Salsa Cycles , who came up with the brilliant idea for the Fargo, tweaked out that idea for 2011 to be a bike that is somewhat different than where it began. Now it is a bit more "vague" than the decidedly "do-everything" bike it was.
Sound like a contradiction of terms? How can a bike that is "decidedly do-everything" become more vague in intention unless it becomes more of a "do-everything" bike, right?
Well, Salsa did put more versatility into the bike by allowing for a suspension fork to be fitted without messing up the geometry. But to do that, they had to mess with the geometry of the old Fargo. The result is something odd. The Fargo has become at once more specific, (off-road-centric), while becoming even more of a conundrum to fit properly. This in conjunction with the shorter offset necessitated by the accommodation of suspension forks makes the new Fargo a bit unappealing for me.
The top tube is incrementally shorter than version 1's, and the toe over-lap issue is now an issue, where it wasn't before. Standover is less as well, (from what I have observed with regards to a friend's Fargo). Are there times I wish the Fargo I have had a suspension fork? Oh yeah! But I can't get on with how Salsa solved the issue with the new Fargo, especially when version 1 fits me like a glove. I can't see giving up near perfect fit for less than optimal fit and suspension. Then there is also the issue of my Badger, which is essentially a Fargo V2 without all the fit issues. So, there ya go!
I guess in the end, I would rather slap a suspension fork on the Badger, get frame bags, and use that as a drop bar, off-road "touring" rig if I needed to have that squishy fork.. That or a 100mm travel hard tail, like the El Mariachi, which starts to make more sense than the Fargo does now. YMMV. I just figured Fargo v1 was such a great rig because it was simpler and didn't have the suspension fork capabilities, which to my mind was a nod to a different way of thinking on off-road "touring".
Twenty Nine Inches, Grannygear, was talking with me the other day about the state of tubeless mtb tire and wheel technology. He wrote this excellent piece on his experiences with UST rims recently, which I highly recommend you read.
Basically it is a world that is boiling down to three main ideas: Stan's, Bontrager's, and UST. (Ghetto tubeless will always be under-the-radar, and so therefore, it doesn't figure into our "officially sanctioned" tubeless options here.) Sometimes elements of all three are used in one system.
Of those three, UST seems to be exhibiting the most problems. Ironically, it was the system most riders wanted to see come over to 29"er wheels early on. I think there are several technical reasons for its problems with big wheels. The biggest thing is that 29 inch wheels do not physically fit and work on rims the same way that 26 inch tires and rims do. Several companies have realized this, and engineered systems that account for that difference. UST has not accounted for that, and it is why I believe it will eventually be discontinued as a way to run tubeless for 29"er riders.
Bontrager's TLR rim strip idea is a brilliant way to go tubeless, and I wish it was an open standard. Plastic rim strip, snap in, add valve, mount tire- BOOM! Dead simple, dead reliable, and easy to install. Unfortunately, it is a Trek product, and so, only on Bontrager wheels. (But ya see that Cole wheel up there? Yeah-it has a Rhythm rim strip in it! Sssssh! Don't tell anyone- but it works great! Same with Velocity Blunts, and Edge XC rims, and......well, you get the picture.)
Then there are the various Stan's adaptations, which are either very "ghetto-tubeless-like", or are actual licensed Stan's designs. Stan's stuff is smart, and works great. (If you have more Stan's design than not) Tire makers are catching up with regards to bead/casing tech, so this style of tubeless can be a great way to go.
Unfortunately, UST still works like it did in 2007, and that is "not very well", especially if you don't use Hutchinson or Geax tires.
And You Consider This A "Good Thing"? I saw this on Twitter last night:
"PrimalWear Primal Wear RT by IowaBicycle "Rumor has it that def leppard will be playing @RAGBRAI"
Oh great! A "has been" band playing for a "has been" ride. That's rich! Really, it is a sad state of affairs when something like this is considered something to be excited about.
I know some folks will say that I shouldn't comment negatively on RAGBRAI, or anything "positive" about cycling. (If Def Leppard at RAGBRAI could possibly be considered positive in 2011. Maybe in 1988....) But really, RAGBRAI has done a lot to make cycling a joke amongst non-cyclists and cyclists alike. Oh- yeah there are good things to be celebrated about RAGBRAI in terms of cycling, but most of the reality of this ride is only good for cycling at the retailers level, and not really from a purely "cycling culture, change the way we live" sort of way. I mean, RAGBRAI is seen by most of its riders as a temporary vacation from car-culture, not as an alternative to it. The "rawk-and-roll", let's get drunk and stupid, carnival atmosphere doesn't help that along either.
Not that it isn't fun, for some folks. But it isn't the "life changer" that some maybe in the cycling world might think it is. Not by a long shot, and this Def Leppard deal is just another illustration of that, in my opinion.
Snow Dog Down: 51 Days And Counting.....