Salsa Horsethief Deore 12

Original price was: $3,198.99.Current price is: $2,498.99.

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Unleash your adventurous spirit with the Salsa Horsethief Deore 12, a full-suspension trail bike that’s as audacious as it is reliable. Perfect for long-haul adventures and exhilarating weekend rides, it’s your key to conquering the roughest country. With its Split Pivot suspension design, 120mm rear and 140mm front suspension travel, and robust aluminum frame, it’s built to tackle go wherever you point it. Equipped with 29″ wheels and space for two water bottles or a frame bag, it’s ready for serious bikepacking escapades.


Unleash your inner outlaw with the Salsa Horsethief Deore 12, a full-suspension trail bike that’s as daring as it is dependable. This steed is built for both the long-haul adventures on your bucket list and the exhilarating weekend rides on your local trails. Its Split Pivot suspension design and trail geometry make uphill battles a breeze and descents a thrill. With 120mm rear and 140mm front suspension travel, it’s ready to tackle any obstacle, while the 29″ wheels keep you rolling.

Picture this: you, the Salsa Horsethief Deore 12, and the loose and rocky terrain of the  Arizona Trail beneath your wheels. This bike is the portal to the serious adventuring you’ve been seeking, built to conquer the gnarliest, the nastiest and longest of journeys. Its robust aluminum frame and trail-optimized geometry make it a reliable companion for bikepacking, capable of carrying you and your gear over mountains, through forests, and across deserts.  With room for two water bottles or a decent sized frame bag, this bike is built for rugged bikepacking.

Geometry & Ride Characteristics

CAD of MD Salsa Horsethief Deore 12(Use to compare/contrast bicycle geometries)

The geometry of the Salsa Horsethief Deore 12 is meticulously tailored for aggressive trail riding, offering a distinctive blend of agility and stability. Its frame is designed to navigate technical descents and steep climbs with precision. The bike’s consistent headtube angle across all sizes, combined with its reach, stack, and BB drop measurements, ensures a harmonious balance between responsiveness and anchored feel. The geometry underscores versatility, allowing riders to conquer a diverse range of trails without sacrificing performance.

The Salsa Horsethief Deore 12 delivers a riding experience that is both exhilarating and reassuring. Its trail-ready design ensures that rides feel anchored, especially during challenging descents, while still maintaining the nimbleness required for tight turns and technical sections. The bike’s unique geometry absorbs trail imperfections effectively, offering a ride that’s both efficient on climbs and controlled on descents. Whether transitioning between smooth trails and rugged terrains or embarking on long, adventurous rides, the Horsethief’s riding characteristics position it as a reliable and thrilling partner on the trails.

  • Trail-Ready Design: The Salsa Horsethief Deore 12’s geometry is tailored for aggressive trail riding, a deviation from traditional XC bikes. This design ensures riders can tackle challenging terrains with confidence and agility.
  • Effective Top Tub : Ranging from 596mm for size SM to 661mm for size XL, the Horsethief ensures riders of different heights achieve a comfortable reach, promoting a balanced posture while riding.
  • Stand Over: With standover heights spanning from 750mm to 780mm across sizes, riders can comfortably straddle the bike, making it convenient during technical sections or sudden stops.
  • Reach: The reach measurements, ranging from 413mm to 472mm, provide a comfortable distance from the saddle to the handlebars, ensuring an ergonomic riding position on both climbs and descents.
  • Stack: The stack values, from 613mm to 641mm, offer a vertical measurement from the bottom bracket to the top of the head tube, ensuring a relaxed riding posture, especially beneficial for long rides.
  • Headtube Angle: A consistent angle of 66.8°/67.0° across all sizes strikes a balance between agility and stability. Unlike aggressive downhill bikes with slacker angles, the Horsethief offers a geometry that’s versatile for varied terrains.
  • Seat Tube Angle: Angles ranging from 73.4° to 73.6° ensure riders maintain an efficient pedaling position. This geometry leans towards a harmonious blend of performance and comfort.
  • BB Drop: A consistent BB drop of 29/26mm across sizes provides a low center of gravity, enhancing stability, especially during technical descents.
  • Chainstay Length: A uniform chainstay length of 432/431mm ensures predictable handling. This length offers a balance between quick responsiveness and stability on rough trails.
  • Wheelbase: With wheelbase measurements ranging from 1141mm to 1209mm, the Horsethief offers enhanced stability, especially at higher speeds, making it a top choice for adventurous trail rides.
  • Fork Length and Offset (L & M): The 551mm fork length and 44mm offset provide a blend of comfort and precision, ensuring the bike can tackle both smooth and rugged terrains with ease.
  • Crank Length: Tailored to the size of the bike, the crank lengths ensure ergonomic comfort and optimal power transfer. The Horsethief’s geometry ensures size-specific customization for the rider, catering to both novices and seasoned trail enthusiasts.

