Saturday, January 30, 2016

Salsa Cycles Marrakesh: Adventure Machine!

The flat bar version of the Marrakesh
Salsa Cycles surprised many by introducing a new, touring specific bike, in two formats, dubbed the Marrakesh. This is kind of a first, as far as I am aware, that a bicycle company would give you the opportunity to choose drop bars or flat bars and make the geometry work in the best possible way for either choice.

Okay, so there is a lot going on here. Let's break this down into what the differences really are. Make no mistake here folks- both bikes, the drop and flat bar versions- are COMPLETELY different in fit and feel. 

So, how can that be, really? Well, it is quite simple to just say the following, which best describes what Salsa did, in my own words: The drop bar bike is a traditional, drop bar, touring specific fit. If you are used to Trek 720's and 520's, Surly Long Haul Truckers, or Cannondale T-800's or any of their old touring bikes, you will completely understand the drop bar version of the Marrakesh. It fits the mold of the predecessors quite nicely.

The flat bar Marrrakesh, however, is a completely different animal. It doesn't fit like the same sized drop bar Marrakesh at all. We compared the flat and drop bar bikes, and if you simply cross from one size to Salsa's same size on another, the top tube of the flat bar Marrakesh is much longer. We measured a full 1 1/2" between Larges. That's a lot of front/center difference!

I didn't quite have the rack leveled here yet, but this is the drop bar Marrakesh.
In our estimation, and again- these are my own words- the flat bar Marrakesh fits best if you size it like a mountain bike. I ended up fitting best on the Medium versus how most 29"ers are Larges that fit me best. I'm a bit over 6', by the way, with a 34" "cycling inseam". So, if you've got a hankering for a flat bar Marrakesh, be prepared to look at a size smaller than you might typically take. The front/centers are long on these, and the top tube lengths are more like a mountain bike's.

So- why have both types of Marrakesh models? I think this is a fair question, and I would answer it as follows- Many folks don't use drop bars, don't like them, or if they do have them, wish they were higher and maybe would never venture to using drops at all. The flat bar Marrakesh is definitely for them. If you have shorter legs/longer torso, the flat bar version may fit you perfectly. If you want swept back bars, higher rise bars, or- and this would be my choice- Jones type bars, the flat bar Marrakesh would be great. Finally, if you want to go into rougher terrain, get the flat bar one. Here's why......

We mounted Panaracer Driver Pro 2.1" 29"er tires on one of our display Marrakesh flat bar bikes, and they fit beautifully. If you want a gravel going, dirt road going, fire road tackling touring bike, the flat bar Marrakesh would be great with 2.0" and maybe some versions of other 2.1"er 29"er treads. Oh yeah.......the drop bar Marrakesh has the same clearances. 

You can also check out the sturdy rack, spoke holder, bottle mounts, front fork with Three Pack bosses, fender mounts, and kickstand plate. Every Marrakesh has those and a beautiful Brooks B-17 saddle. The drive train is smartly spec'ed and there are disc brakes, good, solid wheel spec choices, and sharp, understated graphics. There are even constellations on the top tube to inspire a little navigation by the stars!

Come check out our selection of Marrakesh bikes soon!

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