Are you efficiency minded but still want an aggressive ride without the trappings of a gushy-feeling long-travel bike? If so, chances are that you'll be very happy with Salsa's new Redpoint. Much more capable than its 150 millimeters of progressive, Split-Pivot suspension would indicate, the mid-travel support and end-stroke ramp give the rear suspension a bottomless feel. Our testers felt comfortable charging through the chunder alongside some of the longer-travel bikes in the category.
The Redpoint is equally as balanced on the ups as it is the downs. It offered a solid pedaling platform that powered up and over the tight technical sections of our test loop. True to Salsa's fashion of finding interesting segments of the market in which to position its bikes, this 27.5-inch-wheeled Redpoint is also compatible with 26+, and was one of the only bikes in our test to offer such compatibility. This quirky offering had gear editor Ryan Palmer and I reminiscing about our bikepacking excursion along the Arizona Trail aboard fully loaded Redpoints, proving that it's a bike unafraid of breaking the traditional trail-bike mold.
As for componentry, our testers were pleasantly surprised by the performance of the RockShox Yari fork. Despite not having a Charger damper, the Yari's Motion Control damper matched the great performance of the rear suspension.
It wasn't all top marks, though. Testers were perplexed by the 750-millimeter-wide bars on our 19.5-inch test bike, and felt like the narrow bars took away from the Redpoint's capabilities. Also, on a bike that has so much potential to shred, we needed more traction than the Schwable Hans Dampf tires were able to provide. This combination gave the bike a pedestrian feel and some testers felt as though they couldn't unlock the Redpoint's true potential.
But at $4,600 for our GX build, those are nitpicky details that can easily be swapped, and the bike would still be one of the best values in the category. With its confident ride characteristics and chameleon-like capability, the Redpoint shouldn't be overlooked as a do-it-all trail weapon.
Q&A with Salsa Cycles
The Redpoint runs a steeper head angle than many bikes with 150 millimeters of travel on the market at the moment, while its progressive, bottomless-feeling suspension is highly capable at chewing up technical trail. Additionally, the Redpoint can fit 26-plus wheels and tires. It seem as though the Redpoint could be an interesting choice for many different types of riders. Who is the ideal rider for the Redpoint?
Pete Koski: As you pointed out in the lead-up to your question, Redpoint’s progressive suspension paired with a very sensible geometry is really it’s defining trait. It’s ideal rider is either an experienced rider who earns their turns and values a bike that climbs well, but also does not want the bike to hold them back on downhill and technical sections, or an intermediate rider looking for well behaved bike that they can really push themselves with and progress and grow as a rider, knowing the bike can handle whatever they get into. A key thing to remember with Redpoint (and many other good suspension designs now a days) is that suspension travel is mostly decoupled from pedaling efficiency, and intended use. The only thing keeping long travel bikes from being XC stars, and shorter travel XC bikes from being nimble gravity rippers is the geometry their travel is typically paired with. We’ve been running slightly more relaxed geometry on our shorter travel Spearfish and Horsethief 29er’s for several years now. For Redpoint it just made sense for us to do a longer travel 27.5 frame with a slightly more conservative geo relative to where the rest of the market in that segment was at. 26+ is a nice bonus for anyone looking for versatility or a really “planted” feel. With any Boost-148 frame, it’s fairly easy and painless to add compatibility with a plus size tire in the next diameter down. Another nice thing about 26+ is the diameter pretty much the same as 27.5×2.4, so there is virtually no loss in BB height.
Mike Riemer: With regards to an ideal rider for Redpoint, I'd say it is designed to be an absolute go-getter on the descents, but without sacrificing climbing pedigree. Why such concern about pedaling uphill? We know there are riders that choose to earn their turns, either on trails they know well, or on backcountry missions where shuttling is not an option (or maybe not even desired).
Most manufacturers in our test this year have moved to internal cable routing on their frames. Why stick with external routing on the Redpoint?
Pete Koski: At the time Redpoint was being developed (longer ago than I would like to admit) we didn’t quite have an internal routing system worked out that we were happy with, so we stuck with what we knew worked. Is internal/external routing going to become the next hot debate once the BB standard debate starts to wane?
Similarly, we're seeing a bit of a shift back to threaded bottom bracket shells. What’s the tradeoff of PF92 versus BSA?
Pete Koski: The tradeoff is weight. Threads can’t be cut directly into carbon, so an aluminum insert needs to be molded into the frame. This adds weight and extra finish steps (cost) to the frame . The PF41 standard allows the carbon frame to have a full carbon BB area. It’s just easier to produce, lighter, and eliminates a delamination/tear-out point. Threaded BB cups are also a bit heavier than a PF unit, so overall the PF system weight is a bit lighter. The key with PF41 is to NOT grease the cups and never put a metal cup in a metal frame. Metal cups in carbon frames are OK, but honestly, the performance of a less expensive plastic cup BB seems to be better.