Ordered my Horsethief L Frame today, looking forward to building it!
Edit: The build went great! Photos and details are below, but here's how I built it out.
Frame: 2014 Horsethief size L
Fork: Pike RCT3 120mm
Front/Rear Derailleur: Shimano XT (medium cage, Shadow+)
Cassette: 11-36 XT
Crankset: 38/24 XT
Headset: Cane Creek 40 ZS44/56
Stem: Sette Avanti (cheap, 90mm, -7 degree, allows me to run 30mm of spacers in case I want to raise the bar)
Handlebar: Answer Expert DH 780mm (currently 780mm)
Grips: Sette Lock-on
Rotors: RT86 (180mm front, 160mm back)
Seatpost: Sette Edge (400 mm, 0 offset)
Saddle: SDG Ti-Fly C
Wheels: Sun Ringle Charger Pros (with 12 x 142mm adapter)
Tires: Ardent 2.4 EXO (front), Ardent 2.25 TR (rear)
Pedals: VP-Vice w/ Ti Axle
Complete Bike Weight 13.5 Kg / 29.7 lbs.
- - -
Hey guys, I don't know if there's any interest in me sharing my experiences building up a Horsethief frame, but I'll gladly detail my experiences as I go along, with photos, if people are interested.
I ordered a size large 2014 Horsethief frame today from my local bike store, and should be able to have it around the end of next week. They are going to help me set the suspension, but I'm going to actually build the bike myself.
As for why, I couldn't find what I wanted from the available build kits. I am not a fan of 1x11 and I am not a fan of Avid brakes. There are other details and reasons, but I want a 2x10 with wide wheels and Shimano brakes, and building it myself seemed the most cost effective way to go based on what I'd want to change from a Horsethief 1 or Horsethief 2 build kit.
I've posted about the XT components I selected and ordered, and the majority of them have arrived, along with my saddle and a few other components.
I've also got a new pair of Charger Pros in the box ready to go.
I'm working with Bikerbob to get a Pike 120 along with the remaining components, although it seems like the fork isn't going to be ready to ship until the end of the month.
Hopefully this'll be of interest to some people, and it should be a great learning experience for me.
Last edited by peteer01; 07-11-2014 at 04:19 PM.
Bike builds always make good threads. Sharing your experiences will definitely help others. Keep it up
Needs more XT. Just kidding.
Great stuff. I'll follow this thread for sure!
I'm not 100% decided if I buy a Horsethief yet but it's going into that direction. I just sent my dealer a list with components yesterday and I'm waiting for a quote.
Your color is grey-lime I guess?
Or is it called gun metal gray?
That's the one! I would have preferred their "Badd Asss Orange" or whatever they called it, as I prefer brighter bikes, but the frame is nice looking for what most people will probably just call "gray".
Originally Posted by bliz2z
Starting the build...oops, press fit issues...
Alright, so I started my build, and immediately managed to screw things up. I purchased a HHP-2 because it seems like press fit is the future of bottom bracket and head set bearings, and I may as well buy the right tool for both jobs now.
Here's the thing, the Park document for how to install bottom brackets expects you to have the BBT-90.3 as well, which is usually marketed as what you need to remove (and then install) bottom brackets. Well, it turns out those #669 bushings that come with that set are important. (A few of the top YouTube videos for installing bottom brackets with the HHP-2 do not use the #669 bushings!)
My thinking was that I don't need to remove anything, I should be fine with just the bearing up press for my installation of the BB and headset.
I'd confirmed with Salsa that the frame was absolutely ready to go out of the box, and the BB and headset are both beautifully faced.
I've installed JIS square taper BBs and a SRAM and FSA external BB, so I figured with the right tool I could handle the press fit. I greased the BB cups and used the HHP-2 as the very expensive vice that it is:
Aside from a few small noises near the end, this was easy and didn't cause any concern.
It was flush with the bike frame, and looked good.
Until I looked through the BB.
The cups were perfectly in place, but the tube that goes between them had been caught and crushed by the left cup. The tube wasn't perfectly straight, and while I could cram the crank through, it was going to affect the performance of the crank rotation.
And yeah, those cups are not moving once they're in there.
OK, I guess I do have a reason to want the removal tool that comes with the BBT-90.3.
Couldn't get my hands on a BB-71 quickly, so an "upgrade" to the BB-91 it is. Ouch. I don't care about buying the BB removal tool, I would have eventually bought one anyway, but the BB-91 purchase was something I would have preferred to avoid buying this soon.
