Video: Salsa's New Blackthorn Trail Bike - First Look

Sep 13, 2020 at 13:22
by Mike Levy  

While Salsa might be best known as 'the Minnesota brand with all the touring and fat bikes,' that might change with the debut of their all-new, 140mm-travel Blackthorn trail bike. With a 160mm fork and a geometry chart that wouldn't look out of place for an enduro bike, Salsa says that the Blackthorn is ''Built for riding any trail anywhere with confidence.''

I've got the top-tier and very purple Carbon X01 Eagle version that costs $7,499 USD for an upcoming Field Test video review, but complete bikes start at $3,199 for an aluminum frame, 12-speed Deore components, RockShox suspension, and proper Maxxis tires. Unlike most brands, Salsa also offers an aluminum frame/shock for $2,099, or you can get the carbon model for $3,199 USD.

Blackthorn Details

• Travel: 140mm rear / 160mm front
• Wheel size: 29"
• Carbon or alloy frame options
• Split Pivot rear suspension
• Adjustable geometry
• 64.6-degree head angle (low setting)
• Super Boost hub spacing
• Weight: 32lbs 6oz
• MSRP: $3,199 - $7,499 USD

Carbon versions cost from $4,899 to $7,499 USD, but the least expensive aluminum Blackthorn goes for $3,199 USD.

Blackthorn Frame Details

Salsa has ticked all the boxes with the Blackthorn, including on-frame storage solutions by way of many threaded holes and an integrated frame strap slot at the forward shock mount. They're not the first to do this, but they did add a rubber scuff guard to keep the tube and whatever else you carry from scratching your frame. Bosses on the toptube let you attach a bag or computer mount as well, and the 'three-pack' bottle mount on the downtube gives you even more options.

The Blackthorn offers all sorts of ways to carry supplies.
Cable routing is internal and pass-through via molded-in tubes.

Another threaded hole you might get excited about: The bottom bracket, which is where you'll also find a set of ISCG 05 chain guide tabs. Those are removable on the carbon frame via an adapter, and they're welded onto the aluminum version.

Cable routing is internal and molded-in guides inside the carbon frame mean that it's as easy as pulling out the old line and pushing the new one in. If you get the aluminum frame, you'll find large openings that should mean the job isn't too tricky. And speaking of cables, there's even a small opening for a remote shock lockout, should you feel the need.

Blackthorn Carbon
The carbon Blackthorn frame (left) retails for $3,199...
...Or you can get the alloy version (right) for $2,099 USD.

Salsa has a long history of offering bikes that can accept all sorts of wheel and tire sizes, and that continues with the Blackthorn; you can squeeze in up to a 2.6" wide tire if you stick with 29" wheels, or even 3.0" rubber if you go to a 27.5" rear wheel, despite short 432mm aluminum chainstays. That's possible, Salsa says, due to the bike's 12mm x 157mm Super Boost hub spacing that's sure to rile some of us up.

The Carbon SLX model (above) costs $4,899.
The Carbon GX bike goes for $5,999 USD.

Split Pivot Suspension

Salsa's been using Dave Weagle's Split Pivot suspension layout for many years now, and that's exactly what you'll find on the back of the Blackthorn. It's a design that allows the rear pivot to rotate concentrically around the axle, and a rocker link and clevis drive the shock to deliver 140mm of travel. There's also a nearly hidden flip-chip on the clevis that supplies 0.3-degrees of angle and 4mm of bottom bracket height adjustment.

Split Pivot suspension allows the rear pivot to rotate concentrically around the axle to deliver 140mm of travel.

It's a straightforward looking layout, and Salsa also says that it's ''uniquely suited'' to let riders swap out the clevis, rocker, and shock to those used on the 165mm-travel Cassidy. Salsa will sell you the rocker and clevis for $150 USD. Of course, you'll need a longer stroke shock and fork, too, making it a not-so-inexpensive transformation. It also means that Salsa can offer two platforms from a single front and rear triangle.

Long and Slack Geometry

Salsa didn't take any half-steps with the Blackthorn's geometry, instead jumping in feet first with a 64.6-degree head angle, 76.5-degree seat angle, and 490mm reach on my large-sized test bike. You can also steepen it up by a third of a degree by flipping the rearward shock mounting hardware, which also raises the bottom bracket by 4mm. Small changes, for sure, but likely useful if you're considering a 27.5" rear wheel.

Two other numbers worth mentioning: A short 455mm seat tube on a size-large leaves room for long-travel party posts, and the extra-large size sports a 510mm reach that should make beanstalks happy.


