Saturday, November 10, 2018

Minus Ten Review - 45

The first, (unofficial) Fargo Adventure Ride
Ten years ago on the blog here I was detailing the "Fargo Adventure Ride" I was on with the Salsa Crew up in the Minneapolis area. This was, arguably, one of the most pivotal couple of days I've had in my lifetime in terms of cycling.

So much happened on these days. It all started on a Tuesday. I voted as soon as I could, then a friend of mine at the time and I went on to Minneapolis to meet up with the Twin Six guys. They were still in their "small phase", located at the time in their second place they had as a headquarters/warehouse. The day continued as we hit up the single track of Murphy-Hanrahan South of the Twin Cities. Then we met with then Salsa head honch, Jason Boucher. We stayed at his home that evening. We spent the last wee hours dialing in Salsa Fargo rigs we were to ride the following day. The big day to come was an unforgettable day.

First, we awoke and had a quick breakfast and then off to the Sibley House area where we started out on our journey. We hightailed it over to another point where we met up with the rest of the Salsa Crew who were mostly on El Mariachis and Fargo prototypes of various colors. Then it was off down the trail along the Minnesota River where we stopped at one point to have "field coffee" and a first time treat for me. Kid Riemer had hard boiled eggs which he was sharing and then he produced a red bottle of sauce and said I had to put some on my egg. It wasn't ketchup. It was sriracha sauce. Something I had never had up to that point. After hanging out and yakking it up, it was time to pull out and head on over to QBP for a short tour.

We got to use the famous Nine Mile Creek ferry.
Then we wrapped up our day with a meal at a burrito place, I think, (hey! It's been ten years ago.) Then we repaired back to Jason Boucher's home and a certain exchange took place which I won't forget soon. It resulted in my taking home a Gen I Fargo, the very same one I still have to this day.

One other thing I have to mention. It was while we were riding that day that we found out our new President would be Barack Obama. Historic. So, there was that. Then it was also the last temperate day of the year in 2008. It got colder and blustery after this. You can tell it wasn't too bad by the clothes we were wearing, and trust me, we were over dressed!

Anyway, yeah..... A most memorable two days. The ride that began my love affair with the Gen I Fargo. A fitting "first ride" since it was such an adventure machine for me in the coming years. The Fargo and I have been closely linked ever since this day.

There were reviews done, of course, but I just recall being excited about doing multi-terrain stuff and, of course, gravel, on the Fargo in the coming years. I had no idea at the time that I would grow to be so attached to this bike. All I knew then was that the whole experience, the bike, the crew, the friends...... That's what really hit it off for me back then. Sadly, not everyone involved in that fateful day remain friends, but most of us do. Cannot say why that is. I just don't know........

Anyway, that's the single thing that dominated the blog that week ten years ago. I got home and immediately was spending time tweaking out the set up to my tastes and taking the Fargo out on rides that closely mimicked the "Fargo Adventure Ride" as possible. I should say here that Jason didn't ever consider that first ride I had with him on Fargos a "true" Fargo Adventure Ride, but in my mind, what else could it be? 

Already tweaked out several things on the Gen I Fargo just days after getting it home.
So, back to the tweaks. I removed the original saddle and put on my old WTB SST sparkle gold saddle on the bike that would remain there until just a couple of years ago. The Bell Lap bars came off right away and were replaced by a set of Midge Bars. Keep in mind that dirt drops/off road drops were rare back then. Salsa didn't have a Woodchipper, Cowbell, or Cowchipper bar until much later. The Bell Lap was their only suitable bar at that time.

This was largely how I had the Fargo set up for several years until probably sometime around 2012 or so when I radically changed the bike again. Now there isn't much stock on the bike at all. Everything but the frame and fork, head set, and maybe the seat collar has been swapped. But, that's kind of how I operate when it comes to stock bikes. I switch out lots of stuff. The Fargo was no exception. But with all of that, the basic way that bike fits me is like no other that I have, with the possible exception of my new Black Mountain Cycles MCD, the bike I call the Bubblegum Princess. That is very much like the Fargo in how I fit it.

While Salsa was quick to point out back then that the Fargo was a drop bar mountain bike, I ended up using it almost exclusively as a gravel road rig. My earliest impressions ten years ago of the Fargo were very prophetic in this regard. I said in a post ten years ago the following: "Even though I only did this shortish piece of gravel on my ride, I was totally stoked on how the Fargo handled the gravel. The smallish vibrations from tractor tires and the road grader were all absorbed really well by the Classico CroMoly tubing. Nice! I can't wait to throw down some multi-hour rides on the gravel aboard this rig. It will be a good one to use for this, as the water bottle count can go up to six and there is room for my frame pump which will help keep weight off my back."

In my opinion subsequent Fargo models, with the possible exception of the titanium ones, became more and more stiff and mountain bike-ish.  They lost that special magic the Classico tubing had along with the non-suspension corrected geometry. In many ways, the Gen 1 Fargo is an anomaly. I really doubt Salsa Cycles will ever pull off anything like that again, not like they did in 2008. 


graveldoc said...

I recall you riding your Gen I Fargo in the Spring Geezer ride when I participated in part of the ride about 2 1/2 years ago. I noticed how well your Fargo negotiated the extra chunky gravel on the roads on which we rode. Also, I've always liked the original gold color. No matter how many bikes you acquire, that one is definitely a keeper! Thanks for sharing your memories, Mark.

Iowagriz said...

I had to check the time/relationship of the famous MTBR forum thread - "The Salsa Fargo Thread". Sure enough, started by Guitar Ted on 11/8/ up to 61 pages of information and still a "sticky" on the Salsa forum in MTBR.


S.Fuller said...

I'm stoked that I've gotten my original Gen 1 back as well. It definitely has a unique ride feel compared to all of the other Fargos I've had. I'm looking forward to getting it built up this winter and back on the road in the spring.