Salsa Ala Carte Ti (frame only) review

Premium titanium chassis

Our rating 
4.5 out of 5 star rating 4.5
GBP £1,700.00 RRP

Our review

The Salsa Ala Carte Ti is way up there among the best titanium hardtails on the market
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It seems surprising that Salsa haven’t added titanium to their frame materials repertoire until now. The steel Ala Carte has been a classic for as long as many of us have been riding mountain bikes, and it was one of the first frames to feature ‘modern geometry’ for a cross-country hardtail: 71° at the head, 73° at the seat.

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The new Ala Carte Ti offers sprightly but direct and incredibly confident handling, and the sort of trail responses that seem to let you draw energy from terrain as you skim over it. If you’ve never tried a top-end titanium frame, this might all sound a bit dubious but all we can say is, try one before you reject the notion. 

Ride & handling: Smooth riding singletrack slayer with titanium ‘zing’

The very best titanium frames have a distinctive ride feel that’s tough to describe without using clichés, such as “like a loaded spring”. Unfortunately it’s true, so we’ll use that one again.

When you launch yourself across bumpy terrain on a well-sorted titanium structure like this it feels as though it gains energy from the bumps, and shimmers you across them before they’ve had a chance to become obstacles.

It’s not as radical as the action of a spring unloading (because a taut frame can’t really ‘unload’) but more like the reverb of a tuning fork, offering precisely the note you were looking for.

You deserve a nice head badge for this sort of money: you deserve a nice head badge for this sort of money
Jonny Gawler

But the Salsa is much more than just a highly tuned superlight. It’s built tough enough to ride as hard and fast as the 100mm-travel fork will allow, and is at its best with a wide riser bar and big treads: the Schwalbe Rocket Rons fitted made things nervous on gnarly descents.

Climbing is fast, the response to acceleration is instant to the point of inspiring and, if your fitness allows, you’re likely to quickly become one of those riders that everyone tries to keep up with on the best bits of singletrack.

Frame: Premium quality chassis with beautifully subtle attention to detail

Lynskey build titanium frames for several manufacturers but they aren’t all created equal. The Salsa is built with top quality seamless 3/2.5 titanium (3% aluminium, 2.5% vanadium) tubes, with a brushed satin finish and subtle etched graphics.

The tube profiling is as subtle as the graphics, with only the big down tube deviating from the traditionally circular: it’s biaxially ovalised for extra strength at the head tube and bottom bracket and curved at the head tube for extra fork clearance.

The head tube is ring-reinforced and there’s a brace tube between the stays to neutralise disc brake stress. The dropouts cap the ends of the stays, the gear hanger is a bolt-on unit and there’s a forward facing seat clamp.

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The Ala Carte comes as a frame only, so we had ours built up with a Fox 32 Float fork and own-brand Salsa cockpit parts, including bar, stem, post, saddle, grips and quick-release skewers.

The neat cowled drop-outs deserve salsa’s classic rasta skewers: the neat cowled drop-outs deserve salsa’s classic rasta skewers
Jonny Gawler

Product Specifications

Product

Name Ala Carte Ti (10) (frame only)
Brand Salsa

Available Sizes 14" 14" 14" 14" 14" 14" 14" 16" 18" 20" 14" 18" 20" 20" 20" 20" 20" 20" 18" 18" 16" 16" 16" 16" 16" 16" 16" 16" 18" 20" 16" 18" 20" 16" 20" 20" 18" 18" 18" 18" 18" 18" 18" 18" 18" 18" 18" 18" 18" 18" 18" 20" 18" 20" 18" 18" 20" 20" 20" 20" 20" 20"
Stem Salsa s
Front Wheel Halo rims & hubs with Salsa skewers
Tyres Schwalbe Rocket Ron 2.25in
Wheelbase (in) 44
Top Tube (in) 24
Seat Tube (in) 20
Chainstays (in) 17
Bottom Bracket Height (in) 12.5
Weight (lb) 22.8
Shifters SRAM X.0
Brakes Avid Elixir
Seat Angle 70.5
Saddle Salsa/WTB
Rear Derailleur SRAM X.0
Head Angle 68.5
Handlebar Salsa Pro Moto 26.5in bar
Front Derailleur Shimano XT
Frame Material Lynskey hand-built 3/2.5 titanium
Fork Fox 32 Float RL, 100mm
Cranks Truvativ Noir Carbon, 22/32/44T
Rear Wheel Halo rims & hubs with Salsa skewers