Salsa Cycles spices things up with 2021 Cassidy and Blackthorn enduro and all-mountain bikes

The two models share the same frame but different links and shocks dictate travel and geometry

Salsa Blackthorn Carbon X01 Eagle all-mountain bike

Salsa’s new 140mm rear wheel travel Blackthorn all-mountain bike and 165mm rear travel Cassidy enduro bike are both based around the same 29in wheel platform and share front and rear triangles across the two models. The differences in geometry and suspension travel stem from different forks, shock linkages and shock stroke length.

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Both models use Dave Weagle’s Spilt Pivot suspension – where the bike’s rear-most pivot is concentric with its rear wheel axle, as seen on Devinci’s bikes – but the Blackthorn and Cassidy have a Split Pivot+ design that permits the adaptation of travel and geometry to turn one model into the other.

Both models are available in aluminium and carbon versions, with full build prices starting from $3,199 for the aluminium full-build with Deore 12-speed.

2021 Salsa Blackthorn suspension details

Salsa Blackthorn/Cassidy Carbon
The Blackthorn uses a shorter shock and different linkages compared to the Cassidy.
Salsa

With 140mm of rear wheel Split Pivot+ travel, the Blackthorn is Salsa’s new all-mountain 29in-wheeled bike. That means, Salsa claims, it should be able to head out on long rides and tackle almost any terrain.

The Split Pivot+’s clevis and control links – the link that attaches to the shock, bridging the seat tube and the link that joins the seatstays to the seat tube – are at the heart of the bike’s interchangeable travel. Thanks to the suspension design, that’s claimed to be optimised for traction and pedalling efficiency, changing the travel shouldn’t alter the bike’s kinematics.

The clevis and control linkages are available to buy separately to turn a Blackthorn into a Cassidy for $150, although a longer travel fork and different stroke shock will be needed to complete the transformation.

Dave Weagle’s split pivot design is also claimed to be active under braking and give a supportive feel on the trail while remaining supple to absorb bumps.

2021 Salsa Cassidy suspension details

Salsa Blackthorn/Cassidy aluminium
The Salsa Blackthorn and Cassidy aluminium frames share front and rear triangles.
Salsa

The Cassidy uses the same suspension as the Blackthorn but has 165mm of rear-wheel travel that’s claimed to be “predictably progressive throughout the stroke”.

It’s possible to turn a Cassidy into a Blackthorn for $150, by purchasing the clevis and control linkage kit, but, like the Blackthorn, a new shock and fork will also be needed to finish the switch.

Salsa does state that both the Blackthorn and Cassidy are designed for air shocks only.

2021 Salsa Blackthorn geometry

The Blackthorn has a 64.4-degree head tube angle, a 76.5-degree seat tube angle and 432mm chainstays.

On top of the travel adjustment – and subsequent geometry adjustments made when flipping between a Blackthorn and Cassidy – the frames have a flip-chip that adjusts the head angle by a 0.3 degrees and bottom bracket height by 4mm, which Salsa says is to accommodate 27.5in plus tyres.

Other numbers include generous reach figures starting at 448mm for the size small, extending to 510mm for the XL bike. Wheelbases are also long, starting at 1,204mm and extending to 1,278mm.

The Blackthorn’s geometry is designed around a 160mm travel fork.

Size Small Medium Large Extra-large
Top tube (mm) 594 616 640 663
Seat tube (mm) 405 430 455 480
Head tube angle (degrees) 64.6 64.6 64.6 64.6
Seat tube angle (degrees) 76.5 76.5 76.5 76.5
Chainstay length (mm) 432 432 432 432
Head tube length (mm) 95 100 110 120
Wheelbase (mm) 1,204 1,228 1,253 1,278
Stack (mm) 611 615 624 633
Reach (mm) 448 469 490 510

2021 Salsa Cassidy geometry

The Cassidy’s geometry is more relaxed than the Blackthorn’s, thanks to a long 180mm travel fork and different suspension clevis and control linkages.

It features a 63.8-degree head tube angle, 75.7-degree seat tube angle and, like the Blackthorn, 432mm chainstays across the sizes.

Reach figures are a little shorter than the Blackthorn, starting at 439mm for the small and going to 502mm for the XL due to the increased stack height caused by the longer travel fork. Wheelbases have grown on the Cassidy, though, and the small bike measures 1,213mm, extending to 1,287mm for the XL.

Just like its little sibling, the Cassidy’s flip-chip adjusts the head angle by 0.3 degrees and bottom bracket height by 4mm for the same purpose of fitting 27.5in plus wheels and tyres.

