Logger Salsa NX Eagle 27.5+
Suspension: 130mm (front)
Tires: 27.5 x 2.8 inches
Gears: 1 x 12 We like it: The perfect combination of high performance single-track riding and special features for bicycle packaging.
What we don’t do: High rear price; wide and heavy 2.8-inch tyres can be overloaded on multi-day trips.
See Salsa Lumberjack NX Eagle 27.5+.
Of all the bike brands on the market today, Minnesota-based Salsa Cycles inspires the most daring ideas about adventure and how to get off the beaten track. I have spent the last few months aboard his top-of-the-line Timberjack NX Eagle 27.5+, enjoying its joyous performance on a single circuit, its user-friendly design with the engine packaging and the skilful choice of specifications. Needless to say, I quickly fell in love with this universal salsa hit, which I now affectionately call Orange Crush. In what follows we talk about the top-down and bottom-up features, key features, components and specifications of Salsa Timberjack and the other versions of the range. To see how it all adds up, read our articles on Advanced ATVs and ATVs up to $2,000.
Hardtailers are by nature not widely known for their top-down skills, but that’s just one of the many excellent features of the Salsa Timberjack NX Eagle 27.5+. With a relatively small inner corner (67 degrees), 130mm stroke and an aggressive 2.8 inch front tyre, the Timberjack is more than ready to fight on all but the most modern tracks. And while no bandwidth can replace the elasticity and traction of a full-suspension bike, the versatile Salsa likes to root and boulder in the downhill.
In the beginning I rode the Timberjack like most hardtails, from end to end on the most difficult parts of the track, for fear of breaking the wheels and body parts. But in the end I started with the areas contaminated by roots and rocks and left them intact and vertical on the other side. Sturdy and voluminous tyres combined with a high-quality RockShox sector fork gave Timberjack the feeling it could do more than 130mm, as one might think. If I had gotten a bike without prior information, I would even have suspected he had a 150 mm gun on the crane. Finally, because I appreciated his skills, I ridden Timberjack more aggressively and dumber than any Hard Tail in the past (including the popular Santa Cruz Chameleon).
Riding the Timberjack 2019 on the technical tracks was quite fun, without rear suspension there isn’t much to do (safety). The result was that the engine really shone on smoother and more polished tracks. The more aggressive WTB Vigilante tyre offered plenty of grip in the front – especially in sandy or windy areas – while the WTB Ranger was fast in the rear, yet still offered plenty of grip. I found myself on the dike, took my lips off the track and put it back on – it was amazing! In the hands of the right-handed rider, Timberjack is a pleasant companion who can keep short rides on fully suspension bikes out of the way in most terrain.
The Timberjack was impressive for the mountains, but at the same time it compromised a fairly high speed. One of my favorite test tracks for XC and hardwall ATVs is the Grand Ridge Trail in Issacua, Washington. This route has a good combination of uphill and downhill sections and rough and smooth sections. You can even extend your ride (through Soaring Eagle Park) up to 30 miles back and forth, making it a great place to test the comfort of your bike. There are three things that really impressed me in terms of Timberjack’s climbing abilities on this particular climb. Firstly, the 27.5+ tires offered crazy grip on the steep and loose pieces of track; secondly, the SRAM Eagle’s 12-speed gearbox made it easy to sit down and go back up the hill (you don’t have to stand up or brush your teeth); and thirdly, I didn’t set any time records.
As far as the fast and slippery parts of the track are concerned, I would say that Timberjack is at best a mediocre climber, but that doesn’t discourage you. Most of the bikes in my garage are equipped with more traditional 2.3 to 2.5 inch tires, which are much lighter than the 2.8 inch Timberjack monsters. Wide and heavy 27.5+ tires, for a springy ride and stupid grip, will slow you down as the track goes up. However, with the addition of a few technical and rough pieces, Timberjack really starts to evolve and surpasses most other hardtails. High volume tyres, with the right air pressure, make small bumps disappear completely and really soften the impression. In general, Timberjack puts you in a comfortable position to climb every hour and likes to take you where you need to be – but don’t expect to get there first.
