Author Topic: Salsa Fargo - Lemon of the year!  (Read 61817 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline disgruntled

Re: Salsa Fargo - Lemon of the year!
« Reply #30 on: May 10, 2010, 12:14:47 am »
I feel really badly about your experience, but I don't want to dissuade anyone who might be reading this from getting a Fargo.  I have a garage full of really, really nice bikes (5.5, 9.9, 720, Blue Ridge, etc.) and all I ever ride anymore is the Fargo.  It's really a fantastic, versatile, comfortable thing.

I have the front and rear Nice Racks on it, plus the cable tie-on baskets from Rivbike, and routinely load up the bike willi-nilli with all kinds of crap (firewood, cases of beer, flats of pansies) and it handles just fine at ~25mph.

That said, the idea that you'd have really big wheels, really big tires, a frame made in some cancer inducing sweatshop in Taiwan, and the panniers would shake on a 40 mph downhill isn't a total suprise.  The Fargo is really a gravel road and gravel trail bike - it's not a loaded touring bike.  If you're planning bombing down mountain switchbacks with loaded front panniers, you want something like a Co-motion Americano, with smaller wheels, made in USA, not a Fargo.  Or really, you want a B.O.B. trailer.  (The Fargo and the B.O.B. carry a tree just fine, by the way).

PS - please come back to the U.S.A on another trip.  We'd love to have you, we need the economic boost.


Offline whittierider

Re: Salsa Fargo - Lemon of the year!
« Reply #31 on: May 10, 2010, 01:16:22 am »

Quote
(The Fargo and the B.O.B. carry a tree  just fine, by the way).

This is quite O.T., but if you really want to carry big loads with a bike, see bikesatwork.com .



(Yes, that really is a double-bed mattress and box spring,)



(and that really is a refrigerator.)

Offline Galloper

Re: Salsa Fargo - Lemon of the year!
« Reply #32 on: May 10, 2010, 08:07:55 am »
The problem, Disgruntled, was that the shakes came in at walking speed, then about 10mph and again about 18 mph.   Pretty much covered the whole spectrum.

I chose the Fargo because I wasn't sure what road surfaces I was going to encounter and also because, back here in the UK, I ride a lot of gravel roads and so thought it would be a good bet for future use as well as the main trip.

And, unfortunately, I was unwise enough to believe Salsa's web site which tout it as a go anywhere bike.   From what most people are saying on here, perhaps they should revise that to "May shimmy when loaded, not suitable for road based touring"

I will admit, I'm getting quite keen on the idea of a bob yak for touring, I'm hoping to do some miles around the south of France next month and the trailer seems really versatile.

Offline paddleboy17

Re: Salsa Fargo - Lemon of the year!
« Reply #33 on: May 10, 2010, 01:20:08 pm »
Shimmying is a common problem with light touring bikes.  The Salsa Fargo is a light touring bike.  They may imply with advertising that you can round trip it to Tierra del Fuego‎, but don't count on it.  That is why some of us have spent the big bucks for a heavy touring bike.  They don't shimmy.

The specification for a light touring bike is credit card touring.  Are you mad yet?  We all should be angry.

Most light touring bikes sold never even see panniers, so I have some sympathy for the bike companies.  I also think you should not have to invest in a $5000 Co-Motion to get a beefy enough frame.

The only way you can be confident about a light touring bike is to take it for a test ride with panniers that have real stuff in them.  You are lucky that you did not buy the bike for a trip that you were going to do in 6 months.  But you should be able to read specs that indicate if the frame would flex and shimmy. And be able to work with a LBS that has a clue.
Danno

Offline Galloper

Re: Salsa Fargo - Lemon of the year!
« Reply #34 on: May 10, 2010, 03:35:21 pm »
I take your point, Paddleboy, I guess it is a light touring bike as in designed for light load touring (and not in weight as it's a pretty heavy ol thing).   You're also absolutely correct about the need for a heavy duty tourer although I have to say that neither my Dawes or Claud Butler shimmy under any load or at any speed.   The former cost about $800 and the latter about $400 so I think buying from a company that understands touring is the key.

I suppose the thing that drives us all wild at some point is what the law refers to as Advertisers Puff.   No really, that's what they call it (at least here in the UK) meaning that one should expect somewhat exaggerated claims from sellers.

In the UK we have legislation called the "Trade Descriptions Act" which states that goods should be fit for the purpose for which they are sold so if you advertise as bike as a go anywhere tourer, it has to be able to do that otherwise there can be some fairly draconian penalties.   Not sure if that sort of legislation is on the statute books in California.

Offline Galloper

Re: Salsa Fargo - Lemon of the year!
« Reply #35 on: May 17, 2010, 09:02:52 am »
I contacted Tim at Salsa to enquire what had happened about the Fargo and if they had brought it back in house for investigation.

