Review: Salsa Woodchipper, Salsa Cowchipper and Soma Gator- Mtbr.com
Results 1 to 19 of 19
  1. #1
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Nov 2015
    Posts
    7

    Review: Salsa Woodchipper, Salsa Cowchipper and Soma Gator

    Hello,

    first of all a short introduction: I am from germany and using my bike mainly for commuting (road/gravel). Making around 4000-5000km/year. Recently I bought a Salsa Fargo because I was curious about the dirt drop bars and quite confident that this will lead to a more comfortable and pain free ride.

    The frame is great. The only thing I am missing are proper rack mounts - instead you need to use the Salsa rack which is capable of only 15kg. There is no other option, not even from Tubus (I asked them).

    But now coming to my actual topic: I would like to share my experience about the three bars I've tried so far on this bike: Salsa Woodchipper, Salsa Cowchipper and Soma Gator.

    I build it originally up with the woodchipper bar but finally it was not convincing. But step by step:

    Salsa Woodchipper
    Con: Cannot be adjusted to use hoods AND hooks
    Pro: Lines on the bar help to adjust brifters on same level
    Pro: 7075 Aluminium
    The Problem here is, as you can read in different other reviews in the internet, that you cannot mount the brifters in a way that you can reach the lever from the hoods as well as from the hoods. Or, the only way to do this is to have a 45 angel of the drops which is not comfortable at all. I tried so many different angles and brifter positions so that I finally decided to try another bar: the Cowchipper

    Salsa Cowchipper
    Con: Hooks are not comfortable due to the bend
    Pro: Hooks and Hoods can be used with reaching brake lever
    Pro: Lines on the bar help to adjust brifters on same level
    Pro: 7075 Aluminium
    I liked the cowchipper more actually because I could manage it to adjust the brifters so that the brake lever could be reached from hooks and the hoods. BUT: The bend in the hooks is not really comfortable. I did not have a problem with the narrower drops at least but if you do more mountainbiking I don't think its sufficiently flared.

    Soma Gator
    Pro: Hooks and Hoods can be used with brake lever access
    Con: No lines helping to mount brifters on same level
    Con: Only 6061 Aluminium (if this is a con at all...)
    Finally I decided to try a third bar to which I could not find much in the internet. What maked me certain that this bar will work was the smaller radius in the hooks. That is what I've expected to be better in comparison with the woodchipper. When I was thinking about "what would make a woodchipper more usable from both positions?" then it was a smaller radius. And indeed, it seems to be the solution here. As you can see on the picture, the radius is significantly smaller. I could immidiately find a proper brifter position having the drops on around 23 pointing downwards. Its not perfectly comfortable on the hoods though, but for a short time to relax its OK. The ramps are pointing downwards, this is what makes it a bit difficult for the hoods. But I am satisfied now and I don't think that I'll try another one.

    By the way: my preferred position is hooks!

    I hope this helps soe of you who are in the same situation like I was.

    Review: Salsa Woodchipper, Salsa Cowchipper and Soma Gator-img_2966.jpg
    From top to down: Gator, Woodchipper, Cowchipper
    Review: Salsa Woodchipper, Salsa Cowchipper and Soma Gator-img_2967.jpg
    From left to right: Gator, Woodchipper, Cowchipper
    Review: Salsa Woodchipper, Salsa Cowchipper and Soma Gator-img_2965.jpg
    From left to right: Gator, Woodchipper, Cowchipper
    Review: Salsa Woodchipper, Salsa Cowchipper and Soma Gator-img_2968.jpg
    Upper: Woodchipper, lower: Gator
    Review: Salsa Woodchipper, Salsa Cowchipper and Soma Gator-img_2619_small.jpg
    Woodchipper
    Review: Salsa Woodchipper, Salsa Cowchipper and Soma Gator-img_2962_small.jpg
    Cowchipper
    Review: Salsa Woodchipper, Salsa Cowchipper and Soma Gator-img_2973_small.jpg
    Gator

    What you can see on the next pictures is that the brifters on the Gator are extremely tilted: (this does not mean that it is a problem, its just to make you aware)
    Review: Salsa Woodchipper, Salsa Cowchipper and Soma Gator-img_2623_small.jpg
    Woodchipper
    Review: Salsa Woodchipper, Salsa Cowchipper and Soma Gator-img_2964_small.jpg
    Cowchipper
    Review: Salsa Woodchipper, Salsa Cowchipper and Soma Gator-img_2972_small.jpg
    Gator

  2. #2
    mtbr member
    Reputation: newfangled's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Posts
    3,320
    Good post.

    As far as I'm concerned, Guitar Ted's site is the resource for dirtdrop info.

    I've had a Woodchipper for a year-and-a-half, and have spent the entire time adjusting it. It's currently demoted to my #3 bike, and it's not an easy bar to love.

