Salsa's new exploration bike draws on a lot of experience and a lot of ambition to get new places.
In Northern Michigan's turbulent weather, one might condense the whirlwind of conditions to just two; a lot of sand or a lot of snow. Summer can be beach-like nearly everywhere, and winter, well, winter seems to last 7 months. For both, Salsa's Blackborrow is the perfect exploration rig. It's a dedicated 5" fat bike in that it is designed from the ground up to be ridden with the widest tires (Surly's Bud and Lou combo at 4.8") on the widest tires (100mm Clown Shoes, also from Surly) for the perfect go-anywhere rig.
While it's not designed for racing, the ride is snappier than you'd think. Salsa has done a lot of design work to keep the ride fast, and you can adjust that feel, too. With the Alternator Drop-Out, you can move the wheel all the way forward for a Beargrease-like snap or move it to the rear of the dropout for a more stable ride like the Mukluk.
Dan's Blackborrow will be at the head of the expedition for Friday Night Lights, but also as he explores more of the singletrack, dirt roads and snowmobile trails this winter. Paired with a nice frame bag and some nice gloves, there's little in the way of a backwoods machine like the Blackborrow.
After some initial riding, Dan was impressed with how nimble the Blackborrow rides. On the new Winter Sports Singletrack, with winding, off-camber turns, you can sometimes run out of room quick with some of the tighter turns and more encroaching trees. The wide tires essentially make the trail wider; you get a little more on the peripheries of the singletrack, knocking down a bit of the edges of the groom and helping to keep the speed up.
Of course, this bike is about a lot more than a few quick hours. Dan is saddling up for some much longer efforts this winter, including using the Blackborrow as his de facto trail clearing and branch trimming platform. We'll give you more actual trail feedback after Dan gets more rides on it.