Author Topic: Salsa Fargo - Lemon of the year!  (Read 63082 times)

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Offline Galloper

Salsa Fargo - Lemon of the year!
« on: April 08, 2010, 08:48:32 am »
I recently bought a Salsa Fargo for use on an extended tour.   What a big mistake!   The bike was fine unloaded but as soon as I loaded it up it turned into a dangerously unstable bike, with the front wheel shimmying violently.   With the guys from the bike shop, I tried every trick in the book, changing the handlebar height, varying the front to rear weight ratio, changing the load.   Nothing made any difference, it was too dangerous to ride.   Eventually I gave up and swapped it for a Surly LHT which was a joy to ride.   The Surly, my Dawes Karakum and an elderly Claud Butler all handled the same load with ease which had the Salsa wobbling all over the road.

My advice to anyone considering buying a Salsa Fargo for full on touring is: Don't!   Oh!   And don't expect any response from Salsa if you do tell them of the problem.

Offline velo

Re: Salsa Fargo - Lemon of the year!
« Reply #1 on: April 08, 2010, 11:34:14 am »
More details? How was it loaded? How much was it loaded with? Front bags, rear bags, trailer, etc?

Did you get the frame alignment checked? Was the head tube faced before pressing the headset? Just thinking about possible causes.

Offline whittierider

Re: Salsa Fargo - Lemon of the year!
« Reply #2 on: April 08, 2010, 01:58:03 pm »
What a disappointment.  Shimmy is often caused by an asymmetrical fork, according to Calfee's article at http://www.calfeedesign.com/forksymmetry.htm .

People often say the head tube or BB shell need facing, but I think it's a normal, routine part of frame manufacturer.  I know a frame builder and have watched him work, and he always did this with standard framebuilders' tools (made by Campagnolo in his case) before painting.


Offline Galloper

Re: Salsa Fargo - Lemon of the year!
« Reply #3 on: April 11, 2010, 02:25:33 pm »
I had a set of Altura Orkney 34 L panniers on the front and a set of 56's on the back with an Ortlieb bar bag and an Ortlieb tube on the rear carrier.   As mentioned, this is my standard long tour set up which I've used on various other bikes without problems.

I was in the unfortunate situation of having flown in from the UK with a long tour in front of me so didn't really have the time to start exploring engineering solutions so it was very much a case of throwing it back at the supplier and swapping to a bike that worked.   In any case it is the responsibility of the manufacturer to ensure the frame is to specification and all surfaces correctly faced and prepared before shipping.

At one point, at about 10 mph, the damn thing nearly spat me off which was when I decided I had to change it for a bike that was safe and fit for purpose.

Needless to say I won't ever be buying another Salsa.

Offline bogiesan

Re: Salsa Fargo - Lemon of the year!
« Reply #4 on: April 12, 2010, 08:54:51 am »
That's why we have these forums. Thanks for your review and we're very glad you could arrange a reasonable solution. Was the swap amenable with the shop? If so, that's a good reason to mention your shop, the arrangement represents excellent customer service.

david boise ID
I play go. I use Macintosh. Of course I ride a recumbent

Offline ducnut

Re: Salsa Fargo - Lemon of the year!
« Reply #5 on: April 12, 2010, 11:20:28 am »
I think your bike had a defect (bent or tweaked frame-not uncommon in the industry), as I know of several people who've successfully used them for travel. Your situation is the only one I've heard of.

Offline Galloper

Re: Salsa Fargo - Lemon of the year!
« Reply #6 on: April 13, 2010, 07:07:27 am »
I bought the bike from Topanga Creek Bicycles and they were extremely helpful, I lost something on the deal but was able to get up and running on a Surly LHT the same day which is pretty good service by any standard.

As regards to the fault, yes, I agree, there was certainly a fault but whether it was a bent frame or forks I couldn't say.   As to whether that is not uncommon, in my personal experience over far too many bikes  :) I have never experienced a similar failing.   As a keen motorcyclist I know it happens with motorbikes too and it's generally a design fault rather than a manufacturing problem and usually sorted with a steering damper.

One of my main concerns is that I've had no response  from Salsa which is always a bad sign, either of disinterest or of something more deep rooted.

Offline waynemyer

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Re: Salsa Fargo - Lemon of the year!
« Reply #7 on: April 13, 2010, 12:04:11 pm »
I am not so sure it is a defective frame.  In reading other's reviews about the Salsa Fargo (ref: threads on CrazyGuyOnABike.com), I think the Salsa Fargo is designed to only have a very light load on the front.  That front rack is awfully small and the designers are trying to say something to riders.