    On my other bikes I've got a Gary Sweep OS, which I love pretty much unconditionally - it's fantastic. And I've got a midge, which has at least one glaring flaw, but generally I get along with it much better than the woodchipper. (as far as I've heard, the Gator is pretty similar to the midge, but with much longer extensions)

  3. #3
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Oct 2013
    Posts
    137
    Quote Originally Posted by newfangled View Post
    I've had a Woodchipper for a year-and-a-half, and have spent the entire time adjusting it. It's currently demoted to my #3 bike, and it's not an easy bar to love.
    Nice bike - fenders and seat = sweet

    Since nobody has said it - I dont have a problem with the woodchipper using the brifters from the hoods and the drops. I recall that there are posts in this thread that show the best angle for the drops to get maximum use from the woodchippers.

    From the pics, I'd say that the woodchippers are tilted down too far, i.e., the flats are too close to parallel with the ground. Tilt back and move the brifters forward a few cm.

    The only change I'd like to try on the woodchippers would be a longer ramp for one more hand position.

    Mike

  4. #4
    mtbr member
    Reputation: newfangled's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Posts
    3,320
    Yeah, I should have mentioned that I actually think the woodchipper is better as a hoods-bar than a drops-bar. That's how I've currently got mine setup, and I shift to the drops for decending or other bouncy stuff.

    A long time ago salsa posted these suggestions for setup with the bar at 20deg: Salsa Cycles

    Although nowadays, all of their "official" photos show the flats close to level, and the drops pointed way down at 45deg.

    Anyway, I've honestly tried every setup with mine, and I've certainly found a few that work well enough. But of the 3 dirtdrops I've got, it's a distant 3rd.

  5. #5
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Nov 2015
    Posts
    7
    The B17 saddle I already replaced by a SQ Lab cause the B17 was not so comfortable as my Imperial was on my previous bike. The SQ Lab is not perfect but much better and I don't have to care for rain all the time during parking - this was a major disadvantage to me as I'm using the bike every day for commuting.

    The Woodchipper on the pictures was the first adjustment which turned out to be the worst. I tried so many different brifter positions and angles afterwards but to no avail.

  6. #6
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Sep 2014
    Posts
    231
    I'd love a Gator with drops parallel to hoods like on the Cowchipper.

  7. #7
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Nov 2015
    Posts
    7
    Sorry to resurrect, I'm scouring the web for info/reviews on the Gator bar.

    Motello, it seems to me you've got your Woodchippers really low--too low for the drops to be very useful. I have them on a cyclocross bike and a "gravel tandem" and on both, the hoods allow for an upright position while the drops are a fairly aggressive position with hands below saddle level.

    Basically, the Woodchippers seem designed to have the drops at the height most people keep their hoods. It works absolutely great in both positions--like, better than any other drop bar I've ever used--and the sole drawback is the aesthetic one. A 40-degree riser stem and a couple inches of spacers just don't do it for most people.

  8. #8
    mtbr member
    Reputation: newfangled's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Posts
    3,320
    ^ He's got a fargo which has a tall headtube, and he's using ~4cm of spacers, which is pretty much how it's supposed to be run. Only real difference from the salsa site is that he could maybe have flipped the stem to gain another 1.5cm.

    I dunno. My gryphon was okay with a woodchipper (but I tweaked it. every. day.) but switching to my replacement is a million times better.

  9. #9
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Nov 2015
    Posts
    7
    Good point about the Fargo. I use my 2 Woodchippers on a Double Cross and a Burley tandem, neither of which have that kind of headtube height. Still, more height might help with those bars. I also run the brakes further down the front of the bar and canted in a little more.

    To each his own, as always. The Woodchipper is the only offroad drop bar I've found so far in which I'm really comfortable on both the hoods and the drops. I also like the width of the bar tops. I started off with the Midge but couldn't find a hoods position I liked. I have a Gary bar and never learned to like it, but the Sweep OS version is something I plan to try one day.

  10. #10
    mtbr member
    Reputation: newfangled's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Posts
    3,320
    ^ which Gary do you have? Everything I've read about the Gary II says it was a bad idea, but the original super-flared version seems kindof cool. Almost halfway to a mustache bar.

    I actually like the Gary Sweep OS so much that if they're ever back in stock I'm going to pick up a spare, just so that I don't find myself in a Luxy situation a few years down the road.

  11. #11
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Nov 2015
    Posts
    7
    It's actually the Gary 2. I bought it as a replacement for the narrow road bar that came on the Burley, and paired it with an adjustable quill stem flipped way high. It was available online for cheap, and I'd read that of the available dirt drop type bars it was the most road-like. Which turned out to be not so great when you're trying to control a tandem with a rambunctious stoker.

    I'd like to try a Luxy bar. Wish I could get another flat Carnegie's for my 29er, too.

  12. #12
    mtbr member
    Reputation: newfangled's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Posts
    3,320
    ^ plenty of rumors of a return of the Luxy. The latest from Guitarted was that it's now with a company called Alpkit. Before that it was Pact who were going to do it. But who knows.

