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  1. #1
    Senior Member Team Fab's Avatar
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    Salsa making Tandems

    New off road tandem.

    Powderkeg

    Salsa Cycles Powderkeg - first look - BikeRadar

  2. #2
    Senior Member waynesulak's Avatar
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    It would be interesting to see the steel tubing diameter and wall thickness.

  3. #3
    Senior Member Team Fab's Avatar
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  4. #4
    Senior Member colotandem's Avatar
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    Meh.

    Based on the specs listed, I'd pick a Fandango 29er from MTBtandems over this bike for the following reasons:
    1. Made in the USA
    2. Quality, tandem worthy wheelset
    3. For $300 more you get a quality front suspension fork too!

    Most of the other stuff is a toss up.

    I guess if you wanted to run single speed then maybe you might go with the Salsa...

  5. #5
    Gear Combo Guru Chris_W's Avatar
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    Spec' Tarmac (road), Spec' Secteur Disc (commuter & tourer), Salsa Mamasita (MTB), CoMo Speedster (tandem), Surly Big Dummy (cargo), Airnimal (folder), a train pass, and NO car :)
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    Another advantage for the Salsa is that it has more braze-on bolt threads than any other stock bike. Practical things like that always gets me excited, and it's something that Salsa (and all QBP brands) always do well. This theme is continued with the home-mechanic-friendly mechanical disc brakes - another good choice. I like the bike a lot and the price seems very reasonable.

    Plus, I assume that any LBS with a QBP account (which is just about all stores in the US I believe) can order one of these, which will make after-sales service more local and straightforward. Even my shop in Switzerland has an account with a local distributor who offers the Salsa and Surly range (from whom I already own a single MTB and a cargo bike). Your local shop will be able to sort you out with a suspension fork upgrade for a decent price if that's what you need.

  6. #6
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    frame only is $2,000? that seems pretty steep...

  7. #7
    Uber Goober StephenH's Avatar
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    My stoker refuses to consider mountain/gravel adventures.
    "be careful this rando stuff is addictive and dan's the 'pusher'."

  8. #8
    Senior Member Hendricks97's Avatar
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    I just put in my order for one, but now I have to have to figure out how to get it on my car.

  9. #9
    hors category TandemGeek's Avatar
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    FWIW, you can get a ready-to-ride Fandango Rio from MTB Tandems with a frame that's hand made by Ventana here in the USA with a White Bros suspension fork for about $400 less than the rigid Salsa Powderkeg that's batch produced in Taiwan. Also, a Co-Motion Scout is $500 less than the Salsa and a Co-Motion Mocha is the same price; again, these are hand made frames by Co-Motion up in Eugene, OR. Just saying.
    Last edited by TandemGeek; 02-26-15 at 07:52 PM.

  10. #10
    Gear Combo Guru Chris_W's Avatar
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    There's a lot more to a bike than which country the frame is manufactured in. In fact, that characteristic has no direct effect on the bike's performance or other characteristics, and should possibly be ignored entirely. Just saying.

  11. #11
    Senior Member Team Fab's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chris_W View Post
    There's a lot more to a bike than which country the frame is manufactured in. In fact, that characteristic has no direct effect on the bike's performance or other characteristics, and should possibly be ignored entirely. Just saying.
    Someone is poking the shark.

  12. #12
    WillFam-Clovis,CA
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    Quote Originally Posted by TandemGeek View Post
    FWIW, you can get a ready-to-ride Fandango Rio from MTB Tandems with a frame that's hand made by Ventana here in the USA with a White Bros suspension fork for about $400 less than the rigid Salsa Powderkeg that's batch produced in Taiwan. Also, a Co-Motion Scout is $500 less than the Salsa and a Co-Motion Mocha is the same price; again, these are hand made frames by Co-Motion up in Eugene, OR. Just saying.
    Hey TG,
    Do you have some ideas of where Salsa is trying to position this tandem, given the cost differences as you point out. I recall very favorable reviews of the Ventana with suspension fork. What is your thought on how the Salsa is to compete, is the Salsa name enough of an incentive to inspire people to pay the extra money?

  13. #13
    hors category TandemGeek's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chris_W View Post
    There's a lot more to a bike than which country the frame is manufactured in. In fact, that characteristic has no direct effect on the bike's performance or other characteristics, and should possibly be ignored entirely. Just saying.
    We all have our biases; my preference for tandem as well as bicycle frames that are made here in the US is hardly something I've been bashful about. Bear in mind, I've spent 30 years in the US engineering and manufacturing industry so I'm glad you chose to include a US-made Co-Motion in your stable of otherwise asian-made framed bicycles: Co-Motion is a wonderful business with a wonderful, small and talented workforce in Bend, Oregon. So, yes, I choose not to ignore where certain things are made and tandem frames are high on that list given that I know most of the people who have built our tandem and bicycle frames.

    And, my apologies to Salsa if they're actually making the Powderkeg's frame here in the US; that would be really cool and might even justify the premium price. If that's the case I will immediately redact any false assumptions.

    Quote Originally Posted by WillFam-Reno View Post
    Hey TG,
    Do you have some ideas of where Salsa is trying to position this tandem, given the cost differences as you point out. I recall very favorable reviews of the Ventana with suspension fork. What is your thought on how the Salsa is to compete, is the Salsa name enough of an incentive to inspire people to pay the extra money?
    I'm not sure how they've positioned the Salsa other than for current Salsa owners in the US who are brand-loyal and looking for a gravel grinder / trail bike and similar buyers in the international market (off-road tandeming is far more popular overseas); it's certainly not spec'd right for serious single track with a 32h wheelset and 30" stand over for the captain despite what they've written in their overview. 29er tandems eat hubs for lunch; I think the only hub that hasn't been blown apart by a 29er that was ridden under demanding conditions is the Chris King and 32 spokes; really? Long-term, I just don't see that wheelset holding up even if it survives the early demo rides and light duty unless it leads a life devoid of big torque. As for the stand over height, at 68" in height with a 29.5" inseam let me just say Yikes; that's going wreak havoc with the boys during an unplanned dismount on uneven terrain... and that's with the stock, rigid fork! Adding a suspension fork would likely increase that stand over height by an inch or more. Of course, I have the same tight quarters with Co-Motion's Java, so at least for me 26" or 650c wheeled tandems are preferable for off-road adventures. But, I digress...

