. From there you can install the RockShox mounting hardware into the shock eyelet. First, press the metal DU bushing into the naked eyelet, and then you can install the rest of the hardware from there by simply pushing it in with your thumb.

How to install Fox, Ohlins or DVO mounting hardware into a RockShox shock.

You can install modern mounting hardware from Fox, Ohlins, DVO etc, that uses white plastic IGUS bushings into any modern RockShox shock that has a metal DU bushing pressed into it. You just have to press out the metal DU bushing from the RockShox eyelets to get the eyelets "naked", meaning there is absolutely no hardware installed into the shock's eyelet. IGUS bushings are commonly used in Fox, Marzocchi, DVO and Ohlins shocks, and are the inner-most piece of mounting hardware for those brands. However, RockShox mounting hardware uses metal DU bushings as the inner most part of the hardware. To press out the metal DU bushing, it is always recommended to use a DU bushing press tool with a vise, but it is common for home mechanics to figure this out with some sockets and a vice. From there you can install the Fox/Ohlins/DVO mounting hardware into the naked shock eyelet. First, push the white plastic IGUS bushing into the eyelet, and then you can install the rest of the hardware from there by simply pushing it in with your thumb.

Can you install a Fox DU Bushing into a RockShox shock?

Yes, you absolutely can. A DU bushing is a DU bushing, no matter if it is branded RockShox or Fox.

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trek slash 2021 shock hardware

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Trek Shock Upgrades - Thru Shaft to Standard

Posted on March 09 2023

trek slash 2021 shock hardware

  • Trunnion to Pin 69mm  Available here
  • 54mm x 10mm Hardware Fox Available here
  • 60mm x 10mm Hardware Fox Available here
  • 54mm x 10mm Hardware Rockshox  Available here 
  • 60mm x 10mm Hardware Rockshox Available here
  • 50mm x 10mm Offset Hardware Fox   Available here
  • 50mm x 10mm Offset Hardware Rockshox  Available here 

Commonly used for the lower shock mounting bolt on Slash (2021+), Fuel EX (2021+), and Trek Rail 2022+. Used in conjunction with 40mm x 10mm mounting hardware. Trek Part #5258210

  • Trunnion to Pin 55mm  Available here
  • 40mm x 10mm Hardware Fox Available here
  • 40mm x 10mm Hardware Rockshox Available here

Commonly used for the lower shock mounting bolt on Fuel EX and Remedy and Slash (2017-2020). Used in conjunction with 50mm (49.78) mm x 10mm Offset mounting hardware. Trek Part #599899

  • Trunnion to Pin 65mm   Available here

Commonly used for the lower shock mounting bolt on Trek Rail 2020/21,  Fuel EX Carbon (2017). Used in conjunction with 50mm (49.78) mm x 10mm Offset mounting hardware, or 40mm x 10mm hardware. Trek part # 540756 (16mm head for earlier frame), or 18mm head for later (2021+) frames. 

  • Trunnion to Pin 59mm (18mm head)   Available here
  • Trunnion to Pin 59mm ( 16mm head)   Available here
  • 40mm x 10mm Hardware Fox   Available here
  • 40mm x 10mm Hardware Rockshox   Available here

Notice an error? Let us know!  

trek slash 2021 shock hardware

trek slash 2021 shock hardware

  • Rider Notes

2021 Trek Slash 7 Gen 5

trek slash 2021 shock hardware

A 29″ aluminum frame full suspension enduro bike with high-end components.

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For This Bike

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Based on frame geometry and build specs.

A bike with lower gearing will be easier to ride up steep hills, while a higher top end means it will pedal faster down hills.

Slash 7 Gen 5

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Jul 2021 · Pinkbike Originals

We caught up with Jamie Edmondson to get the details on his new Trek Slash.

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Apr 2021 · Robin Weaver

The Slash 8 strikes the perfect balance between a fun and lively feel, and ultimate chaos-calming composure

Easy to ride, very natural feeling geometry

Great kit for the cash

Easy to throw about yet still calm and stable when it needs to be

Seriously impressive suspension

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Mar 2021 · Lydia Tanner

The Trek Slash has been 29-inch-only since 2016, and the 2021 version is evidence of its head start in the big-wheel enduro category.

Superb high-speed stability

Great traction in variable terrain

Supple and generous-feeling suspension

Less maneuverable at slow speeds

A lot of bike to get back up the hill


Riding a bike like the Slash over the winter on the North Shore is a rough test scenario, but Trek's newest long travel trail bike has proven up to the task...

Mountain Bike Action

Feb 2021 · McCoy

One Killer Enduro Machine

Feb 2021 · Guy Kesteven

We took the Trek Slash 9.9 X01 to our toughest local trails to see how its new shape and unique shock translate to the real world

Phenomenal rear suspension

Awesome aggro geometry

Precision accuracy

High control cockpit

Internal storage

Efficient pedaling

Threaded BB

Optional steering lock

More confident with switched tires

ZEB fork requires some patience

Deserves better wheels

Short dropper on small sizes

Seriously grounded rather than playful

Flow Mountain Bike

Starting with a new Trek Slash 8 frameset, fellow Flow Frother Ben has chosen a rather eclectic build kit to complete his unique enduro bike. Read on for a closer look at the parts he's chosen, and a detailed explanation of what's worked well, and what hasn't worked so well.

