I’m not going to lie. Seeing the news about this new model from Salsa has me really excited, but also a little bit curiously aprehensive.
Let me explain.
I have been curious about the Salsa Fargo for years. I have never ridden one, but have always wondered if drop bar mountain bike would cover enough of my intended riding applications adequately and be enjoyable enough on technical trails to justify one as my primary rig.
I currently have been riding a Salsa El Mariachi with a rigid Fargo fork since 2011 (in many drivetrain configurations, 1×1, 1×9, 3×9, 3×10, and 1×10). It has literally been the best bike I have ever ridden. Both in fit and in application. It has allowed me to explore and adventure all day. It has been an endurance mtb race rig. It has been a great training sled. It has also held lines pretty well on some very technical trails with my friends who have more of a downhill oriented focus than I do. It goes without saying that this rigid, steel, xc style bike is not the best bike for the application at hand in many situations. As I ride more miles each year, I realize that I am using this bike as a vehicle to transport me to and connect my favorite trails together on a single ride.
As these types of rides become more common for me and the miles per ride increase, I have started thinking about two approaches for continuing along this trajectory. First is the ability to increasingly go faster along the route of increasing distance to maintain the same amount of time on the bike and away from my responsibilities. The second approach involves spending more time to ride more miles. I love camping and backpacking, so multiple day cycling adventures have been on my mind for years, but for many reasons have not yet happened. I have purchased bikepacking bags that are ready for testing and all that is needed is for a few days that I can set aside to spend away from my responsibilities. Easier said than done for sure.
This brings me back to the Salsa Cutthroat.
I have built my Salsa El Mariachi into a Midfat-front, rigid, efficient, durable, yet reasonably comfortable bike that I can race, commute, and hopefully one day be able to bikepack on. Being steel, it is pretty comfortable, but not very lightweight, which means it could be more efficient. The steel is also very durable.
Salsa has designed the new Cutthroat as a culmination of a “design process, (where) four key areas were of focus: Comfort, Reliability, Weight, and Efficiency.”
It has clearance for 2.4 inch wide 29er tires front and rear and uses the new carbon Firestarter fork first debuted on the Salsa Fargo. I have been interested in this fork since it came out because it is the carbon, lighter weight version of the steel Fargo fork I am currently using. I am still aprehensive, yet curious of the drop bar mountain bike, but the Tour Divide results from riders aboard Salsa Fargo bikes speak for themselves. It goes without saying that a flat bar cockpit setup would likely be more confidence-inspiring for more technical trails like the the CTR or AZT, but I still wonder. Most people in similar applications prefer suspension forks and for good reasons (you undoubtedly get beat up after too many miles on a rigid fork), but they are also less durable and heavier, which is why I have kept a rigid fork on my ride for 4 years straight. I wonder how much more efficient and more comfortable a drop bar cockpitted mtb would be for my increasingly longer rides. It seems like Salsa is onto something. Not sure if it is something for me yet however.
Read more about their new Cutthroat model in the link below.