While wandering around the social media landscape last week I spotted a new, never seen before, Salsa Cycles touring bike. The photo, posted on July 11th by musician Ben Weaver, shows a fully loaded, drop bar, triple crank, disc brake touring bike bearing the Salsa Cycles logo with the name “Marrakesh“.
Closer examination reveals some pretty interesting details:
- Shimano Deore triple drivetrain with bar end shifters.
- The brakes are the tried and true Avid BB7’s.
- Cowchippers appear to be the handlebar of choice here. They are more flared than Salsa’s CX specific Cowbells, but less so than the offroad centric Woodchippers.
- The WTB rims have no braking surface, and there appears to be no cantilever brake mounts, so this is a disc brake only frame.
- The tires are beefy Schwalbe Marathon Plus 700x38C tires. There is more room to be had for larger tires, but it’s hard to tell from this photo just how much. 700×42 or 700×45 seems to be a safe bet.
- The saddle is a Brookes C17.
- The frame has 3 water bottle mounts while the fork has another 2 mounts, which Ben is using for Anything Cages. That’s in line with pretty much Salsa’s entire bike catalog. The fork itself doesn’t appear to be one of their carbon fiber “Firestarter” models, so it’s probably the same fork as the Salsa Vaya.
- As with the Salsa Vaya, the Marrakesh has mounts for both front and rear racks.
The parts used for build itself could be particular to Mr. Weaver and his preferences, there really is no way to tell. Regardless, a brand new, disc only, drop bar touring bike from Salsa is an interesting move on their part. They currently have three 700cc based models: Colossal, Vaya and Warbird. The Colossal and Warbird fall into a race (or really, really fast touring) category, while the Vaya is aimed directly at touring. Where and how the Marrakesh fits into the grand scheme of things should be interesting to see.
The fit and finish, complete with Salsa branding and name, doesn’t look custom. Salsa typically doesn’t let branded test prototypes out into the public eye to be seen, so that makes this either a final production prototype or the first of a full factory run. I’d bet there will be a new product announcement from Salsa very, very soon.
Should you want to see the “Marrakesh” in person, and catch some great tunes at the same time, Ben is currently touring (by bike, of course) around Lake Superior. You can find his show dates here.