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The new Trek Slash 9.9 X01 sees many updates making it an even more capable all-mountain, enduro mountain bike. See how it performed.

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Last updated March 9 Not listed for 55 days

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2021 Trek Slash is a completely different beast

Redesigned enduro racer gets more capable and more convenient

As one of the first enduro-focused 29ers, Trek's Slash was starting to show its age. It has enjoyed racing success under Katy Winton, Pedro Burns and Florian Nicolai, but its geometry was getting left behind by rivals such as the new Specialized Enduro .

So, as you might expect, the all-new Slash is far more up to date. It's designed to thrive on the ever more demanding terrain seen at enduro races, with more suspension travel and longer, lower, slacker geometry.

It's also got a steeper seat tube angle and a lighter frame, so it should climb better too. What's more, it's gone one up on Specialized by offering internal down tube storage in both the aluminium and carbon frames, along with a few features unique to Trek.

Trek Slash

We've already seen the new bike racing at the first round of the EWS in Zermatt, Switzerland, and now we can share all the details.

2021 Trek Slash geometry

Perhaps the most important update is to the Slash's shape.

It still uses Trek's Mino Link system, which can raise or lower the bottom bracket by 7mm while altering the head and seat angles by half a degree, and because we usually rode the old bike in its low setting, we'll compare the new geometry in that configuration.

Trek Slash

The head angle is now 1-degree slacker, at 64.1 degrees in the low setting; the reach has increased by 15mm to 40mm size-by-size (the largest frame now has a whopping 515mm reach); the wheelbase has grown by 25mm to 50mm depending on size. Pretty much all of this growth comes from the front-centre because the rear-centre has only increased by 2mm, to 437mm.

Meanwhile, the bottom bracket drop has increased by 8mm, and now sits at 345mm in the low setting. That's quite low for a bike with this much travel.

One particular criticism of the old Slash was the slack seat tube angle, which made it tricky to tackle steep climbs. And while the travel-adjustable fork on some models helped a little, it was almost an admission of the problem. Well, it's now 2 degrees steeper, measuring 75.6 degrees in low and 76.1 degrees in high.

This is still a bit slacker than some of its rivals, but definitely a step in the right direction.

  • What’s the future of MTB geometry?

To complement the longer reach numbers, Trek is speccing very short 35mm stems across all sizes, along with (now almost ubiquitous) short offset forks.

Internal storage in alloy frames as well as carbon

Slash storage

While Trek certainly wasn't the first to think of turning the down tube into a handy storage area, it's brought the idea (which we're big fans of) to more people.

We first saw Trek do it with the Fuel EX trail bike and Domane road bike . In the case of the Slash, both the carbon and alloy frames have the handy compartment for snacks, pumps, tools and the like, while Specialized only offers down tube storage on its pricier carbon frames.

With the cheapest Slash coming in at £2,650, Trek's internal storage is available at a lower price point.

Trek Slash suspension

Trek has boosted the suspension travel by 10mm at each end – it now serves up 160mm in the rear and 170mm up front.

The Slash still uses Trek's ABP (active braking point) suspension system, which works a bit like a Horst-link design, but the chainstay pivot is placed further back and is concentric with the rear axle.

Unlike a single-pivot layout, the brakes are not directly connected to the rear swingarm; this causes the suspension to sit higher in its travel under braking, where the suspension is softer.

While the layout looks similar to the old, the main pivot has been raised slightly to give the bike a bit more anti-squat, so it should pedal more efficiently.

  • Click here for more on suspension designs and the differences between them

Trek Slash

Some Slash models use Trek's Thru-shaft shock technology, with a Thru-shaft version of the RockShox Super Deluxe shock. Thru-shaft shocks have a damper shaft that goes all the way through the damper body and out the other side. This means the shaft doesn't displace any extra oil as it enters the damper.

This allows Trek to dispense with the dynamic internal floating piston (IFP), which compensates for the oil displaced by the shaft in most shocks. Trek claims this reduces friction so the shock changes direction faster and tracks the ground better.

However, it's worth remembering that IFP friction is only a small component of the total friction in a shock, particularly an air shock. Also, the Thru-shaft design requires a second shaft seal where the shaft exits the damper, which inevitably adds some friction back in.

Trek insists the removal of the IFP more than makes up for this, but we'd say that any reductions in friction resulting from Thru-shaft are unlikely to be game-changing.

Trek Slash

The Slash is compatible with some non-proprietary shocks (in fact, two of the less expensive models come with regular, non-Thru-shaft shocks). However, the standard RockShox Super Deluxe won't fit because the lockout lever hits the frame.

Trek Slash rebound

The proprietary RockShox shock has a few interesting features besides the Thru-shaft damper. There's a lockout lever for climbing, plus a three-position dial to adjust the low-speed compression damping in the open mode. The rebound dial sits behind this and is numbered to make it easy to tell which rebound setting you're in without counting clicks.

The shock also has a larger negative spring volume than the standard DebonAir can. This means it should be softer at the start of the stroke, but firmer after sag. Apparently this change was inspired by the RockShox MegNeg air can , but it's not quite as extreme.

