Salsa Cycles wanted to take fatbikes to new places with the Blackborow, a concept that has been rattling around HQ since around 2010. Trekking across Mongolia or fly fishing along the Idaho Hot Springs Route? You’ll need a certain type of bike, and Salsa wants to be the company to provide it.
The doors opened by the newfound popularity of fatbikes got Salsa thinking about how to bring other hobbies into the fold – skiing, hunting, fishing or trailbuilding. While camping gear is getting more compact and an impressive amount of gear can be crammed into the space allotted by framebags, sometimes flexibility is needed when it comes to route choices, what to take with you and time spent off the bike.
Salsa didn’t want to create a bike that required users to learn an entirely new set of skills to ride it. That’s where engineer Pete Koski came in. The fatbike geometry he’d already developed for Mukluk and Beargrease could be applied to the front end, yet the rear end was open to interpretation. He knew a “mid-long frame” would be the best bet for the handling he wanted, and the result is a four-point attachment structure that can hold four full-sized panniers with plenty of upper deck space and worry-free heel clearance.
The aluminum Blackborow runs contemporary components. The rear spacing is 197 mm – now common among fatbikes – and the bottom bracket is threaded. Salsa’s EXP Series framebags fit up front, its Touring Panniers fit out back and Three-Pack mounts on the fork mate up with its Anything Cages.
Those familiar with the story of Ernest Shackleton and the Endurance – perhaps the greatest survival story of all time – may recognize in the bike’s moniker the name of Perce Blackborow, the young stowaway who found himself in the middle of an adventure he could never have predicted.
Photos courtesy Salsa Cycles