Mark and I have been talking for some time about building him a touring bike. The primer for this bike was to build a versatile, modern, well manner bicycle. This bike will be used for gravel road riding, day trip and multi-day touring, and eventually a cross country trip in a few years. The bike needed to be built with robust enough parts to handle a well selected touring load, while not being ponderously heavy when riding unloaded.
Salsa's titanium Vaya was selected for the frame set of this bike. The ride quality and fatigue life of titanium lends itself perfectly to a long life of cruising all manner of roads. The geometry of the Vaya is what I would call a near perfect blend of traditional touring bike stability, while keeping the handling lively enough to not put you to sleep when the hammer's down. The fit and finish of these ti Salsa frames is top notch. It's makes a hell of start for a beautiful bike.
This bike in 55cm is beautifully proportioned. The red Chris King color pops off the titanium background. Traditional touches with the bar end shifters, natural color of the bar wrap, and honey Brooks B-17 Special really go well with the modern parts such as disc brakes and the ten speed Sram drivetrain. Looks have every bit as much to do with customer satisfaction as performance on a build like this. This bike looks as good as it will go. The steer tube is left uncut before a final fitting this week.
This bike puts money where it matters most in terms of components. Starting with with gorgeous ti frame and steel fork this bike is built for the long haul, (pun intended.) All parts that roll do so on fully rebuild-able Chris King bearings. The wheels will roll, the cranks will spin, and the headset will turn almost forever. In addition to performing really well, all of these parts are just gorgeous. The wheels and tires those previously discussed here.
Beautiful Ti welds are complimented by the mirror smooth finish on the Chris King bottom bracket.
The drive train parts on this bike are put together with Sram's X9 group. I really like these parts. They perform at nearly as high of a level as Sram's more expensive XO and XX lines at a fraction of the cost. They are durable, shift really well, look good, and are competitive in terms of weight to Shimano XT level parts. Paired with Sram bar end shifters, this should be a very durable set up.
A semi-traditional bend handle bar from Bontrager is held in place by Salsa's gorgeous Promoto Ti stem. The Red King headset really pops on either end of the taller head tube, and matches Sram's shifter color very well.
I love the lines on this bike. It just looks right. I like everything about it. It's a near perfect build for Mark's intended use, and a great example of how we like to build bikes. This bike has a killer frame and wheels, completed with solid, good looking dependable parts. I wouldn't change a thing if I built it for myself.
Happy Monday all. Have a great week.