Salsa Woodsmoke Review (29+ GX): Space Oddity

The latest progeny in Salsa’s eccentric lineup is aimed to bridge the gap between trail ninja and adventure rig. In addition to a fair share of trail rides, we took the Woodsmoke 29+ GX1 on a 1,000km expedition in Kyrgyzstan to see if it lives up to its pedigree…

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Salsa has a penchant for creating bikes that attempt to merge worlds. The Deadwood was last year’s frankenstein — it combined terrain squelching 29+ tires with drop-bars and long-distance geometry. Let’s call it a roll-over anything dirt-road tourer. The Pony Rustler was equally as enchanting as one of the first polished attempts to fuse full-suspension with 27.5+. And this year at Saddledrive, Salsa dreamt up a slew of new hybrids including the new Fargo plus and budget Timberjack. So where does their all-new Woodsmoke fit in?

For starters, Salsa created the Woodsmoke with versatility in mind. The same carbon frame can be adapted for multiple wheel and tire sizes — it was designed to fit both 29+ or classic 29er tires with a 120mm fork, or the 27.5+ wheel/tire combination with a 130mm fork. The 2017 Salsa Woodsmoke comes in a variety of flavors, each with it’s own color scheme. To summarize there are five models total that combine one of two build kits — XO or GX1 — with one of three wheel/tire sizes. Although there are some subtle differences, the main variation between each model is in the fork, brakes, drivetrain, and of course wheel/tire sizing. It’s obvious that Salsa’s goal with this bike was to give riders the option of getting the platform they want for a one-bike solution — namely a trail bike and adventure rig in about any wheel/tire size you can think of, barring 26”.

Salsa Woodsmoke, 29+

Woodsmoke vs Stache vs The Internet

People of the interwebs immediately compared the Woodsmoke to Trek’s Stache, and rightly so. In the same manner as the Stache, the Woodsmoke was created to blend grin-inducing agility with the freakish traction and rollover ability of plus sized tires. To accomplish this, both companies built a bike around an unconventional asymmetric, and remarkably short, ‘mid-stay’ chainstay frame design. As evident in the drive-side photos, this gives the Woodsmoke a rather unique aesthetic. It’s one that’s already drawn a maelstrom of critique from around the internet, or so I’ve heard; there wasn’t too much ether surfing to be done in Kyrgyzstan.

  • Salsa Woodsmoke, 29+
  • Salsa Woodsmoke, 29+

Salsa Woodsmoke, 29+

Either way, after having admired this bike 12 hours a day for three weeks straight — granted, mostly set to incredible Kyrgyz mountain backdrops — I don’t mind the looks. In my opinion it has a rather peculiar and pleasing feng shui about it. To help in the aesthetic department, Salsa continued in their move toward minimal and tasteful graphics. There are only a handful on the frame including the white logotype on the downtube, the word ‘WOODSMOKE’ in a nicely kerned font on the toptube, a small ‘WS’ campfire icon on the seat tube, and the new overhauled headbadge. The pepper logo synonymous with Salsa is now reduced to a clean yet retro stencil design on several of their new carbon models. It also helped that the company picked an interesting array of colors. The model reviewed here, the 29+ GX1, comes in matte khaki and has a clean black accent at the interior of the chain stay which adds a nice touch.

The Woodsmoke is built around modern trail bike sensibilities, a full carbon frame with internal cable routing, Boost 148 rear with Alternator 2 dropouts, long top-tube, and a slack front-end. The chainstays are where this schema goes ultra-modern. The 29+ Woodsmoke’s are 417mm, although they can be fine tuned via the adjustable Alternator 2 dropouts. Salsa claims they’re the shortest 29+ stays on the market. It’s close though; Trek’s geometry chart claims those of the Stache are 420mm. And while the Woodsmoke 29+ and Trek Stache share a few things in common, such as the mid-stay design, their numbers are slightly different. For starters, the Trek has a head angle of 68.4 while the Woodsmoke sports a more aggressive 67.8°. The seat tube angles are also different. The Stache sits at 68.9° while the Woodsmoke’s steeper 73.3° seat tube calls for a longer top tube — effectively 64.1cm on the large — 1.7cm longer than that of the Stache. These aren’t huge number variations, but they are enough to make a difference in the ride. UPDATE: As you’ll note in the comments conversation below, Nicholas brought to my attention, “…there are actually two Stache models, the older aluminum [model] and the new carbon Stache. The [carbon version] features a longer top tube … and is reported to have the exact same effective top tube length as a Woodsmoke (both size Large, 641mm).” See the comments for more.

