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Steel Sportive beauty from the Minnesota-based framesters

In the corner of the office today, looking all shiny and cool, is a Salsa Pistola, the American manufacturer's steel sportive and distance riding frameset. Whereas the material might be traditional the geometry certainly isn't, with a 7cm drop on the sloping top tube, a longish head tube and 74°/72.5° head and seat angles putting it firmly in the compact sportive camp.

Salsa Pistola Gallery

Salsa have used True Temper OX Platinum tubing, which adds Vanadium to the standard Cr-Mo mix. It's a light tubeset that True temper claim is more fatigue and impact resistant than most, and is strengthened by welding or brazing. Opinion among steel builders seems always to be divided between shaped or straight chainstays for maximum comfort; we've heard arguments for both man times. Salsa fall very squarely into the latter camp, with the skinny stays ruler-straight. The frame is mated with a straight blade Carbon fork from Alpha Q, also part of the True Temper group.

Steel isn't the stuff to use if you're gunning for all out stiffness at the expense of anything else, and this isn't what this frameset is about: Salsa have aimed for "an appropriate level of stiffness" that will translate into rider comfort over the long distances that the Pistola is designed to cope with. The big slope on the top tube, which will expose more post, will help with that, as will the Salsa Pro Road 'bars which are a personal favourite of mine and very comfy, especially on the drops.

Salsa's own finishing kit is used elsewhere too. the Cromoly stem is a classic and fits well with the look of the bike, which is understated enough to not make you feel self-conscious if you pop to the shops in your jeans. You get a Salsa seatpost too. The transmission is SRAM's RIval groupset with a 50/34 compact, the wheels Aksium Race; the complete bike as we're testing it weighs in at 8.8kg/19.4lb. You can choose whatever kit you want though, as the Pistola is supplied only as a frame and fork package by UK distributors Ison, at a price of £999.

We haven't been on a six-hour epic on the Pistola yet but a few rides in the signs are good: it's a smooth, responsive and comfortable road iron thus far. Watch this space for the full report

Dave is a founding father of road.cc and responsible for kicking the server when it breaks. In a previous life he was a graphic designer but he's also a three-time Mountain Bike Bog Snorkelling world champion, and remains unbeaten through the bog. Dave rides all sorts of bikes but tends to prefer metal ones. He's getting old is why.

14 comments

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John_the_Monkey [437 posts] 7 years ago
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Oo.

That looks really lovely....

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VecchioJo [396 posts] 7 years ago
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a seatpost QR!?!?!?!?!?!?!

i know some of the hills round Bath are steep but surely you don't need to drop your saddle for any of them?

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Barry Fry-up [187 posts] 7 years ago
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i like a QR, me. makes slinging the bike in the boot a whole lot easier, cause i have to take the seatpost out anyway... if you're gonna have a QR then there ain't many nicer than a Salsa, I'd bet. Hope ones are good

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VecchioJo [396 posts] 7 years ago
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is this a backlash against integrated seatmasts?

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dave atkinson [6223 posts] 7 years ago
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can you do a steel integrated seatmast? does anyone do one?

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Jon Burrage [998 posts] 7 years ago
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Very nice looking, understated machine.

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VecchioJo [396 posts] 7 years ago
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dave_atkinson wrote:

can you do a steel integrated seatmast? does anyone do one?

Speedvagen for starters

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BananaDrama [35 posts] 7 years ago
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I do like the super model anorexic look of a steel bike.

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thebikeboy [131 posts] 7 years ago
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I like the look of that Speedvagen especially those seatstays.  26

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Fringe [1047 posts] 7 years ago
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can anyone tell me what the point/advantage of an intergrated seatpost/mast is for us mere mortals... shave a few seconds of a 2 mile commute possibly but what else? (agreed it does look good).

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Hammy [97 posts] 7 years ago
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Well it's much harder to get in the boot of your car, or in to a bike box… which, er must be an advantage some how

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Hammy [97 posts] 7 years ago
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It doesn't slip… unless possibly you've got one of those that combines all the disadvantages of a long seat tube with those of a carbon seat post by plonking a short one of those in at the top.

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dave atkinson [6223 posts] 7 years ago
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The main reason to do it is that you can much more easily adjust the ride properties of that area of the frame much more accurately, so far as i can tell from talking to the designery people that advocate it

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alan.paxton [4 posts] 7 years ago
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Yet another interesting bike ruined by a stratospherically tall head tube. I can only suppose they too are pursuing the Rapha CEO market.