2012 Salsa Horsethief review (xpost from Salsa Forum)- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    2012 Salsa Horsethief review (xpost from Salsa Forum)

    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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    Thanks for the review. Please do share the pics when you get some.

  3. #3
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    So, in your opinion, would the HT be a good choice as a do-it-all bike for someone looking to get back into the sport after many years of absence? By do-it-all, I mean everything from CC to light AM (no extreme DH, I'm old!). East coast mountains FWIW...

  4. #4
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    I'm sorry, but I have to laugh at your question. His whole review was about how it is a great all around bike handling everything he threw at it with ease. Then you ask if it is a good do-it-all bike.

    OP- I agree with your review wholeheartedly. I've owned mine for about 6 months and have been on multiple climbing rides with my XC friends, who climb way better than I do, but I was able to stay with them. Probably 8-9 days shuttling it on blue and black runs hitting 3-5' drops, small doubles, ladders, and just whoops all day. The bike LOVEs to go downhill and be ridden aggressive. I weigh about 210 with full gear and it doesn't care.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vettevert View Post
    So, in your opinion, would the HT be a good choice as a do-it-all bike for someone looking to get back into the sport after many years of absence? By do-it-all, I mean everything from CC to light AM (no extreme DH, I'm old!). East coast mountains FWIW...
    I would say it's a phenomenal bike if you're getting back into the sport. You won't feel out gunned in any type of situation. The only downside I can find to the bike so far is it takes a bit of getting used to due to a long wheelbase. It IS a big bike, but I don't feel that it hinders the bike at all. Especially when you consider where the bike feels best (pointing downhill) that extra length is adding a good bit of stability.

    I would personally have no issues with this as my only bike. Btw if you're a heavier guy, I'm around 200lbs fully kitted up. The HT just doesn't care.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by monty797 View Post
    I would say it's a phenomenal bike if you're getting back into the sport. You won't feel out gunned in any type of situation. The only downside I can find to the bike so far is it takes a bit of getting used to due to a long wheelbase. It IS a big bike, but I don't feel that it hinders the bike at all. Especially when you consider where the bike feels best (pointing downhill) that extra length is adding a good bit of stability.

    I would personally have no issues with this as my only bike. Btw if you're a heavier guy, I'm around 200lbs fully kitted up. The HT just doesn't care.
    Glad I could provide you some entertainment, dras. Looking at them on clearance and was just looking for some additional confirmation I guess.

    Weight was a concern for me, and one reason I was looking at beefier bikes. I've got you by 50+ pounds. Another reason I am getting back into biking.

  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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    Sorry to bring this back from the dead, but how has the bike been doing for you since your last update?

    I'm looking into a FS 29er and this bike just came up on my radar. I do techy rocky &rooty trails in New England and your review has pretty much convinced me the HT may be the way to go.
    '15 Charge Cooker Maxi 2
    '13 Salsa Horsethief 2
    '12 Trek 6000
    '11 Ridley X-Ride
    '11 Santa Cruz Driver 8

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by StuntmanMike View Post
    Sorry to bring this back from the dead, but how has the bike been doing for you since your last update?

    I'm looking into a FS 29er and this bike just came up on my radar. I do techy rocky &rooty trails in New England and your review has pretty much convinced me the HT may be the way to go.
    Keep in mind the 2014s are different.
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  10. #10
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    Thanks. Yeah, the 14's have the split pivot rear. I'm looking at a '13 closeout, a HT 2 for $2,050. Seems like a decent deal.
    '15 Charge Cooker Maxi 2
    '13 Salsa Horsethief 2
    '12 Trek 6000
    '11 Ridley X-Ride
    '11 Santa Cruz Driver 8

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