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Discussion Starter #1
Please help me compare the 2012 Horsethief vs the 2013 Horsethief 3


I have an opportunity to pick up a 2012 for around $2200 (retail +2900). 2013 Horsethief 3 is coming in at $2550. Seems that with the Fox suspension (front and back), SRAM 9 in rear derailleur, Elixir 5 brakes, stan's flow wheels, the 2012 might offer better value. Obviously a big change in the 2013 is in the frame -- with the hydroformed tube. Just not sure the 2013 is worth it over the 2012, considering it seems the 2012 specs out better, and is cheaper. Any thoughts from those who know a lot more about this than me .... which is everyone ...
 

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Discussion Starter #2
For simplicity's sake -- here are the breakdowns:
2012 Horsethief:
6061-T6 Heat Treated Aluminum Tubeset; a mix of hydroformed and shaped tubing, custom spec'd with all-mountain riding in mind; 142 x 12mm Maxle dropout
SRAM X.9 2 x 10 drivetrain with Formula/Stan's wheels and Conti Mountain King II 29 x 2.35" tires
Fox 34 RL fork, QR15, tapered steerer, 120mm (convertible to 140mm)
Fox Float RP2 Boost Valve Air rear shock; adjustable rebound; 120mm travel; two ProPedal settings: Off for unrestricted bump absorption, On for optimized climbing
Simplified one-piece rear triangle with shaped stays and a shared pivot link design that reduces pivot points and hardware
ISCG-05 chain guide tabs
Get full specs on the Horsethief at salsacycles.com
Crankset: SRAM S1000 GXP, SM = 170mm, MD, LG, XL = 175mm
Chainring: SRAM 22/36T
Bottom Bracket: SRAM GXP
Chain: KMC X10
Cassette: SRAM PG-1030, 12-36T
Front Derailleur: SRAM X7, 2 x 10, High Direct Mount
Rear Derailleur: SRAM X9, 10-Speed, Mid Cage, White
Fork: Fox 34 RL 120mm (convertible to 140mm), QR15, Tapered Steerer, White, Custom for Salsa
Headset: Cane Creek 40-Series, Tapered ZS, Black
Handlebar: Salsa Pro Moto 2, 11-Degree Flat, 31.8mm, Black, 710mm Width
Stem: Salsa Pro Moto 2, 31.8mm, Black
Grips: Salsa Juegos de Fuegos
Front Brake: SRAM Elixir 5, 180mm, 6-Bolt, HS1 Rotor
Rear Brake: SRAM Elixir 5, 160mm, 6-Bolt, HS1 Rotor
Brake Levers: SRAM Elixir 5
Tires: Continental Mountain King II 29 x 2.35", Folding Bead
Front Shifter: SRAM X7 Trigger, 2 x 10
Rear Shifter: SRAM X7 Trigger, 10-Speed
Seatpost: Salsa Pro Moto 2, 31.6mm
Seatclamp: Salsa Flip-Lock, Special Color
Saddle: WTB Pure V, Black
Front Hub: Formula, 15mm Thru-Axle, Sealed Cartridge, 32H, Special Color
Rear Hub: Formula, Double Sealed Cartridge, 32H, Special Color
Quick Release: Front: Fox QR15; Rear: SRAM 12 x 142mm Maxle
Spokes: DT Swiss, Competition, Butted 2.0/1.8, Black
Nipples: DT Swiss, ProLock Brass
Rims: Stan's Flow 29er, 32H

2013 Horsethief 3:6061-T6 heat-treated aluminum; custom spec'd mix of hydrofromed and shaped tubing paired wtih a RockShox Sektor, Tapered, 130mm travel
15mm front, 12x142mm rear axles
Front Der: Shimano SLX HDM
Rear Der: Shimano SLX
Cassette: Shimano Deore 10-Speed, 11-36T
Chain: KMC X10
Crankset: Shimano Deore 24/32/42T
Fork: RockShox Sektor, Tapered, 130mm travel
Rear Shock: RockShox Monarch R, 7.5x2"
Headset: Cane Creek 10 ZS44/56
Stem: Salsa Pro Moto 3
Handlebar: Salsa Pro Moto 3, 11-Degree
Grips: Salsa Backcountry
Shifter: Shimano SLX 3x10
Front Brake: Avid Elixir 1
Rear Brake: Avid Elixir 1
Rotors: 180mm Front/160mm Rear
Seatpost: Salsa Pro Moto 3
Saddle: WTB Pure V
Tires: Continental Mountain King II 29 x 2.4"
Front Hub: Salsa 3 by Formula, 32H, 15mm Thru Axle
Rear Hub: Salsa 3 by Formula, 32H, 12x142mm Thru Axle
Spokes: DT Swiss
Rims: Sun Inferno 28mm
 