The good news is that installing the bottom bracket is a breeze with the #669 bushings. Removing the bottom bracket was tougher than installing the new ones, which isn't saying much. As for how the press fit bottom bracket will perform and hold up, we'll see...
Next up was the crank, the only other thing I'm installing right now, as I still don't have my parts from CRC, and my fork won't even ship for a few more days at the earliest.
I've installed a JIS Alivio crank, as well as external bearing X7 and FSA SL-K cranks, but the Deore XT was different from all of those. It's got a nice little tab that ensures you've properly inserted the right crank and mounted the left crank sufficiently deep into the right crank spindle, otherwise you can't push the tab down flush with the crank arm.
After that, it was time to break out my small torque wrench and tighten both bolts to 5, then 8, then 10, then 13 nM. The instructions say to tighten both bolts evenly to 12-14 nM, so 13 seemed like a good setting.
The bottom bracket is in, the cranks are on, and they rotate smoothly. Between the fork and other items I'm waiting on, there's almost no chance I'll have all the parts I need by next weekend, so I'm stopping here for now to wait for more of the parts to arrive before continuing the build.
Hopefully my boneheaded experience with the press fit bottom bracket is helpful for someone out there, and it's the last big mistake I'll make putting this together.
Subscribed. I'm doing a very similar build but with a Spearfish.
Just order my Horsethief and all the parts! Also large with 120mm Pike. Complete X01 with Shimano XTR brakes and DT-Swiss SplineOne wheels.
If things go as planned I should have all the part mid of next week.
Nice! Are you building it up yourself? Also, are you planning to use grip shifters? (Personal preference, I want that big/small ring option in the front for faster shifting on normal shifters, but it sounds like grip shifters solve a lot of that in 1x11)
Originally Posted by bliz2z
Based on the number of items I'm still waiting on, you may have all your parts before me, though I'm very hopeful I'll also have everything by the middle of next week.
Yep will build it myself. I love building bikes so I'm really looking forward to that.
No grip shift for me I used XX1 on my Enduro last year and had no issues with the trigger.
I also never pressed in a bottom bracket so far. I'll be extra exact and careful after I've seen your pictures.
angels get bald too
"Show your bike some love and it will show the love back."
Eric, niner bikes
the most important vehicle is a 29er bicycle
Small update. My CRC package finally showed up with most of what I'd ordered from them. Unfortunately, BikerBob still hasn't received my fork, which has (had?) an ETA of 6/27 for him, so that puts a big limit on what I can do between now and the fork arriving.
I installed the Sun Ringle Charger Pro Rear End Caps that turn the Charger Pros rear hub into 142x12. Then I put a 160mm RT86 rotor and the XT 11-36 cassette on the rear wheel and put that on the bike with the included maxle:
I broke out my small torque wrench again and installed the front and rear derailleurs:
Not a whole lot more to do now but wait. Fortunately we have events planned for the long weekend that would keep me from riding and bike building even if I had all the parts. Hopefully that fork is ready to ship soon!
All my parts are also on the way now but I doubt that I'll have mine build before the weekend..
Regarding the rear brake. I would keep the routing outside it looks clean and is better for maintenance and replacement options. Not sure if inside is even possible? Is there are hole in the front of the stay as well?
Hopefully I can post some pics of my parts on Friday..
Are there two simultaneous builds in this thread? SCORE!
Busy, busy night! The bike is built! Update with details and photos tomorrow! (In bed, typing on phone)
I knew my package was showing up yesterday, but it wasn't there when I got home, so the first thing I did was go tubeless with my Ardent 2.25 TR that I already have. And just like the last time I went tubeless, I put the tire on the wrong wheel first. Oops.
I wanted the 2.25 on the rear tire, that will be far more aggressive than the 2.1 Aspen I currently have as a rear tire on my XC bike. The Ardent TR tires are awesome, they inflate with a floor pump every time, and the Charger Pro rim didn't change that (either time).
Right around the time I was running out of things to work on, UPS showed up with my package:
Nothing but good things to say about BikerBob, and I was very happy to see the Pike came with service seals, bottomless tokens and a pump and was factory set to 120mm:
I immediately went to set up the 2.4 Ardent on my front tire. The Ardent is only available as TR up to 2.25, and the EXO model I ordered did not inflate with a floor pump, so I had to drive down to a local gas station to get the tire seated.
That step done, I came back and installed the headset. Easy enough, except for the crown race. Last time I needed to install (a cheap) crown face, I used a 1 and 1/4" PVC pipe at Lowe's, which worked well enough that I headed back to Lowe's. This time I found a small straight 1 1/2" to 1 1/4" piece, which lined up perfectly with the metal on the Cane Creek headtube. I connected a long 1 1/4" pipe to it, and gently bounced the pipe on the floor. The PVC pipe entered the 1 1/2" to 1 1/4" piece, and then the crown race slowly moved to the base of the fork.