Interestingly, Trek has moved away from its RE:activ regressive damping technology, first used in 2014, in favour of shimmed valves. This change is apparently because modern enduro racing demands sensitivity over pedalling efficiency.

Knock Block 2.0 is better, and it's optional

Trek Slash

Knock Block is Trek's system for stopping the bars turning past a certain angle. This has two advantages: first, it prevents the brake levers hitting the top tube or the cables pulling out if the bars spin in a crash. Second, it allows Trek to design straighter (and therefore lighter) down tubes because they no longer need to curve upwards to avoid the path of the fork crown when spun round.

The Knock Block 2.0 in the new Slash is only there for the first reason, because the curved down tube on the new Slash clears the fork crown. The new Knock Block allows a greater steering angle than before – the bars can turn by 72 degrees, up from 58 degrees. This should allow for tighter turns, but we rarely found the steering lock of the old system to be a problem on the trail .

It's also removable, so if your stunt repertoire is broader than ours you can still turn the bars as much as your cables will allow.

Big seat tube for big dropper posts

Fans of standard conformity will be disappointed by the 34.9mm diameter as well as the proprietary shock. The stouter seat tube standard is not unique to Trek, but it is less common than 30.9 and 31.6mm diameters. The idea is to increase space for dropper post internals and boost reliability and stiffness.

The seat tube insertion length has been increased too, allowing the use of longer travel dropper posts. Complete bikes are equipped with droppers from 150mm to 200mm (Medium and Medium/Large sizes get 150mm posts, Large frames get 170mm, XL frames get 200mm).

It's a little heavier, but still light

Trek claims the 2021 carbon frameset weighs just 2,450g without the shock. It credits this low weight (for an enduro frame) to Trek's OCLV carbon layup and the fact that the ABP suspension layout has a pivot concentric with the rear axle rather than on the chainstay, which apparently makes for a lighter overall structure.

However, with the shock and hardware the carbon frame weighs 3,180g – the previous frame was slightly lighter at 3,060g. (These are claimed weights in both cases). Trek puts that slight increase in weight down to the bigger shock, down tube storage and 34.9mm seat tube.

2021 Trek Slash models

Trek slash 7.

Trek Slash 7

  • Frame : Alpha Platinum Aluminium
  • Fork : RockShox Yari RC
  • Shock : RockShox Deluxe Select
  • Drivetrain : SRAM NX Eagle, 11-50t
  • Brakes : SRAM Guide T
  • Price : £2,650 / €3,499 / $2,999

Trek Slash 8

Trek Slash 8

  • Fork : RockShox Lyrik RC
  • Shock : RockShox Super Deluxe Ultimate, Thru shaft three-position damper
  • Drivetrain : SRAM GX Eagle, 12-speed, 10-52t
  • Brakes : SRAM Code R
  • Price : £3,100 / €3,999 / $3,499

Trek Slash 9.7

Trek Slash 9.7

  • Frame : OCLV Mountain Carbon main frame and stays
  • Fork : Fox Rhythm 36
  • Shock : Fox DPX2, EVOL air spring, DPS damper
  • Drivetrain : SRAM NX/GX Eagle, 12-speed, 10-52t
  • Price : £5,250 / €4,799 / $5,999

Trek Slash 9.8 XT

Trek Slash 9.8 XT

  • Fork : RockShox ZEB Select
  • Drivetrain : Shimano XT M8100, 12-speed, 10-51t
  • Brakes : Shimano SLX M7120
  • Price : £5,250 / €5,999 / $5,999

Trek Slash 9.8 GX

Trek Slash 9.8 GX

  • Brakes : SRAM G2 RSC
  • Price : £5,800 / € 5,999 / $6,599

Trek Slash 9.9 XO1

Trek Slash 9.9 XO1

  • Fork : RockShox ZEB Ultimate
  • Drivetrain : SRAM X01 Eagle, 12-speed, 10-52t
  • Brakes : SRAM Code RSC
  • Price : £7,500 / €7,999 / $8,499

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Hello, I'm looking to remove the RockShox Deluxe RT3 RE:aktiv shock from the bike and put in a RockShox Super Deluxe Ultimate Coil RCT Shock instead. ( RockShox Super Deluxe Ultimate Coil RCT Shock ) Was wondering if anyone had any experience with this sort of conversion. Do I stick with 230 x 57.5? I've read some in some forums that people have used 230 x 60. Do I need any mounting kits/hardware? Any help is appreciated!  

trek slash 2021 shock hardware

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2021 Like new Fox Float X2 + '21 Trek Slash Hardware

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2018 Primetime Emmy & James Beard Award Winner

In Transit: Notes from the Underground

Jun 06 2018.

Spend some time in one of Moscow’s finest museums.

Subterranean commuting might not be anyone’s idea of a good time, but even in a city packing the war-games treasures and priceless bejeweled eggs of the Kremlin Armoury and the colossal Soviet pavilions of the VDNKh , the Metro holds up as one of Moscow’s finest museums. Just avoid rush hour.

The Metro is stunning and provides an unrivaled insight into the city’s psyche, past and present, but it also happens to be the best way to get around. Moscow has Uber, and the Russian version called Yandex Taxi , but also some nasty traffic. Metro trains come around every 90 seconds or so, at a more than 99 percent on-time rate. It’s also reasonably priced, with a single ride at 55 cents (and cheaper in bulk). From history to tickets to rules — official and not — here’s what you need to know to get started.

