1/ Have you noticed much increase in interest in the whole bikepacking and adventure cycling thing in the last couple of years and do you think it's a market that will continue to grow?
Absolutely, in both anecdotal and quantitative measures. The Adventure Cycling Association publishes their fiscal results and is showing significant growth in both on and off-road touring/bikepacking. The Tour Divide race and the
2/ Do you think races like the Tour Divide have had a big impact with regard to increasing peoples awareness of bikepacking, etc?
The Tour Divide, or a tour on the
3/ 29ers aren't as popular in the
Any chance the
4/ So, the Ti Fargo ... was it designed to be the ultimate long distance, backcountry bike?
5/ Drop bars off road ... a growing trend or only for a small minority?
It’s funny…all things seem to come full circle. I’ve got a post card at my desk with Jacquie Phelan sitting on her drop bar equipped Cunningham, Mike Riemer (Salsa Marketing Manager) has a photo of himself aboard his Bridgestone MB-1 riding drop bars as well. Drop bars off-road will continue to remain niche. That’s my belief anyway. We are seeing growth in our Woodchipper bars, both in riders putting them on our bikes and others. The appeal of the Woodchipper extends beyond off-road riding to touring, gravel racing, and urban riding. I think everyone should have a fat tire(tyre), drop bar bike to keep the local trails interesting and the adventure rides comfortable.
6/ Do you have anymore bikepacking specific products in the pipeline or is it top secret?
Top Secret. In general you’ll see Salsa product continue to focus on multiple facets of Adventure cycling. Our bikes are built for adventure and we have many parts and accessories that support the experience. We’ll continue to add bikes, parts, and accessories built for Adventure. I wish there was something specific I could share…but keep your eyes open mid-late summer for new 2012 product from Salsa Cycles.
7/ Bivvy bag, tarp or tent? ... it's a hot topic in the
I’ve used all three and they all have distinct advantages/disadvantages.
I used a bivy in 2009 when I raced the Divide. I found it to be clammy, and ultimately it didn’t serve me that well. I still use it these days, but mostly in lieu of taking a sleeping bag. I’ve since cut off the stake out points and bug netting. When the nights are warm I just wear a light down sweater and slide into the bivy for wind protection. If there are bugs I wear a simple bug net over my head and slather some DEET on my ears. I find that bivy’s collect too much moisture and are far too constraining so I typically trend towards my tarp. I’m still hoping to find a good use for the bivy though.
Tents are great in groups, for bugs, and in the winter. I’ve used tarp tents in the past and now have a Black Diamond Megalight that I think is great in the winter. I’ve added a woodstove boot to the peak of mine and made a small woodstove to heat it up. While it burns through wood quickly it will warm the tent into the 40’s on a 0F day. It isn’t something I’d race with, but it is definitely a nice luxury on a tour. Aside from that, tents have an enormous footprint to lay out gear in and hide under. I suppose this could be a disadvantage in some terrain, but mostly it is a good thing. In groups, tents can actually be lighter when considering overall gear weight. My BD weighs roughly 2 lbs, where a bivy or tarp weighs 1 lbs. So, for two people the tent can weigh the same per person and provide more useable, comfortable space. I still don’t have a bug net for my tent and so I continue to use DEET and the head net. Some day…
Tarps are my go to most of the time. Currently I have a Mountain Laurel Designs Grace Solo Sil-Nylon. It’s got plenty of footprint for sleeping under. On tours, like our
In the end it comes down to choosing the right shelter for the environment you’ll be in and that is only something that can be determined with planning and experience. Who am I to say what will work in the
8/ Fat bikes such as the Mukluk are obviously great for riding on snow and sand, do you consider them viable for more 'normal' trail conditions?
I consider the Mukluk a viable option for all kinds of trail conditions, both with and without the fat tires. This summer I plan on riding it with a fat front some days and a fat rear with a 2.4 front others. I’m going to continue to play with our bike and figure out just where the limits are.
Our second Mukluk prototypes came in the heart of our summer riding season. Fortunately, the River Bottoms Trails, two miles from our offices had seen a good amount of flooding that year. It was perfect Fatbike terrain with deep sand and flood debris strewn about. The bikes saw quite a bit of time down on the River Bottoms to and from work on my 25 mile commute before the stinging nettles drove me away.
I’m not sure if you guys have stinging nettles in the
There has been chatter in the past from riders considering a Fatbike for the Divide because of the tire clearance and I was curious to see how it would ride with typical MTB tires. For the second half of that summer I rode my Mukluk with Salsa Gordo Rims and Schwalbe 2.4 tires. Now that it is summer here again in
Bottom line is that Fatbikes work well for regular mountain terrain, but the wheels weigh a lot more than a standard MTB wheel and tire.
9/ Which frame set do you sell most of?
Salsa used to be a frame and component company, but today we are focused on complete bicycles, frames, part, and accessories. In 2011 we’ve seen strong sales in our core bicycle and frame models. The Salsa Vaya,
10/ If you could only ever take one more ride, where would you go?
Easy. I would go around the world with my family. It would be an epic adventure to travel through dozens of different countries immersing ourselves in different cultures, languages, foods, and beliefs. There are several inspiring adventure riders out there doing just this. It is inspiring to see them ‘leave it all behind’ in pursuit of understanding. I’d start south through