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  1. #1
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    specialized carve sl ss or salsa el mariarchi

    I never understood why anyone would ride a rigid SS. My friend had a Stout SE sitting around collecting dust, so I figured I would get it a try. Now that is all I want to ride. I built a Salsa Spearfish and I have over $4000 in it and I am riding a $300 SS. So I think I am going to go with one of these 2 bikes. I have also thought of diSSent, but after building one I think you come out alot better to buy a complete bike then maybe upgrade. You also get to see if the upgrade was really worth the $$$.

  2. #2
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    : d

    Edit: No idea what happened here. Tapatalk fail, I guess.

    I have an El Mar, and it's a very nice SS setup. Haven't tried a Carve, though.
    Last edited by fontarin; 10-28-2012 at 02:44 PM.

  3. #3
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    Carve sl. I just got one and love it

  4. #4
    nothing to see here
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    carve
    I see hills.

    I want to climb them.

  5. #5
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    Both are good bikes. I ride El Mariachi. It is more an adventure bike not so racey as my giant XTC (26er) was. But it can take a beating (with easton haven wheels) and suits my riding style really whell - just what I wanted for rigid SS - go anywhere bike. I haven't tried Carve, but I think It's lighter (with alu frame and carbon fork) and accelerates better (stiffer alu frame). I think that Salsa should have more compliant ride but people say Carve is also good. I had an alu giant XTC 26er with carbon fork (that was a rocket) before I broke it, so I can say that I like the ovarall feelling of salsa (steel?) better.

    Another question is tensioning system. Carve has EBB, salsa has swinging dropouts. I like the swinging dropouts - it works well for me.

    If you are searching for the complete bike - Carve is a good deal, It can be raced out of the box, and if you get lighter wheels it'l be a rocket!

    When I was building my SS I was thinking between a light more race-oriented bike (carbon fork, carbon or alu frame, light XC wheels, light race tyres) and an trustworthy go anywhere XC bike (steel frame and fork, good XC/trail wheels, grippy allround tyres, no carbon). I've decided for the second option and I'm happy with my choice (also relatively light at 10,4 kg = 22,9 lb).

  6. #6
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    Ridged SS? Gotta go with the Salsa. Steel is real, you will feel the power! Added bonus- It will still be cool in 20 years.

  7. #7
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    Love the carve!

  8. #8
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    El Mar

    SS......
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails specialized carve sl ss or salsa el mariarchi-cell-phone-pics-024.jpg  

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  9. #9
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    I'm on the fence about this as well... I'm sorta considering a SS and got the chance to ride a Carve last night and an El Mariachi this morning. I was sure I'd love the Carve - I think my wife believed we would walk out of there with it as I left on the test ride. After riding through the parking lot and on/off curbs, then through a nearby field. Not even close to a real test, but the best I could do. I found the ride harsh and stiff (I'm used to an aluminum hardtail Stumpy).

    The El M this morning was a different experience. It too was only a parking lot & curb test, but the bike seemed far more responsive and more comfortable. It somehow felt more alive under me. I really enjoyed it a great deal more.

    Anyway, I don't mean to pretend that I gave either of them a real test ride, but it was fascinating to feel the difference. For whatever it's worth, I also rode a $700 Trek Marlin SS that couldn't even compare to either of the other two.
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  10. #10
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    Steel, Steel, Steel...the ride quality is so much worth the (minor) weight penalty on hardtail and full rigid bikes.

  11. #11
    CB2
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    Both bikes complete are the same price, but the El Mariachi has better brakes and arguably better wheels, The Carve will be a couple pounds lighter out of the box. Geometry is significantly different on both bikes (wheelbase is about the same though) so that should really be the deciding factor (i.e. how you personally like how each handles).

  12. #12
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    My sled is an El Mar, so I'm biased.

    While the Carve looks to be a nice ride, the Salsa is far more versatile. And it's steel. A lot of folks smarter than me out there, but my experience says steel has better ride qualities... in regards to both frame & fork.

