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  1. #1
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    2012 Horsethief Ride and Review (quiver killer?)

    So after getting my HT in and putting it all together it got quite a workout in it's first weekend in my stable. Sorry in advance didn't get any pictures (forgot the camera, noob mistake!) though on the next set of rides I will update this post with more impressions and pictures.

    Ride 1: This is a tough ride that I've done hundreds of times and am super familiar with the trails. This was at Soquel Demo Forest which has a ton of climbing and lots of choices for lines down the hills. I went for Braille on the downs, and if you look up some videos of it (Demo Forest Braille Trail) you will see what the HT went through. This is a trail that I normally bring my Ibis HD on, the reasoning why is that there are tons of big jumps, features to ride (skinny's, log climbs, high berms, jumps, and teeter totters).

    I thought that this would be a good test of what the HT could do in a more aggressive riding situation. First thing is the climbs, in total we did about 5k of climbing and while the HT is not the fastest climber I've ever had a steady cadence and good pedaling form will get you up any climb with out any real drama. It was a very good climber over all, use the lock out and you can stand and mash easily, or sit and spin with the bike full open with a touch of bob. What the bike really excelled at was any type of technical climb over rocks, logs, steps and roots the HT absolutely killed it.

    Now we get to the pointing down part of Demo Forest. If you've never ridden Braille imagine a trail about a mile long that points down. There is very little pedaling needed here (only feature to feature pedaling needed). I wanted to see how the HT acted in the air, and I have to say I wasn't disappointed. The HT felt heavy in the air but super stable and was easy to get mini tail whips and overall just was a solid jumper. The biggest air that I hit gets you about 5ft of air on a perfect transition down. I've hit this jump on any number of bikes and was great on the HT. I know the HT isn't really designed or billed as a big jump bike but it does do a good job of it!

    Conclusions of Ride 1: This is a fun bike! Doesn't really kill it at anything in particular, I wouldn't call it spectacular at anything. That actually isn't a negative in my book but a positive, you will never feel that you are on the wrong bike aboard the HT. Ride turns into a Epic climbfest? No problem the HT will get you there! Lot more features than you anticipated on a trail? No worries, hit them on the HT and smile!

    Overall the HT did everything I asked of it and then some on this ride. I would be happy riding the HT anywhere and in any situation.

    Ride 2:

    This ride is a little different and probably something in which the HT really was designed for. This ride was located at El Corte De Madero (i know I killed the spelling here, it's also known as Skeggs) and was 20 miles with a good portion of climbing. Skeggs features lots of technical natural terrain, logs, roots, rocks, steep short climbs, extended climbs and lots of downs.

    The HT really did well here, she carries her speed very well, attacks the short climbs well, climbs the rock walls very well and overall was just a great bike for this type of trail system. Not much to mention here as the bike performed exactly how I expected. Good at everything, didn't really suck at anything and just was very solid overall.

    Overall conclusions and thoughts:

    So before I get into my thoughts what went wrong with the bike? The only annoying thing was the bike developed a really annoying creak during its first ride. Once I got it home I started checking pivots, the seat, wheels and everything. Turns out the creak was coming from the cassette, the person who installed the cassette installed it WAY to tightly and was the culprit of the noise. Took the cassette off and reinstalled using the correct torque specs and everything is quiet.

    The HT is a fantastic bike from Salsa, to date is has a chance to be my favorite offering of theres. I've owned the Mamasita, Selma Ti, El Mariachi Ti, Big Mama and Dos Niner so I've owned a few! The HT will climb anything, but has a bias for the downs which I was happy to see. The HT really is a bike that I wouldn't mind it being my only bike, it just does most things well and doesn't really suck at anything. If you are in the Nor Cal area and want to check one out, I'll be happy to let ya try mine!

  2. #2
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    Interesting. I had a creak/rattle/groan develop from the rear of the bike on yesterday's ride (third for the bike). Now that you mention it, I guess the cassette was pretty tight when I removed it. I spend an hour going over all the welds, as it sounded like a cracked frame.

  3. #3
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    I'd try retorquing that cassette to the proper specs. That made it disappear from mine completely. I'm guessing you got yours through Universal, correct?

    I got mine there as well and it seems to me that the builder there may have a bit of gorilla in him with how tight every bolt was. I went over the bike with a fine tooth comb looking for cracks, loose bolts, dirt, or anything else turns out it was the cassette for me.

    Hope to help!

  4. #4
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    thanks for the review, I live in santa cruz and started building up a large horsethief last week. Good to hear it works well on the local trails

  5. #5
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    Re creaks - make sure to check the screws holding on the deraileur hanger.
    M

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by AndrewJL View Post
    thanks for the review, I live in santa cruz and started building up a large horsethief last week. Good to hear it works well on the local trails
    You will love it at Demo if you ride there. I haven't done any of the other trails down that way yet but looking forward to them. Hitting up Waterdog tonight, so that should be interesting!

  7. #7
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    Ride 3:

    This time I wanted to try the HT at a more tight technical trail and decided to ride Waterdog Park in Belmont, CA. If you've never been there I'll give you a brief idea of what the park is like. The trails here are tight, with lots of short punchy climbs, loose rocky downhills, tight switchbacks, loose roots, wet rocks and deep holes. Overall it's a great testing ground to see what a bike is like. Today I did 10 miles and about 2k feet of climbing.

    So what did I notice?

