Salsa Cycles Gordo 29"er Rim: Out Of The Box

Salsa Cycles introduced the Gordo rim at the 2007 Interbike show. Now after several minor design tweaks, it is ready for the trails in your locality. The Gordo is a 35mm wide rim that promises to give your treads a wider footprint, but not only that, it has several other features that should make the Gordo a popular rim amongst 29″er freaks everywhere.

Salsa Cycles Gordo rims

The Gordo isn’t just a rim design made wider to fit 29″er tires. It is a new design made from the ground up as a 29″er specific rim. Optimized to work with the idiosyncracies of 29″er rubber, the Gordo caused the product engineering team for Salsa to rethink how a rim and tire interface with each other.

Using Finite Element Analysis and healthy doses of trigonometry and physics, Salsa found that a tire mounts and sits on a rim bead very differently than 26 inch tires, or narrower 700c tires. Using this information allowed Salsa to design a rim well and bead seat that not only interfaces with a 29″er tire better, it also makes the rim and tire a safer combination to ride off road.

Gordo's rim well

As you can see from the photo above, the Gordo has a bead seat that is a bit different than your average 29″er rim. The bead has an actual “groove” to capture the tire’s bead when inflated. This feature keeps the tire from coming off the rim bead seat when running lower pressures. In fact, I have heard from riders on prototype Gordo rims that they could run “rediculously low” pressures with this design. (Note: Salsa Cycles does not recommend the Gordo be used tubeless. There is a warning sticker surrounding the valve stem hole that reads “Do not use with tubeless systems”.)

The other benefit of the Gordo’s rim bead seat design is that if a rider flats, the tire is retained on the rim, and doesn’t tend to come off the rim, which should reduce the risk of crashing when flatting. Testers say that flat tires were retained on the rim in their experience which indicates that the Gordo, (and its narrower brother, the Semi) will fit most 29″er tires far better than what we are used to seeing.

Welded seam on the Gordo

One of the negatives experienced with Salsa’s previous Delgado Disc design was a pinned and sleeved joint on the rim that would occaisionally be the source of a noise on every rotation. Salsa wanted to eliminate this problem so they chose a welded rim joint for the Semi and Gordo models. The weld area is shown in the photograph above. The weld is ground smooth, as can be seen. This should eliminate any chances for noises and be a stronger joint as well.

Our Gordo samples weighed in a 680 grams each. They are 35.3mm wide overall with an inner rim width of 30mm from inner rim edge to inner rim edge. The ERD on the Gordo is 603mm. Also, the similarly designed Salsa Semi rim is available at a 30mm rim width. Both will be available in 32 and 36 hole versions and the Gordo should retail for about $120.00 each.

Tweny Nine Inches is building up a set of these Gordo rims and will report back with a first impressions post soon.


No Responses to “Salsa Cycles Gordo 29"er Rim: Out Of The Box”

  1. Dirt McGirt Says:

    35.3?!??! Sweet CHRIST, man!!

  2. James Slemboksi Says:

    It’s a shame they can’t be run tubeless.

  3. Guitar Ted Says:

    James: Salsa says, “Do not use with tubeless systems”, not that they won’t work with a tubeless set up. šŸ˜‰

    Another very influential 29″er user told me that he didn’t see any reason to run a Gordo tubeless, since he was able to use pressures nearing the single digits psi and not have the bead break or blow off in his western chunk type trail riding. So, choose yer poison, the Gordo will most likely deal with it, even though Salsa will never recommend tubeless set ups for their rims.

  4. Dust Says:

    Will the wider rim make these tires harder to mount?
    People are able to run pressures in the single digits without hitting the rim? Really?

  5. Guitar Ted Says:

    Dust: Tires are no more difficult to mount than they should be. You can mount tires on the Gordos with your bare hands, no problems. The rim well design guides the beads right up into their intended mounting spots. It’s rather easy to mount tires on a Gordo, actually.

    Some folks have run down into the single digits, but I would only do that for float on snow or for ultimate traction on ice. I ran my set up at 20 psi rear and 17psi front today without getting anywhere near pinch flatting or striking the rim.

  6. Dust Says:

    Wow, ok. Thanks Guitar Ted!

  7. Ryan Says:


    What tires are you planning on trying with this rim?

  8. Guitar Ted Says:

    Ryan: I have mounted a WTB WeirWolf LT 2.55″ and a Schwalbe Racing Ralph 2.4″ on right now. Both tires gained 3mm in casing width by being mounted on the Gordo rims. Right now they both sit a 59.6mm and 59.7mm for the ralph and WTB respectively.

    I ran the Ralph up front yesterday at 17 psi and the WTB out back at 20 psi with tubes. They handled great, rolled really well, and were soooo smooth that it felt as if I were riding a soft tail. Stay tuned for more impressions coming soon!

  9. jason of SS pro and niner sales Says:

    This rim is flat out SEXY

  10. paragon jeff Says:

    hey ted, these rims are hot! do you know if i can build a set with some I-9 hubs and some of those trick I-9 spokes? if not any sugestions on hubs and spokes? i cant wait to place the order!!


  11. Guitar Ted Says:

    paragon jeff: I-9 shouldn’t have any problem setting you up. I’d get a hold of them and I wouldn’t be surprised if they haven’t already set a few wheels up with Gordos already.

  12. paragon jeff Says:

    Sweet, i just fired off an eamil to I-9. i will keep you posted.

    thanks for the hook up!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: