Slayer vs Altitude vs Instinct- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Slayer vs Altitude vs Instinct

    Hey, I currently own and ride a 2017 slayer that I've been using for over a season now. Long story short, I bought it last year just before I knew the Altitude/Instinct were gonna come out and immediately thought those were better options, as the Slayer is way too much bike for the type of terrain found here (Ontario).

    I've recently demoed the '18 Altitude and Instinct and got a general idea of em, but does anyone here have anyone further experience with these bikes and how they compare to the Slayer? Any help is greatly appreciated. Thanks!

  2. #2
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    The new Thunderbolt may meet your needs as well. I haven't ridden any of the 18's, so can't compare them. There was a demo near here a few days ago, but I couldn't make it :-(

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sparkman999 View Post
    The new Thunderbolt may meet your needs as well. I haven't ridden any of the 18's, so can't compare them. There was a demo near here a few days ago, but I couldn't make it :-(
    The new thunderbolt does looks great! I'd definitely consider it if I was riding strictly singletrack XC trails (which ARE the types of trails near me), however I also ride at a bike park and need something that can handle enduro races.

  4. #4
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    What's your issue with the Slayer itself? Is it too difficult to pedal for you? Are you never using all the travel?

    I'm a firm believer one bike not being suitable for everything, in which case I'd suggest keeping the slayer for park duties and getting an XC bike for long distance.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by GRPABT1 View Post
    What's your issue with the Slayer itself? Is it too difficult to pedal for you? Are you never using all the travel?

    I'm a firm believer one bike not being suitable for everything, in which case I'd suggest keeping the slayer for park duties and getting an XC bike for long distance.
    The slayer pedals great for all the travel it has, but yes I rarely use all my travel. I also want a new bike that's more responsive with less travel.

    The thing is I ride park maybe 10-12 times a year only, but have enduro races so I definitely prioritize descending capabilities. I'm just wondering if there's enough of a difference between the slayer and the altitude to justify selling the slayer for it.

    I fell in love with the instinct and was blown away by the 29 inch wheels though I read reviews that it kinda lacks in the descending department.

  6. #6
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    I've had a chance to ride all three and recently put over 300 miles on the C70 Instinct. I think I understand where you're coming from with the Slayer. I rode it on Captain A-Hab in Moab and for most of the ride was wishing I was on my Instinct. The Slayer needs a really fast open track to come to life so unless you're riding a lot of ski resorts or similar big fast tracks you never really get to experience all the Slayer has to offer. Also, the Slayer can feel a bit lazy on more traditional trails muting all the fun flowy sections. It also has a tendency to get hung up on some of the more technical square edge sections of climbs. It would not be my first choice of the three bikes listed if I could only own 1 bike at a time.

    The Instinct is one of my first choices out of any bike available right now if I can only own 1 bike at a time. It does everything really well... seriously, everything and it can be built up very light weight. Mine is 26 lbs 10 oz with pedals... that's crazy light for a 140mm 29er with good tires! It feels more stable and plush compared to the Altitude but what it gains in high speed stability it maybe gives up just a bit in the tigh turns, g-outs and overall playfulness of the Altitude.

    The Altitude doesn't feel as big or stable as other 150mm 27.5 bikes in the category (Santa Cruz Bronson, Ibis HD4, Pivot Mach 6 or Mach 5.5) but it feels more playful and climbs just about better than any other in the category!

    Depending on what wheel size you want, I think the Instinct would be your best bet given the fact you'll be racing enduro's and sounds like you're looking for an overall better trail bike than what you currently have in the Slayer.

    If you really hammer the park and enduro's you'll miss not having a Fox 36 out front. I'd go with the Instinct C70 "Utah Edition"

    Instructions: Purchase a Instinct C70, replace the Fox 34 140mm with a Fox 36 150mm and replace the DPS out back with a DPX2 still at 140mm, replace the Guide R brakes with Saints or Codes and you'll have your perfect replacement for your Slayer. It will do 95% of everything your Slayer does at the park, absolutely destroy the trails at your Enduro Races, climb better and faster and be so much more responsive and fun on the everyday trails. Good luck!

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by bananafish View Post
    ...but does anyone here have anyone further experience with these bikes and how they compare to the Slayer?
    Kinda wondering about this one as well. I have a Thunderbolt that's gotten a slightly heaver kit recently (old parts from my Altitude) and a previous generation Altitude that I still race. I'm looking to replace that rig next season.

