|2016 Marrakesh with drop bars (top) and flat bars (bottom). Courtesy: Salsa's Culture Blog|
The Marrakesh looks like a really nice touring bike, at least the version with the Salsa Cowchipper bars (I can't imagine touring with flat bars, even if they do have a slight bend - you need multiple hand positions). I like touring bikes (my main ride is a Miyata 1000 LT) because their ability to haul a heavy load over long miles necessarily makes them useful and versatile bikes. It's why I'm a fan of Surly's LHT/Disc Trucker.
The LHT now has some serious competition. The interesting thing is that both Surly and Salsa (as well as Civia, All-City and others) are owned by Quality Bicycle Products (QBP). I can just imagine how that QBP board meeting went down:
QBP Head Honcho: OK, let's talk 2016 products. Surly, go ahead.
Surly: Fat, fat, fat, fat. As you know, we're all about the fat bikes. And we just keep getting fatter. Like land-on-the-moon fat.
QBP Head Honcho: Fantastic. People love those fat bikes. OK, how about you Salsa?
Salsa: As you know, our slogan is "Adventure by Bike." So, new for 2016, we're putting out a touring bike called the Marrakesh.
Surly: Wait... what?
Salsa: It comes with disc brakes, room for wide tires (700 x 40 mm) and fenders, and includes a rear rack.
Surly: We already produce a touring bike with disc brakes. The Disc Trucker.
Salsa: We know!!! Where do you think we stole the idea from? Anyway, we're "Adventure by Bike." That certainly includes touring bikes. And you're... you know, fat. Like, Ice Cream Truck fat.
Surly: This is starting to get insulting.
QBP Head Honcho: Salsa has a point. Adventure by Bike is not just about riding trails. It's also the open road. OK, anything else?
Salsa: Yes, we also have this whole fat bike line-up we call Bear Grease. Because nothing says "Adventure by Bike" like fat bikes! Fat, fat, fat, fat.
Surly: *face palm*
Of course, I'm not sure if that's how it really went down. Maybe QBP Head Honcho can provide us with some clarification.
Here are the specs on the 2016 Marrakesh: