My AM bike make it at Whistler?- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    My AM bike make it at Whistler?

    I've got a Rocky Mountain 2011 Slayer 50 and I'd love to hit Whistler and maybe a couple other bike parks this summer. Would the Slayer make it?

    Here's the link to the bike.
    Bikes | Mountain | All Mountain | SLAYER 50

    I'd appreciate any advice or words of wisdom.
    Thanks
    T

  2. #2
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    I would say sure it would make it, it really depends on which trails you choose to ride. After all people ride hardtails downhill, its just a matter of how fast you go and how beat up at the end of the day you will be. Personally if I was to travel all the way to Whistler I would either bring my dh bike or rent one.

  3. #3
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    Rental may be the way to go...

    Renting scares me a bit... getting familiar with a new bike while flying down a mountain side and getting enough air to put more hair on my chest is a bit frightening. Feels like blind dating... worried it will be a bit awkward.
    Of course I could just buy a my own... but first I've got to figure out which one of my kids I'm going to sell.

    Thanks for the reply. I appreciate it and I think right.
    T

  4. #4
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    Drop the seat and take it easy and you should survive. Obviously you probably won't be hammering over gnarly rock gardens on double black diamonds on it but I would imagine it will been enough fun on the tamer trails. That's why I couldn't get a "do it all" bike, they may be capable of a wide variety but they don't excel at any. Run what ya bring and ride it proud, just take time to learn the trails.

  5. #5
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    The bike would be fine but how much FR/DH do you usually do? If little, then a full DH rig will give you more confidence and you will also have more fun.

    If renting, I think will take you only a couple of runs to get familiar with the bike. Slackness is your friend if you are a Whistler first timer......

  6. #6
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    Some trails are suited to AM style bikes (Crank it Up, Lower A-line even some of Dirt Merchant if you're smooth and flow everything), but you would be limited on other parts of the mountain.

    I'd really consider renting to get the most out of your trip. Whistler is a PITA to travel to, only to be limited by your bike. There are plenty of quality rental shops in the village, and they routinely swap out their rental fleets. Give any rental a good once over before you head up the mountain and you should be fine. (tires...wear, air pressure, brakes...pads, lever feel, shocks...air pressure/spring weight etc)

    Like Moab, Whistler is one of those places where renting isn't really a detriment to the riding experience...other than forking over the cash to do so.

  7. #7
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    I wouldn't worry about getting comfortable with a new (rental) bike. After a couple laps, you'll be fine.

    If I was only going to be there for a few days, I'd rent on day 2, after I got to know the park a bit. Day 3 i'd go ride the valley on the AM bike.

    The biggest difference I find between riding an AM bike and a DH bike at Whistler is how many laps I can do. I ride all the same lines, but get way more riding in on my big rig.

  8. #8
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    I'm not exactly an expert, but I'd urge you to rent.

    I just started riding at lift-serviced parks last summer. Planning my first trip to Whistler this July. The extra travel & stiffness in a DH bike makes a huge difference when you're going faster & bigger. Even the local DH parks have much burlier features than you typically encounter on trails. Not to mention braking. You'll be happy to have powerful brakes when you're on them hard all day long.

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  9. #9
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    In my experience, renting at whistler is a great way to go. I rented a pair of Demo 8s for myself and my Dad last summer and they were great. $100 per day sucks, but I thought it was worth it to have a bike specifically designed for the type of riding and for handling the abuse. An AM bike will get weeks worth of abuse in an hour on some of these trails.

    Unless you are in good downhill shape, I recommend spending a day riding the valley trails between downhill days. The slayer is pretty perfect for the XC trails in the area. A "blue square" trail in whistler is a "black diamond" in most other places.

  10. #10
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    That Slayers a pretty nice bike. If you go easy on it you'll be fine. At the very least get some fat tires for front and rear if you put it on park duty. But like others said the DH rentals are pretty easy options
    Locals' Guide to North Shore Rides http://mtbtrails.ca/

  11. #11
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    kind of what I thought...

    Yeah, I like to get my bike in the air as much as possible and I am pretty hard on it... but lift assisted seems like non-stop bike torture and my Slayer (despite its tough-guy name) may be a bit on the light side for the pounding it would take... and 66.5 degree head angle is not slack enough? I guess 64 is the new norm, huh?

    I'm not sure the bike would limit me... I do a pretty damn good job of limiting myself.

    $100 a day (or more) to rent! That is pretty steep... maybe I need my own. Now, I've got to make the "I'll save money in the long run" argument to my wife. Probably would make more sense, especially since I'd like to spend some time on Stevens (WA) which is going to be opened up to bikes for the first time this year.

