Today marks the start of the 2015 Tour Divide. Riders from all over the world will be setting off from Banff, Alberta Canada to make the incredible 2,745 mile journey all the way to the US – Mexican border.
While many view the ride as a personal journey of discovery and determination, to others it is a full on race. For those super human types who can ride for 16-18hrs a day for a week straight, Salsa has a new bikepacking weapon. Bikepack racing may sound a bit like an oxymoron, but for riders looking for a lightweight, efficient, reliable, and fast mountain bike with the ability to take it with you, Salsa is releasing the new Cutthroat…
Even though people have been “bikepacking” as far back as the late 1800’s, the idea of a bikepacking category of bicycle is still fairly new. Typically built to allow for massive amounts of on-bike storage for all of your camping needs, the bikes also usually include clearance for bigger tires, comfortable positioning, and fairly rugged (read durable) frames and forks.
Where bikepacking bikes are made to help you get out there – way out there, self supported ultra distance mountain biking set against the clock brings additional needs to the category. Not only do you have to carry all you need, but it has to be light, comfortable, and durable enough to survive the epic distance. Similar to their take on a bike specifically for gravel racing, Salsa is now offering up what they feel is the ultimate Tour Divide racer. Named after the Cutthroat trout, Salsa decided on the name after learning it (or a variation of the Cutthroat) was the State fish of every state the Tour Divide passes through.
Starting with a high modulus carbon frame, the Cutthroat is from all outward appearances a drop bar mountain bike. More than just a set of drops, the Cutthroat borrows the Class 5 Vibration Reduction System originally introduced on the 2016 Warbird gravel bike. In order to allow for more compliance at the rear end and fewer vibrations transmitted to the rider, the frame uses long, slender seat stays, which are vertically oriented while the chainstays are horizontally oriented. That may sound weird, until you realize the seat stays are designed to flex outward which is where the compliance comes from. Since the design is scalable based on the intent, the design has been beefed up from the Warbird to survive the rigors of mountain biking. As an added bonus the frame design allows for huge tire and mud clearance with room for 29 x 2.4” tires. The lack of seat stay or chain stay bridges adds even more mud clearance. To accommodate the needs of bikepacking, the Cutthroat will include 2-3 bottle cage mounts depending on size, two additional accessory mounts, Three-Pack bosses on the fork for more bottle cages or Salsa Anything cages, and under top tube bosses for a new bolt-on frame bag that Salsa is working on.
Coupled with the Firestarter carbon fork, the Cutthroat is a full carbon affair with thru axles at both ends (15×100 and 12×142). The geometry is based around the Firestarter, which would be the equivalent of a 100mm travel suspension fork, but both complete bikes will be shipped with the rigid carbon fork. Due to the inclusion of the Salsa Woodchipper 2 drop bar, both complete bikes will be speced with SRAM road levers. The $3,999 Cutthroat Rival 1 will include the namesake SRAM Rival hydraulic disc brakes and 1x Rival 1 drivetrain and GX 10×42 cassette. The $2,999 Carbon X9 model will receive a mixture of SRAM Apex shifters, X9 Type 2 Rear Derailleur, X7 front, and BB7 mechanical disc brakes.
Available later this year, one of the very first Cutthroats will be raced by Jay Petervary in the Tour Divide.