Carbon Firestarter vs Cutthroat fork: what's the difference?- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Carbon Firestarter vs Cutthroat fork: what's the difference?

    I'm considering one of these forks for a gravel touring setup.

    Dimensionally, they seem to be identical:
    483mm crown to axle
    45mm offset
    15x100 axle
    3" tire clearance

    But the Cutthroat has a light mount on the crown and internal routing for dynamo wire.

    The other big difference: price! The Cutthroat is msrp $499 including an axle, while the Firestarter is $599 with no axle.

    Is there any evidence of mechanical differences? As in the Firestarter potentially being burlier? Salsa doesn't list weights, and cursory searches didn't find any weights online, so I haven't been able to make that simple comparison.

  2. #2
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    The difference that I can see is the firestarter has both mid and low rack/fender eyelets, and is matte black, but I only see the eyelets on SOME of the pictures online, so I am not sure if that is what the current model has.

    Personally I wouldn't (and didn't) buy either of the salsa forks unless you absolutely need the bottle cage mounts (in which case I would go with a steel fork).

    The Whisky 9 is what I went with, and its an amazing fork that can be had for $425 with promo codes.

    I like the looks of the Whisky, I like the price, I LOVE the ride, and I really like the 51mm rake.

  3. #3
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    i think the cutthroat fork has internal routing for a hub dynamo too.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Black Squirrel View Post
    The difference that I can see is the firestarter has both mid and low rack/fender eyelets, and is matte black, but I only see the eyelets on SOME of the pictures online, so I am not sure if that is what the current model has.
    Hmm, the current images on the Salsa website don't show any fender or (lowrider) rack mounting points on either fork.

    Quote Originally Posted by Black Squirrel View Post
    Personally I wouldn't (and didn't) buy either of the salsa forks unless you absolutely need the bottle cage mounts (in which case I would go with a steel fork).
    Indeed, it is the triple bottle cage mounts that I'm after. I currently have a Specialized Chisel fork (480mm c-to-a 48mm offset) that rides well on my Scott hardtail (69.5deg HA) but of course has no cage mounts.

    I have some bikepacking plans where the Anything style cages on the fork would be really helpful. I've DIY clamped cages onto suspension forks for other trips, but there's not really any feasible way to DIY cages onto these taper shaped carbon forks. Except for maybe the 25 wraps of electrical tape and zip ties method, which I'm reluctant to embrace (though I've seen it done, and it was surprisingly robust).

    I know steel would be cheap and practical, but I just can't bring myself to put a 1200g steel fork on a 1400g carbon frame.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by InertiaMan View Post
    I'm considering one of these forks for a gravel touring setup.
    Did you end up buying either? I've been considering switching my Whisky 9 for a Cutthroat fork because of the mounts.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by InertiaMan View Post
    I'm considering one of these forks for a gravel touring setup.

    Dimensionally, they seem to be identical:
    483mm crown to axle
    45mm offset
    15x100 axle
    3" tire clearance

    But the Cutthroat has a light mount on the crown and internal routing for dynamo wire.

    The other big difference: price! The Cutthroat is msrp $499 including an axle, while the Firestarter is $599 with no axle.

    Is there any evidence of mechanical differences? As in the Firestarter potentially being burlier? Salsa doesn't list weights, and cursory searches didn't find any weights online, so I haven't been able to make that simple comparison.
    I called up Salsa. The CSR said that the dynamo light routing and mount was the only difference. I specifically asked if one was burlier since my local XC tracks have drops and tables tops. He said both forks were rated to the same standard in terms of strength. Hope that helps.

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