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Salsa Rebirths with Focus on Adventure

Published February 22, 2010

BLOOMINGTON, MN (BRAIN)—Salsa Cycles gave dealers attending Frostbike last weekend an early peak at its rebranding effort, showing updated products and designs that reflect its new Adventure By Bike slogan.

“We’re letting go of some of the past history of Salsa and setting out in our own direction,” said Mike Riemer, the brand’s marketing manager, as he worked the booth at Frostbike.

That includes moving away from Salsa’s Ride & Smile logo and its Rastafari-inspired red, green and yellow color palette, and instead branding the company through campaigns that show riders use Salsa products, be it for touring, ultra endurance racing, cyclocross, bikepacking or commuting.

A new Web site, www.salsacycles.com, that complements the company’s new focus is up and running.

New product is also in the works. Salsa, perhaps best known for its use of steel, has brought titanium back into its line and will offer three of its most popular bikes—the Ala Carte, the La Cruz and the El Mariachi—constructed with the material.

Also new is the Vaya road adventure bike, outfitted with disc brakes, braze-ons for fenders and racks and made with Salsa’s Classico CroMoly to tackle any road surface.

At Sea Otter, Salsa will debut versions of the steel El Mariachi and Ala Carte bikes updated with new graphics to reflect the rebranding, Riemer said.

Quality Bicycle Products bought Salsa in 1997, 13 years after Ross Shafer launched the brand in California, and it grew consistently in the 10 to 16 percent range until last year, which finished flat with 2008.

Part of that was due to the impact from a recall a year ago of 8,600 CroMoto stems, which hurt sales and forced the company to hurriedly swap out stems that had already been spec’d on five complete bike models.

Jason Boucher, brand manager for Salsa, called last year an “eye opener.”

“To not be growing double digits was kind of a shocker,” he said.

This year Salsa has already started to see a turnaround after making some changes in spec choices and targeting different pricepoints. Sales were up 11 percent in January, Boucher said.

“People are buying product again,” he noted.

—Nicole Formosa

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