The woman at the register was not impressed with my "I made this" when I checked out with $5.10 worth of two PVC parts, but for $5, it worked well. (The PVC at the 1 1/4" inch section was barely hitting the tapered portion of the fork, so in the future if I want to reuse this, I might file or sand the inner 1 1/4" tube down just a hair.
Next was cutting the tube. I own a hacksaw, and I have read the instructions, but I'm more likely to mistake the blade for the handle than get a clean cut, so I bought a pipe cutter just for this job. (I'd previously tried hacksawing and borrowed a friend's pipe cutter with better results on the fork for my XC bike)
The major downside of using a pipe cutter are:
- The pipe cutter causes a bulge that makes it difficult to fit the star nut installation tool on the fork.
- The bulge also causes the inner ring to protrude making the star nut tougher to install.
Despite all of that, I felt more confident with the pipe cutter.
Some sandpaper, patience and grease got the star nut setting tool in place, and the star nut installed.
You might notice there are 30mm of spacers there. I ordered a -7 degree 90mm stem because the build kit L comes with an 80mm stem and the XL comes with a 90mm stem. At 6'2", there's an argument that an XL might be a better fit, but I think I'm between the two sizes and felt more comfortable with an L. That said, I thought the extra 10mm might provide a better fit for my long(er than normal) arms, so I went with the 90mm stem. The -7 degree stem with 30mm of spacers is to approximate the 20mm of spacers that come on a Salsa build without cutting the fork too short in the event that I want the handlebars higher in the future. (Once I'm comfortable, I'll probably buy a nicer stem in the length/rise I want, and cut the fork accordingly.)
Both wheels on, I installed the handlebars (780mm Answer Expert, .5" rise), which I am keeping at 780mm for now, but may cut down to match the 750mm that comes on the Horsethief 1 and 2. (The XX1 comes with a 740mm carbon handlebar) As with the stem, I'm not opposed to potentially buying a nicer handlebar once I know the width I want.
I threw the shifters and rear brake on the handlebars so I could start installing the cables. Through sheer luck, the very nice Shimano housing I bought for the rear shift cable left exactly the right amount of housing for the front shift cable, and I didn't have to use the cheaper housing I picked up at an LBS for the front derailleur.
I had a painful fight getting the KMC Missing Link installed, something that's never been an issue with SRAM powerlinks on my 9 speed chains. I finally got it on, but I would not want to be fighting with one of these trying to fix a broken chain mid-ride.
I was concerned about the shifting, based on a medium cage, but everything from big-big to small-small seems to shift fine. The 3x/2x setting on the XT front shifter was easier than expected, and the shifting on the XT stuff is so much cleaner than even the X9 I have on my 26", and leaps and bounds above my Acera/Deore Shadow (FD-M390, RD-M592) I have on my 29" XC bike.
I know it's because I haven't been in the market for XT shifters, but the ability to upshift two gears at once in addition to going down multiple gears at once with the right shifter was a nice surprise.
I moved the SDG Ti-Fly saddle (I believe it's the old Ti-Fly C [comfort] and weighs in at 215g) from my XC bike to the seat post. I'm very happy with the saddle, and wanted to be sure I liked it before deciding which saddle to use on this bike.
I installed the lock-on grips and tightened down the shifters and brakes on the handlebar. I didn't shorten either brake, as they're not that long, and I want to get riding sooner rather than later.
I finished ziptying everything down, inflated the front fork pressure to the optimal psi for my weight, and carried the bike up to the garage. (Those 780mm bars are wide! They don't fit through doors.) I pedaled up and down the street, and then headed to bed.
The rear fork feels very soft, but I'd rather have that set right than fiddle with it myself. I'm going to bring it in to the LBS I bought the frame from today and have them set the rear shock for me. Assuming they don't see any glaring issues with my work, I'll cut the shift cables, clamp on the end caps, lower the PSI to trail appropriate levels, and get this bike on the trails this weekend!
Questions? Comments? Concerns?
Oh yeah, for those who care, my scale measurements (bike+me-me=bike) show the bike as being just shy of 30 lbs in repeated measurements. (The highest difference, which I got twice, was 29.9 lbs)
Lighter/nicer stem, handlebar and seatpost are all possible near-term upgrades, and miniscule weight could be dropped shorting brake cables and the fork but otherwise I don't intend on changing anything, so I have the feeling my Horsethief will be more than 29 but less than 30 lbs for the foreseeable future.
