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Selecting the Bike of the Year is never a simple task, and choosing the winner for 2017 was no exception. Even after culling the list of contenders down to five finalists there were still plenty of lively debates about which model should take the prize, a sign of just how tight the competition was this year. But as we all know, there can only be one winner, and this year the award for Pinkbike's Mountain Bike of the Year goes to the Trek Slash.
The Slash was completely revamped for 2017, and, in a move that came as a surprise to many riders, Trek released it solely with 29” wheels. That proved to be a hint of things to come, and there are now more long travel 29ers on the market than ever before. That flood hasn't subsided yet, and with 2018 nearly upon us the next wave of burly big wheelers are already beginning to arrive.
Trek didn't hold back when they designed the Slash, giving it a 65-degree head angle, 150mm of rear travel, and a carbon frame that posesses a level of stiffness typically reserved for downhill bikes. It's a bike that'll make mincemeat of the most technical terrain around, and as Mike Kazimer wrote in his review, “It's one of those bikes that makes you think, 'I've got this,' time after time, no matter how treacherous the trail ahead appears. Feel like taking that cheeky inside line, the one with the nearly ninety-degree exit? Or would you rather go wide, blazing a round, clean arc on the very edge of the trail? In either case, the Slash is an unflinching machine, no matter how hard it's pushed.”
Of course, the Slash's geometry numbers mean this isn't going to be the best choice for taking on mellower trail rides, but luckily there's nothing in the rulebook that says the bike of the year needs to be a practical option for everyone. It wouldn't be a stretch to call this an 'aspirational' bike; it'll make riders who live in locations with a lack of vertical daydream about hitting the road in search of rougher and steeper terrain.