What you didn’t see at Interbike - Part 2

Upon returning home from Interbike, we've gotten quite a few questions about both road bikes and tubing. Our line up at Interbike 2010 was pretty clear on these two things. We didn't show a dedicated road bike and all our new alloy bikes are no longer scandium. Without an explanation, it would be easy to assume that we have abondoned road bikes and we are no longer using scandium. Only one of those things is true. Let me explain.

While it does appear right now that we have abandoned road bikes here at Salsa, in reality we have not. We will say that the core of Salsa isn't focused on the typical road bike market. By typical we mean carbon, aero, race, triathlon, etc. Don't get me wrong, we have made some really nice road bikes in our La Raza, Campeon, Casseroll, Primero, Podio and Pistola. Our version of a road bike is a bit different than what others are offering. With the Casseroll moving to canti brakes and completely polarizing people, we feel there is room for a beautiful Salsa road bike in our line. We are in fact working on one in concept. We've even prototyped a ti version of the Pistola. So far, it just isn't quite right. But….Make no mistake, we want a lovely road bike to take out on those perfect sunny days or for days when 35c cross tires just feel slow and fat.

* Hyrdroformed down tube - Note - This is a prototype for you photo geeks. What's different than the production?

Tubing choice and selection has also been cropping up a lot lately. Many have noticed that we are no longer using scandium as our primary alloy. In fact, for 2011 we have no scandium in our line up. While there are lots of reasons for that, the biggest reason is that we made the switch because we could do new things with tubing that weren't feasible with scandium such as hydroforming. In the end, our tubing choice with the new alloy materials resulted in matching or exceeding our performance benchmark at a better price. That is a pretty simple formula and given the recent interest in the new Mukluk, new Chili Con Crosso, and new Spearfish, it appears that our tubing choice is hitting the mark. In the end though, we will use the appropriate material for the job and always strive to bring it to the market with the right mix of performance, features and price.

So…That wraps up Interbike 2010. Now we get to start talking about prototypes again!

Ps. New website pages with new product are going up daily. Fargo and Vaya Ti are live already, more coming Monday. Sorry for the delay.

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Jason Boucher

Jason Boucher

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.


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DC | October 8th, 2010

Appreciate the update.  Glad I found my Pistola when I did - thanks Eric and Chuck!

Guitar Ted | October 8th, 2010

Hmm….straight 1.5” head tube on the proto Spearfish, maybe?

I am not what you would call a roadie, but I am glad to hear that Salsa is staying in the road side, and I’ll bet your take on the road bike will be pretty cool.

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Kevin | October 8th, 2010

Thanks for being so candid about your products, it really keeps me engaged with the company, and I love that there is no yearly product cycle (no pun intended) just for marketing’s sake.

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Dan | October 8th, 2010

If there was a Ti pistola, I would sell my road bike and my entire bike stable would be Salsas!

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Chris Crash | October 8th, 2010

No more Scandium!? :( Glad I have a Podio and Big Mama already, may have to add a Mamasita before they run out… The ride quality of my Podio is such a magical combination of plush and snappy you guys have your work cut out for you doing that with Aluminum hydroformed or otherwise. The new Crosso.. umm..ahh… nice design details looks sharp but I would take the older one or even better a los cruces but I’m more urban warrior than trail rider on my cross bike so perhaps take it with a grain of salt

New model question. The new Ti Selma dropout shown at interbike had a derailleur hanger on it, can we run it geared :)? What is the tire clearance like and I take it a 100mm fork is OK?

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jp | October 8th, 2010

Thanks for the post.  You’re right, Salsa has never been a player in the “typical road bike market” (the triathlon-specific Salsa El GoGo may be an exception), and I don’t believe us Salsa fans would ever expect it to be.  That’s part of why we like Salsa road bikes.

I think I speak for most Salsa fans when I say we do, however, look to Salsa for different, beautiful, practical, durable, affordable, high quality production road bikes.  Not just mountain bikes.  For many years, La Raza represented what Salsa’s idea of a road bike should be.  La Raza was the standard bearer.  Then La Raza went away.

Now all other Salsa road bike models are gone, and us Salsa road bike fans are left with just a Casseroll of hope eat, and to sustain our hopes with.  A good thing, then, the Cass is such a nice bike.

I’m excited to learn you’re prototyping a Pistola Ti.  I’d prefer a Pistola Ti to a Lynskey Sportive any day.

