First Look: Salsa Suspension gets Lighter, Stiffer with New Carbon Spearfish and Horsethief

Salsa Spearfish carbon RS-1

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.

Salsa Spearfish Horsethief carbon frame 2015 cycles (28)

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.

Salsa Spearfish Horsethief carbon frame 2015 cycles (29) Salsa Spearfish Horsethief carbon frame 2015 cycles (30)

Salsa Spearfish Horsethief carbon frame 2015 cycles (32)

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.

Salsa Spearfish Horsethief carbon frame 2015 cycles (33) Salsa Spearfish Horsethief carbon frame 2015 cycles (24)

Salsa Spearfish Horsethief carbon frame 2015 cycles (26)

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.

Salsa Spearfish Horsethief carbon frame 2015 cycles (21)

Salsa Spearfish Horsethief carbon frame 2015 cycles (24) Salsa Spearfish Horsethief carbon frame 2015 cycles (23)

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.

Salsa Spearfish Horsethief carbon frame 2015 cycles (7)Salsa Spearfish Horsethief carbon frame 2015 cycles (20)

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.

Salsa Spearfish Horsethief carbon frame 2015 cycles (18) Salsa Spearfish Horsethief carbon frame 2015 cycles (13)

Salsa Spearfish Horsethief carbon frame 2015 cycles (19) Salsa Spearfish Horsethief carbon frame 2015 cycles (12)

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.

Salsa Spearfish Horsethief carbon frame 2015 cycles (9)

Salsa Spearfish Horsethief carbon frame 2015 cycles (15) Salsa Spearfish Horsethief carbon frame 2015 cycles (14)

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.

Salsa Spearfish Horsethief carbon frame 2015 cycles (2)

Salsa Spearfish Horsethief carbon frame 2015 cycles (6)

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.

Salsa Spearfish Horsethief carbon frame 2015 cycles (3) Salsa Spearfish Horsethief carbon frame 2015 cycles (5)

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.

Salsa Spearfish Horsethief carbon frame 2015 cycles (4)

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.

salsacycles.com

 

 

Comments

Topmounter - 07/22/14 - 4:34pm

I think I’ll put the Horsetheif on my “to demo” list.

Ck - 07/22/14 - 4:34pm

Always been a fan of the Spearfish/Horsethief. I’m hoping they can eventually make a similar change like what Specialized did with the Epic so you can run two water bottles, as the front triangles are somewhat similar in design and shock placement.

SketchyD - 07/22/14 - 4:46pm

Great news!

These two bikes are exactly what I wanted Salsa to launch – awesome!

Equine Master - 07/22/14 - 5:20pm

As an equestrian, I resent the name Horsethief. You mountain bikers are all the same, flying down trails without regard for fellow trail users. And now you name a bicycle that’s very commensurate with your attitude.

On the other hand, as a spear fisherman, I love the name Spearfish. I think I will pick up one of these bikes and poach some of the trails near my house, which don’t allow horses or bikes.

Note: I know I’ve contradicted myself, but, like all trail users, I usually hate whatever it is *everyone* else is doing. If I’m running, I hate bikers and horses; if I’m riding a horse, mountain bikers and hikers are idiots; and if I’m slaying singletrack, get the F out of the way everyone, including other mountain bikers…because I want it all for me. ME. MEMEMEMEMEME.

Hotep - 07/22/14 - 5:53pm

Man oh man are they becoming a major player! Also looks like the Salsa crew are following Santa Cruz in the color scheme department. Good looking bikes. Nice job Team Salsa.

j - 07/22/14 - 5:54pm

D*mn those are nice looking bikes. I’ve got the AL single pivot and love it, would love to try the split pivot models

JTrain - 07/22/14 - 6:49pm

I’m loving the Purple Haze paint, and while I’m stoked on the Horsethief, the look of the Spearfish reminds me too much of a 2013 Epic. I think the Camber Evo gets my gears turning a little faster, still.

buriedundersnow - 07/22/14 - 8:25pm

Bikes look nice and understated. Glad Salsa realizes not everyone wants a logo in every nook-and-cranny on their frame.