  • 147 12
 I don’t think anyone of sound mind will choose the GX over the SLX. The $1200 price jump for a worse drivetrain and comparable suspension and finishing kit is ridiculous
  • 85 27
 I wOulD haPPiLY pAy $1200 mORe foR a BiKe wiTh a CrankSeT tHaT i caNt reMOve wiThOut a PryBAr !
  • 34 5
 @rickybobby18: user name checks out.
  • 57 6
 $4900 for an SLX bike is also a joke.
  • 32 0
 For that matter, not sure why anyone would get the Carbon SLX over the Alloy version. Stated weight is within .2lbs, and you can put a Charger 2 damper in the Yari and still come out about $700 ahead. Spend that $700 well, and you will come out with a better bike that's also lighter. Plus the alloy frame looks great!
  • 43 2
 It's a bit odd, but I'm told at OE pricing, GX = XT, give or take a few bucks. Similarly, X01 = XTR, which just seems insane. SLX = NX, which again, is just insanity. SRAM has work to do on their performance or their pricing.
  • 38 0
 .. I just enjoy that they put Rock Shox on the Shimano bike and Fox on the SRAM bike and the comments havent broken.
  • 19 0
 @tkrug: this was the first thing I noticed. Works for me though as I prefer Shimano and Rockshox anyway.
  • 11 13
 Honestly I think the bigger difference is getting a Lyrik with the SLX build opposed to the god awful performance Fox 36. They were seriously high pricing the GX build
  • 11 34
flag hllclmbr (Sep 15, 2020 at 15:24) (Below Threshold)

This style of being "edgy" is so stale, and super annoying.

Just stop, already.
  • 9 4
 @rickybobby18: please keep it up, you consistently have the funniest comments.
  • 17 1
 @OneTrustMan: why would anyone buy this over a Ripmo AF with SLX and DVO for less money?
  • 6 0
 @ReformedRoadie: This bike is lighter by 2lbs than the Ripmo iirc. But yeah...if you want the better bike and better suspension...the Ripmo Deore build for 3200$ is the best you can get. Ibis just killed it with that bike for an aggro trail bike that climbs ultra well, especially with the Deore build. I'd hope these other brands would try to compete on cost better.
  • 9 13
flag SassyTheSasquatch (Sep 15, 2020 at 22:43) (Below Threshold)
 if its the new 10-52t Sram GX setup, then I'll jump on it in a heart beat...
SLX isn't that great, in fact its pretty lackluster compared to GX.
Having Tried both the SLX and XT Drivetrains and also the GX and XO Drivetrains, i'd have to put my finger on Sram... Still better, very 'slightly' better than Shimano... and the New GX 10-52t drivetrain looks extremely worth it! Smile
  • 4 8
flag SassyTheSasquatch (Sep 15, 2020 at 22:48) (Below Threshold)
Rockshox is just so far ahead of Fox for burly single crown enduro forks. Better performance on the trail, feel, cheaper, simple, easy to service, the list goes on.
Fox 36 performance is nearly comparable to a Yari... absolute crap performance!
  • 2 1
 @SassyTheSasquatch: yeah nah nah yeah nah mate, gx feels a lot more “wooden” than slx imo. Plus I’ve had 3 gx derailleurs personally fail on me and have repaired countless at work since the cage material is on par with butter for strength. Can’t speak for the new 10-52 stuff though which apparently has a stronger clutch.
  • 3 0
 The SLX 12 speed is pretty cheaply made this year. We've had so many rear ders just folding between the pulley wheels. GX just seems to work and work. From what I've seen this year. XT is great this year though.
  • 3 1
 @SassyTheSasquatch: “ SLX isn't that great, in fact its pretty lackluster compared to GX.”

I know we’re all entitled to our opinions, but are you sure about that? I have a full SLX bike and a full GX bike sitting in my garage right now. They (the drivetrains) are almost identical in function and feel. GX has a slight advantage with the thumb shifter being easier to actuate. I would say the SLX is a little tighter and more precise in shifting, in my opinion. Otherwise they are nearly identical, excluding purely personal preferences (dropping up to 2-3 gears on SLX vs up to 5 on GX, stuff like that, but nobody ever dumps half their cassette in one thumb press).

Maybe this is one of those purely personal preference things, like Guide brakes: I’m absolutely not a fan of the Guide R’s I’ve got on my GX bike (they work well but I dislike the MoDuLaTiOn of Guides in general) but the SLX brakes I’ve got on my SLX build are wonderful (they bite quicker and harder with less MoDuLaTiOn). I know people who completely disagree with my assessment, though.
  • 2 0
 Maybe it's just me but after putting a Luftkappe in my performance I definitely think it punches above it's weight class now. But I agree before that upgrade it felt like a pool noodle in front, not very confidence inspiring.
  • 2 0
 Right? Wish SLX 12s had existed when I bought GX eagle for my bike...
  • 2 1
 @OneTrustMan: $4900 for a Salsa is a joke.
  • 1 0
Yeh, I should have typed "in my opinion" after that sentence, Like you say it does definitely come down to personal preference, but I have ridden SLX, XT, GX and XO drivetrains on my current and previous bikes, in my humble opinion, GX is my personal preference.
  • 2 0
  • 1 0
 @Svinyard: Lighter doesn't always mean better, especially these days! Everything is heavier! The extra weight is actually an advantage - adds to more stability.
  • 47 9
 Apart from superboost (why is this not at the bottom of the ocean) then this looks pretty mega!!

