The Warbird, a gravel and adventure bike from Salsa Cycles, is now available in carbon fibre. The US company revealed the new model on its website this week, following the official launch at Frostbike over the weekend. The new carbon frame uses front and rear thru-axles, has space for 44mm tyres (up from 38mm previously) and features rear stays designed to provide a smoother ride.
Salsa does not currently have a UK distributor (it used to be Ison) but we've been speaking to the company and they tell us they are working on establishing a new distributor for the UK. In the meantime, Charlie The Bikemonger is bringing them into the country. They tell us the frameset will cost £1,750, and a complete bike with SRAM Rival 22 will cost £2,999. There's no exact date on availability yet, but they should be arriving soon.
We’ve always liked the look of the Warbird. It was one of the new breed of bikes that took a lot of inspiration from the popular gravel riding and racing scene in the US, with space for big tyres, disc brakes and a geometry intended to provide stability when riding over unsurfaced roads. While the UK doesn't boast the same network of gravel roads, there are a growing number of cyclists who find such bikes are particularly well suited to our roads and the sort of cycling a lot of people are doing. Cyclocross bikes have typically filled this niche, but these gravel/adventure bikes are generally a bit more suited to mixed terrain riding.
The Warbird was originally offered in aluminium or titanium, this year it’s available with a carbon fibre frame, the titanium option seemingly dropped from the range. The new high-modulus carbon frame uses the same geometry as the original, and features Class 5 VRS (Vibration Reduction System) seatstays. The stays are shaped and slender, with a tall and thin profile intended to flex outwards to provide a degree of compliance when cycling over a rough surface. A skinny 27.2mm seatpost and tapered seat tube should also allow a bit of compliance too.
The frame features a 12x142mm bolt-thru rear axle matched to carbon fork with a 15mm thru-axle, so it joins the short list of road and cyclocross bikes with front and rear thru-axles. The gear cables are internally routed while the rear brake cable is externally routed along the down tube. The internal routing is designed to accommodate full outer housing, and it’s Di2 compatible as well if you want to slap an electronic groupset on it. The frame is also accepting of a 1x11 drivetrain, with a cover plate fitting where the redundant front derailleur would, to provide clean lines.
The full carbon fibre fork has a tapered steerer tube ( 1-1/8 to 1-1/4 tube) with the thru-axle we already mentioned, and will take up to 160mm disc rotor. Claimed frame weight for a 56cm is 1,210g and the fork is 495g.
We don’t have any UK prices yet, but the Salsa website lists one SRAM Rival 22 build costing $3,499. Along with DT Swiss R24 wheels, Schwalbe Sammy Slick 35mm tyres, Thomson Elite seatpost and X4 stem, WTB Silverado Race SL saddle and Salsa Cowbell handlebar, Salsa claim a complete bike weight of 8.93kg (19.7lb).
More at www.salsacycles.com
David worked on the road.cc tech team from 2012-2020. 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, and you can now find him over on his own YouTube channel David Arthur - Just Ride Bikes.