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Salsa Redpoint Carbon GX 1 Test

February 20, 2017
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Salsa Redpoint Carbon GX 1

A Spicy, Do-It-All Trailbike

M2Salsa1Salsa is a company deeply rooted in the belief that life is best spent exploring the great outdoors. The Salsa team consists of endurance athletes and bikepackers, all with a common passion to see the world—one pedal stroke at a time. The Redpoint, however, is the bike the Salsa crew uses to tackle the most remote backcountry locations. Its plush suspension and modern technology make the Redpoint their ultimate tool for ripping epic singletrack nestled away in rugged, all-mountain terrain. The Salsa Redpoint was begging us to take it for an adventure, so we ordered one to see if it was truly up for the challenge.

WHO IS IT MADE FOR?

The Salsa Redpoint is a do-it-all trailbike built to conquer steep climbs and rip down fast descents. Salsa packed 150 millimeters of Split Pivot suspension travel into a bike with modern, trail-ready geometry that allows riders to enjoy long, memorable days in the saddle. The Redpoint offers a well-spec’d list of components and utilizes modern standards to help it conquer whatever a rider would like to throw at it. Riders seeking a well-rounded trailbike will likely be drawn to the Redpoint.

WHAT IS IT MADE FROM?

M2Salsa6The cockpit: Salsa designed the Redpoint’s geometry to be optimized with a stem length ranging between 40–60 millimeters. Our Redpoint’s 50-millimeter stem and wide handlebars provided our testers with a confident feel when flowing down the trails.

The Redpoint is constructed from an EPS-molded carbon frame and is paired with heat-treated aluminum chainstays. Salsa claims the Redpoint’s carbon frame is 340 grams lighter than its full-aluminum counterpart. Both frames, however, are built around a Split Pivot suspension platform with a geometry optimized to feel balanced with either 150-millimeter or 160-millimeter-travel forks. The Redpoint has Boost hub spacing front and rear and is compatible with 1x or 2x drivetrains. The cables are run externally across the Redpoint’s downtube where they meet up with an internally routed dropper post and rear derailleur. The Redpoint features short, 430-millimeter chainstays; a 66.9-degree head tube angle; and a long top tube that allows riders to run shorter stems while maintaining a comfortable reach.

WHICH COMPONENTS STAND OUT?

M2Salsa4Tried and true: Our test riders have spent numerous hours riding SRAM’s GX1 drivetrain with little to no problems at all. The Salsa Redpoint’s GX1 system worked flawlessly and provided a great range of gears for our local trails.

M2Salsa5Stop on a dime: SRAM’s Guide R brakes kept our Salsa’s speed in check really well. We found the combination of these powerful brakes and a Split Pivot suspension design did wonders for delivering smooth and constant stopping power to the ground.

Our mid-level Salsa Redpoint came equipped with a great build kit focused on value and performance. Salsa spec’d RockShox’s new budget-friendly Yari fork along with an 11-speed SRAM GX1 drivetrain and SRAM’s Guide R brakes. These components worked really well together and kept the Redpoint at a reasonable price. Salsa also included a stealth-routed dropper post, a short 50-millimeter stem and a pair of 750-millimeter-wide handlebars that allow riders to get aggressive on rowdier trails.

HOW DOES IT PERFORM?

Setting sag:

M2Salsa7RockShox Yari: The Yari is RockShox’s entry-level, 35-millimeter chassis fork. It offers similar features to RockShox’s proven Pike and new Lyrik, but at a much lower price point.

Our RockShox suspension was easy to set up and took very little time to get dialed in just right. We started with 30-percent sag in the rear but found that to be a little too plush, so we pumped up our shock to 25 percent. We centered our shock’s rebound knob, and later sped it up two clicks to match our local trails. Up front we settled on 30-percent sag and adjusted our rebound knob to a centered position. We later sped up our fork’s rebound knob two clicks from center.

Moving out:

Salsa designed the Redpoint with a long top tube so riders could comfortably run a short stem length of 40–60 millimeters. Our test bike came equipped with a 50-millimeter stem and 750-millimeter handlebars that provided all of our test riders with a comfy fit. Some of our testers, however, noticed the Redpoint had a fairly slack seat tube angle at 73.5 degrees, putting their weight in a more rearward position than they would have liked. We ended up pushing our saddle forward on the rails to accommodate this angle.