Good luck to Salsa with this. Geo looks dam fine !
  • 18 13
 157 boost kinda makes sense for big 29” wheels intended for rowdy use I guess? Wasn’t needed back when the original 157 spacing turned little stiff 26” wheels.
  • 28 8
 i hate stiffer, strong wheels and tech trickling down from DH bikes as well
  • 11 5
 @consularship: The big wheels on big bikes kind of requires it for sure.
  • 18 15
 Everything looked awesome until I saw Superboost.
  • 23 5
 Someone explain the hate of Superboost to me? Other than the whole needing to get new wheels/hubs if you upgrade from an older frame. Aside from that is there any technical reason it's bad? What am I missing?
  • 7 2
 @WhiteroomGuardian: I know people with big feet may have issues hitting the rear triangle with their heels while pedaling
  • 6 2

agree on that. that’s a deal breaker for me. not SB per se but the increased likelihood of heel clearance issues. Try before you buy with super boost.

A boost wheelset can be redished and inexpensive spacers added to fit so everyone can keep their custom wheels.

It’s just an unnecessary thing tho.
  • 15 5
Exactly that. Only a handful of bikes take superboost. Its a pita if you buy frame only and want to swap stuff over.

And its marketing bullsiht.
If you want a stiffer back wheel use 32 spokes instead of 28. And anyway, some bike frames are so stiff now that reviewers are recommending using alloy wheels - eg pivot firebird 29 pinkbike review
  • 12 5
 @WhiteroomGuardian: it's pointless and reduces heel clearance and compatibility.

Trek were selling their Fuel Ex that clears 29*2.6" or 27.5"*2.8" with 148mm spacing and similar chainstay length in 2017. 157mm spacing just doesn't seem to be adding anything.
  • 10 0
 @Austink: Big feet guy and persistent ankle clipper, i dont hit anymore on my super boost bike than my normal boost bike, they both have to be taped to stop me rubbing away the paint
  • 12 3
 @PhillipJ: FWIW, I’ve found I have better heel clearance on bikes with SB, than bikes without. Maybe it’s how individual chain stays are shaped, and may not translate over to all SB bikes, but those are my personal findings.
  • 9 2
 @Austink: My size 13 feet have no issues with Superboost on my Switchblade.
  • 1 0
 @Austink: I do that with Boost spacing already. But fair point
  • 2 2
 Buying a frame with wider rear axle might give you more of a chance to be able to keep your frame when the wheel size changes next
  • 9 8
 I’ll just leave this here...
but to summarise: Super boost is useless and it was brought into the market by i9 and Pivot.
  • 5 1
 @Austink: I have size 13 feet and ride the new Wreckoning and I had more heel rub on my previous bike, the process 111. The only heel rub I notice is when I'm cranking uphill and have bad form, and then its maybe one or two slight grazes here or there. I know Knolly claims there is actually more heel clearance on their bikes.
  • 3 0
 @WhiteroomGuardian: specialized demo uses a 12x148.. doesn't cause any stiffness issues for Bruni and finn. A narrow back end makes sketchy tight lines easier. No racer runs tires wider than 29x2.5 so any more clearance is wasted space

12x157 Downsides
1. Extra weight, parts need to be bigger
2. Heel clearance gets even worse
3. Derailleur more likely to be ripped off

And there are rumors that a 15mm rear axle may be coming soon for e-bikes...
  • 9 0
 @WhiteroomGuardian: I have 4 bikes with boost, interchangeability goes out the window with a needless new standard.
  • 3 1
 @isuckatridingbutmybikeiscool: That's not even remotely what that article says.
  • 1 0
 I approve.
  • 4 1
From our customer service point of view and also confirmed by our test laboratory and field tests, we see no reason to replace the established Boost 148 mm standard. – DT SWISS
  • 1 0
 @Austink: Yep, that’s the one! Give me a downhill bb and narrow chain stay any day!
  • 2 1
 @isuckatridingbutmybikeiscool: For those of us that ride dh, we can finally use the same rear wheel again on our trail bike.
  • 4 1
 @DHhack: buy a demo, they use a 148mm rear wheel. Those flimsy, flexy, horrible rear wheels didn’t seem to slow him down... super boost is just another marketing scam brought to you by greedy companies wanting to make everything obsolete within a short time. I was happy with 142mm, I’m happy with 148mm and I am not any happier when I ride 157mm rear spaced bikes.
  • 1 2
 @isuckatridingbutmybikeiscool: I did read the article. DT Swiss says that they chose not to "replace established Boost 148 mm standard." Big deal. They're not in charge of "replacing the standard." That's their opinion, but I notice that they've chosen to make 157mm hubs.
  • 2 0
 @isuckatridingbutmybikeiscool: I’ve noticed zero difference in my ability to destroy the rear wheel of a trail bike if it’s boost 148 or 135/142. A complete waste if you are heavy, aggressive and riding rough terrain.
  • 1 1
 @thelibrarybiker: actually 15mm axle makes more sense over 157
  • 2 0
 @ReddyKilowatt: my feet are only 10.5 and I didn't hit my heels on the chainstays of the Switchblade any more than I do on my Sentinel. However, my calves hit the Switchblade's seatstays with every pedal revolution. Total non-starter for me. I agree with the advice to test ride Superboost bikes before putting down your money.
  • 1 0

For sure a few things at play here. Foot size, calf size, and the way some riders' (me) feet angle out which means my heels turn in a bit.
  • 33 9
 Even the cheapest carbon version is too expensive to be competitive. If it was 1000$ cheaper, then maybe. But with pricing like this I'd rather have a Norco Optic, Marin Rift Zone Carbon, Fezzari Delano Peak or Bird Aether 9C.