Salsa Woodsmoke Review, 29+ Bikepacking

  • Salsa Woodsmoke Review, 29+ Bikepacking
  • Salsa Woodsmoke Review, 29+ Bikepacking

The [Rowdy] Ride

So how do the Woodsmoke’s angles measure up in terms of ride performance? Hypothetically, in a conversation at a loud bar with someone who’s never seen such a rig, I’d say, “Ride it. The big tires and all that craziness in the back makes it really fun.” But there’s a little more complexity to it than that, and intricacies that deserve elaboration. In essence, the Woodsmoke has long and slack design, with a particularly short span between the bottom bracket and the rear axle. This puts more of the bike out front and creates a nimble rear end; it also places the rider over the rear wheel more so than on other bikes, such as the Surly Krampus. The most notable result of this blueprint is its maneuverability; it really likes to carve, sometimes to the point where I forget I’m on a plus tire bike, much less 29+. Silly words often come to mind, such as ninja and flickable. On steep downhills the Woodsmoke still feels fairly stable, although it seems to want to go fast, and sometimes has to be checked a bit.

As with many of the bikes I’ve reviewed, I’ve found the best curricula for testing to include a big mileage bikepacking trip and a healthy dose of unloaded trail rides on familiar turf – Pisgah and Dupont State Forest. Pisgah is known for its gnarled steep climbs, rocky descents and roots. It’s tough terrain that can serve up a beating. After riding the Pony Rustler this past spring and summer, attacking these trails on the Woodsmoke was certainly a different experience. One thing I noticed right away is that the shorter chainstays require a shift in riding style and body position. When bombing a downhill on the Krampus or Pony Rustler I tend to position my body rearward and let the plus tires take the edge off. Already being over the rear wheel on the Woodsmoke means the bumps and rocks require a little more thought and finesse. On the other hand, Dupont State Forest, a favorite of western North Carolina, is known for its fast and flowey trails. Berms, turns, and fast serpentine singletrack is where the Woodsmoke feels most at home.

Salsa Woodsmoke

Photo by Joel Caldwell

But, while it’s indeed a blast to ride, the Woodsmoke is not without faults. Like the Stache, the Woodsmoke is an niche bike that’s honestly not for everyone. With short chainstays and slack angles come a few hitches. The most evident is in bump compliance. With the rear wheel forward, and positioned under the saddle, the bumps are felt a little more that they would be on a bike with longer stays. However, with voluminous 29+ tires set up tubeless, the pressure can be dropped which alleviates this. In addition, when climbing ultra steep and technical terrain, the Woodsmoke’s stability seemed a little questionable. Maintaining traction on steep climbs wasn’t the issue, more so general balance and poise. The short rear end and long front give the bike a little bit of a clumsy feel. At first I was thrown off by this, but admittedly got used to it over time.

Salsa Woodsmoke Review, 29+ Bikepacking

  • Salsa Woodsmoke Review, 29+ Bikepacking
  • Salsa Woodsmoke Review, 29+ Bikepacking

Adventure Agenda

Our Kyrgyzstan expedition was a mixed terrain trip, in the truest sense of the term. It dished out everything from crumbly steep climbs and long gravel tracks, to horse trails and grasslands, to blazing fast rocky descents. Much to my astonishment, big days in the saddle weren’t bad on the Woodsmoke. I expected its trail geometry to take a toll toll over long days, but for 20 days straight it proved to be a comfortable bikepacking rig. Also, our route had a couple of long flat gravel stretches that traversed plains between mountain ranges; the Woodsmoke performed surprisingly well there too. Power transfer felt particularly good with the lightweight carbon frame and short stays working in combination with the fast rolling WTB Ranger+ tires. At times, dare I say, the Woodsmoke felt like a bikepacking race bike.

