Salsa Horsethief

How’d we pick 'em? Our primary evaluation process took place over seven days in January on the trails and back roads outside Tucson, Arizona. We spent three days on mountain bikes on the rugged and rocky singletrack at

Salsa Horsethief

Salsa Horsethief    Photo: Courtesy of Salsa Cycles

Best For: Trail riders looking to push it.

The Test: A lot of companies are debuting longer-travel 29ers this year, and, dollar for dollar, the 4.7-inch aluminum Salsa was our favorite. “I didn’t think I needed big travel with big wheels,” said one tester, “until I rode the Horsethief. It skipped down stairsteps like a 26er but delivered that stable feel of a 29er.” The secret? The combination of burly Stan’s ZTR Flow rims and the thicker stanchions on Fox’s new 29er-specific 34 Float fork virtually eliminated the flex that can sometimes hold back big wheels in the rough. Salsa’s proven single-pivot rear suspension also made for surprisingly nimble handling uphill, but this is definitely more monster truck than mountain goat. 

The Verdict: A bargain for such a well-equipped bike. 29.5 lbs

Brand: Salsa Cycles $2,950
From Outside Magazine, May 2012 Get the Latest Issue