|The 2008 addition of this Fargo to my stable made a HUGE impact on me.|
Another good question is: "What bike could you get today that comes closest to what the Gen I Fargo was?
Obviously, you cannot just run out and buy a new Gen I Fargo, (or any 2020 bike, really), so it makes sense to look at what is out there that mimics the Gen I Fargo. Yes- you can get any number of custom frames or small company deals. I'm not going to look there. I'm talking about bikes you could get at a shop, that have normal stock levels, (when there is no pandemic, natch), and that are big enough companies that distribution and support are non-issues. This would fit what the Salsa Cycles Fargo is/was for adventure riders. Other considerations:
- Must be steel frame and fork
- Must have non-suspension corrected, (or nearly so) fork.
- Should feature many braze on attachment points
- Must not have modern 'trail bike' geometry, or any inkling of that
- Should have modern feature set for up-to-date drive trains, etc.
So, following are two bicycles that nearly meet the criteria, and maybe do for many of us that love Gen I Fargos. If I had to replace my Fargo Gen I tomorrow, these two examples I am showing here would make a strong case for joining my stable of bikes. There may be others, and feel free to suggest them, as long as they fit the criteria I've outlined here in my bullet points.
Now- on to the bikes.........
|The Breezer Radar Pro|
The geometry is nice on this bike. Nothing I would change, really, in that regard. The Radar Expert I rode was stable and felt 'okay', but needed component upgrades in the bars, stem, and seat post to really bring it up to anything near the Fargo Gen 1's ride quality. If anything, where the Radar fails is in the basic bones of the bike- the frame.
The steel tubing used on the example I had was nothing to write home about. It was really pretty basic. It did not contribute to the ride quality, that's for certain. The frame and fork also are not through-axle compatible, and in 2020, that is a big miss. You just have to have through axles these days to accommodate the latest in wheels. Yeah.....I could get by, but considering that and the frame tubing's very basic nature, well, I'd probably have to have this be a last option before I'd want to add this bike. It is close, but not a 'replacement' for my Fargo. Still, it wouldn't be bad for anyone not spoiled by knowing what a Gen I Fargo was like. For what you can get now, it is a good option.
|The Kona Sutra ULTD|
The geometry is a bit more progressive than the Fargo Gen I, but is probably the closest I've come across too. A touch slacker head tube angle here, maybe a hair deeper on the bottom bracket, but all things I could accept easily. That 55mm fork offset is key. Added to that is Kona's reputation for nice steel frames and this one looks like a real good candidate for replacing what I've got and it has modern amenities like through axles, braze-ons aplenty, and decent tire clearances.
Plus, you can get a frame set only. kinda just like, well.......a Salsa Fargo!
Now the big question is, "Would I pull the trigger on this bike?" Good question. I'd like to check one out in person first. That would either put me at ease with what I have, or it might push me over the edge. There is a thing that happened recently which just might provide me with an easy way to check one of these out. (hint-hint) and we will have to see if that comes through or not. Stay tuned.....
I will say that a no-single speed option is a bit disappointing. But beyond that? Hmm......The Sutra ULTD is pretty tempting. That old Fargo will never go away, but as it ages, making upgrades becomes more of an issue. I'm not ready to park it just yet, but if the right bike came along? Yeah, I'd seriously consider it if it ticked all the boxes and put a little extra in the pot to make it sweeter. Things like that aforementioned single speed option and an ability to run 650B X 2.8"ers. (Not really interested in 3.0"er 650B tires, by the way) Now if that bike came along? Yeah, that'd be really hard to resist.
Got any other good suggestions folks? Let me know in the comments.