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  1. #1
    mtbr member
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    Jul 2007

    Spartan vs Slayer?

    Has anyone rode both of these bikes? From the sounds of it the Slayer is the more poppy/playful of the two which i like and the Spartan is more of a plough machine? I'm wondering how they stack up on the technical climbing /decending, efficency and getting around tight switchbacks and up and over stuff.

    If you have other bike suggestions i'm looking for 650b, carbon, adjustable geo so you can slack it out for park days and ideally 170mm rear travel.


  2. #2
    Elitest thrill junkie
    Reputation: Jayem's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    For suspension kinematics, looking at the linkage blog, I like the flatter AS profile of the Devinci better. The RM starts out with more, and ends up with less. The Devinci starts with a bit less, but doesn't drop off as much either. In other words, the Devinci should be a bit more consistent through the travel while pedaling, the RM will be a little more harsh at the sag point and lighten the front end a bit more when the suspension compresses, but not to a huge degree. The RM is of the "modern" generation of horst-links, where they've finally boosted the AS amounts and flattened out the curve somewhat, far more than has ever been done on a horst-link. Pedaling and suspension kinematics, they are pretty close and I wouldn't choose one over the other based on what I said above.

    Both are relatively progressive designs and will work better with coil shocks than air shocks. This is a classic example of the manufacturers either not knowing what the hell they are doing, or simply not giving a ****. It's hard/expensive to design two of the same model bikes to use both shocks, so the manufacturers have 3 choices if they just want to produce one model, optimize it for either, or compromise it for both. In this case, it appears they've optimized it for coil, but chose to hang an air shock, probably because that's where the major shock manufacturers have been pushing development, where the "new" products are, and to make the weight seem competitive. The sharper the impact (bigger the sharp-edged rock face), the harsher I'd expect these to react with their air shocks. First thing I'd do is ditch the air shock and get a decent coil, ideally get a new-old-stock one that you can send to Avalanche for a revalve for your riding weight and style.

    It would come down to me to geometry and the fact that the spartan does not have a pivot in between the rear axle and bottom bracket pivot. Any time you can eliminate a source of flex, it's a good thing, and a HL pivot is one of those sources of flex. It can be designed-around by adding weight, but all things equal, the chainstay members are usually the higher load-carrying and having a pivot somewhere along that line is less than ideal. I don't tend to look as closely at braking forces because if they design a HL bike to be too neutral, the rear end remains too high during braking on steeps and in corners, resulting in pitching-forward, in more rare cases the HL bikes jacked (extended) badly-although that is largely gone now. I generally find some squat to be beneficial.

    One thing to remember, modern bikes with their higher AS numbers, especially stuff with FLATTER AS curves (not necessarily those jacked up at 150% at the start of travel), won't rise up nearly as bad on the climbs. Many times the ones that have the AS jacked up really high at the beginning of travel have dramatically-falling AS curves and end up way less than 100% halfway through the travel, this means as you go over rocks while climbing, the front end gets light. The ones with the relatively flat ~100% "'curve" allow you to ride a decently slack bike with a decent amount of travel, like 170mm, up some pretty steep hills. That's quite a bit different than the years past, where we needed travel-reductions and other aids to do the same, because the front ends would get so damn light. This is one of the biggest revelations riding my current RFX vrs. my Specialized Enduro previously. Although the enduro was 29er and that kind of helped to keep the front end down a bit more than say a 27.5 or 26" version of the same, there was no comparison on this area after hopping on the RFX and riding up steep stuff.
    "It's only when you stand over it, you know, when you physically stand over the bike, that then you say 'hey, I don't have much stand over height', you know"-T. Ellsworth

    You're turning black metallic.

  3. #3
    mtbr member
    Reputation: TripleR's Avatar
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    Dec 2005
    That write up is all well and good but....try to ride the bikes...its truly how "you know" thanks t. Ellsworth

  4. #4
    mtbr member
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    Jul 2007
    Wow fantastic analysis Jayem, thank you. Ill keep those observations in mind. So you like the Spartan and its split pivot design better?

  5. #5
    mtbr member
    Reputation: plummet's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    I have a Slayer, my buddy has a Spartan. He is 100kg size large frame I'm 75kg medium frame. So the bike swap isn't that fair as our suspensions are set up completely different. He is running 2.6 high volume tyres I'm on 2.3. my build is lighter and higher spec.

    I have the edge going uphill. On the downs we are pretty damn similar.

    The Slayer on super slack low bb is still 10mm higher bb height than Spartan on high steep mode. So a lot less pedal tags with the Slayer.

    For my bias opinion the Slayer wins because it's lighter, better up, same down and gets less pedal tags.

    That said you can't go wrong with either.

    On a side note, In my riding group I have buddies with sc nomad, bronson, transition patrol, trek slash, specialized stump jumper.

    Slayer beats the nomad, patrol, stump jumper in the ups. Bronson and slash are similar up.

    On the down Slayer beats the bronson, slash and stumpy. Nomad and patrol very similar to Slayer.

    I've just got back from and epic man weekend in Rotorua riding as many of the grade 5 tracks we could find in the wet. A total of 14 hours riding over 2 days. A truly epic weekend. Slayer, patrol, nomad and Spartan riders owned the downs swapping the lead out on different tracks and essentially all going the same speeds. On the ups I was dicing out the unofficial uphill race with my xc buddy on his gaint trance leaving the other bikes in our dust!... On the last hill climb on hour 14 of the weekend I managed to beat my super fit xc buddy up the hill...
    . Boom. That's some damn fantastic pedalling performance for a 165/180mm bike!

    Ps I'm running my fox 36 in 180mm mode.

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