2015: Digging Deeper Into Bucksaw

Earlier this year at the Sea Otter Classic, we launched Bucksaw, our full-suspension fatbike featuring Split Pivot™ suspension technology and RockShox’s new Bluto suspension fork. In case you missed the information we put out about Bucksaw then, you may wish to check out these articles:

Click here to read Introducing Bucksaw
Click here to read Developing Bucksaw
Click here to watch our Understanding Split Pivot video

In this post, I’m going to dig a little deeper into the design of Bucksaw and why we made some of the choices we did.

2015 Bucksaw 1...

First and foremost, it is important to know that Bucksaw is not just a Spearfish or Horsethief frame that has been modified to fit fatbike tires. Bucksaw was designed from the ground up…in the most literal sense. Together with Split Pivot inventor Dave Weagle, we began by looking at how 26 x 4.0” fatbike tires at 8 to 12 psi interact with the ground. Once we had a handle on the range of characteristics of the tire, we were then able to begin designing the frame. The suspension layout, leverage ratio, frame geometry and shock tunes were all designed with the unique characteristics of the four-inch tire as the driving factor; every aspect of Bucksaw is influenced and tailored around that component.

There is a lot of subtlety and detail here that can’t be seen by the rider, and for now we are keeping those secrets to ourselves. What is important to note is that all these design choices manifest themselves in what you feel on the trail as you ride Bucksaw. Traction and stability are the two key defining traits. Bucksaw allows you to change the way you approach obstacles and which lines you choose out on the trail.

The most outwardly noticeable design feature of Bucksaw (and one we’ve already received many questions about) is tire size. Bucksaw is designed specifically for and around 26 x 4” tires on up-to 82mm rims. There is no compatibility with larger (4.6 - 4.8”) tires and/or 90/100mm rim combinations, nor does the frame work with 29 x 3.0” (29+) tires. This was intentional. Designing to accommodate these different tire sizes was possible, but it would have meant compromising on several aspects of Buckaw’s design, and ultimately, its performance on the trail.

Both of these alternative tire sizes have very different tire characteristics on the dyno, which would have affected the suspension layout, leverage ratio and shock tune. These other tire sizes also both have significantly larger diameters, which would require making compromises to BB height, chainstay length, headtube angle, Q-factor and overall chassis weight. In the end, we decided that the benefits of designing to fit these alternative tires sizes did not justify the compromises we would have to make on the suspension design and overall frame geometry. As with all our other bicycles, we aim to design the best product possible, and frankly, don’t believe making one frame to handle all of these very different tires sizes a valid product design solution, and that is why Bucksaw is designed specifically around 26 x 4” tires.

2015 Bucksaw 2...

It is also important to consider rim width. Bucksaw can use the 4” tire on up-to a 82mm-wide rim, but we spec both Bucksaw 1 and Bucksaw 2 with 65mm-wide Surly Marge Lite rims. There are two reasons for this:

First off, wider rims increase the footprint width and square off the tire profile. For fatbikes, this greatly increases flotation over soft surfaces; however, it also creates more auto-steer. Auto-steer is caused by the tire’s contact patch shifting laterally to the point where the steering axis intersects the ground. It manifests itself in the wheel (felt through your handlebars) wanting to turn into a corner by itself; the rider will feel the inside grip push into their hand and the outside grip pull away from their other hand. This happens with all sizes of bike tires, but due to relatively narrow widths and higher pressures of most tires auto-steer is hardly ever perceptible and therefore largely ignored. The extreme width and low pressures of fatbike tires however, make this phenomenon a very noticeable reality. To mitigate auto-steer in Bucksaw, the formula was simple: Use the narrowest and smallest fatbike tire size to keep the tire profile as round as possible, and at as high a pressure as possible, while still maintaining the benefits and feel of the fatbike concept. We find this sweet spot to be a 4” tire mounted on a 50 to 82mm-width rim.

Secondly, weight is the other reason for our Surly Marge Lite rim choice. A 65mm-wide Surly Marge Lite rim with rim strip is 220g lighter than a 82mm-wide Surly Rolling Darryl rim and rim strip. That’s almost a full pound of weight saved on the complete bike, all of which is in rotating weight. With flotation taking a backseat to traction and stability in Bucksaw, this choice made the most sense.

I hope this article adds a bit of clarity into our design effort that went into this new bike. And I hope you get a chance to experience Bucksaw in the near future. Many of you will find it to be the best of both worlds: a Split Pivot suspension bike and a fatbike rolled into one, redefining the boundaries of what a mountain bike is and where or how it can be ridden.

2015 Bucksaw Spec

2015 Bucksaw Geometry


This post filed under topics: Bucksaw Fatbike Mountain Biking New Product Pete Koski Tech

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Pete Koski

Pete Koski

Hi, I'm Pete and I am a product development engineer for Salsa. I like all kinds of riding from commuting to dirt jumping. I think flat pedals make you a better bike handler, that the thru-axle is vastly superior to the quick-release for off-road applications, and that moving through the world on bicycle allows one to see things they might not otherwise. I suffer daily from hunger-induced anger, also known as [i]hanger[/i]. Outside of work and riding, I enjoy kiteboarding, traveling, and watching hockey.