I’m also excited to learn you’re working on a new road bike concept.  If I was in charge of this concept, I’d work on a horizontal top tube La Raza with full lightweight steel tubing (i.e. not just main triangle), and with a razor-thin, straight-bladed, crowned steel fork.  Sexy S-bend seatstays.  SRAM Apex group.  Something traditional, yet contemporary.  This is the road bike market sweetspot I think Salsa has so much potential to hit so well. 

Thanks also for clarifying on Scandium tubing.  As far as steel tubing, what will Salsa’s direction be?  Will Salsa stick to CrMo going forward?  Or will it seek to use lighter steels as well, like it used to do with TTOXP?


Gnat | October 8th, 2010

Thanks for all the responses so far.  Gives us confidence that folks do want a road bike from us!  ;) 

GT - Nope, that is a the same tapered head tube.  Keep guessing! 

Material - Right now, we don’t know and are not saying what material or materials a new road bike might be, but please don’t assume that our scandium bike will be replaced with alloy, our steel OX Platinum bike will be replaced with Kung Fu, etc.  We will do our best to use the right material for the specific design. 

Kind of timely folks given Tim and I are reviewing 2012 model year frames and bikes today! 

Have a great weekend folks.

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Kevin | October 8th, 2010

I love my Podio. Best road bike I have ever ridden, so I really hope it doesn’t fall into obscurity.

Also, if you ever need a Materials Engineer, give me a call :)

MG | October 8th, 2010

Man, I’ll tell ya’... If I know anything, it’s that you won’t do the same ‘ol thing everyone else is doing, so that’s cool.  But a caliper brake ti road bike would definitely be cool…  That said, I don’t know why somebody wouldn’t just saddle up to a Ti Vaya for long haul road rides…  I know once ‘cross season is over, I’ll likely pop some big fat road tires on my La Cruz Ti and ride the heck out of it as the designated “road” bike in my stable, since my steel Vaya is bomber for winter gravel grinding (which as you know, I do a bit of).

Have a great weekend,

MG | October 8th, 2010

Oh, Salsa’s got some really good engineers…

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jp | October 8th, 2010

Thanks, Gnat.  So we shall remain in material mystery for the time being.  At least it appears you’ve made it clear in your post that Salsa won’t be doing full carbon road bikes?

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DS | October 8th, 2010

What bothers me most is that y’all are moving to more expensive materials and leaving a hole in the wake.  $1500-$1800 framesets are not Salsas, IMO.  I guess the forecast is for more Dentists and Lawyers racing XC.

MG | October 8th, 2010

That isn’t really true, DS.  While it’s true that Salsa is introducing more new titanium models than ever, they are also keeping the affordable frameset dream alive as well.  To wit, the new steel Fargo framesets are available at a very affordable MSRP of $599.  The new Spearfish FS 29er frame has a MSRP of $999.  Those are both a long ways away from the $1,500-$1800 you’re quoting, and there are a number of other new Salsa models that fall between $599 and $999 for the frameset, including the El Mariachi, the Casseroll, the Ala Carte (steel), the Podio, the Vaya (steel) and the Chili Con Crosso.  There are likely others that I’ve missed, like the Mukluk.

In fact, as I count it up, it seems the majority of Salsa’s new frame introductions for 2011 feature an MSRP of under $1,000.  And as much as I love the new ti frames, that statistic is equally impressive to me.

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Will | October 8th, 2010

I know I speak for the minority when I say I’d like to see a disc equipped road bike with geometry just on the edge of race worthy, but enough room for 28c.  Again, I’m pretty sure I’m a minority. :)

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Chris Crash | October 8th, 2010

Will, I am with you brother. Disc Road rocket with room for 28c’s and fenders :)Not surprising from me based on my lust for the las cruces.

While I say that I don’t want to give the good folks at Salsa the idea that they should spend much energy on anything other than making the Bigger Mama a killer ride.

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Wally | October 8th, 2010

I’ve met few aluminum frames I have liked. I just don’t see the “we’ll build the bike out of the best materials” with the new aluminum direction, I see “we’ll build the bike out of the best materials that can come in at a certain price point”. Thats a bit different from the Salsa of the past, in my opinion.
Every company out there builds with aluminum for their low end lines. I just don’t see Salsa being that different with the exception of the ti frames which have become their high end carbon frame equivalent. I just see a lot of “me too” with a heavy marketing twist to make it all look good, sound good and of course the Salsa faithful telling us how good crap can taste.

