2018 salsa marrakesh

The New 2018 Salsa Marrakesh Touring Bike

When the Salsa Marrakesh came out, it was the first touring bike available in both a ‘short’ frame geometry for drop bars and a ‘long’ geometry for flat bars. This was a great move from a design perspective, as handlebar shape plays a large role in both how you sit on a bike as well as how it handles. The 2018 Salsa Marrakesh is unfortunately no longer available with a flat bar, but it has received a price drop, a fresh lick of paint, some wider tyres, and upgraded shifters and brakes.

Let’s take a closer look.

The 2018 Salsa Marrakesh

I’m only speculating, but the move to eradicate the flatbar model is likely due to a lower-than-anticipated demand. I’ve seen a lot of Salsa Marrakesh bikes both in shops and on the road, but all have been spec’d with drop bars, presumedly as a result of the strong preference for drop bars in the North American, Australian and British markets.

Even without the flatbar model, the Salsa Marrakesh is one of my favourite touring bikes. The frame geometry is flawless, with long chainstays, a slow steering speed and six frame sizes that get progressively larger based on their stack and reach measurements. The steel frame tubing is both internally and externally butted to create the stiffest front end possible. The frame employs sliding rear dropouts to suit internally geared drivetrains like the Rohloff Speedhub or Shimano Alfine – ideal for a custom build or perhaps later upgrade. There’s clearance for wide 29×2.0″ tyres too!

The frameset has a wide array of eyelets for all of your accessories including full-length fenders, front and rear racks, 5x bidon cages and 2x cargo cages.

The choice of parts is outstanding.

The 3×9 drivetrain yields a gear range of 21-122″ which will help you to get up the really steep hills at 6km/h (60 RPM). Gear changes are made by the ever-reliable Shimano barend shifters, but if you prefer integrated brake/shifters, check out the compatible Shimano Sora R3030 lever set.

Hayes cable disc brakes stop the bike on a dime in all weather conditions, plus it’s really easy to maintain and replace these cables on a tour. A Brooks B17 saddle is selected to complete the build; if you’re not familiar with them, they’re regarded as one of the most comfortable touring saddles.

Salsa’s fantastic sliding dropout design brings the biggest downside to the Salsa Marrakesh: the necessary use of their aluminium rear rack. It’s my experience that steel racks tend to do better in the long-term. It’s worth noting that other racks will technically fit but will result in your panniers sitting very high off the ground (not ideal for bike handling).

2018 salsa marrakesh

The Salsa Marrakesh hits the scales at 14kg (or 31lbs) which is typical of any modern steel touring bike. It’s available as a frameset for US $649 and as a complete bike for US $1499.

Want To Compare This Touring Bike With Dozens of Others?

Check out The Touring Bicycle Buyer’s Guide which compares touring bike steering, sizing, gear ratios, specification, pricing and more. The Bikepacking Bike Buyer’s Guide does the same thing, however, with a focus on lighter bikes and models with more off-road capability. Both of these guides are updated annually with the latest models at no extra cost!

Helpful Resources

All About Touring Bike Brakes
Frame Materials for Bicycle Touring
How to Select Touring Bike Gearing
Understand Bicycle Frame Geometry
What’s the Difference between Cyclocross and Touring Bikes?

Touring & Bikepacking Bike Overview

2016 Advocate Lorax
2018 All City Gorilla Monsoon
2016 Basso Ulisse
2016 Bianchi Volpe and Lupo 2016
2016 Bombtrack Beyond
2017 Bombtrack Beyond
2018 Bombtrack Beyond
2018 Bombtrack Arise Tour
2019 Bombtrack Beyond
2016 Brodie Elan Vital
2016 Cannondale Touring
2019 Cannondale Topstone
2020 Cannondale Topstone
2016 Cinelli Hobootleg Geo
2018 Co-Op ADV 4.2
2017 Curve Grovel V2
2017 Diamondback Haanjo EXP Carbon
2016 Fuji Touring
2017 Fuji Touring
2018 Fuji Touring
2018 Fuji Touring Disc
2016 Genesis Tour de Fer
2016 Giant ToughRoad
2017 Giant ToughRoad
2018 Giant ToughRoad and ToughRoad GX
2016 Jamis Aurora and Aurora Elite
2019 Jones Plus SWB
2020 KOGA WorldTraveller-S
2016 Kona Big Rove
2016 Kona Roadhouse and Sutra LTD
2016 Kona Sutra
2017 Kona Sutra
2018 Kona Sutra
2018 Kona Sutra LTD
2019 Kona Sutra and Sutra LTD
2020 Kona Sutra and Sutra LTD
2020 Kona Unit X
2016 Marin Four Corners
2017 Marin Four Corners
2018 Marin Four Corners
2016 Masi Giramondo
2018 Masi Giramondo
2016 Niner RLT9
2016 Rawland Ulv and Ravn
2016 Salsa Deadwood
2017 Salsa Fargo
2018 Salsa Fargo Ti Frameset
2018 Salsa Journeyman
2016 Salsa Marrakesh
2017 Salsa Marrakesh
2018 Salsa Marrakesh
2020 Salsa Marrakesh
2017 Salsa Vaya
2019 Salsa Warbird
2016 Specialized AWOL
2017 Specialized AWOL
2017 Specialized Diverge
2018 Specialized Diverge
2019 Specialized Diverge
2017 Specialized Sequoia
2018 Specialized Sequoia
2019 Specialized Sequoia
2018 Surly Bridge Club
2017 Surly Troll
2016 Traitor Wander
2019 Trek 520
2016 Trek 920, 720, 520 & CrossRip
2017 Trek CrossRip
2018 Trek 920
2018 Trek 1120

  1. Thanks for the article. I’ve always liked the Marrakesh, pity they’ll stop doing the flat bar version, it was my go-to example to show people willing to do a “drop-bar” conversion that actually drop bar bikes need a shorter top tube. But I understand that market-wise it was maybe not as attractive given the drop-bars love for touring in the main Salsa markets. Sticking to 3×9 is a sensible move as it lets you use the latest available bar-end shifters with friction option, plus allowing mixing road and mtb components.
    What I don’t like is the sliding dropouts, which I guess are “copied” from their sister brand Surly. Although allowing
    for more flexibility if willing to install a gear hub, for those sticking to derailleur shifting it’s a PITA. Harder to get the wheel always in the same position (and therefore precise shifting), harder to remove the wheel if using full mudguards, etc. I’d love to try the Surly Ogre as do-it-all bike but it’s because of its dropouts that I’m not 100% convinced.

  2. Sora brifters are compatible with the rear derailleur, yes, but won’t work well with the front derailleur. A Sora triple derailleur would probably be a necessary piece to that upgrade.

  3. I Have 2017 Salsa Marrakesh that I love ride. I toured from San Francisco to all the way to La Paz Mexico. Just recently my stock Salsa Alternator rear rack has failed. My left support bar broke and I need to replace the rack or I cannot carry any load. The problem is I don’t want to replace it with the same product. Can anyone please give me recommendations for using some other stronger rack that will fit properly on this bike.

  4. I’m in doubt…a Marrakesh or a Surly Disc Trucker. The Salsa seems so more well build then the Surly. I’m also more into Audax’s and long distance road cycling.

Comments are closed.

Related Posts