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In 1972 Ross Shafer started building road frames using the Proteus frame building kit and sold them under the Red Bush brand name. 1) After working for Santana Cycles making frames for a year, he welding his first personal mountain 650b under the Red Bush name in 1981. His friends then clamored for more. And yes, the name comes from Ross' love for spicy salsa. See logo:
Ross Shafer vcraftsmanship.net
In 1982 [Ross] built what he said were “the only 5 mountainbikes I will ever build.” Producing one for himself to “see what all the noise is about”, he was hooked. Salsa Cycles was born. salsacycles.com
Within a week, there were 16 frame orders for Salsa. At one point, the waiting list was up to 80 frames. 2)
1982 Salsa #1 bikerumor
Fillet brazed, mixed Reynolds 531 & Tange tubing. Serial #SM053.
1984 Salsa #53 velocult
As camouflage paint schemes became “popular” in 1983 (why?), Ross countered with his own interpretation of hiding a quality bicycle in paint, which became a popular and unique option for Salsa.
Another Salsa style was the rear fish mouth end to the top tube (how did that work, structurally?)
Salsa #5 Fish Mouth theproscloset
1985 Ala Cart
In 1985 Salsa tried its hand at “mass” production of the TIG welded Ala Cart bike.
75-100 Ala Cart frames were built in 1985 and were pretty much all sold before the tubing arrived. Since stem production was really taking off by this time, this was the only batch of production frames. Custom frames continued to be available at the rate of about 20-25 per year. mombat
Why Ross stopped selling Ala Cart bikes:
I won't ever get rich building frames; no frame builder ever does. It's one of those occupations done out of love, not for the money. So I decided if I'm not goinf to get rich, I might as well enjoy building frames. That's why I build custom frames only. June 1987 Mountain Bike Magazine
Shimano RD-AL11 (1984-86) rear, XT (1982-86) front. Frame #175.
Custom, dishless rear wheel, 40 pounds w/Bruce Gordon racks, frame #289. Built for touring, with XT M732 (1989?)
1989 Ala Carte Ti
Ala Carte Ti prototype, frame made by Merlin.
Ala Carte Ti theproscloset
1990 Ala Carte Ti
XT front and rear, re-built in 1994. Bontrager composite fork, Cook Bros cranks. Frame #470.
Ala Carte Ti mombat
. Salsa Custom frames are available at the rate of about 20-25 per year. Serial numbers verify this:
. Ala Cart production added about 100 extra frames in 1985. See: mombat.