vs. the Salsa Spearfish Deore

The Salsa Spearfish Deore is designed with endurance rides in mind, optimized for long-distance trails like the Arizona Trail, and emphasizes climbing efficiency and agility on technical sections. Its progressive XC bike geometry and 100 mm rear travel make it adept at both ascents and descents. In contrast, the Salsa Horsethief Deore is tailored for both extended trail rides and quick weekend adventures, boasting a trail geometry with 120 mm rear and 140 mm front suspension travel, ensuring a more balanced performance on both uphills and challenging descents. While both bikes offer versatility, the Spearfish leans towards endurance and agility, whereas the Horsethief offers a more balanced trail experience at a slightly higher cost.

  • Ride Feel & Geometry:
    • Salsa Spearfish Deore: Designed for endurance, emphasizing efficient climbing and adept handling on descents with its progressive XC bike geometry.
    • Salsa Horsethief Deore: Tailored for a balanced trail experience, suitable for both extended trail rides and quick weekend adventures, with its trail geometry and increased suspension travel ensuring confidence on varied terrains.
  • Frame:
    • Salsa Spearfish Deore: Spearfish Alloy V1, a lightweight and durable frame optimized for long-distance trails.
    • Salsa Horsethief Deore: Horsethief Alloy V3, a versatile frame designed for a range of trail experiences.
  • Fork:
    • Salsa Spearfish Deore: RockShox Recon Silver RL, 120 mm, 51 mm offset, offering precision and control on technical terrains.
    • Salsa Horsethief Deore: RockShox 35 Silver TK, 140 mm, 42 mm offset, providing a plush ride and stability on descents.
  • Groupset:
    • Salsa Spearfish Deore: Features Shimano Deore M6100 components, known for their smooth shifting and reliability across a variety of terrains.
    • Salsa Horsethief Deore: Also equipped with Shimano Deore M6100 components, ensuring consistent performance and durability on both smooth and rough trails.

vs. the Salsa Horsethief SLX

The Salsa Horsethief SLX is a more premium version of the Salsa Timberjack XT 29″. With a very similar frame, the primary differences are in the componentry as follows:

  • Fork:
    • Salsa Horsethief Deore 12: RockShox 35 Silver TK, 140 mm, 42 mm offset
    • Salsa Horsethief SLX: RockShox Revelation RC, 140 mm, 42 mm offset
  • Rear Shock:
    • Salsa Horsethief Deore 12: RockShox Deluxe Select+
    • Salsa Horsethief SLX: Fox Float DPS Performance
  • Rear Derailleur:
    • Salsa Horsethief Deore 12: Shimano Deore M6100 SGS
    • Salsa Horsethief SLX: Shimano SLX M7100 SGS
  • Crankset:
    • Salsa Horsethief Deore 12: Shimano MT512, 30t
    • Salsa Horsethief SLX: Shimano Deore M6130, 30t -OR- FSA Comet MegaExo, 30t
  • Brakes and Rotors:
    • Salsa Horsethief Deore 12: Shimano MT4100, Shimano RT10 (Center Lock, 180 mm)
    • Salsa Horsethief SLX: Options include Shimano Deore M6120 four-piston or Tektro HD-M745 four-piston, with Shimano RT64 (Center Lock, 180 mm)

