Bicycle Review: CTM Slash 1.0 29er(2013)

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Although a relatively common name in the industry, the Slovakian manufacturer CTM baptised it’s 29er in this way. The 1.0 version features entry- and mid-level specifications, so much so that it recommends the bike as a worthy companion on forest trails or on not too demanding mountain ones. But a weekend in the saddle was neccessary to decide whether the CTM Slash 1.0 can be used as a cross country racing bike or recreational activities are enough for it.

Frame/On the trail

As expected in this price range, the frame is built using hydroformed tubes, well welded, and carefully crafted where this extra attention has been needed. Regarding the tube’s shape, no compromise or experiments have been made, the manufacturer leaving as an own print the trapeze-like shape of the down and top tubes. The construction contributes to a higher stress resistance, and avoids the use of reinforcements in different places, such as the head tube, which further implies some weight savings. Therefore, the frame’s weight reaches 1,88 kilograms, a value close to the ones of premium competitors.

The height of the head tube gives away the fact that the manufacturer intended to build the bike for recreational use more than for racing. Being situated higher than the ones of competition-purpose bikes means that more comfort is added, but by sacrificing aerodynamics. Handling also suffers from this, as it becomes harder to apply a significant pressure on the front wheel, the long stem and 2 spacers making the task even more difficult. We expected more from this point of view, as the head tube angle has an agile angle of 71,5 degrees, but at least the Truvativ handlebar, 680mm wide, helps a bit.

Climbing with the Slash 1.0 is easier thanks to the 73 degrees of the seat tube angle, but steep sections may be a challenge as the lack of pressure on the front wheel will make passing over obstacles a job trickier than you might think at first glance.

Frame stiffness reveals itself to be average, with a value of 89,7 Nm/degree, yet it’s on its way towards premium models. If you weigh over 85 kilograms, the bike will still respond closely to handling and braking demands. Furthemore, other features of the frame include two water bottle cage mounts.

Specifications

Comprising the drivetrain are the Shimano SLX rear derailleur, which despite being a little bit noisy, works as well as higher-placed such components, the Shimano Alivio front derailleur, which doesn’t perform outstanding, and the Shimano M521 crankset. The latter features 3 chainrings (44-32-22), Octalink system, and tips the scale at 700 grams, being connected to a 305-gram bottom bracket. Last, but not least, the manufacturer fitted the bike with a 9-speed cassette, that covers most needs when on off-road, thanks to the lowest sprocket of 32 teeth, and to the highest of 11.

The Rock Shox XC 30 fork features a lock-out remote, and does a good job on rough terrain, offering a decent level of comfort. Some competitors offer the same model, but with an air cartridge, hence performance becomes better, with the according influence on the final price of the bike. Slash’s Rock Shox also features the preload and rebound functions, both working at the level the manufacturer got us used to.

When it comes to stopping the bike, the Shimano M395 brakes manage well, as long as we’re not talking about long descends. The limitations of the 160mm rotors begin to show as soon as you hit steep downhills, and the more you weigh, the lower their performance gets. For real mountainbiking the only real options is to convert to 180mm rotors, but if don’t plan to push your bike to the limit, these will do just fine.

The wheelset is a combination of Shimano simple ball bearing hubs and WTB rims. They seem durable enough, as we didn’t cut the bike any slack, the usual boulder/rock collisions being handled with sturdiness by them. Not at the same level, the WTB Wolverine tires proved themselves to lack neccessary grip in the corners, and to have only a slightly above-average rolling speed. On wet and steep uphills, the rear wheel skidded several times, yet, if it brings you some solace, the tires are 2.2 inches wide, thus providing some extra comfort. As for weight, the 5 kilograms they weigh will surely not help you accelerate with little effort.

And, if the comfort chapter is not strongly enough represented by now, we’ll add that the WTB Vigo Comp saddle is another component that serves this end. We also liked the Jagwire cable hoods, delivered with an extra protection that prevent scratching the frame.

Conclusions

The CTM Slash 1.0 belongs to the entry-level, recreational-category of mountain bikes, yet offers a bit more than expected, without being able to pass as a racing bike though. Weight proves to be competitive, but the position doesn’t enable you to handle the bike as you might want. Even more, certain components, such as the tires or brakes, are simply not enough for the demands of hard mountainbiking. Therefore, we can recommend the Slash 1.0 for riders that desire a faster bike, that passes more easily over obstacles, and which has a decent price. However, if around 100 euros extra isn’t too much, you might want to opt for the Slash 2.0, which features higher specificationsm but has the same frame.

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