The more time I spent with Salsa Timberjack NX Eagle 27.5+, the more I appreciated its completeness. It really is a Jack-style motorcycle. The 25 miles were easy, almost any kind of descent was damn nice, and if you saw me doing salsa on the winding roads, I probably had a big smile on my face. However, Timberjack outperforms most other Plus Hardtails due to its exceptional versatility. In contrast to comparable bicycles, this can be a bicycle packaging machine. With features such as adjustable legs, three water bottle holders (in the middle and at the top) and a display design, it is clear that Salsa expects much more from Timberjack than just a shredder that works on a weekday (which is also top quality).
Although I haven’t had the chance to go on night rides with Timberjack yet, I hope this will be the case in the near future. But in the name of control – and to give more information to potential buyers – I downloaded the Timberjack with my bike package and took it for a ride around the block. Although a test on the sidewalk gives little indication of what it will look like on the track, I am happy to report that Salsa is doing pretty well with the extra weight of the bike’s equipment. It’s usually lazy to wait for extra luggage and volume, but I haven’t noticed any obvious fears.
When I first saw Salsa, I was pleasantly surprised. The internal cable routing gives the frame a sleek look, the orange is unmistakably visible (in the right sense of the word) and the all-black RockShox sector fork certainly gives the frame a first-class look. There’s also plenty of room in the back, and if you want to switch to 3.0-inch tires, there’s room for that too. Speaking of tire size: Timberjack will also be happy with wheels from 29 inches to 2.6 inches wide, which only enhances its versatility.
The lumberjack also has a few other tricks up his sleeve. The Salsa’s sturdy tail has adjustable extension steps that allow the chain to be shortened (making it more playful and lively) or extended for greater stability (which can be useful in a lot of gears). With these special switches, which are called alternator switches, you can also set the transmission to a gear or even an internal hub. In general (and in case you haven’t understood a word of what you’ve just read), Salsa Timberjack offers almost infinite transfer possibilities to suit your needs.
More of motorcycle adventures than race tracks, in my opinion the Salsa has nailed most of the geometry of the Timberjack. The tilt angle of the pipe head of 67 degrees can be felt by some as too low, but considering the number of strokes of the suspension and the lens I almost like it. I never wanted him to be fresher or weaker on the climb. However, if I had to complain about the average salsa, it would be because of the relatively short range and the longer tube length of 425 and 612 millimeters.
I’m not a big fan of the long, low profile racket, but with a body long enough for my 5’9 frame, I really felt a little more compact than I wanted. It’s made for a fairly upright position, which isn’t necessarily bad, but I’d prefer the Timberjack frame to stretch another 15 to 20 millimeters. Also remember that the recommended size for an average waist is between 5’8 and 6’0 (according to the salsa website). In view of my experience, I advise you to read your geometric maps carefully before making a purchase. If you are 1.5 feet and 10 inches or longer, you should consider going to a larger size.
Components and specifications
SRAM Eagle NX transmission
The 12-speed SRAM Eagle NX transmission is one of the most attractive parts of a bike and in my opinion it really stands out from other mountain bikes in this price range. The Timberjack is certainly well used, but I threw this gearbox through a spinning wheel on another bike last season and I’m still impressed by its durability and silence. A large ring gear with 50 tines at the rear makes it easy to turn steeply inclined lifts – something that 11-speed systems are difficult to combine. However, it cannot be denied that the entry-level NX does not move as accurately and smoothly as some parts of the upper level (and is also heavier). And while you can certainly get a similar selection of gears with a default setting of 2 gears, the ease of use, simplicity and the absence of a front derailleur make shifting easy.
