Salsa Cycles Caballero with XT-LX XC Full Suspension

4.77/5 (13 Reviews)
Weight : 26 lbs MSRP : $2114.29


Product Description

There are tuxedos and there are sweatsuits. Consider the XT/LX Caballero the leather jacket of the mountain bike world.The Caballero has a critically acclaimed frame, and durable, well thought-out components that won't let anyone down in the backcountry.


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Reviews 1 - 13 (13 Reviews Total)

User Reviews

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Doug a Cross Country Rider

Date Reviewed: December 10, 2012

Strengths:    This masterpiece takes everything and spits out a smooth, beautiful ride! Up and down the Niagara Escarpment with ease, like I'm on pavement really. Lock out the front fork on my Reba Team and there is barely movement while pounding away on the climb. Does single track rocks and roots at 35km/hr with ease and confidence. Colour was a question at first but the red/black has grown on me.

Weaknesses:    Not made any more?!

Bottom Line:   
Find one, get one! I picked mine up second hand a couple of years ago (can't afford new stuff) loaded with Reba Team remote front fork, a "Pushed" Fox float rear, carbon juicy discs, sram xo shifters, cassette and rear derailler, xtr front derailler, race face crank with chinook rings, hope hubs on mavic 717 rims...all for $750CA! (not stolen). And at 26lbs with Kenda Dred Tread tires, I think this is the best bike out there. But as I said, can't afford the new stuff so it's hard to compare though who needs to when you have found the Holy Grail of mountain bikes?
It's soooo nice I find myself heading out on the road too instead of on the Ti Litespeed because sometimes I want to travel down those less known roads without worry of crapy roads ahead.

Expand full review >>

Favorite Trail:   Anything surrounded by trees

Similar Products Used:   Gt Lts DH (97)


Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by david a Cross Country Rider from Shenzhen, China

Date Reviewed: February 27, 2011

Strengths:    light weight. Stiff climbing, very comfortable and responsive. Its a SALSA!!!

Weaknesses:    they don't make them anymore! A hydraulic brake cable needs a zip tie in the middle of the top tube

Bottom Line:   
I love this bike! It climbs incredibly strong, and the design will give you a smooth ride over the rocks and roots. Its also easy to lean really far back on descents. It great for XC, but i wouldn't use it for burly DH.

Expand full review >>

Favorite Trail:   which ever one I'm riding

Duration Product Used:   Less than 1 month

Price Paid:    $1600.00

Purchased At:   frame from ebay

Similar Products Used:   corratec glacier, various treks and cannondales

Bike Setup:   XTR wheel set, XTR RD, XT FD, Deore levers and shifters, Salsa stem, Thompson seat post, Fox F-32 fork, epicon R9 rear shock.

Overall Rating:2
Value Rating:2
Submitted by mike a Racer from Portland, OR, USA

Date Reviewed: February 24, 2009

Strengths:    Light weight, and build quality.

Weaknesses:    Handling. The head tube angle is too steep for a dual suspension bike. The bike felt like it was going to topple over in steep and technical stuff. The standover clearance was too high given the higher bottom bracket.

Bottom Line:   
better for taller riders who can get away with a shorter stem who only ride flat single track. But then you would ride a 29er hard tail wouldn't you?

Expand full review >>

Favorite Trail:   Syncline

Duration Product Used:   2 Years

Price Paid:    $4000.00


Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Shaggy a Cross Country Rider from tipton, Indiana, USA

Date Reviewed: January 25, 2009

Strengths:    I personally found that the frame could really take hard hits well. Being about 130lbs i didn't have a hard time putting in the presure amount in the rearshock.I ride almost in the freeride section with a crosscounty bike.

Weaknesses:    Having to grease all the bolts in the rear triangle.I found that taking the entire rear section apart and greasing the bolts about once every 2 months works best.

Bottom Line:   
If you can get your hands on this frame, definately do so, i have been rideing this bike for 5 years and have enjoyed it greatly. The bike works the best in condintions like table top jumps, not so much flat landing since it is not a big rig, but just all day long riding. I have been a bike instructor at TRC for 6 years and the 5 years riding i have enjoyed spending 10 hours a day for 10 weeks out of the year on it. So the bottom line is if your an all day rider find this bike your butt with thank you!

Expand full review >>

Favorite Trail:   Brown County, 96th st., TRC

Duration Product Used:   More than 3 years

Price Paid:    $1500.00

Purchased At:   Chain Reaction, MI

Similar Products Used:   none

Bike Setup:   EA50 high rise handle bars, Thomson elite X4 stem, shimano XT shifter, Promax brakes, Rockshox Revelation U-turn front fork, Rockshox sid rear shock, Race Face North Shore XS crank,Mavic Ex 325 rims, Kenda Excavator tires.

