Sea Otter: Salsa Cycles, Kona and Norco

Salsa Cycles returned to the Sea Otter, after missing it last year and showcased brand new designs for the 26in steel A La Carte and the 29er steel El Mariachi bikes. They also showed a new road tourer called the Vaya.

The Vaya, with front mounted 'Downunder' lowrider rack.

The Vaya is like a road (and gravel road) version of the Fargo, as used by Mr Chipps to ride across the Pyrenees last summer. It won’t do mountain biking or ‘cross racing, but if your touring takes in gravel or ‘white’ roads as well as regular tarmac, you might like it.

This is the new Wanderlust rear rack, with a contoured top bed for sleeping bags/tents and mounts for panniers either high or low down.

Bivvy riders take note. This is the new Salsa Minimalist rack. You can mount it front or rear, it's curved to take a sleeping bag and there are tabs for cinch straps too. Comes out late summer.

Here's the Wanderlust in rear mode with mounting bolts incorporated into the very neat Salsa seat clamp

Got rack mounts? Then you can probably run this...

As mentioned, the A La Carte and big wheel El Mariachi have been loved up and revamped. Central to this revamp is a new swinging dropout that allows the bike to be run as a singlespeed, or a geared bike, without needing half links. It looks very close to the dropout seen on the Black Cat bikes but is presumably just different enough. There’s a new gusset under the downtube (with a big gap – armchair framebuilders please comment…) and some nice colours. Frames will come as frame only, not frame and forks as before, though you can get a colour-matched fork separately.

This new dropout is central to the new A La Carte and El Mariachi

How's that for a gusset? The design jury is out on this one...

'Ride and Smile' is dead, long live 'Adventure by bike'

The Ti A La Carte keeps regular dropouts.

Very vivid green then.

Swinging dropouts...

A complicated way of dispensing with horizontal dropouts

The 29er El Mariachi with optional matching fork

We did manage to miss the one Kona bike we wanted to see, which was the new prototype ‘cross bike – a Carbon Jake the Snake. Apparently Barry Wicks was so keen on it that he was out all morning warming up for the XC race on it…

As tested a couple of issues ago, the Abra Cadabra comes in at a great weight for the amount of travel.

Who said that Norco was all about jump bikes and big heavy freeride full sussers? Here’s Norco’s new steel 29er hardtail – and it completes the niche circle by being singlespeed and belt drive too…

Hit me with your niche-stick...

Another Norco, this time it's a prototype... yes... 29er full suspension bike...

Neat looking post mount dropouts though...

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Press Launch