Salsa demo was yesterday morning out at Tranquility Park in Omaha, of course just to make things interesting we had a little rain roll through over night Friday night into Saturday morning. I showed up a little bit early to do a little prospecting to make sure that the trails would be OK to ride on and as it turned out so did Brian from Salsa. This was a blessing as I didn't bring a bike with me and was just planning on walking some of the trail, luckily Brian had a whole van full of bicycles so that we could go out a little farther and test more of the trail, which ended up being in really good shape despite Mother Nature's attempt to literally rain on our parade.
Unfortunately for me the bike nearest the back of the Salsa van was the brand new 27.5+ Pony Rustler, so I was forced to ride it for the prospecting lap. I can see a lot of these bikes being sold this year for Salsa, it's almost identical to their longer travel 29er, the Horsethief except with a different tire size. Although because they both run the new Boost hub standard front and rear and have identical geometry, it is my understanding that you can run 27.5+ on the Horsethief or run 29er wheels on the Pony Rustler... you could buy either bike and have two options just by buying a second set of wheels. My only question would be, since they are identical and can run either wheel size, I wonder how long it will be before one of the bike lines is absorbed by the other. For example they could have just offered the Horsethief in a 27.5+ option and wouldn't have needed a newly named bicycle model. I guess only time will tell but I can tell you one thing for sure, it was an awesome bike to ride.
I tried to convince Brian to just let me take this one home and say that it must have fallen off the back of the van but as you can see, he wasn't buying it.
Once it was determined that the trails were good to ride it was time to unload and setup bikes, tents and tables in preparation for the masses looking to ride. It's pretty amazing the amount of bikes they can fit into one of these vans, it was a good solid hour of unloading and assembling bicycles.
Align handlebars, secure front wheels, pump tires, check suspension, install pedals and repeat; Rick showing us how it's done.
Thankfully I stopped on the way to the demo and picked up some cream filled, glazed and frosted energy pills.
10 o'clock sharp and bicycles started rolling out of the tents and down the trails.
Of the bikes that Salsa brought out the Blackborow got my nod for best colorway, that green up close is even better than the pictures on the site... but they couldn't come up with some catch name other than just green? For 2016 the Mukluk and the Blackborow share the same frame geometry, making them virtually the same bike except the Mukluk will still run 4" tires and the Blackborow keeps the 5" behemoths allowing you to chose the best tire size for your personal application.
And they are super light weight?!? I don't think this is exactly what they mean when they say that the big tires offer lots of flotation but what do I know, I'm not a bike manufacturer.
I've ridden the aluminum Bucksaw and it's a blast, the carbon one is just as fun but seems to be much, much faster when he rubber hits the dirt. If I had carbon Bucksaw kind of money I'd love to make one of these mine, still my all time favorite Fat Bike. I also love the fact that while there seems to be a trend toward 5" tires, Salsa has stuck to the 4" on this bike, 5" might look better on paper but in my experience the 4" tire seems to be better on the trail where it matters, especially if you are trying to use your Fat Bike year round. Maybe I need to setup a GoFundMe and see if the kind folks of America wouldn't mind chipping in a few dollars for my Bucksaw fund.
While I was out riding the Bucksaw the clouds opened up and starting dousing us in liquid sunshine, chasing both people and bikes under the tents.
The rain might not have lasted long but it was long enough to bring an end to the demo ride, thankfully we were able to get quite a few people out on the trails during the fist three-ish hours of the demo.
Being the first demo I've ever worked at, it gave me a whole new perspective about what it takes to put one of these things on and that's only from the bike shop side and doesn't even touch on how much work and sacrifice guys like Brian make delivering bicycle happiness to countless numbers of people over the course of a year. On the surface it sounds like it'd be a great job but I'm not sure I could do it, I know one thing, I'll never be able to just show up to a demo ride again without having a better appreciation for what it takes to get it up and running.
Thanks to all those who came out and sorry to those who didn't make it before we got rained out, there's always next time though.