For 2014, the whole Ec crew will debut their racing, training, exploring, cruising bikes as a part of the What We’re Riding series. We’ll take a look at the wide-range of bikes we are racing and training on, including all-new stuff from BMC, Focus, Salsa, Raleigh and Surly. Next up is Eric's Salsa Warbird Ti. Eric is the gravel king, so what he picks for ridiculously long races line the Dirty Kanza, HellKaat Hundie, and Lowell 50, carries a lot of weight. Just not the bike itself. It's light.
What It Is: The big goals for 2014 are different for everyone. Eric doesn't care much for bike racing. An hour or two? Small potatoes. How about 3 hours? 7? 12? That's better.
Eric looked long and hard at the gravel options, and took some different factors into consideration than Cody and his BMC GF02. The road characteristics and 50/34 chainrings weren't such a big deal, as the Salsa Warbird Ti has different attributes. More important was a light, yet forgiving frame. Salsa's titanium frames are the perfect mix of being stiff and responsive, yet supple and easy on your old bones. They also tossed on a carbon ENVE fork for good measure.
The drivetrain is Ultegra, with a more traditional 46/36 chainring familiar to most cyclocross bikes. Eric will likely outfit the rear derailleur with the RetroShift, over-built CX derailleur. RetroShift has really done a great job making a lighter, tough derailleur up for terrible conditions and long, long days in the saddle.
Why It Works: Salsa brings together a forgiving ride and a responsive frame. This isn't a bike worried about sprint finishes, but long, grinding rides. The Ti build with Ultegra is a great combination, and the geometry is modeled on a cross between an endurance road bike and traditional cyclocross frames.
Where It Will Come In Handy: All the time. Eric's rides are essentially tied around countless, nameless two-tracks and gravel roads.