Inside Line: More details about Salsa’s EXP bikepacking bags

Salsa EXP Series Bikepacking Bags

Over the past several years, Salsa has defined itself has a bicycle brand dedicated to adventures that lie beyond the ordinary bike ride. Epic-distance riding, exploration and bona fide bikepacking have become the company’s hallmark. Thus it should come as no surprise that Salsa has doubled down on this vision by announcing a complete set of bikepacking bags and accessories. We first heard about the EXP Series back in July.

As Salsa states, the EXP Series Bikepacking gear is, “built with the adventure-ready intentionality, functionality, and get-after-it-ability that you’ve come to expect from Salsa. The EXP Series invites possibility and the potential to transform any ride into so much more.” The EXP moniker is derived from three words batted about when mentioning Salsa Cycles: explore; experience; and expedition.

The EXP series is comprised of seven distinct products. While these items are designed to fit Salsa bikes, they’re likely also to fit the bike you ride:

  • Cutthroat Framepack
  • Toptube Bag
  • Anything Cradle
  • Dry Bag
  • Front Pouch
  • Front Straps
  • Seatpack

Let’s take a quick look at each item.

Cutthroat Framepack
Available in four sizes (3.5L; 4.5L; 5.2L; and 6.1L), this weather-resistant frame fastens to the inside of the main triangle and features 500D Nylon with TPU lamination and PU coating, 1000D Polyester with dual-sided TPU lamination, #10 weather-resistant YKK Zippers, and Duraflex Hardware. Internal hook/loop dividers help keep gear separate and balanced, and it has the capacity for a water bladder for your inevitable hydration needs during the long haul.

Salsa EXP Series Bikepacking Bags

Toptube Bag
Handy for those small items you often reach for – like gel packs, lip balm and cigarettes…or chewing gum if you prefer…this 1.2L toptube bag can be attached to Salsa frames that feature bottle mounts on the toptube (we haven’t confirmed if it’ll mount to other bikes with similar mounts like the OPEN U.P.) Features include two internal mesh pockets and a closed-cell foam structure for increased stability.

Salsa EXP Series Bikepacking Bags

Anything Cradle
“The Anything Cradle, much like our Anything Cage HD, is built to create carrying capacity where once there was none.” It doesn’t get much more succinct than that. This injection-molded composite cradle features 6061 forged aluminum arms, and will secure up to eight pounds of whatever gear you need to bring with you, or…anything. The Anything Cradle is designed to mount to the handlebars. While it features almost limitless points to which you can fasten straps, this cradle is part of the EXP’s modular concept, as the EXP Series dry bags are designed to neatly fit right in.

Salsa EXP Series Bikepacking Bags

Dry Bag
Conveniently, the Dry Bag attaches quite nicely to the aforementioned Anything Cradle. This 15l dry bag is made of 420D Nylon with TPU lamination and a PU coating for reliable waterproofness.  Three slotted strap anchors adorn the front for attachment of other bags and packs, such as the…

Salsa EXP Series Bikepacking Bags

Anything Cradle Front Pouch
While the Dry Bag is great for keeping lots of goods nice and dry during your rides, it’s usually filled with stuff you’re not really reaching for while you’re riding. That’s where a pouch comes in handy. Strapped to the dry bag, the 1.7L waterproof Anything Cradle Front Pouch allows easy access to what you find important, usually while you’re riding.

Salsa EXP Series Bikepacking Bags

Anything Cradle Front Straps
These 25mm-wide nylon webbing straps are made to work neatly with the Anything Cradle. In the absence of the Dry Bag, you can mount…well…anything to the Cradle. They’re also good for strapping down anything else to other places on your bike.

Salsa EXP Series Bikepacking Bags

Seatpack
Salsa is including its EXP Series Seatpack in this suite of bikepacking kit, but it’s still in production. Details…and some official photos…will be released soon.

Salsa EXP Series Bikepacking Bags

No word yet on pricing, but you should start seeing these EXP Series products hitting the streets…err…roads and trails soon.

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Frostbike Report: New and updated components and gear

Frostbike is an annual dealer gathering hosted by Quality Bicycle Products (QBP), the parent company behind several brands such as All City, Foundry, Salsa, Surly and others. The event takes place at QBP headquarters in Minneapolis, Minnesota, in late February and allows shop owners and media types to gather, drink beer and talk shop.

With the Taipei International Cycle Show and Sea Otter looming, not to mention the countless company-specific product launch events now usurping big trade shows, there was not a glut of new product to be explored. Here are some of the new and noteworthy products we stumbled upon.

Garmin duo

Garmin Varia Rearview Radar

$200 (rear monitor/light, only), $300 (rear monitor/light and head unit indicator)

Garmin has so much bike stuff going on that, according to its brochure, you can conceivably hang up to 10 bits of the company’s electronics on your bicycle, from cameras to power meters to remote controls for some of the other items. The highlight of the show was Garmin’s wireless Varia Rearview Radar. The two-piece setup includes a radar device/light for your seatpost and a small indicator for your stem or bars.

The radar can detect vehicles up to 153 yards away and—either on the indicator, or on your existing Garmin Edge computer—will display up to 8 vehicles (or anything moving faster than you), how close each is to your rear tire and how fast they are approaching. The 16-lumen tail light brightens when it detects an oncoming vehicle. Each individual unit has a lifespan of five hours per charge in high power mode. The bundle weighs 3.2 ounces.

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Garmin Varia Smart Bike Lights

$200 (headlight), $70 (one tail light), $300 (headlight, one tail light and remote control)

If you already own a Gamin Edge computer, the smart lights might be your next step. Depending on which Edge model you own, the Varia smart lights will automatically adjust to changing light conditions and your speed. The front light will focus farther down the road as you ride faster while the tail light will shine the brightest if you’re rapidly slowing down.