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Josh Farmer | July 21st, 2014

Ust curious.. what does the top of the line bucksaw come in at weight wise.. thanks.. in a med or large frame

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Chris | July 22nd, 2014

Awesome update. Any word on when in ‘fall’ these are going to be at dealers? I have one on order and I’m super excited!

Kid Riemer

Kid Riemer | July 24th, 2014

Josh Farmer - Complete Bucksaw 1 weighs in at 32 lbs 6 oz.

Chris - I’ll update Availability when back in the office. Currently on vacation.

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Kurt Schneider | July 26th, 2014

Rode the Bucksaw 1 during a demo at Eagle Bike Park, just outside of Boise, Idaho, yesterday. Pretty nice ride. Predictable at speed, and neutral handling. The tech did a good job setting up the suspension but I would likely have added a bit more air to the rear tire. (The back end felt a bit more squirrelly than I like.) Climbed well, too.

I ride fatter bikes year ‘round, and could easily see a place for this in the flock. (Two Pugs, a Krampus, and an ECR…among others.) Nice bike. Well done.

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Christophe Noel | August 16th, 2014

I often have to pinch myself to make sure it hasn’t been a long and vivid dream, but I’ve had the opportunity to ride the Bucksaw nearly everyday since April. I’ve charged amazing trails like the Black Canyon Trail, to Moab’s best and just returned from a 12 day bikepack trip through the most rugged trails and roads of Iceland.

I’m not often overly smitten by radical bike designs, and truth be told, in theory this bike should have ticked every box for things I thought I disliked. It has become one of my all time favorites. It is shockingly nimble and responsive. It’s redefined how I ride adding a freshness to the fun factor as I ride lines that wouldn’t accommodate any other bike. Even fitted with a full compliment of bikepacking bags, it just rips.

Bravo, Salsa.

Christophe Noel

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Peter | August 26th, 2014

This bike checks all the boxes for me. I currently have a Krampus with a Bafang BBS 02 mounted. Could you provide some more detail on the bottom bracket width? If the Bucksaw 1 has a 68 or 73 mm BB it might make the ultimate e-bike for trailriding here in Norway. A close up photo of the BB area would be awsome :)

Kid Riemer

Kid Riemer | August 26th, 2014

Peter - The Bucksaw has a 100mm width bottom bracket. This is necessary to facilitate the chain passing around the tire wider tire/rim combo to function properly with a 170mm symmetrical rear end (or in this case 177mm thru-axle rear end).

Our 2015 line is now represented on our website. Here’s the link to the Bucksaw platform page.


PK | August 27th, 2014

Just want to clarify a little more on the Bucksaw bottom bracket.  The frame uses a 121mm wide press-fit 41 shell, which is equivalent to 100mm wide threaded shell.  Both of these shell sizes accepts ~66mm chainline fatbike cranks like the SRAM & RaceFace models, etc that line up properly with a 170/177 rear spacing.

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GSS | August 31st, 2014

I want one how soon can I order or pick one up? I love my Mukluk, but have wanted a full suspension and didn’t want to give up all the things I love about the fatty! Please let me know I would order one today if it was possible?

Kid Riemer

Kid Riemer | September 2nd, 2014

GSS - To start, I suggest contacting your closest Salsa Authorized Dealer.

You can also see a link to a list of our International Distributors on that same page.

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Flatland | September 13th, 2014

Any update on the delivery date of the first batch??

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Nick | September 23rd, 2014

I second the request for a status update.  Would love to know if things are still on-time or roughly how far back they have been pushed.  Thanks!

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GSS | September 23rd, 2014

Just to share what I learned from the dealer that I have my Bucksaw 1 order through. I have been told that for the Bucksaw 2 they would have those in hopefully by end of November start of December. For my Bucksaw 1 it would be mid-December, but no firm dates.

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Lee | September 25th, 2014

I third the request for official update……thx.

Kid Riemer

Kid Riemer | September 25th, 2014

Flatland, GSS, Nick & Lee:  Sorry for the delayed response. November is the date I’ve been given.

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Red | October 13th, 2014

Will the Bucksaw’s Rockshox Bluto Fork come with the upgraded RCT3 damper?

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jacob | November 14th, 2014

I just bought a bucksaw 2. Haven’t tested in trails but so far i’m quiet impressed with the bucksaw. Pedal bobbing is almost nil compared with my 29er fullsus. Soon I will test this bike in trails. May I ask if salsa really didn’t provide shock pump in the package for the front and rear shock.  Thanks

Kid Riemer

Kid Riemer | December 5th, 2014

Jacob - Glad to hear you are enjoying the Bucksaw. It is an incredible bike IMO. Sorry, but we don’t provide a shock pump with the bike.

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Mark | February 7th, 2015

Love the Bucksaw!  How about coming out with a Bucksaw hardtail?  An affordable aluminum hardtail frame and Bluto fork with the wheels, tires, brakes, and components of the Bucksaw 2 is the all season all trail fatbike I want.  It would be low weight, especially the wheels and tires, but affordable.  Please?

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Kurt Schneider | April 5th, 2015

@Mark (February 7th, 2015)

Regarding your desire to have a “hard tail” version of the Bucksaw…you might check out the Mukluk 2 with Bluto fork. It’s a light, aluminum hard tail, using the same 3.8” tires you’ll find on the Bucksaw. Sweet color, too. The component group of the Mukluk 2 is similar to the Bucksaw 2. (X7/X9)

Stop by your local dealer, or check for a demo in your area.

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