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Salsa Beargrease Carbon Deore Review

A lightweight fat bike that boasts a full carbon frame and a solid all-around performance
salsa beargrease carbon deore fat bike review
The Beargrease has a great middle of the road fat bike geometry and performs well all-around as result.
Credit: Jenna Ammerman
Price:  $2,949 List
Manufacturer:   Salsa
By Jeremy Benson, Pat Donahue  ⋅  Dec 23, 2022
76
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#5 of 8
  • Downhill Performance - 30% 6.0
  • Uphill Performance - 30% 9.0
  • Versatility - 25% 8.0
  • Build - 15% 7.0

Our Verdict

The first thing testers noticed about the Salsa Beargrease was how light and lively it felt thanks mostly to its stiff and responsive carbon skeleton. This bike is impressively efficient and it responds very well to pedaling input on flat and uphill terrain. It's also competent on the descents with a geometry that gives it a short turning radius and relatively playful attitude. As a fully rigid bike, it is most at home on smooth snow or dirt, but it also has a little more forgiveness over slightly rougher terrain than some of the competition. The frame and fork also have plentiful bottle and accessory mounting points that make it a versatile ride that can be used for bike packing and adventure riding as well as snow biking and regular mountain biking.
REASONS TO BUY
Inexpensive for carbon
Lightweight
Lively
REASONS TO AVOID
Budget component spec
Excessive handlebar backsweep
Editor's note: We updated this review on December 23, 2022, with information regarding recent product updates and additional product-to-product comparisons.

