Rumors began circulating that Salsa was looking into a new suspension design for their mountain bikes sometime around Frostbike, and it’s finally official – the new Salsas are Split Pivot. Taking advantage of Dave Weagle’s Split Pivot design (also currently licensed by Devinci, Morewood, BH, and more), Salsa hopes to keep the adventurous spirit of mountain biking alive by providing even more capable, efficient machines.
Rather than a complete redesign, Salsa’s goal was to keep the original soul to the bikes but create an even better ultra endurance racing/riding bike out of the Spearfish and a more capable trail bike on rugged terrain out of the Horsethief. Details and specs after the break…
The beauty of the Split Pivot design is that with the axle concentric around the rear pivot in combination with proper link placement, the frame can effectively decouple acceleration and braking forces. That means that the suspension is both more active under hard braking and also keeps supple small bump compliance under pedaling load. Weagle has alway been a proponent of using the suspension’s kinematics to control the ride rather than using high amounts of low speed compression damping, and the result is improved small bump compliance on both of the new rides through the custom tuned Fox Float CTD rear shock.
Split Pivot also means a simple 142×12 axle system with the replaceable derailleur hanger built into the inside of the seat stay.
The Spearfish continues life as an 80mm endurance racing/riding rig built around a 100mm travel fork with 51mm offset up front. Minimal changes were made to the frame’s layout though the chainstays have been shortened to 437mm for improved agility. Due to some FEA work on the AL-6066 -T6 double butted frame, the redesign resulted in an impressive 21% increase in lateral stiffness at the rear. Additional changes include a switch from a PF30 to a BB92 bottom bracket and a high direct mount front derailleur instead of a clamp style previously used.
Even as an endurance frame, tire clearance is designed around 29×2.25-2.35 (2.35 max) and it boasts dropper post compatibility. The frames should also include improved fit and finish with factory faced and reamed tubes, anodized finish options, and an improved hardware kit. One thing you gotta love about Salsa is how much detail they go into in their specs – right down to the 17287 & 6801 2RS sealed cartridge bearings speced on the frame. If only every company went to such depth.
Spearfish will be available in four different builds, the $5,499 anodized Spearfish XX1, the $4,099 Spearfish 1, the $3,299 Spearfish 2, and the $2,750 Spearfish 3 (clockwise from top left). While the XX1 model is anodized, the remaining models are all painted, and the Spearfish 1 will also be available as a frame only for $1,699. Sizing will be XS-XL.
When it came to the Horsethief, Salsa wanted to make the already capable, longer travel brother to the Spearfish more efficient and useable through the whole range of travel. The addition of Split Pivot was a great start as the shock no longer needs the low speed compression damping as mentioned and offers more support in the mid range while keeping the bottomless feel Split Pivot is known for. The Horsethief also goes on a chainstay reduction plan with a big drop from 460mm to 437mm – the same as the Spearfish.
Suspension travel remains at 120mm, with the frame intended for a 120-130mm travel fork with a 51mm offset. Like the Spearfish, the Horsethief also remains aluminum with its 6066-T6 double butted, mechanically formed tubing. Maximum tire size is capped at 2.35″ and the frame also now uses a high direct mount, top pull only front derailleur and BB92 bottom bracket. Salsa specifies that both bikes have a maximum 2x gearing of 24/48t and 1x gearing of 36t, though both frames are optimized around 22/36t and 32t for 2x and 1x configurations.
Similar improvements in finish have been made to the Horsethief with improved facing, reaming, and hardware. Unlike the Spearfish there is no anodized option, just 3 painted models in S-XL sizes.
The Horsethief will be offered in the $5,699 XX1, $4,599 Horsethief 1, and $3,299 Horsethief 2, with the Horsethief 1 frameset available for $1,699.