Fresh from Saddledrive 2017, Salsa’s big news – big being the operative word – is the fleet-footed Beargrease’s shift to 27.5x4in rubber. The Mukluk also sees some welcome spec additions, including the expansive range of Sram’s Eagle GX drivetrain.

Posted by Cass Gilbert

Salsa’s Beargrease is a bike favored by many for ultra-endurance events, fatbike racing, and out and out singletrack riding. This year’s big news is its move from the a more traditional 26x4in wheelset to the larger diameter 27.5×4. As for the reason for this growth in wheel size, Salsa claim that “for groomed snow or dirt, the increase in diameter provides increased rollover, a longer contact patch, and the floatation of a 5” tire without the added rolling resistance.” Other benefits include the ability to run a slightly lower psi than would otherwise be possible on 26in rims, due to the shorter, stiffer sidewall – even a few psi can make all the difference in the winter riding and racing world.

Salsa Beargrease Carbon 27.5

  • Salsa Beargrease Carbon 27.5
  • Salsa Beargrease Carbon 27.5

The top end model, at $4599, is now specced with Sram’s new, more affordable Eagle GX drivetrain; in this case, its monster 10-50T cassette is mated to a 30T chainring. Other highlights include HED Big Deal Carbon rims, at 85mm wide, shod with Maxxis Minion and FBR 3.8in tires. Salsa’s fat bikes have always been lookers; this year, we particularly like the new custom graphics below the downtube.

Salsa Beargrease 27

  • Salsa Beargrease 27.5
  • Salsa Beargrease 27.5
  • Salsa Beargrease 27.5
  • Salsa Beargrease 27.5
  • Salsa Beargrease 27.5 HED

At the lower end of the scale in the Beargrease family, we should point out that it’s impressive to see a bike of this calibre – full carbon and race-worthy fat – ringing in within the sub $2000 price bracket.

Salsa Beargrease Carbon 27.5

  • Salsa Beargrease 27

In between the Beargrease Carbon GX Eagle 27.5 and the Beargrease Carbon NX1 27.5, lies the Carbon SLX 1×11. Note that the Beargrease doesn’t feature the Alternator 2.0 dropout, as seen on the Mukluk, making it unsuitable for fitting a rear rack. Given the lack of mounts on the fork, this is a bike more suited to fast overnight bikepacks than anything more exploraty and extended.

Salsa Beargrease Carbon 27.5

  • Salsa Beargrease 27.5
  • Salsa Beargrease 27.5

Pricing as follows:

Beargrease Carbon GX Eagle 27.5: $4599
Beargrease Carbon SLX 1×11: $2499
Beargrease Carbon NX1: $1999
Beargrease carbon frame and Makwa carbon fork: $1499

Expect to see a fleet of Beargreases on the shop floor very shortly, depending on the model.

In other Salsa fat bike news, the venerable Mukluk – which saw its own a major revamp last year, with a newfound ability to run 5in rubber and an updated, more trail-friendly geometry – sees some welcome spec changes. In addition to the top end Mukluk Carbon Eagle X01, a Mukluk Eagle GX now joins the ranks, with a set of more affordable HED aluminium rims helping the complete bike hit the $3499 price mark.

Salsa Mukluk Carbon GX Eagle

Unfortunately, there weren’t any demo Beargreases to take for a spin at Saddledrive. But I headed out on a Mukluk Carbon Eagle GX for an extented forray around Northstar’s mixture of loamy, dusty, and often rocky trails. I can report that these spec changes serve only to improve and refine what is already a simply superb, well-rounded fat bike. I was immediately impressed with its trail-worthy handling, felt comfortable in its relatively upright cockpit, and I’m glad to see that despite the clean carbon frame, there are still expedition-worthy touches, like the threaded BB, a dipped top tube (great for winter riding and those running smaller frames), and a three-pack mounts on the fork. There’s also provision to run a rear rack, using dropout plates available for the Alternator 2.0 and a Rack-lock collar system – teamed with an Alternator 190 Rack, given its rear spacing. All in all, this 4th generation Mukluk feels more honed and evolved than ever.

Pricing is as follows:

Mukluk Carbon X01 Eagle: $5399
Mukluk Carbon GX Eagle: $3499
Mukluk Carbon SLX 1×11: $2699
Mukluk NX1 (aluminium): $1799
Mukluk carbon frame and Bearpaw carbon fork: $1999

Lest it be forgotten in a world of carbon frames, also worth pointing out is the aluminium model – the NX1 – which comes complete with Hayes mechanical brakes and Salsa Carbon Bearpaw fork. Given it’s extremely reasonable $1800 price tag, the NX1 is a bike we feel makes a particularly capable and affordable bikepacking candidate, for those considering both winter and deep backcountry adventures.

Salsa Mukluk NX1

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  • Salsa Mukluk NX1

Bikes should be available within the current weeks.

Lastly, and also in a bikepacking vein, Salsa line of bags – the EXP Series Seat Bag and the EXP Anything Cradle – are now back in stock.

See Salsa Cycles for more spec details.

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