Salsa are releasing a couple of new bikes for 2013, including a new disc-equipped all-day road bike and updates to the Vaya and and a bike designed for racing gravel.
The Colossal is Salsa's newest road bike and it comes with disc brakes. Its geometry is described as a balance between the aggressiveness of a crit racer and the relaxed poise of a touring bike. So it's made for pounding out the miles whatever the weather.
Coming about after a discussion between Salsa's Tim Krueger and Sean Mailen three years ago, the Colossal is the natural evolution for road bikes wearing the Salsa name. It picks elements from different models (the lightness of the Podio, the confidence of La Raza) and their cycling backgrounds; Tim is a touring cyclist and Sean is a road racer.
Extensive prototyping, using data from all models in the Salsa range, allowed them to hone the geometry for the new bike. They made six prototypes and got people riding them around their home in California to see if what worked on the computer, worked on the road.
Turned out it did. Salsa report that the Colossal is designed to be comfortable for long rides, is stable on fast descents, isn't sluggish carves corners with the best of them. They're clearly happy with the results, as Sean goes on to say: “I believe Colossal is a solid, progressive step forward in our long line of well-regarded road bikes. Personally, I'm excited at how balanced the front and rear ends of the bike feel, combined with the truly excellent ride qualities.”
So that means, on a 56cm frame (six sizes from 51cm to 60cm will be offered) a 72.5 degree head angle combined with a 73 degree seat angle. Chainstays measure 410mm, the head tube is a shorty at 16cm and the wheelbase is 100.26 cm.
Titanium or steel frames will be offered. The bike pictured uses Enve's new disc-specific carbon fibre fork and the complete specification includes Avid BB7 brakes, Shimano Ultegra drivetrain, DT Swiss 350 hubs on HED Belgium No Brake Track rims and Clement tyres. There are plenty of Salsa logos on the finishing kit.
The Colossal 2 steel variant gets the same Enve carbon fork with Avid BB7 brakes and a SRAM Apex groupset.
A Colossal Ti complete bike will set you back £4,100, while the frame and fork will be £1,900. The steel Collosal complete bike will be £2,000 and the frame and Enve fork £900.
Salsa have a couple of other interesting bikes up their sleeves too, including the Vaya Travel. We tested the regular Vaya two years ago, a “lovely touring bike that's perfectly set up for comfortable and enjoyable riding,” described Dave in his review.
The new Vaya Travel builds on these solid roots but adds S&S Machine stainless steel couplers to allow it to fit into an airline-legal case. Alternator dropouts ease packing it into a bike box and IS (international standard) disc mounts are used to make removing the calliper easy.
Quadruple butted stainless steel tubes are used to construct the frame that visually carries the hallmarks of the regular Vaya. They've chosen stainless steel for its lighter weight and its strength – this is a bike that is going to spend time in a plane's cargo hold and get thrown around by baggage handlers, so it needs to be tough. Frame weight for a 56cm sample is 2.4kg (5.3lb).
A complete bike with a Shimano Ultegra 30-speed groupset will be available, and cost £3,900. Or the frame can be yours for £1,700.
Finally, let's take a look at the new Warbird. Over in the States races organised with large sections of gravel track are popular, and it is for this style of racing that the new Warbird has been built.
Races like those in the Almanzo Gravel Race Series can be up to 100 miles in length. The Trans Iowa boldly sends riders on a 300-mile race with a 34-hour time limit. Oh, and competitors have to ride unsupported.
Such racing places unusual demands on a bike, and durability is a key attribute. The Warbird occupies a niche filled by few others: a gravel-specific bike. Essential to racing on gravel is geometry that provides stability at speed with a balanced feel between the front and rear wheels.
The frame's compliance over the rough surface is also a consideration. Salsa use titanium and Extrolite EV6 aluminium in their two offerings. Double-butted tubing, flattened seat stays and tapered chainstays let Salsa design a smoothing riding frame. There's also increased tyre and mud clearance and there's space there for 38mm tyres.
And, of course, the Warbird is designed to accept disc brakes only, with IS mounts on the frame. Salsa will ship complete bikes with Avid BB7 discs. Cables have been routed underneath the top tube keeping them away from the mud. There's a Press-fit 30 bottom bracket and capacity for three water bottle cages.
We may not do much gravel racing over here, but we reckon this bike would be ideal for blasting canal towpaths, bridleways, muddy country lanes and everything else in-between.
How much will it cost? A complete bike with Enve fork will be £4,100, with a frame and fork package coming in at £1,900.
The Warbird aluminium complete bike will be £2,300 or the frame on its own for £1,000.
It's worth mentioning that UK importers Ison Distribution will be carrying the majority of the Salsa range in stock but some bikes, like the titanium complete bikes will be special order from the US, with a delivery time of 5-8 weeks. If you're interested drop Ison a line, details on their website.
David has worked on the road.cc tech team since July 2012. Previously he was editor of Bikemagic.com and before that staff writer at RCUK. He's a seasoned cyclist of all disciplines, from road to mountain biking, touring to cyclo-cross, he only wishes he had time to ride them all. He's mildly competitive, though he'll never admit it, and is a frequent road racer but is too lazy to do really well. He currently resides in the Cotswolds.