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Feedback from anyone who owns a Salsa Warbird

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Cyclocross and Gravelbiking (Recreational) This has to be the most physically intense sport ever invented. It's high speed bicycle racing on a short off road course or riding the off pavement rides on gravel like :The Dirty Kanza". We also have a dedicated Racing forum for the Cyclocross Hard Core Racers.

Feedback from anyone who owns a Salsa Warbird

Old 01-22-17, 06:00 PM
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TimothyH
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Feedback from anyone who owns a Salsa Warbird

I'm thinking about a 2017 Salsa Warbird Carbon Ultegra and would welcome feedback from anyone who owns this or any other flavor of the Warbird.

Durability? Customer service? Ride quality?

The VRS stays make sense on paper and in the video's but does it really work or is is a gimmic?

I am pretty comfortable with the parts list but the website doesn't list the bottom bracket. Is it correct that it has a PF41 bottom bracket? I've no experience with these.

I ride both road bike and fixed gear now and will be using the Warbird for mixed road/gravel rides west of Atlanta as well as some longer forest service road rides in the North Georgia mountains. There are also some flatter areas south and east of Atlanta which I'd like to explore.

Any feedback at all would be helpful.


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Old 01-22-17, 08:08 PM
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I'm in the process of buying a gravel bike too. I had several bikes on my list and right near the top was the Salsa Warbird Carbon Ultegra. I didn't buy it. After test riding it and test riding my buddies Ti Warbird I opted to go with a Ti frame bike. So Lynskey GR250 with the Ultegra upgrade is my choice and what I'm getting. The feel of the Ti on gravel was much better than the Salsa. And the durability of Ti over Carbon is no comparison. Ti will last the rest of my life, no problem. I'd recommend you try to test ride as many bikes as you can and if you can't then read and ask as many questions as possible.
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Old 01-23-17, 02:27 PM
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Originally Posted by DerekJ_MI View Post
So Lynskey GR250 with the Ultegra upgrade is my choice and what I'm getting.
This is a great choice! My Lynskey is actually a custom built predecessor of this bike -- same geometry with only a couple detail differences. Rides great. Handles great. Makes me feel like a super-hero on challenging gravel.
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Old 01-23-17, 07:43 PM
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I've had a carbon Warbird for about four months and I'm very happy with it. I'm currently running big 43mm BG Rock n Road tires at 25psi so it's hard to tell how the VRS contributes to the ride. Nothing unusual about the PF BB. I installed a Shimano BB and Di2 groupset (except brakes) and have had no problems with the BB or cranks. The cowbell handlebars are really nice and comfy - a real surprise. It handles everything from rough single track (with the RnRs) to pavement (with 28mm Conti 4k). I would buy it again.
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Old 01-23-17, 07:55 PM
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Originally Posted by springs View Post
I've had a carbon Warbird for about four months and I'm very happy with it. I'm currently running big 43mm BG Rock n Road tires at 25psi so it's hard to tell how the VRS contributes to the ride. Nothing unusual about the PF BB. I installed a Shimano BB and Di2 groupset (except brakes) and have had no problems with the BB or cranks. The cowbell handlebars are really nice and comfy - a real surprise. It handles everything from rough single track (with the RnRs) to pavement (with 28mm Conti 4k). I would buy it again.
Thank you for this.

Did you buy a frame or complete?


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Old 01-23-17, 08:34 PM
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I bought the full Rival bike and replaced the Rival with Di2 and Avid BB7 brakes. That reminds me I have the Rival set for sale.
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Old 01-23-17, 09:28 PM
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Originally Posted by DerekJ_MI View Post
I'm in the process of buying a gravel bike too. I had several bikes on my list and right near the top was the Salsa Warbird Carbon Ultegra. I didn't buy it. After test riding it and test riding my buddies Ti Warbird I opted to go with a Ti frame bike. So Lynskey GR250 with the Ultegra upgrade is my choice and what I'm getting. The feel of the Ti on gravel was much better than the Salsa. And the durability of Ti over Carbon is no comparison. Ti will last the rest of my life, no problem. I'd recommend you try to test ride as many bikes as you can and if you can't then read and ask as many questions as possible.
This is a nice option. Especially since Lynskey has GR250 on sale until the end of the month I think. AAMOF it is about the same price as the Warbird, build for build (both $4,000 for full Ultegra....Lynskey is $4,200 for Di2)

https://lynskeyperformance.com/2017-gr-250-complete/

Thing I raise an eyebrow at on paper with the warbird... 24/24 spoke wheels. For a bike not destined to live a smooth easy going life-that says "underbuilt" to me.
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Old 01-23-17, 10:14 PM
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What does Lynskey mean by "adventure geometry?"