vs. the Kona Hei Hei

The Kona Hei Hei is designed with a focus on agility and speed, featuring a lightweight Kona Race Light 6061 Aluminum frame and 100mm travel, making it adept for cross-country racing and swift trail rides. Its geometry likely promotes a more aggressive riding stance for performance. In contrast, the Salsa Horsethief Deore 12 is tailored for a balanced trail experience, boasting a trail geometry with 120 mm rear and 140 mm front suspension travel, ensuring a more versatile performance on both uphills and challenging descents. While both bikes offer versatility, the Hei Hei leans towards racing efficiency, whereas the Horsethief provides a broader trail experience at a potentially higher cost.

  • Ride Feel & Geometry:
    • Kona Hei Hei: Geared towards agility and speed, especially for cross-country racing. Its geometry promotes an aggressive riding stance for performance.
    • Salsa Horsethief Deore 12: Tailored for a balanced trail experience, suitable for both extended trail rides and quick weekend adventures. Its trail geometry ensures confidence on varied terrains, from uphills to challenging descents.
  • Frame:
    • Kona Hei Hei: Kona Race Light 6061 Aluminum Butted with 100mm Travel, designed for lightweight efficiency.
    • Salsa Horsethief Deore 12: Horsethief Alloy V3, built for versatility and durability on varied terrains.
  • Fork:
    • Kona Hei Hei: RockShox SID 35 DebonAir with 120mm travel, optimized for precision and control.
    • Salsa Horsethief Deore 12: RockShox 35 Silver TK, 140 mm, 42 mm offset, ensuring a plush ride on descents and stability on trails.
  • Groupset:
    • Kona Hei Hei: Features Shimano Deore 12spd components, emphasizing smooth shifting and reliability, suitable for racing conditions.
    • Salsa Horsethief Deore 12: Primarily equipped with Shimano Deore M6100 components, ensuring consistent performance and durability on varied trails.
  • Tires:
    • Kona Hei Hei: Maxxis Forekaster EXO TR DUAL 29×2.35″ for both front and rear, designed for grip and speed.
    • Salsa Horsethief Deore 12: Maxxis DHF 29 x 2.5″ front and Maxxis DHR II 29 x 2.4″ rear; EXO, TR, tailored for traction and durability on trails.


Trail Geometry: Ensures solid uphill performance and a confident feel during descents.

Suspension Travel: Features 120 mm rear and 140 mm front suspension to navigate trail obstacles smoothly.

29″ Wheels: Designed to maintain momentum and offer a stable ride.

Shimano’s Deore 1 x 12 Drivetrain: Built on decades of refinement, offering reliability for diverse terrains.

Bag, Rack and Fender Mounting Points

Top Tube Mounts: Designed for attaching ride essentials or top tube bags.

Downtube Mount: Often used for larger water bottles or additional storage.

Bottom Bracket Area: Potential mount for a tool or storage capsule.

Seat Tube Mounts: The seat tube also has mounts for a water bottle cage.

Salsa Horsethief Deore 12 Featured in the Wild

Is the Salsa Horsethief the perfect all-mountain trail bike?

In his video review, Jamesthebikeguy delves deep into the features of the Salsa Horsethief Deore, branding it as the “do-all trail bike you never knew existed.” He highlights the bike’s Split Pivot Suspension, its adaptable frame geometry, and the Shimano Deore 1×12 drivetrain. The review also touches on the bike’s shock, fork, and hydraulic disc brakes, emphasizing its versatility and performance on various terrains. As Jamesthebikeguy states, “Let me know what you think in the comments below & Don’t forget to subscribe!” This comprehensive review offers viewers a detailed insight into what makes the Salsa Horsethief Deore a standout choice for mountain biking enthusiasts.

