Salsa Cycles Spices Things Up With an E-Gravel Lineup That's Hot and Quick, Like Lava

Confluence 16 photos
Photo: Salsa Cycles
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Two of the hottest growing trends in cycling are electrification and gravel riding, and every once in a while, these two converge into a lineup of bikes that can make or break a manufacturer. This time around, that crew is Salsa Cycles, and their newly announced Confluence is the subject of our attention.
Folks, the versatility of a gravel bike is the main reason why we're seeing more and more hitting urban streets and local dealerships. With their ability to handle tarmac, unpaved, and even rocky roads, all the while carrying lbs of cargo, it's really no wonder.

Yet, with a touch of electrification, the experience changes, and that's what Salsa Cycles is after: a different riding experience, and by the looks of things, the Confluence may deliver just that. Oh, and as a bit of extra flavor, these babies start off at no more than $2,500 (€2,300 at current exchange rates), so a touch over that $2,000 benchmark the average Joe doesn't want to cross but may need to for this one.

Now, the name Salsa Cycles has been around since the early 80s, so quite the heavy background, and while they may not be as famous as other teams, the likes of Trek, Cannondale, and a couple of others, they too offer world-class machines with the price tags to match. Some Salsa models are priced as high as $7,700.

Photo: Salsa Cycles
All that brings us to the Confluence, which, believe it or not, is this manufacturer's first e-gravel option, so we can clearly expect to see the best of the best. Overall, four versions are available, but I'll be focusing on the most expensive one, the GRX 600 2X variation, as it should give us a clear example of what can be achieved with a Confluence frame.

Speaking of frame, Salsa aimed to create a lightweight bike, and to do that, aluminum was used. How light is the result? Well, with electronic components and all, the size 55 frame comes in with a weight of 32 lbs (14.5 kg). Pretty dang good for an electrified beast, and we can thank a touch of carbon fiber to thank for that. The fork is built from this material.

A few other traits of that frame that we need to be aware of are things like its ability to accommodate up to 50 mm tires and all the cargo mounts tattered all over. These two features alone ensure that you can hit up hidden and deserted roads and light trails, all the while carrying whatever your plans have in store.

Photo: Salsa Cycles
Maybe you're the sort of rider that likes to outdistance themselves. Load up with food, water, some camping gear, and just keep riding. With attention to when and where you use electric assistance, you should be able to squeeze out some very long rides.

According to Salsa, they estimate around 40 miles (64 km) of riding under assistance, but again, tapping into the powers that be only when taking off from stops or on climbs, you'll be able to get more than that out of a single charge. We can thank an integrated 250 Wh battery for this, but with a range extender, we have 458 Wh at our disposal.

As for the power behind this zippy puppy, Salsa has called upon a German component powerhouse dubbed Mahle. Yes, the one and the same that's been around for decades, since 1920, to be precise. Here, the Mahle X35 ecosystem is in place, and with it, we can access 40 Nm (29.5 lb-ft) of torque, more than enough to help you on climbs but not eliminate that burn riders love and seek. Yeah, we're a masochistic kind; the motor only helps up to 20 mph (32 kph).

Photo: Salsa Cycles
Integration is also part of the magic here, and aside from the battery, Salsa also shows up to the game with internal cable routing, the Mahle remote mounted into the top tube, and if you have a smartphone, track everything you do on an app. I've tested Mahle's gear before, and yes, you're in control at all times.

The remainder of the drivetrain is completed with Shimano's help. Here, a complete GRX setup brings shifters, brake levers, cranksets, and derailleurs, both of them. Yes, this setup is tuned to the sounds of a 2X drivetrain with an 11-speed 11-34T cassette.

Now, take all that, place yourself in the center of the action, and what do you have? Well, that's for you to decide, and one way to do that is to find one of these babies in local stores, take it out for a spin around the lot, and bring the checkbook just in case.

After all, you'll be buying a gravel bike that has an electric kick, can handle your extended rides, cargo and all, and can be an indispensable solution to getting around during the week. Ride to work with less sweat than ever before, but push those glands to their limits come weekend.
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About the author: Cristian Curmei
Cristian Curmei profile photo

A bit of a nomad at heart (being born in Europe and raised in several places in the USA), Cristian is enamored with travel trailers, campers and bikes. He also tests and writes about urban means of transportation like scooters, mopeds and e-bikes (when he's not busy hosting our video stories and guides).
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