Posted by Logan Watts
Priced at $899 or $1099, depending on the model, the new Journeyman rounds out Salsa’s multi-platform, all-road lineup, landing on the entry-level end. It seems as if the Journeyman is designed for gravel-curious riders who aren’t quite ready to pony up $2,500 or more for a race-ready Warbird, but are looking for a feature-rich, versatile bike. Built around an aluminum alloy frame and either a 2×9 Shimano Sora or 2×8 Claris drivetrain, the Salsa Journeyman comes with 650b x 2.1″ or 700c x 37mm tires, drop or flat bars, and either a carbon or alloy fork. All told, there are six models, each outlined below.
- Highlights (Drop-bar)
- Frame/fork: Alloy / Carbon or Alloy
- Angles (57mm): 70.5° Headtube, 73.0° Seattube
- Stack/Reach: 624mm/379mm
- BB Drop/Chainstay: 72mm/440mm
- Bottom Bracket: Threaded 68mm
- Hub specs: 135/100mm QR
- Seatpost: 27.2mm
- Max tire size: 700x50mm or 650b x 2.2″
- Price: $1099 (Sora), $899 (Claris)
Each Journeyman is loaded with mounting options. This includes a pair of top-tube bag mounts, three-pack bosses on each fork blade, three bottle mounts on the frame, a fork crown light mount, rear rack mounts, and a rack and fender kit. In addition, each model has several nice standard features, such as internal cable routing, flat mount brakes, and tubeless-ready wheels.
Salsa Journeyman Sora 650b
According to Salsa, “The Journeyman Sora provides features the cycling enthusiast is looking for to take on their first gravel race or their first ramble down that old ‘B’ road.” If bikepacking or dirt roads are in the mix, the Salsa Journeyman Sora 650b is likely to be the model that steals the show. With a carbon fork and brawny WTB Nano 27.5 x 2.1″ tires, it’s certainly the most worthy of the six models for tackling rugged terrain.
Both the 700c and 650b Sora models feature a Shimano Sora 2×9 drivetrain, a Sunrace 9-speed 11-34t cassette, and an FSA Vero Pro Adventure crankset with 46 and 30 tooth chainrings. And, as with the cheaper Claris 650b model, the Journeyman Sora 650b also gets WTB i23 rims, a Salsa Cowbell drop bar, entry-level Promax DSK-330R mechanical disc brakes, and a WTB Volt Sport 142 saddle. The Salsa Journeyman Sora 650b comes in blue and will retail for $1,099.
- Front Derailleur Shimano Sora
- Cassette Sunrace 9-speed 11-34t
- Crankset FSA Vero Pro Adventure, 46/30t
- Rear Derailleur Shimano Sora 9-speed
- Chain KMC X9
- Shifter Shimano Sora
- Brakes & Rotors Promax DSK-330R at mount 160mm Salsa Guide
- Headset VP sealed bearing
- Handlebar Salsa Cowbell
- Grips Salsa Gel Cork Bar Tape
- Saddle WTB Volt Sport 142
- Seatpost Salsa Guide 27.2 x 350mm
- Rear Wheel Formula, 32h, 135mm, WTB STP i23 TCS 650b, 2.0mm spokes, brass nipples
- Front Wheel Formula, 32h, 100mm, WTB STP i23 TCS 650b, 2.0mm spokes, brass nipples
- Tires WTB Nano 27.5 x 2.1″ Comp
Salsa Journeyman Sora 700c
The Journeyman Sora 700c shares all the same parts and pricing as the 650b model, but has a white paint job and WTB STP i19 TCS 700c rims with WTB Riddler 700 x 37mm Comp tires. It will also retail for $1,099.
Salsa Journeyman Claris 650b
The biggest difference between the Sora and Claris models, aside from the price tag, is the fork. Claris models get an alloy fork, which likely adds a bit of weight and won’t have the same vibration dampening properties. Otherwise, the Salsa Journeyman Claris 650b gets all the same parts as the Sora models except for the drivetrain. The Shimano Claris DT is a 2×8 system with a Sunrace 8-speed 11-34t cassette. In addition, the Claris models get a slightly lower-end crankset, the FSA Tempo Adventure, with the same 46/30t chainset. The Journeyman Claris 650b retails for $899 and comes in an olive green color scheme.
Salsa Journeyman Claris 700c
The Salsa Journeyman Claris 700c comes in orange with an aluminum alloy fork and Claris 2×8 drivetrain for $899.
Thoughts on the Salsa Journeyman
We obviously haven’t had the opportunity to ride one yet, but I’ll toss in a few preliminary observations. First off, at this point some of you might be scratching your head and wondering why the Journeyman didn’t come in steel. Our guess is that Salsa chose alloy in order to offset heavier components and keep the Journeyman both lightweight and low cost. That said, Salsa claims the 650b Sora (55.5cm) tips the scales at 26 pounds (11.8 kg). And, considering its suite of features and level of detail, the Journeyman certainly hits a price point that very few other bikes have.
But doesn’t Salsa’s other gravel bike, the Warbird, come in aluminum, you might ask? Yes, but the Journeyman is a different bike altogether. When compared side by side, other than the Warbird having a higher-end component spec, there are a few structural differences to note. For one, the sizing is inconsistent. While the Warbird comes in 51, 53, 55, 56, 58, and 60mm frames, the (drop bar) Journeyman comes in 49.5, 52, 54, 55, 57, and 59.5cm. In essence, the Journeyman has slightly shorter top tube lengths size since, unlike the Warbird, its not built specifically for gravel racing.
Salsa Journeyman Geometry (drop-bar)
The two lines have different geometry as well. When comparing the 58cm Warbird to the 57cm Journeyman, the latter gets a longer wheelbase, longer chainstay (by about 1cm), steeper seat tube, and slacker head angle. It also has a bit more stack height and less reach. Given its shorter cockpit and more upright riding position—compared to the Warbird—it’s clear that the Journeyman is less about racing and more about comfortable fit; we think it’s a geometry that’ll likely suit anyone relatively new to riding, be it bikepacking, dirt road touring, or commuting. Simply put, the Journeyman sits somewhere in between the Warbird and the Vaya, Salsa’s touring bike. According to Salsa engineer, Sean Mailen, “The Journeyman was inspired by the stability of the Vaya, swiftness of the Warbird, and confident handling of both. Something I love about the Journeyman is that it’s a bike that could be used as a daily driver, unsanctioned dirt path explorer, or gravel race pioneer.” When considering the different terrain scenarios this bike is designed to face, along with the tire/wheel size choices, the geometry needs to be capable of handling all kinds of riding.
Salsa Journeyman Claris FB
Lastly, there are two other models to mention. The Salsa Journeyman also comes in a flat bar version with a different geometry altogether. The Claris FB 650b shares the same build as the drop bar model of the same name, but it comes with a Salsa Flat handlebar, comes in black, and will retail for $899. Lastly, there’s the Claris FB 700c, which also shares the same build as its drop bar counterpart, but comes with a Salsa Flat handlebar, a copper paint scheme, and will retail for $899.
All models of the Salsa Journeyman will be available immediately at your local Salsa Dealer. You can also find out more at SalsaCycles.com/bikes/journeyman/.