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Red a Cross Country Rider from Winnipeg

Date Reviewed: March 26, 2007

Strengths:    Responsive, unique, light and sexy :)

Weaknesses:    They stopped making it! And though I got smallest frame, still have to be a bit careful about not landing on the top tube...

Bottom Line:   
Fantastic ride. I bought this bike when I wanted to upgrade from my hardtail; and settled on the Caballero after deliberating between a Rocky Mountain, Specialized, Santa Cruz for a while....and then after my boyfriend showed me some links to the Salsa and a review MB Action had done on the previous year's model of the Caballero my heart was won.

It is very responsive with the right amount of stiffness for XC riding. It does pretty good on more technical terrain too; this bike and I had a great time in Moab! Not for someone doing more aggressive riding though, while it is strong with the scandium frame - it is definitely cross country in style and performance.

Rear shock took some time to get adjusted right, but when I got this one the 5th Element shock was not available through my dealer at time...but I am happy with the Rock Shox at this point. Total weight is about 25.5 lbs.

And while it is a downside that Salsa no longer makes the Caballero, the advantage is that it is also unique and stands out - no one else around here has one so at races I don't lose it amongst all the Treks during the LeMond starts.

If you want a reliable, sleek & unique ride and are doing mostly XC, and can get your hands on one of these....go for it!

I have to also say that the staff at Salsa is EXCELLENT for personally answering questions (at least via email as that is all I tried). The P-Man is my co-pilot!

Expand full review >>

Favorite Trail:   Fast, twisty, singletrack

Duration Product Used:   2 Years

Price Paid:    $2000.00

Similar Products Used:   First dual suspension

Bike Setup:   Easton bar and seatpost, FSA wheelset/hubs, Panaracer Fire XC Pro's, Selle Italia Ldy, Shimano XT, Duke fork, Candy Ti's, Shimano dual lever

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by chris lagerstedt a Cross Country Rider from duvall, wa, usa

Date Reviewed: July 20, 2006

Strengths:    Super light frame

Weaknesses:    needs shock upgrade from factory one

Bottom Line:   
This bike rocks! With the frame and shock at only 5lbs, you can build a 22lb race bike with ease. I have beat the tar out of this bike and it keeps giving more. After 2 years of adventure racing, this bike has never failed me. The rest of the team rides Titus and Ellsworth. Salsa is the redheaded stepchild of xc bikes that is worthy to ride with the big boys. If you should change anything, buy a rear air shock with lock-out. The SID can't handle the long uphills without a little bob in the back. Get your hands on one and don't let it go.

Expand full review >>

Favorite Trail:   prt

Duration Product Used:   More than 3 years

Price Paid:    $450.00

Purchased At:   ebay

Similar Products Used:   Cannondale xc hardtail

Bike Setup:   marathon fork,rpm cranks,fsa bb,monkeylight bars,xt components,mavic rims,xtr v-brakes

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Clifton Gibson a Cross Country Rider from Johnson City, TN. USA

Date Reviewed: June 15, 2005

Strengths:    everything an XC rider could want.

Weaknesses:    New paint scheme is too flashy for my taste. They do not produce the Caballero anymore.

Bottom Line:   
I really can't think of a reason to give this bike any bad marks. I could have bought a new bike built up the same way cheaper, but the frame is just too good to let go.

Expand full review >>

Favorite Trail:   Anyplace with singletrack

Duration Product Used:   2 Years

Purchased At:   LBS

Similar Products Used:   KHS fxt pro--lead sled!

Bike Setup:   Just replaced every component. Reba race, mavic xm 819 rims, hadley hubs, truvativ stylo team gxp cranks/bb, x9 trigger shifters, xo rear, avid bb discs, titec carbon bar, thomson x4 stem, thomson seatpost.

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Sim a Cross Country Rider from UK

Date Reviewed: May 27, 2005

Strengths:    High quality finish of welds and paint work. Ride quality very high, little to no bob and this is out of the box no fettling of shock set up to suit my rider weight. Fluid ride over the rough. Good low weight for full sus 4" travel frame. Well worth the money, a shame it is now a discountiued frame set. Thank goodness I was able to get hold of one via wiggle.

Weaknesses:    Non so far.

Bottom Line:   
This bike rocks. Have just riden it over part of the commonwealth games course at Rivington and it was like riding on the smooth. I was able to turn a significantly higher gear then my trusty hardtail. No eyeball rattling or fillings falling out! This is going to be a peac of a bike to ride eduro events to raise money for the Katie trust (www.teamkatietrsut.org) so why not support us with our efforts for cancer research.

