Wednesday, July 27, 2016

News Season: More On Salsa And Surly For 2017

The venerable Vaya- A throwback color? The first Vaya was brown, as I recall.
More thoughts on the rest of the 2017 tweaks to the Salsa and Surly lines are in store here today. First up, the Vaya. This hasn't changed a ton since it was introduced nearly 8 years ago. We see a larger, tapered steer tube compatible head tube, and a carbon fork option now, but other than this, the Vaya is much the same steel touring/gravel/all road bike it has always been. And that's a good thing, in my opinion, because a bike like this- sensible, value packed, and versatile, is rare these days. The Vaya gets even more practical for 2017 with the addition of an 8 speed Claris equipped model.

That bike for 2017 comes in a little over a grand, and has really smart component spec. This is your gateway drug to gravel rides, touring, RAGBRAI, or commuting. It is really good at all those things, and presents the best option for most getting their feet wet in all road type cycling. Solid tire choice in the Nano 40 too, by the way. Great gravel tire and perfect on dirt, but pavement treads like the Challenge Strada Bianca 33's in the vulcanized version would really sweep you off your feet on paved roads. Anyway....

Great bike and I am glad to see it is still around. (No more Ti Vaya, by the way) Even though I just parted out my Vaya and sold the frame/fork, I really do like this bike most as a gravel road racing/riding/exploring rig. I'd not turn my nose up at getting a chance to ride another one of these great bikes.

Carbon forks on this GX spec and on the Deore spec Vaya for 2017. I wonder how stiff that bugger is.....
Warbirds are largely the same for 2017. I like purple.... Ha! This is an Alu frame 105 spec bike.

This bike is really a great road all arounder, even though it is heavily pitched as a gravel racing bike by Salsa. We like to think of this rig as a "Domane with huge tire options". It really works as an endurance roadie bike with sensible gearing and a truly smoother ride, even in aluminum.

There is a top shelf, Ultegra hydro Carbon Warbird now.
I noticed that the striped graphic is a bit more subdued this time, and the WWII inspired color schemes, (along with that Rasta one), are replaced now with tasty, nice, unoffensive colors instead.

They added fender mounts, finally, to an otherwise great choice for gravel road competition riding. I have not spent quality time with a carbon version of this bike, but I am hoping to change that this coming year. The aluminum version really does work as advertised, so I can only imagine that a carbon Warbird is a pretty sweet ride.

I like that Salsa gave riders a Shimano choice in spec for a top end 'bird. The Ultegra 11 speed group works great on gravel, as I have found in two years plus of using it. I also have SRAM on a bike, but to my mind, Shimano's stuff, at least the road groups, are a head above SRAM in terms of performance. Last year's carbon 'bird was SRAM only, so that was a bit of a turn-off from my perspective.

Supply chain logistics made Warbirds a tough bike to get in 2016, but the promise this coming year is that they will be much easier to come by. I suspect I'll see a lot more of them around at the gravel events I attend in 2017.

Surly flat bar Cross Check
Surly Flat Bar Cross Check:

Dang if I don't love a nice, sensible, urban oriented, versatile bike. They make doing a quick errand, going to the local farmer's market, or meeting folks at a bar a practical, fun thing to do. They save you a ton of money, wear and tear on the vehicle, and get you healthier to boot. Plus, who doesn't like riding a bicycle for fun? Seriously!

So when I see this flat bar Cross Check for way under a grand retail, I get really excited at first. Now this is really getting to the core of it! But then I realize that many folks that would jump on this don't see the value unless it is half of what Surly is asking for it, or more than half of that price less. It's like there is some disconnect between what people in the mainstream see as a price for a bike, (Mart bikes), and what these quality, purposeful, value packed rigs should cost. I am afraid that until the industry can figure out how to bridge that gap, bikes like the flat bar Cross Check, which should be in every freakin' garage and apartment, will be mostly lost on deaf ears because it "costs too much".

Maybe if it had an iPhone attached and came with an electric assist motor and a free Pokemon Go! capture guide book or something........ Bah!

World Tour '17 and beyond! The new Troll.

Back in the day when I did my loaded tours, (Search "Touring Tuesdays), I did them on a 26 inch wheeled mountain bike. It was my opinion back then, and still is, that a good, purpose built 26"er was going to be the ticket for a solid, reliable touring rig. In fact, back in the day, the shop where I worked had a race team that was sponsored for a year by Croll Cycles, a semi-custom shop out of Minneapolis, Minnesota. (By the way, it is where Erik Noren of  Peacock Groove got his start from). I always thought they should do a 26"er touring bike and call it the "Croll Troll". Ha!

Anyway, there is a Troll touring bike and it has 26"er wheels. Weird, huh? It isn't a Croll, but it is a Surly. I like it more than I did because Surly finally decided that it didn't need to be suspension corrected. Kudos! More of this needs to happen. (Hello! How about a non-sus corrected Fargo?) And it has the excellent Extraterrestrial tires on there, which I like a lot. I could totally see this as a 1X1 replacement vehicle for myself, with the ability to go full on touring mode down the road.

NOTE: Today's images courtesy of Salsa Cycles and Surly Bikes


Rob said...

As exciting as all the 5 figure wonderbikes coming out are, I get way more stoked for stuff like the Cross Check and Salsa offerings that regular folks can actually reasonably afford. Nice!

Doug M. said...

Too true, people will pay exorbitant sums for phones which continue to bleed your wallet each month. But bikes that cost little to maintain and save you money... sad story.

scott said...

I almost can't believe the price on the Vaya GX. Seems like the best value out there for a steel gravel bike.
GT, two questions if you have the chance to respond.
1) What aspects of the Tamland 2 would compare favorably to the Vaya GX? Ultegra on Tamland is nice but looking at their respective prices I think I would prefer the Vaya's carbon fork, apex drivetrain, and the WTB TCS rim/tire combo (nice to see a tubeless "system" like you advocate specced on a complete bike). I assume the big advantage for the Tamland is a nicer more supple steel frame since it is not branded for touring.
2) I'd love to get your comments on the Vaya's 50mm of tire clearance. Is that too much? Given all the new 40c tire options it seems like it would be great to be able to run a high volume 40c tire and still have gobs of mud clearance in the worst conditions.

Guitar Ted said...

@scott- Much of what you are liking about the vaya is personal preference. (running gear, etc), but if we're talking in those terms, I would never buy another SRAM equipped gravel bike if I could avoid it. I much prefer Shimano's function and especially front derailleur action. That said, the Vaya has the geometry I would prefer with exception of the chain stay length. finally- the front fork on the vaya is still an unknown, but I haven't ridden many carbon forks that I would advise for use on gravel. One actually, and that was a TRP fork. That's why the Vaya Deore would be much more attractive to me. Plus, it doesn't have a 50T chain ring, which is pretty useless from my perspective. I could deal with a 48, but I much prefer 46/36 front gearing myself.

Tire clearance- if they can get the cranks to clear, why not have it? You can never add more than a frame is designed for, but you can always run skinnier tires.

Unknown said...

So Surly upgraded the Troll, but not the Ogre. I thought they were siblings...