The spec on the GX1 is generally adept for bikepacking. The mid-stay design and SRAM’s XSYNC chainring fitment allowed me to swap the stock 32t ring with a 26t for the long and tedious climbs in the Kyrgyzstan alpine. The tire and wheel combo seems adequate, but perhaps not ideal for a bigger trip. The WTB Ranger+ came set up tubeless on Whisky Parts Co. alloy rims, but the rims burped air on a couple occasions. Granted this could be the fault of the tire, but I’ve never lost air with other WTB plus tires on Scraper rims. This was my first experience with the new WTB Ranger+ tires. Honestly, I was worried about taking these on a big trip. With a notably thin casing, and at 902g a piece, they’re the lightest 29+ tire on the market. In the end I put together an extra upfitted tire repair kit and took the plunge. In the end the Ranger+ tires lasted through the trip and proved to be extremely fast-rolling with great traction. However, a few weeks later, I skulled a rock during a rowdy downhill on Pisgah’s Black Mountain trail which led to a small tear in the rear tire casing. That said, my confidence in the Ranger+ as a great bikepacking tire is still intact… and we’ve been told a TCS Tough version of the Ranger+ might be in the works.

Salsa Woodsmoke Review, 29+ Bikepacking

Like all the other bikes in Salsa’s lineup, the Woodsmoke is rooted in the idea of adventure by bike. It features a few obvious and purposeful characteristics that may be of particular interest to bikepackers. Salsa included a pair of bottle bosses on the underside of the down tube — which should be on every Salsa, IMO — and an additional pair on the upper top tube, which is intended for the company’s new top-tube pack. The most evident characteristic is the expanded frame triangle. It’s more than ideal for a cavernous frame pack. Outfitted with a custom frame pack built by Porcelain Rocket, I was able to fit a massive pile of stuff in that space, which is ideal for keeping a good center of gravity. Typically I packed my kitchen, a lot of food, a sleeping pad, rain gear, the toolkit, and a few other odds and ends in that space. If it wasn’t for the fact that this was a big mountain weather trip, I probably could’ve done away with the seat pack. The protruding down tube that results from this oversized triangle is a bit of a trade-off though. While the not-too-low bottom bracket and large tires keep it from hitting obstacles, I did notice a few rocks knocking it with blunt force; perhaps more so than a higher, out of the way down tube. In addition, this protrusion limits the water bottle size with the 29+ configuration. I tested it with a few bottles and when the fork is engaged, larger bottles rub the tire.

  • Salsa Woodsmoke Review, 29+ Bikepacking
  • Salsa Woodsmoke Review, 29+ Bikepacking

Carbon vs Kyrgyzstan

That actually brings up another point about which a lot of folks have voiced concern. How does a carbon bike hold up during a big, long-mileage trip? Mind you, this three week, 1,000km trip, wasn’t huge by comparison, but given the location, altitude, terrain, and weather, a few pitfalls came to light. On day three of our expedition we hit a valley traverse and it started to rain. The packed dirt suddenly became the consistency of sticky cement. Unfortunately the side knobs of the WTB Ranger+ tires didn’t shed mud as well as expected, so it wasn’t long until the chainstays and drivetrain were caked with rocky paste. This isn’t uncommon on a bikepacking trip. It usually involves unclogging the drivetrain with a stick, and a fair amount of pushing. This chipped the finish on the interior of the stays. In addition, the headtube got a nice wear gouge from constant agitation by the Revelate Sweetroll handlebar bag. Of course the same issues are common on steel bikes, but it’s slightly more scary when it happens to a carbon frame. In hindsight, it would have been wise to protect such wear prone areas with helicopter tape or Shelter tape. This would certainly solve these issues.

The other issue that came up was with the press fit bottom bracket. A common complaint with press fit bottom brackets has to do with noise; it’s pretty well known that hard pedaling can cause the cups to shift slightly, creating an annoying creak with each pedal stroke. This is especially the case if contaminants have managed to find their way between the cups and the shell. This started on our trip somewhere at the end of week one. Granted it wasn’t a daily occurrence, more so after hard pedaling or when temps dropped.