Size Small Medium Large Extra-large
Top tube (mm) 596 619 642 665
Seat tube (mm) 405 430 455 480
Head tube angle (degrees) 63.8 63.8 63.8 63.8
Seat tube angle (degrees) 75.7 75.7 75.7 75.7
Chainstay length (mm) 432 432 432 432
Head tube length (mm) 95 100 110 120
Wheelbase (mm) 1213 1236 1262 1287
Stack (mm) 617 622 631 640
Reach (mm) 439 469 481 502

2021 Salsa Blackthorn and Cassidy frame details and specifications

Salsa Blackthorn/Cassidy Aluminium
The frame is sleek-looking.

Both frames are finished with some lovely details that should appeal to all-day riders, bikepackers and enduro racers alike.

First off, the front triangle’s shock mount has a dedicated slit for a utility strap – a free gift with certain issues of MBUK magazine – that can be used to secure a tube and other parts to the bike. The carbon frame has a small protector to stop whatever the strap is securing from rubbing the frame’s paint, too.

There are top tube mounts for Salsa’s EXP Series Direct Mount Top Tube Bag and K-Edge’s bike computer top tube mount. The frames have space for a full-size water bottle and pump inside the main triangle. The mounts can also be used for frame bag mounting.

The bike’s cables are internally-routed with the carbon model featuring internal guides to make routing easier and reduce cable rattle, while the aluminium bike has large ports to make fishing cables out easier. It has integrated chainstay protection, too.

Salsa Blackthorn/Cassidy Carbon
The carbon frame has internal cable guides to help with cable routing.
Salsa

Carbon models are constructed from a high-modulus carbon front triangle and seatstay, while the chainstay is made from 6061-T6 aluminium. The aluminium frames are made entirely from 6061-T6 aluminium.

All of the pivot’s bearings are “standard-sized” sealed cartridge affairs and the pivot hardware is made from 7075 aluminium.

It has a 30.9mm seat tube diameter and has ISCG-05 chainguide mounts that are removable on the carbon frames. A 73mm BSA threaded bottom-bracket features and there’s cable routing for remote lockout rear shocks.

Salsa Blackthorn/Cassidy Carbon
The carbon frame has a removable ISCG-05 chainguide mount.
Salsa

The bikes are built around 12 x 157mm Super Boost rear axle spacing that, Salsa claims, gives compatibility for smaller chainrings, improves tyre clearance, lets it reduce chainstay length and gives a stiffer and more durable rear wheel.

Finally, the frame’s got a host of in-built protection for the down tube, chainstay and seatstay.

2021 Salsa Blackthorn models, specs and pricing

The Blackthorn is available in five models with two aluminium-framed bikes and three carbon versions. The aluminium and carbon frames are also available to buy on their own.

The clevis and control linkage kit is available for $150.

2021 Salsa Blackthorn aluminium frame

  • Shock: RockShox Super Deluxe Select+
  • Price: $2,099

2021 Salsa Blackthorn carbon frame

  • Shock: Fox Float DPX2 Factory, three-position lever, EVOL
  • Price: $3,199

2021 Salsa Blackthorn Deore 12-speed

Salsa Blackthorn Deore all-mountain bike
Salsa Blackthorn Deore.
Salsa
  • Frame: Salsa Blackthorn aluminium
  • Shock: RockShox Super Deluxe Select+
  • Fork: RockShox Gold RL, 160mm, 44mm offset
  • Drivetrain: Shimano Deore 12-speed
  • Brakes: Shimano Deore four-piston
  • Wheels: WTB ST i30 TCS 2.0 rims on Novatec hubs
  • Tyres: Maxxis Assegai 2.5 x 29in (f), Maxxis Dissector 2.4 x 29in (r)
  • Finishing kit: Race Face Chester bars, WTB Volt saddle, Salsa stem
  • Price: $3,199

2021 Salsa Blackthorn SLX

Salsa Blackthorn SLX all-mountain bike
Salsa Blackthorn SLX.
Salsa
  • Frame: Salsa Blackthorn aluminium
  • Shock: RockShox Super Deluxe Select+
  • Fork: RockShox Yari, 160mm, 42mm offset
  • Drivetrain: Shimano Deore/SLX mix 12-speed
  • Brakes: Shimano SLX four-piston
  • Wheels: WTB ST i30 TCS 2.0 rims on Shimano SLX hubs
  • Tyres: Maxxis Assegai 2.5 x 29in (f), Maxxis Dissector 2.4 x 29in (r)
  • Finishing kit: Race Face Chester bars, WTB Volt saddle, Salsa stem
  • Price: $3,899

2021 Salsa Blackthorn Carbon SLX

Salsa Blackthorn Carbon SLX all-mountain bike
Salsa Blackthorn Carbon SLX.
Salsa
  • Frame: Salsa Blackthorn carbon
  • Shock: RockShox Super Deluxe Select+
  • Fork: RockShox Lyrik Select+, 160mm, 42mm offset
  • Drivetrain: Shimano Deore/SLX mix 12-speed
  • Brakes: Shimano SLX four-piston
  • Wheels: DT Swiss EX 532 rims on Shimano SLX hubs
  • Tyres: Maxxis Assegai 2.5 x 29in (f), Maxxis Dissector 2.4 x 29in (r)
  • Finishing kit: Race Face Aeffect bars, WTB Volt saddle, Salsa stem
  • Price: $4,899

