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  1. #1
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    New question here. El Mar or Spearfish?

    I'm looking to pick up my first "real" mountain bike. Right now its a toss up between the El Mariachi and Spearfish.

    I already have a Salsa Vaya that I built up from the frame, and I'm very happy with it, but I'm looking for a more specialized bike to compliment it.

    I live in the Midwest where it is mostly flat, but plan on taking weekend trips to CO/AK. I want a bike I hit the tracks on around here, gravel roads, but also rougher terrain.

    Likely would pick up a 2014 of either bike, but would be willing to pick up an older model for the right price.

    Not sure if the Spearfish is more bike than I need, but I'm leaning heavily toward it at the moment.

    Any advice for a mountain newb?

  2. #2
    ejj
    ejj is offline
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    14 SF. It's. great all-around if you are serious about going west. If you are flying, consider renting a fun FS bike and get the Mar as a pure Midwest machine.

  3. #3
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    here is a thought, get the El Mar and use the money you save for another wheel set for the Vaya. Then you can have a road set and a gravel grinder set while you are at home.

  4. #4
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    I'm already running DT Swiss X470 29er rims w/ 240 hubs so I'm pretty set there already.

  5. #5
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    Having owned both a 2012 El Mar and 2012 Spearfish 2, I highly recommend the Spearfish. In fact, I returned the El Mar for the Spearfish and haven't regretted it a single moment. Living in southern Missouri, we have lots of hills, rocks and roots and the full suspension is worth the upgrade.

    I also greatly recommend waiting to purchase the 2014 Spearfish. It has the new split-pivot rear suspension design and from everything I have heard, it is the best thing since sliced bread. It helps reduce pedal-bob and gives a smoother response to small bumps and better braking.

    I'm honestly thinking about upgrading my frame to the 2014 model if I can find the money...

  6. #6
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    I also have had both, I sold my El Mar so I could build my SF1 it is 9spd xo with a Tower Pro fork. I also have a 2010 Mamasita I am thinking about selling both and getting the new SF 1 or the Horsethief .....

  7. #7
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    Well those are both definitely shining endorsements of the Spearfish. Sounds like the little bit extra $$$ is worth it for Spearfish over El Mar.

  8. #8
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    I recently had the exact same debate with myself. I chose a 2013 SF 2. They were, and probably still are, on sale. I am new enough to suspension, and happy enough with my purchase, and saved about $600, that I don't regret not waiting for the 2014 SF. It does sound pretty cool, however. I chose the SF 2 b/c I wanted to go tubeless right away and wanted a double crank.

    I chose the SF over the El Mar after testing both. I live in central VA. It's rocky and rooty and the rear suspension takes the edge off.

    I'm very happy with the SF 2.

  9. #9
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    If you can get an older SF for real cheap, go for it. But spending a little extra for the 2014 sounds worth it to me, esp. if you venture out to rougher terrain. Better rear suspension, slacker head tube, shorter chainstays, stiffer.

    I have a 2011 and I really like it. It does what it's supposed to do: comfortable pedaling for all-day rides. It sounds like the 2014 does that, but is also more fun. So I'll prob spring for a new frame sometime over the next year or two.

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