Author Topic: Salsa Vaya vs Masi Giramondo vs or?  (Read 7953 times)

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Offline froze

Salsa Vaya vs Masi Giramondo vs or?
« on: January 24, 2019, 07:19:22 pm »
I thought I would come to the experts in touring for this question.

I've done some touring, mostly short 1 to 4 day trips, but I want to do longer trips and decided to upgrade my current bike I use for touring which is a 85 Schwinn Le Tour Luxe, nothing wrong with the bike, but I decided I needed a sloping top tube and a fork that can handle 2 bottle cages, plus a frame that can handle 3 bottle cages, since water is something I put a premium on carrying.  Not sure if how much weight I will be carrying is important but just in case it is, I will be carrying 40 to 50 pounds on the rear, about 20 on the front including the water, and myself at 170.

So I think I narrowed it down to a Salsa Vaya Deore, or a Masi Giramondo 700c; both have the all the bottle cage mounts, both have sloping top tubes, both are steel, both are in my price bracket, both have wide range gears for climbing steep mountain roads with a load, both use bar end shifters which I prefer for simplicity, both have disk brakes which I DON'T prefer because they are not simple to fix on the road but they all come with them now.  I ruled out the Trek 520 because it had lower quality components than the two above and it cost more! 

Has anyone used either of those two bikes for touring and if so what are your impressions?

If anyone has any other suggestions I would be open to hear about it.

Also the disk brake issue; the Masi comes with TRP Spyre-C Dual Piston Mechanical Disc, 180mm Front with 160mm Rear Rotors; while the Salsa comes with Avid BB7 mechanical with 160mm front and rear, can the BB7 take a 180mm rotor on the front?  And which of the two brakes are better?  From what I've read everyone liked both about equally.  I'm also assuming from what I've read that mechanical disk are easier to maintain in the field vs hydraulic is this true?  I've never worked with disk brakes before so using these will be a learning experience in the maintenance department.

Thanks gang, appreciate any input.

Offline paddleboy17

Re: Salsa Vaya vs Masi Giramondo vs or?
« Reply #1 on: January 25, 2019, 01:03:07 pm »
The Vaya is listed as a light touring bike.  That typical means that it might NOT be a great ride with full panniers.  I know your listed weight expectations are modest, but if you are going to tour on touring bike, why get a light touring bike?  Salsa's Marrakesh might be a better choice than the Vaya, just so you have that extra gear capacity.  If you are going to bike pack instead of panniers then I guess it does not matter.  I do know someone who has a Vaya and he loves it, but he is using it as a relaxed riding position gravel bike.

I have Salsa Cutthroat and I have committed to getting frame bags for a trip in May.  Ask me then how I feel about bike packing versus panniers.

I don't have any experience with Masi, so I really cannot say much.

I have a bike with TRP disk brakes and one with BB7 disk brakes.  They both work, and I have not had any problems.

I hate that both bikes are just spec'ed as chromoly frames, but neither one will tell you which alloy they use.  Not all chromoly steel alloys are up to the task of being part of a touring bike frame.

Online BikeliciousBabe

Re: Salsa Vaya vs Masi Giramondo vs or?
« Reply #2 on: January 25, 2019, 01:15:30 pm »
With that much weight, you should pay close attention to gearing. Got links to both bikes' specs?

Offline froze

Re: Salsa Vaya vs Masi Giramondo vs or?
« Reply #3 on: January 25, 2019, 01:28:40 pm »
Thanks for the reply, I somehow made a mistake when I listed that Vaya, I meant  Salsa's Marrakesh, this is what happens when the doc gave me codeine for a cough that says it will make you drowsy except in my case I've only been able to sleep for 3 hours in the last 48 hours!  Ugh.

Anyway, I looked at the Marrakesh and the Masi online, but today I discovered at another site that sold both and showed them both on one page that the Marrakesh does not have the as sloping of a top tube as I wanted, so that bike may be eliminated.

The Cromoly thing is indeed a problem, this is one of the reasons I was wondering about the stamped instead forged dropouts.

I wish I could change my thread subject!

Links for both bikes:
Salsa Marrakesh:
Masi Giramondo:
Kona Sutra:

As I mentioned above the Marrakesh maybe out of the running due to the top bar not sloping as much as I prefer, so that leads me back to the Masi and the Kona, with the Kona which I sort of put it on a back burner because I would have to change the rear gears for loaded climbing which isn't a big deal; I'm not sure about the brakes Kona uses which are Tektro RRL-A series, maybe someone can shed some light on those.  I need brakes that I can easily field service and I've never had disk brakes before so I know nothing about them.

Offline UncaBuddha

Re: Salsa Vaya vs Masi Giramondo vs or?
« Reply #4 on: January 25, 2019, 06:41:04 pm »
What type of touring? Road or gravel?

I love the looks and simplicity of the Giramondo but they are like hen's teeth to find to get a test ride. I went with a Salsa Fargo so I can dream of the GDMBR (with 2.4" tires) and the only thing I'm not crazy about is a double instead of a triple chainring.

