CULTURE BLOG

ADVENTURE BY BIKE®

Introducing the Podio!

Hello worldwide Salsa fans! This is David Gabrys, the Sales and Customer Service Manager for Salsa Cycles. I have been anxiously waiting to introduce you to the 2009 Podio, and to share my personal adventure testing it on a ride across Switzerland on my way to Eurobike in Friedrichshafen, Germany this week. It has been a personal adventure that brought me, my 25 pound backpack and the 2009 Podio complete bike over 300 miles across the Alps of Switzerland to the Eurobike tradeshow where the Podio will be officially released to the public today.

What is the Podio?

The Podio essentially serves as the replacement to the Campeon, but is different in some key, and important ways. First, the carbon seatstays have been traded for flattened scandium stays. This technology was first used on the Chili Con Crosso, and it worked so well that we created a special trimmed down version specific for the intended road use of the Podio. Replacing carbon with Scandium also allowed us to reduce weight and add strength to the rear triangle. With the accompanying flattened Scandium chainstays, our goal was to achieve as much vertical compliance as possible out of a full Scandium frameset without compromising durability or fatigue life.

From 2009 Podio Testing

The headtube features a standard style, non-integrated headset design. This provides more versatility to those that have a particular taste of color or design in headsets!

From 2009 Podio Testing

Paired with compact geometry and the Alpha Q GS10 fork, the Podio is well-suited for performance-minded road cyclists, with an appetite for going fast.

From 2009 Podio Testing

How does the Podio ride?

I set off for Gruyere, Switzerland to give the Podio a serious test run. My first objective was to participate in the Gruyere Cycling Tour, which is a 125km race/ride with nearly 6000 feet of climbing in the Alps.

From 2009 Podio Testing

I arrived on Saturday afternoon and the race started at 8:30am on Sunday. I unpacked and built the bike in the Geneva train station then hopped on a train to the small town of Gruyere: just me, my backpack and the Podio.

Sunday morning I was running a bit late getting to the race, and when I tried lining up I realized that there was no way for me to get to the back of the group. The director was speaking French, so I could not understand any of the instructions he was communicating. So, I just backed in from the front and crossed my fingers for the best. With hundreds of people behind me, and 2008 Olympic Time Trial Champion Fabian Cancellara just 3 people in front of me, it crossed my mind that I might not be qualified to line up here.

Out of the French dialogue I suddenly heard a "BANG", then thousands of shoes clipping in to pedals. The Podio and I were off and beginning this Swiss adventure together.

Just like you see in video from the Tour De France, there were obstacles all over the road with the policemen waving their warning flags. Roundabouts, undulating speed bumps, cobbles, traffic medians and hundreds of eager cyclists made for a very crazy start as we sped out of town towards the Alps. After jockeying for position I found myself riding next to Fabian Cancellara himself. Thankfully he wasn't riding hard, so I had the chance to talk with him and pedal the Podio behind the wheel of a World and Olympic champion.

As we settled in to the first climb I could feel the lateral stiffness and lightweight of the Podio performing as intended. On a few of the steep pitches I had to get out of the saddle to keep up, and the Podio responded with incredible agility. This bike can climb!

From 2009 Podio Testing

As we crested the first mountain pass, we descended down narrow roads with a lot of tight cornering. This was my opportunity to put the handling to the test. While traveling at more than 40mph the front end tracked perfectly around each corner, inspiring confidence to go faster. The Podio likes to go fast!

After two more climbs, the Podio and I were nearing the finish of our first test. Sprinting out of the saddle on the flat road, the acceleration of the Podio made me feel 10 years younger than I actually am! Was I really going THIS fast? This bike is relentless.


The next stage of my journey was to ride across Switzerland in 3 days. This required a lot of planning and preparation, and after riding the Podio in the Gruyere Cycling Tour, I was 100% confident that it was the right companion for this challenge. Here are some facts regarding my ride across Switzerland:

Day 1: Gruyere to Luzern - 96 miles, 8000 feet of climbing
Day 2: Luzern to Zurich - 47 miles, 4000 feet of climbing
Day 3: Zurich to Friedrichshafen, Germany: 87 miles, 2500 feet of climbing

I was carrying a 25lb backpack, with the 50/34 compact gearing that comes stock on the Podio complete bike (2009 SRAM Rival). The first day was grueling. It dawned on me just how heavy the backpack was. Would I make it to the end of the day? Would I make it to Eurobike without breaking my back or having to take a train?

Eventually I made it to Luzern, after 7 hours in the saddle. I had put 25lbs of gear on my back and pounced on the Podio over 3 mountain passes, putting tons of lateral stress on the frame. Again, the stiffness and responsiveness was utterly impressive. The stable handling despite all the added weight stood out the most on this ride.

