Frame, carrying capacity, versatile, design
Front tire, price
The Salsa Timberjack is a premium mountain bike model that promises to make your mountain biking escapades more fulfilling. It boasts a variety of quality specifications that work to deliver a smooth performance on the rough backcountry terrain.
When it comes to spending big on a bike, it is safe to say that we all have our reservations!
There is a significant danger in blowing your hard-earned money on a mountain bike, especially when you are not well-versed with the various specifications.
Considering the numerous brands and models of MTBs available in the market today, it will take enough due diligence to end up with a product that fully meets expectations.
However, the Salsa Timberjack from the Minnesota-based company, Salsa Cycles, is a top-notch hardtail that has the bike world talking.
In this review, we will take a good look at Salsa Timberjack and the different features that it comes with. How does it stack up against other MTBs in the market?
Continue reading to find out if the bike lives up to the hype, and if it’s worth spending on….
FRAME: Timberjack aluminum, RockShox Sektor RL 120mm fork
BRAKE TYPES: SRAM Level Hydraulic brakes
SHIFTER: SRAM GX1
RIMS: Formula 32h, Whisky Trail rims
TIRES: Schwalbe Nobby Nic Performance, 27.5” by 2.8”
Salsa Cycles used an aluminum frame on the Timberjack to give it the strength needed to take on those harsh off-road terrains. The low-lying frame makes it easy to mount or climb down from when you are riding on the trail.
The bike features internal cable routing that makes for a clean looking frame and the all-black RockShox front fork blends well with the orange color of the frame, resulting in a premium appearance. You’ll like the ample tire clearance in this bike, which gives you the flexibility to use up to 3” tires.
The Timberjack demonstrates its versatility by accommodating 29” wheels with a 2.6” width. You still get adjustable dropouts on this bike, which makes the feel of the ride more playful and livelier. The Alternator Dropouts further let you customize your drivetrain to an internal hub or single-speed setup.
From the first time I took the Timberjack on a test-ride, I must say Salsa Cycles hit the nail on the head as far as geometry is concerned. The bike was just as impressive on ascends as it was on descents, which made me appreciate its well-rounded nature.
Overall, this bike leaves most hardtails in the dust with its sheer versatility. You can easily transform it into a bike-packing device, thanks to its three water bottle mounts and rack-friendly frame.
For a top-of-the-range MTB like the Salsa Timberjack, I must say I was a little underwhelmed by the company’s choice of SRAM Level brakes. I always feel like they have a squishy feel and lack the power you need for an off-road machine.
Nevertheless, the stock brakes on this bike did seem to deliver better than I expected and I could definitely feel the power. Although it wasn’t a top-notch performance, it gave me the confidence to take on those steep and meandering descents.
One little glitch I had with the bike is that the reach adjust feature is situated on the inside of the lever, which made me unable to tweak without removing the assembly of the brake. In short, any trailside adjustments turned out to be a never-ending task.
Other than that, I must give it to the SRAM Level brakes on this bike!
The Whisky Trail rims held their own during the whole time I was on the Timberjack and if you ask me, they are built for the long haul.
Their 45-mm width ensures that the 2.8 tires live up to their maximum potential. In case you opt for wider tires, the rims will still accommodate them.
Meanwhile, the thick Schwalbe Nobby tires were an absolute joy to ride on.
They give you the stability you need on a tricky trail and the wide surface area ensures there is enough traction. I chose to go with 14psi on the front tire and 16 psi on the rear, which resulted in a relatively smooth ride.
I had no problem leaning over to unnatural angles to maintain my balance while dodging the undergrowth and debris on the floor.
The combination of a faster rolling rear tire and an aggressive front tire on the Timberjack ended up in an adventurous and satisfying biking experience.
The Timberjack Family
In this review, I’ve been talking about the Timberjack NX Eagle 27.5+ model that comes with an aluminum frame, SRAM Level brakes, and SRAM NX Eagle 12-speed drivetrain. However, there are more siblings in this diverse Timberjack family that you should know about.
Salsa Cycles offer additional models, including the Timberjack Deore, perfect for those looking for a budget option. This features a Shimano Deore drivetrain, SR Suntour fork, and is available in 27.5+, as well as 29” wheels.
There is also a frame-only alternative that has been made out of titanium, which is considerably costlier than the other models. In case you have small kids and feel like you need to get the whole Timberjack family, there are 20” and 24” youth versions that Salsa will offer you.
Overall, there are four child and seven adult Salsa Timberjack bike models available to you!
What We Like
The Salsa Timberjack has many impressive features that will make your mountain biking adventures a thing to look forward to. First on the list is the sturdy aluminum frame that allows it to cope with the harsh backcountry conditions, giving it the required durability.
This bike is also one of the most versatile MTBs I’ve ever had a chance to take out for a ride. The bike excels at almost everything, including daily commutes to bike-packing expeditions and single-track cruises. This means you can use it for various endeavors and expect the same level of performance.
The bike has multiple rack mounts on the frame, under the seat, and handlebar where you can carry water bottles and accessory bags that you can take on a multi-day outdoor adventure. This ensures that you have the supplies you’ll need for the trip.
The WTB tires on the Timberjack provide a good balance between traction and comfort. They roll easily on the uneven terrain and reduce the bumpy effect, making the ride comfortable.
The bike has an adjustable chainstay that allows you to alter the handling of the bike from fun to playful and long to stable. This results in a more exciting and adventurous biking experience.
Finally, you’ll like the overall geometry of bike; it offers the appropriate posture, and there are various models to choose the right fit from. The design also stands out and the colors blend in well.
What We Don't Like
One of the underwhelming aspects about the Timberjack is that the aggressive Vigilante front tire may turn out to be an overkill for distant bike-packing adventures. You might, therefore, want to go for something more appropriate like the Ranger.
This is a high-performance bike and the price tag it comes with reflects this. Some people may not be in a position to readily pay for it.
If you are an avid mountain bike rider who’s grown tired of his current model, the Salsa Timberjack is the kind upgrade you might want to take on a backcountry adventure. I feel like it is the all-round off-road machine that will make you fall in love with mountain biking all over again.
However, it doesn’t come cheap! You’ll find yourself spending just under $2000 to get this beauty into your garage. The great news is that once you have it, it offers a great bang for the buck!
The Salsa Timberjack feels like a great acquisition for both experienced mountain bikers and those enthusiasts who are just getting into it. It has a nice design and offers the kind of versatility you want in an off-road two-wheeler.
Going on those backcountry runs promises to be more exciting on the Timberjack.If you have the budget to fund its purchase, I feel this is one of the top mountain bikes out there that I would gladly recommend!