Thank you for the heads up.  It is seriously disappointing because I really wanted a Salsa Fargo after seeing one in the LBS.  I hope that Salsa rectifies their front end issues on this platform because I think it has serious potential for Fun.
waynemyer.com
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Offline Moondoggy

Re: Salsa Fargo - Lemon of the year!
« Reply #8 on: April 13, 2010, 01:22:35 pm »
Interesting.I`ve read good reviews and I know some Fargos where used on the Great Divide Race. I`ve bought many frames and only my Niner came faced from the factory. All others I had faced at a LBS. Even your LHT at the very least need the paint removed from the BB and headtube area after you got it. Salsa and Surly share the same parent company btw

Offline paddleboy17

Re: Salsa Fargo - Lemon of the year!
« Reply #9 on: April 13, 2010, 05:35:35 pm »
I know bike shops like to blame things on facing.  I always thought it was a machinist's cop out.  My guess would be that the fork legs are misaligned somehow.  I guess another possibility is that the frame alloy is just not up to the task.  Or maybe this specific batch of frame tubes is not up to the task.

There could be a design defect, but I am guessing a manufacturing defect.

Too bad Salsa won't stand behind their bike.
Danno

Offline Clem

Re: Salsa Fargo - Lemon of the year!
« Reply #10 on: April 14, 2010, 10:30:41 am »
Sorry for your pain. I just assembled a new Salsa Vaya. It has been working very well for me, but I haven't put any racks on it or tried to carry anything, but your problem did get me to break out my drop-out alignment tools and check. The fork drop-outs were off a little. Now that has stopped raining, I will try it out after work.

Offline cyclingsteve

Re: Salsa Fargo - Lemon of the year!
« Reply #11 on: April 15, 2010, 04:19:55 pm »
One thing that often gets overlooked is that some tires have inconsistencies in the tread that'll make a fork wobble.  Did you try changing out the tires by any chance?

I have seen Fargos that are loaded with LOTS of stuff and this is the first one that Ive heard had a problem.  I'm not saying that there wasn't a problem - just that it seems highly unlikely that it's the frame design...

Steve
« Last Edit: April 16, 2010, 01:11:55 pm by cyclingsteve »

Offline Tim @ Salsa Cycles

Re: Salsa Fargo - Lemon of the year!
« Reply #12 on: April 16, 2010, 04:40:12 pm »
Galloper -

I am sorry to hear about your issue with the Fargo, and I apologize for the inconvenience it caused you.  However, I am curious as to whom you spoke with at Salsa about this issue.  This is the first that we have heard of this particular issue.  Again, I apologize if you made contact and were not responded to.

We have had a small amount of people report a shimmy with a heavier front load on the Fargo, and it typically lies with load placement.  Due to the slacker head angle of the Fargo and the more "mountain" geometry, if the load is high, this is possible, but not common, as it also has to do with rider placement on the bike. 

I will contact Topanga Creek today to thank them for helping you with this issue and to make sure their needs are met.  If you have any additional needs, please feel free to contact me direct at tkrueger at salsacycles.com. 

We stand behind our products 100%, and I feel this was just an issue of miscommunication, as we typically respond to emails or phone calls within 24 hours.  Again, I am really sorry for your experience, and if there is anything I can do for you, please let me know. 


Ride and Smile,
Tim, Salsa Cycles

Offline whittierider

Re: Salsa Fargo - Lemon of the year!
« Reply #13 on: April 16, 2010, 06:00:08 pm »
Quote
We have had a small amount of people report a shimmy with a heavier front load on the Fargo, and it typically lies with load placement.  Due to the slacker head angle of the Fargo and the more "mountain" geometry, if the load is high, this is possible, but not common, as it also has to do with rider placement on the bike.

Note that he tried all kinds of load distributions, etc., and other bikes had no problems with the same load and rider:

Quote
With the guys from the bike shop, I tried every trick in the book, changing the handlebar height, varying the front to rear weight ratio, changing the load.  Nothing made any difference; it was too dangerous to ride.  Eventually I gave up and swapped it for a Surly LHT which was a joy to ride.  The Surly, my Dawes Karakum, and an elderly Claud Butler all handled the same load with ease which had the Salsa wobbling all over the road.

I haven't seen one of these, but I would suspect some lack of quality control in the symmetry of the fork or something of that nature.  Even if the tire is centered in the crown area, the steering tube may still be off at an angle.
« Last Edit: April 16, 2010, 06:02:01 pm by whittierider »

Offline Galloper

Re: Salsa Fargo - Lemon of the year!
« Reply #14 on: April 17, 2010, 07:00:01 am »
Tim, I sent an email to your company via your own web site.

As to the inconvenience, this involved hiring a U Haul truck in Alpine and driving 160 miles or whatever, each way to Topanga, then exchanging a $1500 dollar bike for an $1100 bike.   Oh! and two days out of my holiday driving to and fro.

I was interested to see in your email that I am not alone in suffering this shimmy.   The load at the front wasn't at what I would consider an excessive height.     In fact, I used the same racks from the Salsa on the Surly without problems but I take your point about the slacker geometry.   

The tops of the panniers were below the wheel rim, the rack was a low rider with a single support brace over the wheel.   It's difficult to be precise but I would estimate the weight of each pannier as no more than about 8 or 9 lbs.   (I've just weighed one with it's normal load and it was 6 lbs.   I've added a bit to allow for the food I would be carrying.

I wanted to post a picture but the file size is too big.   If you give me your email address I'll send one to you.

Now you see how much information you would have got if someone had responded to me!