We got our hands on Salsa’s ‘top of the line’ Beargrease a couple of weeks ago. The idea was to assign a test pilot with race credentials and experience with riding the previous model of Salsa’s proven (fat bike category) race whip. So we sent the Beargrease to Leia Schneeberger. Leia: aka – the Ice Queen is one of the top mountain bike racers in the US and also has raced her 2015 Salsa Beargrease to victory at the races that draw the fastest competition on the Winter Race Calendar like the Fat Bike Birkie and the Polar Roll up in Marquette. The demo bike came in right in the middle of the final training cycle for the USA Cycling Mountain Bike National Championships, where Leia took second overall in the Women’s (Cat 1) Race. So (rest assured) Leia knows how to make a bike go fast.
Our size small complete bike (with no pedals) weighed in at 25 lbs. 1 oz. This is the top of the line BG model. The Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail price of the Salsa Beargrease Carbon XO1 Eagle is $5,599 (USD). Previous top of the line Beargrease models featured 26″ HED carbon rims. The 2019 Beargrease Carbon XO1 Eagle features the Whiskey No. 9 – 27.5 x 80mm rims. The bike sports Maxxis Minion FBF/FBR 4″ rubber with DT Swiss Hubs. The SRAM XO1 Eagle drivetrain is paired with SRAM Guide Brakes. The rest of the bits are all house branded Salsa Bar, stem, seatpost with a WTB Saddle as the cherry on top. Here’s a spec list for the bike that Leia test rode.
The Beargrease frame was completely redesigned for the ’19 model year. The geometry was tweaked slightly towards modern mountain bike geometry. It now comes with internal sleeved routing (your mechanic will be very happy) and 197mm rear axle spacing. The new BG features a 1x specific frame design and they added an XS frame size for riders that need a smaller frame. The ’19 BG comes with 27.5 x 4″ wheels and is designed to be stiffer than the Mukluk, but with more efficient power transfer.
Salsa didn’t ignore the fork in their redesign of the 2019 Beargrease Carbon XO1 Eagle. The all-new Kingpin Deluxe Fork is going to blow Bicycle Pubes Mind with two sets of triple mounts on each leg and a mid-leg mount for low-riders. This all carbon cargo capable fork is also set-up for internal routing for dynamo hub wiring.
At this point in the article, I would expect Leia to say – “So enough with the bike geek talk Gomez. Show them the texts that I sent you about how the dang thing rides!” (except she wouldn’t have said dang) So here’s what Leia had to share about the new Beargrease.
First time out I went to a very windy, hard packed dirt trail with rock features. I believe the tire pressure I had was to0 low as every time I tapped on the handlebar to turn the bike would immediately pull me in that direction. Very touchy. I was also hitting my calves on the rear part of the frame around the tire when I would lean into turns. My first ride out wasn’t the greatest. I felt like it was bulkier than my 2015 Full Carbon Salsa Beargrease with HED wheels.
Second time out I took it on a gravel path. It was fine there. The bike is very comfortable. I inflated the tires up to 10 PSI and felt much better. It rolled nicely, nice and smooth.
Third time out I was on a sandy based single track course with plenty of twists and turns to test out the cornering. This was the best experience I’ve had on the bike thus far. It floats over the sand and gripped the corners. I was railing them after 20 minutes. Kept the pressure at 10psi and didn’t have the feeling like it was pulling me. I started to think if I slapped on a pair of HEDs that I could see myself racing this bike over my current Beargrease.
I love love love love the look of this bike. It is so loud! So flashy. Like a jungle cat or a flying dragon.
– Thought it was very responsive
– Smooth Steering
– Was able to go fast on this bike
– Lively look to at
– Very light Weight
– Race and Adventure Bike (combined)
That’s the word after only 3 rides on the new Beargrease from the “Ice Queen” herself…Leia Schneeberger. As always, we’ll keep riding and report everything that we learn along the way. We’ll look forward to seeing you all somewhere down the trail!