SRAM brake stage
To be honest, when I saw that the first class Timberjack comes with a SRAM brake stage, my heart sank a bit. Due to their lack of energy and softness, I have never been a fan of SRAM XC focuscaps. When I said that, I was absolutely stunned by the great performance of Timberjack’s stock brakes. The leverage was clear, the force was greater than I expected and the modulation was high. I haven’t once thought about my brakes, which is one of the biggest compliments I usually give to a product – if it’s not in my head, it works perfectly. Even though the performance was excellent, I only have one take: The range adjustment function is located inside the lever and cannot be adjusted without removing the brake assembly, which also requires removal of the lever. In principle, every track correction becomes a minor failure and takes about five minutes. Because the tension adjustment screws were badly placed sideways, I was completely impressed by the SRAM level brakes.
RockShox Fork Sektor RL
Although I am generally more accustomed to the superior RockShox range such as Pike and Lyric, I found the Sektor RL midrange a great addition to Timberjack. Often large and more elastic straps can hide possible suspension flaws, but I found the area soft enough to be flexible due to rough material and strong enough to absorb large impacts. I weighed about 170 pounds, ready to roll, and walked 90 pounds per square inch into the fork, which is slightly above the recommended air pressure for my weight. I also liked the locking function for every ride on or off the road, which cyclists will certainly appreciate on long, slippery stretches. In general, I can’t complain about the LAN sector, and it met my expectations throughout the audit.
Tires and wheels
Although I spent most of my time on 2.3 to 2.5 inch tires, I thought 2.8 inch and wider tires were the ultimate grip for the journey. I stopped at 16 psi in the rear and 14 psi in the front, and the amount of grip they provided at that pressure (especially the Vigilante TCS Light model in the front) was remarkable. I was able to tilt my bike at ridiculous angles, and the smooth roots of the extra camera became my best friends. It goes without saying that I made a stupid decision aboard the Timberjack and I really appreciated it. I really like that Salsa has chosen a faster running rear tire (where most traction comes from) and a more aggressive front tire (where most traction comes from). I’ve been doing this for several years, and it’s a design solution that really shows their experience. If the purchase of kilometres and the packaging of the bikes is your business, replacing the Vigilante with a Ranger may be useful.
The ram wheels held up well during my time aboard the Timberjack, and for all the fun I had, I’d say they were tested. With an inner width of 45 millimetres, the 2.8-inch tyres reach their maximum potential and if you want to be wider, the rims easily support these dimensions. They pumped up the tubeless tires quite easily, and at the end of my stay they only turned the key a few quarters of a turn to straighten them like an arrow. Like most parts of Salsa Timberjack, the tires and wheels were well suited for the bike and its intentions.
TransX Drop Seat
At first I didn’t pay much attention to the seat that came on the Timberjack because it worked well and didn’t give me any problems. But on second thought, I realized it was TransX, which was my first trip with a budget-focused brand. The drip may have cost a fraction of most others, but it worked perfectly throughout the trial period. I understand that a few months of use doesn’t necessarily lead to the worst in the product, but for now I’m not worried about its durability. If I had to complain about one thing, it would be about the 120mm road, which is considered quite short these days. Anyway, I didn’t want any more drops.
Other salsawood carving versions
For this review I tested the Timberjack NX Eagle 27.5+ model with an aluminium frame, a 12-speed SRAM NX Eagle transmission, a RockShox Sektor RL front fork and SRAM Level brakes. It is a well-equipped bike that leaves nothing to be desired for its retail price of $1,999. Salsa also offers several other models, including the Timberjack Deore (available with 27.5+ and 29-inch wheels), which costs $1,100 and is equipped with an SR Suntour fork and Shimano Deore transmission. They also offer the only option with a titanium frame that ejects $2,499. And if you decide that your family won’t be complete without the little Timberjacks, Salsa also sells 20 and 24 inch youth versions. A total of seven Timberjack models are available for adults and four for children.
What we want in
- The Timberjack is one of the most versatile hardtails that surpasses everything from after-work outings to technical bike tours.
- The rear luggage racks allow you to carry your equipment inland at night.
- WTB tyres touch the area with the best perception between grip, comfort and rolling resistance. They are easy to install, even without pipes.
