Life is a Journeyman

Salsa with geezer instead of chips.

As you know, God rides steel, or titanium (if He can get a bro’ deal from Moots, which is by no means a sure thing). And what God rides is good enough for me.

But the latest review bike here in Dog Country is aluminum, both frame and fork. And thus in the pursuit of Fairness and Objectivity I must keep my metallurgical biases chained up in the attic.

That is, I would, if we had an attic. Christ, there’s not even a basement in this fauxdobe rancheroo.

The Salsa Journeyman Claris 650, up against The Wall of Science.

Just as well, too. I’d probably tumble down the stairs and break a hip, and Herself would have me put down, find some nice young fella with wavy hair and a future instead of stubbly scalp and a past. Or maybe she’d just keep me down there. Lob a sack of Taco Bell down the stairs now and then, and a plastic bucket with a roll of single-ply. It’s not like I don’t have it coming.

Anyway, the bike. It’s the latest update to the low end of Salsa’s all-road, gravel and light-touring Journeyman series, the Claris 650. And it’s not only aluminum, it’s got them funny-size tires, whatchacallem, your 650b, or 27.5, neither fish nor fowl. And more holes than Albert Hall! You can plug pert’ near anything into the sumbitch except for maybe a Fender Stratocaster. And I’d try it, if someone at Fender would just loan me a Strat’ to review.

The Journeyman Claris 650 rolls with a manly eight-speed drivetrain, so it has that going for it, which is nice. None of your one-by-whatever setups with a cassette that has more teeth than a tour bus full of Osmonds.

Charlie Ervin down at Two Wheel Drive asked me if I try to put myself in the mindset of a customer shopping for a sub-$1,000 bike when I’m reviewing one and I said hell yes. I am a Man of the People, though I notice that most of ’em don’t pick up when I call.

Especially the ones with the $8,000 titanium bikes that desperately need reviewing, and by me, right now, goddamnit. Dern Caller ID anyhow.

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7 Responses to “Life is a Journeyman”

  1. Steve O Says:

    Looks like you’ve got some great weather for riding someone else’s bike. We’re not getting out anytime soon without mudflaps wide enough to say “keep on trucking” and “back off” side by side. Wasn’t that much snow, but somehow when they plowed it, the volume increased three-fold, which was so helpful because they plowed it directly onto the bike lanes.

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      We got wind and subnormal temps, but that was about it. I hear Bibleburg and Pueblo took a right thumping. The pix looked like they paved Paradise and put up a parking lot. But them places was never Paradise. I lived there. I’ll tell anybody.

  2. Jay Fromkin Says:

    Back in the day (1996), my Davidson ti, with Chorus 9, Time fork, and Mavic wheels cost about $3200. Still ride it, though, I’ve had Bill D. modify for Ultegra Di2, replaced the fork with Reynolds (at Lennard Zinn’s suggestion, for greater stability), and Neugent wheels (per Charles Pelkey’s) recommendation. My lifetime bike.

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      I’m still rocking my old DBR Prevail TT, a Sandvik-built ti’ bike from the mid-1990s. The only OE bits remaining are the Shimano 600 brake calipers and, oddly, the Avenir saddle. I have a Selle Italia Turbo I keep meaning to put on, but never do.

      Steelman fork, nine-speed Ultegra STI (but a Ritchey compact crank), and Neugent wheels. It was the last road-racing bike I ever bought, or will ever need.

  3. Pat O'Brien Says:

    Aluminum and Strats? Say it isn’t so. But, I was a Cannondale guy for the longest time, until the dealer here sold his soul and Cannondale followed soon after. Only acoustics are allowed at the crossroads.

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      It’s quite a departure for Señor Steele S. Reale, to be sure. I don’t think I’ve ridden an aluminum frame with an aluminum fork since … 2000, mebbe? A GT ZRX cyclocross bike? That was a bouncy ride on my private ’cross course up in Weirdcliffe.

      I haven’t played an electric guitar in even longer. High school. I had some shitbag pawn-shop solid-body that I used to torment my parents because, like, everyone did, man.

      GT ZRX

      The GT ZRX. I had a steel GT ’cross bike, too, from the Longmont factory. It just might have been built by Mark Nobilette.

    • DownhillBill Says:

      Every time I rode a Cannondale I went looking for a mirror as soon as I got off. Had to see if I’d chipped any more teeth. That was many years ago, to be sure, plus there’s the “different strokes” thing. I even have friends who swear by Brooks saddles, the flower of 19th century bike tech.

      My electric guitars get more use than the acoustic: what I lack in quality (talent, competence,etc.) I can make up in quantity (volume, distortion, etc.).
      Full disclosure: all my gigs are on snare drum. Only the cat has to listen to the electrics, and she usually hides.

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