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  1. #1
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    Spearfish as only (trail) bike? Horsethief better choice?

    I'm really drawn to the Spearfish, having demo'd one in Crested Butte, but I'm wondering if I should have something beefier with more travel as my only bike. I don't do crazy stunt riding and I don't race, but I occasionally ride some nasty rocky East Coast singletrack at home, although most of the trails near me (DC) would be classed as XC. I ride Colorado every summer (CB, Grand Junction, Fruita) and occasionally get to Moab. I'm interested in the Horsethief also, but some have said it's "too much bike" and that I'd sacrifice a lot in climbing and handling vs the Spearfish. I loved the lightness of the Spearfish I rode for a day, but I also am drawn to the Horsethief from what I've read about the security on rocky descents (I didn't get to ride the Spearfish on a lot of super-technical descents. I absolutely LOVED it on the climbs). I'd love to be able to afford a second bike, but I can't afford the divorce lawyer that might come along with it! So, is it better to have it and not need it (travel) than need it and not have it? Is Spearfish too XC race-oriented to be a do-it-all XC/Trail bike? Is the bottom bracket too low on Spearfish for very rocky terrain?

    Important info: I've been riding 26" hardtail up to now, so this would be my first FS bike. I'm 43, 5'7", 173lbs.

  2. #2
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    I'm about to pull the trigger on a Spearfish (to compliment my 29" SS HT) myself, I'm personally of the mind to buy a bike for where I'm going to ride it the most. Horsethief would be pretty fun for a few trails I ride, but would be a detriment to my main climbing heavy regular rides. I also plan on XC racing mine now on rocky/tech courses and then at expert level. My 2 pennies.

  3. #3
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    I did that same analysis on a everyday mountain bike. For me, the 80mm of rear travel in the Spearfish is enough to take the edge off of hard hits, and the lighter weight and more efficient suspension (due in large measure to the shorter travel) made the decision easy. If we had elevation in Illinois that lead to mucho descending, I might reconsider...but since we don't, I didn't.

    If you like going down big and fast, go Horsethief. If you like doing everything, go Spearfish.

  4. #4
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    I just did the "Big 5 Bike Challenge" at Leogang Austria on my Spearfish 1. It really shines on rough XC trails - soaks up the bumps but you are still using skills. On the really scary freeride and DH stuff (rode parts of the world championship DH course) I cleaned almost all of it due to nice rigidity of the frame - except for the parts you're supposed to fly over. The small amount of extra travel on the Horsethief would have made minimal difference it the ability to ride rough stuff, but I think would detract from the climbing and fun of technical XC stuff. Even the SF sometimes seems like overkill to me coming from a Mamasita. The SF actually likes to jump, but definitely braking bumps are not it's forte.
    M

  5. #5
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    I have a Spearfish, and just bought a Kona Satori-very similar to the Horsethief. East coast singletrack, rocky,rooty etc. And of course the occasional stunts, rollers,skinnies, but no jumping. The Spearfish I have had all year, and rode it everywhere. It had no problems handling it all. Yea, you might have to go a hair slower once in a while, but in the east we climb for a longer amount of time than we go down-lol. The Satori is great, but dont think the SF cant handle it. I extended the front travel to 120mm, that made a HUGE difference on the steep stuff. Oh yea, and the SF is 6 lbs lighter and it shows on the climbs.

  6. #6
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    tomboy,

    How much did extending the front travel alter the feel of the bike? I would certainly reserve that as an option, but I know many manufacturers warn against it and, in some cases, it voids the warranty. Thanks for your reply and info.

  7. #7
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    My SF is an '11, all I had to do was remove a travel spacer from the Reba. I was having trouble doing the short steep downs, and rollers that I had done no problem with other bikes. Always felt like I was going over the bars. But I hadnt had a bike with steep angles in a few years either. I was running my Big Mama with a 120 fork and doing everything no problem. Extending the fork really had no effect on handling at all, but it seemed to slacken the head angle just enough to make the steep stuff fun again. I ran it for a while with 2.3 Rampages (which fit fine) but I'm back to 2.1's now.

    I didnt think a mfg would spec a fork that 'could' be changed and harm the bike. I had read on here about others doing that same mod and liking it.

  8. #8
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    I just talked to a super-nice guy at Salsa who had just been riding a Spearfish in Asheville and he said he was very glad to have it for the climbs. His feeling was the same as most respondents to my original post, that Spearfish would be best suited to where I ride most and that the benefits of the extra travel on the Horsethief would be minimal. It just shows that one shouldn't take too literally the billing of Spearfish in Salsa's ads as mainly a race bike.

  9. #9
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    I went from a Specialized Epic 29 to my Horsethief and I love the Horsethief but miss my Epic on the climbs and super long rides but I love how the Horsethief bombs down hill and handles drops and Jumps to me it seems the Spearfish is better suited for what you want. The Spearfish is a great bike and is actually named for the town I frequnetly ride in here in SD!

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