I fell in love with a Salsa Fargo bicycle exactly one year ago. The bike made me newly excited about cycling. No wonder I’ve put more than 4000 kilometers on it. I never rode the bike stock and rebuilt it with custom parts as soon as I received it by post (frames were out of stock in July last year).
Following the tour around France I decided to change a few things on the bike to better suit the kind of riding that I do:
install the original rigid carbon fork instead of a suspended RockShox Reba: I did not feel very confident desceding from mountain passes on windy paved roads even with the lock-out engaged; plus, the original fork has bosses for mounting so-called “Anything cages” for holding drybags
remove Cane Creek Thudbuster seatpost: I feel annoyed by the occassional squeaking but it is possible I’m going to reinstall it if I notice increased fatigue
install Rohloff Speedhub 14 IGH: while a derailleur system generally works pretty well internally geared hubs have certain advantages which pique my interest
change tires: 70-80% of riding I do on this bike are on paved surfaces and gravel, it does not make sense to wear out off-road tires and lose efficiency on the asphalt
This resulted in the 3rd reincarnation of my favorite bike: Salsa Fargo make 3!
It is often difficult to understand whether certain parts will work together. I hope this information helps you to (re)build your bike.
I filmed the process of breaking down and re-assembling the bike:
Random pieces of wisdom
To achieve a completely straight chainline I’m using Shimano XT M780 cranks with a Woolftooth 36t narrow-wide single chain ring. I know Middleburn RS8 X-Type Rohloff crank also works but is way too expensive and ugly for my taste. I couldn’t confirm if any other (e.g. ethirteen, truvativ) cranks can be run with the right offset.
Salsa Rohloff alternator dropout works with Rohloff OEM mount. OEM2 plate is not needed. See photo below to understand how the hub/wheel is held in place:
Rohloff cable routing
The external Rohloff gear box can be rotated for the best placement. The Fargo frame has cable guides on the seatstays which allow for 3 cables: rear brake and 2 Rohloff cables.
The installation is simple. Follow the original instructions. Co-motion provides an excellent HOWTO video for their shifter:
Don’t forget to put oil in! The hub is shipped without sufficient oil inside. A tube of oil is included in the package.
Removing rear wheel
I couldn’t find any information on how hard is to remove the rear wheel when using Rohloff. It is easier than with a derailleur system! First, remove the external gear box. Then, open the quick release axle and slide out the wheel. Done!
When re-installing the wheel put the chain on the rear sprocket and slide the wheel in like on any other bike. No need to break the chain or disengage the drop-outs. It’s easier than a derailleur system because it’s not necessary to fiddle with the chain to get it on the cassette.
Mounting E3 tail light on the rear rack
While the alternator rack does not have holes to install a rear tail light I attached the E3 tail light with a double-sided tape and a couple of plastic zip ties. The cable can be guided along the top tube of the rack.
Salsa rear rack (non alternator version)
Non-alternator Salsa rack does NOT fit an alternator-equipped Salsa frame.
Cockpit housing routing
It is not trivial to route the brake housing when using Co-Motion drop-bar shifter. It is especially tricky with Supernova handlebar extender. I used a staged approach:
- leave the stem bolts loose to allow handlebar movement left and right
- move Co-Motion shifter onto the bar but don’t tighten the bolt yet
- install brake levers
- install the first part of housing (to the barrel adjusters) and route the right one through Co-Motion shifter
- slide the handlebar right and temporarily move Co-Motion shifter as left as possible
- tape the right side of the handlebar up to the tapered point of the handlebar
- slide Co-Motion shifter to the right; I moved it as far right as the wide diameter of the bar allows it
- install Supernova handlebar extender (for mounting the front light on) and route the brake housing through openings
- continue as usual
The bike came together cleanly. Salsa designed the Fargo frame around possible Rohloff use. The frame has sufficient cable guides and the Rohloff Alternator dropout is easy to install and use. Adjusting chain tension is straightforward. No need for chain half-links or an eccentric bottom bracket.
The drivetrain is quiet. It is slightly unusual that shifting under load does not always work and can sometimes temporarily send the hub in the higher gear. The upside is that shifting works in a complete standstill. It will require some getting used to.
The shifter is not indexed. Everything happens inside the hub. The upside is simplicity and higher reliability. The downside is reduced feedback in the shifter. The shifts are felt but are nowhere crisp as they were on the SRAM Red/X0 combination I had before.
All in all I’m satisfied with the result. In fact I’m going to put a Rohloff on my second adventure bike which is going to be a so-called 31er/29+ Surly ECR. I came back from the test ride with a huge smile on my face. I just fucking love bikes.
Final build kit
The full photo album is available on Flickr.
- Salsa Fargo 2 bomb pop blue 2014 frame
- Salsa Carbon Firestarter through-axle
- Rohloff Speedhub 14
- Co-Motion drop-bar Rohloff shifter
- Shimano 10-speed chain
- Chris King bottom bracket
- Alternator dropout + single-speed driveside dropout
- Shimano XT M780 crankset
- Wolftooth 36t single narrow wide chainring
- Shimano XT pedals
- Schwalbe Big Apple 2.35” tires
- SON Schmidt 28 15 dynamo front hub
- DT Swiss TK 540 disc rims
- Brook Cambium C17 carved
- Thomson Elite seatpost
- Salsa Woodchipper handlebar
- Salsa Guide stem
- Chris King i7 headset
- Salsa gel cork tape
- Supernova handlebar extension
- Avid BB7s road brakes
- SRAM S900 brake levers
- 200mm Avid G2CS front rotor
- 160mm Avid G2CS Rohloff-specific rear rotor
Electronics & accessories
- Supernova E3 Pro front light
- Rack-mounted Supernova E3 tail light
- Salsa Alternator rack