Analyzing the Salsa Ti Prototypes (Updated)

Updated on 6.12.12 in bold, below.

So Salsa recently uploaded their profiles of a number of Dirty Kanza riders.  Of the bikes pictured, what do we see that’s interesting?  How about the three “prototype” titanium bikes.  Respectively:

What do we see there…That head-tube looks suspiciously flared.  Tapered head-tube?  What about that fork…steel…looks kinda like a Salsa fork…but it would have to be tapered, too.  That particular one has S&S couplers on it, but assume that they’re not “stock”.  Doesn’t look like it has any braze-ons below the down tube, for a 3rd bottle mount.  Hard to tell in the picture, but it looks like it has Alternator drop-outs.  It has cable stops on the sides of the down tubes, and runs housing to the stops, then exposed, then housing again.  Will that be a design feature, or was that just for S&S-coupled bike-transport convenience?  If only the pic were a bit higher resolution…

Frame 2 clearly has the 3rd set of braze-ons on the down tube.  It doesn’t have cable stops on the down tube…it runs full-length housing to the rear derailleur, full length housing to the rear brake, and housing to a stop on the seat-tube, then cable to the front derailleur.  Again, looks like a tapered head-tube (and look how the tapered head tube pushes the down tube weld a bit higher onto the head-tube.  Interesting).  Looks kind of like a Whisky fork…but a Whisky cross fork, with a tapered steerer and disc brake mounts?  I don’t see that on their website.  Traditional downward loading dropouts, looks like a replaceable steel derailleur hanger.  Rear brake caliper mounted on the seat tube?  Geometry of the seat and top tube look similar to the last-gen Ti La Cruz.

If I were a gambling man, I’d think that this was the same frame as shown in the second picture.  Rear brake is definitely on seat tube.  Obviously has 3rd bottle braze-ons.  Definitely tapered head tube…because that’s ENVE’s tapered 1.5″ disc-brake cross fork…so looks like 395mm axle-to-crown measurement.  That bike is running full-length housing in the same fashion as bike #2, and looks to have the same standard rear dropouts and derailleur hanger…but it also looks like it has housing mounts (not stops) on the bottom of the top-tube.  It  That makes sense for an endurance racer, but clearly does not make a good setup for cyclocross shuttling.   It also has housing mounts on the seat stays for the rear brake and derailleur.  Piece of tape over the model name on the frame.  Knowing how anal-retentive the Salsa guys are, I’m guessing that the piece of tape isn’t any longer than it has to be.  That means it is too long to be covering a 4 letter word (Vaya…get your mind out of the gutter).  Perhaps just right to cover La Cruz?  I really don’t see any brae-ons for racks…which is kinda odd.

Compare those to the “regular” Ti La Cruz picture posted…

Here are my fearless predictions:

  1. Salsa’s new Gravel Grinder Ti frame will look much like photos 2 and 3.
  2. Oversized head tube, 1.5″.
  3. Disc compatible, rear brake mounted on the seat stay.
  4. Traditional bottom-facing dropouts and steel, replaceable derailleur hanger.
  5. Braze-ons for 3 bottles, size dependent.
  6. Housing mounts on bottom of top-tube, and on top of seat stays…designed for full-length housing to rear of bike.
  7. I’m assuming the down tube is ovalized at the BB, like current models, for a bit more rigidity.
  8. Looking at that third pic, the chain stays look pretty tight on the tire, just behind the BB.  Perhaps clearance for a 700x40c?  Maybe a 42?
  9. It will say Salsa on the side of the frame.  Probably both sides.  And it will take a standard 27.2mm seatpost.
  10. Geometry somewhat akin to the old La Cruz, with the aforementioned new tapered head tube.
  11. The Gravel Grinder production bike will be more like the second and third bikes, and less like the first bike.
  12. They don’t give any good angles of the BB in those pics.  My guess, and it’s purely a guess, is that the first bike has a traditional externally threaded BB.  Just because the part of the BB you can see on the third bike doesn’t look like an externally threaded BB, I’m going to guess that the production bike will have a different BB setup.  Pressfit 30.
  13. Shorter chainstays, and flattened chain and seat stays, for better vertical compliance on gravel roads.

I’m thinking that the tapered head tube will stiffen up the front end quite a bit.  I’ll be curious to see how the new bike gets distinguished from the Vaya…and what the geometry differences are.  Ya know…if the geometry is right…this could be pretty darn close to a road-bike.  I’ll be curious to see how the (I’m guessing) larger BB impacts the ride and responsiveness.

The first bike is clearly a different frame design and geometry…maybe a new Ti Vaya with alternator dropouts?  Hmmm….top tube looks about right…so do the cable stops.  Tasty.


7 thoughts on “Analyzing the Salsa Ti Prototypes (Updated)

  1. I’ve actually ridden the bike with the Enve fork. The head tube is not tapered, which should tell you exactly what it is. Also, the BB was not a traditional one. (Think current mtb Salsa stuff for answer) Still- these are protos. Much can change before production.

    • Well now…the plot thickens. So let’s go with oversized head tubes. Since you’re referring to other Salsa MTB stuff, maybe 73mm Pressfit 30? I can only hope that the new El Mariachi Ti frames have that as well…

  2. Pingback: Salsa 2013 Bikes: Aluminum Gravel Racer | ridingagainstthegrain

    • Snap. Shazam. Shoot. A few updates to correct some blind stabs in the dark, but I’m sure I’m still missing the major detail.

      Does this mean you got my postcard? 🙂

  3. Pingback: 2013 Bikes - Page 4 - London Fixed-gear and Single-speed

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