Also: Super Boost...
  • 81 10
 You lost me at Fezzari...
  • 11 26
flag Callum-rose (Sep 15, 2020 at 7:21) (Below Threshold)
 I own 2 Salsa bikes. Yes they are expensive but the ride quality is unmatched. I just need more money to I can buy this newest one.
  • 8 3
 @bishopsmike: Why though? Something wrong with them? Genuine question.
  • 3 0
 @BenTheSwabian: N+1 man. The more bikes the better!!!!!
  • 29 6
 @BenTheSwabian: I simply can't get past the name. Super prejudiced, I know. Fezzari - Sounds like a frozen pizza.
  • 3 0
 @pdxkid: Frozen pizza or salsa and chips?
  • 10 0
 @Callum-rose: R u a bot? A salsa bot?
  • 31 0
 @Callum-rose: Is Salsa know for ride quality? Like this is the first time I am hearing that claim. I generally regard Salsa as cool fat bikes and gravel/commuter bikes.
  • 7 0
 @Callum-rose: I have a vague idea, but what does ride quality mean on a full sus bike (genuine question)? When a bike has good ride quality, how much of it is down to the tyres and the shock and the fork, and how much of it is down to the actual frame design?
  • 3 2
 @BenTheSwabian: The two guys (enduro racers) I know who own a LaSal Peak absolutely love it. One did have a crack on the rear triangle, the little bar below the lower pivot, that connects left and right chainstays probably got hit by some rocks. He rode it all season and as far as I recall got the triangle replaced on warranty.
  • 16 3
 It's a Salsa, so not exactly top tier tech, prices are gourmet but Salsa long ago forgo their boutique nature. Lots of DW and Split Pivot bikes out there, hard to pick this bike over a Devinci, esp when Devinci welds their aluminum frames in house. Then there's all the other cool bikes like Canfield and Revel, high pivots, etc... Salsa could have done something a little more novel than simply pile onto what everyone else is doing.
  • 21 0
 @pdxkid: it sounds like a Fiero masquerading as a Ferrari to me
  • 4 1
 @bishopsmike: I was thinking about getting a Delano peak. Do you have anything in particular against them? My wife is a sponsored rider who shreds the La Sal and I’ve spent time on one and come away impressed. The name is quirky for sure. What was your experience?
  • 3 0
 @sjma: I mean, if you didn't have a Fiero in the 80's/early 90's were you really trying? Big Grin I wasn't driving until mid 90's but.
  • 4 0
 @pdxkid: not much bro appeal, ya know trailhead cred.
  • 13 4
 Salsa owners, worst brand oriented user group on the trails. Maybe it’s just here in MN where they like to lord it over you that they bought “local”. Hopefully, once they come down from the high of huffing their own farts, they’ll notice the “made in Taiwan” stamp.
  • 2 2
 @roma258: I have Salsa (Pony Rustler) and yes, good ride quality.
  • 2 0
 I like Salsa. They make good bikes and help drive different parts of the industry such as gravel/ bikepacking/ fat bikes. This bike looks great, Split Pivot and good geometry. Yet, It seems overpriced by about 10%. Who is going to want a Deore 12 speed Deore Salsa Al when you can get a Ripmo AF for the same price? You step up to full DW link, and I’d assume better wheels and fork (assuming on the last part as their site is sluggish right now and can’t find any info right now for spec) and a bike with a higher resale value. Salsa has been crushing it for value for a shop bike, well until now, IMHO.
  • 1 14
flag Callum-rose (Sep 15, 2020 at 11:19) (Below Threshold)
 @roma258: Salsa started out with more of the adventure bike side of things then transferred those bike building skills over to the mountain side of things.

The salsa frames are stiff yet also compliant. You really have to ride one to feel it for yourself.
  • 10 0
 @mildsauce91: Mmmmmmmm, salsa bot....
  • 4 1
 @TugboatComplex: "why don't they have Salsa on pinkbike?"

'what do you need Salsa for?'

"salsa is now the number 1 bike manufacturer in the pinkbike comment section!"

'do you know why? because people like to say sal-saaaaa'
  • 1 0
 @sjma: "I was in the pool!!!"
  • 3 0
 @Callum-rose: every single bike ever built is "stiff but compliant" just maybe not to your preferred ratio of stiffness to compliance.
  • 3 0
 @whambat: Exaaaactly. Any brand requiring more money for a lesser bike than the Ripmo AF Deore build at 3200$ needs to rethink things.
  • 27 1
 So many brands, so many bikes. Hopefully this endless parade of full suspension bikes will eventually lead to a price drop... somewhere
  • 4 0
 Yep, but who actually has bikes to ship to customers? I have expressed interest in a few bikes at my lbs, but it's hard to get excited when the now almost standard response is that they can get the one I want "in a few months".
  • 6 1
 Bike prices went up once the brands realized they needed to close the price gap between them and the ebikes to make the latter appear as not so expensive.

They also needed a way to subsidize the extra cost of batteries and motors. Grab a couple of comparable ebikes and regular bikes and check their spec and prices: you're basically getting the motor and battery for free on the ebikes.