Salsa Woodsmoke Review, 29+ Bikepacking

Build Kit

Priced a grand less than the 3,999 XO1, the Salsa Woodsmoke 29+ GX1 still has a fine component spec. Unless you found a pile of cash under a rock recently, count grams, or really like the Tomato Red model, I see no reason the GX1 isn’t a fine choice. Here’s a detailed build kit. It’s worth noting that most models have a 120mm fork, with the exception of the 27.5+ versions which have either a 130mm Pike or Yari on the XO1 and GX1 models respectively.


  • Frame Woodsmoke Carbon
  • Fork RockShox Yari RC Solo Air 120mm 
  • Color Khaki
  • Highlights Internal cable routing; Alternator 2 Dropouts; Thru-axle


  • Rear Der SRAM GX
  • Cassette Sun Race 11-42t 
  • Chain KMC X11
  • Crankset SRAM S1000, XSYNC 32t
  • Shifter SRAM GX1
  • Brakes & Rotors SRAM Level, G2CS 180mm


  • Headset Cane Creek 40
  • Stem Salsa Guide
  • Handlebar Salsa Rustler 3
  • Grips Salsa Backcountry
  • Seatpost Zoom 30.9 x 350mm set back post
  • Saddle WTB Volt Comp


  • Rims Whisky Parts Co. alloy
  • Front Wheel Salsa, 32h, 110mm, 15mm Thru-Axle
  • Rear Wheel Salsa,32h, 148mm, 12mm Thru-Axle
  • Tires WTB Ranger 29 x 3.0″, Tubeless

Salsa Woodsmoke, 29+

  • Salsa Woodsmoke, 29+
  • Salsa Woodsmoke, 29+
  • Salsa Woodsmoke, 29+
  • Salsa Woodsmoke, 29+
  • Salsa Woodsmoke, 29+


  • The short chainstays and slack head angle turn 29+ into an unbelievably spritely, dare I say ‘flickable’ bike.
  • A huge frame triangle for a cavernous frame bag.
  • A good component spec, overall.
  • Downtube bottle bosses, although this should be a standard.
  • Allen wrench rear thru-axle is a nice touch.
  • Alternator 2 Dropouts provide a lot of options.


  • The playful geometry sacrifices a little bit of balance and poise on steep technical climbs, especially when loaded.
  • I’m not so sure about the wheels; I’ll update this post should I dig deeper, but unlike Scrapers, they did burp air a couple times.
  • The pressfit bottom bracket started squeaking intermittently after a couple weeks… usually when temperatures dropped or after a long pedal.
  • I had heel clearance issues with the non drive side chain stay; although, it’s worth noting I ride slightly duck-footed (size 10 shoe).
  • With 29+, a full-sized bottle doesn’t work on the underside of the downtube… when the fork engages, the tire rubs the bottle.
  • Model tested 29+ GX1
  • Size Large
  • Price (as tested) $2,999
  • Weight (as tested) 29 lbs 13 oz for Medium, set up tubeless
  • Best Uses As do all trail bike, Singletrack bikepacking

Salsa Woodsmoke

Photo by Joel Caldwell

Wrap Up

So how does Woodsmoke’s shred-worthy geometry get along with its ‘adventure’ tagline? The simple, yet ambiguous, answer to that question is that it depends on how you define adventure. Yes the Woodsmoke is a blast, both loaded and unloaded on flow trails, twisty dirt roads, and fast gravel. However, what makes this bike insanely fun — it’s frolicsome geometry and ultralight carbon frame, may also be its achilles heel when it comes to some aspects of really big adventure.

Would I pick another bike if I were to redo the same 3 week trip in Kyrgyzstan? I’m not sure that I would. While it was perfect on those long and windy descents through endless glacial valleys, and surprisingly comfortable over long days in the saddle, it’s not a bike made for steep and technical climbs. When pedaling for multiple weeks without service opportunities, 10 hours per day, the dreaded press fit BB creak can be a little annoying.

