Interbike: Salsa Fargo, adventure touring (and commuting?)

A lot of people are having trouble categorizing the new Salsa Cycles Fargo. They’re labeling it an “adventure touring” bike. It has all the comfort for long distances of a touring bike while built as a mountain bike. It looks to be the perfect bike for long gravel roads and perhaps some adventure commuting.

One of the complaints often made about using a road bike as a commuter is the comfort issue. Road bikes are hard on the body and aren’t exactly made for hopping curbs and potholes, which you may find yourself having to do on a regular basis on a commute.

There are cross bikes, which are built to take a beating, but they aren’t built to carry a load and don’t come with braze ons for racks, fenders, etc.

This is where I think the Fargo will be a perfect commuter bike for a lot of people.

It has six water bottle mounts, standard fender mounts and standard front/rear rack mounts.

It’s built to take 29er mountain bike tires (knobby or slicks).

While I didn’t get a chance to take the Fargo out for a ride at the Outdoor Demo, I spoke to several people that did and the overwhelming comment was how comfortable it is.

So it looks to be a bike you’ll be able to carry plenty of stuff on, can take a beating and is extremely comfortable… sounds good to me!


Frame/fork: $625 (available in November)

Complete build: $1865 (available in February 09)

Click here to check out Salsa’s site for more info and specs on the complete build.

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0 thoughts on “Interbike: Salsa Fargo, adventure touring (and commuting?)”

  1. Noah says:

    I could almost get on board with this. That’s a beefy build. I see it being popular among the people who would consider a Long Haul Trucker but want something that will gleefully tackle the singletrack. That’d almost be an ideal year-round commuter rig for me if I had a spare wheelset with touring road tires kicking around somewhere…

  2. Noah says:

    Keep in mind that the price tag is still up there… but that’s almost in that “if I could only have one bike to replace the ones I use right now” category.

  3. Pete says:

    The Fargo looks awesome but I don’t think I would ever switch it out for my crosscheck commuter(racks and fenders). But for TransIowa or some of the other gravel rides, etc, Fargo would take the cake.

  4. kit says:

    Yeah I second all that. Really cool idea but the price seems a little up there for a niche you could accomplish by building out your own based on the LHT or Crosscheck, which *DOES* have all the rack mounts you could want.

    I’d love to see one in person though. 🙂

  5. jamesmallon says:

    I am not interested in a bike that makes me carry more tires and tubes than I already have for 700cc, as good as it otherwise is.

  6. JiMCi says:

    Six water bottle mounts?!? It may be “nice to have” in a car, but this a bike. With 6 full bottles, I can ride for 6 hours. Kind of a long ride for a commute… 😉

  7. Val says:

    Pugsley Lite! Really, this goes way beyond what any cross bike will do – it’s the urban compatible 29er. A tough concept to promote, but it’ll be perfect for many things.

  8. Jennifer says:

    It’s like an anti-hybrid!

    It’s so crazy, it just might work. I can see this idea either flopping hideously or taking off to become the Next Big Thing that eventually trickles down to Wal-Mart level to make up over half of the dumpster market. I suppose it will depend on how many people take the plunge with that price tag.

  9. Tim Grahl says:

    The way I picture this bike being used is for the year-round commuter that is facing all kinds of conditions. There’s not anything that comes to mind that this bike couldn’t tackle.

    Sure, 6 water bottle holders and such is overkill for a commuter… but this bike isn’t built specifically to be a commuter. But since I look at every bike through a commuter’s eyes, I saw a ton of potential here as a bike that can take anything you can throw at it.

    I think this would definitely be a great do-all bike. You could use it to comfortably get to work, go for path rides or take it out for some gravel grinders and light mtb.

  10. cafn8 says:

    I saw this bike recently on another blog, and it’s been my new favorite ever since. As a long time mountain biker I started commuting on a mountain bike, but soon moved to a road bike for the added speed and efficiency. As a “Big Guy”, however, I’m finding more and more that I miss the durability and pothole-worthiness of my mountain bike. To me, this bike, with its drop bars, bomb-proofness, big wheels and hauling capacity seems like the best of both worlds (and maybe the worst of both worlds at the same time if that makes sense). As for the 6 bottle cages. I can’t really say that I’d often use them all, but the bike does look pretty cool bristling with racks and cages.

  11. John the Monkey says:

    The frame looks a bit too compact for my taste (I like my commmuters in the road bike mould) but it’s a good concept, by the looks of it.

    On the water bottle thing, I can see one cage having the battery pack for lights, one having an AirZound reservoir, and maybe one for tools/spares, so that’s three before you even think about hydration 😉

  12. montclairbobbyb says:

    THANK YOU, SALSA DUDES! You’ve answered my prayers…. I have been searching for a steel, fat tire, big adventure touring bike kinda like:

    the Tout Terrain Silk Road

    or the Thorn eXp

    without the steep price tag

    I’ve been spending my time making Franken-creations from my Salsa Ala Carte (and 650B wheels, drop bars, etc.)… I could have just waited a few more months for the Fargo to come along…. THANKS…

    As crazy as this may seem to many (at the moment), THIS IS BRILLIANT, and SHOULD be a huge hit, whether or not it actually happens…. BRAVO!!!! BRAVO!!!!

    Belle Mead, NJ

  13. mirco says:

    Folks, let’s not forget that this bike is intended to be three things in one: 29er mtb, commuter, touring. WITH DISC. and disc only. That’s what makes this bike stand out. yes, six bottle mounts is overkill for commuting, but not for touring. In fact, you could probably jam a seventh in at the aft end of the top tube, on the underside of the tube. Lets face it, disc brakes are powerful, don’t wear out those expensive rims, and much less affected by nasty weather (although hydraulics get stiff in the cold ((which is overcome by using dot 3 in a dot fluid brake)) and the way Salsa tucked the rear brake between the stays doesn’t interfere with rack n fender mounting. And let’s not forget: Steel! it’s real! and every last village in the middle of nowhere has someone with a welder, or who has figured out how to tap into the electrical of a vehicle and use that to weld, they can fix anything. As long as it’s made of steel.

  14. heidilokibike says:

    Using a Fisher 29er for touring already. Hurray for six water bottles. Three for me, three for the thirsty dog that bonks early and rides in the trailer. If I had this one, I could stop carrying the 3L camelback.

  15. Justanoldhobo says:

    My medium Fargo with stock XT parts has been getting rung out for 10 days and I can’t say enough good about it. I was apprehensive on the size and the drop bars before I threw a leg over it and settled in the drops. I was also not thrilled about the bar ends,on other bikes I am in the hoods most often and love the STI shifting. What else was there I didn’t like, oh yeah, the color
    I decided on the medium because I plan to be off road as much as possible and wanted the buffer zone in the stand over. I am around 5’11” with a 34 inseam. Because the drops are so comfortable I feel Salsa made the right choice with the bar end shifters. Shifting would require relinquishing some steering control with STI or Kellys, etc. I was all set to start cannibalizing a 9 speed STI off another bike but now am staying with the bar ends.
    Six water cage mounts, is it too much? Well I am thinking the hook ups could serve several functions beyond carrying bottles, battery holder, strapping anchors for a multitude of camping items, and whatever your imagination leads you to. There is no downside to too many options.
    This is a bike I have been dreaming of!

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