Greetings Amigos. I hope that everyone is doing well. I want to thank many of you for all the ideas in the Blog Topic Brainstorm post. Salsa got a lot of good ideas. Not sure how we’ll use some of them yet, but there are some real gems in there. One thing for sure is that lots of folks are interested in the design process and some of the decisions that go into a final product. Today, I thought I’d talk a little bit about the Casseroll and how it came to life.
First, I’d like to share where and how the Casseroll idea came to life and also identify some of the key folks invovled in this project. Almost 3 years ago Kid Riemer, Peter Redin (now with Surly bikes) and I went to Japan to re-introduce the Salsa brand to Japan. It was an amazing trip. If you are interested to know more about that trip, check out Kid Riemer’s recap of the trip in our blog archives. Click here. Truly an amazing trip and Kid’s recap and pictures are awesome.
On one day we went to a high end commuter focused shop. It was beautiful. Not one part was out of place. It had a beautiful wood espresso bar and a meticulous work bench and small parts area. As I looked at the walls in this place I saw unbuilt cross bikes from IBIS, Bontrager and Zunow. We had a great conversation here about the need for a higher end commuter friendly road bike. Later that night, we got together with some Japanese dealers and a bunch of our distributor’s employees. Many beers and plates & plates of chicken wings were consumed. I learned so much this night and asked at least 100 beer induced questions about bicycle products and ideas.
A couple of nights later before leaving for home, Kid, Peter and I grabbed some beers and hung out in a hotel overlooking the Shinjuku shopping area. We just kept coming back to this idea of a more versatile road bike. We kept talking about what “It” was. These conversations went on for quite some time. Weeks in fact.
Later after we returned home, we still talked a lot about this bike. We started to include some other folks in our work group and a few from the product design work group. Once we decided we had a valid idea and did just a bit of research on how to position this bike in the market, we formalized the criteria and turned it over to Joe Meiser (our industrial designer) and the product team. Ideas and designs were developed and prototyped. Wes and Kid Riemer nailed the graphics and the rest as they say is history.
The Casseroll will be the best selling model for Salsa in 2008. It such a nice road bike. Hard to believe considering most folks think we are a mountain bike company and others only look to us for either Cross or 29” mountain bikes.
I’d like to share my own personal Casseroll as a focus point of this discussion. Yesterday was my first ride on this beauty. I picked my components for this bike to really keep it true to where and how the Casseroll concept was created. The parts were carefully chosen to reflect the inspiration and what I personally like in components.
For me the highlites of this build are the parts I purchased or received as gifts from our Japanese partners and friends. Each of these components have so much style, function, durability and beauty. I think they are the perfect match for the Casseroll. Those parts include a Nitto bar, Nitto cromoly stem, Nitto cromoly racks, Nitto forged seat post and Honjo hand hammered fenders (fenders not installed yet). The only US made non Japanese inspired components on this bike are the Paul Thumby shifter adapters. Fortunately, they were designed for nice Japanese Shimano bar end shifters.
We’ll share more on some of the defining decisions of the Casseroll at a later time. Decisions include tubing selection, color, names, drop outs, geometry, etc. If you’ve got a specific question about the Casseroll, let me know and I’ll do my best to answer it.
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Growing up as a Minnesota farm boy, I developed an appreciation and love for land and open space. This appreciation has fostered two passions, cycling and photography. Both of these passions provide freedom, encourage me to explore and foster creativity. More importantly though, my journey with a bike and a camera reminds me that the world is big and I am small.