Saturday, August 1, 2015

Salsa Cycles 2016

The all new Drop Bar Marrakesh
Here at Europa Cycle & Ski we are always excited for mid-July and the announcement of Salsa Cycles line up for the coming year. We were no less excited this time, but we were taken a bit by surprise by a couple of developments within the line. Here I will make some comments concerning the Salsa line up as it pertains to the shop, and explain why the shop is doing a few things differently this time around with the Salsa line.

First up, we weren't at all ready to see a new model aimed squarely at touring/gravel road/commuter cyclists, but we are the most excited about the bike Salsa is bringing out for these cyclists. It's called "Marrakesh" and Salsa defines it as their "World Tourer" as far as its capabilities. It is certainly all that and more. The Marrakesh has an impressive feature list-
  • Steel frame and fork for durability and good ride feel. Made with new Cobra-Kai steel spec'ed by Salsa engineers for heavy duty use.
  • Touring Geometry: Low bottom bracket for stability, longer chain stays for stability, slacker angles for comfort and stability.
  • Room for up to 29 X 2" tires without fenders. 40mm with fenders. You can keep your definition of "road" pretty broad here! 
  • The Alternator Low Deck 135 Rear Rack comes stock
  • Alternator Drop Out: Can adjust wheel base, turn the Marrakesh into a single speed in an emergency, or utilize IGH type drive trains. 
  • Brooks B-17 saddle stock 
  • Disc brakes for ultimate power in stopping a fully loaded touring bike.
  • Three bottle braze ons for frame, two for the fork, or utilize the Three Pack bosses for an Anything HD Cage for more capacity in carrying stuff. Low Rider mounts are also there as an option for those who use front panniers. 
  • Spare Spoke carrier on chain stay.
  • Kickstand plate on chain stays behind the bottom bracket to mount a traditional kickstand. 
So, as you can see, the Marrakesh isn't a "pretend touring bike", it is the real deal. All for $1599.00 and we will have these on the sales floor late Fall.

Don't like drop bar bikes? Don't like "bending over too much" when you are seated on a bike? How about a Marrakesh specifically designed for flat bars? Yep! Same basic spec only with a flat bar specific geometry.

The Marrakesh Flat Bar in Creme
We will also be stocking the flat bar version as well. We are excited about these bikes because they are bikes you can use on our bike paths, on county roads, on our single track dirt trails, (remember- it can handle bigger tires), and an all-year round commuter bike. Or use it for touring, of course. The Marrakesh would also be a fine gravel road bike, should your roads take you that direction.

To compliment the Marrakesh, we will also be restocking Salsa's venerable Vaya. The Vaya sees a color change, some spec upgrade, and a move to a 44mm diameter head tube. This is important because now you can get a carbon fork on a Vaya to save more weight. The Vaya is Salsa's "all round" road" bike that our customers have used as a fast tourer, RAGBRAI bike, gravel road bike, and as a more comfortable road bike than the traditional road race bike. Look for those to show up in late Fall as well.

Waebird Carbon
We will also be bringing in the Carbon Warbird and the Warbird Tiagra to compliment the Warbird 105 model we already stock. The Carbon Warbird Carbon is a fantastic bike that can go on any road, paved, chip seal, or gravel, and comes spec'ed with SRAM Rival 22 which features hydraulic disc brakes. The entire bike weighs in at under 20lbs, and features Salsas VRS Class 5 Vibration Reduction System which yeilds a significantly smoother ride. Maybe you just want a bike for the road with a smooth ride? This is your bike. Featuring three bottle bosses, you can go a long way and be very comfortable on a lightweight bike that is any road capable.

The Tiagra Warbird features the same aluminum frame as the 105 Warbird we already stock, but spec'ed with Tiagra for a lower price point. These bikes should show up late in the year.

Now for a word on the situation as we sit on currently in stock Salsa bicycles. As you all may know, Winter was a bust last year, and as a result, we are sitting on a pretty healthy amount of 2015 Salsa and Trek fat bikes. We have slashed prices on these bikes to make them more attractive to customers. So, if you are looking for that elusive "deal" on a fat bike, now is the time. We will not be restocking on our fat bike line until we clear out the current inventory, so we have no plans on bringing in any 2016 fat bikes unless they are special ordered.

Salsa Fargo bicycles are another area where we have a fair amount of current stock and, as a result, deals for customers. Again- we want to clear out that inventory before we make any future commitments to pull in more Fargo bikes. These are fantastic, versatile machines, so we hope to be able to bring in more in the future.

27.5+ is a big deal now, and Salsa Cycles has responded with the Pony Rustler 27.5+ bike line up. We do not plan on bringing any of those in, however; because we are really not in an area where this bike makes sense for our clientele. That said, if you'd like to special order on, better get on the bus! These are going to be really hard to get. 

