2020 Salsa Marrakesh

The New 2020 Salsa Marrakesh Touring Bike

Salsa’s dedicated touring bike, the Marrakesh, has been one of the best off-the-shelf options for a while now. The 2020 Salsa Marrakesh has received a few obvious and subtle updates which make it an even more compelling purchase.

Let’s take a closer look.

The 2020 Salsa Marrakesh Touring Bike

2020 Salsa Marrakesh
The new 2020 Salsa Marrakesh.

To start with, let’s talk about the frame, which is exceptional. The steel frame tubing is both internally and externally butted to create the stiffest front end possible. Butting to this level is quite rare on bikes at this price point.

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, however, this drops to 40mm if you prefer to use fenders.

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.

2020 Salsa Marrakesh
The 2020 Salsa Marrakesh.

The most obvious change to the specification is found in the gear system. Rather than using typical touring barend shifters, Salsa has opted for Shimano Sora brake/shift levers. STI shifters have become much more reliable in the past five years so I expect we will see them on more touring bikes soon (the Trek 520 is already using them).

Shimano Deore gearing has long been popular on touring bikes, but it has now moved on to 10-speed. Unfortunately, there are no Shimano STI shifters which will work with the new 10-speed Deore drivetrain parts, so Salsa has fitted Shimano Alivio drivetrain parts which pair perfectly with the shifters.

2020 Salsa Marrakesh
The new 2020 Salsa Marrakesh.

Outside the gear system changes, there have been a few small but important part upgrades. The brakes now use TRP Spyre-C calipers. These cable-operated brakes use a unique design that pulls both brake pads in at the same time, providing near-hydraulic braking performance (most cable disc calipers pull just one pad).

The headset is now a Cane Creek Forty, which is my favourite mid-range option and a model I usually recommend for a no-fuss custom build. It uses zinc-coated steel cartridge bearings and decent clip/face seals to keep the grime at bay.

The tyres are now 42mm Teravail Ramparts with tubeless compatibility (rims are also tubeless-ready). The tyre sidewalls have a polymer composite reinforcement which is woven between outer and inner tyre casing. This will hopefully protect the tyre from abrasion on any rough dirt roads you choose to ride.

2020 Salsa Marrakesh
The 2020 Salsa Marrakesh on display at Eurobike a few weeks ago.

The 2020 Salsa Marrakesh also gets a front rack, valued at US $65. I’d suggest that the Down Under rack was included so that this touring rig could compete directly with the Trek 520.

The Salsa Marrakesh hits the scales at 14.5kg (or 32lb) with racks, which is typical of any modern steel touring bike. It’s available as a frameset for US $799 or complete for US $1799. You can also find the older Marrakesh models still available for US $1499 to US $1599.

Want To Compare The Salsa Marrakesh 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?

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