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2010 Salsa Cycles Vaya Touring Bike

by Bike Shop Girl

Salsa Cycles is one of those bicycle companies that branches out and tries to do things a bit different.  They are a company that rides, and rides and rides.  Proven with Gnat and Meiser‘s personal blogs of wonderful stories and photography.  Their staff includes finishers of the most extreme long distance bicycle races, sponsors of the Clif Bar Development Racing team and swell guys all around.  They know what they are doing, designing and spouting when it comes to bikes and components.

Meet the Vaya

Earlier this week Salsa released news on their blog of a road touring bike, disc brakes, steel and smartly places braze-ons that only product designers that ride would know about.

Salsa Vaya Touring Bike

The Vaya will be available as a frameset ($540 MSRP) and as a complete bike ($1500 MSRP). Frameset includes frame, fork and Lip Lock seat clamp. Complete bikes feature a mostly Tiagra 9speed STI group, a wide ratio cassette with a 34-50 crankset. All good stuff.

Now, for the past 3 weeks I have been weighing all the pro’s and con’s of getting a new road bike.  Should I simply update my cyclocross frameset to something with disc brakes, or get a dedicated road bike for my road adventures this spring and summer.  All these speculations and thoughts were quickly thrown out the window when I met the Vaya this past Monday via the internet. Dreams of 80 mile road rides, with a rear rack attached so I could carry my lunch and digital SLR with me.  It also would be pretty awesome to show up to a sprint triathlon on the Vaya!

Sound Off!

What do you think of this steel touring bike with disc brakes? How’s the price and what would you of done differently?

Personally, I’m biased. As the owner of 2 Salsa’s, a Casseroll as my daily commuter and a Ala Carte turned into an Xtracycle bike.  I’m not paid or bribed to say nice things about Salsa, I do it because they are a good company.
 
Burley nomad 229

29 Responses to “2010 Salsa Cycles Vaya Touring Bike”

  1. Whoops…sorry. About the above bike…

    pretty nice. I like Salsa a lot. Touring though is a very varied field so I guess this one looks suitable for the intercity mainly on road touring. Off road touring is a tonne of fun and for that I would use a mountainbike of some kind. A word of warning..disc brakes can overheat on long descents if youre carrying a lot of stuff so dab/pump them.

    Regards.

    Alexis

  2. Ringer says:

    I was wondering when Salsa would unveil their 2010 bikes. I’ve been shopping around for a steel-framed touring bike, considering Salsa, Surly, Masi, Rivendell. I want more of a road bike touring bike since I don’t plan on doing much off-road, and this here Vaya looks like a beaut.

    It has surprised me that very few touring bikes have disc brakes–unless it’s more of an off-road style MTB touring bike. I wonder why? Is it because they can overheat? I haven’t had disc brakes ever, so does anyone know if that’s a plus or a minus? From what I hear, disc brakes are great.

  3. Jon Grinder says:

    I see this as a 29er version of the Bridgestone XO bikes (an obsession of mine – I’m currently having a frame built to fill this same niche). Like the XO-1 of yore, it will take a tire wide enough for casual off-road and all-day gravel riding, but is road oriented enough to not seem tiresome on the blacktop.

    I, personally, would rather have a Fargo, if I was buying a Salsa. But, that is mainly because I live in Colorado and have plans for some long-distamce mixed-terrain tours, and the bigger, fatter tires of the Salsa (and the bike I am building) would be a benefit on some of the more technical trail sections.

  4. Casey Anderson says:

    It’s a little surprising that Salsa would come out with a bike that appears to target the niche filled by Surly’s Long Haul Trucker, considering that Salsa and Surly are both owned by QBP. It’s great to see more options for people who want a bike specifically designed for touring. The geometry looks a bit more upright that the LHT, which may be good or bad depending on your tastes. The disc brakes are a great idea — I wish my LHT had them. The price, however, puts it about $400 over the LHT for the complete bike and $150 more for the frame alone. Salsa’s steel frames tend to be a little lighter than Surly’s, I think, so this may be a reasonable tradeoff.

  5. dugg says:

    not even comparable to a LHT. disc brakes are a big difference. now if the vaya had canti bosses then yes. i really want to see more disc brake equipped touring/cx/commuting bikes with 135mm rear end. why does trek use a 130mm rear on the portland? too bad the UCI banned disc brakes, if legalized it would create a bigger market for disc brake cx bikes

  6. Sean says:

    I’ve “blued” a few rotors downhilling long runs with heavy braking, but arims will get just as hot in the same scenario, potentially blowing a tire. Under heavy loads I’ll take disks over canti’s or calipers any day.

  7. Johnny says:

    That looks like one heck of a fine commuter bike. I ride a Crosscheck and find I have to replace my wheels every couple years cause I wear them out with all the braking. Disks on a commuter bike are a big plus.

