Hands on with Salsa’s 2014 Fargo, El Mariachi SS, Warbird, and Colossal

Salsa 2014 Bikes Saddle Drive (44)

In addition to the Split Pivot mountain bikes and new fatbikes, Salsa had the rest of their line up on hand at Saddle Drive. Most of the models have been previously available, but carry small updates or big improvements for 2014 like the new Fargo above.

We picked out a few of the highlights, and put them up on the scale after the break.

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Now in it’s third generation, the biggest change to the Fargo is the introduction of the new Firestarter carbon fork. No, unfortunately it doesn’t actually include a fire starter (seems like a good idea to us though), but it is specifically designed to work well and look good with a steel frame. Often times the addition of a carbon fork to a skinny tubed steel or ti bike can look a little odd, so Salsa spend a lot of time ensuring that the new fork fit the lines of the bike while still offering dual Anything Cage mounts.

The fork uses a 15mm thru axle and is suspension corrected with a 45mm offset.

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This 20″ Fargo 2 tipped the scales at 26.37lbs (11.96kg)  and retails for $2,299 complete or $699 for the frame.

Salsa 2014 Bikes Saddle Drive (41)

Originally a limited edition, the El Mariachi SS is back as a complete bike. The SS version does away with cable guides and derailleur mounts completely – it’s SS through and through.

Salsa 2014 Bikes Saddle Drive (37) Salsa 2014 Bikes Saddle Drive (40)

Both the SS and the regular El Mariachis use Salsa’s Alternator dropouts for chain tension/wheel base adjustments, and feature a new 430mm chainstay length. The fork on the SS is also new, with the thru axle Cromoto Grande fork offering a tapered, 15mm TA rigid fork with cast stainless steel dropouts for the Maxxle.

The fork will be available aftermarket, or as standard equipment on the El Mariachi SS for $1399.

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24.82 lbs (11.26 kg) for this 17″ El Mariachi SS.

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The 5th generation El Mariachis will be offered in 2 ti and 3 steel models as well, all with the shorter 430mm chainstays. As part of Salsa’s new paint program, the Ti Mariachis get the painted front with the rest raw, all coated in clear. We didn’t get this one on the scale, but it felt pretty light.

Salsa 2014 Bikes Saddle Drive (15)

Some of the bikes will also be speced with Salsa’s new Ti seat post and annealed, double butted Ti bars. The seatpost offers separate fore and aft and tilt adjustment with a dual concentric bolt system similar to others on the market. Salsa also claims their Ti bar will be roughly 40g lighter than the competition due to the strength gains through the heat treating process.

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Colossal Ti is back with a new Ti paint job – this one looked particularly good with the blue accents.

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This Collosal Ti with Ultegra came in at 19.84lbs (9kg).

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The Warbird 3 is a new model in the gravel bike line up with an impressive retail of $1,699.

Salsa 2014 Bikes Saddle Drive (67) Salsa 2014 Bikes Saddle Drive (59)

That price includes a Whiskey No 7 carbon fork and Shimano Sora drivetrain with Avid BB 7 S brakes. 22.59lbs (10.25kg).

Comments

glagh - 08/08/13 - 5:41pm

Does the Warbird still lack eyelets on the rear? Looks like the new Whiskey fork has them. It’d be nice if you could mount up some fenders…

Justin! - 08/08/13 - 5:54pm

Dear Salsa,

All these bikes look incredible. Great Job! Your friend, Justin

Zach Overholt - 08/08/13 - 5:58pm

@glagh, good eye. I believe they are only on the front through, unless the rear has some hidden mount it’s not there.

jay - 08/08/13 - 6:09pm

The current Fargo frameset sells for $699 with a steel fork and it looks like that will still be available. So, what will the price of the frameset be with the carbon fork?

It’s a shame they’re painting the Ti frames.

Chadquest - 08/08/13 - 6:09pm

Was out riding all these bikes at Saddle Drive also, such a good week. It’s always a relief to be able to talk about them after keeping secrets all spring and summer.

The Warbird remains a gravel focused rig without eyelets. I know this is a topic of much debate for people, but as someone who has a Ti Warbird as his main bike, i am glad they are not there. Where we ride and the gravel that we have, having that extra clearance in the rear without the chainstay bridge is much appreciated when you have a few hundred miles of gravel and muddy road ahead of you.

