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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Posts
    251

    Salsa Vaya vs. Kona Jake the Snake

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    Putting this here rather than CX due to higher traffic here. I've read reviews, test ridden, but want some final feedback from those of you who are experienced with CX, as I am not. I'm about to pull the trigger on the next bike. I have a hybrid with rack and panniers for getting around town, but want something for days when it's rainy - I don't mind getting wet out on the road, but need something more robust to ride, grippier tires, etc. I will do a couple of gravel events per year (maybe more if I have the right equipment) and live near double-track that is dirt and perfect for a cross bike. So, I'm not competing, will be using it as a utility bike sometimes, sometimes a bike for poor weather, and a little bit of gravel and dirt. Those of you in the know - which of these would you go for? I've ridden both in sizes too big for me (who in this world stocks a CX bike for a shortie like myself... nobody!). Would prefer disc brakes, but that's not a deal breaker. Open to other options. Thanks!
    The bicycle has done more for the emancipation of women than anything else in the world. ~ Susan B. Anthony

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    Central Indiana
    Posts
    6,043
    My two cents: I sure which my own gravel bike had disc brakes. If I had to do it over again, it would be a deal breaker.
    Live with intention. Walk to the edge. Listen hard. Practice wellness. Play with abandon. Laugh. Choose with no regret. Continue to learn. Appreciate your friends. Do what you love. Live as if this is all there is.

    --Mary Anne Radmacher

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    Central Indiana
    Posts
    6,043
    Quote Originally Posted by Muirenn View Post
    My two cents...

    Test ride a Cannondale CAADX. (Our road bikes are quite similar, I think. Who knows, you might like it).

    What is your gravel bike like, Indy? I'm planning to upgrade my CAADX brakes, once I finsh lay-a-way, with some TRP's or similar. Read on one forum they stopped just as well as discs. Guess it depends which, of course.
    I've ridden my Jamis Aurora touring bike on various gravel surfaces that were not quite full on gravel . More like crushed limestone. On the flat Katy Trail, they did fine...until it rained. And when we were riding off road in Maine, I would have felt much better with disc brakes given some of the elevation changes. I really wanted my mtb's brakes in both instances. So, while I wouldn't call it a true "gravel" bike, if I did have a gravel bike or had a chance to do over, I'd want disc brakes. I'd definitely want them if I expected the bike to be a inclement weather bike.

    Edit to add: I have no idea what TRPs are so I have no idea how they compare to good disc brakes.
    Live with intention. Walk to the edge. Listen hard. Practice wellness. Play with abandon. Laugh. Choose with no regret. Continue to learn. Appreciate your friends. Do what you love. Live as if this is all there is.

    --Mary Anne Radmacher

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    Central Indiana
    Posts
    6,043
    We've put some mini v brakes on the Aurora, but I haven't had an opportunity to test them. The cantis on that bike suck, but even if they didn't, I'd still prefer disc brakes in certain situations.
    Live with intention. Walk to the edge. Listen hard. Practice wellness. Play with abandon. Laugh. Choose with no regret. Continue to learn. Appreciate your friends. Do what you love. Live as if this is all there is.

    --Mary Anne Radmacher

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    Tucson, AZ
    Posts
    4,632
    I'd want discs for anything I ride in the rain.
    At least I don't leave slime trails.
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  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Posts
    251
    Thanks for the replies. It sounds like disc brakes ARE a deal-breaker. I have not had enough experience on gravel (and those events that I did were on my hard tail MTB) or in mud to have made that judgement call, so this is truly a big help.

    I did try the Cdale... even in my size. It just isn't for me. I would maybe buy one used, but if I'm going to put out the $$ for new, I prefer to go with foreign, smaller or boutique manufacturers. I know that is quite opposite of the majority of people, but I like unique, odd, different, etc. Just a preference. Sounds like I'll probably go for the Salsa. I still have a few weeks before I will buy it (need one more paycheck to have the cash). Thanks again, everyone!
    The bicycle has done more for the emancipation of women than anything else in the world. ~ Susan B. Anthony