    Thanks for all the replies. Much appreciated!
    T

  12. #12
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    That would actually be a sick bike for Whistler for a pro level rider but if your like me and you aren't a superhero it's nice to have some wiggle room. I'd say it's a decent bike for the smoother and more intermediate trails, which there are a lot of but if you want to hit some double black diamond you'll want an 8"x8" dedicated big bike.

    66.5 HA is actually very aggressive for an all around bike. That's actually a desirable head angle for freeriding at mid speeds, good for riding skinny's and ladder bridges with jumps and drops. It's a little steep for dedicated DH but that's not what your bike is for. If you are out trail riding it's a mean number but for a park like Whistler, it's mediocre for the terrain that's available.
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  13. #13
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    just wanted to add that the XC trails in the Whistler valley are definitely worth riding if you're bringing the trail bike. Seek out "A River Runs Through It" if you like it "stunty."

  14. #14
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    I've ridden a Heckler at Whistler and had a lot of fun on it, I have friends that have ridden Hecklers too (our buddy owns a Santa Cruz shop). Your bike will almost certainly survive some days there, as would you.

    Then I bought a VPfree, first with a 66 fork now with an 888. I went from a 2.5" DH front tire to 2.7". I got a carbon bar. Each step of lengthening travel, slackening the geo, and "softening" the ride has paid dividends. One thing you seldom hear about riding Whistler is the trails beat the snot out of your body. This isn't just the tech or jumping parts, it's the roads and speed sections between them.

    Crank it up - awesome trail, usually first and last runs of the day on it, probably the busiest trail on the mountain. It almost always has big bomb holes in it, the corners are blown out and it is ROUGH, especially going 900 miles an hour that almost everyone does. It beats me up on my big bike. I can't imagine trying to ride it competently on my Heckler. The jumps are smooth as butter, they're not the problem - it's all the stuff between.

    Same with bottom of A-line/Dirt Merchant. There is a long, straight rock road that begs you to fly down it except it's so rough it would probably disintegrate a small bike if you went as fast as you could, and should.

    That's how it is everywhere, just getting around from place to place is littered with square-edged, rocky, speed bumped azz-kickers, that I think you'd be too busy handling the rugged in-betweens to really dig in on what the mountain is about - tech, jumps, and drops.
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  15. #15
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    really? anyone with the slightest bit of skill can ride any bike anywhere if you simply ride it appropriately...


  16. #16
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    Observations:

    1) With proper skills, AM bikes can do whistler in good style:
    http://forums.mtbr.com/ibis/mojo-hd-...ad-650019.html

    2) When I was there, I rode three different bikes on the mountain over the course of a couple weeks
    -Rental bikes from somewhere on the mountain
    -My buddy's VP Free with Fox 40 and all the blingy goodness
    -My Mojo SL

    It was by far the most fun on the VP Free. I don't have money to buy one, and it sounds like you don't either, so let's put that aside.

    The rental bikes were 100 bucks a day. Perhaps worse, the suspension was low quality and felt awful. Super harsh. Don't know how much travel it had, but while it could take the big hits better than my SL, it felt like crap on the chatter that other posters are talking about. Overall I preferred the ride of the SL, and I was very surprised about that. But I thrashed it - whistler is hell on gear, and it's not slack or stiff enough.

    I've got a Mojo HD now, and I'm eager to take it to the parks and see how it feels...

    Anyhow, my $.02

  17. #17
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    Great insights!

    Hadn't thought about the chattering hell known as the service roads.

    Sounds like there is plenty to keep me busy on the AM bike, but to do it up properly I need more slack and more squishy goodness.

    Yeah, sadly a new shiny VP Free with tree trunk stanchions is not in my future... though I'm going to keep my eye on craigslist and pinkbike just in case hell freezes over... or I find a way to earn a small fortune. Hmm... do I really need both of my kidneys?

    Thanks again for the info. The picture of what to expect is much clearer.

  18. #18
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    If you have to ask then no. Waste of a lift ticket

  19. #19
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    Kinda off topic but regarding rentals it's always blown my mind that they don't take the time to switch springs on the shock to have it properly setup for a given rider. After a little while they would theoretically be able to weigh you and set the bike up to a passable level which would safe the bikes and riders from abuse. Obviously they couldn't dial it in completely for every rider but at least setting sag would go a long way.