    Ditch your inventory. Take said funds & buy swanky wheels & a 1x? setup. You've now got options. This also applies to a Nimble frame but if you find a medium before me I'll be so pissed that I might drink even moar beer which means you'd suck. Really bad.

  13. #13
    CB2
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    Quote Originally Posted by TroutBum View Post
    My sled is an El Mar, so I'm biased.

    While the Carve looks to be a nice ride, the Salsa is far more versatile. And it's steel. A lot of folks smarter than me out there, but my experience says steel has better ride qualities... in regards to both frame & fork.

    Ditch your inventory. Take said funds & buy swanky wheels & a 1x? setup. You've now got options. This also applies to a Nimble frame but if you find a medium before me I'll be so pissed that I might drink even moar beer which means you'd suck. Really bad.
    Carve has housing guides for a rear derailleur, and comes with a derailleur hanger (*****).

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by CB2 View Post
    Carve has housing guides for a rear derailleur, and comes with a derailleur hanger (*****).
    Missed it.

    Still think tin cans ride like ****. Jis sayin'

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by TroutBum View Post
    Missed it.

    Still think tin cans ride like ****. Jis sayin'
    Hey Bum, you ride today???

    or just smoking cigars?
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  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tone No Balone View Post
    Hey Bum, you ride today???
    Pffft. I don't actually ride, I just preach greatness.


    Today was hurricane preparedness day, my friend (I drank a ****ton of beer.)

    Found a bit o'dirt yesterday, though. After folding up a chainring my quick fix was 33x22. Nice climber, but waaaaay too ****ing spinny on the flats. Strava says I kicked some dood's taint, though which makes me feel better about uMartha's 29'er denial.

  17. #17
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    yeah, just got back from Demo-ness in 75 degree weather and tacky trails...... not to bad.


    40M/4432F/4+ hrs.


    settling in for the "fall classic".

    "back to topic...."

    ToNE~
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  18. #18
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    I wished I had a Salsa Dealer close, but I don't. I have to drive almost 3 hours for the closest one. I think that is what I am going to go with though.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by SpringsRubicon View Post
    I'm on the fence about this as well... I'm sorta considering a SS and got the chance to ride a Carve last night and an El Mariachi this morning. I was sure I'd love the Carve - I think my wife believed we would walk out of there with it as I left on the test ride. After riding through the parking lot and on/off curbs, then through a nearby field. Not even close to a real test, but the best I could do. I found the ride harsh and stiff (I'm used to an aluminum hardtail Stumpy).

    The El M this morning was a different experience. It too was only a parking lot & curb test, but the bike seemed far more responsive and more comfortable. It somehow felt more alive under me. I really enjoyed it a great deal more.

    Anyway, I don't mean to pretend that I gave either of them a real test ride, but it was fascinating to feel the difference. For whatever it's worth, I also rode a $700 Trek Marlin SS that couldn't even compare to either of the other two.
    Did you run the same tires and pressures on both bikes? Ride quality on my steel Monocog goes from miserable on the 2.1 Ignitors with tubes to silky bliss on the 2.2 Slant6 setup tubeless. I test rode an Al hardtail Trek 29er at the LBS a while back. I thought the ride was terrible, but then realized it was on Spec Fastracks with 35psi in them. Hardly a fair comparison to my Slant6 setup that I run 20psi in, so I had to try to ignore the ride quality issue. I think when I next test ride a bike I'll bring my own wheel set with me so I can eliminate a feel difference due to tires.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by solo-x View Post
    Did you run the same tires and pressures on both bikes? Ride quality on my steel Monocog goes from miserable on the 2.1 Ignitors with tubes to silky bliss on the 2.2 Slant6 setup tubeless. I test rode an Al hardtail Trek 29er at the LBS a while back. I thought the ride was terrible, but then realized it was on Spec Fastracks with 35psi in them. Hardly a fair comparison to my Slant6 setup that I run 20psi in, so I had to try to ignore the ride quality issue. I think when I next test ride a bike I'll bring my own wheel set with me so I can eliminate a feel difference due to tires.
    Honestly, no, I didn't pay attention to tire pressure. I suspect the Specialized was harder (30psi?) than the Salsa, but I really don't know. If I were more serious I'd certainly have made a closer comparison. Good thought on your part.
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  21. #21
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    I run 25#'s front and rear tubeless and it sure does make a big difference in the feel of the ride. 30#'s and I would be bouncing off everything.
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  22. #22
    Clydesdale, Geezer, Fred
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    As of this morning, my geared 29er is an El Mar and my SS 29er is a Carve SL. Life is good.