If you can get hold of one of these framesets buy it and build a custom rig it really will put you on a new level for riding.

Expand full review >>

Duration Product Used:   Less than 1 month

Price Paid:    $2000.00

Purchased At:   www.wiggle.co.uk

Bike Setup:   Reba Race Forks, Crane Creek Terros Disc wheelset, XT Chain set, Sram X7/X gen with Sram 990 rear sproket set. Hope M4 discs. Light weight easton/flite and Thompson parts.

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Dennis a Cross Country Rider from WA

Date Reviewed: May 15, 2005

Bottom Line:   
I bought this bike as a frame only then swapped over all parts from my Ti hardtail. The hardtail was just beating me up too much.
I spent 12 miles at Lake Sawyer today in the pouring rain. The trails there are fast, slow, technical, stunts, small hills, lots of bumps/roots/logs etc...
The bike was outstanding. I weigh 215 and put 215 psi in both rear shock chambers and this let me have great pedaling efficiency but with medium/big bump absorption.

I liked my Instinct but it was a 19inch, this is a 18 inch frame and the Salsa seems so much better on the tight twisty rooty technical trails that I prefer to ride.

Note: I do feel like I could go over the handlebars very easy so I may install a Thompson Laid Back seatpost to slide me back just a little more.

Expand full review >>

Favorite Trail:   Skookum Flats

Duration Product Used:   Less than 1 month

Price Paid:    $875.00

Purchased At:   Recycles Cycles

Similar Products Used:   Rocky Mountain Instinct (much the same but heavier), Specialized Epic (rode once, did not like it--sold it)

Bike Setup:   Rock Shox Duke XC up front, Rock Shox SID out back

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by forest slowreck a Cross Country Rider from campbell ca usa

Date Reviewed: August 21, 2004

Strengths:    weght,solid,craftsmanship,price,looks,rides very smart,the list is huge.

Weaknesses:    the word is spreading,but the weakness is people are still spending twice the money for similar products.

Bottom Line:   
this is a update.i had to take some air pressure out of the rear shock,I was'nt bottoming shock,and I wanted more travel.I ride fast and hard,and I wanted to see what the salsa can handle.so I lowered air pressure to 140 psi,I weigh 160,and adj preload on fork.much better.the ride is very smooth,dos'nt bottom easily,and reacts intuitively to my commands,i dont have to think about how to work the bike,it seems to know what to do.after all the bikes I have owned this is by far the best bike.I usually buy a bike once a year, but I know i'll keep the salsa for a long time.the design of the rear end is very good and need fancy shocks to help it.if you are a all around rider or begginer to racer this bike will work for you.

Expand full review >>

Favorite Trail:   anadale

Duration Product Used:   6 months

Price Paid:    $575.00

Purchased At:   ebay

Similar Products Used:   see previouse review the list is larg

Bike Setup:   see previouse review,nothing has changed

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by dodgerblue from orange county

Date Reviewed: July 17, 2004

Strengths:    lightweight, stiff, nice paint job.

Bottom Line:   
Wow! Coming off a hardtail stumpy, I was looking for something that would take the jarring out of my rides & allow me to be a bit faster. The hollowpoint I had was nice and plush but still felt like a heavy fs. All that xtra lb. to haul uphill wasn't worth it. Like previous posters, I could not find any decent review on this bike. So based on Salsa's history I took a chance.
It's a beautiful ride. Climbs like a demon. No pedal feedback, no bob that I can tell. It's quick and responsive not slow and lumbering. Just point where you want to go. I'm not planning at 10 ft drop anytime soon so this frame is perfect for my riding style. If you're coming off a hardtail and like that light and agile feel I think this frame would suit well. I have my 16" built up at 24 1/4 lb with cheesy formula disc hubs & mavic 221. I'm sure you could get this down to sub 23 with a lighter fork and wheels.

Expand full review >>

Duration Product Used:   3 months

Similar Products Used:   ironhorse hollowpoint

Bike Setup:   marzocchi mxc, sram components, truvativ team crank & bb

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Kaan a Cross Country Rider from Austin, TX

Date Reviewed: July 5, 2004

Strengths:    Great suspension design (looks similar to Fuel), came stock with 5th element rear shock, one of the lightest full-suspension frames around (5 1/4 pounds for the 20" with shock), beautiful paintjob and graphics, huge beefy welds, 5-year warranty from Salsa, comes with a Salsa flip-off seat-post binder (nice touch).