- Three water bottle holders give you plenty of space to store water and accessories.
- With an adjustable chain you can change the steering of the bike between fun and playful or long and stable.
What we don’t do is.
- The average size of Timberjack seemed a bit small for my height of 1.80m. I recommend that you read the salsa size chart carefully before buying.
- Some people may not like the bright orange color, although I think it’s very beautiful.
- The aggressive front tyre of WTB Vigilante can be overloaded during long bike rides.
|Salsa Bicycle Wooden Jacket NX Eagle||$1,999||130 mm||27.5+ inches. (also suitable for 29 inches).||SRAM NX Eagle, 12x|
|REI TDD cooperation cycles 2.2||$1,899||120 mm||27.5+ inches. (also suitable for 29 inches).||Shimano SLX, 11-speed gearbox|
|Santa Cruz chameleon R+||$2,399||130 mm||27.5+ inches. (also suitable for 29 inches).||SRAM NX Eagle, 12x|
|Roscoe track 8||$1,539||120 mm||27.5+ inches||SRAM NX Eagle, 12x|
|Logger Salsa Bikes SLX||$1,400||130 mm||27.5+ inches. (also suitable for 29 inches).||Shimano SLX, 11-speed gearbox|
If the Timberjack Salsa has caught your attention, chances are that REI DRT 2.2 bikes also have one. With a price tag of $1,899 and 27.5+ sports tires, similar to the suspension, pipette rod and bike adventure, these two hardtails fit pretty evenly together. How are they different? The Timberjack 12-speed transmission and the very wide range of transmissions – the 11-speed gearbox system used in the DRT is simply not comparable to this system – are of great importance. We also prefer Timberjack’s proven and reliable RockShox sector fork over DRT’s X-Fusion. And when it comes to wearing cycling equipment, Timberjack wins again by far. Three water bottle holders can hold more supplies (the DRT has one), and the most open version is more suitable for frame bags. The Timberjack NX Eagle 27.5+ is the best bike in every respect, from aftermarket trips to weekly bike tours.
The Santa Cruz bikes may be better known for their full range of suspensions, but their Chameleon R+ rear is a worthy opponent of the Salsa Timberjack line. Both bikes have a sturdy aluminium frame, are available with 27.5+ and 29-inch wheels and have the same steering angles. In terms of price, the Timberjack NX Eagle 27.5+ is hard to beat – the equally equipped Chameleon R+ gives you an extra $400. And if you focus on cycling and adventure, the Santa Cruz is not suitable for the versatility of the Timberjack and where the equipment is installed. But if it’s not about money and one-sided jokes – your top priority – we’ll give you the benefit of a chameleon who likes to have fun. Santa Cruz’s solid rear end has slightly shorter chain stops for the fun of riding, and his personality to do something is hard to ignore. In addition, the Chameleon is also available in a carbon-framed version, although this can save you $3,799 on the base model. In general they are both excellent bikes, and the ones we would like to ride every day.
Although we don’t have time to saddle Roscoe 8 in Trek, we think it’s hard to see. This high-end model is very similar to the Timberjack: SRAM Eagle NX 12-speed gearbox, 27.5+ tyres and drip seat support. However, the $1,539 price of Roscoe 8 costs Timberjack about $450. Given the Eagle’s 12-speed gearbox, our books call it flying. Another important difference between the two bikes is their geometry: With an angle of 68.5 degrees, Roscoe is more conservative and better suited for soft terrain. The Salsa is ahead of the suspension holiday – the sector fork is a step ahead in terms of performance and stiffness compared to Judy’s model found on Roscoe. And if your main goal is pure versatility, we make Timberjack and its many sites even clearer. With this in mind, we recommend Roscoe 8 if you have a budget and a 12-speed gearbox is your priority.
Editor’s note: Normally we provide a real-time price comparison chart between our holiday magazines, but at the time of release Salsa Timberjack is only nationally available in the REI Cooperative (for sale in stores). Here you can view the Timberjack NX website and help us in this process. Thank you very much!
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