Salsa says that the bottom bracket on the Warbird is lower than a cross bike, more like a road bike. That's about all I know.

I'm not good at deciphering the charts. Can someone compare the geometry of the Lynskey GR250 and Warbird Carbon?


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Old 01-25-17, 01:45 PM
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There is a blog post comparing these two bikes on one of the gravel sites.

I think the writer liked the Lynskey better, but based off his description, I would like the Warbird better.

The Lylnskey GR bike (gravel road) is going to be more relaxed and stable with its "adventure geometry" where the warbird is a bit more sporty and versatile (comfortable in a brisk paceline or twisties).

In general, "adventure geometry" or Gravel Geometry means lower bottom bracket, more trail, more stability, maybe longer wheelbase and/or chainstays, slacker head tube angle. All of this makes the bike more stable.

"race" geometry is going to make a bike that handles sharply and quickly, and accelerates quickly. Think of a fast tight criterium race (or cyclocross) where you need to react quickly almost without thinking.

I like sharp handling in my bikes, but for gravel road riding most people put a value on stability - stable in turns, low center of gravity, happy going in a straight line for miles.
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Old 01-25-17, 01:46 PM
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@TimothyH: Read this and the followup posts to compare and contrast the Warbird to the Lynskey GR250
Lynskey GR250: Getting Rolling -


Originally Posted by TimothyH View Post
What does Lynskey mean by "adventure geometry?"

Salsa says that the bottom bracket on the Warbird is lower than a cross bike, more like a road bike. That's about all I know.

I'm not good at deciphering the charts. Can someone compare the geometry of the Lynskey GR250 and Warbird Carbon?


-Tim-
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Old 01-25-17, 02:07 PM
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Perfect. Thanks.

I'm looking for something more aggressive and faster - group rides of 50 miles where 80% is road and 20% is hard packed gravel. Not looking for bikepacking or anything with racks.

All my cars have been lowered and stiffened. Yeah, "sharp handling"

Being able to tackle some gravel would open up new ride opportunities for me which are now only available by car.

Thanks again.


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Old 01-26-17, 12:02 PM
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Lynskey has other options that are not as slack as the GR "adventure" geometry. Head tube angle and BB drop are usually the most obvious indicators of what the designer is going for.
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Old 01-26-17, 12:15 PM
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Originally Posted by TimothyH View Post

I'm looking for something more aggressive and faster - group rides of 50 miles where 80% is road and 20% is hard packed gravel. Not looking for bikepacking or anything with racks.

All my cars have been lowered and stiffened. Yeah, "sharp handling"

Being able to tackle some gravel would open up new ride opportunities for me which are now only available by car.
Are you talking about me???

Anyway, this is exactly the same way of thinking when I was searching for my bike. I ended up with a CF CX framed bike. Not the best component group but good enough for what I paid for it. I love it. The handling and acceleration is quick, the CF takes all the buzz out when riding on gravel and the upright riding position makes the bike very comfortable. I'm thinking of upgrading the wheels to make it even quicker going up hills and stuff just for fun.

Don't get all caught up with a certain name brand or bike you think you'd might like. Just go out and ride as many bikes as you can before you make a purchase. You'll be surprised to find out what's out there that will fit all your needs. Good luck and have fun...
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Old 01-26-17, 01:37 PM
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I've ridden a bunch of bikes including several CX bikes and will drive from 1.5 hours from Atlanta to Chattanooga in the next few weeks to ride the Warbird Crabon.

The Warbird interests me because it is not a true CX bike adapted to gravel but designed for gravel from the ground up apart from CX.


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Old 01-26-17, 03:06 PM
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Originally Posted by TimothyH View Post
What does Lynskey mean by "adventure geometry?"