There are dozens, and dozens, and dozens of jack of all trades bikes with eyelets to choose from, but the Warbird is the master of gravel.

Tandumb - 08/08/13 - 6:13pm

Are those alternator dropouts on the 2014 Fargo?

Chadquest - 08/08/13 - 6:17pm

@Tandumb. Correct, alternator dropouts on the Fargo now.
@Jay. Pretty sure the frameset is still $699.

I want a Fargo single speed now. Think i am going to make it happen.

Nns - 08/08/13 - 7:46pm

When do we get a carbon Fargo? Sure could grind some major gravel if only they’d lighten it up.

MulletRacer - 08/08/13 - 7:51pm

The Colossal Ti is SO FREAKING SWEEET!

glagh - 08/08/13 - 8:19pm

@Chadquest: Ok, I can understand selling the Warbird as gravel-only, even if I don’t wholeheartedly agree. The Colossal not having any such provisions makes even less sense though, since it already has a brake bridge.

Collin - 08/08/13 - 9:38pm

Completely agree with what others have said about the Collosal. The thing looks beautiful. If I didn’t do as much road racing as I do, that would be my bike.

If you guys built a Warbird for me with that paint job, I would break my promise I made to myself after dirty kanza this year of “one and done”

Limba - 08/08/13 - 9:39pm

Salsa and Specialized have a lot of cool bikes this year. Cannondale … not so much.

Dillao - 08/08/13 - 10:06pm

Finally, shorter chainstays! Now we (east coasters) are talking.

Sam - 08/08/13 - 10:50pm

@jay I totally disagree about painting ti. These bikes look great. If bare or burnished ti is your jam, you have tons of options. For me, it’s played out.

nick - 08/09/13 - 12:17am

OMG that SS El Mariachi is sweet. SO.VERY.SWEET.

bitpuddle - 08/09/13 - 12:18am

These look awesome. So tempting.

Not being a gravel rider, can someone help me understand why the cables aren’t under the bar tape on the Warbird 3?

Andy - 08/09/13 - 1:39am

The el Mar SS looks great. Any pics of the other el Mars, and has the geo changed much apart from the chain stays?

thedirktastik - 08/09/13 - 8:10am

@bitpuddle The cables are out like that because it’s Sora, think back to how Shimano has done their cable routing in the past. I think 105 is the first kit where they run the cables along the bars.

Ben - 08/09/13 - 8:31am

@bitpuddle it’s Sora

gravity - 08/09/13 - 8:45am

I’m not some kind of anti-carbon luddite, but a carbon fork on a bike like the Fargo just seems … unsafe. Everyone I know with a Fargo has used it in places and on terrain where I would not want to be left with a broken component. I don’t think that carbon forks are just failing on their own with any regularity, but I’d want to know that the bike I’m riding across the continental divide can survive a good drop, crash, spill, etc. Not sure I’d trust a carbon fork on some of the terrain I’ve seen out there, especially when mountain touring, solo.

Separately, titanium is so hard that it doesn’t hold paint well, which is why it’s so rarely done. A company like Salsa/QBP guarantees their frames and paint against defect for three years, last time I checked, and I really doubt that they want to deal with complaints and attempted warranty claims because gravel pounding the downtube has chipped away at all the delicate paint they’ve carefully applied.

brian - 08/09/13 - 9:01am

it aint 1998 anymore, gravity. carbon forks can take a thrashing.

Force - 08/09/13 - 9:11am

these bikes are beautiful. Good job Salsa. Far better than the other companies. Might have to get a Salsa after all.

Ryan - 08/09/13 - 9:16am

The Mariachi SS is in a close tie with my final decision on my new bike.

velorider - 08/09/13 - 9:52am

@sam — agreed completely. Finding a bare Ti bike is easy — they’ve been in production from myriad manufacturers since the metal was first used. Finding a nicely done painted model? now we’re creating something new.

