Words: Dave Arthur
Salsa have been busy weaving some carbon fibre magic to their Horsethief and Spearfish 29ers for 2015. Both models were completely updated last year with the Split Pivot the biggest change to the suspension setup, and for 2015 both are now offered with a carbon fibre front triangle and seatstays. The Horsethief is their 120mm travel 29er and the Spearfish is a 80mm travel 29er.
For both the Horsethief and Spearfish they’ve used a high modulus carbon in the construction of the main frame and seat stays. The claim an increase in stiffness while also lending some vibration damping qualities. Something you’ll notice when you pick up the Horsethief is the 340g claimed weight saving.
Salsa will offer the Horsethief in two carbon fibre models and one 6066 aluminium bike for 2015. Each bike shares the same geometry, featuring on the size large (of four sizes) a 68.1 degree head angle and 73.5 degree seat angle, 1171mm wheelbase and 437mm chainstays.
The top model will get a full Shimano XTR 2×11 drivetrain, Fox F29 Factory Fit Kashima 130mm fork and Fox CTD Factory shock and a Thomson Elite Covert dropper post. Wheels will be XTR hubs on NoTubes Arch EX rims.
The second model in the range uses a SRAM X01 1×11 groupset with a RockShox Revelation RCT3 fork and Monarch RT3 shock, SRAM Guide RS brakes and Roam 40 wheels with a Thomson Elite post.
The entry-level bike gets a Fox F29 Evolution 130mm fork and Fox CTD shock, SLX and Deore drivetrain and brakes and SLX hubs on NoTubes Rapid 28 rims.
The 80mm Spearfish 29er drops about 220g from the main frame in the switch from aluminium to carbon fibre. Salsa claim a size medium Spearfish frame weighs just 4.97lb (2.25kg).
One nice feature of the carbon frame is a removable front derailleur mount. With the popularity of 1×10/11 transmissions, especially on racey bikes like the Spearfish, this is a smart move as not only does it save a smidgen of weight, it also looks a lot cleaner than having an ugly redundant mounts.
Such a frame requires a top-draw build kit and the flagship model doesn’t disappoint. Salsa have loaded it with the new RockShox RS-1 inverted forks with 100mm travel matched to a Monarch RT3 shock, with a SRAM XX1 transmission, Guide RSC brakes and NoTubes Crest rims on SRAM hubs.
Geometry is a bit steeper than the Horsethief. The head angle on the size medium (of five sizes) is 69.3 degrees with a 73.6 degree seat angle, 1142.2mm wheelbase and 437mm chainstays.
Next up is the second carbon Spearfish in the range, which gets a rather more modest build. A Fox F29 100mm fork and Float CTD shock, Shimano XT 2×10 groupset and XT Trail brakes and NoTubes Arch EX rims on Salsa’s own hubs.
There are also two aluminium models in the range, using RockShox or Fox suspension and SRAM X7/X9 or Shimano Deore build kits.