A Brief Introduction Buying Tickets Know Before You Go (Down) Rules An Easy Tour

A Brief Introduction

Moscow’s Metro was a long time coming. Plans for rapid transit to relieve the city’s beleaguered tram system date back to the Imperial era, but a couple of wars and a revolution held up its development. Stalin revived it as part of his grand plan to modernize the Soviet Union in the 1920s and 30s. The first lines and tunnels were constructed with help from engineers from the London Underground, although Stalin’s secret police decided that they had learned too much about Moscow’s layout and had them arrested on espionage charges and deported.

The beauty of its stations (if not its trains) is well-documented, and certainly no accident. In its illustrious first phases and particularly after the Second World War, the greatest architects of Soviet era were recruited to create gleaming temples celebrating the Revolution, the USSR, and the war triumph. No two stations are exactly alike, and each of the classic showpieces has a theme. There are world-famous shrines to Futurist architecture, a celebration of electricity, tributes to individuals and regions of the former Soviet Union. Each marble slab, mosaic tile, or light fixture was placed with intent, all in service to a station’s aesthetic; each element, f rom the smallest brass ear of corn to a large blood-spattered sword on a World War II mural, is an essential part of the whole.

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The Metro is a monument to the Soviet propaganda project it was intended to be when it opened in 1935 with the slogan “Building a Palace for the People”. It brought the grand interiors of Imperial Russia to ordinary Muscovites, celebrated the Soviet Union’s past achievements while promising its citizens a bright Soviet future, and of course, it was a show-piece for the world to witness the might and sophistication of life in the Soviet Union.

It may be a museum, but it’s no relic. U p to nine million people use it daily, more than the London Underground and New York Subway combined. (Along with, at one time, about 20 stray dogs that learned to commute on the Metro.)

In its 80+ year history, the Metro has expanded in phases and fits and starts, in step with the fortunes of Moscow and Russia. Now, partly in preparation for the World Cup 2018, it’s also modernizing. New trains allow passengers to walk the entire length of the train without having to change carriages. The system is becoming more visitor-friendly. (There are helpful stickers on the floor marking out the best selfie spots .) But there’s a price to modernity: it’s phasing out one of its beloved institutions, the escalator attendants. Often they are middle-aged or elderly women—“ escalator grandmas ” in news accounts—who have held the post for decades, sitting in their tiny kiosks, scolding commuters for bad escalator etiquette or even bad posture, or telling jokes . They are slated to be replaced, when at all, by members of the escalator maintenance staff.

For all its achievements, the Metro lags behind Moscow’s above-ground growth, as Russia’s capital sprawls ever outwards, generating some of the world’s worst traffic jams . But since 2011, the Metro has been in the middle of an ambitious and long-overdue enlargement; 60 new stations are opening by 2020. If all goes to plan, the 2011-2020 period will have brought 125 miles of new tracks and over 100 new stations — a 40 percent increase — the fastest and largest expansion phase in any period in the Metro’s history.

Facts: 14 lines Opening hours: 5 a.m-1 a.m. Rush hour(s): 8-10 a.m, 4-8 p.m. Single ride: 55₽ (about 85 cents) Wi-Fi network-wide

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Buying Tickets

  • Ticket machines have a button to switch to English.
  • You can buy specific numbers of rides: 1, 2, 5, 11, 20, or 60. Hold up fingers to show how many rides you want to buy.
  • There is also a 90-minute ticket , which gets you 1 trip on the metro plus an unlimited number of transfers on other transport (bus, tram, etc) within 90 minutes.
  • Or, you can buy day tickets with unlimited rides: one day (218₽/ US$4), three days (415₽/US$7) or seven days (830₽/US$15). Check the rates here to stay up-to-date.
  • If you’re going to be using the Metro regularly over a few days, it’s worth getting a Troika card , a contactless, refillable card you can use on all public transport. Using the Metro is cheaper with one of these: a single ride is 36₽, not 55₽. Buy them and refill them in the Metro stations, and they’re valid for 5 years, so you can keep it for next time. Or, if you have a lot of cash left on it when you leave, you can get it refunded at the Metro Service Centers at Ulitsa 1905 Goda, 25 or at Staraya Basmannaya 20, Building 1.
  • You can also buy silicone bracelets and keychains with built-in transport chips that you can use as a Troika card. (A Moscow Metro Fitbit!) So far, you can only get these at the Pushkinskaya metro station Live Helpdesk and souvenir shops in the Mayakovskaya and Trubnaya metro stations. The fare is the same as for the Troika card.
  • You can also use Apple Pay and Samsung Pay.

Rules, spoken and unspoken

No smoking, no drinking, no filming, no littering. Photography is allowed, although it used to be banned.

Stand to the right on the escalator. Break this rule and you risk the wrath of the legendary escalator attendants. (No shenanigans on the escalators in general.)

Get out of the way. Find an empty corner to hide in when you get off a train and need to stare at your phone. Watch out getting out of the train in general; when your train doors open, people tend to appear from nowhere or from behind ornate marble columns, walking full-speed.

Always offer your seat to elderly ladies (what are you, a monster?).

