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  1. #1
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    Unit or El Mar SS

    If you could get one of the 2013 SS El Mar's would you, Or would you get a Unit ? Thanx

  2. #2
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    Very different geometries, I think...

    SPP
    Rigid.

  3. #3
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    Depends on your uses. For me, neither. It would be a Canfield Nimble 9 (new ones look fantastic). The new Niner steel hardtail has me intrigued as well.

    Between the two, I like the El Mariachi. Would make a good bikepacking rig. But both are a little too long for my taste. My preference is something under 43" wheelbase and 17" CS.

  4. #4
    Clyde on a mission!
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    I have a 2012 Unit which I love. I have no experience with the El Mariachi, but from pictures only the system to tension the chain looks inferior to the system on the Unit.

    On the Unit you have 2 bolts on each side locking the sliders to the frame plus a lockable adjuster screw to keep the sliders from moving forward even if the bolts slip a bit.

    On the El Mar there seems to be only one bolt per side to keep the sliders from moving when you really get going.

    Again, I have no practical experience with the El Mar setup, but the Kona setup is dead simple and rock solid.

  5. #5
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    I just got myself through the exact same dilemma. You need to ride both in real conditions to figure out what will work for you. For me, the Unit was the clear winner. The sliding dropouts are super simple and rock solid, the geometry (once raised about a degree via my whisky co carbon fork) feels perfect, and the pedaling platform is incredible.

    Both are great bikes, i enjoyed the Salsa, rode both as fully rigid, and immediately felt connected to the Kona.

  6. #6
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    I have the limited edition dedicated SS Salsa, fully rigid....the dropouts work very very well...there are 3 bolts not one as posted above and the set screws as well...it has been bombproof for this fairly aggro fat-boy.

    I test rode a Unit and that was where I was headed until I unexpectedly lucked into the El Mar...I am now planning on a Ti El Mar down the road to run SS unless there is another dedicated SS version next year in which case I will probably buy that and upgrade it.

    My current bike is beat on daily and is now the only bike I ride at all...

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sandrenseren View Post
    I have a 2012 Unit which I love. I have no experience with the El Mariachi, but from pictures only the system to tension the chain looks inferior to the system on the Unit.

    On the Unit you have 2 bolts on each side locking the sliders to the frame plus a lockable adjuster screw to keep the sliders from moving forward even if the bolts slip a bit.

    On the El Mar there seems to be only one bolt per side to keep the sliders from moving when you really get going.

    Again, I have no practical experience with the El Mar setup, but the Kona setup is dead simple and rock solid.
    I've had both style dropouts. Didn't have issues with either, but if I were to choose between the two, the swinger drops on the Salsa are superior.

  8. #8
    Clyde on a mission!
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fuzzydog View Post
    I have the limited edition dedicated SS Salsa, fully rigid....the dropouts work very very well...there are 3 bolts not one as posted above and the set screws as well...it has been bombproof for this fairly aggro fat-boy.
    Ah, I missed that third one, the adjuster screw, it's really hard to spot on their webpage.

    Found a nice picture here Salsa Cycles Announces New Steel El Mariachi: First Ride Report (scroll down a bit) and it seems pretty clever too.

  9. #9
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    Hey thanx guys for the replies. I haven't read anything bad about either bike, dropouts, or anything. I was kind of wondering about the components that are stock on the builds, wheels, hubs, and cranks. I guess they are about the same ?

  10. #10
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    FWIW I think the Salas had a slightly better build kit.....do not think you will easily find the SS El Mar as it was a limited run....could build a frame up any way you wanted it.

  11. #11
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    I know this is throwing a wrench in the works, but why not a Karate Monkey?

  12. #12
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    I hve a 2010 El Mar and rode it for a a little over a year.

    Handled everything I could throw at it. Even caused me to stop riding my Tallboy most of the time.

    I went with it for the very reason of the dropouts. I did not want a frame with EBB or sliding dropouts. The swinging dropouts seemed to be a no brainer. They are simple and stout.

    I ran mine with a 120mm fork so the geometry was slacked out a bit more than normal.

    Only downside I found was that it was heavy..... 5.7/5.8 lbs for a large frame......but the Kona not gonna be any lighter.

    In addition, the Bombpop Blue color gets everyone's attention.....and I got a lot of compliments on the bike. Maybe it was just that there are not a lot of Salsa bikes around here.
    I crashed hard enough on my Tallboy to break my leg,
    The carbon is way more durable than most people.

  13. #13
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    I was looking at the El Mar but not having any experience with Salsa or and local to me I decide to go with the Unit. I love swinger dropouts but really I just didn't want an EBB.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by mack_turtle View Post
    I know this is throwing a wrench in the works, but why not a Karate Monkey?
    Well I've got an Ogre that's got gears. Love it no doubt but I'm wanting a single speed. I've thought about a Karate Monkey but for sizing reasons the El Mar and Unit appeal to me. I'm kinda in the inbetween range of 18" and 20" on Surly's. I've got a 20" Ogre and feel great on it, but most all of my riding is on pavement and I want to tour on it so being on the frame with a slant to the large works. For a single speed bike the unit has the 19" and Salsa El Mar has a lot more stand over for a size large than the Large Ogre, so I can have that little extra bit of room on the bike. The length of the top tube on my Ogre works for me but a tiny bit more stand over would be good for dirt. So anyway I appreciate all the feedback. I also didn't want to make it a huge ordeal with hours and hours of researching the build like I did for my Ogre, you know, "just buy a bike dude" kinda deal. Thanx

  15. #15
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    Unit or El Mar SS

    Get anything but an El Mariachi. They break very easily and salsa won't stand behind them when they do.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by hallowedpoint View Post
    Get anything but an El Mariachi. They break very easily and salsa won't stand behind them when they do.
    I love my unit, but.. all he snow and rain..its a rust bucket waiting to happen..
    Last edited by crackerbat; 03-11-2013 at 04:50 AM. Reason: drunk

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by crackerbat View Post
    I love my unit, but.. all he snow and rain..its a rust bucket waithing to hapen..
    Why? Because it's steel? I still ride my 25 year old Kona Explosif from time to time and it certainly hasn't rusted away. Spray a bit of Frame Saver inside the tubes every now and again.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Andy R View Post
    Why? Because it's steel? I still ride my 25 year old Kona Explosif from time to time and it certainly hasn't rusted away. Spray a bit of Frame Saver inside the tubes every now and again.
    Because it's steel, because the clear coat is porous, because it's already rusting. don't get me wrong, I love the bike, but anywhere that water can sit it's got rust. The brace at the top of the down tube, base of the chainstays, sliders, welds, etc etc. It's not bad right now, just a light dusting of brown.

    I love the bike

  19. #19
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    I've owned both. Hard to pick which one I prefere.

    got an el mariachi currently and the only downside of it is cosmetic, i personally think the headtube is fugly. But it is a great ride.

    I'd just buy which one is cheapest and in the nicest colour.

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