    Intuitively, even though it's a steel framed tandem I would have expected it to go head-to-head with the updated for 2015, $3,250 Taiwan-made aluminum Cannondale 29er tandem ($2,799 in 2014). However, looking at the specs and components, the Cannondale has what I think is a better build using a mix of SLX/XT/SRAM components with 40h DT hubs and rims, Magura hydraulic brakes, etc. vs. an almost all SLX build on the Salsa and 32h SLX hubset/rim: good luck with that on a 29er tandem. So, I'm not sure why they priced it at $3,999. I can't see that the $749 buys you much more than some Salsa decals and the Salsa team color paint job. So, head-to-head, the Cannondale is a no-brainer if you're shopping for best value and don't care where it's made.

    If the aluminum Fandango was the benchmark, again... they missed that mark given that the TIO is as previously mentioned less expensive but uses a frame that was hand-made by Ventana for MTB Tandems, comes with a suspension fork and an overall superior build kit. IMHO, the Fandango is actually THE best value in a true off-road tandem, bar none. So, again, Salsa has name recognition and owner loyalty, but otherwise misses the mark by a huge margin.

    On the plus side for the Salsa design that came out of Minneapolis, it was nice to see they decided to offer three sizes vs. Cannondales 2 size offerings. That said, the way the Cannondale's are designed they'll still fit a wider range of riders and make dismounting on rugged terrain potentially less traumatic for the inseam challenged captain. With a nod to Ventana who has always used a very generous stoker compartment on its tandems and Cannondale as well, it was nice to see the Salsa using generously sized stoker compartments at 29.1" on the Med/Sm & Lg/Sm and 30" on the Lg/Md, such that the Med/Sm & Lg/Sm could use the 29" Gates timing belt that Cannondale had developed for it's Jumbo-sized road frame if someone was so inclined and wanted to drop even more $$ into the rigid bike.
    Last edited by TandemGeek; 03-01-15 at 11:58 AM. Reason: Proofread what I wrote; OMG... a grammatical mess.

  14. #14
    PMK
    PMK is offline
    Senior Member PMK's Avatar
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    TG, from what I am seeing posted all across the internet, Salsa is getting a following from their brand loyal group. Those that have spent time on a true mountain tandem, riding serious technical terrain or tight singletrack understand the benefit of the Ventana and Fandango beyond the USA build. The Salsa will fit the bill for gravelgrinders and similar rides. There will be serious bikepackers using them too. With hope (not the brake and hub company) these Powderkegs will not blow up in the middle of nowhere.

    I agree with you about the spec. Seems subpar for the abuse that can be dealt out by a serious team.

    We may likely agree, and DS2199 plus AKEXPRESS can support this if they too agre, that serious off-road tandeming is not for the faint of heart, requires possibly more trust than on the road, and is a very long walk to the truck when something breaks. We spend stupid money to abuse these bikes, making them safe to ride fast over a lot of miles.

    PK
    2006 Co-Motion Roadster, flat bars, discs and carbon fibre fork, size 22 / 19
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    And most important, someone special that enjoys them with me (except the KTM's)

  15. #15
    Senior Member dwmckee's Avatar
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    Salsa is leveraging their very loyal brand followers to command another premium priced product launch. If they can get away with it why not?

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by PMK View Post
    TG, from what I am seeing posted all across the internet, Salsa is getting a following from their brand loyal group. Those that have spent time on a true mountain tandem, riding serious technical terrain or tight singletrack understand the benefit of the Ventana and Fandango beyond the USA build. The Salsa will fit the bill for gravelgrinders and similar rides. There will be serious bikepackers using them too. With hope (not the brake and hub company) these Powderkegs will not blow up in the middle of nowhere.

    I agree with you about the spec. Seems subpar for the abuse that can be dealt out by a serious team.

    We may likely agree, and DS2199 plus AKEXPRESS can support this if they too agre, that serious off-road tandeming is not for the faint of heart, requires possibly more trust than on the road, and is a very long walk to the truck when something breaks. We spend stupid money to abuse these bikes, making them safe to ride fast over a lot of miles.

    PK
    I agree with PK that this is probable not a serious serious single track technical trail tandem but will probably fit the bill for a great many people whom ride gravel roads and maybe ski trails etc. If it pulls more teams into some sort of off pavement riding then it serves a great purpose. There has been a recent thread on this forum and the mountain bike forums about another tandem that entered the market (a fat tire tandem from Ventana) that people are trying or wanting it to fit the needs for all their off road adventures. It is probably another tandem that was not designed and will not do it all like some people want but it gives teams options. I like USA built tandems because they tend to be small companies that you can to talk the founders and designers and they are responsive and accommodating for usually not much if any more money and have great customer service after the sale. Calfee, co-Motion for road and Ventana on the mountain side come at the top of the list with a number of other even smaller companies right behind. Buy whatever bike makes you want to get out and ride with the ones we love!!

  17. #17
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    $700+ for a rigid fork, 3 bottle mounts and iffy wheels....

    I'll take our Fandango, thank you.

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