However, if your trails of choice are winding singletrack, and weekend or weeklong bikepacking trips are your forte, the Woodsmoke is a great contender. It’s a playful bike with a few worthy adventure perks thrown in the mix. Regarding the 29+ GX1 in particular, Salsa did a great job of reinventing this platform. Despite all of the nitpicks that pertain to more of a big trip scenario, the Woodsmoke is a blast to ride and ultimately it’s another bike I’d love to keep… be it for trail riding, weekend singletrack bike packs, or even a race such as the Trans North Georgia.

Rider’s Background

Between big trips, I can usually be found riding my favorite trails in Pisgah, NC, or tacking together 4 or 5 day bikepacking trips throughout the eastern US and beyond. This past winter, Gin and I designed and rode the Trans-Uganda and Altravesur bikepacking routes.

Height: 6’0”
Weight: 170 lbs
Inseam: 33”


The Salsa Woodsmoke was provided for testing and review.

  • Logan, I also like the look of the Woodsmoke. I’ve admired the Stache for some time, and the Woodsmoke certainly matches it in most categories and even draws a few new punches with the shaped frame and extra bottle mount. Regarding the geometry of the two bikes, there are actually two Stache models, the older aluminum frame and the new carbon Stache. The new carbon Stache features a longer top tube than the older alloy models and is reported to have the exact same effective top tube length as a Woodsmoke (both size Large, 641mm). The steeper seat tube angle on the Woodsmoke would actually suggest a shorter top tube (all things being equal), but since we know the top tube length is the same on both bikes we can assume a longer front-center on the Woodsmoke, which is verified by noting that the Woodsmoke does claim a longer wheelbase despite a marginally shorter chainstay. Further, the BB drop on the Stache is 72mm, which might make the bike feel more stable, while the 62mm BB drop on the Woodsmoke would provide a taller, and possible less stable perch, especially while climbing.

    I do like the rear tire clearance shown in some of those photos. I’d hate to be stuck forcing mud through a nice frame like that.

  • Interesting, I must’ve been looking at the geo of the alloy model (I knew they had a carbon model but didn’t realize they changed the design). I’ll update my words when I get back to a wifi spot. The Stache is interesting, although the large triangle on the WS would certainly be a selling point for me. And, yes, it was tough seeing rocky mud get squeezed through. Helicopter tape all around!!

  • Jonathan Whitney

    Logan, Thanks so much for the REAL review of this bike. Press event reviews are always so limited, so I’m glad someone really put this bike through its paces for us. As I expected, it looks like this bike will suit me perfectly. I was reluctant to move forward with another MTB because I enjoy my CX bike is such a joy to handle, but really meets its match on the exceptionally rough stuff. It sounds as if the Woodsmoke has mastered the fun aspect while giving up a little bit on steep technical climbs, which I will most likely see little of. I’ve got the 29’er Woodsmoke on preorder, so I’m happy to see I made the right choice!

  • I can’t see buying a PressFit BB bike nowadays. Half the industry just switched back to threaded. Is the other half shifting next year?

    I bet this bike slays in the 2018 version when they address that… Just a premonition!

  • Mark

    I converted my hardtail Fatbike with Bluto fork to a 29er Plusbike and would like to share some observations I have about 29er Plusbikes.

    First, I am not convinced super short chainstays are necessary on a 29er Plusbike. My bike has 440mm chainstays and doesn’t seem to corner much different than the regular 29er I owned before it.

    Second, if you have limited resources, it makes more sense for a Plusbike to have carbon fiber rims and an aluminum frame than to have aluminum rims and a carbon fiber frame. Reducing outer wheel weight on those tall, wide 29er Plus wheels is the best way to make the bike more flick-able, nimble, speedy, and provide the best ride quality.

    Finally, If you are going to ride a hardtail, the 29er Plusbike will be superior to the 27er Plusbike for all the same reasons a regular 29er hardtail would be superior to a regular 27er hardtail. The only reason to buy a hardtail 27er Plusbike is if the 29er hardtail Plusbikes are to large for you.

