Spring Break! We go head to head with six new trail bikes


It’s been a rough winter near Dirt Rag HQ, and after our last trip to Virginia was such a success, when another offer of lodging and guide service came out way, I didn’t hesitate long to make plans to head south to Wilderness Adventure at Eagle Landing.

Willderness Adventure is about 45 minutes outside Roanoke, Virginia, and situated smack in the middle of a huge range of riding. We’ve ridden ridge lines, steep chutes, rock gardens and man-made jump lines, really the complete package of what I think makes mountain biking awesome.

The purpose of the trip is to finalize testing for a new feature: “Throwdown.” Later this year in Dirt Rag you’ll see six of 2014’s most compelling bikes paired off and assigned to a single reviewer. As is our unwritten policy, this isn’t a shootout, but a chance to use two bikes to better tell you the story of each one.

Here is the cast of characters, along with some basic specs, expect more in depth intros from each tester in the near future:

Trek Slash 8 27.5 and Marin Attack Trail Quad Carbon XT8

Ridden by Justin Steiner, General Manager and head photographer.


Trek Slash 8 27.5

  • MSRP: $4,500
  • Travel: 160mm
  • Wheelsize: 27.5
  • Drivetrain: Shimano SLX/XT
  • Brakes: Shimano XT
  • Fork: Fox Float 34 TALAS CTD Evolution
  • Shock: Fox Float DRCV CTD
  • Seatpost: Rock Shox Reverb Stealth


Marin Attack Trail Quad Carbon XT8

  • MSRP: $4,300
  • Travel: 160mm front, 150mm rear
  • Wheelsize: 27.5
  • Drivetrain: Avid X7/X9
  • Brakes: Shimano XT
  • Fork: Rock Shox Pike RC, Dual Position Air Spring
  • Shock: Rock Shox Monarch RL
  • Seatpost: KS Dropzone

Salsa Horsethief and Xprezo Wuuu

Ridden by our Circulation Manager, Jon Pratt.


Salsa Horsethief 1

  • MSRP: $4,500
  • Travel: 130mm front, 120mm rear
  • Wheelsize: 29
  • Drivetrain: Avid X01
  • Brakes: Avid X0 Trail
  • Fork: Fox F29 Performance Fit w/51mm offset
  • Shock: Fox Float CTD
  • (out test bike has some non-stock parts, including a 2×10 drivetrain)


Xprezo Wuuu 650

  • MSRP: $4,745
  • Travel: 130mm front, 115mm rear
  • Wheelsize: 27.5
  • Drivetrain: SRAM X9
  • Brakes: Avid Elixir 5
  • Fork: RockShox Revelation RLT
  • Shock: Fox Float CTD

RSD Mutant 29+ and Surly Instigator 2.0

Finally, on loan from our sister mag, Bicycle Times, this pair is ridden by Art Director Stephen Haynes.


RSD Mutant

  • MSRP: $2,400 (frame only $500)
  • Travel: 0 mm front, 0 mm rear
  • Wheelsize: 29+ (29×3)
  • Drivetrain: SRAM X9 1×10
  • Brakes: Avid Elixir 5
  • Fork: RSD carbon with 15mm thru-axle


Surly Instigator 2.0

  • MSRP: $2,600
  • Travel: 140 mm front, 0 mm rear
  • Wheelsize: 26+ (26×2.75)
  • Drivetrain: Shimano SLX 1×10
  • Brakes: Shimano SLX
  • Fork: Fox Float 32 Evolution

Keep reading

We’ll have a lot more details about these new bikes coming in the next few days, so be sure to check back in.