An Easy Tour

This is no Metro Marathon ( 199 stations in 20 hours ). It’s an easy tour, taking in most—though not all—of the notable stations, the bulk of it going clockwise along the Circle line, with a couple of short detours. These stations are within minutes of one another, and the whole tour should take about 1-2 hours.

Start at Mayakovskaya Metro station , at the corner of Tverskaya and Garden Ring,  Triumfalnaya Square, Moskva, Russia, 125047.

1. Mayakovskaya.  Named for Russian Futurist Movement poet Vladimir Mayakovsky and an attempt to bring to life the future he imagined in his poems. (The Futurist Movement, natch, was all about a rejecting the past and celebrating all things speed, industry, modern machines, youth, modernity.) The result: an Art Deco masterpiece that won the National Grand Prix for architecture at the New York World’s Fair in 1939. It’s all smooth, rounded shine and light, and gentle arches supported by columns of dark pink marble and stainless aircraft steel. Each of its 34 ceiling niches has a mosaic. During World War II, the station was used as an air-raid shelter and, at one point, a bunker for Stalin. He gave a subdued but rousing speech here in Nov. 6, 1941 as the Nazis bombed the city above.

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Take the 3/Green line one station to:

2. Belorusskaya. Opened in 1952, named after the connected Belarussky Rail Terminal, which runs trains between Moscow and Belarus. This is a light marble affair with a white, cake-like ceiling, lined with Belorussian patterns and 12 Florentine ceiling mosaics depicting life in Belarussia when it was built.

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Transfer onto the 1/Brown line. Then, one stop (clockwise) t o:

3. Novoslobodskaya.  This station was designed around the stained-glass panels, which were made in Latvia, because Alexey Dushkin, the Soviet starchitect who dreamed it up (and also designed Mayakovskaya station) couldn’t find the glass and craft locally. The stained glass is the same used for Riga’s Cathedral, and the panels feature plants, flowers, members of the Soviet intelligentsia (musician, artist, architect) and geometric shapes.

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Go two stops east on the 1/Circle line to:

4. Komsomolskaya. Named after the Komsomol, or the Young Communist League, this might just be peak Stalin Metro style. Underneath the hub for three regional railways, it was intended to be a grand gateway to Moscow and is today its busiest station. It has chandeliers; a yellow ceiling with Baroque embellishments; and in the main hall, a colossal red star overlaid on golden, shimmering tiles. Designer Alexey Shchusev designed it as an homage to the speech Stalin gave at Red Square on Nov. 7, 1941, in which he invoked Russia’s illustrious military leaders as a pep talk to Soviet soldiers through the first catastrophic year of the war.   The station’s eight large mosaics are of the leaders referenced in the speech, such as Alexander Nevsky, a 13th-century prince and military commander who bested German and Swedish invading armies.

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One more stop clockwise to Kurskaya station,  and change onto the 3/Blue  line, and go one stop to:

5. Baumanskaya.   Opened in 1944. Named for the Bolshevik Revolutionary Nikolai Bauman , whose monument and namesake district are aboveground here. Though he seemed like a nasty piece of work (he apparently once publicly mocked a woman he had impregnated, who later hung herself), he became a Revolutionary martyr when he was killed in 1905 in a skirmish with a monarchist, who hit him on the head with part of a steel pipe. The station is in Art Deco style with atmospherically dim lighting, and a series of bronze sculptures of soldiers and homefront heroes during the War. At one end, there is a large mosaic portrait of Lenin.

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Stay on that train direction one more east to:

6. Elektrozavodskaya. As you may have guessed from the name, this station is the Metro’s tribute to all thing electrical, built in 1944 and named after a nearby lightbulb factory. It has marble bas-relief sculptures of important figures in electrical engineering, and others illustrating the Soviet Union’s war-time struggles at home. The ceiling’s recurring rows of circular lamps give the station’s main tunnel a comforting glow, and a pleasing visual effect.

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Double back two stops to Kurskaya station , and change back to the 1/Circle line. Sit tight for six stations to:

7. Kiyevskaya. This was the last station on the Circle line to be built, in 1954, completed under Nikita Khrushchev’ s guidance, as a tribute to his homeland, Ukraine. Its three large station halls feature images celebrating Ukraine’s contributions to the Soviet Union and Russo-Ukrainian unity, depicting musicians, textile-working, soldiers, farmers. (One hall has frescoes, one mosaics, and the third murals.) Shortly after it was completed, Khrushchev condemned the architectural excesses and unnecessary luxury of the Stalin era, which ushered in an epoch of more austere Metro stations. According to the legend at least, he timed the policy in part to ensure no Metro station built after could outshine Kiyevskaya.

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Change to the 3/Blue line and go one stop west.

8. Park Pobedy. This is the deepest station on the Metro, with one of the world’s longest escalators, at 413 feet. If you stand still, the escalator ride to the surface takes about three minutes .) Opened in 2003 at Victory Park, the station celebrates two of Russia’s great military victories. Each end has a mural by Georgian artist Zurab Tsereteli, who also designed the “ Good Defeats Evil ” statue at the UN headquarters in New York. One mural depicts the Russian generals’ victory over the French in 1812 and the other, the German surrender of 1945. The latter is particularly striking; equal parts dramatic, triumphant, and gruesome. To the side, Red Army soldiers trample Nazi flags, and if you look closely there’s some blood spatter among the detail. Still, the biggest impressions here are the marble shine of the chessboard floor pattern and the pleasingly geometric effect if you view from one end to the other.