Climbing:

M2Salsa11Going up: The Salsa Redpoint has an efficient Split Pivot suspension system that offered a great pedaling platform, whether a rider was in or out of the saddle. A nice gear range also contributed to the Redpoint’s ability to tackle climbs.

The Redpoint is an efficient climber thanks to its active Split Pivot suspension and RockShox Monarch shock with two-position compression lever. When climbing, we flipped the shock’s lever to the pedal position, giving us a great platform for pedaling in or out of the saddle. We did notice the Redpoint’s front wheel was hard to keep planted to the ground when charging steeper climbs. We attributed this to our rearward weight distribution and corrected for it by bending our elbows and lowering our chests to keep weight over the front wheel.

Cornering:

M2Salsa9Lean it over: The Redpoint’s short chainstays and 66.9-degree head tube angle gave our Salsa a quick and nimble feel. Our testers enjoyed diving in and out of corners with this bike and found they could trust the Schwalbe Hans Dampf tires to hook up in most situations.

The Redpoint’s fairly short 430-millimeter chainstays and 66.9-degree head tube angle provided our Salsa with quick and nimble handling. We had no issue diving in or out of fast corners with confidence and control. Our Hans Dampf tires delivered plenty of traction, and our Split Pivot suspension kept our bike planted to the ground. The Redpoint felt well supported in its mid travel, inspiring our test riders to push hard into every berm they could find.

Descending:

M2Salsa10Blasting down the trail: Salsa designed the Redpoint as a well-balanced, do-it-all trailbike capable of exploring the great outdoors. We found the Salsa well suited for a variety of trails from smooth singletrack to rocky, technical descents

The Redpoint is the bike the Salsa crew grab when they’re ready to get rad. Its 150 millimeters of travel felt plush off the top, giving the Redpoint a supple ride over small bumps, but the suspension ramped up quickly to provide a bottomless feel landing from jumps or drops. The RockShox Yari fork tackled smaller hits well, even without a low-speed compression adjustment, and managed to feel somewhat bottomless on bigger hits. The Redpoint’s geometry felt well suited to both technical and flowy trails, and its 27.5-inch wheels contributed to its fun and flickable nature.

Braking:

M2Salsa8Fun and playful: The Salsa Redpoint’s long, slack and low geometry, along with a Split Pivot suspension system, made for a bike that was fun and playful out on the trails.

The SRAM Guide R brakes aboard our Redpoint offered plenty of easy-to-control power, allowing us to be more precise with our braking points out on the trails. Our testers had no complaints about the stopping power or the manageability of these brakes whatsoever. The Redpoint’s suspension felt well supported under heavy braking forces, and our 2.35-inch-wide tires dug into the dirt well. Overall, the Redpoint brings excellent braking characteristics to the table and leaves nothing more to be desired.

TRICKS, UPGRADES OR TIPS?

Right out of the box, the Salsa Redpoint provides its rider with crisp shifting, smooth braking and a solid suspension platform. Our testers felt they had a good range of gears with the stock 30-tooth chainring, however, the Redpoint will only take up to a 32-tooth front chainring on a 1x drivetrain. This will limit some riders who are looking for a larger gear. Setting up this bike tubeless would be a welcome upgrade, since the SRAM wheels are already wrapped with tubeless-ready tape. A rider would just need to purchase a pair of tubeless valves, pick out his favorite sealant and take his new Redpoint out for a ride.

M2Salsa3BUYING ADVICE

The Redpoint Carbon GX1 pairs mid-level components with a carbon frame, resulting in a bike that balances performance and value really well. This bike is by no means a budget bike at $4600, but you get what you pay for. The Redpoint is a middle-level trailbike that is spec’d well and capable of handing whatever a rider would like to throw at it. This Salsa can be ridden with your cross-country buddies one night and your enduro buddies the next. Sure, you may sacrifice a little on either end of the spectrum, but, at the end of the day, the Redpoint’s true goal is to take on new challenges and seek out great adventures.

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