Salsa Cycles didn’t have a booth at Sea Otter this year, but the company did tease a 27.5+ prototype at the WTB booth. Salsa marketing manager Mike Riemer wouldn't divulge any details about the matte black bike, leaving us to speculate about what might be in the works.
This nameless carbon bike borrows heavily from Salsa’s 29er trail bike, the Horsethief. In fact, it's entirely possible that this is actually a Horsethief front triangle mated to a redesigned rear end.
The front triangle shares the same lines as the Horsethief, with a top tube-mounted shock driven by a clevis link that wraps around the kinked seat tube.
We know the bike has 120mm of rear travel (the same amount as the Horsethief) but unlike the current model, it has a wider, 148x12mm rear end.
Out back, the bike on display sported WTB’s 27.5x2.8in Trailblazer tyre, a plus-sized tyre designed to fit many existing 29ers. Up front was the new and more aggressive WTB 27.5x3.0 Bridger tread. The bike was also equipped with the new 110mm-spaced RockShox Pike.
It makes sense that a small company such as Salsa would redesign its 29er trail bike to be compatible with the latest Boost axle standards, and perhaps take this opportunity to increase tyre clearance as well, rather than to create a dedicated 27.5+ platform.
If it’s a brand new model or just a redesigned Horsethief compatible with both 29in and 27.5+ tyres, we’re sure to know more in the coming months, so stay tuned.