The Salsa Warbird is the original gravel race bike. For 2019, it loses weight, gains a wheel size, and gets more capable.
Today, Salsa announced the fourth and newest iteration of its beloved Warbird. Mike Riemer, Salsa’s content marketing manager, said that those who already love this iconic bike can celebrate because the 2019 Salsa Warbird v4 “keeps all the great stuff of previous Warbirds, and only adds more capability.”
Salsa Warbird History
The Warbird launched in 2013, and it was the first gravel race-specific bike to market. It gave riders a more stable, more comfortable option to racing twitchy cyclocross bikes intended for an hour of twisty sprinting on retrofitted road bikes. Gravel races are often rough and tough. And some are 100 miles or longer.
Originally, the Warbird was a road bike-style frame with a lower bottom bracket and a stretched-out design for stability. That helped riders fight fatigue by mitigating vibration of gravel’s uneven surface with a more compliant frame.
Its frame also had ridiculous amounts of tire clearance. Since that first aluminum bike, Salsa has introduced titanium and carbon versions of the Warbird.
The fourth and newest iteration keeps all those advancements in a lighter, vibration-absorbing, high-modulus carbon package. Riders can flipflop between 700c wheels with up to a 45cc tire or 27.5/650b mountain bike-style wheels with tires up to 2.1 inches thick.
Salsa Warbird: Changes for 2019
In the 2019 Warbird, Salsa reconfigured the bike’s geometry to help it ride better on technical tracks. The top tube is 1 cm longer, and the reach is 10 mm shorter. This gives the Warbird mountain bike-style steerability that’s nimble, stable, fast on descents, and still agile for climbing.
Salsa moved the top tube down, which lowered the Warbird’s standover height. That makes it more accessible to a wider size range of riders. It also added a new size, 49, to accommodate small riders.
Precisely designed seat stays have shock-absorbing outward bowing, and the chainstays are flattened for bump absorption and impact dispersion. Salsa got rid of bridges on the seat stays and chainstays for vibration dampening, and to eliminate spots where mud and dirt accumulate.
A thru axle at the rear stiffens up the frame for better power transfer. So on this version of the Warbird, you’ll be even faster.
More Water Bottle Space, Internal Routing
As gravel races get longer and hotter — this year’s Dirty Kanza introduced a 350-mile, invitation-only XL race — riders need more water.
From size 56 and up, the Warbird can fit three water bottles inside its front triangle, and another bottle under the downtube. Its new fork, either Waxwing carbon or carbon with aluminum steer tube depending on the build, has three pack mounts and three bosses for water bottle cages or Salsa’s Anything Cage. All of these further expand riders’ ability to haul water.
And when it comes time to replace cables or thread a dropper post, sleeved internal routing makes it easier whether you’re a home mechanic or a shop mechanic.
The Warbird’s other bells and whistles stay the same. It’s compatible with gravel bike suspension forks, takes modern 1x and 2x drivetrains (both electronic and not), and can be spec’d with hydraulic or mechanical disc brakes. The Warbird has toptube bag bosses, fender mounts, and rear rack mounts. And the new fork has low-rider pannier mounts.
In short, it’s ready to carry you and your gear — whether your adventure involves a 340-mile sprint across Iowa or a meandering tour of a national forest near you.
The 2019 Salsa Warbird starts at $2,399 for a complete bike.