The journey to bring the Vaya Travel to life started way back at the origins of the Vaya itself. The Vaya originated as our all-surface road and touring bike. It came out of our quest for durability, versatility, and great ride quality. The Vaya quickly became my go-to bike for the majority of my non-trail riding.
My job involves handling Salsa product from concept to first delivery, and with this I travel the world visiting suppliers and customers, seeing some amazing places, and logging around 75,000 miles a year on an airplane. With all of these great places, I longed to have my Vaya with me to ride.
My typical view as a business traveler...
The first prototype of this idea came to creation about three years ago when I had a Vaya prototype frame cut and coupled by a local Minneapolis framebuilder. This bike went with me on three trips to Asia, one round-the-world flight, a three-day credit-card style tour through the Black Forest of Germany, a few trips to California, and lots of riding around Minnesota. I loved being able to take my Vaya with me everywhere, and especially loved being able to ride a bike when I was travelling for work, rather than sit in a hotel. What I found is that taking the parts on and off this bike took a lot of time to pack and unpack, and the paint job was getting beaten down from the thousands of miles of travel in the case, and the ever-so-gentle care of airline luggage handlers.
Andrew and I found some great hop fields in southern Germany on our travels...
From what we learned with the first version, I went on to create a better travel bike, hoping to make packing and unpacking easier, and make it more versatile for setting up in different ways. For this model, we put on our proven Alternator dropouts, and switched the fork to IS disc mounting. We used IS mounting because it allowed removal of the caliper from the fork for easier packing than the post mount, and allowed re-installation of the caliper without re-adjustment. The Alternator dropouts were added for the same reason: so that we could remove the brake, derailleur and dropouts from the bike for packing, remove them from possible damage, and allow complete re-installation without re-adjustment. The Alternators also allow us to have alternate setups such as internally geared hubs or singlespeeds for various travel experiences. This bike went with me to Eurobike as a singlespeed where I rode a really unique day tour, riding through Germany, Austria, Lichtenstein, and Switzerland all in one day. Andrew joined me on this trip, and did this ride on another prototype of a standard Vaya with couplers, and he rode with a 1x10 setup. We also used them to commute our daily eight miles to the expo venue, and talked a lot about the travel experience with these bikes. We were still noticing that the bikes’ paint was getting roughed up in the boxes, and spend quite a few miles pondering solutions.
2nd generation prototype by the Bodensee in Austria...
Introducing the Vaya Travel – the solution to all we have learned through travelling the world with a bicycle. The Vaya Travel is based on our Vaya, and shares the same excellent tire clearance, wide size range and geometry. From there, we add S&S Machine stainless steel couplers to allow it to fit into an airline-legal case, we add Alternator dropouts for the versatility and ease of packing mentioned above, and we build it using quadruple butted stainless steel. We chose stainless as a result of discussions about durability both inside the case, and in use in the varying environments of planet Earth. Stainless is very strong, reasonably light, non-corrosive, and you can easily buff out any scratches as a result of case travel. The fork was also changed to have an IS disc brake mount for ease of caliper removal and re-installation, and we chose a simple decal for the graphics, so that it can also be simply replaced if it is damaged during transport. A 56cm frame weighs 5lbs, 3oz including seat collar, dropout parts and couplers, so it can be sturdy enough to be a touring bike, or light enough to be your road bike, wherever your destination may be.
2013 Vaya Travel complete bike...MSRP $3950
The Vaya Travel will be available as a complete bike with Ultegra 30-speed and as a frameset. Both will include spare decals in five different colors so you can replace them, or customize the color accent that you want. Availability is late December 2012.
Also available as a frameset...MSRP $2199
Key frameset specs are as follows:
• Fork: Vaya Travel, IS disc mount, fender mounts, low-rider rack mounts, 1-1/8” steer tube
• Headtube: Standard 34mm for external headset, 1-1/8” fork (SHIS: EC34/28.6 upper, EC34/30 lower)
• Seatpost: 27.2mm
• Seat Collar, Salsa Lip-Lock, 32.0mm, included
• Rear Spacing: 135mm
• Bottom Bracket: English, 68mm
• Front Rack Recommendation: Salsa Down Under rack
• Rear Rack Recommendation: Salsa Alternator rack for 135mm spacing (available soon!)
Accessories for travel made by S&S are also available through QBP. These include items such as coupler wrenches, hard and soft travel cases, packing material, and packing straps.
We hope the Vaya Travel enables and inspires you to take a bike with you next time you travel somewhere, to use a bike to see the rich and beautiful places of the world, and to experience them fully with all your senses aboard a bicycle.
Salsa art director Kelly MacWilliams rides past someones future breakfast, lunch, or dinner while touring the Noto Peninsula of Japan onboard a pre-production Vaya Travel...