Steel frame appearance-Does it matter?
I am beginning to look for a steel 29er hard tail. In looking at different bikes theres is some variability in terms of the appearance of the welding points. Does this matter at all in terms of quality of the build or ride? I can't imagine that it does too much in terms of weight.
On a related side note at a LBS in another town I was surprised to see that surly bikes had better looking welds than salsa-always thought it would be the other way.
Not all ugly welds are weak. Not all pretty welds are strong. Unfortunately, just looking at the surface doesn't really tell you whether the weld has good penetration, if it's even all around, etc. However, if the factory cares enough to make the welds look good, hopefully they're paying attention to other critical details of the build.
Surly and Salsa are both good brands and make solid bikes. I wouldn't doubt the quality of either. In fact, in my house, we have two Surly Cross Checks and a Salsa Ala Carte, they're great bikes at a reasonable price point.