Salsa Cycles 2016 Cutthroat – Bikepacking Race Bike [VIDEO]

Another bike I was excited about riding during the Salsa Cycles Demo Day yesteday was the 2016 Salsa Cutthroat.

It is being marketed as the Tour Divide race bike. Some have issues with this marketing angle, which I will not get into at the moment, but I see this bike as potentially so much more. Most of the other guys who came to test ride the bikes were not even looking at the Cutthroat. I think it is seen as a niche within a nice bike, sort of like the Deadwood, but in a different way. It does not have the 29+ tires, so it is not as intriguing as the Deadwood hanging right next to it perhaps, since the Deadwood appears to be more of a monster of a monstercross bike and the Cutthroat appears to be just a cyclocross looking bike next to the Deadwood.

I see the Cutthroat as potentially a quiver killer for many mountain bikers, bikepackers, gravel grinders, and the like. I enjoy my Salsa El Mariachi with Salsa Fargo rigid steel fork very much, and have for about 5 years now. I have been testing a 29×3.0 Chupacabra tire mounted to a Velocity Blunt 35 rim on the front end for about 4 months now and find it to be the right bike for 90% of the riding I do. The Cutthroat felt like a bike that is lighter, faster, could be more comfortable on all day rides, can hold more bikepacking bags, and yet is not as confidence inspiring as my El Mariachi in the technical terrain. Part of that I believe is due to the Woodchipper drop bars that I am very much not familiar with. I found I was most awkward on the drop bars when ascending through technical terrain. Trying to downshift into easier gearing while using body english to get up and over 18″ rocks was challenging to say the least. I will be posting up a conversation with Mikki from Revolution Cycles in Solana Beach, CA soon where we discuss drop bar mountain bike philosophy and pros/cons, as well as possible solutions or adjustments that can tailor these types of setups for more specific terrain/riding applications. Stay tuned for that video.

I could definitely see myself riding a Cutthroat or Deadwood as my primary mountain bike, especially with some adjustments like a 29+ front tire/wheel (that fits in the carbon Salsa Firestarter fork spec’d on both of these 2016 bikes) as well as possibly some cockpit adjustment testing. These two bikes seem like they would really make great commuter bikes for me with my 11 mile ride to work, consisting of about 7 miles of mixed fireroad/singletrack, and 4 miles of asphalt. A Jones Loop Bar would be fun to try, but the Woodchipper bars seemed like they could really be micro adjusted with the brake levers/shifters positioned ever so slightly up or down and it would make a big difference. Maybe just a rotation of the bar or different stem length would make a big difference. Also, I would like to try bar end shifters and other alternatives to brakes. More on that with my interview with Mikki in the videos that will be coming soon. The variety of hand positions is very appealing and I experienced how great it was to switch positions after bombing through a rocky single track in the drops, then resting my hands for the mellow, flat fireroad that followed.

Thanks for taking the time to read and watch the video. Please post a comment, espcecially if you have experience with gaining confidence on technical terrain when on drop bars that have road brake/shifters.

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