2021 Salsa Blackthorn Carbon GX Eagle

Salsa Blackthorn Carbon GX Eagle all-mountain bike
Salsa Blackthorn Carbon GX Eagle.
Salsa
  • Frame: Salsa Blackthorn carbon
  • Shock: Fox Float DPX2 Performance Elite, three-position lever, EVOL
  • Fork: Fox Float 36 Performance Elite GRIP2, 160mm, 44mm offset
  • Drivetrain: SRAM GX Eagle
  • Brakes: SRAM Code R
  • Wheels: DT Swiss M1900
  • Tyres: Maxxis Assegai 2.5 x 29in (f), Maxxis Dissector 2.4 x 29in (r)
  • Finishing kit: Race Face Turbin R bars, WTB Volt saddle, Salsa stem
  • Price: $5,999

2021 Salsa Blackthorn Carbon X01 Eagle

Salsa Blackthorn Carbon X01 Eagle all-mountain bike
Salsa Blackthorn Carbon X01 Eagle.
Salsa
  • Frame: Salsa Blackthorn carbon
  • Shock: Fox Float DPX2 Factory, three-position lever, EVOL
  • Fork: Fox Float 26 Factory GRIP2, 160mm, 44mm offset
  • Drivetrain: SRAM X01 Eagle
  • Brakes: SRAM Code RSC
  • Wheels: Reynolds C Series 309 Carbon
  • Tyres: Maxxis Assegai 2.5 x 29in (f), Maxxis Dissector 2.4 x 29in (r)
  • Finishing kit: Salsa 35.0 Carbon bars, WTB Volt saddle, Salsa stem
  • Price: $7,499

2021 Salsa Cassidy models, specs and pricing

The Cassidy is available in one alloy and two carbon-framed models. Carbon and aluminium frame-only kits are also available.

Like the Blackthorn, a clevis and linkage kit is available for $150.

2021 Salsa Cassidy aluminium frame

  • Shock: RockShox Super Deluxe Select+
  • Price: $2,099

2021 Salsa Cassidy carbon frame

  • Shock: Fox Float X2 Factory
  • Price: $3,199

2021 Salsa Cassidy SLX

Salsa Cassidy SLX enduro mountain bike
Salsa Cassidy SLX.
Salsa
  • Frame: Salsa Cassidy aluminium
  • Shock: RockShox Super Deluxe Select+
  • Fork: RockShox Zeb, 180mm, 44mm offset
  • Drivetrain: Shimano Deore/SLX mix 12-speed
  • Brakes: Shimano SLX four-piston
  • Wheels: WTB ST i30 TCS 2.0 rims on Shimano SLX hubs
  • Tyres: Maxxis Assegai 2.5 x 29in (f), Maxxis Dissector 2.4 x 29in (r)
  • Finishing kit: Race Face Chester bars, WTB Volt saddle, Salsa stem
  • Price: $3,899

2021 Salsa Cassidy Carbon SLX

Salsa Cassidy Carbon SLX enduro mountain bike
Salsa Cassidy Carbon SLX.
Salsa
  • Frame: Salsa Cassidy carbon
  • Shock: RockShox Super Deluxe Select+
  • Fork: RockShox Zeb Select+, 180mm, 44mm offset
  • Drivetrain: Shimano Deore/SLX mix 12-speed
  • Brakes: Shimano SLX four-piston
  • Wheels: DT Swiss EX 532 rims on Shimano SLX hubs
  • Tyres: Maxxis Assegai 2.5 x 29in (f), Maxxis Dissector 2.4 x 29in (r)
  • Finishing kit: Race Face Aeffect bars, WTB Volt saddle, Salsa stem
  • Price: $4,899

2021 Salsa Cassidy Carbon GX Eagle

Salsa Cassidy Carbon GX Eagle enduro mountain bike
Salsa Cassidy Carbon GX Eagle.
Salsa
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  • Frame: Salsa Cassidy carbon
  • Shock: Fox Float X2 Performance
  • Fork: Fox Float 38 Performance Elite GRIP2, 180mm, 44mm offset
  • Drivetrain: SRAM GX Eagle
  • Brakes: SRAM Code R
  • Wheels: DT Swiss M 1900
  • Tyres: Maxxis Assegai 2.5 x 29in (f), Maxxis Dissector 2.4 x 29in (r)
  • Finishing kit: Race Face Turbine R bars, WTB Volt saddle, Salsa stem
  • Price: $6,099