Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Fatter Fat Attack

The 2015 Blackborow DS
Saddledrive is when all the new Salsa Cycles product gets released now for the following year. I knew of a few things going into that due to Twenty Nine Inches and was aware that Salsa Cycles was about to announce a "5 inch fat bike platform". For those unaccustomed to "bike speak" that translates to a bicycle with enormous tires measuring approximately 5 inches wide.

This intrigued me, but when I saw this pale green entry shown here, I was smitten, and now I am about to tell you why that is......

First off, I have noted that since I have had the Snow Dog that running into snow which I cannot float on has been a consistent problem. Even when I got the titanium By-Tor fat bike, this problem persisted. I had various upgrade scenarios in mind, but here's the thing: The Mukluk fat bikes were never meant to have that big, five inch wide tire on a 100mm rim stuffed between their chain stays. I could probably have fudged it, but drive train issues and clearances, and........Bah! So, I never got too serious about getting down to actually pulling the trigger.

So, now the news is out on Blackborow. This suits my Winter escapades to a "T". The widest rims and tires on a frame designed for that. So, what is it? A single speed?'s a dinglespeed! 

If I end up with one- it may end up like this!
 A dinglespeed? Yep! Two chain rings, two rear cogs, (or as in this case, a single piece of metal fashioned into a double cog), and one chain which you can manually swap from one combo to the other. Ideally you get a "high" gear combo for faster, flatter terrain and a "low gear" combo for slugging it out on the hills and in the brush. If it is set up right the chain doesn't have to be re-tensioned or lengthened/shortened to accommodate swapping gearing combinations. The Blackborow is set up to do it without fuss. 

Now if I cannot deal with the dingle set up, I could always 1X the thing easily by getting a new, Right side Alternator plate suitable for the task. Then I could add a cassette, derailleur, and gears easily enough. Or I could tamper with the rear ratio a bit. Either way, the deal is that the wheels and tires are suited to my desires and the design is centered around those wheels and tires so it will all work well.

Salsa did some nice detailing on this one too. Stainless chain rings, chain ring bolts in stainless, a stainless dinglecog, and a KMC Rustbuster chain along with stainless steel hardware in the brakes. That's nice because I saw what commuting did to my drive train on the Snow Dog and the brake hardware looks horrid. Nice going Salsa! This would help solve my maintenance issues with fat bike commuting as well.

Sure, I could get a carbon fat bike this, or a suspended fat bike that, but this is the bike that would be practical in a "car replacement" sort of way and be my go-to rig for wicked snow conditions, which we seem to be plagued with often in Winter here. Not sure I can swing it, because, well.......these things cost money, and even though I feel it is a reasonable value, it won't be easy to scrape up the cabbage for this, and then....who knows when it would actually be available? If it works out it works out.

But there ya go- that's why I like the Blackborow!


Fargonaught said...


Any hints to an evolution of the Woodchipper? I've seen you mention it before but nothing in the rumor mill and I haven't noted it on any salsa photos.

We need another run of Luxy's. I kick myself for not ordering that bar when I could.

Guitar Ted said...

@Fargonaught: The Woodchipper will likely remain unchanged, and salsa has been hinting around at possibly doing a completely new, different Off-road drop bar. I cannot say more than that now.

Luxy Bar: it probably will never see the light of day again, unfortunately, but there is something in the works, possibly based off the Midge Bar, that might be coming in the future.

Any hope of a Luxy Bar, or knock-off of that design seems to be dead in the water as of now.