Before I get started here, you need to know that I work for Salsa Cycles. This frameset is a prototype frameset that was brought in for development purposes. I did not pay for this frameset and one day I will return it to Salsa Cycles. It is very close to final build specifications, but I’m sure someone with keen eyes will find something that is different than what was put up on the Salsa Cycles website. For one, I will call out the decals on this bike. My bike has a peach colored “Salsa” logo and “Warbird” logo. Those are now white for production. Again, I’m sure will find others stuff if you look close enough. So…Consider yourself informed.
I’ve been doing quite a bit of tinkering and shuffling in the workshop. Several old bikes and prototypes are gone to make room for a couple of new bikes. Bikes in progress include a Mukluk for the coming winter season as well as my new Salsa Warbird. I took some time to figure out the specific place and need for this bike in my bike line up. My goal is to prepare a combination of bikes that that can tackle any terrain or experience. I have my uber capable Salsa Fargo Ti that can do just about anything. I am working on my Mukluk Lefty that I can use as a 29er or fatbike, both winter (without Lefty) or summer. I really wanted a performance bike that was lighter and faster than my other two bikes. Not that I do that type of riding all that much, but it sure is nice to have a light performance focused machine when you do. I originally was going to build a new Salsa Colossal road bike but in the end, I fell back to what I love, gravel. The Warbird is perfect for me and optimized for gravel, but with the right tires and wheels, it can be a very capable road bike as well. For me personally, it just fit me and who I am better than the Colossal.
This Warbird build and spec may seem a bit unconventional to some as I built this bike with almost entirely old and time tested components. Some of you who know me well may clearly understand my spec. This bike is a culmination of a lifetime of mistakes and not so great experiences where components fail. My philosophy with this build is to make it work for a long time all the time. The spec below is near final. I’ll call out some specific reasoning as well as parts that may go as I find different parts.
Frame: Salsa Warbird – Size 56
Fork: Enve CX Disc
Headset: Cane Creek 40
Rear Derailleur – Shimano 105 9spd – Black – I chose this because it is durable and has a good old fashioned barrel adjuster threaded into it’s body
Front Derailleur : Shimano CX top pull
Crankset: FSA Gossamer Cross – 172.5mm – These may go back to 175. Gonna give 172.5 a try to see if I can learn to spin a bit more and not just mash everything
Bottom Bracket: FSA
Cassette: Shimano 6600 9spd 12-17
Chain: Shimano 6600 Ultegra
Brakes: Avid BB7 Mtn w/160mm rotors – I will be putting new rotors on with a 160mm front and 140mm rear. I just didn’t have them ready when I built them
Brake Levers: Tektro – Don’t know model, but they are wider and flat on top. I like the surface area and the comfort they provide
Shifters: Shimano 9spd Bar Con – Ultimate bombproof shift levers. No little parts to fall off and hit the ground after a season of muddy, wet and dusty gravel
Handlebar: Salsa Cowbell 3 – 46
Stem: Prototype Salsa ProMoto Ti – 110mm
Tape: Salsa Gel Cork
Saddle: Fizik Aliante Gama XM
Seatpost: Eriksen titanium 27.2mm
Seatclamp: Salsa Lip Lock 32.0mm
Rims: Edge (now Enve) Composits XC carbon rims
Hubs: DT-Swiss 240 hubs
Spokes: DT Swiss Competition
Skewers: New Salsa Flip Offs
Tires: Conti SpeedCross 700×42 – These will change to something Clement when they wear out.
Tubes: Long stem 700×32-38
Rimtape: Rox Ultralight
Revelate Designs Tangle Bag – I may try to move away from this to make the bike feel lighter. I think I can get by with my gas tank bag, Arkel seatbag and my jersey pockets.
All in all I love this build and although admittedly biased, I think it is a fine fine machine. Here are a few more pics.
And here are few from my first ride in the country. I missed the rain on Saturday and got a good 3 hours in this bike. I sort wanted to post some really dirty pics and that is what I had planned for. However, it all worked out and the rain held off until later in the afternoon. Oh well, you’ll see dirty pictures here another time.
Given I work for Salsa, I won’t comment and do any type of ride review. I can just say that it works and fits perfectly into my stable of bikes. It is just what I was seeking and I can see many, many miles of fast gravel aboard this rig in my future.