First Impression: Salsa Woodsmoke 29+ X01

In: First Impression By: Karl Rosengarth On: December 12, 2016

Salsa'a Woodsmoke is a resourceful rig that is well-equipped for long days in the saddle, bikepacking or even an endurance race.

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Salsa describes the Woodsmoke as a “singletrack/bikepacking/off road exploration” bike. That’s a wide-ranging job description, but the carbon fiber Woodsmoke is an exercise in versatility. The same frame is offered in 29er, 27plus or 29plus builds. Salsa sent us the Woodsmoke 29+ X01 model, which rolls on 29plus rubber.

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This resourceful rig is well-equipped for long days in the saddle, bikepacking or even an endurance race. The wide-open main frame leaves plenty of room for bikepacking bags and it has mounts for three water bottle cages as well as pair of mounts atop the top tube for attaching Salsa’s top-tube bag.

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Then there’s Salsa’s Alternator 2.0 dropouts that can adjust the chainstay length from 16.1 to 16.4 inches. Singlespeed compatible? Yes, of course. That could come in handy, even if it’s an “emergency” singlespeed conversion, deep in the backcountry.

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The SRAM-dominated build kit includes Guide RS brakes and a drivetrain that features an X01 rear derailleur/shifter mated to a 10-42t XG cassette and X1 crankset with 32t chainring.

Sporting a longish 17.9 inch front center, short 50 mm stem and slackish 67.8 degree head angle (size large), the Woodsmoke’s geometry is thoroughly modern. Thanks to its short chainstays, the Woodsmoke felt relatively light on its feet, despite its plus-size shoes.

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With the RockShox Pike RC Solo Air 120 mm fork leading the charge—and the WTB Ranger 29 x 3.0 tires providing ample, well-knobbed contact patches—the Woodsmoke rumbled confidently over sketchy trail surfaces.

Spacing on the Salsa branded rear hub is 148 mm. One minor issue: The bike’s short and wide rear-end, combined with my duck-footed pedaling style, led to some heel rub on the outwardly flared area of the chainstays.

Price: $3,999. Weight: 28.1 pounds (without pedals, size large).

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We’ll be running a long-term review of the Woodsmoke in the next issue of Dirt Rag so stay tuned and make sure you have an active subscription so you don’t miss it, and all the other great stuff we’ve got planned.

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