Stay tuned. More coming soon!

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

A Big, Fat Sale

Get some big savings on this fat bike and more!
It is no secret that this past Winter wasn't too friendly for fat biking here. We didn't really have any good snow until late in January, then it got brutally cold. By the time the weather straightened out, many of you out there were over Winter and were looking forward to Spring. Subsequently, our forecast for how many fat bikes we'd sell was wrong. We did sell some, but not to the level we thought we would. So, it's quickly becoming Summer, and shortly we'll be hearing about 2016 models. That can only mean one thing....

A Big, Fat Sale!

Get 15% off any fat bike we have left. Models must be currently in stock. We have some outstanding fat bikes just waiting to be ridden and these all would make excellent all-year around mountain bikes or platforms for a 29+ conversion in many cases. Some of the excellent bikes include...

  • Beargrease Carbon XX1
  • Titanium Mukluk
  • Beargrease Aluminum
  • Farley 8
Check out Europa Cycle & Ski or email me for prices and sizes available. Sale is on till everything we have in fat bikes is gone. First come, first served.  

Saturday, January 31, 2015

Mechanic Classes, RAGBRAI, & More

Mechanic Classes:

We ran an intensive Mechanic Class to teach folks how to do a tune up last year which was pretty successful. This year we're going to do it again at Europa It also will be complimented by a Basic Bike Knowledge Class taught by our owner, Russ. Class times, details, and more will be forthcoming, but as of now expect that this will happen right at the end of February or during the first week of March.

The class I will teach will be modified just a bit from last time to include more about wheels and wheel truing, which was asked about last year. Stay tuned! Each participant will get a set of tools included in the fee for the class.

From RAGBRAI '14
RAGBRAI Is Coming To Cedar Falls!

The announcement was made recently that RAGBRAI will be stopping at Cedar Falls as part of the 2015 route, which traces parts of the first RAGBRAI route across Iowa. Largely along the I-80 corridor, either North or South of that a bit, this year's route should be a big deal. It goes through several bigger towns and will be well attended since it won't be a Southern route!

What this means for you locals to Europa is that the shops will be busy in the area, so get those bicycles in NOW for tune ups and repair work. I guarantee we'll be swamped in June and July, and we are already doing RAGBRAI tune ups at the shop now.

We are also seeing a big uptick in road bike sales since the announcement, so get in now and find that rig for this year's big ride.

Raleigh Willard One
Special Gravel Loop:

This year's RAGBRAI will also feature a special gravel loop in honor of Steve Hed of HED Wheels fame.  What better bike than a Willard or Tamland from Raleigh Bikes to tackle it on? Europa has both models on the floor to check out and more from Salsa Cycles and Trek that also would make for excellent gravel steeds.

While these bikes are great for gravel, they are not "one trick ponies" either. They all do any road surface well, are stable, and versatile with rack mounts, fender mounts, and can do light touring easily.

So, don't get stuck on a bike that is meant for one thing only, (racing style bikes anyone?), and start to think out of the box for your next road bike which should be able to go on any road surface whether that be paved, gravel, or dirt. Your next road bike should be more comfortable, be able to carry stuff, and also have fast, zippy capabilities while being smoother than the jarring ride that racing bikes have.

Check it out. We have hot coffee and tea for you while you browse.

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Winter-Lite Means Good Deals For You

Killer deals on new '15 fat bikes await you....
It's a new year and the Winter is about half over. As you know, it's been an odd one. Not enough snow to XC ski, snow shoe, nor to have a lot of fun with the fat bike's capabilities. Not that you couldn't still be out there doing one of these three activities!

Anyway, all this means that the "powers that be" down at the shop have instigated a plan to unleash more attractive pricing on remaining, in stock Winter gear. You could be fat biking on an awesome, hard to find Farley 8, (which makes a great, stable platform for any mountain biking adventure, by the way), or a rare Titanium Mukluk, or the exotic, 24lb Carbon Beargrease 1.

This also includes snow shoes and XC skis. Get 'em while they are priced low. This only lats through the end of January.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Salsa Cycles New Anything Cage HD And More!

Field testing the Anything Cage HD recently.
Today Salsa Cycles announced a new component for Fargos, Mukluks, and Blackborow fat bikes that are equipped with the Three Pack bosses on their forks and down tubes. It is a nylon reinforced plastic rack/cage for carrying roundish objects like tents, dry sacks, or what have you. I got to field test a pair on my awesome Blackborow DS and you can read my review of the Anything Cage HD's HERE. Salsa Cycles has a nice post on the development of this product you can read HERE.