  23. #23
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    S a l s a !

  24. #24
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    My vote is with the carve. The mariachi is nice. I had one for a year but it feels dull in comparison. The specialized is just a quicker handling bike.

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by ardmoregeorge View Post
    My vote is with the carve. The mariachi is nice. I had one for a year but it feels dull in comparison. The specialized is just a quicker handling bike.
    Didn't Salsa just change the geometry for 2013? Why is the carve a better geo spec?

  26. #26
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    Guys -- I'm considering these 2 bikes as well. At that price point what else should I be looking at? Here is my short list at the moment:

    Specialized Carve SL 29 SS
    Salsa El Mariachi Limited Edition SS
    Surly Krate Monkey

  27. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by p08757 View Post
    Guys -- I'm considering these 2 bikes as well. At that price point what else should I be looking at? Here is my short list at the moment:

    Specialized Carve SL 29 SS
    Salsa El Mariachi Limited Edition SS
    Surly Krate Monkey
    same boat, I'm in.

    I would throw in the civilian luddite if you can find your size, and the kona unit, and the redline monocog flight.
    -It's time to shred some mild to moderate gnar!!

  28. #28
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    El Mariachi all the way...Love mine! As pictured 21.35lbs size large...Once I put the Whiskey carbon fork and xx1 cranks on it...it will be down to just over 20...Not bad for a 5.5lb frame....


  29. #29
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    nice.....
    I'm enjoying mine for just about a year now.
    First set up as a SS for six months until I got my other steel frame repaired.
    switched out to a 1 x 10 and now I have two steel HT's one SS one 1 x 10.
    it's pretty nice to have the choice!
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails specialized carve sl ss or salsa el mariarchi-cell-phone-pics-024.jpg  

    specialized carve sl ss or salsa el mariarchi-1x10-salas.jpg  

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  30. #30
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    I would take the El Mar based on tension system and the fact that its going to ride nicer being steel.

    An aluminum frame, narrow rims, and narrow tires are going to be a rough ride regardless if it has a nice carbon fork on it or not. EBBs creak...its annoy as sh!t trying to muscle up a steep climb out of the saddle and its the only thing on your bike making noise. Also, anytime you change the rear cog or tension the chain, your entire bike geometry changes. Its not a lot, but it can mean that you have to adjust the seatpost or the seat to get it to feel right.

    THe Rockers (slider type) allows you to fine tune you chainstay length for quicker turning or a bit more stability while descending. I went from EBB to Sliders and I'll never go back.
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  31. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by dubdryver View Post

    THe Rockers (slider type) allows you to fine tune you chainstay length for quicker turning or a bit more stability while descending.
    Doesn't changing wheelbase and chainstay length count as changing geometry?

  32. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by rob1035 View Post
    Doesn't changing wheelbase and chainstay length count as changing geometry?
    It does, but it doesn't change the fit on the bike, everything on the front triangle stays put.
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  33. #33
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    I put a Carve on layaway.

  34. #34
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    Mariachi if you have to choose between those two without a doubt. The Carve is going to ride like a beer can, the Mariachi is going to ride like buttah.

    Remember the wise proverb here.....Aluminum is steel they sucked all the soul out of.