    In the switchbacks I was expecting to hate the bike, with it being long I felt that it just wouldn't excel here. Show's what I know! I was completely wrong, the bike handled the tight turns very well, super stable, and just really did well. The switchbacks come in two flavors, tough climbs and the downs are rutted with lots of loose sand. Overall the HT had tons of traction and just wasn't concerned with anything the trail threw at it.

    Switchbacks conquered I decided to see what the HT could really do. At the top of a longish climb there is a small ledge that is about 2 feet high. I always try to climb up this 2ft stair and never really clean it well. Occasionally I get up and over it but it sort of looks like a monkey humping a football I imagine. Tonight I absolutely killed that stair, the HT actually made it feel like cheating.

    After tough techy climbs and tight switchbacks I decided to hit up the loose rocky DH run that is here. I always struggle on this DH, it's super loose, with baseball sized loose rocks everywhere. I like to think of this DH as controlled chaos, it's just point and hold on and hope for the best. Here the HT did very well as well, it handled the loose rocks like a champ the only issues really happened when quick body english was needed to correct a wandering wheel. The HT really just isn't something that is concerned with your quick movements, it'll get to where it wants to go in its own time. You're better off just hanging on for the ride as the HT knows what it wants to do and you'll just mess it up. At least I did.

    So I honestly couldn't be more happy with this bike so far. It's handled all sorts of terrain that I ride, from loose rocks, to steep DH, twisty flowy trails, jumps, berms, and everything else. Now I haven't had the chance to try it in anything resembling a New England trail. I imagine it would do quite well there too.

  8. #8
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    Thanks for the detailed ride reviews. I'm familiar with the trails you mentioned, although haven't ridden them in some time. Should be interesting to get back out there and see how things have changed. Maybe I'll see you out there! Cheers.

  9. #9
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    Nice ride reviews! I ordered one from Universal on their close-out sale and it will be here Tuesday. Cant wait for it to get here. I live in Florida so not much downhills here, but we do have some nice tech trails located in old phosphate mines that have gnar. I also have a 2012 EL Mar I built up and the HT will be my geared trails/mountain bike and the EL Mar my SS rigid XC bike.

  10. #10
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    Just ordered a size S for my wife... Now she will probably out ride me

  11. #11
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    I've been rocking my baby HT since last February. It's been to Moab, and pretty much every trail good ole Boise and the greater Boise area has to offer. This beast has taken anything i can throw at it and is so comfortable to ride aggressively. Love the big travel for a 29er.

    I've done a fair amount of upgrades from the stock kit making it my own. X9 RD, XT Brakes, Kronolog dropper post, Easton Haven Carbon Bar, Easton Haven stem, ODI (customized of course) rogue grips. The one I'm most excited about currently is its at the powder coater getting that terrible diarrhea green blasted off of it and powder coated flat black. Then I'll be taking over to an airbrush design artist and having some custom graphics painted on. CAN'T WAIT!!

  12. #12
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    Stand over is to high for my wife... Shipping it back tomorrow.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by darrinw2001 View Post
    Nice ride reviews! I ordered one from Universal on their close-out sale and it will be here Tuesday. Cant wait for it to get here. I live in Florida so not much downhills here, but we do have some nice tech trails located in old phosphate mines that have gnar. I also have a 2012 EL Mar I built up and the HT will be my geared trails/mountain bike and the EL Mar my SS rigid XC bike.
    Where do you rock your 'thief in FLA? Where are the thief-worthy trails? (my parents jsut bought a condo down there and would love to get some good rides in the winter when I visit)

  14. #14
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    Just got my 2012 'Thief today, got it mostly put together but had a question. Does Universal normally include a shock pump? I didn't get one but wasn't sure if I was supposed to or not.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by wiploc View Post
    Just got my 2012 'Thief today, got it mostly put together but had a question. Does Universal normally include a shock pump? I didn't get one but wasn't sure if I was supposed to or not.
    I've seen other guys around the site saying they did not get a shock pump. How tall are you and what size did you go for? I am 5' 10.5" and am leaning M.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Radioface View Post
    I've seen other guys around the site saying they did not get a shock pump. How tall are you and what size did you go for? I am 5' 10.5" and am leaning M.
    I'm 6'5" so I went with the XL. This is my first 29er and is replacing a 20+ year old 26" rigid so the wheels and bike in general feels massive so far

    Can't wait to get it all adjusted etc so I can take it for a spin.

  17. #17
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    Ah nice. Yeah -- I am also coming off 26ers. But I have ridden friends' 29ers. Thinking the same thing -- the jump to the big wheels will definitely affect the feel of it.

  18. #18
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    From what I understand, Fox forks do not come with a shock pump. I use the one I got with my old Reba.

  19. #19
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    My fiance and I want to pull the trigger on a small. the one hang up? She's 5'5 and has 31.8 inches of 'clearance' when in riding shoes and feet are shoulder width apart. Stand over is a concern.

    Would any of you HF owners care to share your inseam or where on the TT that measurement is take?

  20. #20
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    I have a 31 inseam and I'm able to stand over my small 'Thief. That being said, the top tube is right up on the "boys". Ultimately cockpit feel is more important than standover, but there are some for whom that is important. I would prefer a little more room myself, but I have adapted and don't think much about it anymore. With her inseam, your fiance should be ok. It's a great bike overall and a terrific value. Check the Salsa website for the measurement points. They have a detailed listing for each bike.

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