We can hook you up with a set of Anything Cage HD's for your bike, or if you'd like to check them out on my bike, let me know and I can arrange for that. These will be a great addition to any Salsa bike with Three Pack bosses and could really help you "Adventure By Bike" be that on the Tour Divide, camping trips locally, or just for running errands.

2014 Mukluk Forks were recalled. Did you get yours checked?
Mukluk Fork Recall:

Salsa Cycles has issued a recall of Aluminum Bearpaw forks as used on 2014 Mukluk 3, Mukluk 2, and Titanium Mukluk bikes. If you own one of these bikes, and you have not had your fork checked out, please see the recall notice HERE, stop riding your bike immediately, and see a Salsa Cycles Dealer for your solution. 

Here's what you can expect: At Europa Cycle & Ski, we contacted all owners of Mukluk 3, Mukluk 2, and Titanium Mukluks that were purchased from Europa Cycle & Ski. Those bikes were checked and 100% of them were in the recall. Next, we offered the Carbon fork upgrade option or just to have the original fork replaced. Upon getting confirmation of which way the customer wanted to go, it typically took two working days to receive and replace the forks at no charge to the customer, (original fork replacement only), or at a modest upcharge, (Carbon option is $200.00 and includes through axle, end caps, and a carbon fork plug for the steer tube.)

So, if you are reading this out there and haven't gotten your 2014 Mukluk checked out, do it NOW!!

Custom 2013 Mukluk 2 trade in.
Killer Muk 2 Trade In:

Looking for a super-sweet Mukluk in a size Medium for a song? Look no futher than this highly customized Mukluk 2 built from a frame and fork for a local rider that just traded up to a Carbon Beargrease 2.

This bike features the alternate black/purple scheme for the Mukluk 2 from 2013 and is super rare. Add to this the impossible to obtain Limited Edition Purple Rolling Darryl rims laced to Mukluk 2 hubs.

The bike also features custom purple anodized bits like the head set spacers, cable ferrules, and even the cable crimp ons are purple anodized! This amazing looking bike, a one of a kind you'll never see anywhere else, was meticulously maintained by the previous owner and is in almost mint condition save for a few very hard to find mars in the paint in the usual places. Really- this bike looks almost brand new!

Check it out today at Europa Cycle & Ski. It won't last long at our price.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Blackborow And Blackborow DS: Salsa Cycles New Fat Bike Platform

Blackborow is the ultra-flotation fat bike from Salsa Cycles
Hey there! Today I want to walk all of you through Salsa Cycles' newest fat bike platform- Blackborow. I'll share a video which gets to the specific technical features of this model line hosted by Salsa Cycles' product engineer, Pete Koski in a minute. First, I wanted to answer the obvious question many of you may have about the Blackborow bikes, "Why do we need fatter fat bike tires?"

In other words, we already have these gigantic 3.8"-4.0" fat bike tires, so what in the world would you do with these things? Aren't they just going to slow you down and make the bike harder to ride?

Okay- maybe there are more questions than just one! 

First off, I will tell you from personal experiences that a fat bike just may spark an interest in you to take the bike to the least obvious places to ride a bike that you can think up. When I got my first Mukluk which was shod with 3.8 inch tires in 2011, I went for the whole snow biking thing. I found snowmobile trails were a ton of fun to track down, and sometimes, if conditions weren't just perfect, my rear tire was apt to bust through that crust that the tracks of snowmobiles make and forward progress was tougher. 

My original Mukluk with 3.8" Larry tires
Then in Summer, I found out that the super low lake levels meant that there was a ton of sand and muck to traverse. Ordinarily, I could never have ridden a bike here, and the fat bike was allowing me to do a lot more than I ever could before, but it also still did the things my other mountain bikes did as well. I had an ever expanding palette of places to ride. More than ever before. Exploring places to ride became a much looked forward to activity. However; there was always the thing in my mind that said, What if you had even better flotation? 

The fat bike world was and still is changing very quickly, but one thing is certain, the Alaskan idea of ultra-flotation bikes, sparked by Surly's leading with the Big Fat Larry tire, has resulted in a new, wider tire platform that has proven to remain as nimble as 3.8" tires but far more capable in terms of going off the beaten path. The newest tires are all 4.5" to almost 5" wide, and because that plays havoc with the previous 170mm wide rear spacing, the newest fat bikes are all using a standard based on a 190mm rear end. Blackborow follows suit, but with its through axle, which sets wider than a traditional quick release, the over lock dimension is actually 197mm out back.

Blackborow DS: A "dual" single speed drivetrain fat bike
So- the bigger frames and tires allow you to go deeper into territory that dictates the use of the most flotation and stability that you can get. Muddy, marshy lands? No problem. Deep, loose sandy and rocky areas? Yes. Snow that's 6 inches deep and shifty? Go for it. Blackborow and its wide, 100mm Surly Clown Shoe rims shod with 4.8" Lou tires can handle whatever the territory dishes out.