So if you choose a regular bike today from a brand which also sells ebikes, you're basically financing their ebike line from scratch. Not that it's a bad thing per se, but it's something worth considering IMHO.
  • 3 0
 I was pretty surprised when I checked lower priced FS options like the recently announced Polygon Siskiu T8. I'm more familiar with the European side of things, but here we also have some sweet options from D2C brands like Canyon, Radon, Rose. Lower end drivetrains are getting better and better, stuff like 4 pot brakes are getting cheaper, reliable droppers are getting cheaper. FS bikes or just bikes in general are still not cheap, but personally i'm kinda happy with today's bikes, especially if I look back what we had 10-15 years ago.
  • 4 0
 @southoftheborder: it's like some execs thought "Hey, Porsche had to sell the Cayenne and Macan to subsidize their sports cars. We can do that, too!"

And then not realizing this is the inverse of that.
  • 19 1
 I think there's an opening for a major brand to come out with lighter, slightly less aggressive geo. Modern components, lighter frame, something that's around 1200-1220 mm wheelbase, just a trail bike that works for most for most of the trails people are riding. Not everyone needs or has the terrain/pace to utilize these tanks.
  • 5 1
 I think what you are saying is inevitable and also happens in other sports. For example, Whitewater kayak design has pretty much come to a head and now we are seeing manufacturers bringing back designs from 15-20 years ago and re marketing them as retro.
  • 9 0
 @DJ-24: motorcycle manufacturers have pretty much stopped making sportbikes, because they got so extreme and track focused that they were impossible to ride on the street. Now it's all retros and adventure bikes.
  • 9 0
 Stumpjumper ST? With the flip chip in high, the bikes geo isnt that aggressive.
  • 9 0
 Revel rascal seems like the ticket. 1220mm wheelbase on a large. 464mm reach. 66 HTA.
  • 1 0
 @WE-NEED-MORE-ROOST: yeah, that bike is modern trailbike perfection imo, though obviously Revel is pretty tiny.
  • 2 0
 Process 134
  • 1 0
 Like a jeffsy or a spectral?
  • 8 0
 I just went back to a bike with decent travel (150/160) but shorter reach, shorter wheelbase, and 66.5 degree HT angle and it's been refreshing to ride. Techy climbs are more fun, the handling is much sharper, and overall I'm having a much better time riding where I live in the Ozarks. We definitely have serious lines, but the descents aren't long enough and the climbs are too techy to sacrifice all-around performance just for descending. I feel bogged down on a super slack and long bike everywhere but at the park.
  • 1 0
 @ozarksagd: Process 153?
  • 2 0
 @roma258: Spot Rollik 150 - after adjusting back to the shorter reach I’m loving it. I had a Rollik 557 when they first came out so it’s kind of like returning to what I know and love.
  • 3 0
 Marketing sells rowdy bikes, everyone watches the videos and knows they will be fully pinned after 6 months of riding once a week
  • 2 0
 Just got a Norco Fluid. Marketed as a "budget" bike, but I think is the perfect trail bike. 470mm reach, 66.5 HA and 1204mm wheelbase, AL frame. Some components are lacking, but if you're like me and planning to do some upgrading then it's almost perfect.
  • 1 0
 Gravel bike!
  • 2 1
 @roma258 this! Spot on. Enduro bike angles and weight are not for everyone, and super stretched/steep seat angles are not always great for mellower terrain or ride all day bikes. Hope brands start to realise this. We don’t want back to old-fashioned geo, but middle ground would be good for a lot of riders.
  • 2 0
 Cannondale is more or less doing that. But it seems that they are not exactly loved for that approach. And I think as long as in all the group tests the most agressive bikes get all the acllaim, it will be hard for manufacturers to refuse this trend.
  • 3 0
 @elmaar: yeah that's an interesting point. Ofcourse head angle and wheelbase are only two pieces of the overall bike puzzle. But Cannondale is an east coast company, so I am not surprised they're going for this approach. I was seriously considering the Habit, but the seat tube is just too tall on the large for my short legs. Hopefully the next iteration will nail it. Jamis is another potential candidate, their 3VO bikes have a lot of potential.

But yeah, good point about the group tests. As long as Pinkbike keep running their test primarily out of Squamish, the moderate geo bikes will keep getting thumbs down. We really need an east coast focused pub, just to balance things a bit.
  • 1 0
 @roma258: I live in north van and hell, sometimes I don't even like super slack bikes. If I hadn't gotten a deal on a Norco Sight (friend sold me his), I'd have probably gotten a habit.
  • 2 0
 @roma258: Pinkbike could hire an east coast editor who does bike testing. Hell, put someone here in NWA where you've got such a variation in trail style and surface.
  • 20 3
 Wow, those are some long reach numbers. Not what I expected from salsa. Bravo
  • 3 2
 You should do a review video.
  • 7 1
 @topfuel564: not hardtaily enough. Smile In all seriousness, I'd love to try one.
  • 1 0
 @hardtailparty I thought the same thing! They've been stuck in the early 2000s with their geo numbers till I saw this bike. As someone who just switched from a 2005 Rocky Mountain ETSX to a UK built Stanton Switch9er 631, I'm convinced on modern geometry and 29" wheels.
  • 18 0
 You had me at purple Salsa
  • 17 3
 Vital just did a huge member survey, and YT/Commencal/Canyon/etc. are eating a progressively higher and higher share of the market. 75% of respondents said they were "considering buying a bike directly from the manufacturer".

