Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Salsa Fargo Complete: First look

Salsa has started to ship out 2011 Fargo completes to dealers.  We got our first three in late last week.  These bikes are everything I had hoped they would be.  They come with nice parts at a reasonable price.  The components are nice enough to work well for years, and yet are priced to keep it at a fair $1750.

The color this year is a very classy bone color with a pearl finish.  It has a really nice luster and would match just about any color of components you could want to dress it up with.  I'm thinking a Chris King brown set up with a antique brown Brooks would be to die for!

The panels are a Salsa's woodcut design.  These are really understated as well, and the darker brown compliments the main color really well.

Quality drive train components in a 2x10 format should keep this bike turning out miles for along time.  I am a big fan of the trend towards compact doubles for general bike use.  It provides the usable range of most triples while reducing mechanical complexity.  I think it just looks better too.

I love the subtle curve of the seat stays as they hit the rear dropouts.  The gentle curve adds a touch of class and really blends into the curve of the dropouts really well.  On the smaller sized bikes this also helps make room for the chain stay mounted disc brake.  Salsa's motto of "Adventure by Bike" is written inconspicuously on the inner chain stay.  I dig it.

The Fargo comes stock with WTB's excellent Silverado saddle and Cane Creek Thudbuster seatpost.  The Thuduster is a welcome addition to the build.  These are hugely comfortable at the end of a long day in the saddle.  I've loved using mine.  The fact that these are now standard equipment should make a lot of people very happy.  In the background are Continental's fine Race King 2.2" tires.  These are currently my favorite all around use tire.  From hard MTB trails to gravel, these do well in a variety of conditions and roll exceedingly well.  Another very well thought out component choice in my opinion.

Salsa brown gel bar tape matches the panels really well and in general goes very well with the overall look of the bike.

A 31.8 Woddchipper bar, Cane Creek S-3 headset and a new 4 bolt Moto Ace stem round out the front controls of this bike.  Good quality stuff all around, these do the job without complaint, and should almost last forever.  These new stems are a very nice improvement over the older 2 bolt Salsa stems.  They have a more refined look, and appear a bit more streamlined in appearance.

The new 2011 Fargo complete is a killer bike.  The new geometry is much more mtb/gravel as opposed to the older touring minded bike.  This will still end itself to offroad touring very well, but will do so in a much more modern way.  The bike will be much more at home on single track than it's older counterpart, and should make a much better all round bike for most people.  In addition, this year's Fargo can take an 80mm suspension fork.  This is an improvement that my hands welcome in certain places.  It is one of the main reasons why I will at some point own this bike.  I still love riding my original Fargo, but there are now enough reasons to legitimately own both.

Happy Wednesday all.  Have a good one.


Doug Idaho said... does look a lot better than I thought it would based on other pics I have seen.

Ben said...

Yes it does. Admittedly my photos could be better as well. It's a really great color that is hard to make fully come across in photos. I really like it a lot. It's one of those colors that a guy, (or gal,) could make mild or wild depending on parts choice.

Your saddle should be arriving tomorrow by the way!

Guitar Ted said...

Ben, I think your photos actually do a great job of showing the somewhat chameleon effect that this color has. It looks whitish in some light, grayish in others, and your photos give that to me on my monitor, at least!

I too will be getting a frame set at some point. I think I'll be setting mine up as a more dirt specific Fargo with a suspension fork for those times when Gnat gets me off road in the middle of Minnesota on one of his Fargo Adventure Rides. (You know exactly what I'm talking about, I know!)

Ben said...

I am also thinking of a suspension fork build, possibly a 1x9. I don't currently have a geared bike with a suspension fork, and there are places I wish I had a bike set up like that. This will likely be that bike eventually. The new geometry is very close to that of my Potts, which makes it even more enticing.

The Catalyst said...

Will Salsa market those stems to the public?

Ben said...

I believe they will have those stems for sale. I will knowfor sure after this weekend.

Marty said...

I've been following the 2011 fargo for a few months and desperately trying to decide whether or not it would be better to purchase the 2010 fargo off of craigslist/ebay or pony up and buy a brand new 2011 fargo. I am currently riding a single-speed cross bike and am looking for a geared all rounder for general riding, touring, and singletrack. Do you think the older or new fargo would fill this role better? The replacable deraileur hanger and suspension fork capability is tempting, but as you stated, the geometry is different. I was wondering your thoughts? Thanks in advance! I love your blog.

Ben said...


