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  1. #1
    AOK
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    Spearfish owners - tell me about the suspension feel

    I currently own a Jet 9 that I really don't ride that much anymore. About 90% of my riding these days is on hard tails or my Siren soft tail.

    I keep toying with the idea of swapping out the Jet frame for a Spearfish. My thinking is that I will like the Spearfish better than the Jet because it will drop about 1lb of weight and have a more efficient soft tail like suspension feel.

    I think that the Spearfish will have similar handling to the Jet based on geometry numbers. The Spearfish has slightly longer chainstays, but a slightly shorter ETT so the overall wheelbase is the same. Spearfish BB is a little lower than the Jet, but I am not too concerned about that.

    Can Spearfish owners chime in on the suspension feel of the Spearfish compared to other 29er FS bikes you have owned/ridden? Am I correct that the Spearfish will pedal closer to a Dos Niner than a Jet? Or am I completely wrong?

    I may try to scare up a test ride, but it is unlikely as there are not any Salsa dealers close by.

  2. #2
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    Feels a lot plusher than my rigid did!

    I would think a lot would depend on which shock setup you went with. I am running the regular Monarch at 180 (I weigh 235). I'm running a Reba XX in the front at 160+/150- I believe. My goal was just to set it up soft enough to take the edge off, it's not a DH rig after all. I only have a handful of rides in on it, but so far I love the feel of the bike.

    FYI, I was concerned over the BB height given some of the rocky stuff around here, but I've already taken it on Sovreign trail in Moab and some stuff at the Lunch Loops in Grand Junction, and its fine so far. I have a 6" bike for the real rocky stuff, but this bike is a nice step up from full rigid and is now my go to bike.

    Hitting Moab again next weekend and will ride the Fish on some stuff, but will probably take the bigger bike for Porcupine.

  3. #3
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    from day one of the test ride around the parking lot, i felt the suspesnion was super active with the monarch rear shock.

    and a year later, i am racing it just today in the big sandy race and i remember thinking in the middle of the race when i was going thru a ton of rocks...i was thinking, man this feels more like a 4" bike than a 3".

    its not softail, though, if you add a boat load of pressure to the rear shock, it will become one, lol.

  4. #4
    AOK
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    Understand it is no soft tail... 80mm of travel is 80mm of travel after all. I am interested in your comment of "super active". That is not what I would expect. Do you have the shock set up fairly soft?

    I guess what I am after is how efficient of a pedaler the Spearfish is. Does the lack of a rear pivot make it feel more hard tail / soft tail like when pedaling / accelerating / climbing? Or does the seat stay flex make it feel like any other 80mm travel XC bike?

    In the reviews I have read so far, this perception seems to vary a lot. Maybe this is different experience / preference from the authors, maybe it is just shock setup.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by AOK View Post
    Understand it is no soft tail... 80mm of travel is 80mm of travel after all. I am interested in your comment of "super active". That is not what I would expect. Do you have the shock set up fairly soft?

    I guess what I am after is how efficient of a pedaler the Spearfish is. Does the lack of a rear pivot make it feel more hard tail / soft tail like when pedaling / accelerating / climbing? Or does the seat stay flex make it feel like any other 80mm travel XC bike?

    In the reviews I have read so far, this perception seems to vary a lot. Maybe this is different experience / preference from the authors, maybe it is just shock setup.

    yep you are correct, 5 psi change in the rear shock can make a big difference. if its a bit low, it feels like a 5" travel bike! whooo hooo. but too hi and it feels like a softail.

    if you want the best of both worlds, get a remote lockout. whats the point of having rear supsension and then airing the shock up so much, you don't get the good parts of carry around that rear triangle.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by hobiesmith View Post
    whats the point of having rear supsension and then airing the shock up so much, you don't get the good parts of carry around that rear triangle.
    My thoughts exactly!

    I run my shock quite soft, so im using all the travel on general trails ( I couldnt run it hard enough to not bottom on big hits so why suffer on the smaller stuff too), it monsters everything in its path. I usually ride an old 05 heckler with Pikes but ive taken to riding the fish with 120mm Reba's almost as fast on the downs, the only thing holding the fish back is the Geo, head angle is just too steep.

    If you want hardtail acceleration, buy a hardtail. That said, running the rear softer gives unbelieveable levels of climbing grip, ive overtaken people uphill while they are struggling on the good line and im just plowing up through the rough.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by hobiesmith View Post
    yep you are correct, 5 psi change in the rear shock can make a big difference. if its a bit low, it feels like a 5" travel bike! whooo hooo. but too hi and it feels like a softail.

    if you want the best of both worlds, get a remote lockout. whats the point of having rear supsension and then airing the shock up so much, you don't get the good parts of carry around that rear triangle.
    Is the Ario RL compatible with remote lockout? Also, where would you recommend I order my spearfish from?