  35. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by dubdryver View Post
    I would take the El Mar based on tension system and the fact that its going to ride nicer being steel.

    An aluminum frame, narrow rims, and narrow tires are going to be a rough ride regardless if it has a nice carbon fork on it or not. EBBs creak...its annoy as sh!t trying to muscle up a steep climb out of the saddle and its the only thing on your bike making noise. Also, anytime you change the rear cog or tension the chain, your entire bike geometry changes. Its not a lot, but it can mean that you have to adjust the seatpost or the seat to get it to feel right.

    THe Rockers (slider type) allows you to fine tune you chainstay length for quicker turning or a bit more stability while descending. I went from EBB to Sliders and I'll never go back.
    Good advice on how the tensioning of the chain works. Probably one of the most important things to look at when getting a single speed.

    I had the Trek Rig on my short list as well until I read the reviews and how everyone complained about the odd way the chainstay worked....or didn't.

    I will probably lean towards the Salsa if I buy a new SS.

  36. #36
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    I think the mar is the best option. The mariachi is, was and will be a great choice, steel is amazing for a SS bike is more confortable.

  37. #37
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    Quote Originally Posted by p08757 View Post
    Guys -- I'm considering these 2 bikes as well. At that price point what else should I be looking at? Here is my short list at the moment:

    Specialized Carve SL 29 SS
    Salsa El Mariachi Limited Edition SS
    Surly Krate Monkey
    You should check out the Singular Swift. EBB, steel framed goodness!

  38. #38
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    OK here is the skinny,

    I have the El Mariachi SS (XL) Special Edition with the following done to it.
    Tires swap for Mountain Kings 2.2 (stock are Trail King little taller and fatter)
    Stans tubeless setup
    Chain rings and chain replaced Qring 34/Surly 18 with KMC Gold X-9 chain as short as possible.
    Shimano Pro Carbon Seat Post
    Stella Glider seat
    Richty Stem

    I just weight her on Friday night Clean and dry Total weight is 25.1

    So I do not know how some other guys are claiming lighter weight.
    I am thinking about putting on a Ninner fork that would shave 1lb exactly cause we weight the stock vs. Ninner already.

    This is a solid bike and I have been extremely happy with it. Stem and seat post were replace during Fit.
    Anyone remember the days when Signatures were called Taglines?

  39. #39
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    All of the Carve Overend editions are sold out, the regular Carve SL will be available in mid March, the first run already sold out. I stopped by my Specialized Concept store today.

  40. #40
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    I am biased. But this is my first SS, and I am having tons of fun on it. Took 3rd in a race this past weekend on it behind a couple geared bikes. Honestly, I feel this it is more nimble and better handling than my full squish Titus Racer X. Weighs 23 lbs in its current setup.

    Sevenz - you mind listing your parts list? Interested to see how you got it to 21.35 lbs. Think I have some pretty light stuff on mine (although running heavier tires)
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails specialized carve sl ss or salsa el mariarchi-img_0642.jpg  


  41. #41
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sevenz View Post
    El Mariachi all the way...Love mine! As pictured 21.35lbs size large...Once I put the Whiskey carbon fork and xx1 cranks on it...it will be down to just over 20...Not bad for a 5.5lb frame....

    Quote Originally Posted by titusracer View Post
    I am biased. But this is my first SS, and I am having tons of fun on it. Took 3rd in a race this past weekend on it behind a couple geared bikes. Honestly, I feel this it is more nimble and better handling than my full squish Titus Racer X. Weighs 23 lbs in its current setup.

    Sevenz - you mind listing your parts list? Interested to see how you got it to 21.35 lbs. Think I have some pretty light stuff on mine (although running heavier tires)
    Here it is...

    Large El Mar Frame and Fork
    Stans 355's with Rocket Rons
    Kcnc Ti Lite Seat Post
    Salsa Pro Moto Carbon bars
    Salsa Pro Moto 1 Stem
    ESI Grips
    Magura MT2 Brakes with Storm SL Rotors
    Truvativ Firex Crank W/ Race Face 32t ring
    Chris King 18t Cog
    Crankbro's Candy 1 pedals

    As I posted before, once my Whiskey fork and xx1 cranks come in it will drop another pound +...