    I was initially ready to pull the trigger on a Slayer, then thought the new Altitude might be the bike, now I really have no clue. Reviews I've read say the Instinct is a great climber and is quite a nimble bike for what it is. That's based on a 51 mm Float 36 and the DPX2 shock. How much closer to the Altitude or Slayer would things get if I'd swap those two out or a 44 mm offset fork and a Float X2 out back? Or should I just long-shock an Altitude like the 2017 team bikes? Decisions, decisions........

  8. #8
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    Have you rode a 2018 Altitude eric? Before purchasing, I was thinking that i'd need to do the same. As it turns out however, the Altitude is plenty plush for my needs. I think long-shocking it would have a negative impact on it's day-to-day trail and climbing abilities.

  9. #9
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    Unfortunately there's not much demo opportunities out here. Every RMB I have (had) was ordered more or less blind.

    I've had two loaners while travelling (an MY2017 Specialized Enduro 29 and an MY2018 Cannondale Jekyll 4) which at best might be compared somewhat to an Instinct BC and a Slayer. The take-away for me was that relative to my current Altitude the Enduro 29 was a faster racing machine - up and down - but front-heavy, which didn't suit my riding style. The Jekyll, while a boat anchor with yet more reach - was a better mach and let me get away with some really crazy lines.

    All in all that experiment was a draw, and I'm wondering if the same thing would apply for the Altitude vs Instinct question, especially if I go for at least an X2 shock.

  10. #10
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    I think the biggest difference you will notice with the Altitude vs the two bikes you listed is the overall reach and spaciousness of the cockpit. The shorter frame reach (452mm when slacked out in size large) and short stem (35mm) on the Altitude makes it feel a bit smaller than the Enduro or Jekyll.

    More of a trail bike feel than an enduro sled. For me, the Jekyll was more comparable with the Slayer than the Altitude. The Spec Enduro is kind of a blend of both.

  11. #11
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    N+1!
    Keep the slayer for the park and the gnar. Get the 29er for the trail.

  12. #12
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    Thanks for the response. Now you mention it I noticed the cockpit and fit more on the Specialized than the Jekyll. The Specialized had a 40 mm stem and an 800 mm bar - that's a bit wider than I normaly run and I found it a tad cumbersome. The Jekyll was a 35x785 combo, IIRC, and felt fine.

  13. #13
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    Ok. I've been thinking about this more and have an alternative idea.

    First up I have a Slayer built up light 13kg, it has light wheels and fast rolling 2.3 dhf 2 minions. It's not a full on descending set up. But to the set up makes it a better trail bike. I don't feel any disadvantage compared140/150mm buddies. Infact I recently raced the an xc race and placed 3rd in my division and 7th overall out if 58 starters.

    You do 12 park days a year and race enduros.....
    Why not set the Slayer up with lighter wheels and tires so you can haul arse in the easier stuff. Then when you go to ride park slap ya big wheels back on. Or just ride the park with lighter tires on. If will still go better than a smaller travel bike with bigger tyres trying to compensate for a lack of travel.

    Or look at it another way. What's most fun? Enduro and park days or riding your less extreme local trails?

    Get the bike that's best for what you enjoy the most. The have a set up that is workable for the rest.

  14. #14
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    I've ridden a long shockes coil spring climb switched 2018 altitude and it gives up NOTHING in the climbs for the extra travel and plushness out back. Only thing was it seemed a little under forked because it still had a 160mm up front. Long coil shocked 170mm forked altitude is my dream bike. Full size water bottle for no backpack in the heat, light and nimbe yet about 20mm longer than my 2016 altitude for more stability, 2.6 tyre fits out back and the angles are bang up to date.

    Is only pick an instinct if you absolutely must have 29" wheels.

  15. #15
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    Also the slayer actually has more antisquat than the altitude (some say too much and I agree for its intended purpose) so theoretically pedals more efficiently. But the altitude needs to be pedalled to be believed, it climbs up anything.

  16. #16
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    Rocky Mountain Altitude ,vs Instinct BC vs Instinct 150 lyrik fork and dpx2 r shock

    Quote Originally Posted by bananafish View Post
    Hey, I currently own and ride a 2017 slayer that I've been using for over a season now. Long story short, I bought it last year just before I knew the Altitude/Instinct were gonna come out and immediately thought those were better options, as the Slayer is way too much bike for the type of terrain found here (Ontario).