On the 2nd day to Zurich, the roads were not as smooth as the previous day. This is where the vertical compliance had a chance to shine. Here I was, riding a sub-20lb full Scandium bike with 25lbs of gear on my lower back. On paper this is a recipe for pain. There were moments it was painful, but I believe that if it weren't for the flattened stays it would have been a struggle to complete all 3 days of riding consecutively.

The Podio and I had a great trip through Switzerland. It was a great companion during a challenging time. The Podio is a great balance of lightweight, vertical compliance and lateral stiffness. When we weren't testing out each others' limits on the road, we were checking out the sights and appreciating the beauty of Switzerland together. Check out the below slideshow of our experience in Switzerland, and please welcome the Podio to the Salsa product family beginning in 2009!

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COMMENTS (64)

 stef |

hey dave, looks like you survived your trip to friedrichshaven. at least, you’ve also seen some nice bars and restaurants in zurich. drop me a line next time you’re in europe and we go for a ride. cheers stefano

 Anonymous |

Thanks for the explanation on prices, Jason.  I can’t imagine what the msrp would’ve been on the Pistola had it been made with S3!<BR><BR>By the way, is msrp going up for the ‘09 Casseroll Single?  When?  How much?  Gracias again!

 Jason |

I hate to rain on the Salsa celebration, but I have to admit that I’m a little “underwhelmed” by the new road offerings.<BR><BR>I didn’t buy a Campeon because I wasn’t looking for a “race” bike, but the bike I was hoping to see—the Pistola—seems little more than a La Raza with a compact frame. I sold my La Raza in favour of a Rocky Mountain-rebadged Cinelli Spirit frame and it’s fabulous.<BR><BR>That said, you’d have to pry my El Santo out my cold dead hands, because there’s no way I’m getting rid of my “Maria”—it’s an awesome frame and I don’t understand why more folks aren’t riding one.

 Anonymous |

Jason, let the Salsa celebration continue!  I was looking for a race bike from Salsa—especially one better looking than the last Campeon, and that’s exactly what I got from the Podio.  I held off on buying a Campeon because I didn’t like it.  Now I’ll be buying a Podio as soon as it’s available.<BR><BR>I agree with you the Pistola is something of an enhanced La Raza, yet lacking the La Raza’s rack/fender braze ons.  La Raza was trying to accomplish several things at once.  It did this well, but not well enough. (Disclosure: I own a La Raza, and am very happy with it).<BR><BR>I guess Salsa split the La Raza into its multiple sub-razas, thus yielding the Casseroll triple and the Pistola.  So it’s all good.  Gives people more choice. <BR><BR>I have only one wish as yet unfulfilled by Salsa: a carbon road race complete bike, with the inverted paint scheme of the Podio (i.e. bright red frame with ‘black’ Salsa logo showing the carbon weave underneath).

 Anonymous |

Please give us pricing on the Podio Complete.  Thanks!

 Bobby |

Hey all.  There has been a few folks that have asked us for the price on the complete and the frame.  One note here.  Pricing is set by the dealers and is subject to change.  These are suggested retail prices only and some shops maybe be cheaper or more expensive depending on their particular situation.  So..with that…<BR><BR>Podio<BR>Frame set: $870 <BR>Complete Bike: $2830<BR><BR>Pistola<BR>Frame set: $1050<BR>Complete Bike: $2830<BR><BR>Bobby<BR>Salsa Cycles

 MG |

You know, I’m stoked about all of the new bikes, but the Podio and Pistola are both incredible.  As a Chili Con Crosso owner, I’m a believer in the power of flattened stays, so seeing what they’ve done with the Podio makes absolute sense to me, and the combination of beefy chainstays at the bottom bracket and svelte, smooth riding seatstays should make the Pistola a long haul cyclist’s dream ride.  I know I’ve been thinking quite a lot about building up a road bike for the first time since I tore down my old Bontrager Road Lite a few years ago… The Pistola evokes that sort of emotion in me.  It’s clearly my type of bike.<BR><BR>But honestly, the Fargo is the bike I’ve been dreaming about for years… That’s where I go.<BR><BR>Cheers,<BR>MG

 Anonymous |

Bobby, are you sure the pricing for Pistola and Podio is correct?  The fork on the Podio is more expensive than on the Pistola.  In the past, your scandium framesets have been more expensive than your steel ones (except for Primero).  <BR><BR>Is the difference in this case made up by your having to pay hundreds more more for Pistola’s TTOXP than for the Podio’s scandium?  Or does it have to do with the Podio loosing Campeon’s carbon stays?<BR><BR>Thanks for explaining.

 bluesdawg |

has anyone else noticed that the saddles are pointing up at the nose in all the new bike photos?

