Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Deadwood Sus Introduced By Salsa Cycles

Deadwood Sus XT-. Image courtesy of Salsa Cycles
Yesterday Salsa Cycles introduced the Deadwood Sus, which isn't a Deadwood with a suspension fork. That is what I immediately thought when I saw the name. Nope. This is like a "Ponyrustler Plus". It is a full suspension 29 plus wheeled bike. Not a drop bar 29+ bike with a suspension fork.


Now with that out of the way, you can begin to calm down. This bike introduction was fairly obvious. Spearfish and Horsethief platforms giving way to their next logical conclusions, the aforementioned Ponyrustler and now this- the Deadwood Sus. I guess the name pool is running dry at Salsa Cycles or something. Talk about slightly odd..........

Anywho.... Yeah, big wagon wheeler suspension devices are rare. This one is more than likely well sorted out. Most of the Split Pivot stuff has been really nice to ride. I see Salsa is saying a few things here which I find to be smart, and if well executed, could well make this bike a really great ride for mountain biking all day, for fast paced, ground covering racing, and for just a great exploration tool. The things they are saying relate to how they are supposedly tuning the suspension to work with the big, puffy tires. The tires have some inherent suspension qualities. Let them do that work, and make the frame's suspension do the rest- rebound control, taking over damping on bigger impacts, and not getting in the way of the rider's propelling the bike. If Salsa truly dialed this in, I think they are on to something here.

Deadwood Sus GX-1- Image courtesy of Salsa Cycles
No doubt that burly carbon front triangle is going to be a stiff foundation for this idea. I read it is the very same front triangle as the Ponyrustler. Many will roll their eyes at the Press Fit style bottom bracket. I guess I would have rather have seen a threaded bottom bracket myself. They are easy to keep creak-free. That said, my Press Fit style bottom bracket in my Blackborow has been absolutely creak free. That's going on three years now come this Fall. I haven't exactly treated that bike with kid gloves either. So, maybe I would not say this Deadwood's Press Fit bottom bracket is a deal breaker for me. I'd give it a shot.

Internal routing? It's the "thing to do" these days. I'm not a fan. I don't care how good you make those frame grommet entry points, that still is a place for crap to get into your frame. Conversely, I like internal routing for the dropper posts on any bike. I know......not a very consistent philosophy there! Maybe when those new fangled wireless dropper posts come out, I can hate on internal dropper post routing as well. That'll be a good day! Anyway, the Deadwood has mostly external routing. That's a good thing.

Okay.....back to the bike! Suspension travel is limited to a whopping 91mm out back. That's a hair over 3.5" for you metrically challenged folks out there. You'll notice that this ain't much squish compared to other trail bikes with monkey motion these days. Salsa, (and all the media wonks that they invited to take a whack at this thing before it was publicly announced), say it "feels like more", or that the bottoming out of the suspension "wasn't noticeable". Draw your own conclusions there. I say this- there is no substitute for suspension travel. This is no knock on the Deadwood, (I'm leaving off the silly "Sus" part of the moniker), because I am sure that it does the job it was intended for. I just get kind of tired of all the word forging that is masking that this is a short travel, XC-ish bike. You know what? There isn't anything at all wrong with that.

Deadwood XO- Image courtesy of Salsa Cycles.
Salsa Cycles compares this new bike to their Spearfish short travel full suspension bike, and that bike is really a replacement for the old Dos Niner soft tail bike. Salsa has a history of short travel full suspension bikes going back over a decade. Why try to hide that? (To be completely fair, they aren't) I know some folks won't get it- why not have five inches of rear wheel travel here? Ummm.....because this is supposed to be an XC-ish adventure machine. That's why. (Note- This is my take, not necessarily Salsa Cycle's or anyone else's.)

Oddly enough, there is an introductory video for this bike which shows two riders doing nothing but ripping these new Deadwoods down hill. There are no shots of climbing with this, or much to indicate that you should use this for cross country type of fun. To be completely fair, some of the invited media did write that part up. Apparently, it actually climbs well, if not a bit more ponderous and slower than other bikes. The point is that some media wonks seem bent on positioning this bike as some sort of magical unicorn of a suspension device that makes 91mm feel like.......something more. 

What it is more of is "expensive". The "entry level", as of now, is at $3800.00. I say "as of now" because if you dig into the website on the Deadwood you'll find the following statement: "This frame offers a 340 grams weight savings over the aluminum version." Wait...... What? There is an aluminum version? 