Build looks great dude... I am just about to finish my Hammerhead/Switchback Bikes Thumper/Unveil9 which is based on the same frame geometry etc. Looks like you got a stellar ride there and will definitely be fun. I know I am stoked to finish mine!
Something you might want to think about for setup is that your rear shock should be set softer with the fork set firmer. This is something that I have been reading about lately and seems to be the main setup for most pro racers (especially enduro) and I originally came across by watching some of Fabien Barel's videos.
The new 2014 Horsethief has been on my radar. How much are you guys paying for these frames. It seems I can't find any online retailer with the 2014. Only the 2012 on super mark down to $699 but it has massively long chainstays and no DW suspension.
As for the 120mm Pikes, are those finally available aftermarket or OE units from Bikerbob?
Check out the pictures, full retail packaging (though I did not take a picture of the outside of the box...) on that Pike 120.
Originally Posted by eurospek
The Pike was made in April, but the Maxle was made in May, so it's pretty new.
As for the Horsethief, I asked my LBS, they said if I paid cash, they'd take it down to $1600. Not a huge discount, but I'd rather not haggle and have an LBS to take care of me. They gave me two 10mm spacers for free when I picked up the frame because I couldn't find mine (I later did, but I'm using 30mm of spacers, so I needed them) and spent almost an hour with me today going over everything on my build and making sure the bike was well tightened, both shocks were set correctly and that it was ready to ride. That, and having an LBS to go to if I ever have an issue, is, in my mind, worth far more than haggling down from the $1600 or trying to order the frame online.
Outside of the frame, I was pretty stingy. I ordered a handlebar from BikerBob for more than I would have paid a Jenson with price matching, but other than that and the frame, I did a lot of homework to make sure I was getting everything at the best possible price.
Hope that helps!
In what ways is it better than the RIP 9 RDO to you?
Nice bike BTW, it's always rewarding to build it up yourself. I've done my last three that way.
Alternative factsman, at your service!
Here's a list of reasons I wasn't thrilled with the RIP 9 RDO:
Originally Posted by Hawg
When I demoed the RIP 9 RDO, I road an XL frame, and an L frame. The XL, well, that is a big frame. The XL was just a tad too big to feel right, but the L frame felt small. Would making the stem shorter on an XL or adding a offset seat post to the L have helped? I'm sure at least one of those bikes could have fit me better, but I felt stuck in-between sizes.
The initial XL I road had too much pressure in the shock, the rebound settings weren't well set, and when I said something about it, the L was set for my weight. The problem is that the L felt too small as a frame. I still felt like I was riding on the bike, but without either a longer stem and/or setback setpost, the L frame cockpit felt cramped, which made it difficult to try to appreciate the suspension on the L, while the experience on the XL was suboptimal.
The RIP 9 RDOs were set up for 1x11. If you noticed I went 38/24 in the front and 11-36 in the back. And I used every gear my first time out. I want a granny gear and I want to pedal 38:11 in areas I can carry speed safely. Would I have liked the bike better with 2x10? Probably?
The RIP 9 RDOs had Avid brakes, it was wet, and they doubled as a loud noisemaker to warn people I was coming. Super nitpicky, but just another thing to notice.
The bike felt big. And I say that about a lot of Niner bikes. When riding my friend's Niner hardtail, you are riding on it more than in it, but I like that feel for their hardtails, but I did not like it on the RIP 9 RDOs. Coupled with a 780mm bar, the bike felt big, wide and unstable. The Horsethief front end is very light, but the bike feels much smaller, I feel much more like I'm riding in the bike and the unweighted front tire feels more playful than daunting.
Lastly, the RIP 9 RDOs had 2.35 Nobby Nics on front and back and more tire pressure than I would have liked. That, plus a limited top gear thanks to 1x11, felt slow. I have a 2.4" Ardent (which I understand is almost exactly the same size as the Nobby Nics, since that 2.35" and 2.4" is about as consistent as frame size measurement) on the front, but I put a 2.25 Ardent in the rear to try to avoid going overkill on the tires. Wet conditions obviously didn't help, but all of those little things combined lead to me being underwhelmed.
I know geometry is a lot of personal preference, but the feel, for me, of being in the bike on the Horsethief...it reminds me a bit of why I've kept my 26" bike, that fun aspect of being in a fast, nimble bike. I'm not sure any of my ramble is helpful, but hopefully there's something in there that helps you understand a little better.
2014 Horsethief, 2013 Karakoram, NB-AT3, <strike>2006 Giant XtC</strike>
I actually had the chance to ride this build yesterday. Thanks to peteer letting me beat on his brand new bike for a bit.
