Photos via Salsa, by Scott Haraldson
Yet another Salsa retains the same name but becomes a notably different bike (see Deadwood, for example). This time, it’s the Blackborow.
Formerly Salsa’s five-inch-tire-compatible fat bike with a short rear end and longer front end to retain a snappy “mountain-bike-like” feel, the 2018 Blackborow has taken things in a bit of a different direction. The new Blackborow features a considerably-lengthened rear end – with 650 mm chainstays to be exact – designed to hold a rack, bags and whatever you want to take along for the ride.
The vision for this bike came from a desire to bring other hobbies along on a bikepacking trip or afternoon ride and the ability to use the bike as a vehicle to get to spots to fish, hunt, ski, raft, build trail or camp.
The frame retains a similar geometry to the Mukluk and Beargrease, the other fat bikes currently in Salsa’s lineup, while a “mid-long” frame allows for storage space without becoming too unwieldy. The aluminum rack is included with both the complete bike build and frameset and can hold two full-size panniers on each side and up to 120 pounds of cargo. The complete bike comes stock with 27.5 x 4 inch tires, but the frame can fit up to 26 x 4.0 or 29 x 3.0 rubber as well.
The frame also includes four standard water bottle mounts (two inside the triangle, on on the bottom of the downtube and one behind the seat tube), Three Pack bosses on either side of the fork (for the Anything Cage or similar) and a spot on the top tube for a bolt-on bag. It’s compatible with 1x or 2x drivetrains, but the complete bike comes stock with SRAM GX Eagle 1 x 12 (full geometry and specs can be found here). Complete bikes will retail for $2,799 and framesets (which include the rear rack) will be $1,499. They will be available in mid-November.
The frame retains a similar geometry to the Mukluk and Beargrease, the other fat bikes currently in Salsa’s lineup, while a “mid-long” frame allows for storage space without becoming too unwieldy. For those of you familiar with the Surly brand, the new Blackborow is probably pretty reminiscent of the Big Fat Dummy – at least that’s the first thought that popped into my head when I saw this bike at Saddle Drive – but there’s a pretty significant length difference between the two. At nine inches longer, the Big Fat Dummy falls into the “long tail” category, while the Blackborow is considered “mid tail.” This seems to offer an option for a cargo fat bike for a smaller person who doesn’t want to have to deal with such a huge bike or someone who wants the benefits of the storage space without compromising as much handling on singletrack. But, as I haven’t ridden one yet, that’s all speculation.
More info on the new Blackborow at salsacycles.com and stay tuned for our review on its cousin the Big Fat Dummy in Dirt Rag issue 202.