Sunday, February 13, 2011

Bike Arrival

When I began thinking about the Tour Divide in earnest last summer I assumed that I would attempt the race on a steel hardtail 29er, most likely either a Karate Monkey or an El Mariachi. These were attractive options for a few reasons, chief among them the fact that I could get them at cost. Then I found out about Salsa's plans to update the Fargo, their drop bar touring 29er. The new Fargo adopts a more traditional mountain bike geometry and is compatible with a suspension fork, making it close to my ideal for a Divide rig. I pre-ordered a complete from Milltown Cycles, and Salsa finally delivered it a couple weeks ago. Its arrival coincided with a period of relatively warm weather, and I was able to put in some good gravel miles right off the bat. Fargo owners love photographing their bikes in whimsical, picturesque surroundings, so here is my attempt to do the same:

FACT: I have never taken a good picture in my life.

After about two weeks and three hundred miles, I'm pretty much sold on this bike as a viable choice for a Tour Divide rig. The bike eats up gravel miles, rolling almost as well as a fat tired cross bike but seemingly capable of handling a lot more. The goofy looking Woodchipper handlebars, which I approached skeptically, are surprisingly comfortable and provide a really stable feel while in the drops. I plan on making a few component choices in the coming months, and I think that the end result is going to be awesome.

As an added bonus, the warm weather of about a week ago provided me with a great opportunity to simulate the muddy conditions of the Divide on some thawing Minnesota gravel. Here's what the Fargo looked like on day three of its life:

It may be time to take my dorkitude to the next level and get some 29er fenders.


  1. Awesome, another Fargo owner. I just built up my new one this weekend too!

  2. Wow Errin, that is a gorgeous frame and a stunning build. Well done! (ie. with that much whip appeal, how could you NOT plan on showing up in Banff?)

  3. I think you made a wise choice in bike selection, I got my brand new Fargo 3 weeks ago & it's the best bike I've ever rode!

  4. I think so too. The Fargo definitely was purchased as a Divide specific bike, but I can tell its going to see a lot of use beyond this summer.

  5. mine is on the way to my LBS. hopefully build it up next week.

    how are the stock tires? i'll likely run nano's or maybe vulpines for the TD (013) - but will be riding the fargo locally on primarily gravel / dirt / and some single track. not looking to spend more $$ right now on tires - so if the conti's are serviceable for gravel / dirt - i'd keep em on.

    did you run them on the Ragnarok?\


  6. Hey Mike,

    Thanks for asking about the tires and I apologize for taking so long to respond. This blog has kind of fallen by the wayside as other aspects of Divide prep continue to suck up more and more of my time.

    Anyway, the short answer is that I love the race kings! I did use them at the Ragnarok, and put on about 2000 primarily gravel miles over the past few months. I have since hopped on the Nano bandwagon and will be using those for the Divide, but I honestly think that the Race Kings would also be a viable option. I definitely don't see any need to replace them right off the bat.

    Anyway, I hope this helps, and hopefully you're already up and rolling on the Fargo and have had a chance to see for yourself. I've been really pleased with my Fargo thus far; I know 2013 is a ways off, but are you planning to ride yours when you attempt the Divide?