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Keep going one more stop west to:

9. Slavyansky Bulvar.  One of the Metro’s youngest stations, it opened in 2008. With far higher ceilings than many other stations—which tend to have covered central tunnels on the platforms—it has an “open-air” feel (or as close to it as you can get, one hundred feet under). It’s an homage to French architect Hector Guimard, he of the Art Nouveau entrances for the Paris M é tro, and that’s precisely what this looks like: A Moscow homage to the Paris M é tro, with an additional forest theme. A Cyrillic twist on Guimard’s Metro-style lettering over the benches, furnished with t rees and branch motifs, including creeping vines as towering lamp-posts.

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Stay on the 3/Blue line and double back four stations to:

10. Arbatskaya. Its first iteration, Arbatskaya-Smolenskaya station, was damaged by German bombs in 1941. It was rebuilt in 1953, and designed to double as a bomb shelter in the event of nuclear war, although unusually for stations built in the post-war phase, this one doesn’t have a war theme. It may also be one of the system’s most elegant: Baroque, but toned down a little, with red marble floors and white ceilings with gilded bronze c handeliers.

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Jump back on the 3/Blue line  in the same direction and take it one more stop:

11. Ploshchad Revolyutsii (Revolution Square). Opened in 1938, and serving Red Square and the Kremlin . Its renowned central hall has marble columns flanked by 76 bronze statues of Soviet heroes: soldiers, students, farmers, athletes, writers, parents. Some of these statues’ appendages have a yellow sheen from decades of Moscow’s commuters rubbing them for good luck. Among the most popular for a superstitious walk-by rub: the snout of a frontier guard’s dog, a soldier’s gun (where the touch of millions of human hands have tapered the gun barrel into a fine, pointy blade), a baby’s foot, and a woman’s knee. (A brass rooster also sports the telltale gold sheen, though I am told that rubbing the rooster is thought to bring bad luck. )

Now take the escalator up, and get some fresh air.

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21 Things to Know Before You Go to Moscow

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Shooter Files by f.d. walker

Street Photography Tips, Interaction, Travel, Guides

Apr 24 2017

City Street Guides by f.d. walker: A Street Photography Guide to Moscow, Russia


*A series of guides on shooting Street Photography in cities around the world. Find the best spots to shoot, things to capture, street walks, street tips, safety concerns, and more for cities around the world. I have personally researched, explored and shot Street Photography in every city that I create a guide for. So you can be ready to capture the streets as soon as you step outside with your camera!

At over 12 million people, Moscow is the largest city in Russia and second largest in Europe by population ( Istanbul is #1). An urban, cosmopolitan metropolis with more than enough glitz and glam to cater to the elite, but without losing its fair share of Soviet era roughness around the edges. It can be fast paced, brash, busy, and trendy like other big cities, but it has its blend of West meets Russia atmosphere and beauty that provides plenty of unique interest. The Red Square is as famous as it gets, but there’s so much more to this city, including the most beautiful subway system you’ve ever seen. It would take years to capture all of Moscow, but that means you have an endless amount of areas to discover.

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So here’s a Street Photography guide so you can be ready to capture all that Moscow has to offer before you even arrive!

  • Patriarch’s Pond
  • Old Arbat Street
  • Maroseyka Street
  • Tverskoy Boulevard

Top 5 Street Spots:

1. red square.

The Red Square is the most famous square in not just Russia, but all of Eastern Europe. The name actually doesn’t come from the color of the bricks or communism, but from the name in Russian, Krásnaya, once meaning “beautiful” before its meaning changed to “red.” This large plaza is what you see on the cover of guide books and magazines for Moscow, with St. Basil’s Cathedral being the center piece next to Lenin’s Mausoleum surrounded by the Kremlin Wall. Of course, the Red Square attracts hordes of tourist due to the main attractions, but all that activity around an interesting atmosphere does provide street photo opportunities. It’s also the central square connecting to the city’s major streets, providing a good starting point to explore outward.

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You’ll also find the popular pedestrian only Nikolskaya Street connecting the Red Square to Lubyanka Square. This line of expensive shops includes plenty of activity, while also leading you to another popular square. Filled with history rivaling any city, the Red Square and surrounding areas are the heart and soul of Russia.

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2. Patriarch’s Ponds

Patriarch’s Ponds is one of the most exclusive neighborhoods in Moscow. Despite the name being plural, there’s only one large pond, but it’s worth a visit with your camera. It’s a popular spot for locals and expats to come relax or take a stroll around the pond. You get an interesting mix of young and old too, from young love to “babushkas” feeding pigeons. It’s a very peaceful park atmosphere in one of the nicer areas within the city center, while bringing enough activity for street photography. 

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The pond is shallow and in the winter becomes a popular spot for ice-skating too. The area is also well-known for the location in the famous Russian novel, The Master and Margarita. 

3. Old Arbat (Stary Arbat)

Old Arbat is the most famous pedestrian street in Moscow, and dating back to the 15th century, also one of its oldest. Originally, it was an area of trade, but soon became the most prestigious residential area in Moscow. During the 18th century, Arbat started attracting the city’s scholars and artists, including Alexander Pushkin. Cafes lined the streets and impressive homes filled the neighborhood. Since then, New Arbat street was created as a highway in the area, while Old Arbat was paved for a 1km pedestrian only walkway.