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29ers Forever
2021 Rocky Mountain Altitude A70
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I would go for the 2012 because you would be getting more bike for the money. The '12 has Fox shocks, elixir 3 (over elixir 1), and X7/X9 drivetrain.
 

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I recently picked up a 2012 and could not be happier with it. The closeout deals are also really great. You can get one here Universal Cycles - The Largest Selection of Road and Mountain Bike Parts for $2059. The component spec is so much better than the 2013 3. I would not go lower than the Horsethief 2 on the 2013 models. The Elixir 5 brakes are ok so far, although I will upgrade to Shimano when they wear out or when I start having problems with them, whichever comes first. The Fox fork is nice and plush.
 

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I say go for the value (without any performance loss) of the 12' unless you simply prefer Shimano which the 13' has. Even then, you could swap parts out for a similar price. I trust in Stans wheels also.

Tough choice though
 

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The 2012 also has hydroformed tubes. What the 2013 adds is an S-bend on the downtube to allow a water bottle cage. Component wise, the 2012 is head and shoulders above the 2013:
Fox F34 vs Sektor
RP2 Boost valve vs Monarch R (no lockout, which you might value on this type of rig)
Flows vs Sun inferno
Elixir 5 vs Elixir 1

Overall, I'd value the 2012 as being worth at least ~$500 more than the package-3 2013. It's up to you to decide how much you value a water bottle mount. It's a must have for some. I place a high value on a water bottle mount, but not $500.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Thanks all -- definitely helping to validate my thoughts. I appreciate the input.

Progfan-- what size did you go with and how tall are you? I am 5' 10.5" (179cm). I have typically ridden Large frames -- most recently coming off a 19" 26er hardtail frame. Looks like the Salsas run 18" M and 20" L. Salsa recommends riders between 173cm - 183cm ride a M, and 180cm - 191cm ride a large. so I am right at the bottom of Large and toward the top of Medium. Where are you at on the scale?
 

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Radioface,

I am 5'7" and went with a small. I'm technically a "tweener" for many bike sizes, as the cockpits on mediums usually feel good to me, but the 'Thief is a big bike and I went with small for standover and maneuverability since it has a long wheelbase. I used the fit chart at competitivecyclist.com to confirm my instincts on this, as there weren't any Horsethiefs for me to demo locally.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Radioface,

I am 5'7" and went with a small. I'm technically a "tweener" for many bike sizes, as the cockpits on mediums usually feel good to me, but the 'Thief is a big bike and I went with small for standover and maneuverability since it has a long wheelbase. I used the fit chart at competitivecyclist.com to confirm my instincts on this, as there weren't any Horsethiefs for me to demo locally.
Thanks!

I just spent the last hour comparing the geometry on the horsethief to past bikes I have owned -- little bit of apples to oranges considering I have always been on 26ers. I am definitely a bit of a tweener as well between M and L and typically like L cockpits, but I am shading toward M on this one...
 

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They set the Horsethief up with a longer top tube and a short-ish stem for a more aggressive riding posture. You'll notice that the geo for the cockpit on the 'Thief is somewhat different from their XC bike, the Spearfish. I'm guessing the medium would be good for you. It might be worth it to even call Salsa and ask, if you aren't sure. They're nice guys and are usually very helpful.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
cool thanks -- just did the virtual measurement on competitive cyclist and the virtual top tube rec came out as a M. which was helpful
 

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yup -- Universal Cycles definitely seems to be the ticket. $50 shipping to New Hampshire -- not bad!
If it were me, I would chose the 2012 for sure. Better spec, better price.

Also something to consider, the price from UC is great, and they are a great place to order from, but the difference is only $90. If your LBS offers free tune-ups, etc. you might be better sticking with them. They would also be a big help if any warranty problems crop up. Then again, if you wrench your own stuff forget what I just said!
 
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