Adventure: Salsa 0097 w Conti

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This is the giant ramp I’m building in my front yard so I can jump things. Not really.

You might be wondering why I would ride a bike like this on a 50+ mile road ride. I do have a Bianchi full carbon cross bike with 25cm tires that I normally use for road riding. The reasons I ride the Salsa are numerous. First, the Fargo Ti is far more fun to ride. This bike is a drop bar, adventure touring mountain bike, so the geometry is like a mountain bike with a sloping top tube, higher bottom bracket and can run tires over two inches wide.(I run 2.0 Continental Travel Contacts which are great on everything except hard sand when they suddenly become ice skates.) The riding position is much higher than my road bike, so yes, I’m pushing more wind but am also far more comfortable. I can ride 50+ on this bike and feel fantastic when I get off the bike. When I do 50+ on the Bianchi I am feeling EVERY single bump in the road. These bumps add up over any distance, even though the bike is far lighter and far quicker. Also, I’m not fast on any bike. I’m routinely blitzed by all age ranges, skill levels, etc. During this ride I looked to my left and was next to a woman that HAD to be eighty years old. She had snot coming out of her nose, sweat rolling down her face and she was BEAMING. If I could only be so hardcore. The Fargo also allows me to ride tarmac, singletrack, fire road, dirt road and any combination of these on a single ride. The Bianchi, not so much. I also ride the Fargo more because this is the bike that will lead me to my next real adventure, a long tour of some sort. I’m finally feeling like I could undertake something like this without literally dying. And when I say “long” I don’t mean circumnavigate the globe, ride the tundra in winter or cross the Sahara. I mean something like ride from Santa Fe to San Antonio. Finally, I love the Fargo because a part of me likes the idea of a one bike life. A do anything, ride anything machine. I have racks for my groceries, other tire options for my mountain bike rides and frame packs for touring. The ONLY thing I don’t like about this bike is the SRAM components. Nothing against SRAM, but I’ve ridden Shimano my entire life. I find these components need near constant adjustments. My Bianchi has Shimano Dura Ace and Ultegra and has never been adjusted. The Salsa needs tweaks nearly every ride. Otherwise, it’s grand. Get one.

Comments 6

  1. This looks like such a nice bike Dan but won’t be trading in my Trek 520 for a while yet. That road trip sound fantastic – would you be hardcore and camp along the way?

    1. Post

      I had a 520! I loved it. The ONE thing I couldn’t really do on it was singletrack. Moving part-time to New Mexico was what spurred the sale to the get the Salsa. Yes, I would camp, stay with friends, guerilla camp, etc.

    2. Well what a coincidence on the 520 – love everything about it except the weight but like you, my speed demon days are behind me. Actually, don’t think they ever were in front of me to be honest 🙂
      Keep looking at cross bikes for a bit of off roading but that Salsa looks pretty special. Can never have too many bikes :-0

    3. Post

      I’ve ridden the Bianchi with 32cm knobbies, and it works OKAY unless you hit soft sand, powder, etc. Then it’s a mess. I’ve also ridden it on downhill singletrack which was pure survival. The Salsa is far more flexible and fun, but a different ballgame entirely.

  2. This cycling addiction is dangerous, eh? It consumes far more of my life than photography ever has and will ever do. A complete, unfaltering, addiction that follows you throughout your whole life.

    I agree with pretty much everything you say in this post Dan. I have a Ritchey Logic for going as fast as possible, and a Fairdale Weekender Drop, which is similar to the Salsa, for going anywhere and almost everywhere. Actually I almost bought a Salsa but the delicious chrome look of the Fairdale (2015 model) swayed me. I agree with you on the SRAM components too. I really like the double tap technology and have it on both bikes but it does need more care and attention at times.

    There’s something to be said for just going out, getting fairly lost, and taking the day as it comes. When I’m on my Ritchey I usually know exactly where I’m going and generally when I’ll be back home, but with the Fairdale that doesn’t apply.

    In fact, I don’t have an appointment until late afternoon today, so I’m going to take the Fairdale out on a long, long commute and see where it takes me.

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      The reason I changed the site is that the rest of my life is now far more important than the photography part. It’s been this way for five years but for some reason I thought maybe I was incorrect. And everyone else in my life wants to keep me pinned in that narrow life of photography. What I learned in the last five years is that having a broader life actually makes the photography part more interesting and also more realistic. I say we ride in Japan some day.

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