If 80 miles of singletrack in a day was never enough for you, and your idea of a quality weekend distraction is a 24-hour endurance race, then Salsa created the Spearfish 3 just for you. The frame geometry is designed around all-day comfort, and maintaining maximum pedaling efficacy, regardless of how tired your legs are. Salsa has also created an innovative pivot-sharing suspension system which, in addition to tightening up the rear of the bike (without compromising the 80 millimeters of travel), reduces chassis weight and simplifies any maintenance you might have to perform trail-side. The end result is a snappy and confident, but, more importantly, comfortable ride that will lead your hunger for challenge to distant backcountry singletrack and deep into the wee hours of the night.
Strengths: Performance: speed on flats and DH, climbing, winding corners
Componentry: bomb-proof Stans wheels, SRAM X0 rear der, fox fork and shock, through axle, maxle, carbon bars and seatpost. The Spearfish 1 is BA!
Weaknesses: Performance: tight cornering
Componentry: carbon bar but not riser (1st thing I replaced), geometry seems to put the rider a little high
I chose the Spearfish 1 over Specialized Epic Comp based upon the drivetrain, wheels, carbon bars and seatpost and weight (about 3 lbs lighter). Price was actually a hundo or two more for the Spearfish. From the moment I stepped on the pedals the bike was responsive and snappy. It felt right. Maybe the shop did a great job setting up the suspension for me cause I rode it for several weeks and a handful of XC races before I made any adjustments. The ride still blows me away.
The only negative I can point out is that the center of gravity on the bike seems a bit high so I am often slower in the tight corners than I feel I should be, Granted this is my first year riding and racing MTB. It might also be helpful to note that I ride a medium and I am 5'9".
Otherwise, mechanically the bike has been super solid. Softened the shock and fork as I dropped lbs over the summer. 2 X 10 is perfect.
Bike Setup: Stans Arch wheels tubeless with Conti XKing 2.2 tires. Raceface Next carbon riser bar. SRAM X0 rear der, X9 front. X9 shifters. Truvitiv X9 2X10 crank. KMC Gold chain. Salsa carbon seatpost. Avid Juicy 7 brakes. Fox Float 29 fork. Fox Float RP2 shock. Time ATAC XC pedals.
a Weekend Warrior
Date Reviewed: October 17, 2013
Strengths: really light and really fast
Weaknesses: the bootom bracket is a little low
I really like the way this bike fits and handles. The stock components are great and the quality of the frame is top notch. This bike can handle a lot of single track. Not suited for the really rough stuff though, but that's not what its made for anyway.
Strengths: I think this bike is great for it's purpose. It's marketed to those who wish to adventure / bikepack / go fast on singletrack. And I think it does all of those things great. It's decently priced too.
Weaknesses: My rear triangle cracked half way through on the non-drive chain stay. Kind of unfortunate, but stuff happens. Although I would advise folks to Google other instances of this happening. It seems to be a problem that's becoming more and more prevalent. Also worth noting, when I went to replace mine, they are only stocking Spearfish 1 triangles. They stopped producing the 9mm quick release version. I can't help but to assume that it's because they identified this manufacturing / design flaw. Also, the 144 x 12 thru axle version is $400.
The bike is great. But seems to be pretty fragile. I weigh 150lbs. I live and ride on the front range of Colorado so ask a lot from my bike. But I'm not riding on anything that's really out of the bike's capabilities. I'll be giving this bike to my wife next season and I'll most likely not be getting another Salsa.
Similar Products Used: Surly Karate Monkey / Surly Cross Check
Bike Setup: Custom Build: SRAM X9 / Stan's 3.10 - Arch EX / Maxxis Ardent / Thomson / Fox Talas 32
a Cross Country Rider
Date Reviewed: May 18, 2013
Strengths: Comfortable, climbing, responds stable on descends, good value for money
Weaknesses: None detected so far. The salsa sf 1 frame colours and stripes could be better but thats a personal preference. Compared to other bikes the colour design of the sf1 is far to moderate. Total black with only the name of Salsa is enough.
Just did the 900k and 9 day Joburg2c in SA on this bike. Bought a sf1 frame, mounted a xt group, a reba, a fox ctd, and hand build ztr crest/dt swiss350 wheels, salsa steer and seat post. The pf30 problem solved with a kit, so far no difficulties but this is not an ideal solution. I am waiting for the solution of Praxis.
I've had one problem with the schwalbe Racing Ralph tires. Suddenly a large puncture in a climb on a normal gravel road after 7 days. For the rest no difficulties at all. Extreme good handling, relaxed riding for 9 days. Thanks Salsa!