The disc brakes have been really bombproof on all of my bikes. Go watch some videos about servicing on YT or Park and see if you can do it. I haven't done that because the brakes have been so damn reliable.

Offline froze

Re: Salsa Vaya vs Masi Giramondo vs or?
« Reply #5 on: January 25, 2019, 07:33:27 pm »
This will be used for mostly road touring, if there is any gravel it would be due to the only way to get to another paved road!  So gravel would be very limited, however I have ridden on gravel with my current 27x1 1/4 tires loaded with no issues.

I did get a reply from Salsa about their dropouts:

Thanks for reaching out! The Alternator 1.0 dropouts used on the Marrakesh (as well as many other Salsa bikes) are forged and incredibly strong. They are designed to withstand the abuse that is dished out by not only heavily loaded touring, but also mountain biking (via our Timberjack).

The Marrakesh frame has a 5 year frame warranty, which would include the dropout plates should they bend/fail due to material defect. For what it is worth, I handle our warranty cases and have never come across an Alternator dropout that has failed. Have no fears, they are strong.

Not sure if I'm thrilled about a 5 year warranty but a lifetime warranty I had on a Scandium bike proved worthless in the bike's first year, so I guess 5 years would be fine.  I can of like the Alternator dropout idea on how it works but again that bike doesn't have the degree of slope in the top tube that I would prefer like the Kona and the Masi

Offline Twilight

Re: Salsa Vaya vs Masi Giramondo vs or?
« Reply #6 on: March 03, 2019, 04:21:31 am »
The Masi Giramondo looks like a great bike! And with Tubus racks as part of the stock build, that makes it even more appealing. I don't recall any other bike coming with this stock in the price point.

I am assuming you want 700c since you put it in with the Salsa 700c bike?

If you want a 27.5" tire and like this bike, also look at the Surly Bridge Club. On Geometry, they are very similar in many ways, both 27.5" tires.

The vaya is a 700c which IMO, puts you in a completely different tire and ride feel than a 27.5".

The down side with the Masi IMO is that the wheel sets are 32 hole rims instead of 36 hole on either the 27.5 or the 700c. It's literally the "only" downside of that bike. If they did a 36 spoke rim on that bike instead, that bike would be perfect in that price range and you wouldn't need to do a single thing to the bike. If you know you are going to be touring and more weighted, over longer hauls, then this is something I would be worried about and eventually would want to upgrade to a stronger wheel set. Same goes for the Vaya without looking.

The same thing applies to the Surly BC as both of these bikes only come in complete builds and both only come with 32 hole rims. Side by side, I think the Masi has better components and with the Tubus racks, it's almost a no brainer against any other bike. However, the Surly has more versatility in wheel set sizes from what I remember if you care about that kind of thing and you could even put 700c tires on the Surly.

Not sure on the Vaya unless you know you are going to be doing light road touring only.

If I was personally picking between these two bikes, definitely the Masi for the price point.

If you care about wanting to swap out and having versatility on wheelset sizes eventually, then I would go with a Surly. If you don't, then the Masi for components and Tublus racks. If I was building from the ground up and only doing it on a frameset, then I would do it on the Surly for the versatility in wheelset size since the bikes geometry is pretty close.

Offline wildtoad

Re: Salsa Vaya vs Masi Giramondo vs or?
« Reply #7 on: March 08, 2019, 03:07:12 pm »
Well, I will chime in although the original poster has probably made a decision by now. Back in early 2017 I picked up a 2016 Masi Giramondo...first year of the bike in the excellent guacamole green color. At the time I was casually thinking about replacing my late 80s Ritchey Outback with a modern tourer with mechanical disc brakes that would better handle long, steep, loaded mountain descents...had a fair amount of rim overheating issues with the canti/ubrake Ritchey. A small local bike shop had recently opened about 2 blocks from my house and one day I was walking by and the Giramondo was on display in the shop window! Amazing, a touring bike actually in stock at a LBS in my neighborhood! Even better, this Giramondo was one of the last 2016s around and had been a show/display bike, so it had upgraded brakes (TRP Spyres over the then-stock and not-so-good promax brakes) and an upgraded handlebar...all at an end of model year clearance price. Too good to pass up!

Shortly after acquiring the Giramondo, I moved over the Tubus Tara and Cargo racks from the Ritchey to the Masi (and also replaced the stock saddle with one of my Brooks saddles). Racks work great. So, my 2016 is similar to the current 2019 Giramondos...the 2019s come stock with the same Tubus racks and Spyre brakes. Really, it's a fantastic value. You can't do much better than Tubus racks, and the Spyres are one of the better mechanical disc setups available IMO.

I really enjoy riding the Giramondo. It's very stable and comfortable. I would say it's not particularly nimble with the wider 700c tires...but stability is good for loaded touring. It's no feather weight either, but overall weight is line with other, similar tourers and perfectly fine. I have used it almost exclusively for paved road touring, so can't comment on "gravel" or dirt road performance. I expect it would be great for gravel/dirt touring with the racks off and some frame packs/bikepacking gear...hope to try that sometime. Bike has been 100% issues with anything, incuding the disc brakes.