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friendly advice | October 8th, 2010

If I were Salsa, and I was working on a 2012 road bike, I’d be thinking along the lines of a Cielo Sportif, a Vanilla Roadvagen, or any of the Continental Bikes commissioned by Rapha from top framebuilders.  Those are some of the (steel) road bikes that come to mind when I think ‘Salsa road bike’.  Pistola Ti will be nice and will surely do well, but there will also be a need for a steel road bike in Salsa’s lineup (the Cass is nice, but not what I’d consider a true ‘road bike’).  I’m not sure there’s appetite for an alloy road bike, unless Salsa wants something to replace the Podio with.  Although I like Scandium, I can’t blame Salsa for abandoning it.  There just isn’t enough of a market for it, and at that price most customers seem to be choosing either carbon or Ti instead.  I think it’s interesting to see once-classic brands such as Raleigh and Bianchi reviving some of their long-retired steel road models.  This might be an indication there’s a growing market for these types of bikes. I’d really love it if Salsa would launch a 2012 road bike that wouldn’t break the bank, and that would make it unnecessary for me to have to reach for something like a Surly Pacer (nice frame+fork, but too heavy).  Here’s a pic of an old La Raza with Reynolds 853 tubing.  Makes one teary-eyed: http://www.retrobike.co.uk/forum/files/img_8577_189.jpg

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John | October 9th, 2010

Gnat, your comment at the end of this post regarding website updates seemed to indicate that the Fargo info had been updated. That appears to apply only to the Fargo Ti, as the CroMo version still specs a 55 mm fork offset and 6 water bottle mounts.

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Tim | October 9th, 2010

That Spearfish looks like it has a Maxle thru axle Fork.

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JeffS | October 9th, 2010

Freindly advice - Ah, the good old days of the level top tube. I’ve never really had a problem with compact frames, but Salsa is on the way to making their bike’s step-throughs. Sadly, the result is so visually unappealing that I can’t bring myself to consider riding one.

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friendly advice | October 10th, 2010

JeffS—I agree.  The super-sloping top tube is one of the reasons that kept me from purchasing a Pistola.  By the way, the “the good old days of the level top tube” are still here.  They never went away.  There’s plenty of examples of fine road bikes being made with level top tubes, including right next door to Salsa at Surly.  Notice, too, how Salsa has leveled the top tube somewhat for it’s updated Casseroll. The super-sloping top tube appers to be the norm when it comes to carbon road race bikes, but even there one can find exceptions.  The functional benefits of super-sloping top tubes are debatable (see the many discussions of on this topic on the web), but one thing seems to be clear: there’s no denying the aesthetic superiority of a level top tube.  I’m not sure why this is.  Maybe some neuroscientist will figure this out someday.

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Doug | October 10th, 2010

As a counter to the longer winded calls, let me add that I’ll never buy a non-compact road frame ever again.  There is no need to waste weight on visual cues of years past.  Lighter and stiffer is better.

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JeffS | October 10th, 2010

We passed “compact” a while back.

At this rate, they’ll be selling mixte’s with ape hangers in a couple more years.

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Mackerel | October 10th, 2010

Salsa guys, I have short legs and an ageing back - ignore the grouches and give us compact geo with tall headtubes please!

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friendly advice | October 10th, 2010

Doug—I refer you to Grant Petersen’s article, “The Top Tube Ruse”.  Level, or very slightly sloping top tube is not just aesthetics.  It also influences the ride.  If Salsa were seeking stiffness and lightness first and foresmost in a road bike, then they’d be doing carbon frames by now.  I think Salsa’s new motto, ‘Adventure By Bike’—which by the way is very Grant Petersenesque—suggests a different direction.  Besides, just how much lighter, and how much stiffer is a ‘compact’ frame?  And if with heavily sloping top tubes you end up with taller headtubes, and with longer seatposts, doesn’t that cancel out any supposed weight savings?

JeffS—I think it would be neat to see Salsa do a dedicated mixte frame :)

Mackerel—Rivendell and countless others have shown it’s possible to have level top tubes AND comfy ride positions with handlebars at, or just above saddle height.  There’s several production brands realeasing brand new 2011 road models with level top tubes, both in steel and Ti.

What’s old is new again.  Call me a ‘level rebel’ if you like.

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captain bob | October 11th, 2010

Is that a white colored carbon handlebar on the Spearfish above?  Looks like the Salsa logo.

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Kevin | October 11th, 2010

I don’t think it’s the slope of the top tube that has hindered the sale of salsa road bikes.  Look at La Raza, a beautiful bike that didn’t sell either.  It’s because roadies only want carbon.  Call it the Lance Effect.


