Some people’s riding plans simply outstrip the factory specification. A bespoke creation, from the frame up, is the only way to go – and we are very much here for that. John came to us with plans for a globe-conquering all-terrain tourer based around Salsa’s legendary Fargo frame. With a trip to the wilds of Asia on the cards, this build needed to be equal parts tough and versatile – capable of tackling any terrain confidently and efficiently. Opting for the titanium flavour for maximum resilience and reduced weight, we knew he had big plans for this build, and as the bike took shape it did not disappoint!
Smarter Than Your Average Frame
We all know titanium is tough, and light. These alone are great attributes for any bike, but there’s more: the Salsa Fargo Ti has a few tricks up its sleeve. The Alternator 1.5 dropouts pivot to adjust the chainstay length so you can increase tyre clearance, adjust the ride characteristics or tension the chain for a singlespeed or hub-geared configuration. Hidden away on the drive-side stays, there’s even a discreet little frame split for anyone wishing to run a belt drive for the ultimate low-maintenance ride. The geometry deftly balances off-road stability with pedalling efficiency and handles very happily whether fully loaded or running free.
John picked out a set of equally versatile Jones H-Bars (carbon option, no less). The outer grips keep things relaxed and comfortable for multiple days of pushing onto the horizon, while the front loop provides support to adopt a more aero position for long road stretches – as well as plenty of real estate for gadgets.
After selecting a true go-anywhere frameset as a starting point, the next logical step was to get that chassis rolling. The Fargo’s Boost spacing allows for some pretty substantial rubber, so we picked out wide 29er rims from Ryde to be handbuilt by the spoke-wielding superheroes in our workshop. Handbuilding ensures more even tension across the whole wheel, making for a more robust finished article – plus, the use of traditional J-bend round spokes means that should a replacement be needed it shouldn’t be too hard to find.
Spare part availability is also a key consideration when it comes to the drivetrain. When heading truly off the beaten track, running a premium 12-speed groupset that wants regular tweaking isn’t ideal – which is why so many round-the-world builds go for something along the lines of 9-speed Deore. However, there is another way: a drivetrain that just won’t need fixing. The Rohloff Speedhub is the pinnacle of this design ethos, requiring nothing more than a quick oil change every 5000km and frequently providing over 100,000km of use before needing any additional attention. With a ratio range of 526%, you’d be pushed to find a broader spectrum of gears anywhere else too.
Once built, these bombproof wheels were shod with a pair of Teravail’s Sparwood tyres. The diamond-pattern centre tread is very fast-rolling on the asphalt, but the footprint and chunkier outer lugs make for a winning combination on looser surfaces and dry trails.
The Rohloff was hooked up to a Shimano XT chainset sporting a Specialties TA 1/8th ring – wrapped up in an Izumi track chain, of course. The ‘“go” taken care of, stopping power was covered by fitting a set of Hope’s Tech 3 X2 dual-piston brakes.
Of course, no trekking bike would be complete without a little luggage capacity. We fitted the Fargo with Salsa’s Alternator pannier rack and a pair of Anything Cages on the fork legs. Combined with a set of bikepacking bags and panniers, John will be perfectly equipped to cross continents. The fork has another set of triple mounts for an additional pair of Anything Cages, or an alternative spot for water bottles should John opt for a full frame bag for his expedition.