  8. Kevin Love says:

    Nice bike, but it is a touring bike, not a commuter.

    I’ve got nothing against recreational cycling, but I thought that this site was supposed to be about commuting by bike.

  9. Bike Shop Girl says:

    Kevin -

    IMO a touring bike is one of the best type of commuters. It has a place for front/rear racks, tends to be build with more durable components and more times than not made out of steel.

    Yes this is a “commute by bike” but you don’t have to be commuting to and from work, you could use your bike for various reasons instead of car. Including travel, grocery runs, taking kids to school, and heavy duty transportation.

  10. mike says:

    ha.
    my wife rides her tri’s on a salsa casseroll. won’t even let me take off the fenders. and she’s still riding those ‘contact’ tires, while pedaling in flats with keen sandles to let her feet dry before the run.

    and passing folks in aero gear. ;)

  11. Bike Shop Girl says:

    Mike – we would all like pictures!

  12. Kevin Love says:

    Bike Shop Girl wrote:
    “IMO a touring bike is one of the best type of commuters.”

    Kevin’s comment:
    I do not share that opinion. And neither do the people in parts of the world where bike commuting is the standard. If one looks at Copenhagen, Tokyo, Amsterdam or Bejing, the amount of drop handlebars on commuting traffic is almost zero.

    Why? Probably two reasons. 1) The hunched over position is uncomfortable. 2) The hunched over position does not allow the rider to easily look around at other traffic and everything else around.

    As a bicycle advocate, one of my goals is to benchmark practices in cities where bicycle commuting is the standard. For an example, see:

    http://vimeo.com/4208874

  13. Gabriel says:

    From the image, the chain stays are way, way too small for a touring bike; with even modestly sized panniers, anyone with a slightly larger foot than most would end up clipping their panniers with their heels. That, and even the wheel base seems a bit small for a touring bike; judging by the photo, if you were to throw on fenders, you’d risk cliping your toe on turns

  14. jamesmallon says:

    Everyone and their opinions… as bad as me:
    - the proper commuting bike depends on the commute, and the commuter, only fanatics point to single solutions
    - drop bars are better for commutes over 5km, faster than 20km/h
    - long chainstays, and low fork trail, are better for touring, obviously
    - the opposite is more fun for whipping through the city
    - I fall more on this bike
    - all things being equal, a fixed gear is more efficient
    - hills make all things unequal
    - we need a five speed fixed gear hub
    - to run disks on a 700c wheel, you need a lot of heavy spokes to offset the massive torque
    - you don’t, for rim brakes
    - if you rock-climb, your mitts can lock up any type of brake
    - why would any bike have narrow tire clearances? Where’s the advantage?

  15. jamesmallon says:

    Oh yeah, this bike. Would have been more impressed if they’d put another inch on the Casseroll Triple’s Chainstays, given it more tire clearance, and used barcons or downtube shifters. But everyone has their prejudices. I ride in Canadian winters, and rim brakes work just fine in all conditions, with Kool Stop pads.

  16. John B. says:

    The Vaya looks nice, but I don’t see the advantages over Fargo. Fargo can do the disc brake thing for on-road touring AND has the tire clearance for the big knobbies to go offroad.

    I definitely don’t think that Vaya is a direct comparison to LHT. Frameset-wise, the Vaya has compact geometry, a unicrown fork, and, of course disc brakes vs. the LHT’s level TT (mostly), lugged fork, and cantilever brakes. Component-wise on the complete bikes, the LHT has much lower gearing with a triple chainring and 9-speed mountain cassette. The Vaya has a compact double and a 10 speed road cassette. The Vaya has STI vs. LHT’s barcons. So, in all, the Vaya is the modernists’ bike; the LHT is the traditionalists’ bike. Otherwise, they fill the same market niche.

    I suspect that the Vaya’s higher price is due to the STI levers and disc brakes, both of which are more expensive components than the LHT’s barcons and canti’s. I suppose that one might point out that disc brakes and STI are bad for touring bikes because, afterall, what if you crash and bust up your STI lever and/or disc calipers in the middle of Outer Mongolia. On the other hand, how many of us are really riding across the Eurasian steppe?

    In any case, this is a bike commuting website, not a bike touring website, so I think the Vaya would make an excellent commuter and all-rounder, especially in areas with a lot of incliment weather. I’d probably still rather have a Fargo, though, for true do-it-all ability.

    jamesmallon – get a Hammerschmit and a Sturmey-Archer S3X and you’re all set for a 6-speed fixie! Sorta defeats the elemental simplicity aspect of a fixie, though, huh?