 Anonymous |

We had a good look at our cheap, steel bikes this summer… wrapped around the exoskeletons of China’s Olympic venues. Construction has eaten up a lot of steel and with shipping costs… whew! $$$

 Butcher |

I’ll answer the pricing detail here and we’ll have a post after Interbike to discuss.<BR><BR>The pricing is correct.  Why?  Good question.<BR><BR>Steel prices have gone up significantly.  I did a post earlier this summer on this.<BR><BR>Additionally, think about where the True Temper steel is made?  USA.  We have shipping costs for manufacturing.  We know this isn’t sustainable.  The same is true for all high end steel from Columbus and from Reynolds.  <BR><BR>Some folks are using both Columbus and Reynolds that is manufactured in Asia.  That isn’t the high end stuff.  <BR><BR>Regarding bike prices, there are reasons for that too.  Different spec. Different quantities.  Different factories. <BR><BR>Anyway, more to come on this topic.

 Anonymous |

I’d rather have some Ultegra/Mavic 3-cross traditional wheels on the Pistola…leave the cheaper wheels on it so it is easier for the rest of us to swap them out.

 Anonymous |

Podio frame weight discrepancy still not corrected…

 Butcher |

Glad folks are interested.<BR><BR>49cm frame set weight 2lbs 10 ounces.  This is for frame only.  No fork.  No seat clamp.  Bare frame.  When we receive final production, we will once again post weight as prototypes often vary.<BR><BR>Before I get thrashes for using ounces.  That’s what is present here and now.  <BR><BR>Regarding updating the website, it isn’t that easy.  We’ll get it updated.

 Anonymous |

2 lbs. + 10 oz. = 2.63 lbs.

 BluesDawg |

Fantastic! The Pistola looks like it might be my next century bike. I’m going to have to replace my ‘92 Bridgestone RB-1 someday and this could be the one.<BR><BR>Any word on ballpark prices?

 Anonymous |

I can’t wait for Podio.  It’ll be very gratifying to do my centuries in record time on the Podio, leaving me ample time for post-century beer n’ babes.

 Anonymous |

Any pics you can share with us of the Salsa bikes as exhibited this weekend at Eurobike?

 Anonymous |

Does the Podio really fit 28mm tires, as the marketing card says?  Hot chillies!

 Joel |

Are the bikes going to be at Interbike for Demo?

 Loren |

It’s sad. I’ve turned into a salsa cycles lurker. Need another blog post about the new bikes. It’s bad.<BR>I can’t stay away. I think I speak for a few people here…

 Anonymous |

Could anyone explain why you went with such a radical compact TT angle?

 Anonymous |

I’ll let Salsa explain about the compact TT, but my guess is the greater the slope, the more the weight savings, and the larger the headtube.  It also enables them to offer more sizes to fit more people.  I think this was good design on Salsa’s part.

 Jeremiah |

sexiest bike ever… and I’m not even a roadie.

 Anonymous |

I want to see more photos of that custom painted Chili Con Croso…<BR><BR>Or some pics of that Carbon 29er hardtail I have heard about.

 Anonymous |

oh yeah, one more.<BR><BR><BR>That Mamasita with an EBB.<BR><BR>Why else would Q be closing out the 08 mamasitas.

 Butcher |

A new blog is coming shortly on a new bike.  Stay tuned.  We’ll also have another story and slideshow later this week on yet another one of the new models.<BR><BR>Oh…And we haven’t forgot about the virtual bike build.  Most of the parts are now here.  I hope to build this bike later this week.<BR><BR>Stay tuned…It’s going to be a busy week.

 Anonymous |

I think that, at the very least, Salsa should spec the new Mavic Ksyrium Equipe for the Podio as to further differentiate the Podio from the Pistola.  The difference in price btw. the two is insignificant, but the Equipe are a bit lighter and it makes sense to have the Equipe on the Podio, since it’s supposed to be for more aggressive riding than the Pistola.  Podio buyers can then decide whether or not to upgrade to Ksyrium SL, or to SRAM S40, which are significantly more expensive than both the Equipe and the Aksium.

 Anonymous |

How about some SRAM S40 road wheels for the Podio instead of the Mavic.  The new SRAM wheels were introduced at Eurobike today.  They look very cool.  Perhaps Salsa can source them for the Podio instead of the Mavics?

