I've narrowed down my choices for a gravel and light bikepacking rig to the Salsa Vaya and the Spec. Sequoia, and hope to do some test rides this weekend. Different shops sell each, and both seem committed to finding the right bike fit.
Specification wise, they both meet my needs; the biggest difference is the Sequoia is a Shimano package, and the Vaya uses Sram (I admit, I'd like the hydraulic brakes on the Sequoia slightly more). Both bikes can take a size 40 tire.
The main differences seem to be in the geometry, and this is where I'm seeking advice. This will be my first drop bar bike. All of my other bikes, including my current gravel bike are flat bar. The Sequoia has a higher bottom bracket than the Vaya (I'm in the 55/56 range for both bikes). The wheel bases are within .5 inches of each other.
This is a bike I'll be using for 100 mile gravel events, as well as light bikepacking along forest roads and such, so I expect long days in the saddle. I really don't expect to do much single track or jeep road style riding, as I've got a mountain bike for that. Are there things I should look for with each bike, or areas I should watch out for? What do you look for in bike geometry (with a drop bar bike) when your going to spend long periods on the saddle?
Thanks for all the helpful advice and stories. This site has some experienced and passionate riders!
To attempt to answer your actual question... the biggest difference between these two bikes in the geometry department is the stack / reach. Vaya is tall and short. Sequoia is much less so. Which is better for you is a matter of preference. Hope that helps.