October 23, 2013
There are three Salsa Vayas: the VayaÂ Travel, the Vaya 2, and the Vaya 3. Â Let me break it down. Â At $1400, the Vaya 3 is the tried and true quality machine put out for the masses. Â Itâ€™s got quality components in all the right places to keep the cost down and is ready to get into trouble right outta the box. Â I personally like this one best simply because of the stock Shimano bar end shifters. Â At $1899, the Vaya 2 is an upgraded version of the 3 boasting top-shelf components and modern integrated levers. Â This thing is hot. Â And at $3950, the Vaya Travel is the beautiful boutique touring bike with S&S couplers allowing the frame to pull apart and pack into a smaller box for airplane checking, trunk stuffing, train-hopping fun. Â It of course reps top of line everything. Â Do not be fooled, all versions of this bike work like a farm truck while riding like a Caddy. Ballinâ€™ ainâ€™t easy.
Labeling a bike a "touring bike"Â is a tricky thing. Â On the one hand, it presupposes that the owner of the bike is a bike tourist or is going to bike tour. Â On the other hand, it is a re-popularized genre of bicycle that inevitably gets lumped into â€œtouring bike." Â Make no mistake; you do not have to tour on a touring bicycle. Â It is simply a way to let folks know that the bike has a stretched out geometry to carry stuff and built with components to handle anything you throw at it. Â Salsa nailed all of these with a few bells and whistles to boot.
First off, the Vaya can accommodate nice thick tires in order to negotiate variable terrain. Â If you want to get a little further out there on gravel this beast will do so with championship flare since they sport Continental Tour Rides right off the floor (banginâ€™ tires). Â Second, when a front basket or panniers are weighing your rig down the stretched out geometry will actually serve to stabilize the whole situation. Â Whether Iâ€™m on a fun overnighter up north with a bottle of whiskey or slamming the streets with groceries bobbling out of the basket the Vaya had me feeling in control. Â And third, there is way more space for fenders to keep the slimy street grit off the khakis with a crease.
There is a bit of a debate about the use of disc brakes on an adventure-style touring bike (small parts, difficult to field repair, etcâ€¦), but it falls in line with the vibe of the Vaya 2 since Salsa uses a more contemporary upgraded version with integrated shifters. Â Another big plus to disc brakes is increased braking power on such steep grades in the city. Â Frame eyelets allow for secure rack and basket attachment and with two eyelets for a third bottle cage water shouldnâ€™t be an issue on bigger rides or longer days way out there.
Unfortunately, the converted mountain bike or the converted road bike will pale in comparison to the fairyland fantasy ride of a Salsa Vaya tweaked exactly to your fit. Â Throw some sweptback bars, a big front basket, and a Brooks saddle on it and call it a day. Â Or keep the road drops and rack it up front to back for streamlined commuting with panniers and more efficient power for the climbs. Â I would probably dress this baby up in shellacked cotton and a pretty little canvas handlebar bag. Â Salsa has a flagship product here thatâ€™s screaming to get test-ridden. Â So come on down to Huckleberry town and check one out!
December 13, 2021