Without getting too far ahead of myself here, I have to admit the giddiness flowing through my veins at the moment. I’m in Banff, Alberta at the start of the Tour Divide Race, arguably one of the most intense self-supported off-road races. I’m here with Salsa Cycles, and while we’re not doing the entire TDR, we are riding a three-day section of the race. Why? Because Salsa has supported racers and riders in the TDR for years and all the time and energy put into supporting athletes who train for to events like this has culminated in a bike that’s just being launched.
At this point, if you’re even reading this still and haven’t sprung right into clicking through the gallery images, I need to point out that Salsa champions the drop-bar off-road touring and racing bike. They love the hand positions, the unique stance and the options for drivetrains. That said, over the years, they’ve perfected what is arguably their best “all-road”, dirt-tourer: the Cutthroat.
Before the name causes too much of a stir, I should point out that it’s named after the state fish for each of the states the TDR passes through: the cutthroat trout.
Back to the bike. The Cutthroat dirt drop racer is not a Fargo. It’s a completely new machine, designed for the Tour Divide Race. While it shares the Fire Starter carbon fork with the Fargo and a similar stance, it’s a completely new beast all together.
This bike was an exercise in both engineering of materials and design features for the ever-increasing, high demand sport of “adventure touring and racing.” For starters, it’s a completely new carbon fiber frame design, with each tube having a unique profile. The rear triangle utilizes a Class 5 Vibration Reduction System like the Warbird. What does that mean? All you need to know is that supposedly the stays, in combination with the thru-axle creates a “spring like” feel on rough surfaces. The seat stays are long and narrow, while the chain stays are wide and flat. This gives compliance when needed.
Other tubes were sculpted on the Cutthroat. The downtube and top tube were flattened out, to reduce depth of the tubes, increasing the potential volume for bikepacking bags. Every inch counts. So much so that if you rode a medium frame before, with a medium bag, you can now ride a medium frame with a size large bag.
This bike features a PF31 BB, is a suspension corrected design for a 100mm travel fork and fits a 2.4″ tire. Damn.
After an initial shakedown shred sess on some sunset-soaked singletrack, I was surprised at how a bike with a “monster cross” stance could rip so hard on trails. Actually, I wasn’t surprised. Just look at that thing. It’s a beast. Why wouldn’t it rip? Especially unloaded. But the real test will come. So yeah, it’s a good looking machine, but I haven’t ridden it loaded down for a few days, hence this trip. Also, it looks naked without bags or bottle cages. So why bother showing it yet? To give context. After I spend the next three days on it, I’ll do a follow-up post. Onto the nitty gritty…
The Cutthroat comes in a orange / blue or green / yellow paint options, with a special TDR route map graphic printed on the downtube. Oh and that bartape? Exclusive to this bike.
The pricing for the Cutthroat is reasonable with two build options as well as a frameset offering:
-A 21lb complete size medium build (pictured but in size large) with Rival 1 with a 38t front, 10-42t cassette, SRAM Roam wheels for $3,999.
-A 23lb X9 spec build with Stans wheels for $2,999.
-A 1400g frame for $1,999. This includes frame, fork, headset, seatpost clamp.
For now, head over to Salsa for more information. Expect a late fall 2015 delivery on these…