Charles Van Drunen
Date Reviewed: May 9, 2013
Weaknesses: bb30 is a pain if you are buying justa frame, could use a post mount rear brake
I bought just the frame, built it as a race bike. Large, and it sits at about 24.5lb with pedals with 1600gr wheels, cable pull disc brakes, xt/xtr 9sp drive train, and a reba. Don't fear the 80mm of travel, because it is single pivot and it feels about like a 100mm Niner or other multi-link 29er. This bike climbs well and I expected that, but I did not expect it to descend nearly as well as it does. Yes, you will find the bottom of the travel on good size drops, but it will keep you straight on everything else. I have stress tested this bike, in anticipation of upcoming races, taking it thru stuff you wouldn't normally do on a light bike and it has handled it all in stride. My greatest fear in buying this bike was that 80mm would not be enough, but it is...granted I use every bit of it. This bike is an exceptional bargain as a race frameset at over 1000 less than most 29er carbon race frames and at nearly the same weight, with the exception of a few (BMC & Trek come to mind as significantly lighter...1lb or so) .
I'd say this bike is a sleeper...in term of race application. It terms of a trail bike it seems sorta silly, you may as well get a horsethief or any of a variety of 30lb trail bikes that will welcome a general beating, give you more travel, and more huckabiltity. If you're just cruizing trail who cares about the extra 5lb?? The Spearfish is the type of girl that rewards power & speed, uphill & downhill; she wants a little finess; she needs you to find a good line, she'll forgive if you can't, but not all day. I think she wants to wear number plates.
Strengths: I have the 2012 Spearfish 2 and I couldn't love it more. Great components, good shocks, tight response, no bobbing up and down on flats. This bike is better equipped and slightly less expensive than other bikes, but I prefer it more.
I am 5' 10" and I weigh 155 lbs. My inseam is 32" and I ride the Medium size 18" frame.
Weaknesses: Haven't found one yet. It would be nice to have a second bottle cage, but there isn't anywhere to put it.
I actually first purchased a 2012 El Mariachi 3 29er hard trail and took it on one ride. Unfortunately, my front fork had a problem and stopped locking out, so I took it back in to get it fixed. The guys at my LBS gave me a loner (a Giant Trance X 29er 0) for the three weeks my bike was in the shop to get the fork rebuilt.
Obviously, after three weeks of riding a full-suspension bike (that is also $4200) I had to have a FS bike. The nice guys at the shop let me return the El Mariachi and upgrade to the Spearfish 2. I don't regret my decision at all.
Honestly, I think the Spearfish 2 is as good as the Trance X and $2,000 cheaper. Obviously, the Fox shocks are better on the Trance X, but I wasn't impressed with the Shimano Deore XT shifters and brakes. I'm happy with the SRAM x7/9 and Avid 5 brakes.
Great value and great performance.
I also made a short video of me riding my Spearfish: https://vimeo.com/65393541
If you have no intention of buying a salsa spearfish then don’t get on one. The moment you do, you will want to buy it. The geometry is that perfect.
I bought my Spearfish 2 a couple of months ago and have really tried to find a weakness. There aren’t any. Just got back from a 3 day trip to Moab and it performed flawlessly. This is the first bike I have ever bought that I haven’t switched out any components. Not one. Every original component on the bike feels great right down to the seat and grips.
One quick word about the Continental X-Kings – I am a huge fan. They are fast with a good amount of traction. A bit heavy but I am running them tubeless and they have performed very well. My bike is right around 27.5 lbs.
Sizing: I am 5-10, 185lbs, 32” inseam and the LARGE frame feels custom made for me. Most mtn bikes I've had in the past have taken some time to get dialed in (seat position, handlebars, stems, etc). I have not adjusted anything on the Spearfish since I walked out of the store with it.
I have read some reviews that the bottom bracket is too low and I have NOT found this to be the case at all. I guess it depends on what bike someone was riding previously. I came from a santa cruz superlight 26” and the bottom bracket was lower than the spearfish. So this has been a non issue for me.
Suspension: The bike rides firm. That’s how it is meant to ride. Efficient and comfortable. Not squishy. I set up my rear shock to just around my weight. It is right at the point where there is no pedal bob and it soaks up every single bump. I had it a little hard at first and although it worked, I was getting a little bounced off the saddle – which defeats the entire purpose of riding comfortably and efficiently! I let out just 5psi and now its perfect.
