Salsa Vaya 2
The road less traveled was meant to be seen from the saddle of Salsa's globe-trotting Vaya 2. Salsa's Classico double-butted chromoly tubing offers a great ride whether you're head down to the store, or on a cross-country trek. The frame is designed around a heads-up, all-day-comfortable touring geometry, has clearance for 42mm tires, and is dressed up with mounting points for front and rear racks, fenders, and a bevy of water bottles (all sold separately). Schwalbe's Marathon Plus Tour tires have a deservedly high reputation for durability among the touring cognoscenti, and when they're wrapped around a pair off burly, no-nonsense Salsa/Sun wheels you're prepared to ride wherever your heart desires. When it comes to reliability and smooth, easy shifting performance it's hard to beat Shimano's 105 drivetrain, and this 30-speed setup pairs that reputation with a wide-as-the-Great-Plains gear range to ensure you and your gear reach your camp at the end of the day. All-conditions stopping power is key when you're on the road, and a pair of Avid BB7S mechanical disc brakes ensure that you have total control at hand. Salsa's own stem and bar, Truvativ seatpost, and WTB saddle ramp up rider comfort during long days in the saddle so you can focus on the ride, and not your equipment.
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This is a wonderful commuter for folks who like the drop bars without going to a road bike. It's fast and handles both road and dirt and gravel extremely well. It's also surprising how easily you can climb hills fully loaded. I'm very impressed with the sram apex gearing on this bike. My only small complaint is the salsa wanderlust rack. It's hard to fit some panniers on, but that's not the bike's fault, and the bike is great, fast nimble and sure footed. Love it!