Maybe there "will be." Or maybe it is a mistake. I've discovered mistakes like that before on Salsa's website, so that wouldn't be a surprise. Time will tell which it is, a description of an as yet unheralded bike, or a mistake.

An aluminum version would be slightly less spendy, but make no mistake, starting at $3800.00 and topping out at $6G is not making this bike attractive to a wide range of riders. I suppose it is the price you pay to play these days. Still, if it were within my reach, I would take something like this in a heartbeat to El Paso's Franklin Mountains trails or anywhere that demanded a tool like this.


Iowagriz said...

They had me until I clicked on the $4500 XT version and saw 33lbs for a size Large. Are the plus sized tires really that much heavier? I'm admittedly a weight weenie, but with other decent FS 29ers at 27lbs, I figured this would still be under 30lbs.

Probably a fun bike for Moab playtime and shuttle runs, but I'm not going to pay that kinda money to pedal 33lbs around for hours.

Angsteroflove said...

Man oh man this bike gets me excited.At 6'7" though I wish it had another 15-25mm in the top tube.That being said if they do come out with an aluminum version for 3000 or less I may have a really hard time not pulling the trigger and going back to riding a long stem.I do think optimum for me would be a xxl size 120 mm front and rear and aluminum (having never had carbon it still scares me as far as damage goes) and 2x11 say 34/24

Guitar Ted said...

@Iowagriz- Those big meats weigh a lot. 1000+ grams for trail worthy tires. I think the Rangers with the thicker sidewalls for anti-tear/puncture resistance weigh around 1200gms

That's why it climbs slow. ;>)

That is a lot of jack to get that bike and still have a 30+ lb bike. Seems a bit extreme.

Steve Fuller said...

8 oz less than a Carbon Bucksaw (set up tubeless) per Salsa's website, and the same price. Granted, the Bucksaw is shipping with carbon rims. Personally, if I had the choice of which bike to drop 6K on, I think I'd personally opt for the Bucksaw.

Iowagriz said...

Steve - I didn't look at the weights, but my first thought was that the Bucksaw had to be close. I agree, I'd spend the money on the Bucksaw.

Smithhammer said...

I'm still holding out hope that the new Deadwood is more than just the sum of its numbers. I threw a leg over one yesterday and did a few parking lot laps, and I think it has potential.

On the other hand, the price is high, and so is the weight. For what I would be using a bike like this for, I think I could be just as happy on a good 29+ hardtail with a 120-130mm fork, that would be lighter and cost less...

MG said...

I like it, but wish it weren't carbon... That said, the red XT version sure is pretty.

Guitar Ted said...

@Smithhammer- I tried a Borealis Echo set up as a 29+ rig that had a Bluto fork. It weighed well under 30lbs, even with aluminum rims.

That is significant when you consider climbing on a bike. If the tire/suspension package helps you climb better than a 29+ wheel alone, you may be able to overlook that weight. However; that Echo showed me I may not really need rear suspension for that factor.

What I would be most interested in is a lighter weight aluminum or steel hardtail that wasn't doing the super-trail oriented hard tail thing (Krampus, et al), and wasn't a full on sled (ECR or Jones) I think a El Mariachi 29+ would be what I would want, in titanium, and with some more XC thrown into the geo mix.

Guitar Ted said...

@Steve Fuller @Iowagriz: Or maybe you don't want a Bucksaw :http://forums.mtbr.com/fat-bikes/thinking-about-bucksaw-problems-cracked-frames-1034476.html

Steve Fuller said...

@Guitar Ted - Ugh :/

Ride Alongside said...

"What I would be most interested in is a lighter weight aluminum or steel hardtail that wasn't doing the super-trail oriented hard tail thing (Krampus, et al), and wasn't a full on sled (ECR or Jones) I think a El Mariachi 29+ would be what I would want, in titanium, and with some more XC thrown into the geo mix."

This. 1000 times. This.

Please Salsa Cycles. Please. Ti El Mar 29+. Use the Fargo dropouts. Use the Firestarter fork if you like. I would prefer a light rigid fork like that anyways.

You might not think you would sell too many, but do it well and I will promote it like no other...well, no other besides Mark anyway.

You are a wise man Guitar Ted. Thanks for all your written words. They have helped since back when we were on MTBR forums all the time.