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    central NY
    Posts
    402
    velo - does your LBS have the Salsa in stock? They seem to be hard to come by this "late" in the season. I went shopping last week and there were about 5 available (worldwide) in the small size that I would have needed. The bike shop guy said they always have problems with availability. I hope you find one - they look really nice.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Posts
    251
    Quote Originally Posted by IBrakeforPastry View Post
    velo - does your LBS have the Salsa in stock? They seem to be hard to come by this "late" in the season. I went shopping last week and there were about 5 available (worldwide) in the small size that I would have needed. The bike shop guy said they always have problems with availability. I hope you find one - they look really nice.
    When I was in and looking, they were still available. Thanks for the head's up... maybe they're not available any longer, as it's been a few weeks or maybe even a couple of months. I do need the small size. That could definitely be a game-changer! Well, I guess I need to get going on this.
    The bicycle has done more for the emancipation of women than anything else in the world. ~ Susan B. Anthony

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Posts
    251
    Quote Originally Posted by Muirenn View Post
    I do too, which is why I was looking for steel, disc brakes, unusual brand. The reality is no one in my area carries cross bikes, except for a couple shops geared more to race cross, and I can't order without at least trying a bike, even if it the wrong size. The closest Salsa dealer is two hundred miles away, and even they don't have any Vaya's, I checked. Same with Raleigh. Didn't like the ride of the Bianchi Cross I tested.

    Loved the looks of the Vaya. Enjoy!
    LBS stock can certainly be an issue. I know with your Pinarello you had to travel a bit to buy, even with that being one of the better-known Italian manufacturers. I think you make a good point that sometimes you are limited to what is available to you. I wish that bike shops could just order whatever the customer wants and not be like a car dealership where you can choose only from what they "peddle"! (yes, pun intended )
    The bicycle has done more for the emancipation of women than anything else in the world. ~ Susan B. Anthony

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Posts
    251
    I guess that although the Vaya is more a touring bike (I am looking for an all-purpose), I may do some more research to get a true CX bike that will accept fenders. Now I'm on the fence again. Argh! Having disc brakes is important, though. I didn't realize before that they were, so this has been helpful.
    Last edited by velo; 05-11-2013 at 12:28 PM.
    The bicycle has done more for the emancipation of women than anything else in the world. ~ Susan B. Anthony

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Portland Metro Area
    Posts
    859
    I have a 2011 Surly Cross Check, which is a steel CX bike outfitted with bar end shifters. Unfortunately it's not available with disc brakes. I have 700x32 tires with full fenders and its great as a commuter. I live in western Oregon and it rains a lot. Cantilever breaks are alright, but would have liked disc. Great price too. Many of the bike shop mechanics around here (Portland has something like 78+ bike shops in metro area) own Cross Checks and say they're "bomb proof". Good luck.
    "Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls & looks like work" - Thomas Edison

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Posts
    251
    Thank you Velocivixen! Originally, I was not looking at steel, but going for aluminum. I have heard a lot of good things about the crosscheck and test rode a 54 (!!) which was too big - perhaps too big to give it a fair evaluation. I think it's pretty clear to me at this point that I need to do some more research and learn some more about cross bikes... and make 100% sure that is what I want for my purposes. I was hasty to narrow down my choices. This discussion has been invaluable, as I really don't know anything about cross bikes or touring bikes. Thanks!
    The bicycle has done more for the emancipation of women than anything else in the world. ~ Susan B. Anthony

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Portland Metro Area
    Posts
    859
    Hey Velo, yeah don't be in a hurry. Take your time to research. My other bike is aluminum & I wanted steel for a different type of "feel" when I ride. I'm a recreational rider only, so considering a higher cost bike, like carbon, wasn't in my plan. The LBS where I bought my Surly specializes in "commuter" specific bike setups, so they replaced the Ritchy knobby tires with Panaracer Pasela TourGuard tires and left the stem uncut. For me this was great because I hadn't ridden a dropped bar bike in 25 years and didn't feel like I wanted to be in a "tucked" position while riding. I bought a Brooks B17 and put on SKS Longboard fenders. I love friction shifting and it didn't take me long to get used to having the shifters at bar end. I'm 5'6" with 83 cm PBH and bought a size 52 Surly. Only thing that was changed was a shorter stem (80mm) and "compact" 38cm handlebars (I always suspected that the stock handlebars were wrong for me).
    So I hope you enjoy searching for your perfect bike, and definitely let us know what you decide.
    "Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls & looks like work" - Thomas Edison

 

 

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