 Anonymous |

If you had to pick a wheelset to upgrade the Aksium (which I think are ok for the Pistola) that come stock on the complete Podio, would you pick Ksyrium Elite or Ksyrium SL?  Why?  Thanks.

 Anonymous |

Jason, could you please also add to the complete bike descriptions what width of handlebar is being used for the various sizes?  E.g. Poco 40, Short & Shallow 42, etc.  Also, when you go back and correct the weight discrepancies for the Podio, please specify whether the weight you're giving is for the frame, or for the frame + fork.  Thanks!

 Butcher |

Folks, I’ll do my best to answer some of the questions.  <BR><BR>Podio - I’ll weigh this again tomorrow when I get to work.  I do believe I know what happened, but I’ll weigh the frame set I have at my desk and get back to you here.  Regarding the crank set, it will be a Rival.  Yes the photo has an FSA.  SRAM, nor QBP, could supply a crank set in time for the marketing communication material.  <BR><BR>Pistola - First the weight.  Yes, they are all comparable.  Why then would we make the Pistola?  Simple, the performance and intended use of this bike.  If weight is your ultimate criteria, then this won’t be the frame for you.  The Podio is more of your machine.  If you are looking for a steel, performance road bike.  The Pistola is it.  The Pistola is amazing.  Stiff.  Light.  Comfy.  <BR><BR>For those here longing for carbon, I’m sorry we can’t solve that one today.  I will be blogging about that after we get through our product launches.  <BR><BR>Thanks for all the good comments.  More to come.

 Anonymous |

FARGO is a HOMERUN!!!<BR><BR>Please make the fork with lowrider mounts available by itself sooner rather than later.

 Anonymous |

Ah, a perceptive reader at last!  Yes, that’s an interesting comparison btw. Casseroll, La Raza and Pistola frames of the same size.  You’d think the PIstola would be the lightest of the three, especially since it has the slopingest top tube of all three, but it doesn’t appear that way.  Sure, the differences in fork are important, but that still leaves us with the frame conundrum.  Maybe Salsa’s numbers are wrong, or maybe there’s some other explanation Salsa has for us.  Others have pointed out above what appear to be spec and tech inconsistencies with the Podio.  I hope those get cleared up too!

 Anonymous |

Why bother making the Pistola out of ox platinum when the casseroll is advertised as a lighter frame using a lesser grade steel? The La Raza was advertized lighter as well. And the La Raza used more steel in the frame. What gives?

 Anonymous |

go-far<BR><BR>far-go

 chuck |

Ahh! You guys are killing me. I kick myself everytime I look back at what Salsa is doing today. I miss it. Glad you are keeping the road side alive. See you all in Vegas.

 Anonymous |

The Podio is much more good looking than the ‘07 Campe?n, for my taste.  The Campe?n was also never available as a complete bike.  I’m selling my Campe?n and getting a Podio as soon as possible…

 dan bailey |

Glad to see the scandium lines aren’t disappearing from your stables.<BR><BR>I love the concept, and think you guys did a great job on it…but I feel a little underwhelmed by the decals atop the paint.  I’m not sure what it is…  Maybe I’m just too partial to my ‘07 Campeon?<BR><BR>The Pistola?  Mmmmm.  Daddy want.<BR><BR>The Fargo?  It’s like Surly’s Big Dummy in that I want one, but my particular riding style cannot justify one.

 Smitty |

It’s easy to get distracted with 3 new Salsa bikes to ogle.  But I just wanted to say, great story P-man.  The little adventure you found yourself in is something that all of us should hope to experience someday.

 Anonymous |

Oh, and I’m also wearing the Maillot Rasta from the Tour de Salsa!

 Anonymous |

Podio’s spec sheet says it has an SRAM Rival crankset, but the picture on the website shows an FSA crankset?

 Anonymous |

The Podio Complete needs a red Lip-Lock.

 Anonymous |

The Podio Complete copy says the 49cm frame weights 2.1 lbs, but the Podio frame specs sheet says the 49cm frame weights 3 lbs.  What gives?

 mmullins437 |

The Pistola complete is absolutely perfect for what I have been looking for…all day steel comfort w/ SRAM Rival 2009 groupo and Mavic wheels are awesome choices for the best value build around! Now for the price…?

 Anonymous |

The Fargo is cool.  Kind of like what would happen if Mariachi and Casseroll were to mate in North Dakota. I have neither the leisure nor the money to fully exploit the Fargo’s potential, but I’m sure some do.<BR><BR>I can’t stop dreaming of the Podio.  There I am, listening to the Amigos Anthem, gold medal hanging brightly from neck, two beautiful women kissing my cheeks fro each side…

 Spencer Salmon |

The Fargo is just what I am looking for!!! The irony is that I am also from Fargo!