He replied that "it had been taken care of"   which sounds a bit ominous.   

I see they've changed the website however and it's now sold as a mountain bike for off road touring.

Offline Moondoggy

Re: Salsa Fargo - Lemon of the year!
« Reply #36 on: May 17, 2010, 09:52:45 pm »
Shimmying is a common problem with light touring bikes.  The Salsa Fargo is a light touring bike.  They may imply with advertising that you can round trip it to Tierra del Fuego‎, but don't count on it.  That is why some of us have spent the big bucks for a heavy touring bike.  They don't shimmy.

The specification for a light touring bike is credit card touring.  Are you mad yet?  We all should be angry.

Most light touring bikes sold never even see panniers, so I have some sympathy for the bike companies.  I also think you should not have to invest in a $5000 Co-Motion to get a beefy enough frame.

The only way you can be confident about a light touring bike is to take it for a test ride with panniers that have real stuff in them.  You are lucky that you did not buy the bike for a trip that you were going to do in 6 months.  But you should be able to read specs that indicate if the frame would flex and shimmy. And be able to work with a LBS that has a clue.
    Being new I was wondering what frame options are considered real fully loaded heavy touring chioces

Offline paddleboy17

Re: Salsa Fargo - Lemon of the year!
« Reply #37 on: May 18, 2010, 12:58:40 pm »
Unfortunately, heavy touring bikes are really expensive because they tend to be semi-custom or custom.  I don't think there is a stock heavy touring bike, and you won't find one from Trek or Cannodale, or any of the other usual suspects.  I think the cheapest and closest to a stock bike would be a Bruce Gordon.  Your new suspects are Rivendell, Co-Motion, Bruce Gordon, Beckman, and Waterford.  There are probably others.  Besides beefed up frames, you might also see tandem rear.  Once the frame is beefed up, the next weak link is the wheels.  One way to make the wheels stronger is go with a non-dished wheel.  These are stock on better tandems, hence the phrase tandem rear.

I have a Waterford Adventure Cycle.  These are custom frame sets that your local dealer builds up for you.  I benefit from having a custom frame, but I don't feel like I require a custom frame.  It gave me a chance to get some features I wanted, like the tandem rear, a drag brake, pump mounts, and kick stand mount plate. 

I don't know why the big guys can just sell a beefed up frame.  A normal steel frame is on the order of 4 pounds.  My Waterford's beefed up steel frame is less than a pound heavier than that.  Blame it on the same mentality that says a 12MP camera with crappy lenses is a better camera than a 6MP camera with OK lenses.

My Waterford is overkill for most of the riding I do.  I needed the beefed up frame, but I did not need the tandem wheel set (but don't tell my wife).
Danno

Offline whittierider

Re: Salsa Fargo - Lemon of the year!
« Reply #38 on: May 18, 2010, 01:14:05 pm »

Quote
One way to make the wheels stronger is go with a non-dished wheel.  These are stock on better tandems, hence the phrase tandem rear.

Using an off-center (OC) rim, you can get rid of almost all the dishing, even with a standard hub.  The spoke holes way to the left of center on the rim, making it non-symmetric, like this Velocity Aerohead OC:

 

Tandem rear wheels require a much wider dropout spacing than single bikes though.  The wider spacing allows putting the flanges farther apart and getting a better spoke bracing angle, which has a dramatic impact on the strength of the wheel.  If the bike has 145mm or 160mm rear dropout spacing, you can put a real tandem wheel in it.  Single (ie, non-tandem) road bikes normally have 130mm dropout spacing.

Offline deniseh

Re: Salsa Fargo - Lemon of the year!
« Reply #39 on: May 18, 2010, 11:39:51 pm »
On your list of trying things, I noticed that you did not list changing out the front fork, I put a salsa for on my fisher while I was getting the rock shock rebuilt.  It made the bike shake (in a frightening manner) on really fast road downhills.

Offline Galloper

Re: Salsa Fargo - Lemon of the year!
« Reply #40 on: May 19, 2010, 07:12:54 am »
Trying a new fork wasn't really an option as I was actually on the road.   If I'd lived in the area, that would have been an option but would have been at the discretion of the bike shop and Salsa.

If I'd been able to afford the time and the expense of waiting, it would have been worth a try but I was very time limited by my tourist visa which is a standard 90 day and my planning for the trip was fairly close to that limit.

Don't want to upset the Immigration guys - they have guns!

I passed through one of their check points in Arizona and must say they were very friendly, even asked if I needed some more water.

Offline ericb

Re: Salsa Fargo - Lemon of the year!
« Reply #41 on: June 03, 2010, 05:18:50 pm »
Came across this topic and felt compelled to balance Galloper's alarmist posts.

