Dirt Roads / MTB Touring, Personal setups » Outsider’s mixed terrain setup


Now that I’ve had the Salsa Fargo for a while it is time to do a short writeup about it. I got the bike in the beginning of January 2010 and since then I’ve had it out for lots of shorter rides as well as a few overnighters. Salsa Fargo is for me the perfect allround mixed terrain bike. It does all sorts of roads well, from asphalt to poor gravel roads, it excels on easy singletrack and can even be ridden on technical singletrack. On my rides with the Fargo I usually utilize this versatility and ride on all sorts of surfaces. This bike is also made for touring. You can put all sorts of racks on it and there are no less than six positions for bottle holders. I’ve settled for a lightweight packing system with a large frame bag, a handlebar bag and a rear rack on which I usually put a larger dry bag. No backpack is needed with this setup.

Salsa Fargo on a winter overnighter

Salsa Fargo in the summer

Some points about the bike itself and the basic gear:

  • I made the frame bag myself and I’ve been very satisfied with it. There are also commercial alternatives available from Revelate Designs and Carousel Design Works.
  • I opted for a rear rack instead of a large seatbag for several reasons. A rear rack is more versatile and can take panniers as well, it works better with the Thudbuster seatpost and it gets the center of gravity notably lower. The Blackburn EX 2 rack is very sturdy and still weighs no more than 590 g.
  • The handlebar bag will be moved down to reside on the new Salsa Minimalist rack, as soon as it becomes available.
  • During the winter I use the Nokian Extreme 294 29×2.1 studded tires.  My summer tires are now the Continental Race King 29×2.2 which seem quite suitable for my use.
  • The Cane Creek Thudbuster LT is necessary as soon as you start moving to real singletrack, at least if you do it for more than a few hours at a time.
  • The Salsa Woodchipper bar is very comfortable. The 46 cm 25.4 mm version also has a nice springy feeling to it, which is nice when riding a fully rigid bike on real singletrack.

The rest of my overnighter gear is just typical lightweight outdoor gear, as well as basic bike repair stuff,  and what I bring depends entirely on the weather and time of the year. Some items are mentioned below:

  • I usually sleep in an Alpkit Hunka XL bivy bag, since I feel much close to the surroundings  without any extra tents or tarps around me. If I’m actually expecting rain or there are bugs, I take my Tarptent Double Rainbow instead.
  • The 600 g North Face Beeline down bag is comfortable a bit below freezing by using it in the bivy bag and complementing it with a light down jacket. The down jacket is needed for camp life in temperatures below freezing anyway. For winter use I have a Marmot Never Summer, which is a very warm bag for the money. I’ve used it it in -27ºC (-17ºF) with a down jacket on top.
  • My old MSR PocketRocket stove is still very light and usable. For winter use I have a Primus Gravity MF.
  • The GSI French Java Press is a really nice luxury item, which I can justify bringing, since the rest of my gear is quite light and good quality French roast coffee is an important part of life! Lately I’ve been using the the GSI Ultralight Java Drip filter instead, though. Very small and weighs almost nothing.
  • The Katadyn Hiker water filter gives a lot more freedom during the summer and drinking water is never far away anymore.
  • The short Thermarest Prolite 4 has served me well for several years now and is quite comfortable. In very cold winter weather I complement it with a ordinary full length foam pad.
  • The Canon S90 compact camera is on of the best in its class. It is small and still takes very good pictures. It resides in the small home made gas tank bag, and I can get it out to take a picture in just a few seconds. If I intend to do more photography, I take my EOS 60D DSLR and 24-85 mm lens in a small Lowepro SlingShot 102 AW backpack. This is of course possible only when the bike can take the rest of the gear.


Comments (1)

GerrySeptember 17th, 2010 at 1:49 pm

Nice setup – that’s the model that I’ll be using also. Frame back, gastank and rear rack for a topcase. We’ll see if it works for me.

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