New 2023 Salsa Horsethief Colors and Builds

Salsa Cycles has introduced its 2023 Horsethief builds, spotlighting new paint designs and enhanced build specs. The versatile Salsa Horsethief features 120mm of rear suspension, a 140mm travel fork, and compatibility with up to 29 x 2.6″ tires. Notably, riders can tweak the rear pivot’s flip chip to adjust the bike’s geometry, ensuring a tailored ride across diverse terrains. Miles Arbour highlights its adaptability, describing the Horsethief as a full-suspension mountain bike crafted for those who value flexibility in their cycling adventures.


Build Kit

The Salsa Horsethief Deore 12 drivetrain is dominated by Shimano, including a Deore M6100 rear derailleur and a choice between Shimano Deore and Ruby cassettes. The bike’s stopping power is ensured by Shimano MT4100 brakes and RT10 rotors. Riders will appreciate the Race Face Chester handlebar, Salsa File Tread grips, and a versatile TranzX seatpost with adjustable travel. The wheelset combines Shimano and WTB components, while Maxxis tires ensure optimal traction on trails.


  • Frame: Horsethief Alloy V3
  • Fork: RockShox 35 Silver TK, 140 mm, 42 mm offset


  • Front Derailleur: N/A
  • Rear Derailleur: Shimano Deore M6100 SGS
  • Cassette: Shimano Deore M6100, 10–51t, 12-speed -OR- Ruby, 11–50t, HG, steel spider
  • Chain: Shimano Deore M6100
  • Crankset: Shimano MT512, 30t -OR- FSA Comet, 30t, direct-mount
  • Shifter: Shimano Deore M6100
  • Brakes: Shimano MT4100
  • Rotors: Shimano RT10 (Center Lock, 180 mm)


  • Headset: FSA Orbit IS-2 ACB IS41/IS52
  • Stem: Salsa Guide Trail 50 mm
  • Handlebar: Race Face Chester 35
  • Grips / Bar Tape: Salsa File Tread Lock-On
  • Seatpost: TranzX YSI05, Shimano MT500 lever, 30 mm travel adj, SM: 125 x 409 mm, MD: 150 x 459 mm, LG: 170 x 499 mm, XL: 200 x 559 mm
  • Saddle: WTB Volt 250 Steel, 250 x 135
  • Seatclamp: Salsa Lip-Lock


  • Front Wheel: Shimano MT400-B 15 x 110 mm hub, WTB ST i30 29″ rim -OR- WTB Frequency Comp 15 x 110 mm Center Lock hub, WTB ST i30 29″ rim
  • Rear Wheel: Shimano SLX M7130 12 x 157 mm hub, WTB ST i30 29″ rim -OR- WTB Frequency Comp 157 x 12 mm Center Lock HG hub, WTB ST i30 29″ rim
  • Tires: Maxxis DHF 29 x 2.5″ front, Maxxis DHR II 29 x 2.4″ rear; EXO, TR

Frame Construction

The Salsa Horsethief Deore 12 boasts a meticulously designed frame, crafted with precision to ensure durability and optimal performance. The frame, named Horsethief Alloy V3, is constructed using advanced welding techniques that enhance its strength and longevity. This ensures that the frame can withstand the rigors of aggressive trail riding. Furthermore, the Horsethief Deore 12 features a modern dropout system, which allows for quick and easy wheel changes, enhancing its versatility on the trails.


Horsethief Deore frame

A. Effective Top Tube 596 / 595 618 / 617 639 / 639 661 / 660
B. Stand Over 750 / 753 748 / 758 759 / 769 769 / 780
C. Reach 413 / 415 432 / 434 451 / 453 470 / 472
D. Stack 613 / 611 622 / 620 632 / 629 641 / 639
E. Total Seat Tube Length 419 444 483 520
F. Headtube Length 103 113 123 133
G. Headtube Angle 66.8 / 67.0 66.8 / 67.0 66.8 / 67.0 66.8 / 67.0
H. Seat Tube Angle 73.4 / 73.6 73.4 / 73.6 73.4 / 73.6 73.4 / 73.6
I. BB Drop 29 / 26 29 / 26 29 / 26 29 / 26
K. Chainstay Length 432 / 431 432 / 431 432 / 431 432 / 431
L. Fork Length Axle to Crown 551 551 551 551
M. Fork Offset 44 44 44 44
N. Wheelbase 1141 1164 1187 1209
Crank Arm Length 165 170 170 175
Handlebar Width 800 800 800 800
Recommended Rider Height 165cm–173cm 173cm–180cm 180cm–188cm 188cm–UP
Stem Length 50 50 50 50