-Tim-
I actually provided Lynskey's geometry for this bike. (It's exactly the same as the custom bike I had them build for me in 2015.) From my perspective, I built it to be the ultimate Dirty Kanza bike. Here's the secret: It's EXACTLY the same as the geometry for Niner's RLT9 aluminum and steel frames. (Yes, that's me on a Niner RLT9 at 2015 Dirty Kanza in my icon photo.) It's longer and slacker than necessary for smooth gravel roads, but it's the PERFECT geometry to take you through rougher sections like the rocky ascents and descents around stream/river crossings at the Dirty Kanza 200. It's not nearly as long as a mountain bike, but it's longer than a road bike. You could use it on a lot of mountain bike trails. If you're only going to be riding well maintained dirt roads, the Warbird geometry won't be bad. If you're ever going to ride the rough stuff or if those well maintained dirt roads have many sand washes, I would (and did) go with the Lynskey. The Lynskey gives a lot of confidence when you find yourself on sections your brain says you shouldn't be riding through.

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Old 01-26-17, 03:26 PM
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Originally Posted by TimothyH View Post

I'm looking for something more aggressive and faster - group rides of 50 miles where 80% is road and 20% is hard packed gravel. Not looking for bikepacking or anything with racks.

-Tim-
If you're never planning to ride anything more severe than hard packed gravel, probably any of these bikes will do. Riding "civilized" gravel is more a matter of confidence and practice than it is a matter of the capabilities of the bike. But, as always, the more gravel-oriented the bike's geometry and tires, the less skill you need even on manicured gravel.

The GR is a bike that can handle anything from paved roads to easy- to mid-level singletrack mountain bike trails. (I have one Strava KOM on a 8-mile smooth paved road in Middle Tennessee on mine -- and I was even mounting 38mm gravel tires on the bike at the time.)
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Old 01-26-17, 07:45 PM
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Originally Posted by Marcus_Ti View Post
Thing I raise an eyebrow at on paper with the warbird... 24/24 spoke wheels. For a bike not destined to live a smooth easy going life-that says "underbuilt" to me.
My Rival build came with 28/28.
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Old 01-28-17, 04:06 PM
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Typical gravel west of Atlanta. This is what I will ride...






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Old 05-27-17, 11:21 PM
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Originally Posted by FlashBazbo View Post
This is a great choice! My Lynskey is actually a custom built predecessor of this bike -- same geometry with only a couple detail differences. Rides great. Handles great. Makes me feel like a super-hero on challenging gravel.
FlashBazbo,

Since you race this bike, can you comment on how it handles in a sprint? Iíve read a bit about it not being particularly stiff in the bottom bracket, and in talking with Lynskey, they confirm that the new Pro GR is designed to address stiffness for sprintingÖ Itís just that its so darn much more money than the regular GR.

What wheels are you using? 700c or 650b? Do you have a thought on how the two sizes might affect racing the bike over washboard and potholes at high speed?

Thanks for any input you can provide!
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Old 05-28-17, 06:34 AM
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Originally Posted by cameronreddy View Post
FlashBazbo,

Since you race this bike, can you comment on how it handles in a sprint? Iíve read a bit about it not being particularly stiff in the bottom bracket, and in talking with Lynskey, they confirm that the new Pro GR is designed to address stiffness for sprintingÖ Itís just that its so darn much more money than the regular GR.

What wheels are you using? 700c or 650b? Do you have a thought on how the two sizes might affect racing the bike over washboard and potholes at high speed?

Thanks for any input you can provide!


I think we're probably talking about two different kinds of gravel racing. I spec'd this bike to race Dirty Kanza -- for punishing rock and native gravel that NEVER sees and never has seen a road grader. There, the stiffness challenge is taking steep climbs out of creek/river crossings from 0 mph. For that, it's plenty stiff, so I imagine it would work fine in a sprint -- but sprints very rarely happen in this kind of gravel racing. When you're riding 200 miles on that kind of surface, it's much more important to have some compliance and stability so that you still have something in the tank when you leave the last checkpoint. Asking how it sprints is like asking how a marathoner's shoe would work in the 100 meter dash.