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Set yourself up with two tail lights and a handlebar-mounted remote control and—voila—your bicycle has turn signals.

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Garmin Varia Vision In-sight Display – $400

If looking down isn’t your thing, turn your sunglasses into a heads-up display. Weighing just 1.1 ounces, the Varia Vision In-sight Display will show directions, performance data, trip information, incoming phone calls and text messages and vehicles approaching from behind, depending on which myriad of devices you pair it with. You can also set it to vibrate to alert you to any of that stuff. The device and its various screens are controlled by a touch panel that is intended work with gloves. A charge should last you eight hours. No word yet on what your ride buddies will think.


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Rever mtb1 and mcx1 disc brakes

mtn1 – $164.99 (complete kit for one wheel), mcx1 – $149 (complete kit for one wheel)

Rever’s mechanical disc brakes are not brand-new, but they were updated for Frostbike to include calipers designed for Shimano’s flat-mount standard in the case of the mcx1 drop-bar model. We simply like the idea of high-end mechanical disc brakes that are designed to be easy to service. Why? If you’re riding in extremely cold temperatures, extra-grimy conditions, foreign countries or doing long-distance bikepacking, hydraulic disc brakes might be more fuss and trouble than they’re worth.

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Rever’s brakes feature dual-piston design for better adjustment, stopping power, modulation and easy installment. The brake pads can be swapped without removing the wheels or disconnecting the cables. Each kit has everything you need to set up one wheel, including 160 mm brake rotors for both road and mountain.


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Teravail Lickskillet – $65 (60 TPI), $85 (120 TPI/Premium)

Teravail is a new tire brand from QBP focused on all-road and gravel tires with understated graphics. New to the lineup is the 700c Lickskillet all-road tire in 28c or 32c. It’s tubeless compatible and features grooves specifically designed for grip and water dispersement. The 60 TPI version features flat protection under the tread while the 120 TPI model takes that protection from bead to bead. The 700×32 version can be run with as little as 45 PSI.

The tire is named for the infamous Lickskillet road near Boulder, Colorado. While only one mile long, the dirt road’s average grade is 14 percent with a max grade of 18 percent, and it tops out at over 8,000 feet. The Lickskillet 28c weighs 270 grams; the 32c weighs 350 grams. The Premium version of each, featuring that extra flat protection, weighs 5 grams more.


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iSSi Flip Pedal – $75

The new iSSi pedal is a party on one side and business on the other—you choose which is which. The Flip is both clipless and platform with adjustable spring tension, SPD cleats and 4 degrees of float. As with all iSSi pedals, you can swap out the spindles to customize your Q-factor with one of three spindle lengths. Available soon in six colors.


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Portland Design Works (PDW) Bindle Rack – price unknown (about $100)

PDW’s lightweight aluminum Bindle Rack was previewed at Interbike but as of March 1 is still not available. The clever Bindle is designed to support a rear dry bag, tent bag or similar via a seatpost clamp and seat rail cinch straps that keep items from drooping onto your rear tire or legs. Integrated compression straps hold your gear snugly. The whole thing allows you to forego a rear rack or a dedicated bikepacking saddle bag that might be too restrictive for your needs.


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Bont Vaypor + – $400 (estimated)

Bont’s high-end Vaypor + road shoe was designed particularly for all-day comfort with a soft Kangaroo leather upper, one-piece carbon chassis, memory foam padding and a BOA retention system. The entire sole of the shoe is heat moldable for a custom fit. The shoes feature ventilation holes across the tongue, along the top of the forefoot, and through the front bumper and arch area of the shoe. The Vaypor + weighs 230 grams and has a stack height of just 3.6 mm. New colors include brown, orange and blue in addition to black and white. A custom color program is available but will push the price of these kicks over $500.


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Lezyne Steel Travel Floor Drive pump – $60

Small apartments, cramped cubicles, backseats of cars, bike bags. There are plenty of tight spaces where you might want to stash a floor pump. Lezyne has you covered with its streamlined, machined aluminum Travel Floor Drive that lays flat. It weighs 2.4 pounds, maxes out at 160 PSI and works on Presta, Schrader and Dunlop valves.


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Surly Straggle-Check Bag – $170

Surly Bikes dropped a new frame bag specifically for its Cross Check and Straggler models, but it will probably work with other bikes, too, considering the triangle frame design is rather ubiquitous. The bag is made of Polyant VX sail cloth by Revelate Designs and features a hydration port, foam bumpers to protect the frame paint and a large main compartment with a map pocket.


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Velo Orange Mojave Cage – $28

The stainless steel Mojave Cage isn’t brand-new; it’s simply a nifty idea. The cage features five holes on the mounting tab and is designed to carry a 40 oz Kleen Kanteen or 32 ounce Nalgene bottle. Since 16 ounces of water weighs just a hair over one pound, using one of these to carry your designer bottle of cucumber water to work takes a couple of pounds off your back. It also means you can haul more water on tour, which was the inspiration for the design and the name.


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Revelate Designs Terrapin – $90 (holster), $38 (drybag)

The Terrapin is one of Revelate’s big seatpost bags for bikepacking. The Terrapin support holster was updated for 2016 and is now RF (radio frequency) welded to be completely waterproof.

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The Terrapin Drybag also gets RF welding and an air purge valve for simple compression. It is also now made of 210 denier mini diamond ripstop fabric to be more durable and available in more colors, including red. Together, the pair weighs 19 ounces.

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Also new from Revelate is a limited edition white camo color on all of its frame bags that will appear in bike shops soon.


We also previewed new and updated bicycles from Frostbike. If you missed that, find them here.

 

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