Compare to Similar Products

 
Awards  Editors' Choice Award Top Pick Award Best Buy Award Best Buy Award 
Price $2,949 List
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$2,499 List$2,350 List$2,299 List$2,000 List
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Pros Inexpensive for carbon, lightweight, livelyReasonable price for carbon, tons of frame and fork mounts, highly versatileDropper post, nice build, great all-around performanceAffordable for carbon frame, well-rounded performance, reasonable weightAffordable, reasonable weight, super wide tires, floatation and traction
Cons Budget component spec, excessive handlebar backsweepSX shifter ergonomics, non-lock-on gripsModerately heavySRAM SX shifter ergonomics, limited frame and fork mountsBasic, uncomfortable saddle
Bottom Line A lightweight fat bike that boasts a full carbon frame and a solid all-around performanceA very well-rounded and highly versatile fat bike for snow and adventure riding at a reasonable priceNot only is it good looking but it's a capable and well-rounded fat bikeA reasonably priced carbon fiber fat bike that's lightweight and efficientThe Trek Farley 5 is relatively basic, but it is still a plenty capable and reasonably priced fat bike
Rating Categories Salsa Beargrease Ca... Fezzari Kings Peak... Giant Yukon 1 Canyon Dude CF 7 Trek Farley 5
Downhill Performance (30%)
6.0
8.0
8.0
7.0
7.0
Uphill Performance (30%)
9.0
8.0
8.0
9.0
7.0
Versatility (25%)
8.0
9.0
8.0
7.0
7.0
Build (15%)
7.0
7.0
8.0
7.0
7.0
Specs Salsa Beargrease Ca... Fezzari Kings Peak... Giant Yukon 1 Canyon Dude CF 7 Trek Farley 5
Wheelsize 27.5" 27.5" 27.5" 27.5" 27.5"
Weight w/o pedals 29 lbs 11 oz 31 lbs 32 lbs 13 oz 30 lbs 5 oz 31 lbs 11 oz
Frame Material High-Modulus carbon Carbon V3 ALUXX SL-Grade Aluminum Canyon Dude CF (carbon fiber) Alpha Platinum Aluminum
Frame Size Large Large Large Large Large
Available Sizes XS-XL S-XL S-XL S-L S-XL
Fork Bearpaw Carbon Fork Kings Peak Carbon V3 Rigid Composite with low-rider rack mounts Canyon Rude CF Bontrager Haru, OCLV carbon lowers
Wheelset SUNringle Mulefut 80 rims with SUNringle SRC hubs SUNringle Mulefut SL 80 rims with Bear Pawls Alloy hubs Alloy rims, 90mm, with Giant hubs SUNringle Mulefut SL 80 SUNringle Mulefut SL 80 rims with Bontrager hubs
Front Tire Maxxis Minion FBF 3.8" Terrene Cake Eater 4.5" Maxxis Colossus 4.5" Maxxis Minion FBF 3.8" Bontrager Gnarwhal Team Issue 4.5"
Rear Tire Maxxis Minion FBR 3.8" Terrene Cake Eater 4.5" Maxxis Colossus 4.5" Maxxis Minion FBR 3.8" Bontrager Gnarwhal Team Issue 4.5"
Shifters Shimano Deore 10-speed SRAM SX Eagle SRAM NX Eagle SRAM SX Eagle Shimano Deore 10-speed
Rear Derailleur Shimano Deore 10-speed SRAM SX Eagle SRAM NX Eagle SRAM SX Eagle Shimano Deore 10-speed
Cranks Race Face Ride SRAM X1 1000 Eagle DUB SRAM NX Eagle DUB FAT 5 Truvativ Stylo 6K DUB Race Face Ride
Chainring 28T 30T 30T 30T 28T
Bottom Bracket not specified SRAM DUB BSA 100 SRAM DUB Pressfit SRAM Pressfit DUB Race Face 121mm, Pressfit
Cassette Shimano Deore 11-42T SRAM PG-1210 11-50T SRAM NX Eagle 11-50T SRAM PG-1210 11-50T Shimano HG500 11-42T
Saddle WTB Volt Comp Selle Italia Model X Superflow Giant Contact (neutral) Selle Italia X3 Bontrager Arvada 138mm
Seatpost Salsa Guide Fezzari Racing Design XrT Alloy Giant Contact Switch dropper Iridium Alloy Bontrager Alloy
Handlebar Salsa Rustler Fezzari Racing Design Alloy Flat Bar, 780mm Giant Connect Trail, 780mm Iridium Flatbar Bontrager Alloy
Stem Salsa Guide Fezzari Alloy Giant Contact Iridium Alloy Bontrager Elite
Brakes SRAM Level Clarks M2 Hydraulic Disc SRAM Level T Shimano MT410 SRAM Level
Head Tube Angle 68.5-degrees 67-degrees 68.5-degrees 69-degrees 69-degrees
Reach (size Large) 445mm 470mm 427mm 465mm 441mm
Wheelbase (size Large) 1151mm 1208mm 1171mm 1175mm 1158mm
Chainstay Length 440mm 450mm 445-460mm (adjustable) 439mm 455mm
Seat Tube Angle (effective) 73-degrees 75-degrees 73-degrees 73-degrees 73-degrees
Warranty Five Years Lifetime Lifetime Six Years Lifetime

Our Analysis and Test Results

Product Update Note — December 2022
For 2023, Salsa still makes several versions of the Beargrease Carbon including the Deore build. It comes in two new color options with a reliable Shimano Deore 11-speed drivetrain, a set of 45NRTH Vanhelga tires, and a price increase to $2,949. We expect performance to be nearly identical to the model we tested.

Salsa has been producing quality bikes for many years now, yet they have remained on the fringes as somewhat of a niche brand. That hasn't stopped them from growing their product line to include everything from gravel grinders and touring bikes to high-end full-suspension mountain bikes and several models of fat bikes. The Beargrease comes to our fat bike test as the only full carbon model, up against a competitive field of comparably priced and equipped alloy framed competitors. In addition to being lightweight and looking really cool, the Beargrease shined with a solid all-around performance, decent component specification, and reasonable price (for carbon).