Now you need a technically advanced frame and fork to deal with that huge wheel, and the Blackborow has that. (See the video link below) But if you are into really getting off track, the Blackborow family has another choice that may be right up your alley- The Blackborow DS. Eschewing derailleurs, which can get clogged or hung up on rocks, weeds, and sticks, the DS, (or Dinglespeed- see the video!), can safely go into the craziest terrain and get you back out again.

So, backing up to my original thoughts- The older Mukluk I had showed me I needed more flotation to go to the places I wanted to go more effectively and with less effort. Bigger, floaty-er tires were going to help, but my old Mukluk wouldn't really work with them. Especially not on wider rims like the Clown Shoes, which help maximize flotation. The Blackborow solves my desires in that area and allows for a full drive train set up with no chain contact on the rear tire. However; I decided to go with the dingle speed set up, because I want to go to the really crazy places, and derailleurs may not be a wise idea!

Anyway, check out what Pete has to lay on ya below and then come in to Europa Cycle & Ski to see these new fat bikes yourself. Plus, we have the Trek fat bikes along with other cool Salsa rigs to check out as well.


Sunday, October 19, 2014

Mukluk Ti- Overview Of The 2015 Model

The 2015 Mukluk Ti

Mukluk Ti- Overview Of The 2015 Model : by Guitar Ted

The Mukluk line is Salsa Cycles' core fat bike offering. Salsa Cycles introduced a titanium Mukluk first for the 2012 model year and they have consistently upgraded this bike into the super-versatile, do anything anywhere bike that it is as you see it here. Before I get into the specific things that make the Mukluk Ti unique in the Mukluk line, let's see the basic features of this model.....
  • Frame: Seamless, triple butted 3/2.5 titanium alloy frame tubing. 
  • Fork: The new, ground breaking, game changer that is the Rock Shox Bluto. (A discussion about a suspension fork on a fat bike will follow these feature listings.)
  • Alternator Drop Outs: Make for a very versatile set up. Single speed, Rohloff specific, and geared versions of this drop out are available for this frame depending upon your preferences. Plus- A longer or shorter wheel base can be selected depending upon load carrying/terrain demands. 
  • Wheels: Rolling Darryl rims with cutouts for weight savings and a great balance between flotation and trail performance. Surly Nate 120TPI folding bead tires for ultimate grip in all situations. Salsa Conversion hubs with the front being the "new" standard of 150mm, which will be the go to width for fat bike front hubs going forward. 
  • Drive Train: SRAM X1 fat bike drive train featuring an 11 speed, wide range cassette with a Type 2 rear derailleur for "slap free" and stable chain performance. No front derailleur eliminates the muck gathering component and cleans up the handle bar with one less shitfer and cable to maintain. 
  • Components: Premium Thomson components, WTB Pure V saddle, New SRAM Guide Brakes, and Salsa finishing kit put a worthy finishing touch on this top-shelf model.
Okay, so two things about this model that we get asked most often about are the "need for a suspension fork on a fat bike", and whether or not titanium really makes a difference in the ride versus the aluminum. First, the ride question.....

From personal experience with my aluminum Mukluk and my titanium Mukluk, the answer to the ride question is, "Definitely yes. The difference in smoothness is very noticeable with the titanium frame." Not only that, but the titanium frame is corrosion resistant, and the aesthetics are nicer on the titanium version versus the aluminum Mukluk. The titanium details concerning the ride quality alone are worth the upgrade though.

Now for the suspension fork- The fat tires have a degree of suspension absorbing ride feel for sure, however, the tires get bouncy. There is no rebound control at all. With a suspension fork, the fork damper works in concert with the tire to provide a much more controllable ride feel along with a deeper, smoother bump absorbing performance. You will get better traction up front, plus the Mukluk Ti becomes an all year around bike, capable of going faster around corners and over bumpy terrain than many traditional 29"ers or 27.5"er hard tail mountain bikes. The bottom line is that the Bluto fork makes the Mukluk more versatile, faster, and more fun.

That said, a carbon Makwa fork from Salsa is compatible with the Mukluk Ti for those who insist on or want the rigid fork option.

Conclusion: The Mukluk Ti is Salsa Cycles most refined, all around capable fat bike. It has options galore, unlike anything else in the fat bike line up from Salsa, or other fat bike producing marques, for that matter. If you can only have one fat bike, this is the one to aspire to. The Mukluk Ti has you covered in any situation you might find yourself in. Come on down and see this beauty, or any of the other fat bikes we have on the floor at Europa Cycle & Ski soon!