Top Ten 29"er Products Of '08: Salsa Cycles Gordo Rim

Editors Note: Yeah, yeah…..another year end review! Tis the season! So, here are my favorite things that have passed through the Twenty Nine Inches review process during the past year. I want to point out a few parameters that I used for what I chose here.

1. The product had to be in the review process during the time period of December 2007 through to the end of November 2008. Reviews that are currently in process I did not include and will be eligible for my 2009 Top Ten list.

2. They had to be products or bicycles that I personally used during this period. Nothing any of the other Twenty Nine Inches staff reviewed on their own could be considered for my list. This list doesn’t necessarily reflect the opinions of anyone but me, Guitar Ted.

That said, let’s get on with this……

Gordo Rims

Number One: Salsa Cycles Gordo Rim: The Gordo was first spied at the ’07 Interbike show. I recieved a set in late summer and proceeded to build up one of the burliest, widest rimmed set of 29″er wheels one can buy.

Why They Made The List: Salsa Cycles stepped up to the plate and hit a home run with the release of this 29″er rim. It is wide at 35mm, (only the heavier Kris Holm 29″er rim is wider at 38mm), it has a welded seam, and it has a specially engineered rim well for 29″er tires. No other rim has all of this in one package. Now 29″er freaks everywhere can have access to a truly worthy Trail/All Mountain 29″er rim that will enhance the performance of just about any 29″er tire you slap on it.

My Two Cents: Hands down this is the funnest, most performance enhancing component I have tried in 2008. I can’t hardly imagine riding narrower rims anymore, because the Gordo rims make the tires I mount to them even better than they were on 28mm wide rims. The rims are laterally stiff, which enhances performance and boosts rider confidence. They build up spectacularly well. This bodes well for a wheel that should last a long time. And I’ll admit it, they just look rediculously huge! If you are considering one of the newer crop of 29″er full suspension rigs coming out now, this rim should be at the top of your list for your build. I can’t think of anything that rivals the Gordo in terms of weight to performance. The details in the rim well alone make the Gordo a Top Ten List lock. No other rim features these inner well details which make loose fitting tires a thing of the past. (Finally!) Thank you Salsa Cycles for the finest rim money can buy for a 29″er. The Gordo Disc Rim- My top pick for 29″er Products of 2008!

That’s a wrap! Look for a follow up post in the coming days where I will have some final commentary on 2008 and link all of the Top Ten List in one place. Stay Tuned!


No Responses to “Top Ten 29"er Products Of '08: Salsa Cycles Gordo Rim”

  1. GreenLightGo Says:

    Good choice!

  2. Wish I Were Riding Says:

    These are certainly interesting. I ride rigid most of the time these days and while I’d love the rim width and tire volume for rigid, I just don’t think I could hack the weight for general riding. I could probably see my way into the Semi’s, but need some compairo’s between them and the Flow’s (which I already have).

  3. Guitar Ted Says:

    Wish I Were Riding: I think that the Semi will yeild a stiffer wheel, but it is only 2mm wider than a Flow, so in terms of tire footprint, there isn’t anything much to be gained there.

    The Gordo is more an advantage on a fully rigid rig or on an FS in an All Mountain type situation where strength, tire contact patch, and lateral rigidity are at a premium.

  4. Milto Says:

    Hi All

    Can I firstly say that I am really enjoying riding my first 29er here in Canberra, Australia. I have a Kona at the moment but also have a Ti frame on order. Thinking about wheels for the new rig. Also can’t wait for August and the world champs come to town.

    I am wondering about the edgo wheels and the rim widths of the 2 models. I notice that you tested and rated the XC model but how do you think the wider version would go v’s the gordo?

  5. Guitar Ted Says:

    Milto: The Edge Enduro width is 30mm, the same as Salsa’s Semi rim. So comparing those two, I would say that the biggest difference would be that the Edge would have lighter weight, but the Salsa would have a much better design to the rim well which would equate to better low pressure performance.

    The Gordo is in a league of its own……….so far. 😉

  6. Steve Says:

    CBO sells the rim with the stipulation, do not run tubeless, is that your understanding? What’s your opinion on the rotational weight addition(from a Stan’s 355,say) for a XC 3″ FS, no big drops or downhills? thanks

  7. Guitar Ted Says:

    Steve: I imagine CBO is just passing on Salsa’s stern warning to not use the Gordo/Semi tubeless. It will obviously be done by people anyway, but they are absolving themselves from any responsibilities for mishaps due to running these rims tubeless. I suppose that is par for the course these days what with all the litigation that takes place when something is used for a purpose it wasn’t designed for and things go awry. 😉

    You know, the Stan’s 355 I rode was not even in the same league as the Semi/Gordo. That is like comparing apples to oranges. Different rims for totally different purposes.

    Look for a redesigned Salsa Delgado Race rim to appear in the future that would be a much better comparison to the 355.

  8. Greg Says:


    I’ve got my Gordo 36h and a Hope Pro II Hub, what spokes would you recommend? This will be going on my RIP9 with the new Maxle Reba U-turn 120mm.

  9. Guitar Ted Says:

    Greg, Use double butted spokes, but nothing crazy. A 14/15/14 will be nice. (2.0/1.8/2.0) Double butted spokes are stronger due to the forging or drawing processes used to make them. I like DT Swiss or Wheelsmith personally.

    Also, I use alloy nipples, yes…….even with disc rims and brakes, but if you can not fathom that, brass ones will work too. But really, alloy nips will work just fine. 🙂

  10. Dave Says:

    Ok Ted… one more. 😉

    I’m totally sold on using a Gordo on the front of my rigid SS for an “everyday” rim. I love running big tires (WW, RR 2.4) and I have a tough time not rolling the bead at low pressures in certain situations.

