Today we release an all-new Salsa Cutthroat into the world. Our ultra-endurance platform inspired by our team’s own experiences on the Tour Divide has evolved, with more stability and comfort for long rides on gravel, deep-forest doubletrack, and even the singletrack shortcuts that cross your path.
Sarah Hornby, author of “A Shared Journey” on the Salsa blog, has been riding our new Cutthroat in its spiritual home: the myriad gravel and forest roads that crisscross the Canadian Rockies.
These aren’t just any roads, though. They’re routes that her late husband, Ryan Correy, mapped out for his guidebook, “Bikepacking in the Canadian Rockies.” Ryan finished the book right before his death in April 2018 after a battle with colon cancer. He scouted almost all the routes in the guidebook aboard his Cutthroat. In honor of Ryan, Sarah has been riding these routes one by one on Salsa bikes ranging from a Mukluk (for a winter ride down the Icefields Parkway) to a Spearfish (for some High-Rockies singletrack) to the second-generation Cutthroat (for just about everything else). “The more I ride the Cutthroat, the more I realize that it can cover rougher terrain than I thought,” she said.
Sarah has put her Cutthroat through its paces, starting with a three-day trip along the Highwood Route, which begins in the beautiful Crowsnest Pass region of Alberta and covers backcountry gravel roads that overlap the Great Divide Mountain Bike Route. She recalls this ride as one of her favorites: “The gravel that we rode was a dream ride for me...big climbs and long, winding descents that felt super comfortable on the bike. I felt like a little kid again when I was in the drops on those descents, surrounded by beautiful mountain scenery.”
Since then, her rides have included multi-day bikepacking trips and a variety of day rides on gravel routes around Canmore, Alberta.
Sarah started the 2019 season on a first-generation Cutthroat. Before that, she had regarded it as an uncomfortably aggressive bike catered only to ultra-racers. “I wondered whether it might end up being too much bike for someone like me who was fairly new to bikepacking,” she recalled. That perception changed a lot after some time on the bike. “It feels like a very multi-purpose bike, perfect for me in that I can ride it on gravel or day trips,” she said.
Sarah’s expectations were modest when the new Cutthroat arrived. “I’m not a super-experienced gearhead, so I wasn’t sure I would notice anything different. But one thing that stood out right away was that it felt like a smoother ride and better absorbed bumpy gravel and washboard,” she said. Cutthroat’s new 32% more-compliant fork, a 69-degree head tube angle, and Class 5™ VRS all contribute to a smoother ride that won’t beat you up when putting in serious saddle time.
Cutthroat Carbon GRX 810 Di2...
Designed to Haul
Covering rugged and remote roads for days on end requires capacity for food, water, extra layers, tools, and more. To keep you from ending up high and dry, we’ve loaded Cutthroat with cargo-carrying features: room for three bottles in the frame (two bottles on our 52 cm size); two accessory mounts under the down tube; top tube mounts for our EXP Top Tube Bag; Three-Pack mounts on the fork legs; and a new Direct Mount Frame Pack (available early winter). “I like to have a clean setup and I appreciate how much I can carry in the direct-mount frame pack,” said Sarah. She gave us all the details on her standard pack list for bikepacking outings:
· Anything Cradle and Dry Bag: Tent, leeping bag, pillow, rain gear, and other warm gear I might need easy access to while riding
· Direct Mount Frame Pack: Tent poles, tools, and food in the main compartment. Electronics and spare batteries go in the non-drive side pocket
· Seat Pack: Extra clothing, toiletries, and sometimes a pot and stove
· Top Tube Bag: snacks, sunscreen, and lip balm
· Handlebar Feed Bags: water bottles
Along with the geometry changes and Direct Mount Frame Pack, Cutthroat offers quite a few new features:
· Abrasion-resistant plates on the fork and chainstay reduce frame wear from mud and debris
· An extra mount on the underside of the downtube offers capacity for a bottle, fuel, Salsa KEG, Anything Bracket Mini, or other accessories
· Sleeved internal brake, shift, and dynamo routing keeps cables and hoses clean and out of the way
· A new 52 cm size—the smallest Cutthroat we’ve ever made—brings all this to more riders
Also new to Cutthroat is the road Boost drivetrain (a road drivetrain paired with a mountain Boost crank). This setup addresses the unique tire clearance needs of a drop-bar mountain bike. Here’s the breakdown on road Boost:
· Boost 148 mm rear axle
· Compatible with 1x mechanical and electronic road drivetrains using any mountain Boost crank (maximum chainring size of 40t)
· Compatible with 2x mechanical or 2x Di2 road drivetrains with a Race Face mountain Boost crank and Easton direct-mount chainrings (maximum chainring combo of 50/34t)
What is Sarah’s favorite feature of the bike? “It makes me feel fast! Anything you put into the bike, you get out of it. It’s just fun to ride.”
Sarah Hornby with the all-new Cutthroat Carbon GRX 810 1x...
Our newest version of Cutthroat advances what we set out to do with the bike. It’s designed, built, and tested to devour long, trying stretches of desolate roads and forgotten trails. Although Cutthroat is a bike with a very specific point of inspiration (ride the Tour Divide as quickly and comfortably as possible), the end result equips riders for an incredibly broad spectrum of riding. We see Cutthroat at gravel races, at bikepacking epics, on local singletrack—anywhere that beckons riders with a bit of dirt. The changes we’ve made ensure that Cutthroat continues to evolve in the direction of farther, faster, and friendlier rides in any landscape.
What’s next for Sarah? Weather permitting, she’ll ride her Cutthroat on two more routes from the guidebook before snow hits British Columbia. The Flathead Valley and Top of the World routes both promise plenty of gravel, climbing, and that dreamy Canadian Rockies scenery.
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I’m a jack-of-all, master-of-none sort when it comes to the outdoors. Riding, climbing, paddling, skiing or hiking—everything has its own appeal. All that matters are the effort and the solitude. I’m not competitive but I enjoy a good challenge, and I’ll say “yes” to anything that puts me in over my head or involves type 2 fun, as that’s where life’s spicier moments seem to live.