Sun and Singletrack: Test Riding the Salsa Timberjack NX1 27.5+ Bike

Riders put the Salsa Timberjack NX1 27.5+ hardtail through its singletrack paces in the mountain-biking destination of Ephrata, WA.

Far from overcast Seattle, east of the Columbia River, sits the community of Ephrata, Washington. And just outside the small town, twenty miles of singletrack at Beezley Hills Preserve beckon, making Ephrata an unexpected mountain biking destination in eastern Washington. The land was once used as pastureland for grazing horses by rancher Frank Beezley, the area’s first settler. Now, sagebrush lines the trails and long grass rustles in the breeze, shivering violently whenever a bike flashes by. Swooping berms track along rolling hills and the vivid blue sky stretches overhead.

Many larger mountain bike destinations have hidden gems like Ephrata nearby, and they are worth seeking out. Thanks to a vibrant local cycling community, Beezley Hills hosts races like the Beezley Burn, which kicks off the region’s mountain biking season and gets everyone stoked for the summer ahead. The eight-mile course offers rough, rocky terrain and just enough climbing to challenge any biker.

After a rainy Seattle winter, riders Lauren and Mark were more than ready to hit the arid trails on Salsa Timberjack NX1 27.5+ hardtails. The Timberjack is highly adaptable to many riding styles and cycling adventures including bikepacking; but this day it was going to be put through its singletrack paces. By the day’s end no one wanted to stop riding, but the call of burgers and beverages was simply too strong.

Rider standing behind his bike.

Mark managed to match his bright orange Timberjack.

Mountain bike riders ripping on the trails.

Beezley Hills offers a fun mix of flowy and technical riding.

The Timberjack's front fork and tire.

The Timberjack features 120mm of front travel for confident trail ripping.

A sun-drenched valley.

The Beezley Hills landscape is a study in subtle contrasts and offers some nice variety for Pacific Northwest riders accustomed to dense evergreen forest.

Mountain bike rider descending over rocks.

Lauren charges a drop on a technical section of trail.

The bike's plus-size 27.5+ tires.

27.5+ in. tires tackle rocks and other obstacles with ease and provide serious traction for tricky trails.

Mountain bike riders navigating around berms.

Swooping through the berms that trace the sun-drenched hills.

Mountain bike rider popping a wheelie.

Just having a little hardtail fun!

Close-up shot of the Timberjack's rear gearing.

Versatile dropouts make for easy customization, whether you want to run different gearing or tweak the bike to be more nimble or stable.

Golden grass.

Golden grass waves in the breeze and glows in the sunlight.

Two mountain bike riders gazing out at a sunny field.

Lauren and Mark pause to take in the endless view.

Check out Beezley Hills for yourself, or find a local hidden gem through REI’s Mountain Bike Project community.

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