New Salsa Cutthroat: Ultimate Tour Divide race machine

Drop bar carbon fiber mountain bike ready to tackle grueling 2,745-mile race

Gravel
The frame is full carbon frame with a vibration reduction system and Firestarter Carbon fork.

The frame is full carbon frame with a vibration reduction system and Firestarter Carbon fork (click to enlarge).

Part road bike, part mountain bike, all adventure. That’s the initial impression of the new carbon fiber Salsa Cutthroat, a rig billed as the ultimate Tour Divide race machine.

This “drop-bar mountain bike” features a full carbon frame with vibration reduction system and Firestarter Carbon fork. Other features include front and rear thru-axles, a large front triangle for extra frame bag gear space, and clearance for up to 29er x 2.4” tires.

Both Salsa product manager Joe Meiser and product design engineer Sean Mailen have ridden the 2,745-mile Tour Divide route from Banff, Alberta, to Antelope Wells, New Mexico, and that personal experience greatly impacted the Cutthroat’s final design.

The Cutthroat has an extremely large front triangle, along with three-pack bosses for either water bottle cages or anything cages.

The Cutthroat has an extremely large front triangle, along with three-pack bosses for either water bottle cages or anything cages (click to enlarge).

“The Cutthroat is a huge step forward in terms of what a fast, efficient bikepacking bike looks like,” said Mailen. “We asked ourselves, what does the racer need to finish the Tour Divide as fast as possible?”

The answer was comfort, reliability, light weight, and efficiency.

“The ultra-endurance off-road cyclist is seeking that perfect equation of simple, light, reliable, durable, convenient, and fast,” said Meiser.

Cutthroat features what Salsa calls its proprietary Class 5 VRS, which was first introduced on the 2016 Warbird. The design reduces micro impacts that lead to rider fatigue while also creating room for large tires with ample mud clearance.

Complete spec of the new bike's two models, which run $3000 and $4000. Frame and fork is $2000.

Complete spec of the new bike’s two models, which run $3000 and $4000. Frame and fork is $2000 (click to enlarge).

“Comfort is speed,” said Mailen. “Especially when you are talking about riding 100 to 150 miles, or more, per day, day after day, the entire length of the country. A body receiving less punishment is one that can put more energy towards moving forward rather than reacting to impacts.”

Class 5 VRS utilizes specially shaped seatstays with a tall, thin, vertically oriented profile that promotes vertical compliance by allowing the seatstays to “flex” outwards on impacts. The horizontally oriented chainstays work to resist torque and maintain a laterally stiff rear end. The seatstays and chainstays lack bridges, furthering the full length of the stays to contribute to flexibility. And a rear thru-axle delivers better tracking while allowing the seatstays to provide compliance.

The SRAM Rival build runs $4000.

The SRAM Rival build runs $4000 (click to enlarge).

Cutthroat also promotes rider comfort through the use of a drop handlebar. “Multiple hand positions mean multiple body positions, and those are necessary to keep the body happy,” said Mailen.

The Cutthroat also has an extremely large front triangle, along with three-pack bosses for either water bottle cages or anything cages. It also features toptube bosses for clean, simple mounting of a new Salsa toptube bag that is currently in development.

“With the nature of Tour Divide one needs equipment that is reliable, practical and useful while paying attention to bulk and weight,” said Salsa sponsored rider Jay Petervary, who is racing the Cutthroat in the 2015 Tour Divide. “In the case of the bike itself, it needs to be comfortable in terms of ride quality and body position, but also needs to be very responsive in energy return. It needs to be stable for carrying a load and high speed descents.”

Here's a look at full geometry specs of this very unique (and specific) bike from Salsa Cycles. The headtube is a faily steep 70-71 degrees for better climbing performance.

Here’s a look at full geometry specs of this very unique (and specific) bike from Salsa Cycles. The headtube is a fairly steep 70-71 degrees for better climbing performance (click to enlarge).

The Cutthroat name is more than just a play on the fierceness of competition. The Cutthroat trout, or a variation of Cutthroat trout, is the state fish for all the U.S. states that the Tour Divide (aka Great Divide Mountain Bike Route) passes through.

Cutthroat will be available in two complete bike spec’s and one frameset offering. Availability is set for late 2015.

Pricing

Cutthroat Carbon Rival 1 Complete Bike – U.S. MSRP $4000

Cutthroat Carbon X9 Complete Bike – U.S. MSRP $3000

Cutthroat Carbon Frameset – U.S. MSRP $2000

For more information visit salsacycles.com.

About the author: RoadBikeReview

RoadBikeReview.com is an online community of cyclists who share a passion for the sport. Visitors of the site regularly purchase gear to upgrade their bikes, share inspiring photos of rides, and keep up to date with the latest industry and technology news. Which products perform best? Where to buy them? Where to ride? How to ride better? Cyclists come to RoadBikeReview.com for the answers.


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