One thing that I viewed as a weakness originally was the lowest gear (granny gear) on the 2 X 10. The granny gear is probably the equivalent of 2 rings harder than my last bike. In other words I find myself sometimes looking for another gear. However, this has forced me to pedal harder and because the bike is so stable, I am able to climb much better and climb lots of hills/obstacles I was not able to before. Also because it’s a 29er (more wheel contact with the ground) I find I can stand and pedal in places where I would have slipped out on my 26er. By the way, 2 thumbs up on the 2 X 10. Find myself using the front derailleur much more often than my previous setup and it always feels like I'm in the right gear.
This bike is amazing. The tapered head tube combined with the thru axel along with the efficient suspension and perfect geometry all combine to inspire a lot of confidence so be careful!
Similar Products Used: I considered the Scott Spark, Giant Trance, Giant Anthem, Kona Hei Hei, Specialized stumpjumper (all 29ers), and tested them in the store. In the past I have had all 26ers full suspension: Cannondale V, Specialized stumpjumper, Giant NRS, Santa Cruz Superlight.
Bike Setup: Spearfish 2, 2012 stock setup. Running tubeless tires.
Date Reviewed: April 16, 2013
Strengths: This bike has a lot of strengths but I would say its biggest strength is that it is versatile. Yes, it climbs like crazy but you CAN and should run it through technical stuff....NO, its not a 5 inch travel bike but if your honest with yourself you wont notice a big difference. I have a Spearfish 3 and I have Industry 9 wheel set with 142X10 axles and it makes this bike even better and more versatile. You can stay on this bike all day and it doesn't beat you to death...Best of both worlds...Hard tail/Full Suspension
Weaknesses: Well...there are NO weaknesses...I bought the frame and added parts. I would find a good wheel set for this bike and you will be rewarded big time. Bottom bracket? ya...it could be higher but not a big issue.
Ya know how bad it sucks trying to push all-mountain bike UP a hill which takes longer and kills ya for only a few minutes of pleasure to go down? A spearfish makes you go UP easier and go down with almost the same reckless abandon as an all mountain bike will allow.....For most of us this bike will be your one and only and don't let the XC-Endurance racer tag fool ya....This thing will handle the same technical stuff your buddies are riding and you are in better physical shape because your not as tired from the ride up. If you live in a part of the country like I do that REQUIRES a lot of climbing to some awesome downhill...buy this bike. Your wife will get over it!!!
Strengths: Well balanced, acceptable weight. Climbs very close to a hardtail.
Weaknesses: Can only mount one water bottle. Almost did not buy for this reason. Bolt for pivots and shock rusted quickly.
2012 SF1 frame. I was after a full suspension to take the edge off, but maintain the climbing feel of a hard tail. The 142 rear spacing adds to the stiffness of the bike. Corners very well. I will keep this bike for quite a while.
Strengths: 2012 Salsa SF1 Light weight, fast, comfortable, great handling..
Weaknesses: none so far, I may upgrade the fox stuff to Kashimura coated...we shall see, it should've been spec'd with it?! ok...if I have to choose something it's the tires. I will up-grade to Maxxis UST Crossmark as soon as the Continental's are done.
My SF1 is by far the most comfortable bike I have ever ridden. This bike will most likely keep my Moots Mooto X ybb stay in the garage. I am almost in shock as to how much more comfortable this is to ride than my Moots. The 15mm front axle and 142x12mm rear rock. I just changed the headset to a red CK, and the bars to Salsa Pro Moto Carbon riser and really it needs nothing else. It may get the XX1 treatment in the near future though, or I may go 1x10 with the XX1 cranks. I can't believe I waited so long to go 29er FS, it really is the best of both worlds on the Salsa SF1 (2012).
Weaknesses: Nothing yet really. Not necessarily the bike you want to pound through rock gardens with.
Can't say enough good things about this bike. I have the Spearfish 2. My typical ride is a 2 hour ride that is a mix of gravel, and tight singletrack with shorter climbs and descents. Some roots. Some smaller rocks. Some log crossing. Some slicker clay and stream crossing. A few miles of bikes paths and street to connect trails. Most serious folks around here stick to hardtail 29ers, but my back would not tolerate that. This bike is the perfect compromise for me. Allows for stand up climbing and the short wheelbase helps it carve nicely and makes rolling over logs easier. I am coming off a Trek Rumblefish which is also an excellent bike but is more all-mountain/descending focused than I will likely ever need, and the longer wheelbase is just no the right geometry for twisty trails. This bike handles quickly. a lot like my old 26" bike, but it is better in every way. I was close to going back to a 26er but this bike prevented me from making that mistake. Bike (large) sans pedals weighed in at 27lbs. The Continental X-king tires are a great match for my riding and the bikes purpose. The one thing it gives up to the Rumblefish are fast, rough descents, and a little bit of shock plushness, but the trade off is that it climbs sooo much better. If you are looking for a fully that it almost a hardtail, this bike is highly recommended!
a All Mountain Rider
Date Reviewed: February 14, 2013
Strengths: Low weight, Price point, Comfort
Weaknesses: Bottom Bracket Height
I moved to the Rockies with a single speed, fully rigid 29er and quickly noted the need for gears and suspension for this area.
