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I have joined the cult of the Salsa Vaya...

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.

I have joined the cult of the Salsa Vaya...

Old 08-12-17, 08:02 PM
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zaxmalloy
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I have joined the cult of the Salsa Vaya...

Needed a replacement 'do everything' bike for my beloved Giant Escape which was crushed in an accident (so was my ankle and shoulder but I recovered - the Giant did not). Tried every bike under the sun it seems, especially Giant Anyroad and Toughroad and kept coming back to the plush ride, solid construction and just sheer joy of the Vaya. Wanted a GX model in orange but they are long gone, but got a 20% discount on a Claris model in brown and figure I'll upgrade it as I go.

The Vaya is nothing new under the sun, but since it's new to me, thought I'd do a quick review after a 20 mile shakedown ride today.

- The bike ride is solid and planted on any surface pavement, grass, gravel or limestone hard pack.
- Surprisingly agile for it's weight and has a lively feel (unloaded)
- It's more sure than fast but if you gear well, it can fly once you have momentum
- The orange sparkle in the root beer brown paint really doesn't show up in photos
- Brakes are okay but wish they were better. It's a lot of bike to stop. Again, maybe it's just getting used to them...
- The Claris groupset seems capable but it can be chunky occasionally particularly when climbing. I think this is a learning curve
more than a mechanical shortfall. Still would like to upgrade to 105 but it's not something that seems urgent.
- That said, for such a heavy bike it climbs well and descends like a bat out of h**.

Planned upgrades (going for a vintage look)
- Brooks B17 saddle (never had a Brooks but should work well and look good - on order)
- Top Peak rear rack (Giant wreck survivor)
- Copper water bottle cage...assuming I can find one
- Fenders since I bought the bike to be a commuter as well as a trail ace. Would love copper or bamboo but can't find
anything fitting that description that accommodates the WTB 700x40 Nanos. I'm not sure the Vaya has mounts?
- Tires - no complaints with the Nanos but thinking I'd like an option that had less rolling resistance and preferably a
gum-colored sidewall

Of course, this post would be worthless without pictures - though I'll try to get better ones soon.










Last edited by zaxmalloy; 08-12-17 at 08:14 PM. Reason: typos
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Old 08-13-17, 04:11 AM
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Looks good, I like brown. Might want to flip your front wheel skewer around.
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Old 08-13-17, 07:26 AM
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Originally Posted by Lazyass View Post
Looks good, I like brown. Might want to flip your front wheel skewer around.
Yeah, never thought I'd own a brown bike but it's something in the sunlight. Interesting about that skewer, on the Salsa site it shows the white version with the front skewer mounted one way and the brown version the other. What influence does it have either way?
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Old 08-13-17, 07:38 AM
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Originally Posted by zaxmalloy View Post
Yeah, never thought I'd own a brown bike but it's something in the sunlight. Interesting about that skewer, on the Salsa site it shows the white version with the front skewer mounted one way and the brown version the other. What influence does it have either way?
The way it is now, if it flops open--it isn't a risk of getting caught in your disc rotor and causing you to crash.

Presuming that is a QR and not a TA.
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Old 08-13-17, 08:57 AM
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Originally Posted by zaxmalloy View Post
Yeah, never thought I'd own a brown bike but it's something in the sunlight. Interesting about that skewer, on the Salsa site it shows the white version with the front skewer mounted one way and the brown version the other. What influence does it have either way?
It just doesn't look right. It won't get caught in your rotor lol
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Old 08-13-17, 04:59 PM
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Looks good man. Just had the squirrel go test ride the white Vaya yesterday. Thinking about picking one up.

As for fast gunwall tires. Pick your poison:

https://www.compasscycle.com/product...ts/tires/700c/
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Old 08-13-17, 07:53 PM
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I have the same bike in the much smaller size. Love it!
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Old 08-13-17, 08:23 PM
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Originally Posted by Calla lily View Post
I have the same bike in the much smaller size. Love it!
Nice - if you don't mind me asking, where did you find the brown and orange bag? And what tires are those and why did you change?
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Old 08-14-17, 06:47 AM
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Thanks for the review! I'm thinking of upgrading my current steel frame and one of the options is the Salsa Vaya (in the same size as Calla_lilly though lol)
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Old 08-14-17, 06:47 AM
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Originally Posted by zaxmalloy View Post
Nice - if you don't mind me asking, where did you find the brown and orange bag? And what tires are those and why did you change?
Saddle bag is Blackburn local medium
Tires are 28mm Conti 4000s ii. I had been using the Vaya to train for a (road) century. I recently got a cf road bike so will finish training on that. I'm not really much faster on the cf bike and comfortably rode the Vaya up to the half century point. The cf bike is a lot lighter though. I had planned on riding the Vaya for the whole thing but couldn't pass on the deal I got on the other bike. Looking forward to putting the Nanos back on, or probably Compass tires, and getting back out on the Vaya. Enjoy yours!
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Old 08-14-17, 08:35 AM
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I just put in an order on the 2018 vaya with carbon fork. Can't wait it to hit my lbs
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Old 08-14-17, 12:17 PM
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Originally Posted by jayhawkpanic View Post
I just put in an order on the 2018 vaya with carbon fork. Can't wait it to hit my lbs
How did you manage to do that? Just one week ago a Salsa rep on the phone told me the 2018 Vayas would not be announced or available "...for about a month". That puts us in the first week of September at the very earliest. I want to order that exact same frameset. Please share any info you may have.
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Old 08-14-17, 01:48 PM
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Congratulations. Got any pics? What other bikes did you try, Kona Sutra by any chance? I've been looking at the Sutra, Vaya, and the REI's ADV3.1 - only one I've ridden so far, like the value just not sure whether I want the bar-end shifters. I WOULD like to do touring in the future but right now I'm doing mostly faster, unloaded road/off-road rides.
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Old 08-14-17, 03:21 PM
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Originally Posted by Calla lily View Post
Saddle bag is Blackburn local medium
Tires are 28mm Conti 4000s ii. I had been using the Vaya to train for a (road) century. I recently got a cf road bike so will finish training on that. I'm not really much faster on the cf bike and comfortably rode the Vaya up to the half century point. The cf bike is a lot lighter though. I had planned on riding the Vaya for the whole thing but couldn't pass on the deal I got on the other bike. Looking forward to putting the Nanos back on, or probably Compass tires, and getting back out on the Vaya. Enjoy yours!
Thanks for the info. It's a nice bag - looking at getting something that matches the bike a little better than my black Top Peak saddle bag which I'd prefer to keep on my road bike. Options from Minnesota companies like Frost River and Duluth Pack are out there but at a higher premium but I'll check them out at our upcoming State Fair.