I've owned a Salsa Fargo for about three weeks now, and I couldn't be happier. Ok, maybe a little... it's not a perfect bike, but for the price it's fantastic. In this time I've put more than 500 miles on it, with a good mix of long-ish mixed trail and road rides and plenty of commuting, hauling groceries, etc.

Absolutely the only complaint I have about the bike is that the quality of the wheel building is rather poor. But that doesn't come as a surprise and is par for the course for machine wheel built wheels and in this price range.

This past holiday weekend I went on a mini-tour that was about 50% trail with lots of killer climbs, riding through creeks and bombing down washed out fire roads -- a big loop through Henry Coe State Park in California, for those of you who know it. In terms of terrain this little test ride is sort of on the extreme end of what I plan to do with the bike, which is mixed touring with plenty of back roads exploring. The bike handled and performed beautifully and I didn't have a single problem.

Now I admit, I haven't yet got the front rack on the bike, so I was touring only with an overloaded handlebar bag and two rear panniers. Also, not much gear as it was only three days.

Normally in this configuration -- with weight high on the bar and mostly in the rear, I'd expect some squirelliness. But this is an extremely stable bike that handles beautifully on road and off. I'm very keen to get panniers on the front, but there is nothing to suggest to me that the handling would be anything less than solid. If I experienced shimmy I'd immediately reconfigure my load and if that didn't help start checking frame alignment and what not.  Of course I'd have already considered if the frame was simply too small for me.

I would not call this a light touring bike. In fact that's a pretty ridiculous comment. A Trek 520 is a light touring bike, and feels like a wet noodle compared to the Fargo. And any bike can shimmy and/or be dangerous if it's not loaded in a way that is right for that bike. To just say "oh, I had these same racks on another bike no problems" is ignoring the very obvious: every bike is different and racks and the load will ride differently on every frame. Just as importantly you will ride differently on every bike.

I think it's a pity that one person's bad experience would cast a great bike in such a negative light without considering that there are many happy Fargo owners who have nothing but good things to say about the bike or Salsa. It's not really fair. And personally I'm impressed with the way Salsa employees represent themselves in forums and have been responsive to questions and concerns. Ever talk to Bruce Gordon? How about Grant Petersen?  You'd spent twice as much or more for a bike that's maybe 30% better, but with half the level of personal commitment from the manufacturer.

Offline whittierider

Re: Salsa Fargo - Lemon of the year!
« Reply #42 on: June 03, 2010, 06:36:20 pm »
Again ericb, as has been stated before, the fact that fortunately yours is fine does not mean that there's not a problem with inconsistency in the manufacture.  Clearly quite a few people have had the problem.  To say yours is perfect just means the failure rate is not 100%.  That's not very useful information.  Hopefully Salsa will figure out whateer the problem is and fix it so everyone's experience is as good as yours.

Offline ericb

Re: Salsa Fargo - Lemon of the year!
« Reply #43 on: June 03, 2010, 11:31:53 pm »
I'm glad we are in agreement that the failure rate is not 100% I've no doubt the success rate is not 100% either. No manufacturer has perfect quality control, and to be frank, at this price point I don't expect perfection, particularly in a relatively new model.  Frame alignment? Have you checked many other bikes lately? It's shocking how many aren't perfect.

My point boils down to this: calling the Fargo "Lemon of the Year" is alarmist and unfair.

Clearly quite a few people have had the problem.

Really? Can you count them? I read this whole thread twice. I read dozens of other threads on half a dozen forums before taking the plunge myself and the worst I heard about was some problems with the alignment of the disc brake tab in the 2008 or 2009 model, which was easily corrected and addressed by Salsa.

If you are citing second-hand info about threads on crazyguyonabike.com, be aware that that is one person (Neil). He experiences shimmy on every bike he buys. I have no idea why and I'm not saying it's bogus, but that discussion did not deter me from buying the Fargo. I know from long experience that type of rack, how you load panniers, and half a dozen other factors can have a very large impact on handling. It is this point that Tim from Salsa essentially makes. You can't load a bike willy nilly and expect it to behave 100% of the time. Every bike has it's own load-handling characteristics. If you can't work within those, then clearly that bike is not for you. That doesn't make it a lemon.

My Trek 520 is borderline dangerous with a heavy and high load on a fast bumpy descent if I don't load the front at least 60-70% (and to some extent even if I do). But I'm not saying it's a lemon, I'm just saying I have to pay attention to how I put the weight on it. Same as any bike.

Offline Fun

Re: Salsa Fargo - Lemon of the year!
« Reply #44 on: June 04, 2010, 07:25:02 pm »
My Fargo has taken a beating so far.  It's the XT model in XXL.  I'm 6'5'' and 200 and even fully loaded it's amazing in the dirt and on the road.

I'll let you know if it makes it to Tierra Del Fuego.

Larry