I found a great deal on the Spearfish 3 frame, and figured I'd build it up with parts I had laying around. The BB30 BB was kind of a headache, as I wanted to use an existing Deore Crankset. It was quickly remedied by way of the "Problem Solvers" adapters. I've been riding with a standard crank and the adapter for a full season with no notable noise or unintended movement. I may upgrade the entire drivetrain this season, and would then move on to a bb30 crank.
A majority of the riding I do out here would be considered more "All Mountain" rather than XC, as this bike is intended. Lots of rocks, drops, and technical sections. That said, I would love for the bottom bracket to be a little higher off the ground. Again, the bike is meant for xc, where you wouldn't see as much terrain as I've been throwing at it. But still, I find my pedals and chainrings striking quite a bit of terrain if I don't take a line perfectly or misjudge a drop.
Overall, this bike is a blast and is QUICK! It's incredible what it can climb over once you figure out that you can let the bike do all the hardwork... All you have to do is pedal! It handles downhills like a champ and is easily maneuvered. I may have to get a dedicated trail bike, but I'm not planning on ever getting rid of the Spearfish.
Date Reviewed: February 10, 2013
Strengths: handling, comfort
Weaknesses: none so far
I just got a 2013 spear fish 1. So far I am really pleased. I went from a carbon hard tail and gave up a full 3.5 lbs in the process but don't regret it one bit. I had never ridden a bike with thru axles on both ends and I must say it make a world of differance. The bike is just so stable its amazing. My first trip down a local downhill strava segment today had me in 3rd overall and thats with mud to contend with and stopping once for a dog in the road. You just reach down and turn the front and rear to descend mode and have fun. I can see this being a really good all day ride and still being able to walk afterwards. My large was 26.5 lbs out of the box which isn't bad for the price and stock specs. First time back on a fox fork after a long stint of rock shocks.. they really do ride better. The simple 3 position shock (climb, trail, descend) on the front and rear is really nice and let's me use my own brain. I bought one for my wife who went from a fate carbon 29r and she loves hers as well. We will both be sitting down a lot more while riding again.
Weaknesses: Low bottom bracket, but I got over it after the first ride.
I bought the frame on closeout and built it up with moderate components, so for the money I put into it it's been amazing. To get around buying a new crankset (PFBB) I used a GXP crank with adapter cups and it's been smooth and worry-free for six months. The cable-routing seemed clumsy when I built it, but I forgot all about it after the first ride.
For me the Spearfish shines on the downhill--it feels limber and centered and fast--and sticks around corners. Climbing is better than expected, and the stiffer design definitely takes some of the bob out. I don't have any experience with hardcore endurance riding, but I've had this out for up to 8 hours at a stretch and felt better than I would have on other 29ers. I find myself grinning a lot while riding, but that might just be the riding.
Strengths: Weight, 3.3 lbs medium frame, handling, beautiful paint.
Weaknesses: None relly. I would prefere a standard threaded bottom bracket but I'm using adapters and so far so good.
Pretty much rides like all the reviews have stated. Steering is responsive and precise. Climbs very well. I still need to play with shock pressure for sprinting performance. Feel on this bike is amazing.Closest yet to a 26er feel that I have found in a 29er. I am 5'11" and have a medium with Thomson setback and 105mm stem. Fit is perfect. I love it.
I've had my Spearfish for over a year now and have put lots of miles on it. It's great for so many things, but I'm starting to feel like it's a lot to handle. Maybe too much.
I live on the front range of Colorado, so much of the riding I do is on semi-tehnical, very rocky terrain. On fast, techni ... Read More »
I have a 2012 Spearfish 2..sometimes when I'm am coming over the top of a hill or just need to accelerate in a technical situation, the bike gets this feeling like its stuck and just sort of wallows and gets hard to accelerate. As I push harder, the bike seems like it is trying to plow through the ... Read More »
Hello fixing up a Spearfish for my buddy, replaced all pivot bearings in the suspension... I am in need of torque specs on those. Anybody know were I might find this information. It is a 2011 model.
Thanks in advance.Read More »