Ask Ernesto Colnago how he feels about painting Ti….

mudrock - 08/09/13 - 11:37am

Salsa has definitely changed their way of thinking, making their models so specialized that they don’t have the braze-ons to offer an alternative use. The market for these niche models (ss mountain, gravel, etc) must be so saturated that they think this is the way to bigger market share.

Pedals - 08/09/13 - 12:29pm

Don’t make the mistake of assuming just because you don’t understand something that other people are in the same boat. The niche market is where it’s at – the big guy’s can’t penetrate them quickly either due to the inability to notice/create trends or lack of desire to compete in them. Salsa, on the other hand, has the resources, desire, and creativity to create purpose-built machines designed for a specific purpose for people who have the time, money, and desire to participate.

For every e-cyclist who spends his time complaining about the lack of fender mounts on a Warbird or Colossal there are at least one sold bike out on the road or trail that’s out there doing exactly what it was designed to do.

glagh - 08/09/13 - 1:21pm

Pedals – you might be right. All I know for sure is my thought process when I go to a local shop that’s had a Colossal sitting around since last fall and I try to justify how I’d buy it:
-Paint scheme is great! (Salsa does colors and paints pretty well IMO)
-$2600 for an Apex bike, ehhhh
-Hmm, I already have a lighter carbon road bike.
-Disc brakes: Cool, I can use this as a rain/foul weather bike!
-Waitasecond, no way to mount real fenders up. I don’t know if I want a “rain bike” that I have to strap race blades to.

Road disc brake bikes are kind of a new category. I think to sell some people on them that already have road bikes, it wouldn’t hurt to braze a set of eyelets on the back, or spec a whiskey fork rather than a $700 Enve fork that drives the price way up. I’d commute the hell out of a Colossal, but I don’t want to feel like I’m compromising that much when spending that much.

norm - 08/09/13 - 2:26pm

may want to check your scale, no way the fargo is 26lb.
way to ruin a bike qbp… what is the point of suspension corrected on a drop bar bike… however it is ugly.

Pedals - 08/09/13 - 3:05pm

@Norm – because a lot of people mountain bike with their Fargos… Also, the carbon fork drops a lot of weight.

Pedals - 08/09/13 - 3:07pm

@glagh – you’re confusing the Colossal with something it’s not. The Colossal is not a foul-weather ride, it’s your first selection for a day spent in the saddle. The Colossal is your double-century ride that hits 20 miles of dirt. If you want a foul-weather commuter get a Surly Straggler.

glagh - 08/09/13 - 3:58pm

@Pedals – I think that’s a tough sell. Why can’t it be an all-day bike with the option to run fenders come October through March? Trek figured how to put hidden eyelets on the Domane, even though 90% of the people that ride it will never use them.

I know QBP has Surly, Foundry, Salsa, All-City, Civia, etc. to manage and keep happy, and that debating this stuff on the internet is mostly pointless, but I guess I just don’t understand why they’d purposefully make a bike less versatile for the sake of purity of vision.

And I already have a Surly Disc Trucker, but I’d like to ride something lighter that doesn’t handle like an RV.

Eli - 08/09/13 - 4:28pm

I REALLY want to see those ti salsa bars. If they don’t have a ridiculous sweep, they might win over Thomson’s new Ti bar…

richNYC - 08/09/13 - 5:12pm

Not a fan of paint choices, just too ‘loud’ and garish… Prefer clean colorless titanium, or more muted colors on steel models… Not this year, sorry Salsa:( Still sticking with my original Fargo;)

JeffS - 08/09/13 - 6:25pm

On the bright side, it appears that Salsa might finally be giving up on the childish looking random stickers.

Unfortunately, they still don’t have a clue. Suspension corrected forks on bikes only sold as framesets with rigid forks?

Find one person who would refuse a Warbird if it had rear eyelets. Christ. You spend years pandering to the old man apehanger crowd and then declare yourself too cool for functional?

I liked my las cruces when I owned it, and my casseroll (the one before you F’d it up) is still my primary commuter, but something about QBP companies leaves them aspiring to mediocrity.

g - 08/09/13 - 9:58pm

jeffs just said it well. i’m not buying one either way, but all the arguments against eyelets on the warbird sound so silly.

r1Gel - 08/11/13 - 7:51pm

I never thought I’d ever consider a drop-bar bike, but that Fargo has just made it to my lust list.
the 430-mm chainstays on the El Mar’s are sweet!

alb - 08/12/13 - 9:54am

A tapered steerer cr-mo fork on the Mariachi SS. Why add that weight when a 1-1/8″ is more than up to the job?

