2015 Salsa Fargo 3
Feed your need for off-the-beaten-path adventure on board Salsa's Fargo 3. Salsa's super-strong Kung Fu chromoly frame features a sloped top tube for plenty of stand-over clearance, all-day touring geometry to keep you in the saddle as long as you please, and a full host of braze-ons for front and rear racks, fenders and 5—yes, 5—bottles. This rig is primed to head off the pavement and into the woods, with grippy 29 x 2.25-inch Schwalbe tires mounted on world-touring-capable Salsa/Sun wheels. The 2 x 10-speed SRAM drivetrain powers up even the most daunting climbs and ensures you have the range to get you and your gear to the next campsite. Avid's disc brakes offer smooth, high-modulation control, even when you're fully loaded or in foul weather. Salsa's own stem and Woodchipper dirt drop handlebars, as well as a sleek, supportive WTB saddle, keep you covering the terrain in comfort and control.
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I bought this bike as the ONE bike I could take to Singapore not really knowing what I would be getting into. I get lots of "thumbs up" and people asking "what is it?", my usual reply is "it's a swiss army bike". With knobby tires I can ride anything they call a mountain bike trail and with slicks I can (almost) hang with the roadies. Position is great thanks to the multiple hand placement options afforded by the bars. Disc brakes are easy to adjust and provide plenty of stopping power even in the rainy, muddy, humid jungle. I'm not a huge fan of the SRAM shifters; just personal preference, they work fine. Gearing has plenty of range. Two things to think about would be 1) it is heavy; good because it feels solid, and bad because, well, you have to pedal uphill sometimes. 2) Those awesome bars, when you have space they are a hoot, in traffic or group rides you need to be careful not to clip anything. The Fargo can take you anywhere, enjoy the ride.
Short of technical trails, it's difficult to imagine what this bike cannot do. The cromoly frame is nicely damp, which creates a smooth ride on gravel roads and trails. The versatility is superb: put on paniers and go shopping or touring far from town. Prefer backroads to pavement? Consider a Thudbuster with 3" travel -- this addition would do the trick I think. The killer app for me is the ergonomics of the handlebars. The short drops are definitely home base (super comfortable), but then you have all the other options to fine tune your ride on demand. Thanks, Jay, for pointing out the merits of the Fargo. It's the perfect ride for me in the [...].