You can get carbon SLX bikes with similar geo and components from direct companies for the same price as the alloy SLX bike here. How much longer can this $1000-$2000ish price premium, that literally almost all goes to additional hands the bike passes through before getting to the consumer, be sustained? And how much longer until the major traditional companies (Trek, Specialized, etc. and smaller companies who sell through dealers like Salsa) stay in this model before they have to go direct to preserve profits?
  • 15 0
 But according to that survey people's favourite brands are still Santa Cruz and Specialized. And Norco is actually more popular than ever before - while Canyon and YT both lost popularity and Commencal was stagnant.

After having bought my last bike from a direct sales brand (Commencal), I'm now converted. My experience with their warranty process was quite bad and I wouldn't do it again. Of course it sucks having middle men increase prices while adding very little value, but people seem to like to have a shop they can go to with people they can talk to.
  • 3 1
 @BenTheSwabian: yeah, but you can still take a Nukeproof/YT/Commencal/Fezzari to a bike shop and talk to people. I see plenty of Canyons in the work stand behind the service counter when I go into mine.

Customer service varies across direct brands, but in general, there's no reason for their service to be worse than a traditional brand. Some are better, some are worse, some are same. Only general difference between direct and traditional is the hands the bike goes through, there's no innate reason for the manufacturer to be better or worse at any given thing.
  • 2 0
 @rickybobby18: I've never had an issue getting a shop to work on my Canyon. In fact, they've never said anything at all other than commenting on the rear axle (has a built in lever that tucks away) and that the cable cover is a bit of a pain to work with.
  • 3 0
 @mtmc99: exactly. In other words, there's no problem taking a Canyon to a LBS. Just goes to show that the price increase for traditional brands like Salsa really is just for the additional hands the bike passes through. Frown
  • 3 0
 A Cube Stereo 150 that comes with GX Eagle, Lyrik select, Fulcrum wheels and Magura brakes is 2999 € here in Europe. The Blackthorn GX is double the price. Both bikes are sold in stores.

So the conclusion is that it is not just the dealer that inceases the price. There seems also to be A LOT of margin for the manufacturer.
  • 8 0
 At $3200 for the carbon frame/shock, Salsa won't be selling many framesets. People will go with bigger names in the game at the same price. I was hoping/thinking we'd maybe see their carbon frameset for ~$2,700. That would turn some heads and sell some bikes. It may eat up a lot of their margin, but maybe they would then get some shredders on their bikes and out of the trails. Get some visibility in the brand and show people the enduro bros ride them, so maybe I should too. But unfortunately that's not the case. Choosing to list them at the same price as 'top name brand' manufactures is a bad move.
  • 1 0
 agreed - and if you look at the weights on the complete builds (SLX Build), I doesn't appear that the carbon option is significantly lighter than the alloy...

The alloy Frame only option looks good, though.
  • 2 0
 Well said. This is a co. trying to prove they can play this game (slacker, modern...), but from a merchandising standpoint, they priced themselves out of the opportunity to actually be seen ON the trails playing the game...
  • 11 2
 .3 degrees and 4mm of bb height?! Can’t imagine that was worth the effort. Cool looking bike though Smile
  • 7 1
 Probably intended to counteract the BB drop of mulleting the bike.
  • 1 1
 I own the Rustler, Salsa 150-130 trail bike. The flip chip is mainly for when you change tires so you can mantain the same BB height.
  • 6 0
 @TacosMcGee: you would think, but the difference is a lot more dramatic than I that, I think you’d want a full degree/12mm of bb change
  • 1 0
 @wannabeabiker: Huh, didn't realize it was that drastic. I figured switching to a 27.5 rear would be a 10mm drop at most, but I seems like 12-14mm is typical.
  • 10 0
 The all new Salsa Jeffsy!
  • 2 0
 Walken voice: “Who is Jeffsy?... and why does he love salsa SO much?”
  • 7 1
 Go figure. A dual suspension bike made out of a series of tubes and loosely based geometric triangles looks similar to other bikes. Yep that bike looks like a bike. That truck looks like a truck. That plane looks like a plane.
  • 2 2
 I gotta give Giant, Pivot (Swithblack, Mach 4), Scott, and Norco some props in this regards. Using a vertical shock design does seem "different" these days. Santa Cruz with its lower shock placement is different too. Likewise, Knolly, Canfield and Tantrum Cycles are all producing pretty wild looking designs by comparison.

It seems that manufacturers, designers, engineers have kinda settled into a pretty common design aesthetic and with everyone using the same couple of suspension designs, it only makes sense that bikes would look relatively similar.