Gnat | October 11th, 2010

Great commentary and dialogue here.  As you can see from the comments, it’s not easy pleasing folks.  Choices can be polarizing. 

Just one note on aluminum and using the right material - If folks review our line up right now for 2011 we have 3 aluminum bikes; Mukluk, Chili and Spearfish.  It is pretty easy to argue that these 3 bikes are optimally suited to aluminum.  Mukluk for winter and rust resistance, Chili for less than 1 hour races and performance, and Spearfish because alloy makes sense for suspension. 

Regarding price points - It has been called out that we have quite a few less than $1800 framesets.  In fact, we have a lot of framesets at $599 or less with more coming sometime in the future.

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DS | October 12th, 2010

Gnat, my pricing comment is today’s replacements are more expensive yesterday’s options.  But I stand corrected.

Now, how about a Spearfish frameset option with your preferred front fork.  Let us ride some of the QBP purchasing power. 

Perhaps I am wrong, but I reckon most of us wanting to build up one of these aren’t going to be upgrading from another FS bike.  FS 29ers today are a pretty elite set.  If we had one of ‘em already, we wouldn’t need a Spearfish.  So cannibalizing another bike that is either SS, HT, or something else we want to keep for the fork ain’t happening.

So I reckon, most of us are going to need a frame and a new fork, why not offer that?

Michael Simcock | October 13th, 2010

Did not get my order in soon enough for a Podio this year in my size. Talked with Salsa and heard that 2011 was going to be road bike free.

After thinking about the Pistola for a few weeks, pulled the trigger and got a 51 cm. When I went to the shop to pick it up, was very impressed with how it looks. Owners said it had been getting a lot of positive comments from other customers. This shop is located in Marin County and caters to the carbon crowd.

I have not been disappointed with this bike. It looks awesome, the components work, and it tracks straight. Just what a bike should do. I snuck out of work this morning just so I could go for a ride.

A group of my old racing friends (we just ride for fun now) are going back to steel. We just like the way it rides. I am hoping that this trends continues here in Nor Cal.

In the end, I am very happy with this bike and plan on taking it all over the Sierra Nevadas for years to come and looking forward to riding it in the Death Ride here (123 miles 15,000ft climbing).

It will be sad that there will be no road bikes in the line up for next year. If more people knew about these bikes, it would be hard for them not to buy them.

On a side note, the head tube is about one inch taller than I would have prefered. Going with a -10 degree stem to get the handlebar position where I like it.

One happy client.

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jp | October 13th, 2010

What could possibly be said here that hasn’t been said already?  A steel road bike will be sorely needed in Salsa’s lineup for 2012. I’d just like to throw in there that perhaps this new, beautiful, classic, timeless yet of-the-moment road bike should have streamlined/simplified decals/detailing. Even more so than the updated Casseroll.  Look at the decals of the early La Raza’s, for instance.  Maybe this new road bike would be one of those cases where less is more…

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Mick | October 17th, 2010

When are the 2011’s available, specifically the Mukluk?

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Tanner | October 20th, 2010

Name a bike Beermosa and I’ll be the first to own it.

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aaron | February 12th, 2011

Like the Pistola, sloping top tube and taller head tubes with less spacer stack.

just wish you were making them again in 2011 as the 49cm’s are sold out everywhere…
hmmmmmmm..Ti next year?? do 1 version in Ti with traditional and 1 in steel with sloped and taller head tubesl, best of both worlds…

all the best…

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Alexander | October 8th, 2011

I’ve been riding my 51 (virtual 58) Pistola for a year now (feels like so much longer), and have only grown fonder of this fantastic, elegant frameset. I’m 6’1 and settled on a Ti setback seatpost that I really think gives my ride “mojo”. Im here to proclaim I’m a salsa road believer! . . . Its a group distraction on saturday morning rides, and a lifetime companion! I’m sure that any road-going machine to come out will be met with applause, so lets see what’s possible. Instead of being polarizing, I see the salsa road bike as a great convalescence of otherwise separate cycling cultures. Everyone likes my Pistola: the carbon crowd, the mondonico and torelli guys, the crossers, the steel-is-real, ortleib and tubus crowd, and even cross-country racers all seem to buy into the idea of my pistola. Thats awesome. Heres to a kick ass 2012 lineup.

shimonboi | June 28th, 2012

I like my roadbike and love to ride it. These discussion and comments help me to know more about roadbike and riding.

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