Specialized AWOL or Salsa Fargo

Once my MTB is sold I am thinking of replacing it with one of these (and then my CrossCheck may has to go as well). It is supposed to do dirt touring, light MTB duties and touring on the road whenever I have to. I am only looking at the geometry of both bikes and am wondering what suits better to the duties it has to full fill. It would be either the

Specialized AWOL Comp

or the

Salsa Fargo

It all comes down to feeling I think but I will be very possibly not be able to ride any of these before ordering.

What do you think?

I’d go the fargo just because it’s a tried, true and proven bike that’s been put through it’s paces over a considerable amount of time in which its design has been refined a bit. Have ridden neither though so my opinion is entirely based on oogling over bikepacking blogs.

A few reports of snapped AWOLs coming through

^ This. Best off the shelf bikepacking bike.

Fargo + Firestarter carbon fork + Jones bar would be the ultimate bikepacking bike eh.

I rode with someone with an AWOL on the TA (with dirt drops, so similar config to Fargo) and it was perfectly capable on all surfaces.

Both bikes would be suitable for the purposes you have described - with the Fargo being more capable for general MTBing (especially with Jones bars!)

Dirt drops are a personal preference, I guess… but they kinda suck IMO

a Fargo will fit a 29x2.4" in the rear and 29+ up front. It is also suspension-corrected geo (100mm @20% sag IIRC). The Awol is not suspension-corrected (dat headtube doe), cannot fit tyres much larger than 29x2.1 (if that) in the rear.

Fargo is made with a good tubeset while everyone says that AWOLs are porky as (plumbing tubes).

And you can get off-the-peg frame bags for a Fargo.

FWIW jdg’s Fargo is dreamy: https://www.flickr.com/photos/phofos/24205309696/

If I had to get another bikepacking bike for whatever reason, it’d be a Fargo.

Go the Fargo because… Specialized

Fargo with Jones bar. Most ‘epic’ rider I know did this years and years ago. Winning combo.

I agree with the Fargo call.
Reports of the AWOL being a not-great-handling heavy turd are filtering through, but that’s all Internet hearsay and innuendo. If it was me going on gut feel it would be the salsa.

I think an important consideration is what you really intend to do with this bike. You’ve already hinted at it when you’ve started that thread, but to me these are two very different bikes. The AWOL is more a general tourer that can handle a lot, including dirt terrain, but probably not the harshest dirt road too well. The Fargo is a rigid MTB which can have a suspension fork, it’ll handle proper MTB terrain a lot better but will suck on tarmac, like every MTB.

The AWOL is not gonna be much different from your cross check, and the Fargo will allow you to handle harsher terrain a lot better.

Apso, as much as I dislike Spesh, I still think that they can make a good bike. I get that Fargo has been doing dirt bikes for some time but it’s not like it’s Spesh’s first attempt at a dirt bike either. And Colnagos snap too, but that doesn’t make them shit bikes. As for the handling qualities of the AWOL, it’d be good to hear about first hand from an AWOL owner.

Are all AWOLs the same frame? or lighter tubing for the more expensive models? Then there’s the fact that the frame is only the first 2kg of the weight anyway. If you buy the Fargo frame and build it up with Sora-level components then the weight won’t be much different.

I was seriously looking at the base model in Sept last year (Sora, cable dicks for about $1600) and it seemed like a pretty good deal at the time. But then I got the Soma so i’m just playing Devil’s advocate here.

apparently the proto awols and production models are pretty different, dulled down a lot, I test rode an awol about a year ago, shit was heavy! I almost bought the entry model (cos staffys) with a view to upgrade components but no size options available back then

Umm… like a good number of FOAers I’ve clocked decent kms on my rigid 29er on the road (an el Mariachi - essentially a Fargo with a HT that is 2cm shorter). It does not suck actually. Not by any stretch of the imagination. Ok my average speed is probably 2kph slower than a roadie with 25c tyres. But in comparison to an slack enduro bike or fat bike with knobblies (which feel like you’re dragging a wet carpet around) they’re really damn quick. All comes down to tyre choice really.

Great input guys, a lot to think about it. Gut feeling at the moment says Salsa but we’ll see. Does anyone know who sells Salsa’s in Sydney? I do want the bike to be able to handle MTB terrain as this is what I enjoy the most when out in the dirt. I just don’t want a full blown MTB anymore as I am most of the time overbiked in the areas where I ride the most. I love mountain biking and as soon as I have some proper trails at my door step again I am all over it but for now and the next years a kind of MTB will be fun enough.

I had a young kid at the bike shop tell me that the 21mm Stan’s tape will be a few grams lighter than the wider one. Thanks mate, I’ll save a few grams on my 20kg bikepacking rig.

Are you wedded to these options or would you also consider the new Bombtrack tourer, or any of Waywards’s offerings (available as framesets from Clickbike at decent prices?)

Scott is right; the production awols are ‘dulled down’ versions of the protos. (Confirmed by on the the spesh designers).

Dunno, but a quick call/email to Dawson Sports should be able to get you in the right track.

As Droz mentioned the Bombtrack Beyond might be another good option. They are a forum sponsor and there is at least one local dealer. You might even be able to organise a test ride on one of you ask nicely enough.

The Bombtrack had my interest straight away (being German myself) but I couldn’t figure out a price. Would anyone know how much they are?

PM user: Nat.

Or Cheeky in newtown are a dealer. Either option could probably allow a test ride, making the buying fitting/process a bit less risky.