New Stan’s rims look dope too! Hope those logos are an OE-only thang.

Limba - 07/22/14 - 10:40pm

I don’t know how they ride but almost all of the new bikes look great. Nice job Salsa.

gary - 07/23/14 - 12:30am

I don’t like the heavy & expensive RS1. It totally negates the carbon weight savings. Why not use a Sid WC?

Mortimer - 07/23/14 - 3:52am

Nice that I can now get a frame only once again in the Spearfish. It would be nice if they kept their website up to date. I’d like more info on sizes/specs of a carbon Spearfish. Could very well be my next bike upgrade.

HeadInHands - 07/23/14 - 5:05am

I would LOVE to own one. i have been keeping an eye on Salsa, but unfortunately they are not interested in supplying to South Africa…

Will - 07/23/14 - 7:42am

While $7k is still a sh*tload, this is $5k less than a similarly spec’d bike from Specialized. Just sayin. This is more like it.

gerald t. - 07/23/14 - 8:55am

@gary- but the rs1 is differenter and excitinger and expensiver. All of which make it way more betterer when speccing a top level bike. Salsa isn’t the only one putting the rs1 out there this year, but i agree… that sh*t’s wack

Padrote - 07/23/14 - 12:24pm

They look good and all but I’m not sure I trust Salsa with carbon.

thesteve4761 - 07/23/14 - 12:29pm

@ gerald, @gary, @all RS-1 Haters

Maybe, just maybe, the PM’s for all of these RS-1 bikes think the ride quality of the fork is worth the weight and price?

WV Cycling - 07/23/14 - 1:26pm

I’m disappointed they went to a split pivot design for the Spearfish.

They originally touted that bike as being a simple full suspension bike for those looking for a hardtail with a bit of give.

I understand the benefits of a split pivot FS design, but the added complexity leaves me out of the game, especially when something needs added maintenance/replacement parts.

pants and jacket - 07/23/14 - 1:51pm

way to keep up with the trends ace, they went to split pivot last year

Shane - 07/23/14 - 4:38pm

What’s the target weight on the Horsethief frame?

Jeb from Ashland - 07/23/14 - 9:50pm

pants and jacket – 07/23/14 – 1:51pm
way to keep up with the trends ace, they went to split pivot last year

I know, still pissed. ;-(

AdventuresAnonymous - 07/23/14 - 10:35pm

What added complexity? The two large-bearing pivots at the rear axle? That’s about it, and trust me, the Split Pivot design is more durable than the original Spearfish/Horsethief design by far. Keep your bearings in good shape and replace them when they need it – exactly like the original – and you’ll have no issues.

jeffle - 07/24/14 - 4:16pm

The Rs1 is a big disappointment to me as well. I was really looking forward to this bike, but the fork is a big deal-breaker. If I wanted to deal with a proprietary hub, then I would have gotten a lighter, more common Lefty. Yes, I’ve logged many hours demoing the Rs1 on several different bikes.

Rocket - 07/25/14 - 5:37am

Jeffie – why the deal breaker? Wouldn’t you select the Spearfish Carbon with shimano if you did t want the RS1? I’d say the reason they offer another model is for this reason, not so customers make it a deal breaker…

Izzy - 07/30/14 - 3:59am

Oh wow, the colorway on that HT XTR looks fantastic!
SF Carbon1 is now on the top of my lust list!

Ya dood - 11/18/14 - 10:40pm

I rode the the Horsetheif alu splitty this past summer. It’s a spry pedaller. I wouldn’t put it in the same category as your speci enduro(I own), trek remedy, nomad, ect. It’s still a very capable bike when things get choppy but I would say it leans more towards the efficiency/pedal friendly category. Which leads me to believe it’d be an ideal bike for the lion’s share of rider’s ability and terrain they ride. The carbon version can only be an improvement regarding stiffness tracking; performance. Having said all that I’d like to try the bike again with a lowered Pike and some fatter gnarlier tires.

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