I would go to the new model. Having owned or ridden both, the new bike better suits general purpose riding and mountain biking better. The riding position is much more neutral, and the bike feels better out of the saddle or attacking hills. The suspension fork compatibility is just icing on the cake for me, but it is a huge selling point.

Let me know if you'd like help getting into one of the bikes. We have several coming in for stock, or we can build up a frame set to whatever you'd like.

Thanks for following the blog!


KrateKraig said...

What a gorgeous bike.
I want one... Dangit, I sold one bike already, to make room for the Mukluk... I still need to sell one more... I'm down to 8 bikes now... Anyone have a Fargo like this that they don't like (Duh really stupid question) that they'd trade for a 1967 Schwinn Sting-Ray 3 speed Stik-Shift? It's Sky Blue...
Nevermind... But I may have to stay away from any bike shop with a Fargo in it, 'cause I may not be able to resist the temptation of test riding one... Then I'm sure I'll be hooked for sure...
Sweet bike! Thanks.

JAGI410 said...

What's the weight of a medium one? Salsa's site still says TBD. Thanks for the great pictures and writeup!

Ben said...

The stock medium weighs 27lbs, 9oz.

Nigel said...

Ben - I'd been leaning towards a Fargo because of my intentions of doing some loaded touring, along with commuting and pea gravel trails. I love the idea behind these, but with the new geometry I'm wondering if I should look towards something that is more touring based such as the Vaya?


Ben said...


If most of your riding will be on roads or gravel I'd go with the Vaya. The Vaya is certainly a capable touring bike and would do well commuting as well. The Fargo shines when riding offroad most of the time. It has geometry that would actually work fine for fast gravel and commutes, but you may not need the suspension fork capability or tire clearance. The wider chainstays also limit crank and chainring clearance. The Fargo does have fork mounts for Anything Cages, which can also be used to extra bottle mounts. It shines with tires larger than 37-40c and certainly is more capable offroad. The Vaya has a significantly larger main triangle if you are considering having a framebag made.

So it's a bit of a give and take. Again, if you are not planning on riding offroad the Vaya may really be the better choice for you. Let me know of you have any other questions.


Nigel said...

Ben, thanks for the great advice. One thing I may like to do is possibly do some single track riding which I think the salsa would be perfect for. But most important I want to be able to load up and disappear on my bike for a few weeks. This would be my most important need, with the single track being a nice "option".

So I guess the question is, does the Fargo still make a good touring bike like Salsa used to market it towards?

Ben said...


I do think the Fargo still makes an excellent touring bike. I have many miles on my original Fargo, and I would switch to the new one if I had to choose between them. The new Fargo is still a stable, comfortable and versatile touring bike. I think the versatility is it's biggest asset over the Vaya. The added comfort of the larger tires coupled with the go anywhere on any surface would do it for me.

So I guess the easiest way I can answer that is to say that if I had to pick one bike, it'd be a Fargo. The fact that you can do almost anything on it including true mountain biking wins out for me. It also opens up the possibility of offroad or backcountry touring.

Let me know if you have any other questions, or if you'd like to talk about purchasing a Fargo complete or frameset.

llewellyn said...

Have Salsa managed to stop the death wobbles from the front end when loaded ? A few forums had remarks about this on the first models.

Ben said...

I believe they have. I've always thought that the wobble on the older bikes was caused by lack of rider weight forward on the bike. The common response to a wobble is to push further back over the saddle in preparation of a fall or to correct behavior. This would just exacerbate that tendency.

The newer bikes are more weight biased to the front, which I think will eliminate most of the possibility of that happening.

FWIW, I've never experienced the wobble on either my older Fargo or my newer one.

Anonymous said...

I have been wanting a Salsa for many years now but for some reason or another another bike seemed to replace it. I have a Rawland Drakkar that has been in use as an all arounder but lately I've been wanting to have a more offroad based bike. I can easily move all my components over to whichever new frameset I end up with but am stuck between an El Mariachi or a Fargo frameset. I am currently running a riser bar, gripshift set up and am really comfortable with it. I don't think I'd go back to a drop bar off road setup but was curious what your recommendation might be. I'll probably continue using the bike in a 50/50 capacity (on road/off road). Thanks in advance.

Ben said...

Thanks for the comment. If you are comfortable on the Drakkar with a flat/riser bar I would look at the Fargo over the El Mariachi. The top tube lengths on the Fargo's are similar to the Drakkar's per the size, which should make the swap easier for you. Other than the TT length, the Fargo and El Mariachi geometries are fairly similar.

Regardless of which frame you choose, we can easily help get you into your new bike. What size Drakkar are you currently riding?