Is the Spearfish right for me?- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Is the Spearfish right for me?

    I like riding trails in the woods fast. I enjoy some uphill and with lots of down hill with lots of twists and turns. I've just started getting into racing. I really like the look of the Salsa Spearfish, but keep reading about how it is for ultra-endurance long distance rides. Would it be a good bike for someone who likes to have fun on the weekends tearing it up on trails and doing the occasional race? Right now I'm riding a hard tail GT and want to upgrade to a FS bike.
    If there's no mountain, it's just biking.

  2. #2
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    can't speak from personal expeirence (ride an El Mariachi ) but a few of the guys I ride with have the Spearfish (2012 model) and love it for all around XC type riding, 1-3 hour rides etc. Not just and endurance bike.

  3. #3
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    Is the Spearfish right for me?

    Maybe a Horsethief would be better, though it's not the lightest thing. I am going to try and help mine shed some pounds but I'm adding a dropper so I seem to be going in the wrong direction...


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  4. #4
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    Re: Is the Spearfish right for me?

    The New 2014 Spearfish sounds perfect for you. I have a older one and it is more endurance specific than the New version. The New one is just faster, faster handling, more responsive suspension, and a smig lighter. I think it will meet your desires well.

  5. #5
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    I'm new here, but ride a 13 Spearfish 1 and in my view it would be terrific for your intended use--riding in the woods fast. That is what I like to do, and I think the bike flies. It's not going to be the most aggressive downhill machine, but that's not me (or you it sounds like).

    My riding sounds just like yours, without the racing. The SF is the light, responsive, fast, with quality components...what's not to like?
    I've heard this about the Salsa SF--once you throw a leg across it you'll love it. I did. Try one, I think you'll find it perfect for you. Good luck!

  6. #6
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    I have a 2013 SF 2. I would say that it is great for riding fast, except that I am slower than molasses. However, if I were fast this would be a great bike. Mine weighs in somewhere around 28-29 lbs.
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  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Raymo853 View Post
    The New 2014 Spearfish sounds perfect for you. I have a older one and it is more endurance specific than the New version. The New one is just faster, faster handling, more responsive suspension, and a smig lighter. I think it will meet your desires well.
    I agree with Raymo853 here. I have a gen 1 Spearfish and it's a great bike, but the new version just on paper would seem to fit your desires even better (twisty, fast, race-able).

    I'm looking to upgrade mine to the new version myself.

  8. #8
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    Ahh but you can get the old frames cheap. I got a 2012 frame on Ebay last November and migrated the bits from my El-Mar Ti bike. The rear suspension really does the job on the rougher trails but if you ride smooth trails most of the time, the SF will feel a bit slower. I took El-Mar to the Brecon Beacons for a week and found that it was significantly harder going than it had been on my Turner Flux (which I took the previous year.) The Spearfish brings back the comfort with 29 inch wheels. IMHO, the wheel size is a fair trade-off for the shorter travel and lack of DW-Link.

    When you take into account how much I loved the El-Mar Ti ride, I reckon the Spearfish is a pretty good compromise. I think my SF is bang on 27lbs with stans arch tubeless, XT/SLX drivechain, and a 100mm Reba - I'd have to spend serous bucks to get it any lighter.

    Horses for course I guess. How smooth are your trails?

  9. #9
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    [email protected] My trails are fairly smooth, depending on where I go. My favorite spot near where I live is to go to White Clay in Newark DE. It has a variety of flowing, technical, roots, rock gardens, a skills course etc. All the normal stuff you'd find on a trail network. It's difficult enough that I'm not bored, but it's still a ton of fun.
    If there's no mountain, it's just biking.

  10. #10
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    Hi jfett, I live near White Clay and have a medium 2012 SF1 you can try out.
    Let me know...

  11. #11
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    oops..double post

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by JudgeMorris View Post
    Hi jfett, I live near White Clay and have a medium 2012 SF1 you can try out.
    Let me know...
    Well that sounds like a good offer - you should go for it! I've found that you really have to try out a bike on some proper trails - reading reviews gives you an idea but it's possible to end up spending your money and then getting a nasty surprise when you climb on your new bike. Somtimes it's more subtle than that: I replaced a Superlight with a Heckler a few years back. I liked a lot of things about the Heckler (descending confidence and speed - and it was pretty good on general trail) but after a while I realised I preferred the shorter, more tought, climbing friendly feel of the previous 4-inch Superlight. If your trails are smooth, you may prefer a 29er hardtail. The titaniums are very nice.

  13. #13
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    wanted to see what you decided? did you get the Spearfish, and if so how do you like it?.

  14. #14
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    No I haven't bought one yet. I've been researching and debating between the spearfish, a norco sight, and a transition patrol. I did demo a 2015 spearfish 2 last weekend and it was pretty awesome for the limited amount of road riding that I did. I haven't been able to get out on the trails with one.
    If there's no mountain, it's just biking.

  15. #15
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    I recently built up a 2014 Spearfish and did a review here:

    http://forums.mtbr.com/salsa/2014-sp...sh-934451.html

    The new Fish is a great bike. I just took it on a big, techy ride and it did great. Even better than I thought on slow, chunky sections. It's only when things get fast and rough do I feel it gets a bit overwhelmed.

    Don't get me wrong: on any downhill that's more than a little bumpy I still prefer my trail bike, but if I have to do some major climbing to get to that downhill, I'll probably reach for the Spearfish.

  16. #16
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    Thanks for the posting.
    I am curious if you had a chance to try the carbon one as well?.

  17. #17
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    Thanks for the review Cal Rx. What you mentioned about downhill is my only reserve about buying a Spearfish. I want something that I can climb uphill efficiently and then bomb it downhill with no fear (well to a certain limit, understanding it's not a downhill bike). Other than that, the bike was comfortable, and I like the price vs spec. I don't really have a budget to buy bike after bike so I'm making sure my next purchase is the right one.
    If there's no mountain, it's just biking.

  18. #18
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    I didn't try the carbon one. I chose the Spearfish because I thought it would be the best bang for the buck. I got it for a few hundred off the retail of the frame only price, which meant more than 1K under the price of a carbon frame. I'm sure the SF carbon is nice, but I think if I wanted to spend more and go carbon, I would've just went for a Czar. I am really happy with my choice so far.

    jfett- The Spearfish does an impressive job going downhill give it's travel, but I wouldn't characterize it as a bike to bomb downhill with no fear. I think you would probably need to prioritize which characteristics are most important. If you're leaning more towards climbing ability, the SF would be a good choice. If the pendulum swings more towards downhill ability, I might look for something like a 5010, Thunderbolt, etc. maybe even a new Horsethief. If I wasn't fortunate enough to be able to have a trail bike also, I think I would've bought something like the 5010.

  19. #19
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    Riding uphill easily and then downhill with no fear sounds like a Turner 5 spot to me. Things is though: the Spot is a discontinued bike and (of course) you don't get the advantage of those lovely smooth rolling 29er wheels. I've not ridden the DW Spearfish but my guess is that it's better both up and down than the older single pivot model -although the 100mm fork restriction will limit you on the more chunky downhills.

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