News: Salsa Cycles Powderkeg 29er tandem mountain bike

A bicycle built for two seeking to venture out and explore

29er
Crafted of Cobra Kai CroMoly, the Powderkeg features a massive toptube and downtube.

Crafted of Cobra Kai CroMoly, the Powderkeg features a massive toptube and downtube.

Some say that marriage is the ultimate act of commitment. But if you’re a mountain biker, then you know the ultimate act of commitment is actually riding a tandem bicycle with your significant other! Salsa has just announced their new Powderkeg 29er tandem mountain bike that is the end result of a project that started back in 2010. Then employee Tim Krueger and his wife helped develop the prototype basing the geometry off of Salsa’s El Mariachi.

Salsa Powderkeg Fork
 
The burliest fork Salsa has ever made, a purpose-built tandem fork ready for everything from loaded touring to singletrack riding.

The Powderkeg is designed to take on “everything from singletrack, to rough backcountry roads, to gravel and pavement.” The frame is made from what Salsa calls Cobra Kai cromoly and features huge toptubes and downtubes to keep the ride responsive and the steering true. The tandem specific fork is built from the “stoutest fork tubing” they have ever used. The frame also features a 44mm headtbue that will accept 100mm tapered 1-1/8 to 1-1/2″ steerer so you can fit a tandem rated suspension fork.

The Powderkeg has clearance for 29 x 2.4″ tires, seven bottle mounts, rack mounts, and “Three Pack” fork mounts. The finish is called Green Tri-Fade and the bike comes in Medium/Small, Large/Small and Large/Medium. Claimed frame weight is 42 lbs, 2 oz for MD/SM size. Salsa does not recommend running 27.5″ wheels on this since the ride of the bike was designed around 29″ wheels and thus the handling and geometry will be off. They also do not recommend running 29+ rims or tires. Expected availability is Summer of 2015.

Our take

Having ridden both road tandems and mountain tandems with my wife, I can say that it is a very unique and fun way to share your riding Passion with your significant other. In typical Salsa fashion, they have designed a mountain tandem unlike any other with the emphasis on adventure. In this regard, the 29er platform makes a ton of sense utilizing the improved roll-over ability and stability. If you are worried about the bike not being nimble enough, then you probably aren’t riding the best trail for a tandem.

Our only wish is that they had a second color scheme, perhaps a bit more classic in style (not really feeling the lime-to-lemon fade). Big ups for the Karate Kid reference, though.

From the Salsa Blog: Destination Antelope Wells, New Mexico...

From the Salsa Blog: Destination Antelope Wells, New Mexico…

From the manufacturer

A mountain bike built for two! For those looking for a true off-road challenge, Powderkeg is ready to take on your singletrack missions. For those looking to share fire roades, gravel, or pavement with a riding partner, climb aboard! New adventures on the horizon!

There are a myriad of ways in which to put the Powderkeg to good use. Those feeling truly adventurous will take on a twisty singletrack trail and glean new appreciation for communication. Gravel races and rides will be more attainable than that for most, but offer up a thrilling way to spend a day with a friend. Or just go out, together, on whatever road it is you wish to explore.

Powderkeg. Adventure squared.

Key Features
  • Steel tandem frame w/ Alternator Dropouts
  • Powderkeg rigid steel tandem fork
  • Shimano SLX drivetrain w/ Truvativ cranks
  • Twin pinch-bolt bottom bracket shell housing aluminum eccentric for timing chain
  • U.S. MSRP Complete Bike $3,999
  • U.S. MSRP Frameset $1999

For more information visit salsacycles.com/bikes/powderkeg.

Photo Thumbnails (click to enlarge)

About the author: Gregg Kato

Gregg Kato studied journalism and broadcasting in college while working many different jobs including deejaying, driving a forklift and building web sites (not all at the same time). Kato enjoys riding local Santa Cruz trails. Besides being an avid mountain biker, he is also a motorcycle fanatic. Two wheels, one Passion.


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  • Paul Elkins says:

    Props to Salsa for undertaking a tandem project. Looks like a nice tandem for mellow trails. If you want a to really push the limits on a tandem then Ventana’s full suspension El Conquistador de Las Montanas is the only way to go. My wife and I have been riding one for over 5 years and can’t get enough of it!

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