Measurements based on:

  • An unsprung bike (no sag)
  • An average 140mm 29/27.5+ suspension fork at 25% sag
  • A 29 x 2.4″ tire measuring 745mm in diameter
  • Standover is measured from vertically from ground to bend in top tube, subtract 2–8mm (0.1–0.3″) for 27.5 x 2.8–3.0″ tires
  • Measurements shown are for LOW / HIGH Flip Chip settings


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All Salsa products are warranted against manufacturing defects in materials and workmanship from the date of retail purchase of the product, subject to the limitations detailed below. Every Salsa frame, component, and apparel has a useful product life cycle. The length of that useful product life cycle will vary depending on the construction and the materials of the product, maintenance and care the product receives, and the amount and type of use the product is subjected to over its life. Your bike has an intended level of use as defined by the ASTM Riding Condition Classification Chart. Failure to adhere to the use cases identified in this chart will void your warranty. Save your dated receipt for proof of purchase. NOTE: All warranty periods below apply to original owner only

Salsa Cycles does not guarantee the compatibility of original components with a warranty replacement frame. Salsa Cycles is not responsible for parts or labor required to remove and/or refit and re-adjust the product within the bicycle assembly, including wheel rebuilds.

Salsa Cycles cannot guarantee a color match to the original frame, component, or apparel in the event of a replacement.


Aluminum front triangles of suspension frames
All Salsa components


Aluminum chainstays of suspension frames
Aluminum seatstays of suspension frames
All other suspension frame parts (excludes hanger, pivot hardware, bearings)


  • Damage due to improper assembly or follow-up maintenance or lack of skill, competence or experience of the user or assemble
  • Bicycles that were not assembled or serviced by an authorized Salsa Cycles dealer
  • Products that have been modified, neglected, used in competition, or for commercial purposes such as rental, courier, police, security, etc, misused or abused, involved in accidents or anything other than normal use
  • Installation of components, parts, or accessories not originally intended for use with or compatible with Salsa frames and components
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  • Sandblasting, sanding, grinding, wire brushing, filing, welding, brazing, drilled holes, anodizing, refinishing, powder coating, or chrome plating the bicycle, frame, or component will void the warranty
  • Internal rust perforation on all steel frames
  • Wear, scratches, chips and cracks to paint, finish, or coating on all Salsa frames and components
  • Bent or broken derailleur hangers or Alternator plates
  • Labor required to remove and/or refit and re-adjust the product within the bicycle assembly, including wheel rebuilds
  • Damage to carbon fiber caused by any carbon assembly paste
  • Normal wear and tear


This limited warranty is expressly limited to the repair or replacement of a defective product, at the option of Salsa Cycles, and is the sole remedy of the warranty. This limited warranty applies only to the original purchaser of the Salsa Cycles product and is not transferable. This warranty applies only to Salsa Cycles products purchased through an authorized dealer or distributor. In no event shall Salsa Cycles be liable for any loss, inconvenience or damage, whether direct, incidental, consequential, or otherwise resulting from breach of any express or implied warranty or condition of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, or otherwise with respect to our products except as set forth herein. This warranty gives the consumer specific legal rights, and those rights and other rights may vary from place to place. This warranty does not affect your statutory rights.


For 2013 and older model bicycles and products, please consult your Owner’s Manual, Salsa Cycles product instructions, or contact Salsa Cycles or your authorized Salsa dealer for the applicable warranty information.