    2012 Spearfish 3 Complete - Hammerheadbikes.com

    Is that a good deal?

  8. #8
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    I would say that the rear is "active" too.....You can see it moving but you can't feel it too much . It takes the edge off the bumps but doesn't feel like you are having to exert energy to overcome the suspension. I mostlhy ride flowly single track. I love mine. Hope that makes sense.

  9. #9
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    Anyone else with some feedback. I'm trying to decide Btwn the 1 and 2 (frame) based on the rear shock and lockout capabilities. If the consensus is that the Monarch rides well and the lockout isn't necessary, then I'd rather put the extra coin into components.

  10. #10
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    I am pleased with the performance of the Monarch. I am not versed on the differences but I bet the lockout is a valve that is varible that controls compression too, which might be nice. I gotta tell you, while I like the idea of having a lockout, I would never use it. I never use the front fork remote lockout either but I thought I had to have that on my Reba. I gotta say this ..... the Monarch just feels right. That is a piss poor description but I am unsure how to descibe it any different. It just feels right. If it wasn't, I would change it.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by mrmas View Post
    I am pleased with the performance of the Monarch. I am not versed on the differences but I bet the lockout is a valve that is varible that controls compression too, which might be nice. I gotta tell you, while I like the idea of having a lockout, I would never use it. I never use the front fork remote lockout either but I thought I had to have that on my Reba. I gotta say this ..... the Monarch just feels right. That is a piss poor description but I am unsure how to descibe it any different. It just feels right. If it wasn't, I would change it.
    Fair enough. Makes sense to me...sometimes it just feels right! To be more specific, I assume you aren't feeling any unwanted movement during the climbs.

  12. #12
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    You canít really tell it is there on climbs. You can see it moving a little, but it is as hardtail-ish as I imagine any F/S suspension can be. It is active but the active part of the travel is so small, it is not noticeable. The only way you will ever know it is there is pumping in the parking lot or hitting something and thinking ďman that hit should have felt bigger.Ē Salsa achieved their goal. They made the bike for endurance racing and so the suspension is just there to keep from leaving your kidneys on the trail, and that makes it a great single track and distance machine. It is comfortable and just feels good. That being said it isnít going to soak up a 3 foot drop. It really shines at the end of a ride too, when everyone is tired as it is so neutral in its ride, you arenít fighting it like a XC race bike.

    I need to qualify that mine was a frame up build. I purchased the frame and rear shock and assembled the bike from mostly what I had. I am running an xt/xtr 2x9, Reba 100 mm fork, and Stans Arch wheels. So it should be a pretty good comparison to what they sell. On a side note, the frame and rear shock were scary light. It was pretty amazing. You can thump the tubing and tell where it is thicker and thinner.

    From engineering prospective, their single pivot design is probably the best one on the market. Simple, maintenance free, and effective. The lack of a pivot on the rear triangle is genius. You will want to take the shock off and feel how it works. They eliminated a moving part, which eliminates a bushing and maintenance. It also forces the design to be as linear as possible in the travel. The rear end weight savings is apparent too when you feel the bike. The back end is light. It is, in my opinion, the best single pivot design on the market......and perfect for a short travel bike. Just enough to take the bite out of roots, rocks, and debris on the trail but not so much that you are fighting it bobbing like a prize fighter. It is just what I was looking for. I love it but am certainly not trying to sell you. If you try and press it into service for something that would require an all mountain rig, you will probably be disappointed.

    BTW DirtRag Magizine did a review of it. They hit the nail on the head with the description.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by mrmas View Post
    You canít really tell it is there on climbs. You can see it moving a little, but it is as hardtail-ish as I imagine any F/S suspension can be. It is active but the active part of the travel is so small, it is not noticeable. The only way you will ever know it is there is pumping in the parking lot or hitting something and thinking ďman that hit should have felt bigger.Ē Salsa achieved their goal. They made the bike for endurance racing and so the suspension is just there to keep from leaving your kidneys on the trail, and that makes it a great single track and distance machine. It is comfortable and just feels good. That being said it isnít going to soak up a 3 foot drop. It really shines at the end of a ride too, when everyone is tired as it is so neutral in its ride, you arenít fighting it like a XC race bike.

    I need to qualify that mine was a frame up build. I purchased the frame and rear shock and assembled the bike from mostly what I had. I am running an xt/xtr 2x9, Reba 100 mm fork, and Stans Arch wheels. So it should be a pretty good comparison to what they sell. On a side note, the frame and rear shock were scary light. It was pretty amazing. You can thump the tubing and tell where it is thicker and thinner.