    I've recently demoed the '18 Altitude and Instinct and got a general idea of em, but does anyone here have anyone further experience with these bikes and how they compare to the Slayer? Any help is greatly appreciated. Thanks!
    I do apx 10 days of park per year and aggressive trail riding. loved the regular instinct for regular trail, but felt under gunned when it got gnarly.

    Bc edition felt numb on regular trail. So to me its either Altitude or Instinct lyrik 150 and dpx 2 rear? Any opinions?

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by klassyken View Post
    I do apx 10 days of park per year and aggressive trail riding. loved the regular instinct for regular trail, but felt under gunned when it got gnarly.

    Bc edition felt numb on regular trail. So to me its either Altitude or Instinct lyrik 150 and dpx 2 rear? Any opinions?
    I can't speak to the idea of a bigger Instinct, but I do have an opinion regarding the Altitude, as I have 2018 carbon 70. My brother rides a 2018 Instinct Carbon 70, and I have been able to compare the two bikes back-to-back on the same trail. Fast flowy singletrack? Yeah, the Instinct does what's expected from a 29er trail bike. It rolls, and it rolls fast. But for the type of riding I most enjoy here in NorCal, I'm going to go with the Altitude every time. If it's steep and technical, I just feel more in control, and have more fun on the Altitude. The Altitude is anxious to turn hard and pop off of everything you hit. I haven't been to a park yet, but if you are hitting steep and techie stuff regularly, the Altitude is a blast. As a bonus, I have found it climbs very well.

  18. #18
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    Kinda wondering where the consensus is going on this (if there is going to be one at all). The original Instinct BC review has Levy saying he'd only pick the Altitude if he were racing down something. It sounds as if the Altitude is a little bit longer, a little bit slacker and just a tiny bit more aggressive.

    I'd be interested in you post-park thoughts, the_kman. I'm currently holed up in a resort in the Alps and hitting both 2000' descents as well as the bike park on my older Altitude. The bike is clearly at home most on the tight and technical sections, not the G-outs and jumping (which I suck at anyway).

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by eric View Post
    I'd be interested in you post-park thoughts, the_kman. I'm currently holed up in a resort in the Alps and hitting both 2000' descents as well as the bike park on my older Altitude. The bike is clearly at home most on the tight and technical sections, not the G-outs and jumping (which I suck at anyway).
    Gah! I won't get up to Northstar for another month! I will likely slacken the Ride9 out for that, so I'll try to remember to report back. I won't be able to ride the Instinct while I'm up there, but I will ride the '18 Altitude back to back with a 2018 Transition Smuggler. I think I know how that will turn out.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by GRPABT1 View Post
    Also the slayer actually has more antisquat than the altitude (some say too much and I agree for its intended purpose) so theoretically pedals more efficiently. But the altitude needs to be pedalled to be believed, it climbs up anything.
    A bit of a late reply on this... Would you say the initial high anti-squat effects grip? I think the reality of much of my racing is it rains on weekends. I'm sliding down sketchy stuff at lower speeds than I'd care to admit, rather than bashing down boulders.

  21. #21
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    My current bike is a C70 Instinct that I bought for trail riding but I find myself riding weekly at the local bike park. Where I live we have a lift assisted bike park that operates all year round. I've made the BC upgrades to the instinct and enjoying riding it but I feel having a cheaper bike for the park would make more sense. I'm thinking of purchasing a A30 Altitude but after reading stuff on line I'm concerned about the travel being reduced to around 140mm when in position 1.

    Is the reduction in travel a real thing or is it just how people are interpreting the ride 9 charts?

    Ideally I'd be looking at a Slayer C30 but they are out of my price range unless they release an aluminum version, any chances of this happening for 2020?

  22. #22
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    Travel doesn't actually get reduced. They just shifted the line on the chart. The stroke of the shock and the axle path don't change, so the travel can't really either.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by j-t-g View Post
    Travel doesn't actually get reduced. They just shifted the line on the chart. The stroke of the shock and the axle path don't change, so the travel can't really either.
    Thanks for that, I thought that might be the case

    Anyone had any experience with an Altitude at a bike park? Is going to be any better or worse than an Instinct BC? I'm not really worried about speed more concerned about how it handles steep technical tracks.

  24. #24
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    They're about the same, just depends on your wheel size preference. Personally I'd pick the instinct BC as bike parks are almost always full of miserable braking bumps and the 29er wheels will make them more comfortable. As for steep tech tracks it's probably personal preference.

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