Fit: I'm 6'2 with a broad frame, large torso, and average to slightly short arms and legs for my height, and the L fit me very well. I'd probably go with a 60mm stem but the 90 that is on there felt good too.
Handling: I had been riding a rigid 26" bike all day up to that point so I had some adjustments to make. Once I made those adjustments though, I had zero problems in tight switch backs. Felt very confident making turns that I often have to dab a foot on with my hard tail 29er. The faster you go, the better the turns feel. His tire selection was spot on as well. I might go with more rear tire if it were my build but I love the Ardents for our trails. Tons of confidence over super dry sand and damp roots. I didn't ride it far since I was pretty whipped from chasing a CX bike around for an hour and a half but in the 1.5 miles I rode it I had everything from intermediate climbs to flowey single track to a fun little bowl you ride in and out of.
Overall: If I were to build a Horsethief I might have set it up a bit differently, but Peteers choices were incredibly solid and my choices would only be different based on preference and riding style. The XT stuff performed flawlessly under my 240lbs, the Pike felt amazing and super plush. The Horsethief is an incredibly fun bike to ride. Inspired confidence in a rider who tends to not have a lot of confidence (except on the fast rooty downhills) and really made me feel like I had a lot of room to grow. It rides like a hard tail without the impact. Smooths out the natural style trails and is far more capable than I am. It feels lighter than it is on trail, and I was able to clear climbs that I can't on my steep head angle hard tail. Very very nice job to Salsa and Peteers build did the frame justice.
Nice build guys! Looks like a very capable and fun bike.
Cutting cables, finalizing cockpit
So I went ahead and cut the brake lines, bled the brakes, and have both shifting cables and brake lines of reasonable length.
I also decided I was happy enough with the cockpit fit to pick up a Raceface stem (Turbine 90mm, 6 degree) and handlebar (Sixc 785mm):
I did not expect the weight difference to be as large as it was. The stem was supposed to be heavier than the one it's replacing, and I thought the bar was only 110g or so lighter. Here's the weight difference:
Slightly higher rise, haven't ridden it yet to know how it feels, but went from 30mm of spacer to 10mm of spacers (with another 10mm on top, just in case), so the -7 degree stem and 6 degree stem put the handlebars in the exact same location due to the 20mm change in spacers.
I also decided the Charger Pros would look nicer in plain white. The decals were too busy, so I took them off. Here's how the bike looks now:
Looking forward to trying out the new stem and bar, and also riding with a tad less pressure in the Pike. Hopefully the weather and work both cooperate tomorrow and I get an evening ride in.
2014 Horsethief, 2013 Karakoram, NB-AT3, <strike>2006 Giant XtC</strike>
Re: Ordered my Horsethief L Frame today, looking forward to building it!
Looks good. I'll be there but not until 630ish.
Originally Posted by peteer01
Hi Peter, have you ever tried a shorter stem? Especially with the wide handlebar it will give your ride a complete different feeling.
I would recommend you to test ride a 50 or 60mm stem. It might feel strange the first couple of miles but after you have ridden a couple of trails you will love it.
No thanks. I've ridden a shorter stem on a FS demo bike, and did not like it. My arms are too long and I already prefer a smaller frame. I talk more about my height, arm length and a stem length in this post earlier this thread.
Originally Posted by bliz2z
The new handlebar is lightweight, strong, all the good things I want. Unfortunately, it felt off on my first ride with it. My issue was with the rise. The cockpit felt cramped, my left arm started going numb, and I felt I had too much pressure on my hands.
I went from a 1/2" rise (12.7mm) to a 20mm rise, and while I went through the math to make sure the 10mm of spacers with the new stem would put the bar in the same location as the old stem with 30mm of spacers, I didn't account for the rise.
I honestly didn't think the 7.3mm would matter. It did. It wasn't a huge difference, but it was noticeable. Numb hand was a first on the new bike. I just now changed it from 10mm spacers on top and bottom to a 5mm spacer on the bottom and a 15mm spacer on top. A quick ride up and down the street felt much more natural, and more like how the bike rode with the Answer bar. Hopefully the grip height is now only 2 or 3mm off where it was.
I'm sure the bar will absolutely work. It's lighter than I expected, and looks and feels great. I just need to get the handlebars in the right place. I have a race on Sunday and probably won't have a chance to ride much, if at all, between now and then, so hopefully the 5mm drop makes things a tad better fit.
2014 Horsethief, 2013 Karakoram, NB-AT3, <strike>2006 Giant XtC</strike>
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