Salsa split Pivot Horse Thief 2

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…

Salsa Spearfish Rear Split Pivot

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.

Salsa split Pivot Dropouts

Split Pivot also means a simple 142×12 axle system with the replaceable derailleur hanger built into the inside of the seat stay.

Salsa Spearfish Split Pivot Bike

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.

Salsa Spear Fish Spread

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.

Salsa HorseThief

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.

Salsa split Pivot Horse Thief 1

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.

Salsa HorseThief bike 29

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.


  1. What is “the original soul to the bikes”? Is that QBP marketing lingo, or BikeRumor writing? Whomever’s responsible, it could have been said far better with much less cornball.

    Bikes don’t have souls, eh? They’re inanimate.

    In any case, QBP have made these 2 bikes much better and less barge-like with these changes.

    Jeff seems to think suspension systems are determined by their looks. What is this, Pinkbike? It looks like a bike, Jeff.

  2. 80mm of rear suspension in the Spearfish is a little disappointing. Seems like they could have bumped it up to at least 100mm for an “ultra endurance” race bike.

  3. Horst link is better. Would be a good day when stupid patent is expired.

    All bicycle suspension designs are parroting century old vehicle technology and should not have been allowed. That includes DW patents which are bogus. Patenting anti-squat?

  4. Anyone have any thoughts on why Santa Cruz is abandoning DW link? Split pivot seems like a step back. It’s like a single pivot but with rear brake affecting suspension performance a bit less, like in Horst like suspension. Except that Horst like suspension also offers floating pivot so there’s a lot more potential for performance.

  5. santa cruz does not use a DW link. santa cruz’s linkage bikes are VPP, main thing being their links counter-rotate. and theyre not abandoning it. theyve had two distinct lines of bikes- single pivot and VPP- for a long time.

  6. Horst links DO decouple the braking forces from the frame and the patent expired over a month ago but obviously rather than design the new models for a release date AFTER the expiration, Salsa decided to take the route of going to licensing the split-pivot patent instead. Why royalties is better for the customer than no royalties only QBP can answer, but these new bikes jumped significantly in price. Also after pushing PF30 for three years now they go to the shimano BB92 instead? Gee thanks for that.

  7. Looking forward to test riding one of the Spearfish (Spearfishes??????) once they’re at my LBS. Given the high component value for the price, it will likely be my next ride…

What do you think?