  • Doug Nielsen

    As usual, a terrific review. Thanks a million.

  • Christophe Noel

    Well done, Logan. I was at an event recently with a horde of fellow bike journalists from the mainstream bike media. We all agreed, bike reviews anymore are so canned and bereft of substance I can’t even read them. This is a superb evaluation of a bike, masterfully conveyed to your fellow bike nerds. And I can appreciate the layers added with the locations where you used it, and the experiences it helped to deliver. Context. All too rare in bike reviews these days.

  • Thanks for the kind words Christophe. We are making a push to identify bikes that are conceptually worthy of review, and be thorough in the manner in which we carry out the review. Your feedback is appreciated!!

  • Thanks Doug!

  • We shall see. I have had good experiences and bad. But, yes, for big bikepacking trips, Pressfit doesn’t seem ideal. However, it’s not a deal breaker if your riding is mostly within an area where service options are available…

  • Jonathan, I think you’ll be happy with your choice. It’s a fun bike, for sure. I’ll be out on it this afternoon making some [quick] turns… perhaps my last ride before it goes back to Salsa :(

  • mikeetheviking

    I like your body positioning for descending in that last photo. No dropper necc. :) Excellent review!

  • Agreed. But, on big trips, not spending time sitting in town waiting on service is also ideal.

    I try and have my bikepacking bike suit all possible trips. That way, if some cheap plane tickets come up or something… I’m ready!

  • LAB 2.35:1

    Logan – I’m just starting to venture out into bikepacking (after finding this site, incidentally) and have started looking for a new rig and very seriously interested in the Stache and this Woodsmoke, though I’m still waiting for local bike shops to get either in stock so I can test ride them! So this review is super timely! I’m 6’3″ 215 with 34/35 inseam so I’m looking for a 29″+ bikes that can be good options for pulling a trailer as well. I’ve been doing short local trips with my 2yr old (who’s name is also Logan) to get the hang of things and while my 29″ Stumpy is a decent option, I’m looking for something less prone to potential breakage and simpler drivetrain… we just did some traveling in Yosemite and Mammoth and while everything survived fine, I think I’d rather not risk issues with potential rear suspension failures… This is us over the past coupe of weeks :)

  • LAB 2.35:1

    fully loaded…

  • marcookie

    Many thanks for the review. Seems to be the bike for me for many aspects, even if here in the Pittsbugh hills there’s plenty of steep climbing to do. I hope to have the opportunity to try it some day! A question: what is the advantage of a press fit BB, if the possible creak is a problem?

  • Nice pics! At your size, I think a 29+ hardtail would definitely be a good choice! I am not familiar with the hitching system of the trailer, so that may be something to consider. The Woodmoke (and the Stache) has a rear that’s BOOST 148mm thru-axle, so that may be an issue. I would keep in mind the ability to tweak the drivetrain though. Given that you are pulling a lot of weight, running a 2x system or a very small chainring (26t or 28) would be helpful for those big climbs. Otherwise, if you are considering something specifically for this duty, that’s super reliable, don’t discount the Krampus or ECR. The ECR dropouts can rig/connect to about everything known to man.

  • Well, the advantages to consumers aren’t really evident… other than the fact that some folks complain about threaded BBs getting stuck, or threads getting stripped (that’s a long shot). But, from what I understand, for bike manufacturers, 86ing the threaded shell — especially with carbon frames — saves time and money.

  • pipistrellus

    Hi Logan – maybe a bit off-topic, but you must have been on top of the Kegeti pass – right? I’ve been there about 6 week ago on a 3 week trip throughout the mountains. What a marvellous country!

    Regards Kilian

  • Yes! What a lovely pass! Good to hear from you.

  • William Graham

    As someone that mostly rides dupont and bent creek, but wants to get into pisgah more, would you recommend the 29+ or 27.5 wood smoke, or would a full suspension 29/27.5+ be a better option?

  • My favorite bike in Pisgah is the Pony Rustler 27.5+. Full suspension is nice on those rugged trails, IMO!

