Salsa La Cruz – First Impressions
Out of the box, the La Cruz is one sweet looking ride. Painted bright orange, Salsa’s disc-only, steel cyclocross frame is built for abuse. True Temper’s OX Platinum is a relatively lightweight tubing that’s best known for it’s ability to withstand crashes. The welding is clean and the frame features nice touches like a forward-facing seatpost clamp and a disc brake support welded between the seatstay and the chainstay.
The frame features a sloping top tube, whereas most conventional cyclocross frames have a straight top tube to facilitate shouldering the bike. The sloping top tube allows for more standover clearance, which is good for both off-road riding and urban cycling. The La Cruz comes with a matching disc-only straight blade steel fork, and a threadless steel stem painted to match. Unfortunately, the stem wasn’t quite my size and I had to swap it for a cheap (but functional) aluminum stem. Both frame and fork offer more than enough mud clearance, which means there’s ample room for fat tires and fenders.
The La Cruz uses 135mm rear spacing, so the wheelset consists of Salsa’s polished aluminum Delgado 29” mountain bike rims and DT Swiss double butted spokes laced to Shimano XT hubs. The polished aluminum theme is carried on with Truvativ cranks, a Kalloy seatpost, a Cane Creek S3 headset and a Salsa seatpost clamp and handlebar.
Shifting is handled by Shimano 105 10-speed components, and the STI levers also pair up with Avid Road BB7 disc brakes. The bike’s tires speak volumes about its intended use. Panaracer’s knobby 31mm CrossBlasters are fast and hard-wearing, but ultimately best suited for the dirt. They also seem to say, “I ain’t scared of no stinking potholes.”
At $1680, the La Cruz is neither exorbitant nor is it cheap. You get what you pay for, which is a versatile, high-quality, feature-rich bike that promises to be a lot of fun. Stay tuned for updates on the bike’s performance, and visit www.salsacycles.com for complete specs including size availability and geometry.