    From engineering prospective, their single pivot design is probably the best one on the market. Simple, maintenance free, and effective. The lack of a pivot on the rear triangle is genius. You will want to take the shock off and feel how it works. They eliminated a moving part, which eliminates a bushing and maintenance. It also forces the design to be as linear as possible in the travel. The rear end weight savings is apparent too when you feel the bike. The back end is light. It is, in my opinion, the best single pivot design on the market......and perfect for a short travel bike. Just enough to take the bite out of roots, rocks, and debris on the trail but not so much that you are fighting it bobbing like a prize fighter. It is just what I was looking for. I love it but am certainly not trying to sell you. If you try and press it into service for something that would require an all mountain rig, you will probably be disappointed.

    BTW DirtRag Magizine did a review of it. They hit the nail on the head with the description.
    Thanks for the detailed thoughts. It seems to coincide with other thoughts I've read. Most seem to say "it is there, but it isn't."

    Moving from the El Mar Ti to a FS, the 80mm squish should be just what looking for. If my LBS can get one in stock, the El Mar should be hitting th MTBR classifieds shortly!!!

  14. #14
    AOK
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    Coop29 -- What size El Mar Ti? I have a friend who might be interested in a large/20".

  15. #15
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    I recently built up a Spearfish 1 (first full suspension 29er) and after some tuning I'm very happy with the rear suspension performance. Coming from all hardtails I was looking for a firm pedaling rear suspension that takes the bigger hits while still climbing well. It seems to do both very well, plus the through axle in the rear makes for a very good tracking rear end.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by AOK View Post
    Coop29 -- What size El Mar Ti? I have a friend who might be interested in a large/20".
    It's a M, which is 18 I believe. PM if interested. Hate to clog up the thread.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dambala View Post
    I recently built up a Spearfish 1 (first full suspension 29er) and after some tuning I'm very happy with the rear suspension performance. Coming from all hardtails I was looking for a firm pedaling rear suspension that takes the bigger hits while still climbing well. It seems to do both very well, plus the through axle in the rear makes for a very good tracking rear end.
    Good point about the rear. Something to consider deciding Btwn the 1 and 2.

  18. #18
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    I just made the call today between the Scott Scale RC HT and this bike..

    It was just as effeincent to me in fact I feel like on root filled climbs a FS bike climbs better that a HT weight was the biggest difference between a carbon HT at 24lb and this at 27.5lb but I think over time I will get it down to 26lb and have the best of both worlds.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by subspd View Post
    I just made the call today between the Scott Scale RC HT and this bike..

    It was just as effeincent to me in fact I feel like on root filled climbs a FS bike climbs better that a HT weight was the biggest difference between a carbon HT at 24lb and this at 27.5lb but I think over time I will get it down to 26lb and have the best of both worlds.
    Man that thing is good looking!

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Coop29 View Post
    Good point about the rear. Something to consider deciding Btwn the 1 and 2.
    As a bigger guy 6' 200lbs the through axle was what finalized my decision to get a Spearfish 1 and I couldn't be happier

  21. #21
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    I just bought the same rig - minus the Lizard Skin protector which is desperately needed.

    What size 'Skin is that? Both sizes in the shop didn't fit my stays.
    Rollin' rocks will never die...

  22. #22
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    As close to a hardtail as a full suspension can get. I tell people it rounds out the bumps, not eats them up. Best overall 29er I've ridden to date.

  23. #23
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    Another satisfied customer here. I bought a used frame/fork and built it up to be around 25 lbs with a 1x9 and pretty stock parts. And thats using Mythos tires that actually have knobs.

    I was coming off a Yeti 575 and was afraid it wouldnt be enough travel. WRONG. Damn it climbs great and is still pleasant going downhill. Cant go downhill as fast as the Yeti did, or even my Big Mama, but for the XC trails here in CT I feel its faster overall, cuz it flies up the hills. And my old back hasnt complained yet.

    Tom

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dambala View Post
    As a bigger guy 6' 200lbs the through axle was what finalized my decision to get a Spearfish 1 and I couldn't be happier
    What size frame did you get? I'm about your size and looking at a SF 1.

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by EndoanaJones View Post
    What size frame did you get? I'm about your size and looking at a SF 1.
    Being this is an older thread, I can answer what size I have.
    I'm 6"1 235# and have a LG frame.
    Have had it for about 2 months and am loving it.
    Vincit qui patitur
    2012 GT Karakoram 3.0
    2012 Salsa Spearfish 2
    2014 KONA Process 153
    2013 Giant Defy
    2012 Access TCL

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