New Salsa Blackthorn and Cassidy Models are Their Most Aggressive Full-Suspension Mountain Bikes Ever

The new Salsa Blackthorn and Cassidy mountain bike models are made for hard-charging, all-day adventures.
Photos courtesy of Salsa

Salsa Cycles have two new bikes out today, the Blackthorn and the Cassidy. The Blackthorn is an all-new model, a 29er with 140mm of rear travel and a 160mm fork, and the Cassidy is a 165mm rear travel enduro bike with a 180mm travel fork, which is certainly outside the Salsa norm. Both will feature the Split Pivot suspension platform, utilized on all of Salsa’s full-suspension bikes.

The Split Pivot is implemented a little differently on the Blackthorn and Cassidy bikes. Salsa is calling it Split Pivot+, and both bikes will have a single adaptable frame. Buyers can swap a link, rear shock, and the fork to change between the Cassidy and the Blackthorn. Guerrilla Gravity incorporated this same idea on all of their bikes last year when they changed to carbon frames.

The Salsa Blackthorn

Salsa says that the time-tested Split Pivot (+) suspension will be efficient for pedaling, active while braking, and supportive through the stroke. The Blackthorn, with 140mm of rear travel, will have a 160mm fork up front. Rear suspension kinematics for the Blackthorn are made for air shocks though, and coil shocks aren’t recommended.

There will be carbon and aluminum frames available for the Blackthorn. Salsa made the Blackthorn with a threaded bottom bracket and internal cable routing. Some riders may be bummed to hear that Salsa has incorporated the less common 12x157mm SuperBoost rear axle spacing on this new bike.

Salsa is progressive with geometry on this frame. The Blackthorn gets a 64.6° head tube angle and a reduced offset fork, along with a 76.5° seat tube angle, and 432mm chainstays with room for s 2.6″ wide 29er. It looks like there won’t be an option for plus tires on this one, which has been common on most Salsa bikes. The Blackthorn will be available in S, M, L, and XL. Reach is quite long, with 448mm for a size small, jumping about 20mm on M, L, and XLs.

Salsa, always keen on utilitarian bikes and cargo-carrying capability has dedicated a spot in the front of the front triangle for nestling and strapping a small bag. There is also room for a full-size bottle in the frame.

Pricing for the Blackthorn starts at $2,100 for an aluminum frame, and $3,200 for a carbon frame. A full alloy build with Shimano Deore sells for $3,200 and the Blackthorn tops out at $7,500 for a carbon SRAM XO1 build.

The Salsa Cassidy

The Salsa Cassidy is a unique bike for a brand that has always focused on the more experiential side of cycling, embracing bikepacking and adventure. It is also their longest travel and biggest full-suspension bike ever. The Cassidy has 165mm of rear travel, on 29-inch wheels, and comes with a 180mm fork.

Geometry starts with a 63.8° head tube angle with a reduced offset fork and a 75.7° seat tube angle. The Cassidy also has 432mm chainstays with room for 2.6″ wide tires in the rear. There will be four frame sizes, S, M, L, and XL, with two material options: alloy and carbon.

The rear triangle is also SuperBoost spaced, and enduro riders that prefer a coil shock are out of luck on the Cassidy. The suspension kinematics are optimized for air shocks.

Like the Blackthorn, there is a flip-chip for adjustable geometry and a dedicated frame bag spot inside the front triangle near the head tube. A nice little stash spot and room inside the frame for a bottle should stoke some enduro riders. The Cassidy and the Blackthorn both have chainstay, down tube, and seat stay protection to help preserve the paint.

Pricing for the Cassidy starts similarly to the Blackthorn. An aluminum Cassidy frame sells for $2,100, and a carbon Cassidy frame sells for $3,200. An alloy Cassidy build with Shimano SLX is $3,900, and oddly, the highest level build Salsa has for the Cassidy is a SRAM GX specced model for $6,100.