Eurobike 2015: Salsa Bikes
The company with the tagline “Adventure by Bike” always brings good things to the trade shows. This year, the tempting item at the front of the booth was the new Cutthroat model, developed for long-distance badass Jay Petervary to race (and win, again) the Tour Divide, and the next step in the evolution from the Fargo.
The sleek carbon frame looks big. That’s because the spaces are maximized to fit the biggest frame bags possible. There’s a bit less top tube clearance as a result, but being able to carry more precious calories trumps that.
As with past mountain and road-ish frames, the chain- and seatstays are strategically flattened to provide compliance. The chainstays are 10mm shorter than those of the Fargo, to increase that coveted nimble feeling. The 1×11 drivetrain is the best choice for speed and reliability.
At the back of the booth sat the new Warbird Carbon Rival 22, drawing onlookers further in.
The bike’s sexy seatstays are the result of deep nerdiness (which can also be quite sexy, especially as applied to bikes). Engineer Sean Mailen precisely measured the seatstay compliance on prototypes using accelerometers placed close to the center of the rear wheel and the rider, having testers roll over and over again on the same stretch of gravel, with the same tire pressure, kit, etc. Interestingly, he found that the carbon and aluminum frames have more movement than titanium (9% and 6% more, respectively).
Once our eyes were dazzled, we noticed this pair of quiet but sturdy workhorses along the wall, the Marrakesh chromoly steel touring bikes.
Wondering why they have 700c wheels and not the worldwide universal standard of 26″? Salsa Marketing Manager Mike “Kid” Riemer says that from tours of Africa and other locations with limited parts availability, staffers have seen firsthand that 700c tires and tubes are now common everywhere.
One model has a shallow drop bar, the other a flat bar with a nice sweep, with top tube length adjusted for each. The drop bar is the new Cowchipper — you guessed it, a cross between the popular Cowbell and Woodchipper handlebars. It has a flare measurement in between those of its parents, and less backsweep than the Woodchipper.
Both models feature Salsa’s Alternator dropouts to allow compatibility with all kinds of drivetrains; they also let the stock heavy-duty rack be attached with a stout M6 bolt, as well as easily clear the disc brakes. Both bikes use simple and reliable thumb shifters.