This week’s bike of the week comes from Salsa, one of the most popular gravel bike makers in the world. They offer several builds of their Journeyer lineup, with a wide range of pricing.
In the Journeyer lineup, you can choose from full carbon builds, with higher end components, or more middle-of-the-road models, or their entry level gravel bikes, like the Journeyer Claris 700C. It normally lists for $999, but right now as I’m writing this, it’s going for $799 at REI and other retailers, throughout Labor Day Weekend. So, I’m bumping up this week’s bike of the week, so you can take advantage of the sale, if you’re interested in purchasing.
Salsa Journeyer Claris 700 C Pros:
- Tons of Mounts!
- Compatible with 650 b Wheels
- Good Solid Shimano Claris Groupset
- Relaxed Geometry for Comfortable Rides
- Dropping Post Routing
Salsa Journeyer Claris 700 C Cons:
- Aluminum Fork not as Comfortable or Light as a Carbon Fork
- Quick Release Hubs Not as Stiff as Thru-Axle
I’ve had my eye on this bike for a long time. I like the price, but I also love the utility the Journeyer offers. Salsa doesn’t go cheap on mounting points, even on their entry-level models. You’ll find three mounts on each front fork, four bottle cage mounts on the frame, and a top tube mount. There are also fender and rack mounts front and rear.
This makes it a great touring bike or an adventure bike that can haul whatever you need out in the wild. Salsa also sells many accessories, but you’ll find that many third-party accessories will also be compatible.
As you might have gathered, the Claris 700 C refers to the bike’s drivetrain and the wheel size. The bike is outfitted with Shimano Claris derailleurs (both front and rear), shifters, and brake levers.
The Claris is Shimano’s entry-level road bike groupset. It offers reliable shifting and the same Dual Control brake and shifting levers as Shimano’s higher end groupsets do. Shifting is done at the brake levers, where it’s very intuitive and practical to be located. The Claris uses an 8-speed cassette, and with the 2x chain ring on the Journeyer, a total of 16 gears are available.
Bikes with only one chain ring up front, might be a little easier to maintain, but I still 2x groupsets. Having more gears means that you’re more likely to find that perfect gear for your preferred cadence and hill climbing. To me, it’s worth a little more cost and maintenance to have more gears to choose from, but other cyclists may feel differently.
The cassette is 11-34 tooth, which makes it ideal for road biking and gravel. If you plan to ride up mountains, you’ll want something with lower gears, but for the majority of riders, this is a capable range of gears.
The 700 C wheel size is ideal for pavement and gravel riding. At 38 mm wide, the tires will be efficient and speedy on pavement, but also very good on gravel. Another attractive feature of the Salsa Journeyer is that you can change wheelsets to accommodate what you may need in the future.
If you wanted to switch out to 650 b wheels and/or wider tires, you can, and you’ll have an even more comfortable bike for chunkier gravel. If you primarily plan to ride on gravel or dirt, I’d recommend the Salsa Journeyer Claris 650 b bike. It’s already set up with 650 b wheels and tires.
If you plan to ride in the city or on paved paths, 700 c is the way to go. It won’t feel sluggish on the road.
A couple of features that help keep the price lower on the Journeyer Claris 700 c are mechanical disc brakes, quick release hubs, and its aluminum fork. I’m perfectly fine with mechanical brakes for this type of bike, but if you’re looking for even more comfort, and a lighter bike, two great options that don’t cost considerably more are the Journeyer Apex 1 700 c and the Journeyer Sora 700 c. Both offer a carbon fork, which will take a lot of the vibration out of gravel riding.
For me personally, I’d go with the Journeyer Sora 700 c, because of its carbon fork, having a couple more gears, thru axles, and the fact that it weighs a couple pounds less. The Shimano Sora groupset is also a step above the Claris, with may offer a little smoother shifting, though performance is similar between the two.
Still, I wanted to feature the Salsa Journeyer Claris 700 C because it gets you into the game with a legit bike for a good price. It’s also just a dang good bike that many people would be perfectly happy with. Overall, if you’re new to gravel riding or just want a good multipurpose bike for touring and weekend adventures, it’s a smart choice.
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