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Due to the historic buildings, famous artists that lived here, and the bohemian atmosphere, Old Arbat has become a big attraction for tourists today. Now, there’s a mix of cafes, restaurants, souvenir shops, street performers, street merchants and other attractions for visitors, and some locals, to come enjoy. It can get really busy here and there’s usually something interesting going on so it’s a good street to come walk with your camera for guaranteed life.

4. Gorky Park

One of the most famous places in Moscow is Gorky Park. The official name is Maxim Gorky’s Central Park of Culture & Leisure, which gives you an idea of what goes on here. When built, it was the first of its kind in the Soviet Union. Divided into two parts, it stretches along Moscow River. One end contains fair rides, foods stands, tennis courts, a sports club, a lake for boat rides, and more. This end brings more active life due to its number of attractions, while the other end is more relaxed, where you’ll find gardens, trees, older buildings, and an outdoor amphitheater.

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Gorky Park attracts mostly locals so it’s a good spot to capture the non-tourist side of Moscow life. Muscovites come here to escape the city and unwind in a picturesque setting. The park remains alive outside of the warmer months too, especially when the lake turns into the city’s largest outdoor skating rink. I’d recommend taking the metro out here to spend at least half a day exploring the massive park’s life with your camera.

5. Maroseyka Street

Maroseyka Street is a popular area not too far from the Red Square. The long, winding street turns into Pokrovka and is lined with restaurants, cafes, bars and places to stay. It’s actually where I like to stay when I’m in Moscow due to its location and solid street photography opportunities itself. You have Kitay-gorod station near and if you keep walking southwest, you’ll get to the Red Square. But if you walk northwest, as it changes to Pokrovka, you can find a long street of activity for photography with its own interesting atmosphere.

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6. Tverskoy Boulevard

Tverskoy Boulevard is the oldest and longest boulevard in Moscow, beginning at the end of Nikitsky Boulevard, and finishing at Pushkin Square, a spot to come for activity itself. The boulevard is made up of two avenues, with pedestrian walkways in-between. You’ll find grass, shrubbery, trees, benches and more walking it’s almost kilometer length. Many people come here to enjoy some relaxation, walk their dog, or just to use it to walk wherever they’re going. Its center location also provides a nice place to walk with your camera near plenty of other spots you’ll want to check out anyway.

Sample Street Walk:

For a full day of Street Photography, covering some of the best spots, you can follow this sample street walk for Moscow:

  • Start your morning walking around the Red Square (1), while exploring the surrounding area, including Nikolskaya Street
  • Then walk northwest to Patriarch’s Ponds (2) and slowly walk the pond and surrounding area with your camera
  • Next, walk east to the Pushkin Monument and stroll down Tverskoy Boulevard (6)
  • Once Tverskoy Boulevard (6) ends, it will turn into Nikitsky Boulevard. Follow this down until you get to the start of Old Arbat Street (3), across from Arbatskaya station
  • After you’re done walking down Old Arbat Street (3) for more street photography, spend some time checking out Moscow’s beautiful metro stations
  • To finish off the day with more street photography, get off the metro near Red Square (1) again, Maroseyka Street (5) or wherever you’re staying for the night.

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3 Things I’ll Remember about Shooting in Moscow:

1. museum metro.

The Moscow metro system was the first underground railway system in the Soviet Union and today includes 203 stations across 340km of routes. The elaborate system has some of the deepest stations in the world too, with escalators that seem to go on forever. None of this is what makes it so special, though. Many of its stations feel like stepping inside a museum, making it without a doubt the most interesting and beautiful metro system I’ve been in.

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When built, Stalin wanted to make the metro stations “palaces for the people” with marble, chandeliers, and grand architecture. The best part is the variety of architecture and styles used, making many of the stations a completely different experience visually. You could easily spend a whole day traveling the stations and there are even tours available for people who wish to do just that. My advice, though, would be just to buy a ticket and hop on and off at different stations, while exploring different lines. The museum-like surrounding mixed with the crowds of characters can make for a great photography experience.

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Since there are so many stations, here are some of my favorites to check out:

  • Novoslobodskaya
  • Mayakovskaya
  • Elektrozavodskaya
  • Komsomolskaya
  • Ploschad Revolyutsii
  • Dostoyevskaya
  • Prospekt Mira

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2. Moscow is Big

It’s no secret that Moscow is a big city, but it can feel even bigger with how spread out much of it is. This is especially true if you compare it to cities outside of Asia. If I compared it to cities in Europe, I’d probably say only Istanbul would warrant more time to really discover the depths of this city. Most only explore around the Red Square and surrounding area, but that is such a small part of the city. Although, that central area does give you plenty to see on its own.

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Fortunately, I had a good friend living in the city to show me around, but it opened up my eyes even more to how much there is to discover in Moscow. It’s a big city with a variety of atmosphere that can take you from “east” to “west” and trendy to rugged depending on where you go. I’d imagine you’d have to live here a while to really know the city.