Quinn - 08/12/13 - 11:44am

@ alb- because a lot of 29er suspension forks are going with the tapered steerer, and they want’ed it easy to convert from rigid to suspension

Quinn - 08/12/13 - 11:49am

and the geared Mar comes with a suspension for, and it is easier/cheaper to have 1 version of the frame

Alb - 08/12/13 - 12:50pm

@ Quinn – doesn’t make any sense. Just because it’s got a 44mm OS HT doesn’t mean it has to have a tapered steerer. Most of the FSA 44mm headset models are available with both 1.5″ and 1-1/8″ crown races. A rigid cr-mo fork with a tapered steerer is way OTT given the bikes’ application and will weigh significantly more than a 1-1/8″ version. See Kona Unit for how it’s meant to be done – http://www.konaworld.com/unit.cfm

Rodolpho - 08/12/13 - 12:56pm

The white one is a real beauty. Congrats!

Alb - 08/12/13 - 12:57pm

@Quinn – just because it comes with a 44mm oversize HT doesn’t mean it has to have a tapered fork. Most of FSA’s 44 mm models come with both 1.5″ and 1-1/8″ crown races for this very reason. Given the bikes’ parred-down application a tapered cr-mo fork is waaaaay OTT and will weigh significantly more than a 1-1/8″ version. See kona’s Unit for how to do it right, whilst still retaining future upgrade potential – http://www.konaworld.com/unit.cfm

jay - 08/12/13 - 4:37pm

Just heard from Salsa:

2014 Fargo Frame Only = $699
2014 Fargo Firestarter Fork = $549

Kv - 08/12/13 - 7:28pm

Anyone know if the el mar geometry changed besides the chain stay length? Head tube angle? BBhight? Etc?

dominicmd - 08/13/13 - 12:51pm

@gravity – you’re not sure about using a carbon fork on the Fargo for the Divide? Do a little google search for Great Divide Race Bikes or watch Ride the Divide. Most of these riders DO have carbon forks on their rigs.

professed - 08/17/13 - 6:37am

Warbird Ti with S&S couplings and the collosal white paint please…ultimate do anything go everywhere bike I lust for. Will build with Di2 Hydro. The best. Wow!

John - 08/26/13 - 5:49pm

Anyone know the MSRP of the ’14 Mariachi 2? Thanks!

Dave - 09/14/13 - 11:27am

My deposit was made two weeks ago: El Mar SS on the way! :)

Marco - 09/19/13 - 4:23pm

I’m definetely totally deeply falled in LOVE with Salsa byles. I WANT A SALSA FARGO Ti! It’s tremendously beautiful, attractive, irresistible!

John - 09/20/13 - 4:35pm

Once again I’m late to the party, but…

@Pedals: As much as I love disk brakes/fenders/rear rack on my steel Vaya, I’d love to have a lighter ride-in-the-rain disk-brake-equipped road bike like a Colossal Ti that would support fenders. (This just in: Rain is where disk brakes shine.)

You could be right, maybe I’m not the “target market” for that bike, but for the simple addition of a few fender eyelets, I could be.

LawnJockey - 10/19/13 - 1:12pm

I have a 2nd gen fargo and it weighs a ton, would those carbon forks fit it? Any one have info on the weight difference?

Salsa pricing is a mystery to me. Businesses strive to price their products so the consumer squirms but still opens up their wallets. Salsa seems to repeatedly go beyond that the consumer walks away from and interesting product due to sticker shock. I mean really, those prices for production stuff?

franki - 11/09/13 - 10:41am

More than 26 pounds for rigid frame with a carbon fork?
I do not want to know with steel fork. It is the weight of double suspension bikes.
What is the problem with those round tubes? They are filled…

Dolan Halbrook - 12/03/13 - 7:20pm

Still can’t believe they’ve left off fender mounts on the Colossal. Colossal mistake carried over to another year.

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