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Frame, brakes, capacity, multiuse
Heavy, rear rack
The Salsa Marrakesh is a great touring bike that was designed to take on long miles while carrying heavy loads. It offers uses riding confidence on steep climbs and scary descents.
In a nutshell, the Salsa Marrakesh is a hardy touring bike that has attracted significant interest from the biking community. But, there's a little more to this touring bike than I first anticipated.
This review looks at the different features and overall performance of the Salsa Marrakesh.
Let's dive in.
FRAME: Marrakesh Cobra Kai 4130 Cromoly frame
BRAKE TYPES: Hayes CX Expert mechanical disc brakes with 160mm rotors
SHIFTER: Shimano 3byb9 bar-end
RIMS: WTB STi19 TCS 2.0 700c
TIRES: Schwalbe Marathon, SmartGuard, 700 by 42c. 60 TPI
The Salsa Marrakesh is made of a simple 4130 cromoly which is designed to tolerate heavy loads and long journeys. The steel frame offers a smooth and sturdy ride, and it doesn’t easily break. In the unlikely event that it breaks, you can easily find a local welder to weld it back together.
The geometry of this bike is flawless and features long chain stays and a slow steering speed to keep it steady and predictable when heavily stacked. The steel frame has been butted internally and externally to create an extremely stiff front. It makes use of sliding rear dropouts which are suitable for internally geared drivetrains and is available in 6 sizes, from XS to XL.
The frameset also comes with a wide range of eyelets where you can fit all your accessories, including front and rear racks, 2x cargo cages, 5x bottle cages, and full-length benders.
The frame was built for treacherous journeys and will remain durable despite prolonged use. However, the steel makes the bike a tad bulkier and heavier-around 30pounds- which some people may not prefer.
The Hayes mechanical disc brakes will bring your bike to a stop on a dime in all kinds of weather conditions while the cables are easy to maintain and replace. This gives you full control of the ride in wet conditions and allows you to comfortably fix your bike while on tour.
The wheels on the Marrakesh are laced with WTB rims to 36-hole Deore hubs which makes them rock solid. They can withstand rugged conditions and go through days of spinning without losing shape.
The Schwalbe Marathon tires on the Marrakesh are surprisingly grippy and will ensure you stay on your bike in slippery conditions. The tires are not fat but you can squeeze in wider wheels for better handling and traction in wet and rocky trails.
Marrakesh can support up to 50mm tires, which you can run at low air pressure for more comfort on bumpy sections of the road.
The 3*9 drivetrain offers a gear range of 21-122”, which ensures that you easily scale steep hills at speeds of up to 6km/h. Gear changes are executed by the all-reliable Shimano barend shifters. The triple chainring will make these sharp climbs much easier, although with a tiny sacrifice to top speed on level roads.
What We Like
One of the greater qualities that stand out on the Marrakesh is overall comfort you get when riding it. The steel frame cancels out any small vibrations and using larger tires further aids in absorbing the bumps. The frame is also stiff so that you can ride off the saddle on steeper climbs without feeling too much flex.
I also like the way the Marrakesh ensures that you have enough capacity to carry all your tour supplies. It has multiple racks, fenders, and cages that enable you to carry water bottles, beer, food, a repair kit, multi-tool, and any other items you may need.
The Salsa Marrakesh is a versatile bike that is capable of a little bit of everything. The bike will quickly take to different terrain like fish to water. Whether you are riding it on a pavement, gravel road, hard-packed dirt or snowy trails, you are bound to have a fun and hassle-free ride.
I was also impressed by this bike’s ease of maintenance and reparability. It is something you expect from a touring bike that you’ll be riding on long trails where there is no ready access to help.
What We Don’t Like
I don’t know why Salsa chose to use aluminum on the rear rack when the bike’s frame is made of steel. I’ve always felt like steel racks perform better in the long run. And even though other racks may fit easily, it will end up in your panniers sitting high off the ground, which is usually not ideal for bicycle handling.
The steel frame also makes the bike heavier and bulkier, which can mean trouble for small-bodied individuals.
There’s nothing as painful as spending your hard-earned cash to buy a product that doesn’t live up to its promises. Fortunately, the Salsa Marrakesh doesn't fall into this category. Unfortunately, this is something that happens all too often when it comes to touring bikes. And it gets even worse when your fears become evident when you are already miles into your bike adventure.
The best way to avoid it is by familiarizing yourself with the features of a top touring bike. But given the sheer number of bike models available in the market and those that are being constantly introduced, it might be confusing for anybody who isn’t an adventure bike expert
If you are looking for a touring bike that offers versatility on a long adventure, the Salsa Marrakesh will make a great buy. It has awesome features that ensure you remain comfortable and stable throughout the ride, while maximizing on the carrying.
If you can afford to spend around $1500 for this bike-a decent price considering its performance- I doubt that you’ll regret your decision.
ConclusionThe best touring bikes are tough, comfortable, and stable in unforgiving terrains. If you asked me, the Salsa Marrakesh fits this profile. You will have a breeze riding it in wet or rocky ground and not have to worry about wearing down your bike.
You also get enough carrying capacity and overall great riding experience; all the ingredients required for a successful cross-country bike adventure.