For the coming season Salsa builds upon the success of the Spearfish, which enters its second year of production, with a 29-inch model called Horsethief, a look-a-like design with 120mm of suspension travel front and rear. Racers will also rejoice at the launch of the new Mamasita a 6066 Extrolite aluminum alloy hardtail 29er with all the latest trending features that costs just US$599.
Salsa will only offer the two new models with one build option, but for their established models they will offer one, two and three level builds, with the level one build being the 'bike that we want to ride," according to Salsa product manager Tim Krueger, who says it's "ready to go straight out of the box, without the need for upgrades."
The new steed: Horsethief
While the new 120mm travel Horsethief looks remarkably similar to the Spearfish, the bikes are completely different; in fact, they only share their tapered head tubes and dropout forgings. The inaugural model will come in one build made up of SRAM's X9 drivetrain and associated Elixir 5 brakes, mated to Fox suspension—an RP2 Boost Valve shock out back, and the new 34 29er fork with 120mm of travel up front. Of note the 34 fork is internally adjustable up to 140mm of travel.
The frame is welded from a 6066 alloy that's branded Extrolite by the manufacturer and offers many of the same properties of scandium, which Salsa previously employed across their line. A few of the Extrolite tubing's advantages include similar material attributes, but at a reduced cost and increased range of finishing possibilities—the tubing can be powder coated or anodized, where as Scandium requires wet paint.
The linkage activated single pivot bike uses a similar design to Spearfish in that the rear stays (mostly seat) flex instead of pivoting at the rear axle. The bike comes with many of the features associated with longer travel bikes including a 142x12mm Maxle through-axle and ISCG tabs on the standard threaded 73mm bottom bracket shell.
Look out for a first ride review of the Horsethief on BikeRadar shortly.
Racers rejoice: Mamasita
Introducing the Mamasita
Salsa's new Extrolite tubed hardtail, the Mamasita, has all the features that a racer would look for in a performance 29er hardtail: tapered head tube, hydro-formed tubing and PF30 bottom bracket in a 3.2lb package (claimed, 17in frame) for just US$599. Like the Horsethief, the new hardtail will also be offered in a single build kit made up of a SRAM X9 drivetrain and Elixir brakes with NoTubes.com wheels and a Reba RL 100mm travel suspension fork. The built bike costs $2099.
Sophomore star: Spearfish, slightly modified
The Spearfish 1
The 80mm travel Spearfish sees one modification to the frame for 2012, at its rear dropout. The new forging is shared with the new Horsethief, though modified to accept a standard 135mm dropout, save for the top level '1' model.
The Spearfish also benefits from the new three-tier build options. The Spearfish 3 serves as the entry to the line at $2,200 with SRAM X7 and a Recon Gold suspension fork. Spearfish 2 upgrades to SRAM X9 and a RockShox Reba fork with 15mm through-axle for $2,749. The Spearfish 1 frame is upgraded with an anodized finish and a 142x12mm through axle. The bike is finished with Fox suspension components, SRAM X0 and adds DT Swiss' 350 Star Ratchet hubs, which are laced to NoTubes.com ZTR Arch rims.
Fat bike: Mukluk proves popular—all over
The beefy look Mukluk
Krueger said that Salsa's Mukluk bike model with 4in tires has proved popular all over, and for any application that requires extra buoyancy—beach, rock crawling and other slow speed situations—not just in the snowy terrain that it was originally intended.
For 2012 Mukluk starts at $1,499 with SRAM X7. The level 2 model gets X9 and e.thirteen's snow cranks that fit the 100mm bottom bracket shell for $2,099, while the top-end level 1 model frame and fork (Salsa's Kung Fu steel Enabler with 135mm axle spacing) also costs $2099, but is made from titanium in the US by Lynskey Performance Bicycles.
Singing steel: El Mariachi and Fargo
El Mariachi Ti
The Mariachi gets one upgrade for 2012, a 44mm head tube that will fit a straight 1-1/8in or tapered head tube, depending on the headset.
The steel frame is made from Salsa's proprietary Kung Fu tubing, which is Japanese made seamless triple butted steel tubing. The entry-level complete bike starts at $1,499; the mid-range comes with SRAM's X9 group and costs $1,949. The top tier model is Lynskey welded titanium and costs $3,500, built with SRAM X0 and Salsa's carbon cockpit components.
Fargo is Salsa's off-road touring model, it sees three levels with a Shimano Deore equipped entry point at $1,399; the mid-range bike costs $1,749 and comes with a mix of SRAM X9 and Apex, while the top-of-the-range is titanium welded by Lynskey and finished with a Shimano XT touring kit for $3,200.