I got my new Salsa Fargo frameset built up this weekend, and took it out for a test ride...
With the exception of the headset and front brake, all the parts were taken from my previous "All-Rounder" bike. The Fargo is a big improvement over it's predecessor, which was simply a 29er frame with a long, uncut steerer and a tall stem.
Component highlights include Titec J-Bars, Ergon Grips, front and rear Topeak bags, and a Cane Creek Thudbuster ST seatpost. It currently has a Ritchey SpeedMax tire on back that will likely be switched to a Maxxis CrossMark to match the front. The uncut Fargo fork allows me to run a second, lower stem to mount a couple lights and a bell. The beauty of the Titec bar is the variety of hand positions it offers, and any accessories (like lights) mounted on the J-Bar will use up valuable real estate. The lower stem holds a small section of handlebar to mount accessories, and is low enough to keep the the lights from being blocked by the handlebar bag.
The Topeak Compact Handlebar Bag fits very nicely between the extensions of the J-Bar:
The cool, rainy weather finally subsided, and this weekend was gorgeous. I got the Fargo out on a 50 mile test ride; mostly pavement with a little dirt and a few miles of gravel. The Fargo handled great, and doesn't suffer from any front-end shimmy like my 29er did (it's nice to be able to confidently ride no-handed again). The tall front end provides the comfortable riding position I am looking for in an 'all-rounder' kind of bike. And it's nice to be back on a steel frame. I am very impressed with the Fargo so far...
The only issue I had with the build was the fork disc mount; the alignment of the fork mount put the lower Avid BB-5 caliper mounting bolt too close to the rotor, and the mounting bolt washers hit the rotor. A few minutes with a metal file on the washers created enough clearance. Something to keep an eye on. Other than that, it was a piece of cake to build.
A big thanks to Salsa Cycles for making such a cool frameset (and in an XXL size!). And an even bigger thanks to Hiawatha Cyclery for such great service - they have truly set the bar up a notch when it comes to service. I recommend Hiawatha Cyclery to anyone and everyone looking for a non-traditional (or traditional, depending on how you look at it) bike build.