Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Salsa Cycles Spearfish 1

This year Salsa introduced two additional models to their Spearfish line.  By adding a model on the higher end, as well as the lower end of the price range they've made the Spearfish both more accessible and more performance competitive.  This post will focus on Salsa's new Spearfish 3, the flagship bike in that line.

The Salsa Spearfish is a wonderfully simple, efficient dual suspension bike.  I think of this bike more as riding more like a long travel soft tail as opposed to a traditional dual suspension bike.  The rear end of these feel as though there's just enough movement to take the edge off things and keep traction in many conditions.  The whole bike feels very planted and secure, regardless of pedaling technique.

Out back the Fox Float shock with Propedal and Boost Valve technology is an excellent pairing for the Spearfish.  One of the criticisms of the more entry level Spearfish bikes was that the shock provided was a bit basic, not so here.  The Spearfish 1 also features a 142mm thru axle rear end, matching the front end stiffness in the rear, and again improving over the standard Spearfish frame.

Up front the Spearfish features the excellent Fox Float thru axle fork.  Combined with the tapered steer tube and 15mm thru axle this fork tracks very well.  As with all high end Fox forks, these are easily adjustable to really dial your personal preferences.

The Spearfish 1 comes with Continental's new X King mountain tires.  The similar Race King's are some of my all time favorite tires, and these look to build on their great reputation.  The more aggressive X Kings should hook up much better in loose conditions, especially kitty litter type stuff over hardpack trails.  I may try running a Race King rear, X King front as my go to set up this season.  These are a great choice on this bike, and serve to compliment the comfort and control type suspension the Spearfish offers.

Components on this bike are top notch for the price.  The drive tain is predominantly Sram's X9 10 speed parts, with a X7 level front derailleur and Elixer 7 brakes used to keep costs a bit down.  These are all durable components that perform nearly on par with their higher end rivals that cost 2-3x's more.
Handlebars, and seat post are Salsa's new Pro Moto 1 carbon parts.  These are light, offer quite a bit of comfort, and are again reasonably priced.  These look phenomenal separately and on the bike, and fit the color scheme wonderfully well.  Salsa's Pro Moto 1 stem and a custom WTB Silverado stem round out the control package.

Wheels really make this bike stand out from it's competitors.  Most companies use wheels as a place to cut costs from bike models, not so here.  DT's excellent 350 thru axle hubs feature their famous star ratchet drive systemis the easiest to maintain of any high end hubs.  They are light, and roll very easily.  Out at the business end of things Stan's Arch rims are as good as it gets for standard XC tubeless rims. Laced with DT Swiss spokes right here in Minnesota, these hand built wheels are simply awesome.

Overall this is a hugely high performance bike for a reasonable price.  For $3499.99 this bike offers a ton of smartly picked parts.  It's a great looking bike, and it should be fast as all get out.


Exhausted_Auk said...

Looking at Salsa's web site, I think the bike you are reviewing is the Spearfish 1, not 3.

Ben said...

You are of course right. Thanks for that.

It's obvious then that the 1, 2, 3, thing still gets me. Most other companies I know of name their bikes with the highest number being the best, hard to break that habit after 12 years of that!