2014 Spearfish Initial Review and Comparison to 2011 'Fish- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
    mtbr member
    Join Date
    Oct 2005

    2014 Spearfish Initial Review and Comparison to 2011 'Fish

    Just built up this 2014 Split Pivot Spearfish and after a few rides, I wanted to give some initial impressions.
    2014 Spearfish Initial Review and Comparison to 2011 'Fish-spearfish14.jpg2014 Spearfish Initial Review and Comparison to 2011 'Fish-spearfish14b.jpg
    Split Pivot- this seems legit. I'm not sure yet if it feels like more than 80mm on bigger stuff, but it definitely feels more supple with small bumps than the old Fish. It feels more active, but still as efficient. I also do notice the difference in control while braking. I'm still not sure if the new Fish is faster up a fire road than the old one, but so far I don't feel like I'm losing anything. And I do feel like the more active suspension will make it a better technical climber.

    Geometry- this is the biggest difference and why I wanted this model. The shorter chain stays really improve the handling. Popping the front wheel over obstacles, popping the whole bike over things, switchbacks. The bike is just way more nimble than the old model. The head angle feels right too. Slacker than the now old school 71 degrees, but still steep enough for fairly quick handling up front.

    Interestingly, I built it with a non-G2 fork (old Fox F29 I had), and the handling seems great. Perhaps it's because my trail bike is a Knolly Endorphin with a 66.5 degree HA. The Spearfish probably feels good because by comparison, the HA is still pretty steep.

    Like the old Spearfish, I felt comfortable on the new one immediately. The pedaling position is great and I feel like I can ride it all day (once I'm in shape that is). This is particularly important because I battle low back issues. It does feel a touch shorter on the reach than the old model, but fits me great. I also like the 142 x 12 rear. The increased stiffness helps to make the new model feel like a more solid bike overall.

    Here's the build:
    Frame: orange ano frame size medium with Fox Performance shock (I dig the color!)
    Fork: Fox F29 100 mm
    Drivetrain: XT (38/24 cranks), shadow plus rear der. SLX front der.
    Brakes: XT
    Wheels: Easton Haven alloy
    Tires: Maxxis Ikon rear, Spec Ground Control front (both tubeless)
    Stem: Easton Haven 85mm
    Bars: Easton Haven carbon
    Seatpost: Easton Haven carbon
    Weight: 26.8 lbs (heavier than I thought by a little. The new frame is a little heavier)

    Anyway, so far I'm really stoked on this purchase. I was shopping some frames that were 2x as much (Tallboy 2 carbon, Czar), but I feel like I made a good choice. Well done Salsa and DW!

  2. #2
    mtbr member
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Thanks for this review. Your bike look very good indeed.
    I have a bright orange 2012 single pivot, quick release rear end version with similar spec to yours. Your review chimed with my spearfish experiences. I recently took mine to Wales (in the UK) for a week and rode it over 'The Gap' trail to Brecon. I found the SF fabulous for the whole week (except for the Brecon descent where the rocks pummelled my hands and wrist a bit and caused be to slow down). My buddy was happier on his new Santa Cruz 5010 but that has 140mm travel both ends and all mountain geometry.

    I think the Spearfish is a pretty good compromise and does very well for its limited amount of travel, race geometry and flat Salsa handlebar.

    I used to own a Turner Flux 26er so you don't have to convince me about the merits of DW-link. I'm looking forward to trying the new DW design SF some time.

    Tim (Southern UK)

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