Joe’s DKXL Prototype Salsa Cycles Warbird Carbon – Jarrod Bunk

Joe’ DKXL Prototype Salsa Cycles Warbird Carbon
Photos and words by Jarrod Bunk

Joe’s proto Warbird has taken what Salsa has learned from their athletes and staff to refine what was already a fast gravel bike and give it some new features. The fork/frame is all new but with added versatility like dynamo routing in the fork, fender mounts, and a much cleaner Di2 setup.

Joe has already raced the DKXL aboard the new bird, proof that the new bike is ready to rip some gravel. This bike doesn’t just look fast, it is, but stays comfy over the roughest of b-roads thanks to the 2nd generation updated vibration reduction system. Aside from the entire suite of SRAM parts, including Zipp wheels, and SRAM Drivetrain and Brakes, the left lever can operate his dropper mid-race if needed making this, the most capable Warbird yet.


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  • Wicked cool.

  • Rider_X

    Just looking at that saddle angle makes my bits ache

    • Apie

      Ha! Glad to see someone else likes the nose up as I do, any lower than pictured I would slip forward.

      • Rider_X

        Nose up rotates the top of the hips posteriorly, which actually inhibits core muscle activation, especially glutes. It also impacts back curvature which can affect breathing, especially if you have a shorter torso.

        Sliding forward on a level saddle suggests hip postural issues (i.e., an inability to roll the hips forwards).

        • SnarkShark

          All this doesn’t matter if the rider is comfortable… and in this case fast as shit.

          • colavitos_ghost

            I will trust that this person is comfy with their saddle angle; the counter-flow bar tape, on the other hand…. MAMMA MIA!!! (I am that guy and I hate myself)

          • Joe Meiser

            What is counter-flow bar tape? I had no idea…I just ran out of electrical tape and thought it looked rad.

          • Chris Gast

            “the danger of civilization of course is that you will piss away your life on nonsense.” -Jim Harrison

          • colavitos_ghost

            We are both spending time viewing a bike blog, so.

          • Rider_X

            Fast as shit or the moment. Depends if you want to stay that way over the next 20 years.

          • Joe knows how his bike should be set up. It’s his bike, not yours. Stop projecting. It’s not about you.

          • Rider_X

            I won’t dispute projection, but the points are still valid. Look, I have a couple good friends who are both excellent sports physiotherapists and cyclists (one had a short pro career in Europe – they know their way around a bike) and both continually highlight the importance of a neutral pelvis position. When the saddle is tilted up, its very hard to achieve forcing your body to compensate. Long term compensation can eventually lead to postural dysfunctions, injuries and chronic pain. We often perceive “comfort” relative to what we are used to doing, making these types of issues especially tricky.

            Yeah its projection because I have experienced this, but these are also common issues for a lot of cyclists.

            Is it better to shut up and let others make the same mistakes, or speak up?

          • What does your friend’s riding experience have to do with anything here? Pros set up their bikes in the most ridiculous manners. By that critique, your “short pro career in Europe” friend probably thinks Grant Petersen doesn’t know jack about bikes and that positive rise stems are dumb. Not everything is about 140mm stems and stretched-out body positions. Some bike fits require bikes to be set up in ways that might not appeal to aesthetics, but work for that individual’s body type.

            Joe has raced the Tour Divide, DK numerous times, and is a very accomplished cyclist. He may not be a short-lived European pro, but who the fuck actually cares about that?

          • campirecord

            Look at the head tube on this and look at the application here. I get where you are coming from. I race road and have a very agressive seat to bars drop. This is different, it can be looked at from a different view. As always, no rules always apply. I have been fitted by Sky’s fitter… and he uses very little strict rules before a lot of measures and posture analysis.

        • Joe Meiser

          Rider X, interesting insight. Could you point me to some resources? I have been focusing more on my core, wanting to get a fit since I have not for 15 years. As I age I definitely notice that I am not as flexible, recover as quickly or comfortable as I once was. I am hungry for knowledge indeed.

          • Rider_X

            Phil Burt’s “Bike Fit” is a good resource (physiotherapist and Team Sky consultant). Andy Pruitt’s Complete Medical Guide for Cyclists is older but good as well. The philosophies do differ a bit between the two, so trial and error is required.

          • I’d go to a professional fit specialist, rather than read about fitters who set up pros on race bikes.

          • Joe Meiser

            It had been to long John! Both riding with you and seeing a fit specialist.

          • That is true!

          • Rider_X

            Joe, obviously take all of this with a gain of salt, but here is an applicable quote from Andy Prutit’s book (p20):

            “If your saddle is tilted with the nose up, it may mean that your handlebars are too far away and too low. If your saddle were level, you’d tend to slide forward to reach the bars and find yourself always scooting to the rear to compensate. Riders with this problem often tip the nose up to keep them from sliding forward. The tipped-up saddle is a tip-off to the poorly positioned bars.”

