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  1. #1
    Chris Bling
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    Aug 2006
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    New question here. Raleigh XXIX+g vs. Salsa El Mariachi 2 vs. Santa Cruz Highball A

    Hello everyone.

    Getting ready to make my first 29er purchase. Budget is ~2k. I believe the 3 bikes I have listed are comparable and each one is a little different from the next. All have similar geometry, but slightly different measurements. Going SS in the future is a reality but having to use a tensioner is not a deal breaker. Current set up is a mid 1990's Voodoo Bizango set up as SS. I love the feel of steel and how its a little more compliant, but am open to trying aluminum if it fits the bill.

    I love the technical climbs and descents when I can find them, so throw that in the mix as well.

    Now, here is where you come in.

    The LBS does not stock any of the above mentioned bikes and I would like to get an idea of what each one is like on the trail. Trails around here are mainly fire roads or four wheeler trails, nothing bicycle dedicated. They are fast and somewhat rocky. Its also worth noting that I do make the occasional trip to Northern and Southern Utah to ride.

    If you have owed or currently own one of these bikes, would you mind giving me the rundown of why you chose to buy it or why you chose to sell it. I am open to other bike options as well.

    thanks a bunch
    The obsession of wheels fused with the passion of cycling
    Affordable Custom Wheels

  2. #2
    mtbr member
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    Feb 2007
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    I just got a El Mariachi 2. I've only had it for 3 days, but I've put about 8 hrs on it already. If you ride fast trails, you will love it. I had been on a GF Paragon 29er set up as a SS for about 3 years. You might look into the Trek Superfly Al, it can be had for the same price but is aluminum. It has a Fox. I am a huge fan of both Fox and the G2 geometry of the Trek. However, I think they are more suited for tighter, more technical trails. I've been wanting a steel framed bike for some time now - that's why I went with the Salsa. I also really wanted another Fox fork (I have had 3 of them over the years and I've come to the conclusion that they are darn near bullet proof.) However, the Reba that comes on the Salsa is better than I thought it would be. I'm not sure I have it dialed in yet. I'm not sure you will feel too much difference between the two once they are dialed in. The steel of the El Mariachi does "feel" a bit more sluggish than my old Paragon did but nothing that I can't live with. the El Mar comes with Stans Arch hoops - which means all you need is some of Stan's yellow tape and some valves and you can go tubeless.

    I have the Salsa adjusted so the wheels are all the way forward - evidently it helps with climbing. I have also put a 90mm stem on my Salsa vs the 110 that it comes with. I have a bunch of bad habits leftover from my BMX days. Seems to quicken the steering "feel"

    I can't comment on the Raleigh, but it sure looks like a nice bike as well. A plus of that one is the tapered Fox - I mean those things are $700 forks !

    The Santa Cruz looks nice, I was only able to ride that in a parking lot so not much I can tell you there.

    Of the 3 bikes you list, I think the Salsa is also the purdiest...I may be biased.

    I love that both the Santa Cruz and the Salas have options for geared and SS - might be an advantage over the Raleigh.

    One problem you might have is finding an El Mariachi...they are going fast.

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