Salsa Cycles Teams with Dave Weagle on Split Pivot Suspension Platform
I should’ve expected it. He was Dave Weagle, after all, a mechanical engineer who wanted to work for Formula 1. (Because he didn’t want to move to the U.K. straight out of school, however, he chose to design and engineer robotic vehicles for the Department of Defense.) On one of his first mountain bike rides, he thought the bike could perform better, and he started to think about bicycle suspension. He loves data, numbers, trajectories and forces and the physics that play into how a vehicle propels.
Weagle himself was setting my suspension on the 2014 Salsa Horsethief, which features his split pivot suspension platform. We were about to do some laps at the Piedmont Trail system in Duluth, Minn., north of Salsa Cycles headquarters in Bloomington, Minn.
What an honor. I was beside myself as we went through the drill—Weagle measuring the millimeters with a small broken plastic ruler that he carried around in his pocket, then pumping up and adjusting pressure with a fancy digital pump Fox had made with Weagle in mind. On the bike. Bounce. Hold. Measure. Pump. On the bike. Bounce. Hold. Measure. Pump. We did this two more times until he had it precisely where he wanted it.
It’s his job to work with measurements in such a way, but after spending a couple days with Weagle, it’s also clear that he really digs this stuff, which makes him a perfect fit for Salsa.
There’s a face behind every piece of gear in the bike industry—usually more than one—that gives the equipment some heart. It’s pretty neat to learn that those people, such as Weagle and the good folks at Salsa Cycles, love what they do.
The 2014 Horsethief features 130mm front travel; 120mm rear. Four models, with the top stocked with an XX1 drivetrain and a price of $5,699. Lower-end models start at $3,299.
“The reason we’re all here is because of passion,” says Salsa Marketing Manager Mike “Kid” Riemer.
Sure, the company’s media event this week in Duluth was newsworthy in its own right. It’s a big deal that Salsa has designed the new Horsethief and Spearfish in collaboration with Weagle. The move makes Salsa the first U.S. bike-maker to use split pivot technology.
The split pivot design has allowed Salsa to increase rear triangle stiffness, improve agility, and upgrade component specs while maintaining the feel and simplicity of the original bikes. Also in new fashion for Salsa, there is now a higher-end build of both models. CLICK HERE FOR FULL SPECS and GEOMETRIES.
But even the bikes come back to Salsa and its mission of making rigs that inspire adventure. And that brings us full circle back to the people behind the equipment. During that “media event” (in quotes because it was more like a fun weekend get-away with biking buddies), there was a whole lotta love for adventuring by bike. The love is:
• Salsa’s product manager Tim Krueger, founder of the 100-mile Chequamegon 100 MTB race, who would turn around the next day and head off to host the 2013 race. He is into homeopathy and readily helped quell my migraine with neck massages.
• Salsa’s product designer Katie Thompson looking forward to taking her 7-year-old on his first bikepacking trip in South Dakota. And engineer Sean Mailen, driving 12 hours straight to get to Waterton Canyon to start the Colorado Trail with QBP buddy Ryan Horkey (a Salsa distributor).
• A night cruise on fat bikes to ride a stretch of sandy shoreline along Lake Superior. We whirred down the streets of Duluth on fat bikes to the gasps of some BMX kids asking: “Oh man! Where’d you get those things?”
• Dave Weagle on one of those fat bikes bunny hopping onto the lift bridge before it was completely down.… And as a result, big brother telling him over the speaker system: “Hold on a minute, buddy.”
• The mayor of Duluth, Don Ness, committing $100,000 per year every year that he’s in office to develop multi-use trails, ultimately attracting new residents and improved economic vitality.
• Adam Sundburg of Cyclists of Gitchee Gumee Shores (COGGS), an IMBA chapter, volunteering much of his free time for the past six years to help raise money for and execute the area’s long-term trails plan, which includes the 26-mile Duluth Traverse that will span the length of the city. It’s IMBA Regional Director Hansi Johnson guiding and supporting COGGS.
• Watching the fog engulf Lake Superior from some of those trails—the Hartley and Lester Trails in the northern portion of the city, which has a huge swath of open space running north-south above the city.
• The sweetness of perfect flow on Candyland at Spirit Mountain Resort’s new gravity trails and knowing there will be an additional nine lift-served trails on the little mountain.
• In between rides, stopping at the nondescript Duluth Grill. It’s closing your eyes and dropping your finger anywhere on the menu and knowing you’re going to get a healthful meal with fresh, local ingredients. (I’m going back for the chia seed infused Green Goddess smoothie alone!)
• Thirsty Pagan Brewing owner Steve, aka Willy Wonka, giving us the basement tour of what was formerly a creamery at the turn of the 20th century. A percentage of all beer sales goes to the IMBA chapter, as well.
• Drinking beers together in the former jail cell that is now Tycoon’s on the brick streets of downtown Duluth.
• The sunlight trickling down on a thick bed of ferns at the Piedmont Trail system above Duluth; the spray of mud on your face and legs as you peddling along singletrack; and a riding buddy (in this case, German Daniel Gareus) splashing down in a mud puddle after over-shooting a 180-degree power slide.
And it leads us back to the dirtbag mountain biker who rinses off al fresco in the Lester River in the rain after a mud-soaked ride, running up in his basketball print boxers to get in on the group photo. It’s no surprise, then, that the fun-loving uninhibited dude in the buff was none other than data-cruncher Dave Weagle. I should’ve expected it.