Thursday, November 11, 2010

Salsa Spearfish ride.

Yesterday I was fortunate to be able to test ride Salsa Cycles new Spearfish dual suspension model.  I rode the bike in it's complete form around Murphy and Lebanon Hills.  The weather was really gorgeous yesterday, and the trail conditions were as good as I have seen. 

The bike I rode was identical to factory spec.  It features a full Sram X9 2x10 drive train, Elixer brakes, a Reba tapered steer tube fork, WTB Wolverine tires, and Formula hubs laced to Stan's Arch rims.  I rode a size large bike, fitted with a 110mm Promoto stem and an 11 degree Salsa bar. 

This is a really handsome bike.  The hydro formed tubing really gives the bike a very flowing look.  Pairing a tapered head tube with a very large box type TT/DD/HT gusset, the front end is massive looking.  Stand over height was impressively large thanks to a very sloping top tube.  The triangular seat tube brace is even curved downwards, maximizing stand over while keeping the flowing lines going. 

Here you can see the down tube curving to meet the bottom bracket shell.  The shock mount/seat tube brace area looks really refined on this bike.  Overall there is a presence of put-togetherness, of simplicity and of class.

I should preface my riding impression by first saying that I don't really like full suspension bikes in general.  That's not to say that I don't understand the merits of full suspension, nor that I am against the idea of it.  Simply put, for most of my preferred riding, I like riding rigid bikes.  I have owned, and still do own, some very nice dual suspension bikes.  Currently I have a Titus Racer X 29er, but I have owned many Gary Fishers, and some other dualies over the years.  All of these bikes are bikes that I ride very seldom, often when recovering from injury, or as specific use bikes for various locals.  Even the Racer X, which is a very efficient bike, is just to squishy for my tastes to be an every day ride.  

The Titus is a similar bike in design to the Spearfish.  Both are designed for a 100mm front fork, and both have 80mm of efficient rear travel.  I like my suspension bikes set up so that the shocks are minimally noticeable.  I prefer stiffer suspension that provides comfort and control without the feeling wallowing around.  I had expected the Spearfish to ride similar to the Titus, and it does, only better.  In every respect, the Spearfish is just a much tighter bike.  It's more precise though corners.  It's smoother climbing both in and out of the saddle.  In every aspect, the Spearfish bests the Titus.

I think the thing that most impresses me about this bike is the performance for the dollar it offers.  This is not a $5000 race bike.  There is not a bit of titanium or carbon to be seen.  All of the parts are mid level performance parts from big companies.  It's really like everything is as nice as it needs to be, all at a hell of a reasonable price.  The X9 10 speed grouppo really works well.  It never missed a shift, I loved the double front, and it looks really great.  The Elixer brakes in 185/160mm worked really well too.  I was easily able to adjust the lever position for my XXL sized hands.  The brake pull and feel was very consistent as well.  Brake feel is one of my big pet peeves when it comes to bike set up.  These didn't disappoint.  The other components on the bike also worked well.  The stock saddle is comfortable, the bar and stem are light enough and look great, and the Salsa grips were grippy.  The wheels and tires worked very well once I dialed in tire pressure.  I love the addition of Stan's rims on Salsa factory specs.  This will please a lot of other folks I would guess as well.  

Bottom line, this bike is a bike I could see myself riding regularly, in it's stock set up no less.  Those of you who know me understand what a big deal that is.  The Spearfish, it's a game changer. 


Anonymous said...

Hey Ben,
How did the large fit? I'm 6' even and I have a Mamasita medium that fits great. Most of the geometry is the same, yet the Salsa site says I should be a large in the Spearfish. Any suggestions?

Ben said...


If your medium Mama fits great, I would get a medium Spearfish. They have the same effective top tube, and nearly the same seat tube length. I think the medium would be my choice in your situation.

I am 6' as well, and I am in between sizes. The Large fit me fine, but it was a little more stretched out than I prefer my bikes. I have longer legs and a shorter torso, so I usually gravitate toward medium sized bikes. I would probably ride a medium Spearfish.

Matt Perry said...

Thanks for the review! Any idea on the weight of the Spearfish with this stock build?

wvcycling said...

The frame is so pretty, and I love the design implements for the 2011's I just wish the crew at could see one of these in person...