We’re pleased to introduce the all-new Blackborow - a blank canvas for adventure, a story generator, a solution to quandaries of your design. A bike with barely-visible guardrails.
What could you do with a bike like this? That’s the whole point. Will your months-long expedition across Mongolia be 100% self-supported and require meticulous gear planning? What about fly fishing everyday along the length of the Idaho Hot Springs Route? Or, did you just get a, “We’re leaving for the lake in an hour” text from your pals and you know you can’t pass up an opportunity for a luxury beach overnighter with them. You’re the only one with a two-burner stove, and you know how they love your famous jalapeno pancakes, after all.
The concept for Blackborow had been rattling around Salsa HQ since about 2010. The new places we were able to go with our fat bikes got us thinking about how cool it would be to bring some of our other hobbies into the fold; skiing, hunting, fishing, trailbuilding, or just being able to say, “I’m REALLY not going to be able to check email for the two weeks I’m gone.” While it’s true that camping gear just keeps getting more compact and you can get an impressive amount of your needs covered within the space allotted by framebags, sometimes you just need or want more flexibility with your route choices, what you’d like to take with you, and your time off the bike.
But what would it be like to pedal a bike that allows this new flexibility? As much as possible, we didn’t want to create a bike that required us to learn an entirely new set of skills to ride it. That’s where engineer Pete Koski came in. The highly influential fat bike geometry he’d already developed for Mukluk and Beargrease could be applied to the front end. The rear end was the wide-open blue ocean. He knew a “mid-long frame” would be the best bet for the handling he wanted, and instead of counting sheep at night, he’d drift off to dream in rear rack land. The result is a four-point attachment structure that can hold four full-sized panniers with plenty of upper deck space and no concerns regarding heel clearance. It’s a beautiful sight to behold.
The aluminum Blackborow runs contemporary components. It’s spec’d with 27.5 x 4″ wheels and tires but can also fit 29 x 2.2 to 3.0″ and 26 x 4.0″. The rear spacing is the now common among fat bikes 197mm, the bottom bracket is threaded, and you can run a dropper post (which is awesome not only off-roading but for getting on and off a loaded machine). Go with 1x or 2x drivetrains, find your way forward with the Bearpaw Carbon fork or throw on some suspension. Our EXP Series framebags fit up front, our Touring Panniers fit out back, and Three-Pack mounts on the fork mate up with our Anything Cages. There are two conventional two-bolt bottle mounts in the main triangle with one more in our Stowaway space behind the seat tube, and a two-bolt spot on the toptube behind the stem fits our EXP Series Toptube Bag.
Not creating a bag set for the rear end was intentional. Even something as non-threatening as predetermined bag dimensions can still impose some limitations on what you might want to try, and that’s the last thing we wanted to do. We are, however, happy to share attachment points and numbers with bag makers if you’ve got something up your sleeve for the equipment you’ll soon be bringing on whatever plans you hatch. We’ve done a fair amount of testing and riding Blackborow on our own, so make sure to check out our suggestions for how to pack for optimal ride performance here. It may influence the design process.
We hope that when you see Blackborow, you get a wily smile and a head full of scheming. Its namesake certainly had his own insatiable penchant for adventure. Those of you unfamiliar with the story of Ernest Shackleton and the Endurance (perhaps the greatest survival story of all time), should consider this a homework assignment. Read about the incredible journey that Shackleton and his crew faced, and their survival against truly incredible odds. Read about Perce Blackborow, and how the young stowaway found himself in the middle of an adventure he could never, ever, have predicted.
Make your expeditions, whether planned for years or thrown together last minute, on existing routes or ones you thought of first, meaningful and memorable. This bike is your opportunity to be the captain of your own ship. Throw a leg over and cast off!
U.S. MSRP Complete Bike - $2,799.00
U.S. MSRP Frameset including Rear Rack - $1,499.00
AVAILABILITY - Mid-November 2017
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I had to live on both coasts a couple of times to realize that maybe being born in the Midwest wasn’t just arbitrary. I’m drawn to the terrain here, and if you catch me with one of this region’s supreme IPAs in hand, I’ll talk your ear off about my favorite spots. I’ll always take every opportunity though to explore every nook and cranny anywhere I can on a bike, because that’s what makes me feel most alive.