Performance Comparison


salsa beargrease carbon deore fat bike review - the beargrease is an affordable carbon framed fat bike with a solid...
The Beargrease is an affordable carbon framed fat bike with a solid all-around performance.
Credit: Jenna Ammerman

Downhill Performance


The Beargrease is more capable and fun to ride on the descents than you might expect a fully rigid bike to be. Much like its other rigid competitors, it excels on smooth snow or dirt and tends to be a little harsh on choppy or rugged terrain. Thankfully, it has a 68-degree head tube angle which is among the slackest in the test and actually does help to calm the front end of this bike down and perform better when the trail steepens. At the same time, the shorter wheelbase and moderate length reach and chainstays help maintain a lively and somewhat playful demeanor on the descents. The 80mm wide SUNringle Mulefut rims give the 27.5" x 3.8" Maxxis Minion FBF and FBR tires a nice wide profile and ample traction on both packed snow and dirt alike.


Our gripes with the downhill performance of the Beargrease are few and somewhat nit-picky build-related complaints but they do affect the ride. The Salsa Rustler handlebar is a great width but testers felt the 11-degree back sweep to be a bit much and it wasn't quite as comfortable as some of the competition, it just felt a bit off. Obviously, we'd have also loved for this bike to come with a dropper seat post, but since it didn't we think a quick-release seat post clamp would be the way to go to expedite the saddle height changing process.

salsa beargrease carbon deore fat bike review - the beargrease has a comfortable and capable geometry that give it...
The Beargrease has a comfortable and capable geometry that give it good downhill performance.
Credit: Jenna Ammerman

Uphill Performance


Fully rigid bikes are inherently good at going uphill, rigid bikes with lightweight carbon frames are even better. The Beargrease is the lightest model in this test at 29 lbs 11 oz, that's with 80mm rims and 27.5" x 3.8" tires with tubes, thanks to its full carbon frame. That same lightweight frame is super stiff and responsive to pedaling input and there is no energy lost when climbing, except for a little through the soft and wide tires. When you put effort into pedaling this bike uphill it responds and feels fast and efficient. The 73-degree seat tube is steep enough, and combined with the moderate length reach puts the rider in a comfortable seated climbing position. Thanks to the short-ish wheelbase, it is very maneuverable and weight is distributed relatively evenly which helps to keep the front end from wandering when the going gets steep.


There was little not to like about the Beargrease on the climbs, this bike is efficient and comfortable. If we had to find fault with its uphill performance it would have to be in its drivetrain setup. The 11-speed Shimano Deore drivetrain works well, but we feel that it could use a little lower range. The 28-tooth chainring and 11-42 tooth cassette provided a huge range, but considering the soft and potentially challenging conditions you are likely to encounter on this bike we'd love to have at least one easier gear.

salsa beargrease carbon deore fat bike review - its easy to power the beargrease up climbs with a light and stiff...
Its easy to power the Beargrease up climbs with a light and stiff carbon frame.
Credit: Jenna Ammerman

Versatility


The Beargrease is a very versatile fat bike. This carbon-framed beauty is good for just about everything, snow riding, adventure rides, bike packing, and everyday mountain biking so long as you don't mind riding a rigid bike. The frame and fork come equipped with all the mounts you'll probably ever need to attach all of your overnight gear for bike packing adventures. The complete bike is also light enough that you could easily use it for fat bike racing or all day suffer-fests if that's your thing. If you're looking for an all-around performer in a lightweight carbon-framed package, the Beargrease should be on your shortlist.


Build


The Beargrease Carbon Deore has a relatively standard budget-minded build attached to a full carbon frame. What the build of this bike lacks in wow factor it makes up for with functionality and affordability, for a carbon frame. The front and rear triangles of the frame are all carbon fiber with Salsa's Bearpaw rigid carbon fork up front. The Bearpaw fork has carbon legs and an aluminum steerer, plus a set of 3-pack mounts on each side. The frame has typical modern fat bike thru axle spacing of 15 x 150mm in the front and 12 x 197mm in the rear. The front and rear triangles also come with a variety of mounts to accommodate all of your bike packing/adventure biking accessories.

salsa beargrease carbon deore fat bike review - the beargrease has a really nice looking carbon frame with a unique...
The Beargrease has a really nice looking carbon frame with a unique paint job and color scheme.
Credit: Jenna Ammerman

