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  1. #1
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    Bikes like the Salsa El Mariachi

    So, I've been shopping for a hard tail 29er for some time. I've test ridden a few bikes, put in tons of time on my friend's 2012 Trek Cobia, rode an X-Cal, XTC2, and a Salsa El Mariachi 2.

    I'm not a huge fan of the geometry of the Trek bikes ("G2" or whatever). I can certainly live with it, as I've been having lots of fun on the Cobia, but I don't feel that it is quite right for me. I rode a Salsa El Mar 2, and loved the geometry and feel of the bike.

    The maximum I am willing to spend on a bike right now is $1500 however. So, the Salsa El Mariachi 3 should be right up my alley.

    I was all ready to pull the trigger, and was shopping around for pedals and a bashguard for my soon to be new bike. Well, ran into a slight problem with the bash. The El Mar 3 uses a FSA Comet 3 bolt crankset.

    I need a bash. Why? Because I like rock gardens, and I'm not that good of a rider. Yeah, sounds like a person has some decent clearance with that 2x10 crankset. But I don't simply remove the big ring on my other bikes and run them through rock gardens. One look at the bashguard tells me why. Furthermore, I don't like the idea of wiping out and having that chainring eat my leg. Yeah, it's never happened that way where my bash has hit my leg, but that doesn't mean it's never going to.

    I think the fact that Salsa decided to use that stupid FSA crankset is pretty much a deal killer for me on an El Mariachi. I really like the geometry of the bike, but looking around, I haven't really been able to find similar bikes out there. The extra $450 or so for an El Mar 2 would probably be worth it, but it is simply out of my budget range right now. I like steel, but aluminum would be okay too. Maybe I should give the XTC2 another shot? Maybe I should test ride a Karate Monkey? I'd really prefer to have a front fork though. I'm kind of bummed right now because I thought I had finally found the perfect bike for me. If anyone has any suggestions for bikes to check out that would be like the El Mar, I would love to hear them. Thanks.

  2. #2
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    I have a 2010 El Mar built up single speed and love it.

    Why not get the El Mar 3 and just swap out the crankset? There isn't much to it and you could sell the three bolt crankset on eBay or Craigslist.

    Happy Riding!!

  3. #3
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    Stormwalker - have you asked your dealer if they are willing to work with you on a crank swap? For some reasonable fee, get the crank you want with a bash ring and be riding and happy. They sell a bike, you get what you want - I would bet that they would be willing to find some agreement that will work for you both. I sure know I wouldn't let that stop us from getting someone on an El Mar! Good luck and enjoy whatever you end up with!
    R.I.P. Corky 10/97-4/09
    Disclaimer: I sell and repair bikes for a living
    http://www.endlesscyclesonline.com

  4. #4
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    There are a lot of steel hardtails around, the Salsa I think is excellent, Jamis Dragon looks great too.

    What really sets the Salsa apart is the Alternator Dropouts, easily the best dropouts around for a mixed SS/geared bike. Talk to the dealer, tell them you want a triple crank and they'll make it happen, no big deal. You are very lucky to have a stocking Salsa dealer close by.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stormwalker View Post
    I need a bash. Why? Because I like rock gardens, and I'm not that good of a rider. Yeah, sounds like a person has some decent clearance with that 2x10 crankset. But I don't simply remove the big ring on my other bikes and run them through rock gardens. One look at the bashguard tells me why. Furthermore, I don't like the idea of wiping out and having that chainring eat my leg. Yeah, it's never happened that way where my bash has hit my leg, but that doesn't mean it's never going to.
    Blue Sky has the SLX 22/36/bash crankset on sale for $110. Maybe just buy the bike and do a crank swap.

    BTW, I heartily agree on having a guard. The recent proliferation of cranksets with no provision at all to even mount a bash guard post-purchase is frustrating.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by JonathanGennick View Post
    The recent proliferation of cranksets with no provision at all to even mount a bash guard post-purchase is frustrating.
    Amen to that!

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