  20. #20
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    I've only had am/light freeride bikes at Whistler until last year. First was the Yeti ASX, Transition Bottle Rocket, Canfield CanDiggle, Intense Slopestyle, Intense Uzzi, Slopestyle again and then a Transition TR450. I think I had the most fun on the Bottle Rocket or the Slopestyle. The 450 is loads of fun and saves the body a bit more but the feeling of accomplishment I got from riding fast on the upper mountain trails on a smaller bike was incredible. The smaller bikes definitely jumped better and were more agile.
    I now have the ability to have multiple bikes and will take a DH bike each year I go back to Whistler. It's so much at Whistler it doesn't matter what bike you have.

    Run what you brung

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by seppe71 View Post
    . It's so much at Whistler it doesn't matter what bike you have.
    This.

    One thing for certain - you'll have a great time. And don't forget that the 'cross country' riding there is unreal, like no place else, another argument for the AM rig...

  22. #22
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    The valley riding is epic no doubt, your bike will be great on it. You definitely should sample some of the local off-lift goodness, outside BC locations such as Squamish and the Shore, you won't see anything like it elsewhere. Blue square there is more technical than any trail a lot of locations have anywhere.

    I didn't say you couldn't ride your bike and have fun, there's people riding hardtails and killing it up there. I couldn't do that though, and even if I could I'd prefer something more comfortable.

    You could bring your bike and try that, and also rent one day. I've been with folks that rented and they all commented the bike was very well set up for them and they had a lot of fun on them. One buddy had a big mechanical on his DH bike and rented a Demo 8 - he had a blast.

    The shops aren't all the same, you can shop around and you can also demand they look at you on the bike and pick one with suspension goodies that fits your size/weight. All the shops I know of buy new bikes at the beginning of each season and maintain them well. If you end up with some claptrap pos, you'd be responsible at least in part for not doing your homework.
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  23. #23
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    .WestCoastHucker and 3034, what they said

  24. #24
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    Keep in mind that if you take a trail bike and ride it at Whistler for a few days you might spend a noticeable amount of money fixing up the damage at the end as well (unless you're real smooth). My friend took a nice 6" trail bike up there and probably spent over $100 after the trip getting back to primo shape. So you could in theory spend $200-300 renting DH bikes vs. repairing your trail bike.

    Regarding the quality of the rental bikes, I think you should be able to find something reasonably nice if you look around.

  25. #25
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    Damn, a 66 hta bike with 165/160 mm travel is pretty burly in itself. Not too long ago that'd sell as a freeride bike. Is whistler really THAT rough?

  26. #26
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    Oh yeah, just looked at the link you sent. That frame does look like more of an AM/FR bike almost. Maybe similar to an SC Nomad or something? My friend rode his Nomad at Whistler for a season and had fun. That said, he enjoys his DH bike there a lot more now. I also rode a Norco Shore 7" freeride bike there for a season and had tons of fun, but definitely prefer my DH bike now. I would say that those handlebars seem pretty narrow and I don't know how beefy those wheels are. It's pretty easy to blow through rims up there if you're not careful.

  27. #27
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    More great replies! Good stuff.

    Yeah, the handlebars are 750mm now, chain guide has been installed, MRP cranks, though the wheels may need some attention... seem XCish.

    I think in the end I'll have to give it a go... at least on the moderate trails in the area. Then, like was suggested, rent a DH-- and I'll be sure to do my research--to hit the fabled trails.

    Yeah, One Pivot, I am probably over thinking it. When I got my first FS bike 100mm of squish was pretty plush... and I took that down some bermy stuff in Bend...

    Thanks again!

  28. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by One Pivot View Post
    Damn, a 66 hta bike with 165/160 mm travel is pretty burly in itself. Not too long ago that'd sell as a freeride bike. Is whistler really THAT rough?
    Day in Whistler is perhaps equivalent to a month (plus) of riding in terms of bike abuse. Add a bit of rain to it.... a full week becomes a year of abuse on the bike.
    Mechanicals galore man, + crashes, etc..... but hell, IS FUN!!!!

    That Slayer with a coil suspension will rock in that bike park, it will be no difference to an SX Trail or the likes but again, comes down to the rider skills.

    Bottom half of mountain, any bike would do, top half, a big bike is better IMO.

  29. #29
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    Not to sidetrack, and I do apologize, but is there much at whistler for someone with lightweight skills? I have watched videos but I doubt that does it justice. I don't have much to compare it to living in Florida, but is there any way to gauge if I have the capacity to make a trip there worth it?
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  30. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by 722ish View Post
    Not to sidetrack, and I do apologize, but is there much at whistler for someone with lightweight skills? I have watched videos but I doubt that does it justice. I don't have much to compare it to living in Florida, but is there any way to gauge if I have the capacity to make a trip there worth it?
    The greens shouldn't pose and problems for you. Most of the blue runs are pretty mellow as well. First time i was there i just did laps of Crank It Up, although B-Line now is pretty awesome as well.

