107 comments


  • Van,
    I’m pretty happy with the 54. Height isn’t the only variable for frame size. It also depends on your torso length and reach. I’m fairly compact all around so the 54 fit me better. I would defer to the bike shop, but if you can get a good fit on the smaller frame you get the added bonus of less weight and a little more agileness. Hope that helps!

    Russ

    June 26, 2015
  • Rudy,
    When we wrote the review we were comparing it to our LHTs without disc brakes at the time. The canti version is still the best bang for buck. The disc brake version does even things out a bit.

    Russ

    June 26, 2015
  • Mitch

    Late to the party here, but I’m also interested in hearing why you feel the Trek 520 isn’t comparable to the LHT or the Vaya.

    January 06, 2016
  • Kenny

    Anyone have thoughts on the Soma Saga? I like the paint job the best, it has a nice long head tube and seems a good balance between the Salsa and Surly.

    I for one love my new 520. It needed a stem extender to maximize my comfort, but when I rode a LHT, it just felt like too much a beast to me. The 520 rolled better. The springy frame also weighs less. Just seems less overbuilt for little reason to me.

    The only thing I liked better was its longer head tube (Trek also comes with a cut fork, I’d need to order an uncut one). Well, the extender seems good enough. Also the Surly accommodates extra wide tires if that’s desired. I really doubt I’ll ever need anything beyond 35 mm to maybe 38, so that’s not a deal breaker. The spec seemed fine on both, I liked the Deore crank on the 520, but the wheels are stronger on the Surly.

    But all if these bikes are great bikes.

    January 10, 2016
  • Kenny,
    Haven’t ridden the Saga, so I can’t comment on that. My experience with a 520 was when I bought one new in 2006 (which I no longer have) when we were first getting into touring. Back then, it felt like a parts bin bike. I believe it had a one inch threadless headset rather than the more common 11/8 headset which became a real pain when dialing in the cockpit. Some models of the 520 even came with a road triple, which seems silly for a supposed touring bike. Since bike touring is popular again, they may have re-invested in the 520 to bring it up to speed so I can’t comment on the newer ones.

    That said, like I write in the post, the Vaya isn’t a full on loaded tourer (and that hunch was confirmed when Salsa released the Marrakesh to be an expedition tourer). It’s more of an all-rounder more inline with something like the All-City Space Horse or Surly Straggler. The Vaya isn’t BETTER than the LHT, 520 or Saga but is different. For big loads, it is not the best. For light lighter loads and mixed-terrain riding it is a little snappier.

    Best,
    Russ

    Russ

    January 11, 2016
  • Bret

    Nice review. You mention LHT might be better for 100# load. Whoa that’s a lot!

    I’m an avid mountain biker and also do some backpacking and embrace ultralight. My 3-season base weight is around 12# includes pack/shelter/bag/clothes/jacket/stove/etc. (just not fuel & food).

    I understand also need to carry tools/parts but I’d think if you embrace ultralight can easily stay within sweet spot for Vaya.

    August 04, 2016
  • Jimbo99

    I’ve been looking into a gravel bike lately. I realized I may already have a 26″ version in my 1997 Fuji MX-200 rigid fork hardtail ATB. All I need to do is drop the weight a little and move to 1.5-1.75″ knobbies from the 2.125’s it has on them. It’s a 1020 carbon steel frame with 21 speeds. To really make it have the look, exchange the steel straight bar for an aluminum drop bar. The Vaya 2 chromoly weighs 27.5 lbs with 700x40c’s, my Fuji is 32 lbs with 2,125 mtb knobbies. I think it’ll get close enough to that with the skinnier tires and handlebars ? It’s never going to be as light as a Salsa Warbird racer, but for already bought and paid for as a sub $ 200 atb, I think it’ll be competitive enough. I can get it going 12-17.5 mph depending upon the wind direction and ride 30+ mile loops with her. New life for this vintage atb. My 2015/2016 mtb upgrade is a Bianchi Kuma 27.5 with front suspension.

    I wanted to put 38-40c’s on my Vilano SS/FG, but clearances killed that as a gravel racer. Frame might take 28c, but really is made to be 23 or 25c width tires. The gravel riding I would do is really rural to coastal FL flatland in North FL with less aggressive elevations, so the Fuji, even the Vilano will get that done ?

    September 01, 2016

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