Introducing the Salsa Fargo, our latest creation. Can you say drop bar , disc brake, off road capable, adventure touring, 29” bike? OK, now say it faster. We are really proud of this new model. The Fargo can bring you places far, far away….And then it can bring you back home. Time and time again. Today, we thought we’d take some time to share part of our Fargo story.
In my humble opinion, our team really outdid themselves with this bike. It comes from the heart’s of our team. It comes from true passion for bikes, for travel and for the journey to somewhere. Who doesn’t love adventure and traveling? If you are reading this blog you must love cycling. Why not put those passions together?
The Fargo started as a concept somewhere in the design process of the Casseroll. The Casseroll really caused quite an internal stir. At the time, we kept arguing over producing a touring capable bike or a really nice versatile road bike. At one point, we even used the term heavy duty Casseroll when discussing the Pre-Fargo concept. Thankfully, the Casseroll ended up as a fine road machine. Thankfully, we took our time and built Salsa’s ultimate adventure bike.
Just over a year ago, we took the Heavy Duty Casseroll concept a bit further. Joe Meiser, our Industrial Designer and leader of the design team, started putting our concepts on paper. He took it upon himself to start this project on his own time. He later built a modified El Mariachi as well. I still remember the day he came to the office and said he’d worked on it all night at home. After showing me what work he had done, discussing some details and just a bit more work, OK a lot more work, our final concept came together. After that, it went to our engineers for development of the proprietary front and rear stainless drops, the front and rear post mounts, and the final tubing/geometry. We then turned it over to Wes and Kid to develop a beautiful powder coated finish and graphic treatment. Our whole team got behind this project and in the end, I think we got a pretty cool, unique, functional, effective and authentic bike.
For me personally, I saw this as an opportunity to build a bike that would also satisfy my dissatisfaction with current touring bikes. There are some really good road touring bikes along with a few gravel touring bikes, but I wanted more. You see, back in the mid 90’s I did a big adventure tour from Alaska to Utah.
This trip had everything including a dead body, bears, back packing, kite flying, the Oregon Microbrew festival, fishing, single track, crazy people, ice climbing and miles of gravel and pavement. It culminated with a 10 day trip through Moab and Canyonlands.
On this trip, I really figured out what worked and what didn’t. Little did I know at the time, but I’d be looking back on this trip and using what I learned to help design what I consider my ultimate bicycle. If I could only own one bicycle, it be a Fargo.
The bike is hard to put in one category. It can be ridden a lot of places and built in a lot of different ways. We are offering it as both a frameset ($650 msrp) and a complete bicycle ($2000 msrp). The complete bike is spec’d for some serious use and abuse. Every part was chosen for a specific reason. Each part has been tested and proven in miles and miles of abuse. I won’t go through all the details of spec, but it’s all great stuff that is built to last.
Over the course of the summer, the crew has logged a lot of pavement, gravel and single track on our prototype Fargoes. Personally, I’ve logged over 1000 miles of riding on the prototype that will be in our booth at Interbike. One of my favorite thing to do with this bike is the Friday Morning Breakfast ride. It’s an hour of pavement to meet the crew and have breakfast. After breakfast, we pedal about 5 miles of pavement. This is followed by 10 miles of twisty MN River Valley single track and ends just a mile or two from work. After work, I take a slightly different route home that consists of 12-13 miles of single track followed by about 8-9 miles of pavement to get home.
The Fargo is a bike that can make you think big. It’s big wheels add comfort and eat up the pavement, dirt and gravel. If you want to ride it off road, slap some big tires on there and shock your flat bar riding friends.
For some of us here at Salsa, the Fargo represents our dreams. A couple of the crew are planning big trips because of this bike. It is also inspiring some of our product development. Those are words for another day and another story. Until then, enjoy the following slide show. I took these pictures throughout the summer while riding a prototype Fargo.
OK, here are a few details you might appreciate when considering building your own Fargo.
- Availability: Frames November. Complete bikes Feb 09.
- Sizing: Frames are sized by effective TT length and optimized for drop bars. This means the head tubes are bit longer than a typical 29” bike as well as a slightly shorter TT. Match your desired top tube length. If you own a Salsa mtn bike from the last few years, buy the same size (assuming it fits right). As and example, if you have a medium Dos Niner or El Mariachi, buy a medium Salsa Fargo.
- Flat bars: Folks will certainly ask if you can run flat bars on a Fargo. Of course you can, just remember it is optimized for drop bars. You may need to go a size bigger for flat bars or you may need to run a slightly longer stem if you want a smaller, more off roadable frame size.
- Fork: The fork is all new and features new stainless forward facing drop outs, post mount disc brakes, two bottle cage mounts and an extra eyelet to attach a strap (to hold your precious water or fuel in the fork cages).
- Low Rider front racks: If you run a low rider front rack, the two bottle cages on the back of the fork legs can’t be used for bottle.
- Water Bottle/Fuel cages: Speaking of water bottles, adjustable cages work the best. Someday, you may see an adjustable Salsa water bottle cage. Until then, we highly recommend the Velocity cages for this bike.
- Cables/Housing: You will need tandem length cables and housing for rear brake and rear derailleur. It pays to buy good cables and good housing.
- Pump: There is a pump peg on the head tube. On the medium, if you run both bottles on the down tube, you can’t use a full length frame fit pump. That is why in the picture of the complete bike, you see my personal bike with an under the down tube mounted pump. Oh…And the lower bottle mounts are reinforced.
- Chainring sizes/front derailleur: The bike is spec’d with a trekking crank with a 48tooth outer ring and a traditional high clamp front derailleur. If you run lower than a 44 tooth outer chain ring, you should use a top swing (low mount) front derailleur
- Rear disc brake: When you mount the rear caliper, it is easiest to mount the rear brake caliper first before installing the rear wheel
Build and enjoy! Look at the horizon and go for it. Repeat often.
Ride & Smile!
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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.