 Loren |

Roger that, the Pistola! YEAH! And you can’t get a Fargo anywhere else, that’s for sure, well done!

 Anonymous |

I just pre-ordered a Podio Complete!  Here’s the changes I made:<BR><BR>1.  Stem: change to Thomson Elite X2 (90d x 90mm)<BR>2.  Post: change to Thomson Elite Masterpiece (black, with setback)<BR>3.  Wheels: upgrade to Mavic Ksyrium SL (black, with the red hubs)<BR>4.  Headset: change to Chris King (red)<BR><BR>If you see me zipping by on my Podio at 60 mph, don’t forget to wave!

 Butcher |

<span class=“deleted-comment”>This post has been removed by the author.</span>

 Smitty |

Nice work.  The Campeon was due for a replacement, and I would say that the inital peek at it suggests you have accomplished that goal.  Seems like the Salsa faithful won’t be satisfied until there are steel and carbon offerings in the line up however!

 Smitty |

Whoa…just checked out the homepage - meet the Pistola.  Nice!

 Butcher |

Greetings all. <BR><BR>First, let me say thanks to David for his story.  David, you’ve been working hard and you deserve this little ride.  Awesome.  Simply Awesome.  <BR><BR>Tim, thanks for making me laugh and think about “Spooner Blows” spray paint on the bridge.  Funny stuff for sure.  <BR><BR>For the rest of the folks, thanks.  This is the first of several new product roll outs this month.  Thank you.  It’s been a fun year and next year is even going to be better.  <BR><BR>Just an FYI.  I’m the only guy here today answering phones and blog questions as the rest of the crew is either travelling or working on our tradeshow booth.  Please be patient today in my answering of questions.  Thanks for this too.  <BR><BR>Lastly, our website push is going live now.  Some of the questions posted here will be answered in the technical data.  <BR><BR>Thanks again.

 Loren |

Fantastic! No more creaky carbon glue joints! Where’s the steel now? :)

 Anonymous |

Red Fizik bar tape, red King headset, red Keo Sprint pedals and Fizik Aliante Carbon saddle (with red thigh glides) would provide the perfect dressing for my Podio.  Sabroso!

 Tim |

Dave - <BR><BR>You are my new personal hero.  <BR><BR>Oh, and Spooner Blows.  <BR><BR> - from the Hayward crowd.

 Anonymous |

I like the choice of SRAM Rival 50/34 compact (hopefully in black) for the Podio.  When/if Salsa does a full carbon road race bike, that should carry an SRAM Red.  I don’t know if the pictures show the bike as Salsa will sell it complete, but I do think Mavic Aksium is too downmarket for this bike.  An upgrade to Mavic Kysyrium SL is definitely in order (I’d do Mavic R-Sys on the future Salsa carbon bike).  The Podio also needs Salsa’s (aluminum? carbon?) new stem.  Finally, my Podio will take Salsa Poco carbon bars, whether Salsa specs them for the complete bike or not.  Post will also be upgraded from Salsa Shaft to Thomson Elite Masterpiece (again in black).<BR><BR>The only question that remains for me is: when will the Podio be available for purchase?  I can hardly wait…

 Anonymous |

can the Podio accept 25c tires?

 Anonymous |

What groupset for the complete bike?  Wheels?

 Anonymous |

Looks like Mavic Aksium on those pics.  I think Podio begs for SRAM Force compact crankset and Mavic Ksyrium SL wheelset instead.

 Captain Bob |

Very nice!

 Jorge |

I want one. Now.  Much nicer looking than the last Campeon . I second the choice of non-integrated headset (a red King will look great on the Podio…) However, one important question: what is the weight of the comlplete bike?  Also, given stays are no longer carbon, will complete bike come with carbon bars and seatpost?  Scandium may be made to be comfy, but difficult to make it as comfy as Ti or steel.

 Jason |

Outstanding! Very cool. Very interesting to see the introduction of the C.C.C.‘s stays to the Podio. In an industry obsessed with carbon fiber it’s indeed an interesting move. The flattened stays really seem to be working for Salsa’s line up, so it’s cool to seem them make it to the Podio. I like the standard headset too. Nice job folks!<BR><BR>More than anything- riding through Europe on a brand new road bike had to freaking rock!<BR><BR>jm<BR><BR>p.s. the black is sweet!

Patick | February 27th, 2010

I might get the Podio, or maybe the Con Crosso and switch gearing for more road. Just cant make up my mind.
I like to go fast, but it would be cool to have the versatility and still maybe not lose much speed with the Con Crosso .
Someone help me decide! .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

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