    If you spend more than a few days there, you're skills and confidence will pickup pretty quickly

  31. #31
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    Whistler has something for every level of rider. You just don't see as many videos of the easier trails because they're less exciting. Definitely worth a visit as you'll progress really quickly.

  32. #32
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    There's plenty for intermediate riders, look up Ninja Cougar to Karate Monkey. No jumps on those, just great trails. NC is straight up bermacide and KM is light tech. That area has a ton of intermediate trails you'd he happy to ride for a good while. There's a revised blue trail from the upper mountain called Blue Velvet that's just crazy speed, bring solid brakes. The trail isn't difficult, it's just faaaaasssttt.

    Devil's Club and Smoke and Mirrors have lots of fun, wide bridge riding on slow, moderate tech trails. They're a gas. Legitimate intermediates have plenty to do at the park, imo.

    Straight beginners I would recommend to stay in the valley. There are nice XC trails for beginners that are also fun for more experienced folks. There are green circle "trails" on the mountain but they're mostly roads really and there aren't many of them. Heck I'd think just loading the lift would be intimidating for a straight beginner.
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  33. #33
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    it depends on you as a rider,,,, how smooth you are, and what your technique is like,
    you will be fine riding your slayer in whistler, it is a pretty strong bike designed to take whistler/northshore type abuse, i have rode a slayer in whistler, for my first 2 visits back in 08 i had a 2006 slayer 70, it was fine, at the time i was new to the sport, a complete novice rider having never been on single track or rode in a bikepark before, the slayer helped me build confidence and improve as a rider,

    you will defo have more fun on a bigger bike, specially if your going to be heading up into the garbo zone at the top of the mountain, if your going to rent a bike, then what you want to ask yourself is how long will you be renting one for, if it's going to be for 2 weeks at a cost of 150 bucks perday, then your looking at 2100+ dollars, for that kind of money you could buy a cheapish new bike, or a pretty decent second hand dh bike, so in my opinion renting is dead money,
    if you are only looking at renting for a few days, then i suppose it's a reasonable option,
    whatever you decide, have fun and enjoy your trip.

  34. #34
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    I've never ridden Whistler, but I ride Northstar on my Nomad a lot. Instead of investing in a DH rig, I've got a 180 Van I swap out for my 160 Talas that I use for AM riding. That and 2.5 Minions make all the difference in the world.
    I would say this would be a great chance to really learn how to tune your bike for different terrain.

  35. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by .WestCoastHucker. View Post
    really? anyone with the slightest bit of skill can ride any bike anywhere if you simply ride it appropriately...
    Very true!

  36. #36
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    Quote Originally Posted by 722ish View Post
    Not to sidetrack, and I do apologize, but is there much at whistler for someone with lightweight skills? I have watched videos but I doubt that does it justice. I don't have much to compare it to living in Florida, but is there any way to gauge if I have the capacity to make a trip there worth it?
    The 4th time I ever got my dad on a mountainbike was on a rented Demo 8 at whistler. He had a couple minor wipeouts and one good spill, but went from struggling on the greens to cruising pretty good on the blues and even some of the blacks. It did help that I knew the mountain well enough that I could take him down progressively more difficult trails without any huge jumps in difficulty.

    If you have a "go for it" personality you will progress faster as a rider at whistler than just about anywhere.

  37. #37
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    Quote Originally Posted by Thucydides View Post
    More great replies! Good stuff.

    Yeah, the handlebars are 750mm now, chain guide has been installed, MRP cranks, though the wheels may need some attention... seem XCish.

    I think in the end I'll have to give it a go... at least on the moderate trails in the area. Then, like was suggested, rent a DH-- and I'll be sure to do my research--to hit the fabled trails.

    Yeah, One Pivot, I am probably over thinking it. When I got my first FS bike 100mm of squish was pretty plush... and I took that down some bermy stuff in Bend...

    Thanks again!
    That Slayer is a very capable bike. My friend rides one, aside from the rockgardens/proper gnar, it's not giving up much to a bigger bike. Go with a pair of dual ply Minions and heavy tubes,and yeah the stock wheels are on the light side, so maybe look at a new wheelset, then I'd say you have enough bike to enjoy yourself anywhere. It would still be even MORE fun on a proper park bike...but not THAT much more...

    The one let down on this bike is the stock fork. The absence of low speed compression adjust makes it harder to dial in....finding the sweet spot between brake dive and plushness has proven tricky. But in the park, I imagine you'd just crank up the air pressure in it a bit to deal with the speed/gnar/steepness, and that would be that.

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