That 2000-2010 decade had a lot of variable in bike design because everyone was trying something different, and even if bikes look somewhat similar today, we can look back at the 70s/80s when nearly every bike produced was a classic two-triangle design.
  • 2 1
 @PHeller: yeah I know it's dumb, but I tend to ignore bikes that look like the salsa, just because it looks like it came out of a cookie cutter. I used to think the same way about Giants, but now they're the minority. I ended up with a Banshee Rune V3. I really appreciate unique frames now.
  • 12 2
 Salsadale Habit
  • 4 2
 The aluminium version has a striking resemblence with the new Polygon Siskiu T. Could even be the same frame with minor tweaks.
  • 5 1
 @BenTheSwabian: this has a different suspension design. Note the rear pivot being at the axle and not on one of the stays like on a polygon or cannondale habit like everyone is saying.
  • 4 3
  • 3 6
 @TannerValhouli: But that's literally not a different suspension design though. Thats just a linkage driven single pivot system, as is on the Polygon.

The axle being the pivot point doesn't change the fact that the rear wheel only rotates around a single pivoting point. The only thing that does is changing the leverage ratio of the linkage ever so slightly.
  • 3 0
 @BenTheSwabian: no it also changes the amount of anti rise
  • 3 1
 @BenTheSwabian: don't have this man design your suspension people.
  • 2 1
 Revalsadale Rascahabit
  • 1 0
 @bishopsmike: TranspecialYTisadale
  • 7 0
 This Cannondale Habit looks sick.
  • 6 0
 looks like a Jeffsy, but it cost more.
  • 5 0
 $3899 for a decently tricked out YT Jeffsy 29 carbon. If you could find one...
  • 7 1
 Looks like a Revel
  • 2 0
 Looks kinda like a horizontally-oriented rear shock version of a Devinci Troy: DW split pivot design, 160 front/140 rear travel, superboost rear, flip chip, similar pricing. Better colors though.
  • 2 1
 Wonder if anyone can answer this. A long time ago I read that split pivot didn't require the same level of precision as DW-Link as far as the frame manufacturing. So that being said, if it's true I don't understand how Salsa justifies charging as much for a split frame as others do for a DW-link frame.
  • 1 1
 Probably splitting hairs on the cost between this and an Ibis except Salsa is lower volume so may be paying more per frame. The frame and details look great though.

Yeah not sure their brand cred is high enough to justify it. I think it looks awesome but I’m looking at $3k if I ever want to upgrade my Ripmo frame from alu to carbon. $200 more for a salsa carbon frame? I think they need to go d2c.
  • 3 0
 I wish Salsa would let you buy frames in non-boring colors. They only put good colors on full bikes it seems. I don't need a full bike, I need a frame...and I like colors!
  • 2 0
 I've literally never seen a Salsa full suspension bike on the trails.. ever. I've seen about a million hardtails though. I owned one.
  • 5 0
 the first time you see a Bucksaw in the wild it's a real WTF kind of moment. Of course Salsa came up with a full suspension fat bike, then decided that wasn't niche enough, so they gave it a carbon frame and an X01 drivetrain. Nothing else I've ever seen even comes close to how that thing monster trucked over rocks, roots, ice, and washboards
  • 4 0
 I see them frequently, but I ride near/in the twin cities.
  • 5 3
 StuporBoost with split pivot - probably the reason that bike weighs almost 33lbs and costs $7k - the rear axle must be a foot long, and weigh 2lbs alone.
  • 5 0
 And also bc most mfgs goin with heavier layups to avoid warranties.
  • 9 0
 @jrocksdh: This. Bikes are heavier than ever because companies don't want warranty claims. And it costs too much to engineer it to a lighter weight. Which is why you only see a few brands with 'light' and strong trail/enduro bikes these days. The new Trek Slash is one of them. And the new Stumpjumper will be a well (the short travel one). No wonder they're coming from huge brands with the money to engineer higher performance per weight frames. Everyone else just throwing more layers of carbon at it. Including Santa Cruz and other high end mfgs.
  • 3 0
 @btjenki: don't forget longer tubes weight more too.
  • 3 0
 @btjenki: and before manufacturers did this, and frames were breaking a lot more often, people were complaining nonstop about frames breaking more often.
  • 4 1
 How long is this field test going to take, @mikelevy?
  • 3 0
 Boutique pricing(frame)...
  • 1 0
 I test rode this bike yesterday and found the stem to be too long. I don't get why it takes some companies so long to catch on with things like shortening stems.
  • 3 0
 It's almost as if different people have different preferences.
  • 1 3
 @ranchitup: Sure but that argument works only to an extent. At a certain point, it's just a matter of people resisting change or having a lack of knowledge about the options, and not being open minded to the possibility that one's preferences are wrong or outdated.
  • 5 0
 @cedrico: I think you're missing my point. People's height differs within sizes and sometimes require different stem lengths. Stem's aren't a one size fits all component.
  • 2 2
 @ranchitup: Yes, but the bikes should come with a stem length that gives optimal handling. The stem can then be swapped for a longer stem to make a smaller frame fit of needed. (In an ideal world, the frames geo would change and not the stem length to create a good fit.) It doesn't make sense to make stock handling suboptimal in anticipation of a frame being the wrong size.
  • 4 0
 @cedrico: But "optimal handling" is really very just buy the stem you want.
  • 4 0
 @cedrico: Just run the stem backwards. Super progressive, you'll be living in the future basically.
  • 1 2
 Of course it's subjective. Most things in the setup of a bike are subjective. My point is simply that I subjectively found the stem length on these Salsa bikes to be too long. Am I allowed to say that?
  • 1 0
 This article might provide some objectivity, or at least some systematic determined subjective conclusions about optimal handling:
  • 1 0
 @cedrico: Yes you are allowed to say that. But keep in mind that swapping a stem takes 5 minutes and costs 30-40 bucks. It's not a big deal.
Sure, it would be nice if every complete bike on the market was absolutely perfect and you wouldn't have to change a single component, but that will never happen.
  • 2 0
 Swap out the 210x52.5mm shock for a 210x55mm for 147mm Travel. Keep the 160mm fork on there. Best of both worlds??
  • 2 0
 Just buy the Ripmo AF and save some money and hassle Smile
  • 1 0
 Too bad they don't sell the rustler aluminum in frame only- especially in raw finish like they are offering the blackthorn. Here's to hoping they will in the future!
  • 1 0
 Gotta say, the warranty on Salsa bikes is not great. Likely a no buy for me. Especially when their alloy frames have less of a warranty period then their carbon.
  • 1 2
 I like Salsa products (owned a Horsethief and a Fargo) but they the worst names for bikes: Blackthorn, Spearfish. Deadwood, Beargrease, Horsethief, Timberjack and the list goes on....They must be imbibing in some bottom shelf alcohol when they are naming their bikes.
  • 2 0
 I'm glad Salsa is still around and this is a good looking bike. So, there.
  • 2 0
 I like your perspective and I agree. If I was critical of this bike, I would be critical of every bike on the market.
  • 1 0
 I demo'd a Blackthorn the other day. It's a nice bike - pedals well ( up and down), however it's not as planted as I would like. My Ripmo is more stable.
  • 1 0
 Do you just carry your stand stick in your pocket? After a while they all start looking the same
  • 1 0
 looks like a many bikes. This suspension design is really popular this days
  • 2 1
 Looks just the Calibre Sentry.