  • Carlos Matutes

    Question for you- How was standover for you? I’m a bit shorter than you, but have a similar inseam (barefoot, measured all the was to the pubic bone.)
    I demo’ed a large Woodsmoke last month, and was surprised that I fit as well as I did.

  • Michael

    Great review! Its a great looking bike with great looking geo. I have been eyeing one of these uber tech 29+ machines to supplant my green Krampus for mountain biking duties in particular. It would save having to swap components from bikepacking or commuting mode to mountain biking mode. The comment re rear end feel gives me pause for sure. One of the things I dig about the Krampus that I found so surprising (coming from what I now know was a tank of a 29er hard tail with a really short rear; gen 2 Canfield Nimble 9) was how relatively smooth it is for a rigid bike (even with 29er wheels and rubber). And I ride it on some pretty aggressive Vancouver Island trails. I simply didn’t expect the “cheap” Krampus frame to be so elegantly resilient; almost old-school steel road bike like. Would you describe the ride as harsher than the Krampus? Could you rate it on a scale for us curious about these new 29+ wonder bikes? :)

  • Sorry for the delay. Standover was just fine for me…

  • I think the Krampus has a little bit of a smoother ride in the rear; perhaps due to the longer chainstays or it might be a product of the generally ‘flexy rear end’. Since the Woodsmoke is carbon and has a BOOST thru-axle, t’s a far stiffer bike. Great for control and handling, but perhaps has some effect on what you’d perceive as ‘suspension’… It’s a fun bike overall, and as I mentioned, pretty good for long day riding. I would recommend a demo/test ride if you have a chance.

  • Michael David

    I have toured lots on steel frame bikes, and now I’m bike packing on a surly ecr. I’m planning a 9-12 month off road trip in Africa and Asia. I am looking into lightening my road and wanted to know your thoughts on having a fully carbon rig or if it’s best to stick with steel? Thanks

  • marcookie

    Thanks again for this “reference” review. After riding the bike hard in the past days, I add a few points.
    I noticed that the bike accumulates much less mud than other bikes, I think because of the chainstay design. Elevated chainstays are more “open” than the traditional design, which instead acts as a funnel and get clogged more easily.
    I can confirm that the bike is very stable, even when loaded. And comfortable for hours and hours.
    Regarding climbing, I was (positively) impressed with the bike unloaded; but I still have to face big climbs with the loaded rig.

  • Anarchynow!

    Thanks for the great review- I plan to buy the exact model you described. My only concern is the steep uphill, of which there are plenty in Idaho.

  • Yeah, I got used to the geo. You might want to test ride one first…

  • Interesting point about the mud clearance.

  • IMO, carbon is fine if you take the proper precautions. The one thing to look out for though is the bottom bracket. 9-12 months could push the lifespan, perhaps. Changing out a PF BB could be a challenge, although I’ve heard of folks doing it with a block of wood!

  • Joseph_Jones

    I could not more agree with your comments, especially about how useless are modern bike reviews, all carbon copies of each other. Utterly useless.

    Conversely, by the second paragraph here, I stopped and commented to my wife what a great read was this review. Bravo.

  • Logan Watts


  • finoradin

    Hey Logan – great review! What make/model frame bag is that you were using on the inner triangle? I’m planning an AZT ride, and think this might be the right bike…

  • Thanks! That’s a Porcelain Rocket custom made bag…

  • Pidgie

    Wondering what kind of grips you are using. They don’t look like the stock Salsa grips.

  • That’s the Ergon GS1… my go to grip these days for long rides:

  • Kevin

    hey Logan, not sure if I’m a year too late but I just bought a woodsmoke NX1 and plan to take it on the Torino-nice rally in Sept. I’d also like to swap the stock chainring for a 26t or 30t but I’m not sure SRAM has a 26t 3mm offset for boost. What exactly did you use and how much of a difference would there be between a 26 and 30t chainring? did you spin out a lot on the top end? Still new to bike gearing and technical maintenance, learning as I go. Thanks for the great article, it was bigtime in my search for a new bike!

  • Sam

    Anyone riding this frame rigid? and if so what fork? Thanks in advance…

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