  42. #42
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    Quote Originally Posted by dubdryver View Post
    It does, but it doesn't change the fit on the bike, everything on the front triangle stays put.
    If one buys quality components & construction, it really boils down to personal preference. I have both sliders (Kona Honzo) and split shell EBB (Vulture). Personally I prefer the EBB, which I've been living with for 11 years now -- happily.

    But I'm not saying EBB is better. I'm saying I like it better. I like that the relationship between my a$$ and my rear axle doesn't change whenever I change my chain tension (which I admit is rarely). Personally I don't notice the change in crank position... can't say why... but I don't. Usually I don't even adjust my saddle. It ain't that much.

    To each his own. They're all okay -- EBB (although there are lots of shitty EBBs out there; stay away from the bad ones), sliders, swingers, rockers, track ends, blah, blah, blah. Use whatever you like. But invest in quality.

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  43. #43
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sevenz View Post
    As I posted before, once my Whiskey fork and xx1 cranks come in it will drop another pound +...
    Just out of curiosity..are you running the XX1 crankset singlespeed?
    I am not sure what the advantage is for running it SS, but have you considered a Rotor 3D? They are lighter and stiffer..much better platform for a SS. 530g vs 710 for the XX1.
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  44. #44
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    Quote Originally Posted by dubdryver View Post
    Just out of curiosity..are you running the XX1 crankset singlespeed?
    I am not sure what the advantage is for running it SS, but have you considered a Rotor 3D? They are lighter and stiffer..much better platform for a SS. 530g vs 710 for the XX1.
    Rotor 3D MTB XC3 Crankset 3x9 10 | eBay

    Honestly it comes down to price...The Rotor 3D are sweet cranks but cost way more than xx1 cranks...xx1 cranks are cheap and light...You are a little off in your weights I think...xx cranks with a spiderless chainring will come in at about 540g

  45. #45
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    specialized carve sl ss or salsa el mariarchi

    I know that there are a lot of satisfied El Mariachi owners (one of the reasons I got one). But my experience is that this frame has incredibly weak chain stays.
    specialized carve sl ss or salsa el mariarchi-imageuploadedbytapatalk1359808581.594511.jpg

    I cracked this one in less than four months.... And this is the replacement frame they sent me after cracking the first one in the very same place!
    Salsa says they won't replace this one so I'm not too happy with them.
    FYI, I weigh 180 and I don't drop off anything more than 2 foot high.

  46. #46
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    I had an older El Mar as my proof of concept rigid SS. Loved the experience so much I decided to stay with steel but go lighter, so I ended up with a Raven. Niner carbon fork, Crests, and basic alu parts put me right at 20 lbs and well under $2k (used frame and fork).

    Looked at the current El Mars today. LBS says they weigh 1.3 lbs more than my Raven. The Carve is gonna be down in the range of my Raven or less. Can't see carrying around the extra weight for no reason, and the Carve is a nice looking frame for sure.

    Rigid SS ride quality is all about tuning tire pressures, period, not frame material. My steel frame is supple when the pressures are right for the terrain and bouncy/jarring when it is not, plain and simple.

    You gotta remember that on a susp forked bike when the rear wheel hits something to fork compresses/reacts, not just when hitting with the front wheel. Without the susp fork the front and rear wheel inputs are now more "coupled". You can't change that dynamic with frame material. You can manage it however with tire pressure.

    Here is the complete bike.
    Last edited by trialsguy315; 02-12-2013 at 06:58 AM.

  47. #47
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    specialized carve sl ss or salsa el mariarchi

    Good point, the El Mariachi IS a really heavy frame. I bought mine thinking heavy means strong. Certainly not the case with the El Mariachi, it's heavy AND weak!

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