3. Cosmopolitan Mix of East meets West

Modern skyscrapers mixed with amazing architecture, a world-class metro system with museum-like beauty, trendy fashion and chic clubs, Moscow is a rich mix of Russian culture and history in a more western cosmopolitan package. There is a push to keep the Russian culture, while also pushing forward with a modern metropolis the whole world will envy. This comes with an impressive skyline, that continues to grow, and endless modernities, but with soviet nostalgia and atmosphere mixed in for good measure.

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Mixed in with this grand western cosmopolitan atmosphere, is a strong national pride in Russia. This includes their famous leader, Vladimir Putin. Maybe no other place will you see a country’s leader more often. All over, from the pricey tourist shops to the underground walkway stalls, you’ll find goods with Putin’s likeness covering them. From t-shirts to magnets to Matryoshka dolls. There’s a strong national pride that can be seen around the city, which also extends to their leader. Moscow is many things. It’s East meets West, modernizations meets Soviet era, and a whole lot more.

What To Do For a Street Photography Break?:

Eat at a stolovaya.

Stolovayas are Russian cafeterias that became popular in the Soviet days. You grab a tray and walk down the line of freshly prepared local dishes, and select whatever you want from the chefs. They’re usually inexpensive and a much better value than restaurants, while giving you the opportunity to try from a wide selection of everyday Russian food. They’re also very tasty. I always include some borsch on my tray and go from there. The places themselves are all over Moscow and usually come with Soviet-era aesthetics to complete the experience.

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Street Safety Score: 7

*As always, no place is completely safe! So when I talk about safety, I’m speaking in general comparison to other places. Always take precaution, be smart, observe your surroundings and trust your instincts anywhere you go!

Being the 2nd largest city in Europe with over 12 million people, you’re going to have your dangerous areas, but for the most part, it feels safe walking around. Russia is statistically higher in crime compared to most of Europe, but this generally doesn’t apply to tourists and visitors. Around the Red Square and surrounding city center, you should feel completely safe walking around. Pick pocketing can happen, but no more than other touristic places. I always explore Moscow freely without coming across too much to worry about. It’s a spread out city, though, so of course it matters where you are. Just use basic street smarts, know where you are and Moscow shouldn’t give you a problem. 

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People’s Reaction Score: 7

Moscow is fast paced, big city life, which usually means people aren’t too concerned with you, or your camera. I don’t find people notice or pay much attention to me when I’m out taking photos in Moscow. For the most part, people just go about their day. You shouldn’t get too many looks or concern. But it can depend on the area you are in. The more you stick out, the more you might get noticed with suspicions. I’ve never had any problems in Moscow, or Russia, but just be careful who you’re taking a photo of if you get out of the city center. Other than that, it’s about average for reactions. 

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Street Tips:

Learn the alphabet .

Much of Moscow, including the metro system, doesn’t use english. The Russian alphabet uses letters from the Cyrillic script, which if you aren’t familiar with it and don’t know the sounds, can be hard to decipher the words. This is most important for street names and metro stops when trying to get around. It can save confusion and make it easier getting around if you learn the basic alphabet. At the very least then, you can sound out the words to see which are similar in the english conversion, which can help matching them to maps. When out shooting street photography, getting around is as important as anything. So save yourself some time and frustration by learning the Russian Alphabet.

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Use the metro

While Saint-Petersburg feels very walkable for a city its size, Moscow can feel very spread out, even for its bigger size. Outside of the Red Square area, you can have plenty of walking before getting anywhere very interesting, so you’ll need to take the metro a lot if you really want to explore the city. Maps are deceiving here too, it will always be further than it looks.

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Another reason it’s less walkable than Saint-Petersburg is its completely different set-up. Moscow’s streets are mostly contstructed in rings with narrow, winding streets in-between. This is common with medieval city cities that used to be confined by walls, but you usually don’t have it in a city this massive. Saint-Petersburg has a more grid-like pattern that also uses the canals to help you know your way around. When it comes to navigating on foot in Moscow, it can be more difficult, so bring a map and take the metro when needed. It’s why Moscow’s metro carries more passengers per day than the London and Paris subways combined.

Explore other areas if you have time

Moscow is really big. While most people stay around the Red Square within the Boulevard Ring, there’s so much more to the city. I covered some other spots outside of this circle, but if you really want to see the city, you’ll need time. If you do have time, some other areas I’d check out first are Zamoskvarechye, along some of the south and western Moscow.

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For some more inspiration, you can look through the Street Photography of Moscow photographer Artem Zhitenev  and check out 33 of my photos taken in Moscow .


Moscow’s name brings a certain mystique, but once you’re there it might bring a different atmosphere than you expect. It’s big and sprawling, but beautiful in many ways. It can feel like a European capital on a grand scale, but you can definitely find its Russian side in there.

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The urban sprawl of Moscow can be intimidating, but give it enough time and you’ll be rewarded with plenty to discover. All with the world’s best metro system to take you around.

I hope this guide can help you start to experience some of what Moscow contains. So grab your camera and capture all that Moscow has to offer for Street Photography!

If you still have any questions about shooting in Moscow, feel free to comment below or email me!

(I want to make these guides as valuable as possible for all of you so add any ideas on improvements, including addition requests, in the comment section!)

Click Here For More City Street Guides!

(A New Guide Posted Every Other Wednesday)

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