  13. #13
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Feb 2015
    Posts
    70
    Just want to resurrect this thread and see if there is still any interest out there. I am running a woodchipped which I've had since before the cowchipped. It is a great offroad bar in the drops when things get techy, but when I am slogging it out on the forest roads it leaves things to be desired. For me the hood position is far too narrow and I don't like the tilt of the hoods. I can brake from hoods or drops no problem (using barcons to shift), but the narrow hoods make this position not very comfortable for me.

    I am thinking I'll like the cowchipped better as it is something more like a wide road handlebar with a nice shallow drop and it looks like it will give me a nice wide hood position for the tops. If anyone has a 46cm cowchipper they'd like to trade for a set of 42 or 46 cm woodchippers... let me know.

  14. #14
    mtbr member
    Reputation: RickyFiggz's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2014
    Posts
    45


    Sent from my SM-G930P using Tapatalk

  15. #15
    mtbr member
    Reputation: RickyFiggz's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2014
    Posts
    45
    Quote Originally Posted by RickyFiggz View Post


    Sent from my SM-G930P using Tapatalk
    Cow choppers 46, I'm not a fan of the bb7s. But, the bars are great. The problem is, I can't get them any higher than that, would like to use them on a fat tire steel touring bike. With the unit, The ride is too cramped for me. If I had gator bars, I could run some shimano slx' s that I already have and run my x9 10 speed shifter, either 22.2 or 31.8 configuration, using a reflector clamp. Anyway, you put it, the ride would still be too cramped for me.

    Sent from my SM-G930P using Tapatalk

  16. #16
    mtbr member
    Reputation: RickyFiggz's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2014
    Posts
    45
    Sent from my SM-G930P using Tapatalk

  17. #17
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Posts
    3,156
    I'm not finding the dislike many have for the Woodchippers. They're hardly conventional drop bars but sure seem perfect for my Fargo, how I ride it, and maybe because I love my MTB style bars to be high and wide.

    I have SRAM brifters if that makes a difference. Braking with BB7s is fine whether that's hands on the drops or hoods.

    FWIW, I still have some WTB off road drop bars I got in the 1980s and to me the Woodchippers are really just wider updated versions of that. It's a lot like how lots of MTB items have evolved.
    ƃuoɹʍ llɐ ʇno əɯɐɔ ʇɐɥʇ

  18. #18
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    May 2014
    Posts
    1,413
    Going to ressurect this thread again. My primary riding is Iowa gravel. If I do single track I use my other bike with Jones H bars so for the sake of this topic I am referring to my gravel/some pavement bike. I have been using Salsa Cowbells since the start. I don't hate them at all. I kind of love them. Trouble is I have the itch to see if any of these more radical flared drop designs might actually make me fall in love more than I already am. I posted a topic here a couple days ago asking about the Soma Condor bar and since I got no hits I decided to email Guitar Ted and ask if he had tried one. He had not but some of the things I agreed with him on was the difficulty of mounting things on the bars like gps,lights,etc with all those funky bends. Too bad too because I thought I might become the only one around using a set lol. So I think I have given up on the Condors but I keep revisiting this in my head each day about bars like Woodchippers and a few others like the Ritchey Venturemax.

    As a lover of Jones H bars, I can't help but think that a lot of these flared offerings would be similar in hand comfort to the Jones? Am I right or wrong? I personally have my bars high enough with 4 cm of spacers and a 30 degree stem so they are higher than my seat. Being in the drops is really comfortable for me. Can someone ease my troubled mind?

  19. #19
    mtbr member
    Reputation: newfangled's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Posts
    3,320
    I hadn't seen the condor, but that's crazy.

    I could be wrong, but it seems like most of what it's doing would be accomplished by mounting a cowbell/cowchipper on a tall stem? And it sounds like you've already got that.

    As for the Jones, I've never tried one, but I have had other sweepy riser bars like the On One Mary. Just personally I do prefer a good dirtdrop (although I still don't think the woodchipper is a particularly good dirtdrop). The flare of the extensions might be pretty similar, but with the curve of a drop you can really dig in and get a different type of grip. But ymmv.
    Last edited by newfangled; 01-28-2018 at 02:02 PM.

Similar Threads

  1. Replies: 9
    Last Post: 11-04-2013, 05:54 AM
  2. SOMA Juice vs Salsa El Mariachi?
    By bridgestonemb in forum 29er Bikes
    Replies: 9
    Last Post: 07-20-2013, 03:47 AM
  3. Salsa Woodchipper 2 bar
    By J3SSEB in forum Where are the Best Deals?
    Replies: 0
    Last Post: 08-20-2012, 01:09 PM
  4. Salsa Ala Carte v. Soma Analog
    By Bar01 in forum Bike and Frame discussion
    Replies: 2
    Last Post: 04-12-2011, 01:20 PM
  5. Soma, KHS, or Salsa
    By DekerfTeamST in forum 27.5
    Replies: 3
    Last Post: 04-01-2011, 11:56 AM

Members who have read this thread: 60

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  

THE SITE

ABOUT MTBR

VISIT US AT

© Copyright 2019 VerticalScope Inc. All rights reserved.