Weaknesses:    My biggest beef is that Salsa frames are so obscure that it was hard to make the decision to buy one. I scoured the web for reviews about this frame, but didn't find much. The few things I found said stuff like, "nice frame, very sweet", etc., but didn't elaborate as to what was nice, and what tasted sweet. With such a minimal amount of information out there, I would have liked to see one first-hand before making the purchase, but in the end decided it was worth the risk. Check out their dealer's page http://www.salsacycles.com/dealer.html to find a shop near you

Bottom Line:   
This bike is nothing but sweet.

After building the entire thing up myself (I work in a shop, and sourced the frame and all parts separately), it weighed in between 26.0 and 26.5 pounds (hard to tell, the shop scale isn't the most accurate thing around). For a full-suspension with hydraulic disc, this bike should weigh more than it does. And if I wanted to get all weight-crazy about it, I could probably shave another pound off of it (saddle, bars, stem, some of the drivetrain components).

I took it out to a local trail that I know pretty well, and found that the bike handled predictably and reliably. I got used to it in about 20 minutes, and felt very comfortable on rocky descents, sketchy climbs, and fast singletrack. The 5th Element in the rear is super nice, doing just about everything it says it will do. My morning weight is in the 175-180 range, so my rider weight (with gear) is probably 190. Sure, I'm not the biggest guy, but I'm no small fry either, and I could not get the 5th Element to bob at all. I tried sprinting up short climbs, also deliberately slowed way down before a few climbs to try climbing at a really low speed, but I could not get any bob out of that shock. The suspension design also plays a part in keeping things stable.

Another big selling point for me was Salsa's 5 year warranty (http://www.salsacycles.com/warranty.html). Sure, you could get a lifetime warranty through Trek or Specialized, but then you're stuck to one of their bikes with their specific build configurations. I had been really interested in the Santa Cruz Blur until I discovered that their warranty is way too short. I also looked into the Maverick ML7, but they've got a shorter warranty (as well as that damn integrated headset, to hell with that). In the end, I just couldn't do better than the Salsa Caballero with the 5th Element, and I have absolutely no regrets about it.

Expand full review >>

Favorite Trail:   anything that I can ride

Duration Product Used:   Less than 1 month

Similar Products Used:   This is my first full-suspension, but I've test ridden plenty of other FS bikes, including a Specialized Epic and Superlight.

Bike Setup:   Fox F100X fork, King headset, full XT drivetrain and components with XT center-lock hydraulic disc, Mavic 717 disc wheelset, Speedplay Frogs, Thomson seatpost, Easton bars and stem, Sigma computer

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by forest slowreck a Racer from san jose ca

Date Reviewed: July 3, 2004

Strengths:    very light . stiff . fast. excepts 2.4 tires . craftsmanship . paint . the list is huge .

Weaknesses:    only weakness , not enough people know about how sweet they are.

Bottom Line:   
i bought the frame through ebay. the first thing i did was take the frame to the post office and weigh it.for 20 inch frame the weight was 5lb 4 oz,wow.that is lighter than a med size trek fuel by 1/4lb.carbon giant nrs med is 5 1/4 like the salsa.so far i'm surprized and very happy.now the big test,the trail.i weigh 160,so i set up pos air at 155 and neg 100, rebound at 6 cicks from full,i like susp that works.first thing i noticed on the trail was how the bike seemed to know what to do.it was a cross between a nrs and a fsr, a great balance.it does'nt need pro peddle, this bike rips.no noticable bob but is very active when needed,like for climbs out or in the saddle,traction everywhere.i'm 5'11 and this frame fits well,i have long legs.this is the very best bike i have ridden.i can't say enough,full bearings,excellent welds.you can buy a frame for $900 new.the bike is light, evan with a heavy wheelset the bike weighs 27lb.the weight is worth the solid feel.i will update sight as my adventures with my caballero progresses.no i am not a salsa sales rep,out! i recommend this bike to anyone who wants a kickass cross country, epic monster,that does'nt want to spend $2000,and does not want to ride what every other joe blow has!

Expand full review >>

Favorite Trail:   annedale

Duration Product Used:   3 months

Price Paid:    $575.00

Purchased At:   ebay

Similar Products Used:   cannondale super v . specialize fsr . giant nrs . marin attack trail. giant warp. k2 .custom single speeds.nine speeds.elsworth isis.santa crus heckler.lets see,yes, your right. i love bikes.

Bike Setup:   marzocchi mxr fork 100,thompson stem 100,chris king headset,monkey light bars and seat post,truvativ cranks,race face bb,egg beater peddles,sram 90 front and rear derailleurs and shifters,avid mech disc,singletrack xt wheels,wtb mutano 2.4 tires

Reviews 1 - 13 (13 Reviews Total)

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