Editor’s Note: We got some bad info to start with on this, so the entire article has been pretty much rewritten.

Salsa’s Horsethief 29er is a longer travel version of their original 29er full suspension bike, the Spearfish (orange bike, stage left).

The Spearfish was introduced at Interbike last year with some fanfare thanks to its healthy spec and low price. The Horsethief builds on that with 120mm travel in the rear and 120mm to 140mm in the front plus some solid spec updates. Check it out after the break…

The original Spearfish 29er.

In addition to the increased travel, the Horsethief gets some upgraded spec over the Spearfish, including a Fox shock and Marzocchi fork. The angles are a bit slacker and the top tube is a bit longer than normal and comes with the recommendation that you run a shorter stem and wider bar, setting the bike up to favor gravity riding.

The biggest (only?) frame change is a move from standard QR to 142×12 Maxle thru-axle in the rear. The Horsethief does away with the Spearfish’s PFBB30 in favor of a standard bottom bracket, but it adds ISCG05 tabs. It also gains dropper seat cable guides for clean routing.

Since there’s no pivot at the rear axle, the seatstays are flat to absorb some of the flex…similar to the old Trek Fuel and Fisher Sugar frames. They’re spaced to accommodate up to 29×2.5″ tires.


  1. Spearfish is 80mm-100mm/80mm travel and Horsethief is 120mm-140mm/120mm travel. Different setups and uses, not just paint jobs. Check the Salsa website.

  2. Horrible reporting guys. Sorry to say it as I’m a big fan. A quick look at the specs and geo on the Salsa website tel the story. BTW, @Salsa: I’m looking for a job! I know more than those dudes sitting in your booth.

  3. The Horsethief says, “May chainstays are toooooo long.”, and the Spearfish says “My bottom bracket is toooooo low.”, it is obvious that these bikes are designed by people who live in Minnesota, where mountain biking is done sans mountains.

  4. Well, funny thing, the guys working the Salsa booth said they were the same bike so, you know, we took their word for it. Thanks for the info, though, we just don’t always have time to fact check “facts” we get directly from manufacturers.

  5. There is a new version of the spearfish that gets a better shock, fork, thru-axle, and anodizing rather than paint. That could be what they were pointing you to.

  6. Orange Spearfish, Bluish Horsethief. All the info on the Horsethief was posted on Salsa’s blog 5 days ago, Info on the updated Spearfish was posted 2 days ago.

  7. Bikerumor –

    We have chatted before via email, and I hope you still have mine. You are always welcome to contact me for detailed information about our products.

    The folks in the booth were not representatives of Salsa, they were employees of our German distributor.

    The Horsethief is anything but a re-painted Spearfish, in fact it is entirely different, only sharing a few parts such as the tapered head tube and the dropout forging.

    Please set a time to come see me at Interbike, and I will walk you through our product.

    Thanks, Tim

  8. Which specific “Horsethief” trail is this named after? Too many results on google. I know I seen it before in pictures. Anyone mind narrowing it down to the state or region for me?

  9. I rode this bike for a few hours in Deer Valley UT a few weeks back. This bike was a total delight and surprise to ride. It really goes down hill in ways that you never think a 29er would. I had a chance to ride a lot of bikes over a few days and this one surprised me the most. If you live in the right terrain where this much travel comes in handy, I would throw this on your short list.

  10. “It’s a 29r no update needed. Still surprised people are riding these.”

    People ride 29ers because they’re better than 26ers for most terrain. You should try it some time.

    My Salsa Big Mamma 29er is awesome btw. Big fan of the Big Mamma. Wish I had a local outlet to demo the Horsethief.

  11. The guys and gals of WV Cycling are really wanting to see one of these in person. They look like the perfect price point, but so little reviews and true non-sponsored info is out there on them, even on the older models that have been out there for a year or so.

    Gerry Pflug told me a sentence or two about them, and I trust his word as a Salsa sponsored rider, but the bike is so…. cool yet kinda mysterious due to lack of info.

What do you think?