Sunday, March 15, 2009

Salsa Fargo...

Talk about a bike that was created pretty much out of thin air that has captured the hearts of bike riders everywhere. The Salsa Fargo is a niche-of-a-niche bike. But it has proven to be very capable of doing a lot of different things pretty darn good. This is the epitome of an adventure bike. Capable of loaded touring both on and off-road. It's also a pretty good all-rounder, especially out here in West Marin where the ability to link up roads, dirt roads, trails, heck, anything that you want to throw at it. Couple all that with the ability to easily run comfortable drop bars and the Fargo package is pretty sweet. And I doubt I'm the only one who has vivid flashbacks of the movie Fargo and police chief Marge Gunderson's Minnesotan accents. "I'm not sure I agree with you a hundred percent on your police work, there, Lou." You betcha.

Alrighty then. What's this Fargo thing about? The complete bike is a pretty sweet deal. For $1960, you get a complete Shimano XT parts package right down to the hubs - which is a refreshing spec in this day of using other Taiwanese hubs or wheels (not that there's anything wrong with those). The Shimano bar-end shifters move a Shadow XT rear derailleur and a pair of nice (baring one modification) Tektro brake levers activate Avid BB7 disc brakes. The large size tipped the scale at about 29 pounds with a set of test ride flat pedals.

Framesets are also available for $655. There are many ways to build up a Fargo to suit your tastes. Jason at Salsa has built several Fargos for himself, each one built to do something different. He's got his full-on touring set-up and a "go-fast" Fargo built with an emphasis on lighter weight - kind of like a monster cross on 'roids.

On to some pictures...
This one was test ridden with the Selle An-Atomica seat (a great upgrade for a Fargo - or any bike where you'll be in the saddle for a long time - or short, it doesn't care how long you're in the saddle, but you might). The black stripe on the top tube is a couple wraps of cloth handlebar tape to protect the top tube from the shifters should the bars swing around wildly.
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Very nice contrasting decal panel.
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What are all those bosses on the fork legs for? Give up? Okay, from the bottom: low-rider rack mount, water bottle, water bottle, and finally, that top one that causes folks to scratch heads, it's where a toe strap can be secured and used to hold a bottle firmly in place - especially handy if that bottle is an aluminum fuel bottle.
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Great looking details on the dropouts.
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Post mount disc brake on the chain stay frees up the seat stay and makes rack installation a breeze.
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Post mount disc brake on the fork too.
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Framesets too.
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Finally, there was only some minor modification that I had to do to get the Fargo to work perfectly and up to my standards. This is one of the reasons why, when you get a bike from me, you get a bike dialed and working to its absolute best potential. The combination of the shape of the brake lever body, how the cable casing exits the brake lever, and the shape of the bar where the brake cable housing exits made for a very tight bend in the casing that caused the cable to bind inside slightly. I filed the corner off and made the casing flow much more gradual - better braking!
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(What's playing: KWMR Sunday Celebration of Sacred Music)


MMcG said...

Seems like you still needed to use a slew of headset spacers to get the drop bars at the right height.

blackmountaincycles said...

Depends. If you like the bars way above the seat, yes. The bike comes with an uncut steerer tube so what you see in the photo is an uncut steerer. The stem does not have much rise so if you didn't want spacers, a stem with some more rise would take care of that.

I like my bar tops just below the level of the seat so I would only use a couple of spacers.

Head Honcho said...

I just had one of those roll through the shop too(the DirtRag winner). Sure, seeing it on the show floor is impressive, but you really don't get to appreciate all the little details until its in your stand and you're building it up.

Gotta hand it to Salsa on this one. The Fargo is one very impressive bike.

Guitar Ted said...

I would love to cruise the Fargo I have here in your neck of the woods. I would think that it would be about the perfect "one bike does it all" rig for that area.

Linking up dirt roads and pavement around there would be an absolute blast,I bet.

Anonymous said...

Seems to me that the Fargo would be a great all-round commuter bike. Smaller tires in the summer, but could still pull the trail-a-bike and my son with less "squirm" to the bars than on my old Trek. Fatter, studdies for the winter and a manageable snow/ice ergonomics.

Keith Drury said...

I've got a couple thousand miles on mine no, including a few trips on the GAP-C&O canal path and I am a fan... no problems yet other than switching to Marathon tires... I love it