The only upgrade that I will do in the near term is to get a new set of hand built wheels, probably with a dynohub. The stock wheels have been fine but they are nothing special and given the importance of a quality wheelset for touring, I think some better wheels are a worthy upgrade to get the most from the bike. But again, I've had no issues with the stock wheels.

As to the Salsas...haven't ridden them but I have toured with some folks who ride Salsas and they love them.  Don't think you could go wrong with the Marrakesh...or the Kona for that matter.  Obviously it all comes down to what fits and feels better...finding a touring bike to test ride can definitely be a challenge.  I lucked out a bit on that.  Best of luck in your search, and have fun!

Offline Twilight

Re: Salsa Vaya vs Masi Giramondo vs or?
« Reply #8 on: March 08, 2019, 07:18:36 pm »
Well that is great real practical experience! Glad you shared that! Although I don't own one, I like that Masi Giramondo and if you could get it in a frameset only, I would seriously be considering it more. Hopefully eventually they will release it in frameset only so folks can build it and avoid what you are looking to do which is having to build a whole new wheel set when you already got one with the bike. If you can afford it though and do upgrades like you are, that is a great way to go with that bike.

And I agree, it doesn't sound like you can go wrong with any of the bikes you mentioned. I actually wish I could own one of each personally :)

Thanks for the feedback!

Offline wildtoad

Re: Salsa Vaya vs Masi Giramondo vs or?
« Reply #9 on: March 08, 2019, 11:18:19 pm »
Definitely happy to share my experience.

A frameset-only option for the Giramondo would be cool.  You could always send Masi an email with the suggestion. I sent them an email back in 2017 seeking some advice on Giramondo rack set up issues and got a fantastic, thoughtful response from the Masi product manager. So you never know. The Giramondo is actually the first new, built-up bike that I have purchased for myself in many, many years. My collection of too many bikes is made up mainly of cool framesets acquired in the used market and then built up myself. But the discounted Masi was such a good deal that I don't think I could have built up something myself for less....and I already owned excellent racks, saddle and touring pedals so overall actual cost was still quite affordable.

As to the wheels, the main driver for my planned upgrade is my desire to try out a dynamo hub for usb supplement the small solar panel that I've been carrying for a few years. So I might as well upgrade the whole wheetset to something a bit nicer. I am fortunate to have access to a few highly regarded and reasonably-priced wheelbuilders nearby. If I wasn't interested in a dynamo, I would just keep riding the stock wheelset. It helps that my bodyweight is some 35-40 lbs less than when I purchased the bike in even with a touring load I probably could get away with the stock 32 spoke wheels.  I will either keep the stock wheelset as a back up, or more likely donate it to our local bike co-op.

All the best,

Offline Twilight

Re: Salsa Vaya vs Masi Giramondo vs or?
« Reply #10 on: March 09, 2019, 12:44:18 am »
Hey John...what ball park do you think a wheel set would cost you from one of those local builders?

I am curious what kind of number I should be thinking about for down the road when I build a wheel set. I want the same as you, dynamo hub, 36 hole rims, solid known touring rim, DT Swiss spokes, etc... I was going to do the rear in a Shimano Deore XT hub.

I am curious to know what ballpark numbers others plan to pay or pay for similar builds.

Offline wildtoad

Re: Salsa Vaya vs Masi Giramondo vs or?
« Reply #11 on: March 29, 2019, 01:43:30 pm »
Apologies for the delay in my follow up. My ball park budget is around $750, maybe a little higher...I expect to be able to get a great and long lasting wheelset for that, but nothing over the top fancy. I could probably get it done for a bit less, and of course one could easily blow that budget by going higher end on everything. Note that I do live in the SF Bay Area, so fair labor rates are higher than many places.

One big cost variable for a touring dynamo wheelset is the dynamo hub of course. I don't think the less expensive dynamos are a great option for touring, but they're fine for shorter commutes. Good options for touring include SON 28, Shutter Precision and maybe the latest Shimano XT dynamo. My budget is based on going with Shutter Precision...mid price range compared to the SON and reviews suggest solid performance.  Now if I was embarking on an epic long tour, or doing tons of shorter tours, and/or planning to use the wheelset for a regular commute with dynamo lighting, then I would just spring for the more expensive SON 28 as its a great performer and comes with the longest warranty I believe. But I think Shutter Precision is a good value play for me, and I don't care that the unit is not really user serviceable.

For rear hub, I will probably go with Shimano XT. I have had great experience with Shimano hubs at the ultegra, 105 and Deore XT and LX levels.  10s of thousands of miles and no issues.  That said I do appreciate the fancier DT Swiss 240 hubs on my road bike. But I will probably go with XT.

Not sure about rims...options are a bit overwhelming. I've had good luck with Velocity, Mavic and HED rims. I will probably ask wheelbuilder for a couple of recommendations and go with one of those.

Hope this is helful. Good luck.

Offline froze

Re: Salsa Vaya vs Masi Giramondo vs or?
« Reply #12 on: April 02, 2019, 04:46:56 pm »
Velocity has great wheels at great prices that have reputation for holding up very well with touring demands, that's a safe bet, and you've been down the road with them before, make it simple and go with what you know.