Muddymoles mountain biking in the Surrey Hills and Mole Valley

Mid term review – Salsa Spearfish 29er

Posted by DaveC | September 1, 2011 | 4 comments so far

It’s been a good few weeks now since the Spearfish came to live with me and I thought it about time to share some more thoughts on how the bike handles.

The bike has been ridden over some longish XC rides and over some of the more tricky sections we ride, probably Blind Terror being the most tricky descent.

Since I finished the original build I have fitted a Shimano HG61 12-36 cassette which has made climbing a whole lot easier (remember this is a 1×9 setup!) and I’ve cleared the High Ashurst climb (rated C1 in the MarkyMark classification system) twice now so the extra weight is more than compensated by the ease of climbing. I’ve also swapped the wheels round a bit and ended up saving 1.5lbs in the process but still kept the Stan’s Flow rims.

So, for me the comparison is all against the Intense Spider that the Spearfish directly replaced. The Spider is best thought of as a thoroughbred of bikes. Like a horse it takes more time to get used to and to get the most out of but in the long run it rewards you with excellent pace as long as you can keep it under control. Ride it when tired and take anything for granted and it bites ya big time!

The Spearfish is more of a cross breed. It does everything I want it to well enough and never really scares me. It’s allowed me to get some confidence back on some of the trickier descents it covers the ground well enough. Overall it’s not as fast as the Spider but I have more chance of getting from A-B without incident.

On value for money the frame is not touched and even if Salsa put the price up to £1100 as rumored it still represents outstanding value.

The rear suspension still holds some issues for me. Whilst I have to confess that it does seem to do the job well enough I noticed that the Monarch R appears to have shed a little oil judging by the smell and sticky deposits! I’m fairly certain this happened on a local trail all China Pig and towards the end on the fast section. Having just seen that CRC have a Monarch 4.2 in stock for £135 I suspect I’ll not be reporting on the Monarch R for much longer.

Filed under Bikes, Reviews in September 2011


About the author

Dave's been riding seriously since about 1997 and is one of the founding Molefathers — along with Matt and Mark — that came up with the idea of a MTB website for Mole Valley riders.

He's had several different bikes but it's now mainly 29ers in Dave's stable, apart from an Orange 5.

Current Bikes: Orange 5, Salsa Spearfish and Kona Big Unit

There are 4 comments on ‘Mid term review – Salsa Spearfish 29er’

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  1. Dandy says:

    I must have a ride of this some time; I’m developing a 29er itch that needs scratching. Or would it be cheaper to ride my small wheeled bikes wearing Karl’s boxing gloves?

    Clearing the High Ashurst climb on a 1 x 9 set up, that’s ‘Turbo Diesel Dave’ we should call you now !

  2. Dandy says:

    This month’s Singletrack mag is a ‘must read’ for all 29er fans as they put three 29in full bouncers to the test. With subscribers (that’s me) tomorrow, apparently; and in shops next week.

  3. Dave says:

    Yeah, yeah…but what of the forum? Are there any “damning” reviews?

    I cancelled my subscription. It only made me want to spend money and I’m expert at that anyway ;o)

  4. PIJ says:

    Hey! Not been back for some time and yet I find I’ve been linked in! Thanks for that. As for the cheeky t-shirt ask, pm me…..

    Your bike seems to be a popular one for magazine reviewers, and MBUK has one as a long-term ride. I’ve a soft spot for Salsa stuff so it’s nice to see them making inroads onto the trails once again.


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