Salsa launches redesigned Warbird gravel race bikes

Revamped frame designed to absorb impacts on rough roads

Cross Disc
Salsa Warbird

Color choices include this stealthy black number.

Salsa has a special relationship with the gravel race bike genre. The QBP house brand is headquartered in the Midwest where many of these testing gravel races take place, and it’s one of the first company’s to fully embrace the niche, launching the original Warbird back in 2012.

Iteration v2.0 debuted last weekend at the Frostbike tradeshow, where representatives from Salsa trumpeted the brands years of experience racing the most grueling gravel events such as the Almanzo 100, Dirty Kanza 200, and the harrowing 340-mile Trans Iowa.

All these events helped forge the new Warbird, which now comes in one composite and two alloy models. The carbon bikes are spec’d with a SRAM Rival 22 driverain and hydraulic disc brakes; the alloy models are available with either Shimano 105 or Tiagra and have Avid BB7 mechanical disc brakes. Prices range from $2,000 to $3,500.

Salsa Warbird

Seatstays are bowed for increased compliance.

The new frames key feature is what Salsa has dubbed Class 5 VRS. Class 5 is a reference to the type of rock used to “pave” these rumbling back roads; VRS is vibration reduction system, which is achieved in part by the new frame’s specially shaped seatstays that have a tall, thin, vertically oriented profile to promote vertical compliance by allowing them to “flex” outwards on impacts.

Horizontally oriented chainstays resist torque and maintain rear end stiffness. There are also no seatstay or chainstay bridges, furthering the amount of cushion on rough surfaces. This change necessitated that the new frame use a 142x12mm thru-axle in the rear to maintain tolerances. Up front, the fork has a 15x100mm thru-axle, which is intended to increase stiffness and steering precision.

Salsa Warbird

Off the beaten path is where this new bike is most at home.

Geometry is also geared toward stability in an unstable environment, with the new frame getting a longer wheelbase and lower bottom bracket than the previous version.

Of course the new Warbird also has plenty of tire clearance. Salsa claims the carbon version will fit rubber up to 44mm wide, while the aluminum models can handle up to 42mm. Other prominent features include internal cable routing for the front and rear derailleurs, disc brakes, and a carbon fork. It’s also Di2 compatible should you choose to go that route.

Availability is set for summer 2015. Here’s a breakdown of price and spec for each of the new models.

Salsa Warbird

The carbon bike also comes in white.

Salsa Cycles Warbird Carbon Rival 22
  • High-modulus carbon fiber frame and Warbird Carbon fork
  • Class 5 Vibration Reduction System
  • SRAM Rival 22 drivetrain
  • SRAM Rival hydraulic disc brakes
  • DT Swiss R24 wheelset tubeless compatible
  • Front and rear thru-axles
  • Claimed frame weight 1,210g size 56cm; fork 410g
  • Available in black or white
  • MSRP: $3,500; Frame/fork: $2,000
Salsa Warbird

Color choices for the Shimano 105 build include teal or grey

Salsa Cycles Warbird 105
  • AL-6069 butted and hydroformed frame and Warbird Carbon fork
  • Class 5 Vibration Reduction System
  • Shimano 105 11-speed
  • Avid BB7 mechanical disc brakes
  • WTB rims with Salsa hubs
  • Front and rear-thru axles
  • Claimed frame weight 1,600g size 56cm; fork 410g
  • Available in teal or grey
  • MSRP $2,500
Salsa Warbird

Color choices on the Tiagra build include orange or green.

Salsa Cycles Warbird Tiagra
  • AL-6069 butted and hydroformed frame and Warbird Carbon fork
  • Class 5 Vibration Reduction System
  • Shimano Tiagra 10-speed
  • Avid BB7 mechanical disc brakes
  • WTB rims with Salsa hubs
  • Front and rear-thru axles
  • Claimed frame weight 1,600g size 56cm; fork 410g
  • Available in orange or green
  • MSRP $2,000

For more information visit salsacycles.com/bikes/warbird.

About the author: Jason Sumner

An avid cyclist, Jason Sumner has been writing about two-wheeled pursuits of all kinds since 1999. He’s covered the Tour de France, the Olympic Games, and dozens of other international cycling events. He also likes to throw himself into the fray, penning first-person accounts of cycling adventures all over the globe. Sumner, who joined the RoadBikeReview.com / Mtbr.com staff in 2013, has also done extensive gear testing and is the author of the cycling guide book "75 Classic Rides: Colorado." When not writing or riding, the native Coloradoan can be found enjoying time with his wife Lisa and daughter Cora.


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  • j. pontbriand says:

    I want the black carbon very badly! I would ride this this bike on or off road anytime. I’ve always had a weakness for salsa stuff and a couple of times when I called for some info one of the actual owners took the time to talk with me! try that with some of the other manufactureres!

  • Jeff S says:

    Aluminum/tiagra for $2000? And bb7? It was one thing when we didn’t have any choice, but with TRP now making the brake (spyre) Avid should have built a decade ago, it’s insulting to pawn this garbage off on us.

    Interesting that Salsa thinks these bikes will bring a premium over the other offerings on the market.

  • aclinjury says:

    these cx bikes are becoming 29er with skinny tires and rigid fork. Surprise that people haven’t just use a 29er in cx!

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