Just In: Salsa Vaya

A touring bike by any other name would ride as sweet. Or, so we hope.

by nick_rearden   April 18, 2010  

I was out when Mr Salsa dropped off the Vaya at the house and it was a good sign when I spoke to my wife on the phone. "There's a bike here for you and it's really nice." The emphasis on "really" being code for "I want one of these".

Fortunately, this one is way big for her or she'd have been out on it when I got back. Mrs. R's criteria for likeing a bike are quite simple; does she like the look of it and is it comfortable to ride?

Well, I liked the look of it, too, and although the comfort and all-round rideability will likely be assessed by our Big Dave who will frankly fit it better than me, there's no doubt that even standing still it's a mount with a purpose that says, "Head for the country."

Interesting to contrast with its stablemate the Salsa Fargo which we recently reviewed. There, for £1,599.99, the emphasis is on "adventure mountain" - fat 29 x 2.1" tyres and super-stable handling at the front end for principally off-road use.

Here for £250 less the Vaya is categorised by Salsa for "road adventure" - so narrower but still plush 1.6" tyres and steeper, tighter handling with a 1.5" shorter wheelbase for relative nippiness on mostly roads.

In truth, it's a touring bike with a wheelbase at just under 42" and "classic" 72° head / 72.5° seat - in this size - angles. 40 years ago in function this would have been the norm for full-on cycletouring but the recent trend to slope the top tube upwards towards the front has introduced a whole new world of comfortable options but startling looks that are anything but "classic". It would look outrageous if we weren't used to seeing mountain bikes.

Luckily it's the summer coming; looks like Dave's going to be doing some camping.

8 user comments

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Have to agree with Mrs R on choosing a bike! I want one.

Ruthe's picture

posted by Ruthe [50 posts]
18th April 2010 - 20:35

8 Likes

Drops and discs are obviously the look this season! The Vaya looks very similar to my Dew Drop, it just costs twice as much.

Rob Simmonds's picture

posted by Rob Simmonds [253 posts]
19th April 2010 - 10:53

5 Likes

I just can't see it as a tourer until it has a triple, mudguards and a rack on there Wink

G-bitch's picture

posted by G-bitch [310 posts]
19th April 2010 - 11:02

7 Likes

34/32 as the smallest ratio and enough braze-ons to stun a fish. Nerd Big Grin

Rob Simmonds's picture

posted by Rob Simmonds [253 posts]
19th April 2010 - 11:38

7 Likes

Stand by for more pictures now the sun is out. Rob, no doubt about it, the Kona Dew Drop is a fine machine and widely respected. As is always the way with these things, as soon as you start adding XT gear mechs it starts to push the price up. As Dave implied reading between the lines of his review of the Salsa Fargo, it is a bit more expensive than it ought to be for the things you can measure but who's to say that a bike you like the look of and enjoy the riding of isn't worth the money? We'll see what he makes of this Vaya. I love it which probably means he'll hate it. G-Bitch, yeah that compact vs triple thing is a burning issue at the mo with all the component manufacturers to a greater or letter extent extolling the benefits of compact doubles having distinct advantages over triples. Again, we'll see how it works out in reality but one thing for sure; we'll never get Californians to appreciate the joys of the British climate. At least they've given us eyes and clearance for mudguards. And there are bosses front and rear for racks.

posted by nick_rearden [859 posts]
19th April 2010 - 11:38

8 Likes

....and who knows, by the time Dave has finished his review I bet it does have at least one rack on it.

posted by nick_rearden [859 posts]
19th April 2010 - 11:42

4 Likes

Well, my Drop currently has a regular rack, plus a beam rack and rackpack. Looks terrible and it's a nightmare to get my leg over but hey, that's testing... Wink

Rob Simmonds's picture

posted by Rob Simmonds [253 posts]
19th April 2010 - 13:04

9 Likes

Hi do you know of any racks – front and back which will fit a salsa vaya? Just bought one without realising the racks do not appear ready to ship and we are going bike touring before the date??? It's a wonderful bike going to be disappointed if I cannot use it!

Many thanks

Sue

posted by susan reid [2 posts]
17th August 2010 - 17:36

4 Likes