    But for an XC “race” wheel, I prefer to run tubeless. Any recommendations there? I’m thinking Flow, but I’m also intrigued by the Semi, even though it might mean running a tube.


  11. Guitar Ted Says:

    Dave: For an XC race wheel I would use the tubeless compatible rim. 🙂

  12. Dave Says:

    Thanks 🙂

  13. paragon jeff Says:

    Ted i took the plung and placed the order, i orderd the I-9/gordo’s for my 08 Paragon. Question.. i would really like to run a set of mountain kings 2.4…should i be worried about clearence? Also, do you have an idea what this combo will measure out at?


  14. Cave Giant Says:


    Has anyone compared these too the Halo Freedom?

    I use freedom and get a lot of tire roll with a Ignitor.


  15. Guitar Ted Says:

    paragon jeff: The Contis will fit fine if you run them tubed. Probably minimal mud clearance though, so maybe not a great set up for that.

    Measurement? At first they will not even look like true 2.4 inchers, so you may be a bit surprised by that. They do stretch a bit though. I ran mine tubeless and they stretched…..a lot! I have no doubt that “if” you could run the MK tubeless on a Gordo, (which you are not supposed to do) that the MK would approach 60mm wide by the time it got done stretching on that rim. Maybe………….but you are not supposed to run that combo tubeless, or any tire on a Gordo tubeless. 😉 See what I am saying? 😉

  16. Guitar Ted Says:

    Cave Giant: The Halo Freedom Disc rim is a 28mm wide rim. The Salsa Semi, which is out now and similar to a Gordo, is 30mm wide. The Gordo? 35mm wide. That extra 7mm makes a lot of difference in how your tires perform and allows ridiculously low pressures……..with tubes!

    Really, there is no comparison. Be forewarned though. The Gordo should not be mistaken for a lightweight rim. It has an intended purpose and is strong and stiff. In aluminum, that means it won’t be light, not as light as a Freedom Disc rim for sure. The Gordo is for those that need maximum traction from their tires with lateral stiffness and strength as priorities. Lightweight seekers need not apply.

  17. paragon jeff Says:

    once again thanks a bunch Ted! Now i have to do i figure out how I’m gonna go 10-12 weeks without sleep, no realy…. I’m sure it will be well worth the wait. 🙂

  18. Greg Says:

    “maximum traction from their tires with lateral stiffness”

    Yes these are nice priorities.

    Ted, did the RR 2.4’s get better on the front on this rim? I had them on my Flow (tubeless) before and I wasn’t all that impressed with the cornering. They had great float over sand but cornering in SoCal felt unsure. I ran them at 25psi. Will going lower psi with tubes on the Gordo make a difference? Or should I consider the WWLT?

    (And thanks for the spoke advice, going with the DT Swiss Comps 14/15/14’s with alloy nips.)

  19. Guitar Ted Says:

    Greg: The Gordo made my Racing Ralph “flatter” in the center of the tread. I felt that it laid more of the knobs directly on the terrain which when mated to around 25 psi in the front was a great set up for hard pack terrain. To be honest, it transforms a WW LT into a much better tire traction wise, but I never had my WW LT on the front with the Gordo.

    I would try it both ways. Maybe one will shine a bit better for you. I can say that the carcass of a WTB tire is much stiffer than the Schwalbes. If you corner aggressively and carry a lot of speed, the WTB may end up feeling much better for you. I know that SoCal has a bunch of high speed sweepers, and the Ralph might wilt a bit in those situations.

  20. paragonjeff Says:

    hey ted, if yoyu were to run the salsa gordo/mountain king combo tubless…which i know you wouldd never do becouse Salsa warns no to….what tubless kit would you run?

  21. Guitar Ted Says:

    paragonjeff: My own. Actually, something I picked up from a friend, but a “ghetto” system, none the less. One round of strapping tape, one round of 3M mounting tape, Two rounds of black electrical tape, in that order. Home brew sealant made from mold builder and windshield washer solvent.

    Works a trick. 😉

    But of course…………….not on Salsa rims. Just sayin’! 🙂

  22. paragon jeff Says:

    Ted, my I9/Gordos are here!!!!! i just mounted them up and i dont think i can sleep tonight. they are everything i hope and more. i mounted up some conti MK 2.2 and they are mesureing out at 53mm. i cant wait until i ride them. thanks a bunch for the hook up, i check for you updates every day and read them all. i have learned so much in such a short time from your site, keep it up!!!!

  23. Guitar Ted Says:

    paragon jeff: Thanks for the kind words. Ride On! 🙂

  24. paragon jeff Says:

    hey Ted, hope all is well with you. Ok, After trying a few different tires on the Gordos i have decided to go with the Conti MK 2.2 out front and a Barro race 2.0 in back. The Gordos make these tires really wide and flat :-). I used the Stans 25mm yellow tape as my rim strip and i would like to try a tubless system. what do you think about a stans valve stem and yellow tape + stans sealent or should i go with a rim strip with a valve stem attached?

    Also, these rims are so much fun to ride, best thing i have done to the bike so far!


  25. Guitar Ted Says:

    paragon jeff: While I haven’t tried to do what you are doing, I have heard that the tape has to be run up right to the bead seats which may require two rounds, (but again, I have not tried this) If and when I get around to doing up a set for myself, it won’t be with Stan’s tape, but with a “ghetto” system that I was turned on to by a friend that I feel gives a better chance for success than Stan’s yellow tape does.

    I agree that the Gordo rims make riding ridiculously fun. 🙂

  26. paragonjeff Says:

    great thanks ted, i think i will give it a try what about a valve stem? do you know which one i should try with the tape?

  27. Guitar Ted Says:

    paragonjeff: I highly recommend using Bontrager valve stems. If you can’t source those the Mavic ones do a good job too.

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