  17. jamesmallon says:

    It ain’t the simplicity for me, it’s the efficiency. Well, for the most part true. I also like having less to go wrong, and less shifting to worry about. Weight is only slightly relevant. My Kona Paddy Wagon is not lighter than my Lemond Croix de Fer. Not to say I wouldn’t like to climb hills more easily, avoid eggbeating, and not have to grind into headwinds in high gear inches. I’d be orgasmic with three gears: 50″, 75″ and 100″; climb, cruise and descend. Those ain’t the three the S3X is giving: 42″, 50″ and 75″.

    If the Hammerschmit and S3X wouldn’t add $1000 dollars and 3kg, I might go for it.

  18. Kevin Love says:

    Interesting article in The Guardian about cycling in Beijing. Take a look at the type of bicycles in the photo at:

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2010/jan/24/beijing-cycling-capital-plans

  19. John B. says:

    james – yeah, a Hammerschmitt-SX3 combo would be pretty pricey. The only other way to get that many gears fixed would be to run a triple crankset, front de, and a tensioner of some sort. But there goes your improved fixie effeciency. No good way to do it, I guess.

    kevin – yes, all the people in China ride upright bicycles. We get it. That doesn’t mean that those style bikes are the best choice for all people in all situations. I doubt any of the riders in that photo were riding longer than 10 miles. The vast vast majority of bikes marketed in the U.S. as “commuters” are already of the upright style, including the “high end” brands like Breezer and Civia. Flying Pigeons, Pashleys, and Dutch bikes are getting trendy in many U.S. cities. I don’t think anybody is denying the inherent usefulness of upright bicycles, but the fact is that any bike that can fit a rack, fenders, and real-world tires has good potential as a transportation bicycle. I appreciate Bike Shop Girl staying on top of the industry and bringing the Vaya to everyone’s attention.

  20. Surly Steve says:

    I thought you could commute on just about any bike available.Why OH Why not on a touring bike Dr.Love? I use a LHT soon to be replaced with a Big Dummy. I am new to this site but have commuted since 1979.I would hate to find I have been doing it wrong all this time.I await your reply.Thank you so much for setting me straight. Best Wishes
    Surly Steve the single legged cycle slut

  21. Surly Steve says:

    Bike shop Girl
    Thank you for the link to Copenhagen Video. I have seen Heaven and it’s like I pictured it full of happy people on bikes.Keep Riding and stop senceless wars for oil.You have My heart and mind when you post things such as that video.
    Surly Steve

  22. NPW says:

    Dear Kevin Love,

    Stop it. One style of bike does not work for everyone. When I’m pedaling hard into a headwind for miles on my way to work, leaning forward is a hell of a lot more comfortable than riding bolt upright. Stop telling us that we aren’t actually commuting. Thanks.

  23. JH says:

    Kevin Love:

    I agree that for relatively short commutes in traffic, drop bars may not be ideal. But what about those of us with longer-distance commutes? I ride 12-16 miles each way, and I love flexibility that drop bars provide.

  24. JH says:

    Another really nice bike in the same style is the Gunnar Fast Lane. I don’t know how the frame quality of the two brands compare, but I saw the Gunnar in a LBS recently and it looked a really nice.

  25. Replica bags says:

    Thank you for the link to Copenhagen Video. I have seen Heaven and it’s like I pictured it full of happy people on bikes.Keep Riding and stop senceless wars for

  26. Alan says:

    Any experience fitting touring/butterfly bars to a Vaya? I understand that these bars allow you to stretch out horizontaly to improve arodynamics — is that true?

  27. Billy D says:

    The Vaya doesn’t have eyelets on the straight fork, does it? So no fenders or front rack, making it kind of less useful for either commuting or touring, IMO. It’s bold to put the STIs on this, but my ideal for either commute or tour would still be barcons and 7 speeds in the rear. I like the gears that the middle ring of a triple gives you, too.

  28. vi da nam says:

    [...]Salsa Cycles is working with the Consumer Product Safety Commission on a voluntary recall of about 6,500 chromoly stems. The company says the stems can crack or break. The company has received one report of a stem breaking that resulted in minor injuries. The recall involves all CroMoto S.U.L. 25.4 and 26.0 threadless handlebar stems and all CroMoto S.U.L. 26.0 quill handlebar stems sold after April 1, 2010.[...]

  29. Tasmanian says:

    I have fenders on my Vaya & my feet could clash with the front so I trimmed the fender with scissors & fitted a MTB mudguard to the frame, The chainstay is a bit short & the seat was replaced with a Brooks B17 Saddle I am still coming to terms with the handlbars.
    I have fitted a Rohloff speedhub, as I found the 2 front chainrings didnt give a low enough range, especialy for loaded touring,
    It is a very tidy bike & look forward to doing many miles on it

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