Today, we release our Stormchaser single speed gravel bike into the world. Stormchaser’s aluminum frame and carbon fork are loaded with features for riding through the worst conditions imaginable.
As with many of our bikes, Stormchaser was designed from experience.
If you were at Land Run (now Mid South) in 2017, the ride conditions that day are likely still etched into your mind—and probably your chainstays. It was the event’s third year, and rain had rendered the red-dirt roads outside Stillwater, Oklahoma an impasse of mud. Mud with malice. Mud that many likened to peanut butter. Mud that destroyed derailleurs and brought bearings to screeching halts. Mud that caked onto tires and wore frames down well past the paint.
Mike “Kid” Riemer was at the event that year, watching the carnage first-hand. He noticed a few things at the finish in downtown Stillwater:
1. Some people didn’t even start the event because they didn’t want to ruin their expensive bikes.
2. Some riders had converted their bikes to single speed the night before the event once they learned of the impending weather forecast and expected course conditions.
3. More than a few participants had hacked their bikes into survival-mode single speeds out on the course.
While most of the riders that weekend came home with damaged bikes and a few extra pounds of Oklahoma mud, Riemer came home with an idea:
“That day convinced me that we had an opportunity to create a solution. An inexpensive single speed gravel bike, made of metal, that could be used for events when conditions are truly horrible, or for wet weather training, so that riders don’t need to trash the bikes they’ve invested so much in. It would also serve dedicated single speeders.”
The idea stuck, and Salsa’s design and engineering teams got to work on a bike to beat the elements. A bike that would be durable, stable in unpredictable riding conditions, and immune to shorn derailleur hangers, caked wheels, and clogged cassettes and cables.
Salsa Engineer Pete Hall headed up development of Stormchaser’s aluminum chassis. His starting point of reference was the aluminum Warbird, carrying over features such as our Class 5™ VRS for compliance and comfort. But Pete made a few key geometry adjustments for better riding on unforgiving terrain. A slacker head tube angle and longer wheelbase centers rider weight for more stability. “We lengthened the chainstays for a longer wheelbase than Warbird, even when the Flat Mount Alternator dropouts are in the shortest setting,” said Pete.
Speaking of those dropouts: they’re all-new. Our Flat Mount Alternator dropouts provide fore–aft adjustability for chain tension, wheelbase tweaks, and extra mud clearance with the added bonus of flat-mount brake compatibility—your caliper moves with the wheel, so your brake stays in adjustment as you move it. We also offer a geared dropout plate (included with Stormchaser framesets) so you can run a 1x drivetrain.
Our favorite part about these dropouts might be that you can hardly tell they’re adjustable.
“The adjustment mechanism is integrated and mostly hidden for a minimal aesthetic. We wanted these dropouts to look like they belong on a gravel race machine,” said Pete.
Stormchaser is good for up to 700c or 650b x 50 mm tires, with extra room to account for mud accumulation. A Stormchaser with 700c x 42 mm tires offers about 40% more tire clearance than a Warbird with 700c x 42 mm tires. If the mud really builds up, Stormchaser’s carbon fork has abrasion-resistant plates to defend against wear. Internal routing on the frame and fork shield everything from the elements.
To make your big rides a little more comfortable, Stormchaser includes Three-Pack mounts on the fork, a top tube mount, rack and fender mounts, room for up to three bottles inside the frame on 57.5–61 cm sizes (49–56 cm frames have two bottle mounts), and a bottle or accessory mount on the underside of the down tube.
Stormchaser is also the perfect application for our new, wider Cowchipper bars for added leverage in sloppy stuff and for grinding up climbs with only one gear at your disposal. Also handy on the climbs, Stormchaser comes stock with both a 17t and 18t cog installed—choose the one that’s right for your ride, or switch while you’re in the field.
We built Stormchaser to handle all of your year-round gravel rides. Use it as your backup bike when the course conditions are daunting. Ride it for wet-weather training. Enjoy the simplicity of single speed gravel riding. Wherever, whenever, however you ride it, you can be sure that Stormchaser will see you through. Get all the details on Stormchaser here.
Stormchaser complete bikes and framesets will be available in April.
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I’m a jack-of-all, master-of-none sort when it comes to the outdoors. Riding, climbing, paddling, skiing or hiking—everything has its own appeal. All that matters are the effort and the solitude. I’m not competitive but I enjoy a good challenge, and I’ll say “yes” to anything that puts me in over my head or involves type 2 fun, as that’s where life’s spicier moments seem to live.