Like, they could be twins.
  • 1 0
I would probably still go for the Jeffsy tho, and have $ room to replace stuff as I wear it out.
  • 2 0
 One more hole that I know you're going to be excited about
  • 6 0
 I know of a certain hole that doesn't get too excited about salsa.
  • 1 0
 Looks like a rad bike. It is a tougher sell when you can get some very well-known brand frames for similar or lower prices.
  • 2 0
 @mikelevy how long do larges have to get before you ride a medium?
  • 1 1
 how the rear rotor being bolted to the hub? those bolts on the vide looks completely flat and hidden;

Other that Nice product Salsa!
  • 2 0
 i like mike levy's energy; he seems like a good dude
  • 2 2
 Ugh, Superboost... Short stays are rad though and well - is Purple the new Black - Again?
  • 1 0
 Is this compatible with a coil??
  • 2 1
 Should be based on shock movement
  • 3 0
 good point. if Salsa really wanted to improve their brocred they’d give us a leverage rate graph and regardless of it say it’s coil ready.
  • 1 0
 According to the report on Bikerumour the kinematics are optimized for air shocks & Salsa do not recommend putting a coil into it?
  • 1 0

brocred lost!!!

damn i do love me a pretty purple frame tho... mmmmm.... puuuuurrrrrrppppppllllleeee.

looks like a great bike from Salsa. wish it were easier to demo one.
  • 2 5
 Hey Salsa, hate to break it to you, but you seem to have mistakenly put a rediculous kink in your seat tube that will prevent the seatpost from going in nearly as far as it should. Better luck in 2022... And while your at the rework you can just go ahead and make the chainstays a reasonable length for trail riding to match the front length, like 450-470mm, that will help alot with the seat tube kink too. You should at least have the balls to own your design and let your customers know just how little post depth there is in the geo chart.
  • 1 0
 As a tall guy riding on 210mm dropper...yeah. The high kinked seat post is flat out BS design. Media needs to start calling out that non-sense more effectively and then the bikes will stop producing it.
  • 1 0
 Mmmmm, juicy purple sticky punch.
  • 1 1
 why not to copy track / spesh for internal storage ? I mean it should not be that complicated, however it is obvious win
  • 1 0
 New field test category: Trailduro
  • 1 0
 Looks like a Specialized Status
  • 1 0
 I would never buy a Salsa, but this one I would consider.
  • 1 0
 Never say never. Oops.
  • 2 1
 Specialized Status 2.0 or Blatant Copy?
  • 1 0
 A bit of a Habit amongst bike manufacturers Wink
  • 1 1
 Very nice looking-like-a-habit-or-status-or--maybe-jeffsy-or-maybe-spectral bike!
  • 1 0
 Is this instead of the G Donut video?
  • 1 1
 Anyone else ever get smashed on blackthorn when they were younger?
  • 2 0
 Not exactly. But the USCGC Blackthorn was sunk in 1980, when I was much younger.

I was on an identical ship many years later. I would have died in that incident if I was there.
  • 2 0
 @JSTootell: thanks, interesting read
  • 1 0
 Ehm, looks like a status
  • 2 0
 The siskiu came out way before the status and looks exactly the same as the status too...
  • 1 0
 @Bikerdude137: True. WhaS'coin on with these bicycle companies, all jacked up on herowein or something?

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