Salsa Fargo review

Eyecatching alternative road/light off-road cruiser

Our rating 
2.0 out of 5 star rating 2.0
GBP £1,599.00 RRP | USD $1,958.25

Our review

A lovely looking bike that rides well, but is not really suited to its intended purpose
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Salsa’s Fargo 29er is a beautifully made and presented on-/off-road option, lovingly crafted from Salsa’s Classico chromoly. For local rough stuffing or as a way of expanding your commuting options, it’s worth considering. Unfortunately the harsh ride, hot brakes and potential spares issues mean its touring horizons are far more restricted than its extensive fixtures list would suggest.


Ride & handling: Enjoyably responsive monster ‘cross bike when unloaded

The minimal tread WTB Vulpine tyres and chromoly frame certainly bowl along nicely once you’ve got them going and there’s a reassuring tightness to the Fargo’s tracking that many 29ers lack.

The quick handling is also involvingly agile through the drop bars and Avid cable disc brakes will lock either wheel easily. Once you’re used to them the bar end shifters click through the Shimano XT transmission very crisply too.

This all makes for a distinctive but fun ride for mixed road/rough stuff/ugly urban commuting or even dry singletracking. As a serious tourer, though, it’s far from ideal.

For a start, the big fork – needed to resist disc brake torque at the tips – makes for a jarring ride as soon as the tarmac ends. Start loading it up and the handling feels nervy rather than reassuring and cable discs have no place on an off-road tourer. Not only are they hard to find spares for, but the lack of automatic pad wear adjustment can easily catch you out.

From experience of the same brakes on our own bikes (before we replaced them), rapid heat build-up with the small disc rotors means you can quickly hit potentially dangerous meltdown on long, even medium loaded descents.

If you’re relying on lower pressures in the balloon tyres to try to provide some cushioning under the frame then you’re more likely to suffer tyre and rim damage, too. 29er wheel and tyre spares are hard enough to come by in UK bike shops, let alone the back of beyond.

Frame: Trademark Salsa details plus all the fixtures you could need

Using smooth rolling 29in wheels in a mountain bike style compact frame loaded with every fixture boss you can think of seems like the ultimate in versatility.

With six bottle cages (including two on the rigid forks), rack and mudguard mounts front and rear, and masses of mud clearance even with 2.4in tyres, the Fargo certainly ticks all the long- distance rough trail boxes.


Detailing like the coachlined Salsa logo panel, chromed fork ends, super-neat Salsa script dropouts and Salsa’s iconic rounded seat collar in bolted form complete a very sweet looking frame.

Product Specifications


Name Fargo (09)
Brand Salsa

Available Sizes 16 Inches 18 Inches 20 Inches 22 Inches 24 Inches L M S XL XXL
Rear Tyre Size 29x2.1
Top Tube (in) 22.6
Standover Height (in) 28.6
Seat Tube (in) 17.9
Chainstays (in) 18.3
Bottom Bracket Height (in) 11.3
Weight (lb) 27.6
Year 2009
Weight (kg) 12.52
Stem Salsa Moto Ace, 90mm
Shifters Shimano Bar End
Seatpost Salsa Shaft
Saddle WTB Rocket V w/ Salsa Embroidery
Rims Salsa Semi 29er Disc
Rear Wheel Weight 2620
Rear Hub Shimano XT 36H
Bottom Bracket Shimano XT HollowTech II
Frame Weight 2290
Brakes Avid BB7 Mountain cable disc, 160mm rotors
Cassette Shimano XT, 9-speed, 11-34T
Cranks Shimano XT (48/36/26 ring sizes)
Fork Fargo Salsa Classico rigid
Fork Weight 1160
Frame Material Salsa Classico Chromoly
Front Derailleur Shimano XT
Rear Derailleur Shimano XT
Front Hub Shimano XT 36H
Front Tyre Size 29x2.1
Front Wheel Weight 2140
Handlebar Salsa Moto Ace Bell Lap Bar, 440mm
Head Angle 70
Headset Type Cane Creek S3
Wheelbase (in) 43.7