For the past couple months I have been riding the 2011 Salsa Casseroll on the road, on side streets, commuting, off the beaten path and really it has been the bike strapped to the roof of my car while traveling all over NC, SC and TN. I will be sad when I have to send this bike back as it truly is the Cadillac of road bikes (minus the drivetrain.) You can read the preview over yonder before you dive into my full review.
What is so different about the Salsa Casseroll?
Normally bike shops have these Casseroll’s grouped with their road bikes. To me, that is a huge mistake. These bikes take the road very well but the tall head tube, mount for rear rack, beautiful front rack and ability to rock fatty 700×38 with fenders this bike is more than a road bike. This bike is a go to commuter, light touring and really to do everything beside the hard single track riding.
This bike would fit in well next to your Trek Madone for when you want to be more up right, haul some panniers or maybe take the slower path next to your kids and want a more stable riding geometry.
The bike is ready for multiple riding positions
Earlier this week I witnessed the most beautiful Casseroll build to date with swept back urban bars and paul brake levers with bar end shifters. The woman riding it was glamorous looking with a rear rack and panniers. The silver bits all over really accented the paint and made me feel giddy that this person really got it. The bike had some minor swaps from the stock build (handlebar, brake levers, bar end shifters) and she totally rocked it hard core. It made me want to run home, order up some parts and duplicate the build.
The Build of the Bike
The bike has some Shimano bits, shifters are STI Tiagra 3×9. Brakes are Tektro. Cranks are Sugino.
For the person riding 20-30 miles maybe twice a week or the girl commuting through crappy weather these parts will be perfect. If riding in rain or anything other than dry weather I may suggest to put on mini v-brakes for better modulation and stopping power.
The build won’t break the bike, and gives you the ability to upgrade parts as you would like.
With the Pro’s there are always Cons
The bike is relatively heavy, it isn’t a super light weight steel tubing. If you are carrying it up and down steps it won’t break your back, but it will surprise you next to that Madone.
The geometry is for light touring comfortable riding. You won’t get a snappy feel out of it, especially with the Sugino triple crank and bb. It will excel and the fat tires float over rough terrain, but will feel slow next to your 700×23 tires.
I wish they had run a compact crank up front and mountain bike gearing in the back. Truth be told I hate triples and as it is a 9 speed in the back they could have kept it at the same price.
If this was my personal bike I would totally rock a Salsa Casseroll but with a custom build. Ordering a frame and fork, zip tying a little basket to the front rack, running new 10-speed 105 5700 group in silver. The external bottom bracket will stiffen up the cranks a bit. If I was looking to haul I would run 10 speed mountain gearing in the back, and keeping a compact in the front.
To me the Casseroll is for someone that understands fatter road tires, ability to run geared or single speed, racks, fenders and all that good stuff. It is for someone that has the eye for a custom bike but can’t drop the cash yet.
It’s a good bike and at $1200 you really can’t beat up on the parts for the extras you get.
This bike was provided at no-charge for review. Yes, I am a QBP rep but also have strong opinions that hopefully were shared during this review. I wasn’t bribed or threatened on this review. Amen.