First Look: Salsa Suspension gets Lighter, Stiffer with New Carbon Spearfish and Horsethief
Just over a year ago, Salsa Cycles took the wraps off their all new full suspension bikes with the Spearfish and Horsethief. While the Spearfish had been around for some time, both of the bikes took advantage of Dave Weagle’s Split Pivot concentric dropout design to allow efficient pedaling suspension that was still active under braking. Built with 80 and 120mm of travel, the Spearfish and the Horsethief have been in high demand since their introduction.
In 2015 both bikes receive a major update in the form of material. Stepping into the realm of carbon fiber, both bikes now feature a high modulus carbon front triangle and seat stays while sticking with 6066-T6 aluminum chainstays. Even though the Spearfish was already a highly optimized, weight conscious bike the move to carbon fiber nets a 220g loss in frame weight while the burlier Horsethief sees around a 340g weight loss. Other than a larger seat post clamp to constrict the carbon tube, the main standards on each frame remain unchanged from their aluminum siblings.
With decreased weight, improved spec, and the same Salsa feel, the new Spearfish and Horsethief are ready for your next adventure. Details and actual weights after the jump…
Salsa Cycles product manager Tim Krueger runs through the new Spearfish line.
Starting at the high end, Salsa put together this black and pink creation called the Spearfish Carbon RS1. Retailing for $6899, there will also be a frame only at $2499. Equipped with a SRAM XX1/X01 drivetrain and Guide RSC brakes, actual weight on a 20″ frame came in at 24.1 lbs.
Rockshox suspension all around, the RS-1 fork is set at 100mm of travel and is holding Stan’s NoTubes Crest rims with SRAM hubs wrapped in Schwalbe Racing Ralph 29×2.2 tires. Rear suspension duties are handled by a Monarch RT3 LM3 S 380 shock.
One improvement to the carbon models that you won’t find on the alloy versions is the removable direct mount front derailleur tab. When running 1x, the mount is removed and replaced with a cover for a clean look. As a running change for all 2015 models the rear control links and suspension hardware have been improved to add more durability when servicing. Under normal circumstances the old T25 bolt with female socket was plenty durable, but during accelerated wear testing they found that the new 15mm nut and male axle was better in the long run. All 2015 bikes will include the new hardware and the axle kits are retrofittable to 2014 models.
The other carbon model in the Spearfish line is the Blaze Orange Carbon 1. Built with Fox suspension including an F29 CTD Performance fork and CTD Performance shock with boost valve, the 1 also includes a mostly Shimano build kit. You’ll find Shimano XT for everything except the SLX cassette and SRAM S2210 carbon crank with 22/34 gearing. Wheels are built from Stan’s Arch EX rims with Salsa straight pull hubs, again with Schwalbe Racing Ralph 2.2″ tires.
Spearfish Carbon 1s will sell for $4,899, and this 20″ bike weighed 25.6 lbs.
The Horsethief frame receives the same carbon treatment as the Spearfish, but since the aluminum version was built to be more durable than lightweight, the carbon Horsethieves lose more weight than the Spearfish. Coming in 340g for the frame, the Horsethieves also use 6066-T6 aluminum chainstays and the Split Pivot suspension system.
Given the more aggressive nature of the Horsethief, the frame has a few additional features including internal dropper post routing, carbon down tube protection, and a different mounting yoke for the rear shock. With the exception of the rear derailleur housing through the chainstay, all cable and hose routing on the two bikes is external.
The top end Horsethief Carbon XTR features a full Shimano XTR M9000 2×11 speed mechanical drivetrain with XTR Trail M9020 disc brakes. Suspension includes a Fox F29 Factory FIT Kashima 130mm fork with Fox CTD Factory Adjust Boost Valve, Kashima coated rear shock. As the only Horesthief in the line up to include a dropper post, the XTR uses a Thomson Elite Covert post. Wheels use Stan’s NoTubes Arch EX rims, Shimano XTR M9010 hubs, and Schwalbe Nobby Nic 29×2.35″ TL-R tires.
With a price tag of $6,899, you can also purchase the frame for $2,499. Even though it’s the most expensive, the Carbon XTR Horsethief isn’t the lightest model at 27.1 lbs for an 18″ frame.
The honor of the lightest Horsethief in the line goes to the Horsethief Carbon 1. Even with a bigger 20″ frame, the bike weighed in at 26.9 lbs and costs $2k less at $4,899. However, if you want to add a dropper post that 0.2 lb difference will go out the window. You’re also getting a double with the XTR model and a SRAM X01 1×11 drivetrain on the Carbon 1.
The frame on the Carbon 1 appears black at first, but take it out in the sun and the iridescent Purple Haze paint really shines.
Elsewhere on the bike you’ll find SRAM Guide RS brakes, Thomson cockpit parts, and SRAM Roam 40 wheels with Scwalbe Nobby Nic 29×2.35 tires.
Suspension is again full Rockshox with a RS Revelation RCT3 130mm fork and RS Monarch RT3 LL3 s 32o rear shock.
In addition to the carbon bikes Salsa will offer aluminum bikes with the Spearfish 2 and 3 ($3,399 and $2,799) and the Horsethief 2 for $3,399.