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  1. #1
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    Highball Alu comparison Ė Rough Trail Performance

    Have any of you Highball riders got experience with the Salsa El-Mariachi? Iím riding an El-Mar Ti and Iím wondering how it compares with the Highball Alu. I find my El-Mar pretty fantastic for 95% of my riding but I do find it bucks around and feels a little out of control on bumpy/rutted downhills once the speed gets up. My Salsa is limited to 100mm forks and Iím wondering if a Highball with 120mm fork might handle those situations better whilst maintaining the ability to climb and lightness and speed over the ground. What are your thoughts please?

  2. #2
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    I replaced a '10 El Mariachi(Steel) with my Highball Al.

    Rode the Salsa 95% of the time for nearly a year. Liked it but felt it was too heavy. 5.7 lbs for L frame.

    First ride out on the Highball Al, though maybe I had made a mistake. Frame seemed extremely harsh. However that only lasted the first ride. Realized how quick and efficient it was going up hill. I don't think it is harsh at all. It is definately stiffer than the Salsa, but I really like it.

    I had both bikes set up with the same 120mm fork.

    It may just be personal choice......but I rode SC Chameleons for years....probably my all time favorite bike. So for me the HB Al was a no brainer.
    I crashed hard enough on my Tallboy to break my leg,
    The carbon is way more durable than most people.

  3. #3
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    Thanks for that - I hoped to hear from someone with the Al version. They say that Salsa discourage fitting a 120mm fork to the El-Mar, but I have been wondering about fitting a 120mm Reba or Sid to see what it's like before going to the extreme of swapping frames. I do have a 27.2 bent Thomson on my Salsa so if I did go Highball I'd probably use that with a shim in hopes of a smoother ride.
    Still interested to hear how the highball performs on the bumps and fast downs.

  4. #4
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    Ride mine everywhere I would ride my Tallboy or Heckler.

    It is a hardtail, so big bumps are jot gonna be much different that your Salsa. Fast and flowy DH's are a blast. Slacker HA than what you are used to keeps the bike very stable....but still loves to be thrown around.

    Small little stutter bumps will seem a bit more harsh than your Ti frame. Run a bit lower pressure in the tires and it smooths it all out.

    I did the 120 on the Salsa, mainly because I spend so much time standing(SS) that I was sagging through most of the extra travel. After a year, had no problems with it.
    I crashed hard enough on my Tallboy to break my leg,
    The carbon is way more durable than most people.

  5. #5
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    mtnbikej,

    I currently ride a Heckler and a Chameleon, and I ve been thinking about trying out a 29'er. I was hoping to find someone who set it up with a 120 mm fork. I am not a racer I ride for fun, mostly on single track with log piles, rock gardens, roots and climbs. How much fun is your Highball?

    Thanks
    2007'ish Heckler and 2006 Chameleon
    If anyone needs the help of a prototype/custom machinist let me know.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by keith13 View Post
    mtnbikej,

    I currently ride a Heckler and a Chameleon, and I ve been thinking about trying out a 29'er. I was hoping to find someone who set it up with a 120 mm fork. I am not a racer I ride for fun, mostly on single track with log piles, rock gardens, roots and climbs. How much fun is your Highball?

    Thanks

    Imagine your Chameleon with 29" wheels......that is what the HBa is like.

    I run mine as a SS, but have no issues climbing with the 120mm fork. I could not imagine running anything shorter.

    Very fun and versatile bike.

    I chased a buddy down one of our local trails a couple of weeks ago.....he on his Tallboy, my on the HBa....had no problembs keeping up on the jumps, drops and ruts....i fell behind a little on the flat sections and the really big rock garden.
    I crashed hard enough on my Tallboy to break my leg,
    The carbon is way more durable than most people.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tea@Dimbola View Post
    Have any of you Highball riders got experience with the Salsa El-Mariachi? Iím riding an El-Mar Ti and Iím wondering how it compares with the Highball Alu. I find my El-Mar pretty fantastic for 95% of my riding but I do find it bucks around and feels a little out of control on bumpy/rutted downhills once the speed gets up. My Salsa is limited to 100mm forks and Iím wondering if a Highball with 120mm fork might handle those situations better whilst maintaining the ability to climb and lightness and speed over the ground. What are your thoughts please?
    Honest thought:

    Get a full suspension bike and ride it on all the rough stuff. Keep your current bike and ride it on smooth stuff.

    Problem solved. It is very unlikely that any hardtail will significantly change your current rough trail experience, and it's very likely that the right full suspension bike will entirely change your rough trail experience.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by mtnbikej View Post
    Imagine your Chameleon with 29" wheels......that is what the HBa is like.

    I run mine as a SS, but have no issues climbing with the 120mm fork. I could not imagine running anything shorter.

    Very fun and versatile bike.

    I chased a buddy down one of our local trails a couple of weeks ago.....he on his Tallboy, my on the HBa....had no problembs keeping up on the jumps, drops and ruts....i fell behind a little on the flat sections and the really big rock garden.
    Like a Chameleon with big wheels I could get inot that! Thanks.
    2007'ish Heckler and 2006 Chameleon
    If anyone needs the help of a prototype/custom machinist let me know.

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