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Just In: Salsa Vaya

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

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.

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