            For me I did this for so long I ended up with hip postural issues (I got cause and effect mixed up in my previous comment).

          • Joe Meiser

            I don’t take that the wrong way. I would consider it an issue, but I have been doing this for 10 or more years. The reality is this. I have been considering a fit with us launching this new bike and all. It is just time to commit the dollars. The funny thing about riding is I am often more willing to spend money on the equipment rather than the fit and coaching that would go much further.

          • Rider_X

            Yeah, it’s an easy pattern to fall in, the benefit of new gear is now… the benefit of fitting and coaching are delayed. I waited way too long, one day everything blew up and now I am on the fun journey of years of physio, with constant work retraining my posture and movement patterns. I can still ride 10K a year, but I am no longer the same.

  • terriblemcnaughton

    I love me a tall ass headtube and this one looks like it is going to the moon. How tall is this rider?

    • Joe’s about 6’2” – maybe a lil taller.

      • Alexander Sollie

        Do you happen to know what if that is the largest frame size? I’m 6’7″ and desperately hoping that they’ll have a size big enough for me.

        • shafty

          Largest is 61cm, so probably too small. A custom fit Waterford/Gunnar frame/fork is around the same price. Very few mass produced brands can accommodate that height.

          • Alexander Sollie

            You don’t have to tell me!!/vizhome/BikeAnalysis_0/StackandReach

            I just wish someone besides Specialized made a 64cm carbon gravel bike.

          • Scott Glucs

            Hey Alexander, I’m 6’6″ and generally in the same undersized-boat that you are. Shoot me an email if you ever want to chat/commiserate about big bikes! Curious to hear what you’re riding now
            Email: [email protected]

          • 6’6 here as well, and heavy. Just had a steel frame built to satisfy my ‘durable road/gravel with off-road capability’ itch. Got tired of breaking shit. Also have a Tumbleweed Prospector for rolling around off-road loaded.

      • terriblemcnaughton

        Oh, ok. Not as tall as I imagined. That extra space will help a ton for frame pack storage and bottle cages.

  • Steve Gabbard

    I have a 2017 Warbird Carbon, but this is the new sizing format. Given that he is the same height as me, I’m curious about the bars and stem:
    Bars – Salsa Cowbell, aluminum or carbon, width?
    Stem – 90mm length?

    • Joe Meiser

      Cowbell Carbon Steve, 44’s w/ a 90mm stem. The new sizing puts riders above a 54 on roughly 10mm shorter stems. Like mountain bikes it is a longer front center for more stability in rough stuff, just not taken to the same extent (e.g. 50mm stems on everything).

      • Steve Gabbard

        Joe, thanks for the information. My current Warbird is a 60cm with a 90mm stem. Depending on the increase in reach for the new frames, I would be looking at an 80mm stem. Seems short, but that may be where gravel and adventure bikes are heading. Currently, my Warbird is going strong, with no need to replace it, but I’m always looking around at the latest stuff.

  • Ryan

    You’d think a gravel race bike necessity would be SS compatibility.

  • spencer harding

    road bikes with mtb parts (dropper) can we call them Hybrids again yet?

    • Joe Meiser

      I sold the $&@# out of hybrids in the late 90’s early 2000’s working in the shop. Those suspension posts offered comfort but they don’t touch the control of a dropper on or off road. Droppers on drop bars is the future!!!

      • John Solomito

        With no suspension up front? I disagree.

    • John Solomito

      Maybe it should be renamed “The Mockingbird”? ; )

  • Spatzies

    What is the head tube angle on this bad boy? My protractor skills say 67 degrees. But my protractor seems to be a dang liar.

    • Joe Meiser

      Geometry and details will launch on 9/17

      • MarkP

        and you’ll reveal the return of the Ti Warbird on that day too? Please?

  • Samuel Jackson

    Diggin all these Q employees who actuate their drop bar dropper post with the left shifter

  • Is that a WolfTooth B-Rad bag on the underside of the downtube?

  • Bil Thorne

    Any idea on fork geometry? My current fork has 400 A/C, 47mm rake and NO PLACE TO MOUNT ANYTHING and winter is coming.

  • ez

    I did the SRAM left shifter hack on the Flaanimal I rode for the DK200 this year Believe it or not, dropper posts on gravel bikes are awesome. Fun for that singletrack detour on your way home (or amidst a big day… or for one of the “underground” groad races we do in Boulder), but also just to offer a change of position. DK200 (much less the XL) is a long damn day on a bike. I know the Rodeo Labs crew did well at Leadville and used the same trick. Definitely starting to blur the line between gravel and full on Johnny T style ;-)

  • Chris

    I’ve been really waiting for these to drop! … still hoping there is a stock Di2 build…. or at least frame sets available in the initial offerings…

  • Adin Maynard

    Is the seat tube 30.9 to accept a myriad of droppers? Or is it 27.2 ? Hoping for a 650b 1x build