For more civilized gravel, like that pictured above or like that that I've seen in Michigan, I would probably use my BMC SLR01 (or some other road bike with sufficient tire clearance). It's got clearance for 28mm tires and it certainly has what it takes for a sprint. That end of the gravel racing continuum is really just road racing on loose surfaces. I suspect this is where wash boarding would be more of an issue. But for wash boarding and pot holes, I just choose my line carefully. (Even the worst wash boarding usually has a smooth few inches of road on the edges.)
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Old 05-28-17, 08:58 AM
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Originally Posted by FlashBazbo View Post
I think we're probably talking about two different kinds of gravel racing. I spec'd this bike to race Dirty Kanza -- for punishing rock and native gravel that NEVER sees and never has seen a road grader. There, the stiffness challenge is taking steep climbs out of creek/river crossings from 0 mph. For that, it's plenty stiff, so I imagine it would work fine in a sprint -- but sprints very rarely happen in this kind of gravel racing. When you're riding 200 miles on that kind of surface, it's much more important to have some compliance and stability so that you still have something in the tank when you leave the last checkpoint. Asking how it sprints is like asking how a marathoner's shoe would work in the 100 meter dash.


For more civilized gravel, like that pictured above or like that that I've seen in Michigan, I would probably use my BMC SLR01 (or some other road bike with sufficient tire clearance). It's got clearance for 28mm tires and it certainly has what it takes for a sprint. That end of the gravel racing continuum is really just road racing on loose surfaces. I suspect this is where wash boarding would be more of an issue. But for wash boarding and pot holes, I just choose my line carefully. (Even the worst wash boarding usually has a smooth few inches of road on the edges.)
Thanks for the detailed reply. I wonder if you might, then, opine on the type of bike, including the Warbird at issue in this thread, that would be most suited for the following type of ride/race. Iím talking about a 50 mile ride over loose gravel roads as you mentioned, with the last 10 miles being a throw-down race, with two intermediate sprits and one final sprint. There are usually 12-25 people tearing along at 24-28 mph with the final sprints going faster yet. This requires sitting on wheels, following attacks, and juking around people and hammering 800-1100 watts (to win anyhow) in the last 100 meters. Unless you are in the front, lines can NOT be chosen nor potholes even seen to be avoided in groups like that at those speeds. The first guy through picks his line, but those behind those on his wheel, spread out often in an echelon, just hit the stuff with total abandon. SLAM SLAM SLAMÖ and it just takes your breath away. I understand the idea of a road bike, but Iíve already tried and abandoned tires that width.

Iím too old to win this race, but I can challenge for the first sprint if I can get there in one piece. Iíve been doing it on an old canti Garneau Steeple X with 32mm tires and getting my teeth busted. Just switched to Riddler 45s and my life is much better. The bike floats much better over and slams less hard into that stuff. But Iím wondering about something that will fit 650b and even more tire volumeÖ And I want disk brakesÖ The Carbon Warbird is interesting to me, but I donít have any information about its ability to run 650b or at what width.

So, with your experience and obvious knowledge of gravel geometry, might you make some further observations for this type of event?
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Old 05-28-17, 03:23 PM
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Originally Posted by cameronreddy View Post
So, with your experience and obvious knowledge of gravel geometry, might you make some further observations for this type of event?


I'm afraid I can't help you much with THAT sort of an event. You have quite a unique assemblage there. For that, I would choose a motorcycle.
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Old 06-25-17, 01:34 PM
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I am not racing at all so this feedback may not matter to you.

The Salsa Warbird is the 4th bike in my stable. I got it in Dec '16 with Ultegra ( the red one). It's certainly comfortable, very comfortable. I ride it with 42mm Shikoro tires so I cannot talk about the chainstay thingamagic. The plush tires do the job. It handles very well and is very stable. The Ultegra shifts nice, but not better than my 9-speed 15 year old Ultegra on my Klein. I don't think they have great customer service. It took a while to find this bike in CA last year. Beforehand I tried Salsa's customer support and asked which dealers they are working with, but they never responded.

What I definitely was disappointed about is that the paint chipped away on the seat stay after second use. I got it from a pro shop with the right tools and didn't touch it myself so let's not get into me doing anything. I do have experience with this actually having a couple carbon/kevlar surfskis. There are some manufacturers that simply don't do well with the paint on carbon. I compared to Trek which does a meticulous job on their paint. For a $2000 frame I would expect more.

If I would do it again I probably would buy an OPEN frame. It's a small boutique shop and I saw their built bikes in the same shop I got my warbird ( a couple months later ). The OPEN UP has great geometry, is super versatile and fun. Top notch manufacturing too.
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Old 06-25-17, 03:20 PM
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I am the OP.

Just to close the loop, I build a Niner RLT 9 RDO.


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