Salsa Woodsmoke first ride

Elevating the hardtail with wheel size versatility

27.5 29er Cross Country Plus
Salsa Woodsmoke is shown here in 27+.

Salsa Woodsmoke is shown here in 27.5+.

At first glance, the Woodsmoke from Salsa is a lot to take in. It doesn’t look normal. And it’s got three wheel sizes and three geometry charts. It’s the kind of bike that makes one pause, sit down and think.

Salsa Woodsmoke is shown here in 29+ shoes.

Salsa Woodsmoke is shown here in 29+ shoes.

What is it?

The Salsa Woodsmoke is a bike that can take three different wheel sizes: 29+, 27.5+, or 29er wheels. Each of these different wheel sizes delivers distinct riding characteristics:

  • 29+ creates rollover, traction and momentum.
  • 27.5+ delivers quick, punchy grip and increased line choice.
  • 29er boosts traditional cross-country and climbing speed.
Rear end on 27.5+ has room for a front derailleur.

Rear end on 27.5+ has room for a front derailleur.

The hard part of this trio is the 29+ wheel due to the huge diameter of the 3.0″ tire tucked inside the frame. As the Trek Stache 9 proved, a bike with a 29+ tire can be made agile with an elevated chainstay to get that rear end short enough. But in typical Salsa fashion, they didn’t hide that design feature at all. They embraced it and accentuated it with paint. So, you’ll either love this aesthetic or not. Either way, it’ll make you look.

But unlike its counterpart which had to give up a front derailleur in the the interest of space, big tire and short chainstays, the Woodsmoke can host a front derailleur. With some nifty engineering and some precision machining, the Woodsmoke has a front derailleur mount behind the seatstay! But not on the 29+ version though, as there’s only room in the 29 and 27+ builds.

Salsa Woodsmoke elevated chainstay clears the interference between the big ring, stays and tires near the bottom bracket area.

Salsa Woodsmoke elevated chainstay clears the interference between the big ring, stays and tires near the bottom bracket area.

The Woodsmoke is available in five builds:

  • Woodsmoke 29+ XO1 – U.S. MSRP $3999.00
  • Woodsmoke 29+ GX1 – U.S. MSRP $2999.00
  • Woodsmoke 27.5+ XO1 – U.S. MSRP $3999.00
  • Woodsmoke 27.5+ GX1 – U.S. MSRP $2999.00
  • Woodsmoke 29 NX1 – U.S. MSRP $1999.00

Availability is December 2016.

Continue to page 2 for 5 different color options and geometry charts »

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About the author: Francis Cebedo

The founder of mtbr and roadbikereview, Francis Cebedo believes that every cyclist has a lot to teach and a lot to learn. "Our websites are communal hubs for sharing cycling experiences, trading adventure stories, and passing along product information and opinions." Francis' favorite bike is the last bike he rode, whether it's a dirt jumper, singlespeed, trail bike, lugged commuter or ultralight carbon road steed. Indeed, Francis loves cycling in all its forms and is happiest when infecting others with that same passion. Francis also believes that IPA will save America.

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  • RobDink says:

    Something different & fun looking from Salsa! Always been a fan going back to the steel HT I inherited from an uncle in the early-mid 90s. Definitely want to throw a leg over one of these to test it out in all wheel sizes. I’m digging the fugly “dog with tail between its legs” look.

  • Durk Bentknee says:

    Sounds interesting but $2000 for a heavy NX build? I think I’ll hang on to my present hardtail for a while.

  • alias says:

    Curious why the author did not take note of the extreme BB height differences if one were to actually switch wheel sizes. A 4cm bb height difference is insane. Who other than the dealer benefits from using one frame for 3 wheel sizes? How many consumers will actually swap wheels?

    multi-wheel-size frames are pretty hoaky.

    • Francis Cebedo says:

      >> Curious why the author did not take note of the extreme BB height differences…

      On page 3 of the article, you’ll see the BB drop (height) on each configuration. Two are identical and one is 3mm lower.

      This is accomplished by a cool dropout feature that allows the height of the rear dropouts to be raised or lowered. For the front, the length of the fork is changed depending on configuration.

      We believe that most will select their preferred wheel configuration at purchase time giving this bike a broader market. Many buyers will take comfort that they can try a Plus size but still be able to switch to a 29er in case they don’t like it.

      And the minority will switch between two wheel sizes. winter vs. summer riding for example.

      • Arek says:

        Francis, how is BB drop the same as BB height??? They are not. While BB drop may remain fairly unchanged – as different wheel sizes have absolutely no effect on it, but rather fork length – the BB height will absolutely change and be quite visible between 27.5+ and 29.5+ wheeled bikes. While I’m not sure what the exact differences in BB height between the 3 bikes are, there will be a difference, no question about that – the 10mm difference in fork height between 27.5+ and 29.5+ builds helps a bit, but not enough to keep them constant.

  • jiw71 says:

    14 & 12 seems a tad high for air pressure. I weigh 210 and run 10 & 12 on a Stache 29+

  • Tom says:

    For those stressing about the BB height, take a look at the removable dropouts, and have look at different photos of different configurations on the internet, they have different shaped attachments which correct the BB height.

  • John says:

    Just bought a 2017 Woodsmoke XO1 27.5+ on sale. I thought I’d be buying a Stache but on test ride, I preferred the Woodsmoke’s 27.5 tire size for the type of riding I do. People shouldn’t worry about the Woodsmoke’s BB offset. It’s 65mm for the Stache, and 3 mm higher at 62mm for the 29+ Woodsmoke. BB offset is 59mm for the 27.5+ Woodsmoke with 130mm fork and 51mm for the 27.5+ ‘only’ Specialized Fuse, an 8mm difference.

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