|Stainless, S&S, AND single speed capable?|
Yesterday I reported on the Warbird, the gravel road racing rocket. Today, I want to feature the bike that might actually be a better adventure/gravel road racer than the Warbird for many riders- the Vaya Travel.
Okay, maybe you think I am nuts. A travel bike? Yes- it is legit folks, and when you start digging in, this thing is probably the single most interesting bike Salsa Cycles has made since the Mukluk. Let's check out what we do know so far....
First of all, this is a Vaya. Salsa Cycles' original gravel road machine. The geometry is odd for purely road going, and it isn't quite right on single track, but put this bike on gravel and you will find out where its true purpose comes to life.
Secondly- it is steel, but not just any steel. It is stainless steel. This is cool from the non-corrosion factor, low maintenance finish, (no paint, just buff out scratches), and even the decal set is replaceable! (An extra set ships with each bike)
Finally, it is a single speed capable design. Using Salsa Cycles excellent Altenators, one could simply get their single speed on and ride away, or gear it up for that crazy hilly Guitar Ted Death Ride Invitational ride. (eh heh heh!) But it isn't for just that reason that I like this Vaya. Nope- here's the biggie. You have an option when you crack that rear mech off in a B Road, or on some other nasty-nasty. Think I am over-stating this case? Well, just from my Trans Iowa observations, I can easily list off over half a dozen instances where rear mechs ended someones day. With the Vaya, you could go on as a single speeder.
Okay- so maybe you don't race gravel. But there is that chance you might be out on a longer ride, and "pop"! The Altenator might just come in handy at that point. Big bonus points for the versatility here. While I am not 100% sure,
Icing on the cake? Why yes- yes there is! This rig will easily take your 40-42mm tires. No problems. Take that Warbird!
So for my money, this is the real deal gravel road rig from Salsa Cycles this year. While it is not offered in titanium, the stainless is almost as nice, and with the couplers, it just adds to the value you get here. The Warbird is a single mission focused rig, in my mind, while this Vaya is the pinnacle of versatility for gravel adventuring, and still works a trick for those who want to race a gravel event from time to time. Add on Salsa's new titanium seat post, a carbon fork, and nice, light wheels, and I bet you'd be in the ball park weight-wise with a Warbird.
This bike is definitely on my radar!