The Deore build of the Beargrease Carbon comes with, not surprisingly, a Shimano Deore 1x11-speed drivetrain. This includes a Deore Shadow+ 11-speed rear derailleur, a Deore shifter, and an 11-42 tooth cassette paired with Race Face Ride cranks and a 28-tooth front chainring. This drivetrain setup provides a good amount of range that will be suitable for most riders, although the easiest gear is a bit tougher than some of its competitors. Like most of the other models in this review, the Beargrease is equipped with SRAM Level brakes and 160mm centerline brake rotors front and rear. We typically prefer the power and braking feel of higher-end brakes, but the Levels work relatively well, especially for the low to moderate speeds of fat bikes.

salsa beargrease carbon deore fat bike review - the deore build has an 11-speed deore drivetrain, go figure.
The Deore build has an 11-speed Deore drivetrain, go figure.
Credit: Jenna Ammerman

The cockpit of the Beargrease is well-appointed and consists of a handful of Salsa's own parts. They've used their own Guide stem and Rustler handlebar with comfortable lock-on grips. Testers liked the width of the handlebar but felt that it had a bit more back sweep than they like making it feel a little bit off. In the rear, they've mounted a Salsa Guide seat post with a quality WTB Volt saddle. Of course, we'd love for this bike to come equipped with a dropper seat post or at least a quick-release seat post clamp to speed up saddle height changes.

salsa beargrease carbon deore fat bike review - overall the cockpit setup is generally comfortable but testers found...
Overall the cockpit setup is generally comfortable but testers found the 11-degree back sweep of the handlebar to feel a bit off.
Credit: Jenna Ammerman

SUNringle dominates the fat bike wheels market and like most fat bikes the Beargrease is clad with one of their wheelsets. It rolls on a set of 27.5" SUNringle Mulefut 80 rims laced to SUNringle SRC hubs. The 80mm rim width is nice and wide and pairs well with the 3.8" Maxxis Minion FBF and FBR tires giving them a slightly wider profile than a narrower rim.

salsa beargrease carbon deore fat bike review - 80mm rims and 3.8" maxxis minion fbf and fbr tires, a pretty...
80mm rims and 3.8" Maxxis Minion FBF and FBR tires, a pretty standard and relatively versatile setup.
Credit: Jenna Ammerman

Geometry


The Beargrease has a 68-degree head tube angle which qualifies as somewhat slack for a rigid fat bike and helps to give this bike a more easy-going feel when pointed downhill. It's also got a short-moderate length wheelbase of 1158mm and medium length 442mm chainstays which keep this bike nimble and relatively playful. The 73-degree seat tube angle isn't exactly steep by today's standards, although it's only 2 degrees off the steepest in our test, but it works and puts the rider close to right above the cranks and not too far out above the rear wheel. The seated pedaling position on the Beargrease is quite comfortable, you aren't bent too much at the waist, stretched out, or cramped, it nails the middle ground nicely.

salsa beargrease carbon deore fat bike review - the beargrease has a great middle of the road fat bike geometry and...
The Beargrease has a great middle of the road fat bike geometry and performs well all-around as result.
Credit: Jenna Ammerman

Should You Buy The Salsa Beargrease Carbon?


Testers found little they didn't like about the Beargrease. This lightweight carbon-framed ride is a comfortable and adept climber, a playful and relatively competent descender, and versatile enough to go bike-packing one day and take on a snowy backyard ride the next. It's also a pretty good value, with a full carbon frame and a build specification similar to several other models in the test.

What Other Fat Bikes Should You Consider?


If you want similar performance at a lower price, the consumer-direct Canyon Dude CF 7 fits that bill. This carbon-framed bike has a similar build, geometry, and well-rounded performance, but costs significantly less. If you're looking or something with a geometry that more closely resembles your mountain bike, the Fezzari Kings Peak Comp should be on your shortlist. The Fezzari's more progressive fat bike geometry provides enhanced stability and composure on the descents without sacrificing other aspects of its performance.

salsa beargrease carbon deore fat bike review - testing the beargrease on some steep rock slabs and mixed conditions.
Testing the Beargrease on some steep rock slabs and mixed conditions.
Credit: Jenna Ammerman

Jeremy Benson, Pat Donahue
 
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