The Compass tires might be an option. Guess for now I should just get used to the Nano's before making a lot of changes...
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Old 08-14-17, 03:24 PM
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Originally Posted by autonomy View Post
Congratulations. Got any pics? What other bikes did you try, Kona Sutra by any chance? I've been looking at the Sutra, Vaya, and the REI's ADV3.1 - only one I've ridden so far, like the value just not sure whether I want the bar-end shifters. I WOULD like to do touring in the future but right now I'm doing mostly faster, unloaded road/off-road rides.
I've seen a Kona Sutra but never in a LBS, only out 'in the wild'. I really like them and they seem to be a good value. I have to say I made this purchase within the limitations of those brands carried by my LBS knowing they stand behind what they sell me 1000%...so worth it to me to support them.
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Old 08-14-17, 03:36 PM
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Congrats on the bike. I ended up with the dark green deore model.

I'd be curious how you like it compared to your carbon road bike for road riding.
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Old 08-14-17, 05:38 PM
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Originally Posted by katsup View Post
Congrats on the bike. I ended up with the dark green deore model.

I'd be curious how you like it compared to your carbon road bike for road riding.
There is no comparison, only contrast. It's like comparing a Corvette to a Buick. The carbon bike is light and fast, has a tight cockpit, the torque is immediate and the ride - so long as you stay on pavement - is smooth and fast. I jut did a century on mine and it was as effortless as something like that can be. But... if you run across a bunch of acorns in the road, or dive off to a limestone chip trail, be prepared for the handling to get nervous and bumpy. Sure you can do it - but you won't enjoy it much....

The Vaya by comparison is not so quick off the line, but the speed comes on in waves based on how well you modulate the gearing. It can take any road and tame it with those plush tires - you never feel anything but stable and planted. Like the cf bike the dropbars allow you to change hand positions frequently but you're in an open cockpit so you can always look around and take in the view. So forget 'personal best' on Strava...but enjoy the ride...
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Old 08-15-17, 08:51 PM
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Originally Posted by JWK View Post
How did you manage to do that? Just one week ago a Salsa rep on the phone told me the 2018 Vayas would not be announced or available "...for about a month". That puts us in the first week of September at the very earliest. I want to order that exact same frameset. Please share any info you may have.
I guess I meant my lbs ordered the bike for me. I assume it was with their big 2018 purchase order from salsa.
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Old 09-08-17, 10:03 AM
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2018 vayas are up on salsa'a website
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Old 09-08-17, 01:57 PM
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Love the paint scheme on that frame!
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Old 09-08-17, 08:50 PM
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Now that the Vaya has bigger tire clearance (I think starting in 2017) it would be near the top of my list for consideration.
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Old 09-08-17, 09:28 PM
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Originally Posted by dgodave View Post
Now that the Vaya has bigger tire clearance (I think starting in 2017) it would be near the top of my list for consideration.
I love the tire clearance but no thru axles and only one eyelet on the fork is odd.
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Old 09-09-17, 09:37 AM
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Originally Posted by Sullalto View Post
I love the tire clearance but no thru axles and only one eyelet on the fork is odd.
No thru axles on the tiagra model, true. What I think is really weird is the the Apex has thru axles on the front like last year, but still uses QR on the rear, just like last year. IOW, no change at all. At this point in time, $800 seems a bit too high for this frameset to me.

What is even weirder (maybe) is that I still really like it and still might buy it. Most gravel bikes just don't have this type of geometry (higher stack, shorter reach).
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Old 09-10-17, 04:22 AM
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The rear QR isn't that bad a feature. Lateral stiffness is not as big a deal on the rear end as at the fork, and while it's not as stiff as a thru-axle for quick acceleration, you're not buying a Vaya to win group sprints.
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Old 09-10-17, 08:12 AM
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I also added a vaya sramano to my harem. I love it but it's a bit over geared for my tastes, so I ordered a 46t for the front and I'll have to change the 9 speed out to an 11-36 to get the undergearing I want on the rear.

Now the 2018s are out and I love the red and it's nicely undergeared with a ten speed. I'm so pissed.
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