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2020 Salsa Cutthroat: Redesigned For More Comfort

While the gravel segment of the bicycle industry evolves, bike designs are continually challenging tradition. The movement is creating a plethora of new bikes that meld capability with speed, opening the gate to new frontiers in what and where you can ride. Salsa has a reputation for making such bikes, and the new Cutthroat embodies the brand’s Adventure By Bike philosophy very well.

The Cutthroat isn’t a new model—it was first introduced in 2016—and Salsa has championed the drop-bar mountain bike idea for quite a while. As bizarre as that may sound to some, the concept works well for riders looking to escape the confines of sealed roads. So let’s have a look at what makes the Cutthroat uniquely suited to big adventures like the Great Divide Mountain Bike Route.

Salsa Cutthroat GRX 600

Cutthroat's Key Features:

  • Carbon frame and fork
  • 29” wheels with fast-rolling Teravail Sparwood tires
  • Race-inspired endurance mountain bike geometry
  • Flexible, bridgeless seatstays
  • Generous frame pack capacity and multiple gear carrying options


Salsa Cutthroat GRX 600 Endurance Gravel Bike

Available at your local authorized Salsa bicycle retailer. Check out the bike details, read reviews, and pick the size that's right for you. Click "Buy Local Now" to find the retailer near you with the bike in stock to test ride or available to order.


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Your Bike, Your Ride

If there’s one thing Cutthroat isn’t good at, it’s fitting neatly into one category. It’s a rigid mountain bike one day and a steroid-pumping gravel bike the next—it really all depends on where you’re riding. You could easily find yourself chasing narrow ribbons of singletrack through the woods on a day-long ride that takes you from your doorstep through paved neighborhood streets to gravel country roads and back, without ever feeling like you made the wrong decision about which bike to ride. Sure, you probably won’t find yourself on the Cutthroat during Saturday morning’s club ride or on a weekend trip in Moab, but for all the miles in between Cutthroat could stand in as your one and only rig. 

Salsa designed this bike specifically for race attempts on the Tour Divide. It’s responsive to pedal input, handles quickly enough, and is above all comfortable over the long haul thanks to Salsa’s Class 5 VRS, or Vibration Reduction System. This system is also used on Salsa’s Warbird and Warroad frames and has received praise on each implementation. Class 5 VRS is more than attractive marketing speak—the compliance it provides is immediately noticeable and welcome when riding dozens of miles over unmaintained surfaces.

A Place For Everything

Longer rides necessitate more support and Cutthroat delivers big in that regard. First, the frame was designed to maximize volume inside the front triangle. Frame bags are ubiquitous in the bikepacking world for good reason and Salsa made a Direct-Mount Frame Pack to fit the exact dimensions of each frame size. If frame bags aren’t your thing, the front triangle includes three bottle mounts (on sizes 54cm and up), and the fork has two sets of Three-Pack Mounts. There’s an additional accessory mount on the top tube for a gas tank-style bag, too. If that’s still not enough storage, Cutthroat’s fork is lowrider rack-compatible. While the rear dropouts include mounts, you’ll need to add Salsa’s Post-Lock seat collar to install a rear rack.

Frame details are on par with current standards: flat-mount brakes, thru axles front and rear, 1x and 2x drivetrain compatibility, and a welcomed 27.2mm seatpost diameter. Salsa claims plenty of room for up to a 2.4" tire in the rear, and the Cutthroat fork will clear up to 3”. The frame is compatible with a 100mm suspension fork, too, increasing the number of places you can ride.

Final Thoughts

Cutthroat has always been a capable machine in both where and how fast you can ride it. Consider this revamp a sign that Salsa got it nearly perfect the first time and has now addressed some minor suggestions to make it even better. The redesigned fork is more compliant to better complement the already-smooth Class 5 VRS. The geometry gets a little slacker and a touch longer for more control on rough terrain. Sleeved internal brake, shift, and dynamo routing keeps it looking clean and reduces maintenance intervals. And a smaller 52cm size allows more riders to experience the joy of riding a Cutty. Whether you make it your full-time gravel rig, a dedicated bikepacker, or plan to take on the Tour Divide, the Cutthroat is sure to please.

Salsa Cutthroat details & reviews